“Call me when you figure it out?” Figure what out? What the hell did that mean? I yelled those exact words as I watched him ride away.
What was I supposed to be figuring out? She was dead. That was a fact. She had been stabbed. That was a fact. She was a raging bitch. That was a fact.
I was at a complete loss as to exactly what I was supposed to “figure out.” I went on a thirty minute rant, calling him every name but a child of God, not to mention disparaging his intelligence, character and every other shortcoming that came to mind.
When I got back to my office, my clerk said I had received a message. “Okay,” I said. She said “Mr. Harville called.” Again, she just stood there. I swear, sometimes trying to get any information out of her was like trying to get a response from a tree stump. “And?” I said.
“And, he wanted me to tell you that in his haste to leave town, he neglected to pick up the autopsy report for Parker Patterson. He wondered if you would be gracious enough to pick it up and overnight it to him.”
“Was an autopsy even done on her?” I asked. “Apparently,” she said.
“Well, did the elusive and forgetful Mr. Harville leave an address by any chance?”
“He left a Post Office Box number,” she said.
I didn’t have time to deal with that crap. If he was so damn good, good enough to be listed in The Chamber’s Legal Library, how could be absentminded enough to forget something like an autopsy?
He was obviously upset about Parker’s death but come on. Forgetting a vital piece of information like an autopsy report? There was no excuse for that kind of sloppiness. He expected me to “tidy” up his omission and I wasn’t going to do it.
I asked my clerk to run over to the coroners’ office and pick it up but just as she got to the door, for some reason I had second thoughts. “Never mind,” I said. “I’ll take care of it.”
As I was driving to the coroner’s office, Harville’s words kept running through my head. “Call me when you figure it out.” The more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off. I didn’t like innuendo, I didn’t like games and I intended to divulge that in a rather insulting note.
Apparently, the coroner had been alerted that I was coming to get the report and it was ready when I got there. When he handed it to me, he said “it’s pretty cut and dried. Knife wound was COD but you already know that.”
“Anything else?” I asked. The coroner looked at me quizzically and said “like what?” I told him that I was just curious. Then I asked him if he minded if I looked at the report. “Not at all,” he said.
I sat down and started reading what was a very short and succinct report. I intentionally avoided the pictures. Even though I despised her on a certain level, I felt there was no need to intrude on private pictures of her exposed body.
There was the standard “unremarkable” description for every organ and extremity. It was noted that there was not one single flaw (aside from the obvious gaping knife wound) other than a small tattoo on the victims’ left hip. I didn’t give it much thought, put the report back in the folder and told the coroner I would be on my way.
I had the audacity to ask him if he would overnight the report to Harville. At least I had the courtesy of requesting that he bill my office for the expense.
When I got in my car, I felt like a thunderbolt had hit me between the eyes. “A small tattoo.” I bolted out of my car and burst back into the coroners’ office, blurting out “I need to know about the tattoo.”
The coroner looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He clutched his chest and said “what the hell, man. You almost gave me a heart attack and I’m getting on up in years!”
I apologized and said “I just need to know about the tattoo.”
The coroner got the report, sat down and put on his glasses. Thumbing through his notes, he smiled and said “ah. It was two words.”
Déjà vu. Was I back at the office? Had he turned into my clerk? Finally I said “what were the fucking words?”
He looked at me, crooked his head and said:
To be continued______________