(When a little girl finds a severed finger on the road, the finger evokes different responses in each person it passes to. If you're just joining us, go back to Part 1)
Sam heard the older detectives in his unit laughing.
They were coming in from the main hall after a smoke, or a bag of chips, or a visit to pester Nancy, the 8th floor receptionist. If they invited Sam to leave his makeshift office in the corner, it was only to give him shit. Or to boss him around. He was the entertainment on otherwise slow days.
As usual Rick's voice dominated. Sam heard his name. The usual insults. Another round of laughing. Sam made the mistake of introducing himself as Samuel on his first day. He didn't look up when the three of them came around the cubicle divider.
"Yo, momma's boy," Rick said.
Sam flipped the page in the report folder.
At the edge of Sam's vision, Rick's arm swung, and something crashed into the papers in front of Sam's face.
"Jesus Christ!" Sam said. "What the--"
"Congratulations!" Rick said. "You finally got the big case you've been waiting for!"
"What the hell is this?"
Sam dangled the baggie with the finger in it.
"Well," Rick said, "we were going to give you a hand, but we didn't think you were worth the whole thing."
"Thanks. Thanks a lot."
"The grunts just brought it in. It was found this morning. Nice of them to let it ripen up a bit for you." Another folder slapped onto Sam's overflowing desk. "There's the report. Some little girl picked it up on JFK."
Sam peered through the plastic.
It appeared to be a woman's finger. Severed just above the knuckle. Index finger from the left hand.
"Go to it Sherlock. Put that private school degree to good use," Rick said. "Or then again, maybe you should call Mulder and Scully over at the FBI. Looks like an X-file to me."
Rick's audience chuckled.
"I guess you'll be pulling an all-nighter," Rick said. "I'd toss you a Snickers Bar from the machine, but I ate the last one. Smell you later."
"Hey, shouldn't this be at the morgue?" Sam called after them. "What are we supposed to do with it here?"
But the voices faded down the hall. The door slapped shut.
"Great," Sam said. "Just great."
He glanced at the clock. 4:55 p.m.
Well, nothing to go home to anyway. An empty apartment and cop show reruns. Might as well get a start.
He turned on the desk lamp and pulled it down. Leaning in, he held his breath and opened the bag.
On to Part 5.
Back to Part 3.