Monday, April 20, 2009

The Finger, Part 5

(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 collected the vials for the lab. Some bloody fluid. Tissue for DNA analysis.

He slipped the fingerprint sheets into an envelope to send to the FBI database. Maybe Jane Doe index finger had a criminal record. Or maybe she got into the system some other way. Lawyers get fingerprinted to join the bar in New Jersey. That's how they snagged that guy who broke into his ex-girlfriend's house to steal her underwear. An estates lawyer. People who make their living from the dead are all more than a little weird.

Sam yawned and picked up the phone. It was after midnight and sliding towards one.

It rang.

And rang and rang.

Sam kept on. He knew somebody was there.

At last, a groggy voice came on. "Morgue."

"Detective Slattery here."

"Right," the guy said slowly. "Um, who?"

"Didn't mean to wake you up," Sam said.

"Late night last night."

"I need you to check something."



"But it's like...and everyone's...."

"I'm trying to wrap up some work," Sam said. "I need to know if you have any bodies missing a finger."

"A finger?"

"Yeah. An index finger."

"You're kidding, right?" the guy said.

"Actually, no, I'm not kidding. Go watch Love Boat and fall asleep later."

"Star Trek," the guy said. "But I've seen this one a million times."

"Okay. Good. Now back to the--"

"Man, you're calling me about a finger? You know what kind of company I keep down here? We have bodies in every possible condition. We have fresh ones, cured ones, and ones so rotten they resemble a bag of soup. We have new arrivals, and old friends who have be in the fridge for years. We have heads with no bodies and bodies with no heads. Fingers on, fingers off. Rats like fingers, did you know that? Homeless people die in hidden, tucked away places. When someone finally shovels them out, rats have run away with all sorts of bits and pieces."

"This one is fresh. And cleanly cut," Sam said.

"Good for you."

"Someone intentionally did it. With a knife or cleaver. Or maybe it was piece of machinery."

"You mean, like an accident?" the guy said.

"I guess that's possible."

"Did you check the police reports? The hospitals? A little oops, and chop-o-matic goes the finger. People might have been looking all around for that thing. They can sew those things on really good now. Like it never happened."

"I checked the police reports."

"That would suck to have your finger ripped off, then miss out on the consolation prize of having it sewn back on."

"I can check the hospital reports."

"Did you ever see Saving Private Ryan? You know in the beginning, during the beach landing, when that mortar shell hits, and that dazed guy is looking around for his arm? He bends down, picks it up and carries it off with him?"

Sam sighed.

"You just made me think of that."

"I'll be over in half an hour," Sam said.


"To drop off the finger," Sam said, annoyed.

"Right. Great. A ton of paperwork for a measly finger."

"I'll bring you a can of Red Bull," Sam said.

"I hate Red Bull."


Back to Part 4.


Aniket said...

Another great installment Jason.

And I've been watching back to back episodes of NCIS lately and have completed the forst 3 seasons. So its like another one of the episodes for me... with a very interesting plot of course.

"People who make their living from the dead are all more than a little weird." loved the line. :)

And we make interesting stories from the dead... what does that makes us? :-) :-)

PS: I like being weird.

Keep 'em coming... (I hate redbull too :D)

Anonymous said...

I can tell he is going to be like a bulldog with solving this one. Cool.

Catvibe said...

I'm definitely feeling the Lynchian leanings. Have you watched all of his movies? I have. In my mind I'm already putting the weird soundtrack to what you are writing.

Sarah Hina said...

I like how the guy was tired and reluctant at first, and then started talking Sam's ear off. Like he obviously is kind of proud to be the morgue guy, dealing out his little cards of shock and black humor. And yeah, he's more than a little weird. ;) But funny, too. Great conversation!

(He should give the Red Bull a try. That stuff works. ;))

Aine said...

I'd love to visit a morgue someday just to see if there really is an attendant like this... :)

I love his rambling about the condition of all the bodies in the morgue. LOL!

Charles Gramlich said...

Good stuff. I'm enjoying. Strangely enough, I've been on a Star Trek kick lately.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Oh, this was great fun....I just
love this Jason. I know someone is missing a finger - but, I am enjoying the dialogue, story and characters so much. It's like reading a script of the Thin Man.

You have a gift for the right detail!

Karen said...

I said it before, and I'll say it again -- this could be the start of something big. Keep it coming, or better yet, get it going!

Anonymous said...

Aniket, yeah, the weirdest ones of all are the ones who make up this bizarre stuff and weave curious stories. ;) We're in good company, at least.

Aggie, Sam's our guy. :)

Catvibe, that's a perfect comparison! I really like that! I'm a big fan of Mulholland Drive.

Sarah, mmmm, gotta love the Red Bull.... I'm glad that aspect of the morgue guy came across! I'm trying to show the impact of the finger/raw mortality on each person. The morgue guy is surrounded by extreme things. Therefore, he speaks about it extremely.

Aine, I hope morgue workers are like that! Probably reality pales, though. Thanks for helping me shape these! (And everything else, for that matter.)

Charles, I can't imagine why. ;) (Aine has been filling me in.)

Kaye, you always see directly through to technique and approach. I love that! It's so gratifying when people pick up on what I've worked so long to (try to) figure out. :)

Karen, I'm just glad it's hanging together. :) I do appreciate the feedback on how this feels like a larger story! I must be doing something right. ;)

Margaret said...

So, the finger's got a name now, Jane. But no body!

I don't blame the poor guy at the morgue being the way he is. Imagine spending your working day surrounded by dead bodies (or even parts of bodies!) Definitely not for me!

Sam's doing a great job. Hope it pays off for him.

sexy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the walking man said...

Well I don't have as much to say as SEXY above me does...but I will at the least say it in English.

You have settled this in now quite nicely Jason. I like that you're not taking it too seriously yet and playing with the pacing. All in all it is working well...What kind of law did you say you practice again?

Margaret said...

Err.....Have to admit my ignorance of Jane Doe here!!!

Aniket was kind enough to put me in the picture. So thanks to Aniket & Wikipedia I now realize I definitely don't read or watch enough murder mysteries!!!

Learn something new every day :-D

Thanks Aniket... :-D

Aniket said...

@ Margaret:

:-D :-D :-D

I learn new things every day too...

And since we are going to the coroner... Jason might bring in rigor mortis in too. Which would have obviously set in completely since the finger has been cut off for more than 5 hrs. :-D

Since prima facie for a murder is still lacking, its hard to predict how will the story unfold. :D

I see a bit too many murder mysteries. lolzz

Little Girl Lost said...

the morgue guy's wierdness was spooky... it must be surreal to be surrounded by bodies the whole day...
and i am getting goosebumps. real goosebumps. look.

Anonymous said...

Margaret, yeah, Jane Doe is the name of non-naming. ;) Here in the U.S., at least. (John Doe being male.) I'm curious to see where Sam is headed.

Walking Man, spam comments from Taiwan broke through the defenses! Definitely not Sexy. I'm glad that you're feeling the quirky underpinnings of this piece. It's not a whodunnit mystery. As for law, I focus my practice on health care law. I represent physicians and hospitals, etc. concerning regulations and business deals and corporate law.

Margaret, yay Aniket!

Aniket, rigor mortis, yeah, that'll spoil the party, won't it? Thanks for weighing in!

Little Girl Lost, yeah, those are some serious goosebumps! (I'm not going to apologize. Whenever I evoke real emotion like that from words on a computer screen, I'm pretty happy.) :)

the walking man said...

That is the same area my older brother practices...representing physicians and hospitals...