Erkan headed to eat lunch. He considered making something besides sandwiches, but really besides the rather lackluster bread it was something he could eat every day. He saw Akio as he stepped into the break room.
“Hey man did you see the news?” Akio asked as he pointed to his phone.
“Do I look like someone who sees ‘the news’?” Erkan asked. “What is it?”
“Some guy got his throat ripped out.”
“So it’s a murder? There are like… 3 per week. On average.”
“It used to be a third of that…” Akio shook his head, “Anyway, it wasn’t like he was just stabbed or something. It was like his throat was ripped out by a wolf, or a bear!”
“Or a dog. There are some big dogs.” Erkan shrugged, “Anyway, who said what type of animal it was?”
“Umm…” Akio scrolled his thumb across his phone, “That part seems to be reporter speculation. Though you could look at the pictures yourself if you aren’t squeamish. Though it’s hard to see much through all the blood.”
“Fine, I’ll look.” Erkan took hold of the phone, rotating it to get the correct orientation. “Wow, can they even publish this on their site?”
“It’s not illegal and came with significant warnings. Most people wouldn’t want to see that.”
“I’m not even sure what I’m looking at here.” Erkan shook his head, “But I wouldn’t say animal. Everything else is too clean.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, normally a wolf or bear would maul someone, right?” Erkan tilted his head, “Or maybe not. Either way, there’s no damage to anything but the throat there. Or… that half-neck.”
“Yeah man I don’t know.” Akio took his phone back, “Actually, that might make more sense if it was some weird weapon. See, this guy worked for Marconi.”
“… It’s pretty likely. I mean, who else wears such a nice suit before getting murdered?”
“Someone coming back from a party who walked down the wrong alley. How much you want to bet his wallet’s gone?”
“Uh… we’ll see. Just gotta wait for the actual police report.”
In an alleyway, next to a bloody crime scene.
“So, what do you think, Simmons?”
“I think… you should have set up a perimeter earlier to stop reporters from crawling all over the scene.”
“Hey!” said the other cop, “We can only move as fast as we receive the report. It’s still uncontaminated, right?”
“You’d better hope so,” Simmons said as he crouched down near the body. “Wounds?”
“Well, there’s the neck… clearly.”
“Right. What about these?” Simmons pointed to spots of blood near each shoulder.
“Blood splatter? It covers his whole chest.”
“No.” Simmons carefully pulled at the jacket, “Puncture wounds.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means he got stabbed.”
“I know what puncture means…” The other officer shook his head. “What do the wounds mean?”
Simmons shrugged, “It means he got stabbed. In both shoulders. The wounds aren’t deep though. Not much blood.” Simmons lifted one shoulder of the body, then the other. “More of the same. Any weapons?”
“Nothing left at the crime scene. A small trail of blood going off that way might have been the murderer, but it doesn’t lead far. No prints or anything…”
“Fine. Send me the coroner’s report when they’re done. I especially want to know what they think could bite off half a neck all at once.”
“Isn’t that your job?”
“It’s their job too. It’s good to have multiple opinions. As long as the opinions are from someone smart.” Simmons stood up and walked away, “Tell me if you find anything else.”
Erkan had never really seen a line at George’s. Thus, two people being in front of him was out of the ordinary. He sort of stood there in a daze, though for other reasons. He sighed.
“What’s wrong, kid?”
The words could have come from Justin- he spoke like that- but the voice was silky smooth and sweet instead of harsh and gravelly. Erkan turned to see Rosa. “Kid? Are you even older than me?”
Rosa grinned, “It’s all about the cosmetics. A touch here and there makes all the difference. Now then, girl troubles?”
“Not really.” Erkan shook his head.
“Oh, it’s that bad is it?” Rosa tilted Erkan’s head up with her index finger, “Let me just say this. Half of all a man’s troubles are about women. And sometimes half of the other half. Trust me, we work real hard to make it that way.”
Erkan leaned back and narrowed his eyes, “Uhh… what?”
“Don’t worry about it. Most of our problems are about men, so it evens out. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or confused. So, who is she?”
“I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
Rosa shook her head, “It’s that bad huh? It would be a shame if you missed your chance.” Rosa leaned in close and whispered in his ear, her lips almost brushing against him. “Just think about it, alright?”
Erkan just stood in a daze and nodded. “Okay.”
Erkan sat up in bed, suddenly wide awake. “That dream…” he sighed, “What am I, a teenager?” He shook his head. Though he felt wide awake, his thoughts were also fuzzy. Maybe they’d been that way for weeks. He hadn’t really done much to change his routine in years. Maybe he needed to. He was just coasting through life on autopilot.
He supposed going on more coffee runs didn’t count, since he was just doing that to clear his head and it didn’t even help. Besides, another fifteen or twenty minutes a couple days a week wasn’t a change. Maybe he should quit his job.
That would be… stupid, really. It paid well and he needed the lab to finish his PHD. He didn’t dislike his job, either. However, he really wasn’t doing anything but work, either. At home, he worked on his PHD, the writing parts anyway. There was a whole lot of writing involved.
Yet Erkan couldn’t even keep his thoughts about muddled thoughts straight. Maybe he just needed a vacation. Yeah, that was it. Unfortunately he was on a weird sleep schedule. If he changed it for vacation he would probably be useless for the whole vacation and a week afterwards. Maybe he would just stay home and sleep. He already did enough of that… but he’d figure out something to do. It wasn’t like he could start vacation the next day anyway. He had to schedule it in advance… maybe next week, though.