Number Seven

“Who called it in?” Det. Jacobs pulled on a pair of nitrile gloves before accepting a scarf sealed in a plastic bag from one of the many police officers at the crime scene.

“Those kids over there,” Sgt. Cross pointed toward two teenage boys sitting on a bench 10 yards away talking to an investigator. “I don’t understand why we’re here, It’s just an abandoned fishing skiff. The water is shallow enough that those boys simply walked out to it, They were going to take it out fishing.”

“The skiff wasn’t empty,” Jacobs held up the bag. “Hopefully DNA will help ID the victim.”

Jacobs was called into the chief’s office once the case threatened to go cold.

“Any background on the vic?” Chief Nance was tipped back in his black leather chair trying to look relaxed. His feet were on top of the desk, crossed at the ankles, his fingered steepled in front of his chest.

“There was one arrest two years ago for solicitation, but those charges were eventually dropped,” Jacobs read from his notes. “No other priors, not even a parking ticket.”

“What did the M.E. say?” Nance put both hands on the arm of his chair and looked out the large picture window behind him. The blinds were drawn half way down, blocking out the harsh Arizona sun.

“Asphyxiation,” Jacob flipped over a page in his notebook. “The scarf found in the boat was the probable murder weapon. Just waiting on fiber comparisons. She fits the profile.”

“What? Another Tainted Beauty?” Nance put his feet on the floor and scooted his chair under the desk.

“That pro arrest, yes.” Jacob closed his notes. “Looks like she had a friend in the prosecutor’s office. The charge wasn’t bogus, she was working.”

“What’s that make, six… seven?” Nance leaned his elbows on the desktop.

“She’s number seven,” Jacob sat back in his chair, crossing one leg over his other knee.

“Still no suspects?” Nance’s voice lifted an octave, his calm façade beginning to crack.

Jacob paused, swallowing hard then tugging on his ear. Before answering, he ran a hand through his hair.

“No, no suspects,” with the bare scintilla of a nod, Jacob made a show of looking at his watch.

“I have to meet with the lab guys about those scarf fibers,” he said, standing abruptly. “I’ll keep you notified of any further findings.”

Once outside the chief’s office, Jacob phoned his sergeant.

“You’ve got the warrant?” He kept his voice low.

“We arriving at the Nance house right now,” Cross said. “I’ll let you know if we find anything.”

“I know you’ll find it all,” Jacob said as he pushed the down elevator button. “Terrance Nance is a cocky little shit. He thinks being the chief’s son is a universal ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.”

The elevator door opened and Jacob stepped in.

“If you find anything implicating the chief, be damn sure to follow procedure,” Jacob said. “We can’t screw this up.”

Ending his call, Jacob’s looked back down the hallway as the doors closed. Chief Nance was watching him from his office doorway. The briefest of smiles played at the corner of the chief’s mouth.

Inspiration: Tainted beauty
The Darkroom badge
Inspiration: Abandoned skiff

5 thoughts on “Number Seven

  1. I love the opening… ‘Who called it in?’ It immediately puts us in the scene. This is a delightful piece of writing that creates almost an entire story in such a brief space. I love mysteries and read them all the time. I’d like to read a complete novel of this one. Well done!


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