24 November 2009

Ch.1: Friday: Part One

Dammit. Why had I condemned myself by staying up so late? I heard the alarm go off but it didn't register until it had already been going off for over twenty minutes. My body and my brain were taking turns scolding me with various headaches and soreness as I forced myself to get moving. Have you ever noticed the later you are the slower you seem to move? I think I was in over slow motion. At least I was dressed without incident. My hose went on without putting my big toe through them and I didn't trip when I put my heels on. Yay me.

Remembering my promise to Tif to drive to work, I sighed to myself, as I walked to my garage to get my truck. The morning air was warm for Montana in the fall which only made my driving all the more horrible. These kind of days could disappear at any time and I had sold my soul to a worry wart. I was not pleased with my decision and reminded myself not to answer the phone next time there was a rash of unsolved homicides in Great Falls. Especially when the next day was turning out to be gorgeous.

I hit the coffee shop on First and was happy to see that I wasn't going to be increasing my tardiness by getting the first of many quad mochas that I knew I would need throughout what I knew was going to be a long day. There was a Trib opened to a mid-section on the murders. I snagged the paper and rushed off to the office hoping my fax would be there rather than a detective on a warpath. Hopefully he could wait to his little appearance until the afternoon, even better would be if I were gone for the day.

My Chevy is an '82 Chevy Stepside, decked out in navy blue with chrome trim. She is my pride and joy, something I earned when I graduated from law school and moved home to practice. Parking my baby in one of the parking garages took a lot of guts, almost worth the parking ticket not to leave her all alone and unattended. More than once I had to take the Chevy to Kyle, a local body repairman, to get the scratches buffed or sanded out, so much so that he had my color in stock. I drove up to the sixth story of the garage and shut her off; I stepped slowly out of my girl, turning her alarm on before begrudgingly leaving her to the elements and fate. So what, I love my truck.

Unfortunately the elevator in the ramp was out so I had to take six stories of stairs to the street level and then walk another block or so to get to Katter & Assoc. The time I thought I'd made up was quickly turning back into late. The stairs were packed with people. The closer I got to the bottom, the more the throng grew until I realized the mob on street level were policemen and E.M.T.'s. And in front of them, legs. The elevator was parked on top of the legs; good reason for it to be out.

Taking in the multitude of faces I finally located the one face I knew was going to be severely pissed later in the day. Now, though, I wanted to know whose legs and why the witch theme from Wizard of Oz was playing in my head. I wish this kind of crap wouldn't happen to me. And I was sure as hell no one could read my mind or they'd think I was the biggest bitch ever.

"Mike!" I smiled my most dazzling smile and inched closer to him, raising my hand just in case he hadn't seen me. "Mike! What's going on?"

Detective Timothy's gray eyes looked coldly over at me as his brow knit together before he realized it was his future imaginary wife. His face changed into a more relaxed expression as he cut me off. Just in time. He yelled for me to stop and not move. I looked down. Shit.

I was standing in the middle of what appeared to be goo. Gray goo. And the smell of sewer and rust. Oh shit! Shit! I looked at my shoes. Crap! No way I was standing in someone's brain. Oops. Here comes the coffee. And I ran, not an easy task in high heels, to the door to let my mocha come back.

"Hey, you okay?" Mike's hand was on my shoulder, probably not sure how to handle a girl in this situation.

"I was just standing in somebody's memories, Mike, how the hell do you think I feel? Back up. I need a Mentos or three."

Mike handed me a pack of gum.


"Sorry, Amber, just the gum."

"Who is that?"

"We aren't sure yet but from what we can make out, it looks like the others. We can't get the elevator to move. The metal is twisted in the bottom and the brakes look warped or something. Not something I usually see."

"How often do you see four murders here?"

"I guess things just aren't normal all over. How you feelin? Can you make it by yourself to your office?"

"I think I'll go pick up a few things and call it a day." The few things being the fax meant for Mike. I took my pretty, black heels off and tossed them in the trash. I couldn't stand to wander around in someone else's thoughts all day. And with that I ran back to the door and lost what was left in my stomach. Strike 2 for the chic.

"Gum?" I said holding out my hand. "Got any water?"

"Dorsey. Bring me a bottle of water for Amber."

The uniform brought me a bottle of cold water out of the pop machine on the other side of the mess.

"Thank you. I'd look at you but I'm not doin do hot. Sorry."

"That's ok, ma'am. You shouldn't be here." He kind of glanced sideways at Mike and turned back toward back to his job holding off the crowd of onlookers.

"Mike, I don't know how well I can handle this, but I saw legs sticking from under the elevator. How did what I was stepping in end up opposite?"

"That's not something I can really discuss."

"Oh, whatever, you've already told me a lot more than you should have probably so let me know this too."

"I don't know if you really want to know."

"Mike." I wanted to know for the sake of the fax and to know how the mess ended up this end of the legs.

"We think he was decapitated, the head dropped of the fifth, his body dropped down the shaft after some more cutting and the elevator sent down on top of the chaos of what was left of the guy. We're not even sure the elevator could get that kind of speed to cause the kind of damage that is done to the elevator. But we know what we see."

"Who the hell can do something this sick?" It was a question more to myself than the stumped investigator. "Mike, I need to go."

"I'll call you later and check on you. Make sure you don't go into shock."

I blinked at him and wandered off to walk the three blocks on the cold cement. I was glad he didn't offer me a ride. I might have gotten sick all over again.

When I got to the office, the fax was already piling up near my desk. And that was a lot of paper. I filled the personal fax and slumped down into my chair to wait for the documents to finish. While that was printing I may as well explain that I was taking the day off and why. Did I mention the brain part? Yes. My bosses needed to know why one of their attorneys was taking off due to a murder victim she didn't even know.