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Excerpt from Chain of Evidence

Someone called her Stacy. A fitting name for one so alluring. Wanton desire in a tight red dress. A sure thing for

any man. Any man but me. I didn’t have a shot in hell. 

She turned away without a word, sparing herself the pretense of a make-believe courtesy. With little more than a

glimpse she deemed me unworthy, and that simple gesture allowed me to chart the evening’s course.

The more minutes that passed, the more invisible I became, and soon Stacy and her gaggle of friends were in a 

world where I was not invited. They laughed and caroused and teased one another, and one or two of them went 

off to dance with men. Stacy drank white wine, and that was perfect for me.  

Then the moment was upon me. Stacy’s wine sat unattended, unnoticed by anyone, except me. I reached for a

napkin and passed over her glass. No one saw the cyanide drop. No one saw it dissolve in an instant, and as I

turned from the bar they continued their boisterous antics … as if I hadn’t been there at all. 

I made my way to the exit and listened for the sounds that I expected to hear. Frantic cries for help among a

cacophony of confusion. And when I heard them, I turned to look as anyone might. I watched the bouncers push

through the crowd, saw them knock people aside as they rushed to her. And among the music and the 

screaming, the dancing and the panic, I knew what the bouncers did not. 

Now I wait for her on a concrete sidewalk as a crescent moon arcs over the city—the Cheshire’s grin, pasted on

the night. My watch reads 3:36 and a thin layer forms on my skin. Humidity? Or sweat. Does it really matter?

Baltimore is always humid in August, but more so tonight, and breathing is like sucking air through a wet


The sound of an approaching engine heralds her arrival. Headlamps bounce off the black surface of Pratt Street

and a body transport turns the corner. Launching my cigarette into the night, I track its fiery path before 

turning toward the medical examiner’s building. Stacy’s image fills my thoughts as I pause beside a glass door 

that reflects my image.

My eyes sweep my length. I want to be presentable before stepping inside. Removing my glasses, I clean them

with a section of my lab coat. Their circular rims portray me in a scholarly light and I like them, so I take extra

care. Pressing my badge against the reader, I smile at the click of the electric lock.

Yes. She is desirable.  

Especially now, that she lacks a pulse.

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