Seth watched in wonder as the police and other professionals did their work. In that moment, he realized the vast difference between reality and fiction. Movies, television crime dramas, and even books, often got it wrong. There was no “eureka moment” two minutes in that led to the capture of the killer. The devil is in the details. It would take weeks just to get the results from their DNA testing. Samples weren’t processed seconds later, right there in the field. Instead, highly trained technicians would run their tests in labs.
“This is a real eye-opener,” Seth whispered to Angela. “I’ll never watch TV the same.”
“It would be nice if it really did work that way…the killer caught within thirty minutes and locked away for good. Sadly, that’s just not reality.”
Just then, one of the officers shouted for Angela and she went off to snap more photographs. Seth lost track of time as he quietly observed from a safe distance.
“Hey! You! C’mere, I need a hand.”
Seth looked around, wondering who the man with the badge was addressing.
“Yo! Trainee guy! Yes, you…I need a hand.”
Stuffing his notebook and pen inside the deep pockets of his lab coat, he scurried over to assist. Seth leaned down to help roll the body when a firm hand gripped him from behind.
“What are you, nuts? Put gloves on! We don’t need your fingerprints messing everything up.”
Seth spun around and was eye-to-eye with a tall man in a leather jacket. He tried to apologize but his words sputtered out in fragments.
“Kim, I think you can forget about hiring this trainee,” the man called out.
Humiliation burned on Seth’s face but he said nothing. Kim rushed to his side, offering a sympathetic smile.
“Shh, don’t tell. He’s not exactly a trainee,” Kim leaned in and whispered. “He’s an author and I’m helping him out. I’m showing him the glamorous life of an MDI.”
“Okay, Mister Author, first things first… Never, I repeat, never touch anything at a crime scene with your bare hands. Always glove up first. Got it?”
Seth nodded in agreement, still feeling too foolish to respond. Kim nudged him with her elbow and smiled.
“Don’t worry, Seth. His bark is worse than his bite. Detective Crash, this is Seth. Seth, Detective Bill Crash.
The man seemed less threatening once Kim had vouched for him but Seth still felt oddly unsettled by the detective’s steely glare. There was a moment when he truly believed Detective Crash’s eyes penetrated to the deepest recesses of his soul.
“Thanks for stopping me before I messed up your evidence, Detective. I didn’t...I mean, I wasn’t thinking like a real MDI but I won’t make that mistake again.”
“No harm, no foul and call me Bill. No need to stand on ceremony since you’re not really a trainee. Maybe you can write about me; I’d be a best seller, for sure.”
“I might take you up on that, detect…um, Bill.”
On the outside, Seth’s smile was warm and friendly but on the inside he was trying not to laugh. If I had a nickel for every person who told me their life story would be a best seller, I’d have enough money to use one hundred dollar bills as toilet paper. Again, Seth steeped off to the side but he put on a pair of latex gloves, just in case he needed to lend a hand.
“Hey, Seth, come closer and take a look. This could be helpful to you later.”
Detective Crash signaled to the body and ordered one of his subordinates to step aside to let the author through. Seth felt all eyes bearing down on him as he knelt beside his new pal, Bill.“See this? These ligature marks prove that the body was anchored down. In fact, there’s a piece of frayed rope here around the ankle that indicates that something knocked this corpse loose. And, if you look closely, you can see where fish and other critters have been nibbling at the flesh of this guy for quite some time. I’d wager he’s been in the water for a long time.”