Sounds Hinky


elisabeth_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Officers Longman and Webster,
Detectives Craig and Moore,
and Dr. Karlov are NPCs courtesy of


Scene Title Sounds Hinky
Synopsis Elisabeth and Felix look into Jessy Delany's (ex) boyfriend, Todd Marks, only to find out he's been dead about as long as she has been missing. It's supposedly a suicide, but the circumstances surround it just sound hinky.
Date July 8, 2009

Some Apartment Building in Bayside, Queens

Checking with the Registrar on Tuesday proved rather fruitless in locating Todd Marks — although it at least uncovered his name. Apparently, he had recently moved and had not updated the University with his new address, and no forwarding address could be provided by his next of kin. The e-mail exchange between Daniel Post and Jessy was perfectly legitimate. The Stanford alumnus was more than happy to discuss his whereabouts for the previous week, as he had been attending a two-week conference at his alma mater and the police in Palo Alto verified his whereabouts for the past twelve days on Post's request. He expressed concern because Jessy was supposed to initiate another distance chess match and had failed to do so.

The real prize of the investigation turned out to be both on her computer and in her day planner. Although her friends were apparently few and far between, comprised mainly of one Jamie D'Angelo, Maureen Evans, Christine Fitzpatrick, and Paul Davis, they corroborated much of what the roommate and RA had said. She was normally quite organized and had been a bit of a party-girl until she got blitzed one night and vowed never to so much as smell alcohol again. Since then, she became even more focused on her studies as normal and never once expressed a desire to leave the school.

Jamie D'Angelo also had one other very, very interesting piece of information. He knew the current residence of Todd Marks.

As the two cops drive toward the address they now have for Todd Marks, Liz glances toward Felix. "A tongue piercing? Really? I just can't see if, Fel… I mean, you're as straight-laced as they come on the outside these days." She grins wickedly — the inside is a whole other matter, as she well knows.

"I had blue hair, I had my ears pierced, I had my tongue pierced. I can show you pictures some time, if you want," Fel says, entirely straight-faced. None of the tells that mean he's messing with her. "I thought I was punk, seriously. I kept changing my hair color so much in college it fell off, and my junior year I spent looking like a marine. Piercings are a pain to maintain, so I let that go. Also, they don't impress NYPD recruiters, and I knew even then that was what I wanted to do," he says, darting through traffic with a cabbie's skill.

Elisabeth holds on tightly as Felix narrowly misses the back end of a bus, and the breath hisses out in a soft stream. "Damn… too bad you didn't keep that tongue stud. Now that is a serious turn-on," she quips. She's having to close her eyes, her foot pumping a non-existant brake pedal. She's practically standing on the floorboard. It happens every damn time she gets in a car with the man. She feels like kissing the ground every time we stop. "I'm still getting the impression this girl is running — the vibe still isn't foul play. What's your read on this so far?"

Fel snorts. "That's bullshit. You don't use the middle of the tongue anyway," he says, leaving the intended use up in the air. "It did help me get laid more than once, though. "God almighty woman, I've been driving in this city for years. Calm down. I agree. I'm not getting those hinky looks that mean someone's trying to hide having dumped her body in a drain somewhere."

Elisabeth just laughs. "And you just proved my point. I didn't say it was good for anything — I'm quite aware of just how facile the tongue is, mister. I just said it was a turn-on!" She still keeps her eyes closed. "You drive like a fuckin' maniac," she tells him succinctly. "And I get car-sick every time I get in with you." She shuts up and doesn't speak to him again until the car hurtles to a stop outside the building they're looking for.

"I'd have it put back in, but my SAC would have kittens on my desk," Fel says, as he zips into a parking spot with the facility of a navy fighter jock dropping his jet on the postage stamp size deck of the carrier….and cutting off an actual cabbie, who honks at him and gives him the finger. Felix comments aloud in Russian on the cabbie's mother's sexual proclivities, as he swings open the door, and steps out. Most abused Bucar in NYC.

It's probably not what either detective were expecting upon their arrival at the low-rise apartment building in Bayside. Two patrol cars, an unmarked police car, an ambulance, and that ominous navy van with 'Coroner' on the side in white lettering. Two uniforms are near the door to usher people in and out of the building as necessary to prevent the possible crime scene from being contaminated.

"Oh fuck me to tears…. does that not just scream Big Bad Fuckin' Ugly Mess? I got a hundred bucks that says that's our kid," Liz says dourly as she opens her eyes and sees the flashing lights. With a sigh, she clambers out of the car and shoves her hands into her pockets, heading for the nearest uniform manning the crime scene tape and flashing her badge. "Detective Harrison, Officer. Mind if I ask the name of your vic?"

"Oh, I am so gonna have to roast beef these bastards," Fel says, blanching. He's already reaching into his suit jacket for his badge, but keeps his mouth shut. At least until he sees how they react to Liz. HE nods to her - cop instincts say she's right.

Officer Longman is the one to greet Elisabeth, "Detective." He gestures to the black bag being wheeled out that very moment. "Some college kid named Todd Marks. Been dead nearly a week from what the floor smelled like. A couple of neighbours reported a bad smell, we found a body hanging by a belt from a ceiling fan. One of those sturdy ones. A miracle it didn't come down with the body."

"It's a miracle nobody smelled it before now," the other uniform, Officer Webster says. "That or the towels we found shoved under his door. Neighbours though it was to keep out the sound."

Elisabeth slants a glance at Felix and sighs heavily. "Great," she mumbles. "Well… who's your detective in charge? Cuz I think your murder's tied to my missing person. Can we go up?"

Felix has the twitchy look of a Fed who longs to go barging in and charge right all over local law enforcement. But he's restraining himself manfully, and it makes him look like he swallowed a fly. "Initial prognosis - suicide or murder?" he says, already angling for the body bag.

"Detectives Craig and Moore are upstairs right now. Apartment's on the third floor. Three-oh-eight," Officer Webster says. "You can check with them."

"Suicide," says Dr. Karloff, the coroner, one of the few who have actually performed the job he's now an intermediary for. "Petechial hemorrhaging of the eyes and bruises suggested manual strangulation, probably from the belt. There weren't any other bruises and there were no defensive wounds. I'll know more after the autopsy, and that'll hopefully be able get you an accurate time of death, too." Because Karloff is all about cooperation, and if there are two cases tied to one body… hell, there's no reason to keep information from them.

Elisabeth listens to Karloff answer her partner, and nods to the officers at the same time. "Thanks, guys," she tells them, hovering by while Felix asks his questions. In a quiet murmur that carries only to him, she says, "Oh, this will be not fun." Because the smell's going to be rank. "I've got a couple of half-formed thoughts here, and neither of them are boding well."

"Let me see the body, please?" Fel's really trying to keep it polite, even as he angles himself to block the progress of the gurney. God, he's obnoxious. He's got his own badge in hand, and it's sufficiently different in shape that the forensic lackey in charge of the body is squinting at it, expression foreboding.

"Just don't touch it," Dr. Karloff says as he unzips the bag. The smell is almost as bad as the third floor hallway. It's not one even seasoned veterans look forward to smelling. Death. The body isn't particularly unusual. Green discoloration of the skin and minor decay shows it's already in the putrefaction stage, which would fit the current estimated timeline. The few bugs that have deposited themselves on the corpse would likely tell more. There's only the bruising around the neck from the belt, nothing else is clearly visible beyond that — not without unzipping the bag entirely, which the coroner will allow Felix to do if he feels so inclined.

"Of course," Fel says, impatiently. He grunts. Suicide. So much for his cherished conspiracy theories. At least for now.

Oh God…. this is the part that Liz almost always misses out on, being a SCOUT detective as opposed to having come through the ranks of homicide and such. She turns very very green at the odor and the putrefaction. She's seen lots of dead bodies (having The 36 as your case makes seeing dead bodies sort of a lot easier), but she has NEVER laid eyes on a rotting one. Not once. Not even when she was in uniform herself. And she does what any rookie detective would do at this point — leans over the side of the railing and tosses her cookies.

"I'll take that," Karloff says, reaching over the bag and starting to zip it up. "You tend to your partner." Once the bag is secured, he hands over a small jar of menthol gel, "And you might want this. The third floor smells worse than a latrine." The body is secured in the van and ready for transportation.

Fel smears it under his nose, liberally. "Yeah. Used to be NYPD Homicide, back in the day," he says, even as his nose starts to run. And then he heads over to Liz, pats her on the back. "Man. That your first old one, huh?"

"Oh God," Elisabeth gags again. Resting for a long moment on the stair railing, she reaches up to take the small jar from Felix. "There was a fucking reason I did not want to be a homicide dick, just so you know." She still looks positively green around the gills, but she mans up real good and smears the powerful gel beneath her nose even as her eyes tear up. "Let's go." Damned if she's going to take shit for not doing her job on top of shit for puking at a scene. If he could but HEAR the grumbling in her head.

Felix does not say something malicious. After all, he has hopes of getting Liz back into bed, at least someday. "Yeah. That's one among many reasons I quit that," he says, easily, as he leads the way up the stairs.

She follows him with an expression of serious chagrin on her face. Elisabeth is not used to embarrassing herself on the scene. Oh *god*, the smell….. She clenches her jaw tight as the get near the apartment and asks on a gasp, breathing through her mouth as if that will mask the smell somehow, "How are people LIVING in this hall?? You ask the questions!" She's not sure she can!

Room 308 is cordoned off by police tape, as one might expect, the other two uniforms standing guard while the detectives are apparently inside the apartment. One of them, however, comes out, ducking below the tape. Detective Craig, apparently, was informed that two more were on their way up. "I'm Detective Craig, one of you Harrison? One of the guys downstairs called up and said you thought our body was tied to a missing persons case?" The tell-tale signs of the menthol gel can be seen when they're in close proximity. It doesn't really matter how well-seasoned you are. After a body has been dead long enough, even the most well-seasoned detectives use the stuff.

Felix is at least pretending to be all hard core, because G-men have to live up to their reputation in front of cops. Especially this G-man. Only Liz knows that he's extremely ticklish, for instance. He goes waltzing in like the place is as fresh as a daisy. "There she is," he says, blithely, pointing at the rather green about the gills Liz.

Ugh… at this moment, if looks could kill, Felix would be lying on the floor. Liz offers him a faint glare and turns to the detective. "Todd Marks was apparently dating a young woman whose family has reported her missing," she tells him, struggling to keep her tone level. "She took off under what I'd call mysterious circumstances probably about the time Marks here bit it," she offers. "Anything in Marks's place that looks hinky to you? Like 'other than a suicide' kind of hinky, Detective Craig?"

"That does sound hinky," Detective Craig says. He lets out a bit of a snort, "This whole thing sounds hinky. Guy hangs himself, right? No note, and we find towels wadded up under the door, which would seem like they're there to block the smell from getting out until the body's badly putrid." He leads the two into the apartment, holding the tape up for them. "I've investigated about fourteen suicides, and none of them have done anything like that. That and we found his prescription glasses below him at his feet. If there's one thing I know about suicidal people, it's that they take off their glasses before they kill themselves, usually ritualistically placing them where they would normally go while they're not being worn."

"No obvious marks of foul play. Coercion? Mental misdirection?" Fel suggests obliquely. HE doesn't want to raise the spectre of Evolved involvement, but there is is, nonetheless.

Elisabeth frowns at Craig, following the men in and looking around. "There's no way our missing girl is big enough to have staged this…. but all our evidence right now points to the idea that she's running scared. Maybe a witness to all this? If that's the case, we're almost definitely looking at homicide, not suicide — cuz why wouldn't she just call the cops if she found him this way?"

"Nothing that would suggest, it, no," Detective Craig says to Felix.

"Right now, all of the physical evidence suggests suicide, but the logic of it doesn't quite add up," Detective Moore says.

"Sometimes the civvies find themselves in suspicious circumstances and figure they'll be the ones arrested. Damned if we know how this is connected to your case, but it is … it's a hell of a case."

"I agree. My instincts says this one isn't a normal suicide," Felix offers, after a moment. "We still need to find this girl. Any mention of a girlfriend, sign of someone else's presence?"

Elisabeth points out quietly, "He could have shoved the towels under the door himself, but … could have been someone else who left by way of a fire escape — if there's one down the side of the building, too." She grimaces. Much as she hates to say that. "Right now, I think I'm going to run with my missing persons case as she's a 'person of interest' — a witness or what have you." She doesn't tell Craig how to run his investigation — any unattended death in Manhattan has to be fully autopsied, so that part's taken care of. "If your autopsy shows something off, though, drop me a line?" She offers him her card.

"You're not the only one," Detective Craig says. "No mention of a girlfriend, but if there is one, it will probably be on the computer. You should be able to get a copy of all the files once the lab's given the thing a once over. This guy did not live big. Tiny wardrobe, computer, basic amenities. Doesn't even look like he eats here."

Detective Moore replies his second question. "Didn't see anything that would suggest someone else has been here in a while. Quick canvas of the neighbouring apartments. Nobody really heard or saw much of this guy. Nobody remembered seeing anyone come or go for weeks. Thought maybe he wasn't home."

"There is, but it doesn't look like it's been used recently. Window's locked from the inside, too." Craig takes the card. "Definitely will, detective. Good luck finding the girl."

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