6:35 a.m. Detective Blue had been up for 31 hours straight working a case. He was exhausted at 7am on a Friday morning, driving his unmarked Impala down the I-90 corridor. He just wanted to get home and fall into bed for 10 or 12 hours.
It had been raining the night before and the roads were still wet. Even now, a fine mist floated in the warm morning air. As he sped along the freeway, Blue noted traffic swerving to avoid an obstacle up ahead. There was something in the road. When he got close enough, he realized that a wet, bedraggled man was standing in the middle lane of the freeway with his arms spread wide and his face turned up to the sky. Blue pulled over onto the shoulder.
Meanwhile, I am trying to make room for my modest lunch bag in the break room refrigerator. The day before, we'd had a birthday party luncheon for the Chief ME and everybody brought food. Two giant kettles occupy most of the space on the top two shelves. This is because Winston, a very sweet, very big, black man who runs a restaurant called, Soul Food, when he's not investigating deaths, brought two soup dishes...chitlins with collard greens and pigs feet soup. Gag.
Despite efforts not to be rude, I couldn't help but wrinkle my nose when I peered in the pots on my way around the buffet table. Winston saw me and smiled wickedly. "Why don't you try that, Polly? It's real good!" I look up at him with distaste and say, "I don't have enough soul to eat that. What do you have against PB&J, anyway?"
In any case, this morning I am peering into the fridge and seriously debating whether to throw his "spare parts" soup into a HAZMAT bag and let BFI dispose of it with the rest of the biological hazardous waste that we generate around here.
I finally shove my bag into the vegetable crisper and am heading to the investigative section when I hear a helicopter overhead. I hear helicopters a lot. The only level one trauma unit in North Florida is located just a few hundred feet from the MEO and the helipad on the roof of the building is frequently occupied.