I’m in preparation for NaNoWrimo, which some of you may recognize as National Novel Writing Month, trying to see how much I can write in fifteen to twenty minute sprints. I decided finding this forum again was the right kind of inspiration I needed to revisit a concept I’ve tried visiting a number of times.
It didn’t surprise Terry one bit to find a murder victim in the kitchen. Face down, presumably female going on the conservative navy blue skirt and matching blouse, in the middle of a grassy lawn. Snow covered the ground surrounding the house, presumably made of powdered sugar. The body lay five inches from the meticulously crafted steps fashioned from pieces of marzipan. The open door was carved from fondant and dyed black, with a little knocker handle made from a red piece of lifesaver candy. The rest of the house, a combination of graham crackers, with windows made from Twizzlers and pretzel rods, had been made from scratch. More strips of Twizzlers made up the terracotta roof.
“What do you think?” Terry gave her charge a thin-lipped smile as he came into the kitchen. He was wearing his good dark khakis but the blue-and-white checkered flannel shirt over his white t-shirt was not yet buttoned.
She put her bag on one of the stools gestured to the “body” also made from fondant. A pistachio lying on the ground surrounded by little pieces of ice cream sprinkles shaped like butterflies and balls, was meant to be the bowl of candy. Candied “blood” covered a wound in the back, undoubtedly caused by the gummy hatchet in the her back. “Is this someone we know?”
Kirke returned her look with a half-smile of his own. “Why would you think that?”
“Only that the house is very similar to the photos Saylor saw on your Kindle,” Terry answered.
“Saylor shouldn’t be looking at my Kindle without my permission.”
“You showed them to him.”
“He had my permission then.” Kirke walked passed her to the kitchen closet and pulled out a box of tin foil. “And besides, if I show him the photos I can’t very well be planning to do something if I know he’s taking notes. You’ll probably do the same, so it’s especially stupid having let you see this.”
Terry crossed her arms and decided it wasn’t worth the argument. Kirke was obviously dressed for something important and making an artistic representation of murder wasn’t necessarily cause for alarm. He was right though. If Greg made a note of it she would have to corroborate.
“What are your plans for the day?” she asked, in a neutral tone.
Kirk measured out a length of tin foil and carefully cut it from the roll. He covered the gingerbread house, pressing every inch of the foil along the edges.
“I have to be at the morgue,” he said, without looking up. “Someone died in South Station last night. Heart attack.”
“If it’s a heart attack, why are you getting involved?”
Kirke gave her a long stare, reminding Terry of a fourth grade teacher who considered “stupid questions” to be a great argument for bringing back the ruler. She didn’t like it then and she didn’t like it now and she refused to play Kirke’s game and she simply met his gaze silently.
“Because they don’t think it was a heart attack.”
Terry nodded. “That’s all you had to say.”
Kirke might have argued but he was too focused on securing the tin foil. When he was finished he sat up on the stool and rolled up his sleeve. Terry placed the thermometer under his tongue and while they were waiting, she wrapped the cuff around his arm and inflated the cuff.
“Have you eaten breakfast?” she asked.
“Hmm, hmm,” Kirke held up one finger and pointed at the kitchen sink. There was still half a cup’s worth of whatever protein shake Saylor had made for him. Terry sighed. Full of vitamins or not, she still would have preferred solid food. But if Kirke was too busy reading the e-mails Detective Eamon sent him then getting him to drink the shake was a miracle in and of itself.
“Have you had your BM yet?” a slight shake of the head. “Are you wet?” Nod.
Terry made note of the blood pressure, satisfied it wasn’t too high or too low. Kirke’s temperature was barely a hundred but she knew he would argue that he was feeling fine and that he didn’t want to waste any more time.
“Let’s just go into the bathroom real quick,” Terry insisted after disposing of the thermometer cover. Kirk got off the stool and went with her into the downstairs bathroom with minimal fuss. As she pulled on a pair of latex gloves she asked, “Do you want to try to sit on the toilet for a few minutes.”
Kirke pointed to his watch. It was the one his foster father gave him for his fourteenth birthday and it had needed a new battery since he turned eighteen. Only those new to him would dare to suggest he get a new watch or that he at least have the nice man at the mall replace the battery. Those people rarely lasted beyond a full shift. “My appointment’s at noon. I don’t have time for the toilet.”
Terry looked up out at the clock in the living room and saw that was only ten thirty. Kirke raised his hands above his head. She undid his khakis and lowered them to his ankles. He wore a gray Depend pull-up with a Prevail liner. She lowered the underpants and seeing the liner more than half soaked, decided he would feel better with a fresh one. The pull-up was dry but his skin was slightly clammy. Terry used an adult washcloth to give Kirke’s diaper area a good wipe. She aimed him at the toilet bowl just in case while she unwrapped a fresh liner and placed it in the padded area of the pull-up.
“Okay,” she said. “We’re good to go.”
Kirke buttoned his shirt up and pulled his pants up, certain that the shirt was tucked in. He looked at himself in the mirror and gave his brownish blond hair a comb-over. The flush of his clean-shaven cheeks gave him a youthful, innocent look and the hawkish gaze of his dark brown eyes told of wonderful and complex mind within. He looked at Terry and without warning, gave her a hug.
“Thank you for your help,” he said.
Terry returned the hug. This, more than anything, was what made the last five years worth it. “You’re very welcome Kirke. Now let’s go help Boston PD do their job.”