Friday, January 15, 2010


By Rex Weiner

The victim lay on the carpet covered by a tan blanket. The wedding guests stood around the room staring. Four LA County Sheriff’s Deputies herded them against the wall. A fifth cop looked up from his pen and notebook to see a man in a charcoal suit walk in.

“Ah. Snyder.”

“What’ve you got, Charley?”

“This lady here shot twice in the chest. A live dude at Cedars-Sinai. Witnesses available. Weapon outstanding. Suspect outstanding. Here’s his name.”

Snyder stripped off his suit jacket, down to his short-sleeved shirt. It was a hot Saturday. He didn’t want to look at the name yet. He ignored the eyes of the people in the room. The cops were looking. The crowd was looking. They were looking at him, at the tattoos on his arms. One was a screaming skull from which hung the scales of justice. Everyone grasped when he jerked the blanket off the dead woman’s body. A girl in a chiffon dress sobbed on a tuxedoed man’s shoulder.

“That was a sicko thing to do,” one of the younger cops said to Charley.

“That’s Skull Snyder,” Charley sighed.

A blanket on a corpse picks up fibers, soaks up blood, creates heat that can alter body tissues. While the blanket served to shield the sensibilities of bystanders from the fact of death, it also tended to destroy the facts of murder. Such facts were Skull Snyder’s business.

“Can’t we leave now?” begged one of the guests. “You have all our names and phone numbers.”

The cop named Charley said he was sorry. No one was allowed to leave. Outside, yellow tape cordoned the front of the house. Neighbors stood in small groups on their lawns. Black-and-whites double-parked by the curb grumbled radio static under flashing red lights.

Snyder walked slowly and carefully in a spiral around the body. He looked for spent casing or anything that might’ve dropped. Finally, he looked at the body. She lay staring past the ceiling. Blood soaked the front of her pink dress. She was this side of thirty, blonde, petite; Snyder thought she might have been pretty, walking and talking…

[for the rest of the story, please order the complete collection]

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