Lilly stood outside under a large maple tree. Yellow ticker tape was stretched around the crime scene, various officers and crime scene specialists dotted the area looking for clues.
“Morning, Thermopolis. We’ve got a doozy this time around.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it going to be this time, a suicide squad of vegans gone wild? Or is it a platoon of feisty feminists hell-bent on world domination?” Lilly grinned and shook her head in false anger.
“No, it’s not any of that. We have one victim, and he was rather famous.”
“Ooh, a celebrity. Who is our unfortunate person?”
“Never heard of him.”
“Sure, you have. He’s the subject matter expert on all things environmental. Jetsetter. Some said he was a troublemaker. He used to fly to conferences across the globe to lecture on the damage caused by fossil fuels.”
“Yeah. Never heard of him. Sounds like he was a hypocrite.”
“He was famous in certain circles, and infamous in others. Why do you think he was a hypocrite?”
Konan swatted at a mosquito that buzzed about his ears. It was that time in Mississippi, and with a hurricane churning out in the Gulf, it was going to get a lot worse.
“You said this guy flew to conferences, yes?”
“Yeah. How else would he get to the far side of the planet?”
“That doesn’t strike you as hypocritical. Why didn’t he sail across the ocean blue on a sailboat? It doesn’t require fossil fuel, and you don’t have to worry about being called a hypocrite.”
“It takes too long, Konan.”
“So, it’s okay to lecture everyone on the damage caused by fossil fuel and going on rants about killing the planet, and how everyone should abolish the way of life we’ve built up over our 200+ years of history and create a brand-new system that is unproven and impossible to maintain-while you fly across the world polluting the air with YOUR FOSSIL FUEL CONSUMPTION.”
Lilly shrugged and looked away. I folded my arms and looked in the opposite direction. According to my partner, I’m difficult to deal with when I get agitated. I like to think that I cut through the crap and get to the point. We both settle at ‘we shouldn’t have these types of conversations.’
“Why doesn’t it surprise me you don’t care about the environment, Konan?”
I turned to face the voice. It was Chief Janko. He was built like a linebacker from the NFL, about ten years past his prime. Broad in the shoulders and back but soft in the middle, his walrus mustache and kind eyes often led criminals to think he was dense. They were often mistaken.
“I care, Chief. Really, I do. However, I also think that instead of you lecturing everybody about something that is not fully endorsed by the scientific community, you should lead by example. Sell your car, refuse to travel by anything that operates off fossil fuels. You know, be the change you keep preaching about.”
“Yeah, okay. I can get behind that. Why don’t you go in and look at the body? Maybe you can get a sense about that and stop yelling about this other insanity.”
Lilly had left me standing with Chief Janko. It was hard to tell with that bushy mustache blocking most of my view, but I swear he was smiling. His eyes twinkled when he got tickled.
“Lilly, hold up for a sec,” I hollered as I rushed toward her. She never slowed down or looked back.
Tammy Bowen, our medical examiner, shook her head as she watched me try to catch up with Lilly. My partner walked over to the first officer on the scene and began questioning her. I walked over to Tammy.
“You never learn do you, Konan?”
“I guess not. What do we have?”
“Wilson Figueroa. Dead. I suppose someone got tired of hearing him preach one thing and doing another.”
“Time of death?”
“Six or seven hours ago. That’d be around 6 p.m.”
“Cause of death?”
“I’ve got to run the usual battery of test and do the autopsy, but he’s smells of gasoline. Plus, there’s the nasty head wound,” she said as she pulled the sheet back.
Figueroa’s head was smashed in. I covered my mouth and took a shallow breath.
“Yeah. I’m gonna say he died from blunt force trauma to the melon. Many times, over. Come by when I get him to the lab, and we can do a detailed rundown of Mr. Wilson’s injuries.”