Cold-Cocked…new writing, unedited…

Three days passed without a word from Abby. Every day Traylor came by looking for an update, and over the three days I told him we didn’t have anything.

To avoid a fourth visit from the smitten fleabag known as Traylor, I drove to the morgue to have a sit down with our medical examiner.

She was in the back, in the cold room, and I flashed my badge at the security guard. He waved me in.

Abby stood in the middle of the room, barrels stood against the walls-everywhere really-and piles of bones rested on the open slabs. I rapped on the door. She beckoned me to come in.

I walked in and said, “Hey, Abby. How’s it going?”

“34,” she said.

“34 what?”

“Victims, Spiers. That’s how many victims you have.”

“All murdered?”

“Are you deaf this morning?”

I stared at Abby, and she stared back. Then she flipped me off and went back to spreading bones out on the slabs.

I hated days like today.

There was enough meanness in the world without us taking it out on each other. I decided I would try to smooth things over.

“I’m sorry, Abby. There are 34 victims. How did they die?”

“Their hearts gave out. The killer experimented on them, prolonged their suffering, and made ritualistic cuts all over their bodies. Some bones, he or she broke into splinters. He used a heavy hammer to break them. Where’s Tiny?”

“Tiny is off for two weeks. He volunteers to help at a youth camp in Tennessee.”

“Ooh, so he left you here to work on your relationship with your boyfriend Traylor.”

“Well, see there you go. First off, Traylor’s not my boyfriend. Second, Tiny would not come if he were even here. He hates bodies, especially the sort that comes in puddles.”

Abby laughed and beckoned for me to follow her. She led me to her office, and she sat down behind her desk. Her black eye had gone down. Underneath the swelling, I could catch a peek of the light blue of her eye.

Abby Robinson was an attractive woman. At 5’3 and 115 pounds, she was curved in all the right places. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail. She had full lips and an elegant nose. Abby was a complete package-if one only cared about looks.

To me, though looks were only one part of the equation. Abby also had a great mind. She had intelligence, charm, wit, could reply to sarcasm with an equally scorching remark, and most importantly, she was kind and compassionate. Beneath the medical examiner aloofness, Abby was a sweetheart.

Except for when she was in the ring apparently.

“Abe, are you listening to anything I’m saying?”

I looked up and smiled. I hadn’t heard anything she’d said since we walked into her office.

“Sorry, Abby. I was lost in my thoughts.”

“Oh yeah? What thoughts? Be exact.”

“I was wondering if you were single, and if so, would you like to grab lunch with me?”

She leaned forward, her eyes squinted as she tried to look into mine, and her lips pulled back into a tight grin.

I grinned back and gave her a wink. Her grin widened and she gave me a brilliant smile.

“What do you think Lt. Traylor would think about his least favorite detective trying to woo his favorite medical examiner?”

“I don’t care what he thinks.”

“So, you intend to break the rules, detective?”

“With you, Abby? Absolutely.”

She laughed and nodded her head. “Yeah, I’ll go to lunch with you Abe. I’m down to clown, and if things get serious, you know Traylor will kick you from this precinct.”

“If things get serious, I might just quit.”

“So, you’re looking for something serious?”

“I’m looking for you. If you want to get serious, then I’m down to follow that road wherever it leads.”

Abby cleared her throat and pushed her report across the desk to me. She motioned at it, so I picked it up and opened it.

Abby’s face had blushed red, and she took a breath and said, “You should know, whoever committed these murders has medical training. So, you are looking at someone who knows how to cut up bodies and treat them for shock. They’re sick, but from a medical point of view, they’re no slouch.”

“Wonderful,” I muttered.

“When do you want to go for lunch?”

“How’s tomorrow grab you?”

“Tomorrow sounds great. Should I wear my finest gown or is it business casual?”

“I thought I might take you home with me, and we’d have a picnic out by my lake. I can whip up a basket, and we could see where things go from there.”

“Mm, I like how you think.”

“Good, I can’t wait until tomorrow then. I’ll pick you up, say 1130?”

“I’ll be waiting.”