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“They Certainly Don’t Deserve to Die”

“It’s a tragic case, but really fairly straightforward.” Dr. Wu was riffling through Duquene’s medical file, while Rosey listened and took the occasional note. “A single gunshot wound, more or less right between the eyes. Instant death.”

“What kind of health was he in?” Rosie asked. “I mean, besides the shooting.”

“Poor.” Dr. Wu’s eye scanned the chart: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, probably endemic cardiovascular disease. “Evidence of malnutrition. He tested positive for hepatitis B. And while we don’t do dental forensics, one look inside his mouth showed extensive periodontitis. I doubt if he had another two years, at most.”

“Did you see him the next morning? I mean, when he had sobered up?”

“I did.”

“How would you characterize his mood, his state of mind?”

“He was anxious to get discharged. He said he’d been in and out of hospitals many times, and he didn’t like them.”

“Did he indicate any particular concerns about returning to the streets? For example, did he say anything about enemies, or threats, or anything that he was afraid of?”

Dr. Wu tapped his fingers together. “I’m afraid not. Not that I recall, anyway. He said he’d been on the streets for so many years that it was the only place he felt safe.”

The interview was yielding precious little information, Rosey decided. He stood, gave Dr. Wu his card. “Thank you, doctor. Look: if anything else occurs to you, give me a call, okay?”

Dr. Wu also stood, took the card, then offered his right hand for a shake. “I will, Detective. Umm, are there any leads? I mean, this is connected to the serial killings, isn’t it?”

“I’m not really at liberty to go into details, doctor, but I can tell you we’ve elevated this to a Status One investigation.. Our highest.”

Dr. Wu let Rosey’s hand go. “Well, that’s good to hear. It’s a shame, really. These people have done nothing wrong; it’s not their fault they’ve fallen on hard times. They certainly don’t deserve to die. Good luck, Detective.”

Rosey stopped in the hospital cafeteria for a quick lunch and coffee: tuna sandwich, cole slaw, fries (terrible for his weight. His wife, Ceci, he knew, would kill him, but they were so delicious). He brought out the little drawing pad he always carried; Rosey was a great doodler. His scribblings, of cartoon animals, helped steady his racing mind, and enabled him to focus his thoughts when they threatened to run out of control. In some weird way he didn’t understand, the doodles allowed his unconscious mind to connect things that his conscious mind was unable to—a helpful talent for an investigator often working with seemingly unrelated bits of evidence. Someone once said Rosey Brown’s doodles had solved more homicides than the National Crime Database. It wasn’t true, of course, but it made Rosey smile.

He got back to his office, on Washington Street, where he found multiple messages awaiting him. Among them was one from the new City Councilmember, Devon Camber, asking for a meeting. Rosey hadn’t yet met Camber, whose district he lived outside, but he was certainly aware of the young politician’s rising political star. He emailed the Councilmember back. Sure, they could get together. How about a drink after work that evening? Rosey had a little bar he liked, not far from City Hall: the Five10, on Fifteenth Street. Great pizza, kind of a dive, good beer. Devon emailed back instantly. He knew the place; he went there himself. They set a meeting time for 6:30.

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