John Doe

John Doe by David Macfie

Detective Fletcher, of the city police department, eased out of his beaten up sedan. The sun blazed down onto the parking lot and Fletcher wiped sweat off his forehead.

“Damn this heat,” he complained, in an undertone. He moved fluidly to the entrance of the apartment building, rode the lift to the third floor and strode to apartment three one eight. The door was open and forensics were all over the room like a rash. Fletcher recognized one of the uniforms as Mahoney, a long time patrol cop.

“Hey, Mahoney! How’s it hangin’?” he greeted the grizzled older man.

“How you doin’, Fletcher?” returned the uniform. “Ain’t they found ya out yet?”

Fletcher laughed. “I’m a detective and smarter than the average bureaucrat. What can I say?”

Mahoney laughed with him.

“What’s going on here?” asked the detective. “I just got a call, said I must come. No other details.”

“Neighbor called in. Reported a loud argument followed by a gun shot. My partner and I answered the call and found a dead guy in here. We secured the scene and called the clever boys. They got here about fifteen minutes ago. Neighbor identified the guy as Ricky Blake. Said he was a pusher. Forensics took his prints to check him out.”

“Thanks. Who’s in charge?”

“Coroner McKay. He’s the one in the lab coat.”

Fletcher nodded and weaved, through the crowd, to the man Mahoney had pointed out.

“Coroner McKay, I’m detective Fletcher. What can you tell me?

“Not too much yet, I’m afraid.” Answered the harassed looking official. Caucasian male, in his thirties, shot once in the head. Not much sign of a struggle, except for some skin under the finger nails on the right hand. So he probably knew his killer. Call me tomorrow once I’ve had a chance to go through whatever these guys collect. I might have more then.”

“Thanks. I’ll do that.”

Fletcher moved back to Mahoney.

“Are you and your partner checking with the other neighbors, Mahoney?”

“Yeah, we got it covered. We’ll concentrate on the drug angle, see what comes up.”

“Good. Keep me in the loop.”

Fletcher returned to his office to follow some thoughts of his own. He started by calling a snitch, who’d given him good stuff in the past.

“Weasel, know anything about a guy called Ricky Blake? Might be a pusher.”

“Not off the top of my head. I’ll check around.”

Fletcher called three other guys who might find out things and spread the word. He left things to stew and worked on another case, until his Boss, Captain Jonny Rourke, asked him to go to the coroner’s lab to check out a John Doe that had just come in.

The detective sauntered down to the lab, where he found the coroner’s assistant, Billy Walker, at work on the corpse of a middle aged woman.

“Hey, Billy. The boss said you got a John Doe. Where’s he?”

“Left hand cooler. Drawer on the top right. Just come in. I’ll do him next,” replied Billy, without looking up.

Fletcher opened the drawer and moved the sheet off the head and torso.

“I know this guy,” whispered the detective under his breath, while he took in the gunshot wound to the side of the head, a recent scratch on the left cheek – three parallel gashes, and a monstrous physique covered, from hairline to groin, in distinctive tattoos. Only the face had no self-imposed artwork.

“Thanks, Billy. I’ve seen enough,” he said gruffly, deep in thought, as he covered the body and pushed the drawer back. “Did he come in with any stuff in his pockets or from the scene where he was found?”

“38 revolver next to the body. No ID, wallet or driver’s license. Bullet still in the wound. Looks like a suicide.”

“Any photos yet?”

“Yeah. Took a few of the face. Figured someone would ask. They’re on the desk.”

“Thanks,” said Fletcher taking one full-face shot and heading for his car.

He drove to the gym where he routinely worked out and looked for the trainer he’d used on and off. He found him in the office eating his lunch.

“Bob, I’ve seen this guy here, haven’t I?” he asked.

Bob studied the face shot. “Covered in tattoos, right?”

“Yup. All over his upper body. Huge muscles that look artificially obtained.”

“You’re right. Guy was obsessed with his size and shape. Used all sorts of steroids and other shit too.”

“Ever see the supplier?

“Nope. But heard him on his cell once ordering stuff from a guy he called Richard.”

“Guy’s dead. You got personal details?”

“Sure. Come with me.”

Shortly afterwards, Fletcher left with John Doe’s details, together with a copies of his driver’s license, gun license and his medical details in case of an accident in the gym. He went straight to see the victim’s doctor. On the way, Weasel called.

“Fletcher, your info was right. This Ricky is a pusher for one of the bigger operations down town. Deals in the whole inventory from weed to anything a body builder would take to get bigger. That help?”

“It sure does, Weasel. You got a fifty coming, next I see you.”

“Then I’ll see you soon,” replied the snitch, with a chuckle.”

Fletcher had to wait to see the doctor so he was irked when he finally got into the office.

“Doctor, this man has you as his medical contact at the gym where he trained,” said the detective after introducing himself, showing his badge and then pushing the photo across the desk.

“So what?”

“He turned up dead in what looked like a suicide. Can you give me any insight that might help me clear up the case?”

“Hippocratic Oath doesn’t allow me to tell you anything about my patients.”

“In your professional opinion, was he suicidal?”

“No comment.”

“I’ll get a court order if I have to. I think this man killed himself and I’d like to understand why? You’ll be called to testify at the inquest so I’m not asking you to disclose anything here that you’ll not say there.”

“All right,” sighed the medic. “He was, excessively, a user of steroids, and it damaged his heart. He’s had two heart attacks and the next one would have killed him. Is that enough?”

“Yes. Thank you, doctor.”

Fletcher returned to the station and went to the captain’s office.

“Captain the John Doe is Peter Rennie. I think he killed himself after murdering Ricky Blake. I’m sure Blake was supplying Rennie with steroids and other drugs. I think the gun he used to kill himself will prove to be the murder weapon and the motive was that the steroids damaged his heart so much that he was dying, so he took revenge. Blake had skin under his fingernails and Rennie a scratch on his face. There will be a match there.”

“How did you find Rennie’s details so quickly?”

“I recognized him from the gym. He was training with no shirt on. And he had what could be called distinctive markings.”