The photos arrived with three different courier services.

A body wrapped in police tape. “Caution. Do Not Enter.”

Detective Conrad, Art Crime groaned. “Marty! It’s another one. Fuckin’ freaks. Christ, I’m too old for this.” He showed the pictures to a passing cop. “Look at this. I tell ya, I don’t even understand that Prickasso, or whaddeva he’s called, and I have to sort this out?”

He stared at the photos, front and back, sent them to the labs with a rush order, but in the end it was a call in that sent them to a downtown loft.

The body was pinned to the door. Nailed through hands, arms, and feet – then, to take the weight, she was hung on two huge hooks.

Once she was taken off the door, a cursory examination revealed that the tape was melted to the skin around where the body was exposed.

“No blood pooling, no bleeding out. This isn’t the primary scene.” It was a young coroner who was stating the obvious.

Conrad hated the forensics team, thought they were deviants. He couldn’t figure how anyone would want to spend their time around dead people. He was convinced they were fucking the corpses down in the morgue. He wanted to get cameras installed in there, but the Chief wouldn’t have it.

Maybe the Chief was in on it too…

“Captain Conrad?”

He was shaken from the reverie.

“Oh, yeah. Whatever. Who found the stiff?”

“The victim,” the Coroner stressed, shooting Conrad a look that made him very happy indeed, “was discovered by his neighbor. He -“

“Yeah, yeah – getting that from him is my job.” Conrad looked round. “Where is he?”

“Downstairs. He was very distraught so the guys took him out of the building.”

“And no one thought to tell me when I was down there? Christ.”

He stomped off.

Turns out the guy had seen his neighbor pinned up when he came home last night. Thought it was a party decoration – even though the room was quiet. Went past in in the morning when he got breakfast, and when he came back a couple of hours later.

“It was only when I…I” He was crying. Conrad hated criers. God – it’s not like she was anything to him. Unless she was… that could be motive…

“I saw the flies crawling over it. I went to knock on her door and the thing was .. it was…” He dissolved into tears again.

“Ok there, Mr Stevens. We get the idea. So, here’s the deal. We gotta take ya downtown. Getcha statement, clear you of anything – ya know? It’s a whaddayacawlit…a formality. So, if you’d like to go with that man over there.”

The witness disposed of, all Conrad had to do was wait. He sat across the road at a diner drinking the black piss they had the cheek to call coffee. From there he got a fantastic view of the explosion as it tore the front off the apartment.

There was nothing to see at the scene of the crime. The clean up team was killed in the blast. The whole apartment had been rigged – the tape at the door being a gag – she was a police tape warning about entering the room.

Conrad called it in. Bomb squad, safety crew, ambulances and a new clean up team – not to mention the entire press corps helicopter crew – descended on the site.

Conrad directed, informed, taped off areas, handed over the scene to the uniforms then kept the peace until his was called back to the station.

The building had been evacuated, everyone was on the street when he arrived, even that cross dressing detective working undercover on vice.

No – not everyone. None of the coroners were there. 

It seems it wasn’t just the room that was trapped.

As soon as the tap was cut away, the body started releasing a gas. The lab was down, presumed dead, and the building had been quarantined.

Art Crime. He fucking hated it.