The Mothership Connection (2)

The other day, I posted the first excerpt of an unpublished story, The Mothership Connection. The point here is to determine not whether I can write about hip-hop authentically—I can’t—but rather whether I can use it as the background for a story. In that excerpt, our detectives found an empty grave at the then under construction Beltline. Here’s the second part:

Captain Curtis Jenkins leaned back in his seat. “These guys were playing a joke on y’all?”

“No, sir,” said Diana. “They looked at the hole, figured it for a grave, called Dispatch, message got garbled by the time we got it.”

“There’s nobody at all?”

“No,” said Mustapha. “We had those guys walking all the way to Monroe. Found an old motorcycle, a microwave oven and a lawnmower, but no bodies or other gravesites.”

Jenkins nodded, slowly. “Then file it and move on.”

Diana said, “It made us wonder,”

Mustapha said, “It made you wonder.”

“Oh, hush. Think about it: that long-disused rail line would have been a great place to dispose of a body. Until last fall, there was nothing there but trash. So then the killer sees they’re grading the path; he panics, goes and exhumes the corpse.”

“Or maybe,” said Jenkins, “they were going to bury someone there, figuring the construction crew would cover it. And then they got scared off, I don’t know. Listen: I know y’all hate it when I talk like a bureaucrat, but you wouldn’t believe the pressure we’re getting on the budget. The city’s broke, folks. You bring me some kind of tangible evidence that someone was buried there, or you’ll have to move on.”

Mustapha said, “Told you he was going to say that.”

“Sir, that’s why we did some research, first.”

She did some research. I filled out paperwork.”

“I’m impressed either way,” said Jenkins. “What do you have?”

“Pictures,” said Diana. “I brought you actual printouts, too.”

Mustapha said, “I had to talk her into the printouts.”

Diana got out three 8×10 color printouts of aerial photographs of that stretch of the rail line. “This one here is from last summer. Here’s the bridge for Virginia Avenue, and here,”

“Okay, I see it,” said Jenkins. He took the photo. “It definitely looks a little different.”

“And here it is from 2007. Even clearer.”

“Yeah. But imagine me trying to justify this. They’re going to ask how we know it’s a grave.”

Mustapha frowned. “Curtis, why the hell would someone dig it up, otherwise?”

“I don’t know. There was different kinds of plants or something.”

“Well, there were,” said Diane. “Because they got dug up.” She showed him the third picture. “This is from 2003. See? Nothing other than the same plants that surround it. That’s a grave, sir.”

“It sure looks like one. But,”

Diana put a pathology report in front of him. “The soil that was dug up? Tested positive for products of decay.”

“You mean human decay?”

Mustapha said, “Curtis, it ain’t someone’s dog.”

“Okay, I give up trying to protect y’all. Ask around, see if anyone saw a guy digging up a grave. But right now, without a body, and without a missing person, you got no case. Someone dies under suspicious circumstances, you’re next up.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Diana.

“I don’t think you should. Go on; time’s a-wasting.”

Again, we haven’t got to the hip-hop part yet. This is just a murder mystery.


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  1. The Mothership Connection (3) | Julian Cage
  2. The Mothership Connection (4) | Julian Cage
  3. The Mothership Connection (5) | Julian Cage
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  10. The Mothership Connection (12) | Julian Cage
  11. The Mothership Connection (13) | Julian Cage

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