Objet des Rêves (1)

It’s a perfect fall morning, a week before Thanksgiving, when Chuck calls me out to look at the crime scene.

I can see it on the horizon when I’m a mile out: two decrepit pickup trucks stranded in a stubbly brown pasture, looking small and innocent under the cloudless sky. A police cruiser is parked nearby, Chuck leaning on the hood. I pull up behind him and take a moment to wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans. I don’t get premonitions—my psychic abilities aren’t the gut-flash variety—but I feel like this is going to be a bad scene.

“Hey, James,” Chuck says as I get out of the car. He gives me his usual nod of greeting, one of the things I like most about him. Too many white guys try to do some kind of hand-jive hood crap when they see me, as though I didn’t grow up here in town right next to them. “Glad you could make it.”

“What’ve we got?”

“First, let’s get a couple things clear. This? Never happened. The department hasn’t asked for you yet. I wanted you to get an unofficial look first. Less pressure.”

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