Death and Windex

“Would it be a bit much to ask for an open window?” Barkley asked.

His tone surprised me. It was a straight, sarcasm-free question. I took a glance at him to see his face. No sarcasm there, either. I reached to my left and power-opened his window halfway.

“Thank you. Ammonia’s strong stuff, you know?”

I half-nodded.

“I suppose you also know that it destroys the nitrogen bonds in DNA, rendering what little blood evidence there is here useless.”

I shook my head this time. “I teach English, not chemistry.”

“So you are the scholarly type.”

“You have a talent for reading people.”

He shrugged. “Knowing what kind of person you’re looking at helps an awful lot when you’re deciding whether they’re going to die.”

The matter-of-factness of the statement sent a shiver through me. My hands tightened on the wheel enough to bleach my knuckles. Barkley noticed appeared to pay no mind, continued scrubbing his hands and the dashboard with the Shamwow.

Ten minutes later, we passed the Virginia state line in silence.

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