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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chapter Five

    Dr. Lauren Jamison adjusted her mask and glanced up at the observation deck above the surgical theater that Atlas Communications had built for “One Week Window’s” live autopsies.
Behind a glass enclosure, amongst the forest of television cameras and lights stood the show’s director, Al Reindt, who stared down below him at the partially covered corpse of Darcy Tucker, waiting to give Lauren instructions.

“Why is she in the bag? Why is she in the bag? How many times do I have to scream at you people that the victim needs to be under a white sheet. The blood stains on the sheets is essential.” Reindt was yelling into his phone at an assistant producer, his eyes wide with rage. “You’re fired. You’re goddamned fired.”

Al Reindt was the single most hated man behind the scenes at “One Week Window.” The production staff wanted to kill the man but they also knew he was right: ratings for the live autopsies jumped twelve percent when a young woman with a beautiful body was the victim. That didn’t stop them from putting rocks in his exhaust pipe every night.

David Armstrong sat next to the seething director and sighed to himself as he rubbed his throbbing temples, the very sound of Reindt’s voice making him feel ill. He was required to observe the autopsies in case he noticed something important to the case, but he enjoyed being there as much as he would have enjoyed a public execution. He glanced over to his right in time to see Dr. Kreigel staring down at the body bag below them and roughly sketching something in his drawing pad.

David cleared his throat and grunted to Kreigel, “Hey, I didn’t know that Atlas wanted you to do sketches of the autopsies too. When did they start that?”

 Kreigel blinked at him behind his massive glasses for a moment before he grinned far too broadly, “No, actually, I’ve only been contracted to draw the crime scenes. Today is my day off.”

Reindt pressed an intercom button attached to his chair so that he could talk to Lauren directly, “Alright, Dr. Jamison, let’s begin.” Reindt nodded to the camera to his left, and the crewmember holding it spun the lens to focus on Eddie Glaise in his pressed suit. The anchor of “One Week Window” smiled broadly as the theme music played and his face was broadcast to millions of viewers.

             “Hello everyone, and welcome back to One Week Window. We are about to begin our live autopsy of Ms. Darcy Tucker. For those of you who have not subscribed, you can do so immediately and not miss the important information that Dr. Jamison will be sharing. All other viewers will be automatically directed to a rerun of Dr. Jamison explaining blood toxicity until the autopsy is completed. Ms. Tucker, who was murdered yesterday in her family home, was a young, all-American girl who will be sorely missed by her family.” Glaise missed the teleprompter’s cue to add a mournful tone to his voice on that last bit, and so he continued along blithely, “There was evidence that Darcy had sexual intercourse with her attacker, but we so far do not suspect that the alleged intercourse was anything but consensual, leading us to assume that she knew her assailant.”

Reindt whispered into the microphone that was connected to an earpiece under Lauren’s surgical cap, “Fully open the bag so we can see Darcy.” Lauren unzipped the bag and Reindt rolled his eyes, “Oh come on, Doctor. I mean so that we can really see Darcy.” The coroner pulled back on the seams so that the victim’s left breast was entirely exposed. As she did so, she let her hand rest in the lip of the bag so that only Reindt could see it from his angle, and she carefully extended her middle finger as far as it would go.

From her perch in front of her television, Rosie snorted and tapped her pen on her notebook. She wasn’t interested in the live autopsy, mostly because she wasn’t interested in Darcy Tucker. Detective David Armstrong was rarely present for Dr. Jamison’s segments of the show, but Rosie’s roommate Steven simply adored the pert doctor.

She scooted closer to the arm of the couch as Steven hurried in with a bowl of popcorn and plopped down beside her, “What did I miss?”

“Nothing. Just this jackass’s introduction.” she motioned to Eddie Glaise, who just realized that he was supposed to be somber and so was trying to subtly transform his bright grin into a pensive frown.

The camera switched to Dr. Jamison as she expertly pulled on her latex gloves and addressed the camera directly, “We have already conducted an examination of her clothes and they have been removed. We will now begin our superficial physical observations before cleaning some of the more intrusive fluids from the subject and beginning an extensive internal examination. My acting diener is Dr. Daisy Laird. Dr. Laird, please remove the corpse from the bag.”

Daisy lifted Darcy from the bag with the arms of a trucker and Rosie shuddered, “God, I hope that girl’s family isn’t watching.”

Steven looked over at her as he spilled popcorn onto the t-shirt he wore with a portrait of Dr. Jamison on it along with her often-quoted tag line of “let’s have a look at those giblets.” He shrugged, “Well, at least they stopped showing the family’s reaction shots to the autopsies. That shit was depressing.”

“The whole thing is depressing.” Rosie pulled her dyed black hair into a ponytail and scowled, “It’s actually pretty sick.“

“Oh lighten up!” Steven grunted even as Dr. Jamison began describing in depth the brain matter that had leaked onto Darcy’s hair. The doctor continued clinically down towards the victim’s torso, commenting on the lacerations to her midsection and the lack of bruising around the pelvic bones.

The broadcast went to a commercial and Reindt slammed his hand on the intercom button. “Get makeup on the set. There is almost no color contrast between her nipple and surrounding skin. My god, how many times have we done this? What is this, amateur hour?”

Lauren pulled her mask to her neck and screamed at the booth not knowing whether Reindt could hear her, she really didn’t care. “You send a makeup artist in here and I’ll come up there and cut your nipples out and feed them to you.” she shook her head and snarled to Daisy, “Don’t you think I won’t.”

For the first time in days, David laughed. Reindt hit the intercom button and hissed, “You don’t tell me how to do my job.”

“Let it go.” Said David.

Reindt turned to look at him with a sneer, “Insofar as stage direction is concerned, if I need the opinion of a washed up cop with the body of a smallish beluga whale, I’ll ask for it.” He turned back to the intercom and snarled, “All right, people, we are back in three, two…” he motioned soundlessly for the last count, and the show went live again.

Lauren smiled into the camera and cleared her throat, “And we are back to our autopsy, ladies and gentlemen. We had just finished with the corpse’s midsection and we were moving on to the genitals before we cut to commercial at the behest of a man who has none.” When she reached the corpse’s groin, she spread the legs open and nodded to the camera, “The victim has recently gotten a clitoral piercing.” she blinked at the camera and grunted, “Ladies watching at home, I’m going to take a moment here to emphasize the importance of proper hygiene and maintenance when it comes to body piercings. We can see by the swelling of the clitoris that this was done relatively recently, but we can also see that due to improper care the clitoris is exhibiting signs of infection. I cannot stress enough to anyone thinking of getting this sort of piercing done how important proper care is.”

Up in the observation deck, Reindt was practically dancing. This sort of candid communication directly to the audience was what had made Dr. Jamison a television darling, especially when she talked about the more taboo areas of a corpse. David, still sitting next to Reindt, was doing everything in his power not to punch the man’s lights out.

“It is paramount that you only touch new piercings with clean hands, and immediately irrigate the area with a saline solution after sex or even masturbation, and you really should let it heal a while before engaging in intercourse.” she shrugged, “Also, showers not baths for at least the first week.” Dr. Jamison nodded to herself once she had moved on to Darcy’s scratched feet and smiled at the camera, “Well, now. Let’s have a look at those giblets!” she lifted a bone saw and smiled. 

Darcy’s mother stopped sobbing long enough to switch the television off and collapse in her bed, horror making her limbs tremble. 
Next Chapter

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