"Glad I -don't have to dress like that anymore," Anderson remarked as Marino headed toward us, his demeanor cocky and pugilistic, the way he always acted when he was insecure and in an especially foul mood.
"Why's he in uniform?" I asked her.
"He got reassigned."
"There's been a lot of changes in the department since Deputy Chief Bray got here," Anderson said as if she were proud of the fact.
I -couldn't imagine why anyone would throw someone so valuable back into uniform. I wondered how long ago this had happened. I was hurt Marino -hadn't let me know, and I was ashamed I -hadn't found out anyway. It had been weeks, maybe a month, since I had called just to check on him. I -couldn't remember the last time -I'd invited him to drop by my office for coffee or to come to my house for dinner.
"What's going on?" he gruffly said as a greeting.
He -didn't give Anderson a glance.
"I'm Joe Shaw. How you doing?"
"Like shit," Marino sourly replied. "Anderson, you decide to work this one all by yourself? Or is it just the other cops -don't want nothing to do with you?" She glared at him. She took the gum out of her mouth and tossed it as if he had ruined the flavor.
"You forget to invite anyone to this little party of yours?" he went on. "Jesus!" He was furious.
Marino was strangled by a -short---sleeved white shirt buttoned up to the collar and a clip---on tie. His big belly was in a shoving match with dark blue uniform pants and a stiff leather duty belt fully loaded with his Sig---Sauer -nine---millimeter pistol, handcuffs, extra clips, pepper spray and all the rest. His face was flushed. He was dripping sweat, a pair of Oakley sunglasses blacking out his eyes.
"You and I have to talk," I said to him.
I tried to pull him off to the side, but he -wouldn't budge. He tapped a Marlboro out of the pack he always had on him somewhere.
"You like my new outfit?" he sardonically said to me. "Deputy Chief Bray thought I needed new clothes."
"Marino, you're not needed here," Anderson said to him. "In fact, I don't think you want anyone to know you even thought about coming here."
"It's captain to you." He blew out his words on gusts of cigarette smoke. "You might want to watch your smart---ass mouth because I outrank you, babe."
Shaw watched the rude exchange without a word.
"I -don't believe we call female officers babe anymore," Anderson said. -
"I've got a body to look at," I said. -
"We've got to go through the warehouse to get there," Shaw told me.
"Let's go," I said.
He walked Marino and me to a warehouse door that faced the river. Inside was a huge, dimly lit, airless space that was sweet with the smell of tobacco. Thousands of bales of it were wrapped in burlap and stacked on wooden pallets, and there were tons of magfilled sand and orifet that I believed were used in processing steel, and machine parts bound for Trinidad, according to what was stamped on crates.
Several bays down, the container had been backed up to a loading dock. The closer we got to it, the stronger the odor. We stopped at the crime-scene tape draped across the container's open door. The stench was thick and hot, as if every molecule of oxygen had been replaced by it, and I willed my senses to have no opinion. Flies had begun to gather, their ominous noise reminding me of the -high---pitched buzzing of a -remote---control toy plane.
"Were there flies when the container was first opened?" I asked Shaw.
Reprinted from Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1999 by Cornwell Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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