Little Birdie – Chapter 01



Chapter 01

“Greg, what are you doing?”

Sara could see Greg roll his eyes in the reflection of the mirror as he continued to dab fingerprint powder along the white painted border.

“Look in all nooks, crannies, corners and spots unknown, right?  I mean, there’s no reason not to.”

“Except for a waste of perfectly good powder,” muttered Sara as she turned out of the bathroom, leaving the CSI trainee up to whatever shenanigan he was up to.   She knelt down, combing through the carpet for any evidence that may have been missed.  The reddish-brown threads were crusted around the hair sample she was gripping with her forceps.  Muffled footsteps sounded behind her as she dropped the sample, follicle and all, into the evidence bag.

“You done here?” Nick asked.  She stood, giving the room one last cursory glance.  She’d already spent a good hour combing the floor and the bed.  Nick had been in charge of the living room, a much larger area, and he was already finished.  Deciding that it was high time to rein back the perfectionist in her, she nodded.  But then she paused.

“Greg?”  There was a muffled response from the closed bathroom door.  “Greg, you’ve spent the same amount of time in there as I have in a room three times as big!  Don’t tell me you’re still taking fingerprints!”  Sara stalked over to the bathroom — ignoring Nick’s incredulous “He’s still in there??” — and her fingertips had even brushed the door knob when it fled from her grasp and a smiling face replaced it.

“Just being thorough, Sara,” Greg replied flippantly.  He shook the bag that contained his collected evidence, including the many fingerprints.

“Wow Greg, you did a number here,” whistled Nick, sticking his head in to peek past his colleague.  There were traces of fingerprint powder on every appliance and almost every bottle in the cabinet, which were lined on the floor haphazardly.  “I think you’ve got Sara beat.  You aren’t trying to impress her or anything, are you?”

Greg stared at Nick with an expression with that particular combination of eyebrow raising and downturned lips that could only be interpreted as “Are you serious?” before sighing and walking past Sara without a word.

The Texan watched him leave.  “Did I say something?”

“Who knows,” Sara replied, shaking her head.  Despite how long they’ve known each other, sometimes the former labrat was still a complete mystery to her.

~

“Hey Greg!” called Nick, jogging to catch up to his friend.  “Hey, man, sorry if I said something wrong, I-”

“Naw, it’s nothing.  I’ve just been a bit on edge lately.  Haven’t slept well.  Think I need to lay off the Blue Hawaiian?”  Greg slowed his steps to match Nick’s stride.  “On second thought, take that back.  Don’t think about it.  I couldn’t live a day without that heavenly draught gifted upon us mortals.”

“I swear, you’re addicted to that stuff.”

“I know very well I am, and I am 100% proud of it.”

There was a slight pause as Nick considered his next words.  He didn’t know what had set Greg off the first time, and he wasn’t looking to ruffle his friend’s feathers the wrong way.  “So did you find anything in the bathroom?”

Greg seemed to appraise Nick for a few seconds before replying.  “Nothing much.  I figured the perp might’ve used the bathroom sink to wash off some of the blood, so I-”

“Whoa whoa, how’d you figure that?  The guy killed the girl and split through the porch door across the living room.  That’s all we have right now.  How’d you get that he went to the bathroom?  I took a glance in there after they’d just cleared the place.  There wasn’t a drop of blood or anything out of place in there.”  He bit back the (admittedly very tasteless and mean and completely untrue) retort that perhaps it was from personal experience.  His train of thought was logical, but completely out of nowhere.

Judging from Greg’s hesitant glance, he was probably thinking the same thing.  “It … was a possibility, right?  I mean, there wasn’t any blood on the handle to the door on his way out … aand there was some stains on the towel….” Nick thought that the reply ended with a tone that sounded too much like a question to his liking, but he dropped it.  “Anyways, I checked the sink and the handles for fingerprints,” continued Greg, “and though they’re really spotty, I think I got enough that AFIS can run a hit.  The guy probably used something to wipe off his prints after he’d used the faucet.”

“Hmm…” Nick distinctly remembered that there were far many more things powdered in that room than just those two places.  Another glance reminded him how uncomfortable Greg was with the scrutiny.  Well, he was still a trainee; maybe a little slack was needed.  “Keep this up and you’ll be ready for that proficiency test in no time.”  After all, who was he to say no to a little (or a lot of) extra effort?

“You think?”  A small hopeful tone reached the Texan’s ears and he couldn’t help grinning.

“Yeah, sure!  No way is our little Greggo staying a lab rat much longer!”

He liked how Greg’s mood improved considerably for the rest of the trip back to the lab.

~

The name’s Greg.  Greg Sanders.  Or is it “Sanders.  Greg Sanders”?  I’ve always wanted to try saying that once.  If I didn’t have such an aversion to guns, I’d do the pose and all too.

Anyways, me?  I’m a lab rat, but, man, am I one rodent with big dreams.  Kind of like when you can see the big hunk of cheese at the end of a maze with clear polyesterene(?) walls.  But I don’t want the cheese.  I want out – out of the glass cage that surrounds me, isolates me from the rest of the world – all while hurry-scurrying on the wheel until my feet are little blurs beneath me to help my friends however I can.

It’s not a bad deal.  The pay’s good, and every team needs a strong support (I’m trying to be modest here, but that’s hard to do when you reached head of your department at age 23.) but … I want to see the sky and the earth and the dead people.  (No wait, scratch that.  That sounds wrong.)

The sky.  The earth.   The world out there that was growing inch by inch, minute by minute, test tube by test tube while my world here was shrinking just as fast.

Help, I might even develop claustrophobia.

And so, the lab rat became a field mouse.

Now, let’s go back to square one.

I’m Greg.  I’m a field mouse with big dreams.

But that’s not all.  After all, where’s the fun in that?  I’m sure this could turn into another one of those “climbing up the CSI ladder” kind of things, but there was so much I could do.  So much I, and only I (and no amount of modesty is going to erase that very much factual statement) could bring to light because of my secrets.

Oh yes, I’m a mouse with secrets.

What secrets, you ask?

Hah, like I’d give it away that easily.





Onto Chapter 2 >>

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