“I think I killed my boyfriend.” Dr. Ross snapped her head up from her notepad as she was completely taken aback by the words spoken from the young boy’s mouth. She had hoped he didn’t notice her doodling. She tried to say professional but each session with him was as boring as the last, until today. It took only a few short months as a psychiatrist for the doctor to realize that there was more to life than her cushy little New York City office. The expensive mahogany furniture and breathtaking view of Central Park that any professional in Corporate America would kill for, seemed meaningless compared to what she had just heard. The boy on her couch was real. The problem, if she dare call it that, was likewise real, and for the first time in her short career, Dr. Danielle Ross did not know how to handle the situation before her. Not only was this the first time a patient had ever approached her with this type of problem, but it was also the first time Jonathon revealed anything intimate about himself since he began seeing her. In fact, it was the only time since her first day with him that Jonathon Price said much of anything at all.
“Just call the police and turn him in . . .” Dr. Ross thought silently to herself as a million possibly scenarios raced through her mind “. . . that is all you need to do, no big deal, just pick up the phone and dial the num . . .”
“Dr. Ross, are you listening to me?!” Jonathon snapped, as he could sense that her mind was obviously elsewhere.
“Huh? What? Oh, right, of course Jonathon, I am listening, please continue telling me, uh . . . um . . . why you, uh, think you may have killed your boyfriend.”
“Come on, the phone is right there!” She whispered softly so Jonathon could not here her. Inside, however, she knew she just could not bring her to do it. “You can’t turn him in. You are his psychiatrist, he trusts you, and you have a duty to protect him and what he tells you. But murder? That surely reaches beyond the confidentiality boundaries set up by the law, doesn’t it?” The conflict brewing inside of her was beginning to eat away at the pit of her stomach. She was already uncomfortable with him and now she was trying to fight back the nausea that was sweeping over her. Unfortunately for Dr. Ross, New York holds the psychiatrist/patient privilege very sacred and she knew that. Although, at this point she was thinking twice about the oath she took before being admitted to practice medicine, just wishing she could break the law this one time, just like Jonathon.
“You see, Dr. Ross, it all started the other night while we were making love . . .” And for the next hour, while he lay what seemed to be all too comfortably on Dr. Ross’ brand new tan Corinthian leather couch, Jonathon Price revealed some of the most intimate secrets of his private life. He revealed sexual and non-sexual escapades between himself and his lover including the moments that led up to Brandon Pierce’s death.
“Sheriff, we just received a tip from an anonymous caller about a murder in an apartment located on Velancy Street. I think we should assemble a team and go check this one out.” Deputy Dudley managed to utter between bites of his jelly-filled donut. “You know what, Dudley?” The Sheriff quickly retorted as if he didn’t trust his Deputy to get from the station to the apartment without getting his fingers permanently stuck to the steering wheel of his police cruiser. “I think I will go with you to check this one out. Sometimes these tips actually lead to something, and frankly, I need to get out from behind this desk. By the way, are there any more donuts left?” Both the Sheriff and Deputy left the precinct and arrived at 4241 Velancy Street in less than ten minutes. The precinct was only fifteen city blocks from the address provided by the anonymous tipster. The traffic had pretty much dissipated by sundown, and everyone had headed home for the weekend. Everything looked fine from the outside, but the officers knew better. Besides, how much time would it really take for them to go in and take a quick look around? So, both Sheriff Hazeltine and his Deputy left their vehicle double parked on the street and began making their way into the building in order to head up to the second floor apartment where the caller said the murder had taken place.
The building was an old run-down pile of bricks. The outside was covered in dirt and green ivy that hadn’t been trimmed from the building in what seemed like a century. As you entered the building, you had to step carefully as the cement steps leading up to the front entrance were cracking and beginning to separate. The railing was loose and just hanging on by a single stripped bolt barely fastened to the ground. The paint on the big metal doorway was peeling and once inside, the faded brown paint on the walls gave the building a dark and eerie allure. The stairway leading up to the second floor was devoid of a banister or any other type of safety railing and as you ascended, each step creaked and cracked as if the rotted wooden stairway would give way at any second. This building gave a new name to low-income government housing.
“Meeeooww!” “****! Goddamn cat!” The deputy shouted as he was attempting to climb the rest of the stairs to the second floor.
“Jesus Dudley, . . .” the Sheriff said, half laughing at Dudley’s cowardly persona, and half serious at his obvious incompetence “ . . . do you think you can make it the rest of the way without stepping on any more animals?”
“Sorry Sheriff, it is pretty dark on these stairs and that damn cat came out of nowhere. I didn’t see him, I swear I didn’t.”
“How about using the flashlight that you have attached to your . . . you know what, never mind the cat, just get your **** up here.”
“Yes Sheriff, sorry Sheriff.” No matter what Dudley did, he could never please his superior. “Deputy?” The Sheriff whispered as Dudley finally reached the top of the stairway. “You said it was apartment number 202, right?”
“That is the number the caller mentioned, Sheriff. This looks like it must be the place.”
“Okay Dudley . . .” The Sheriff’s voice became quiet, yet oddly calming as he was about to enter into the unknown with Dudley as his only backup. “. . . I want you to stay behind me and do as I say. If the killer is still here, I will need you to cover me.” “Okay Sheriff, no problem. You can count on me!”
Hazeltine glared back at his Deputy who was smiling with his gun drawn, ready to protect his leader. Knock knock. The Sheriff rapped loudly on the door with his fist, but no one responded. He could feel his heartbeat quickening, pounding through the Kevlar covering his chest.
“This is the police! Open this door immediately or we will break it down!” Still, no one answered. You could see the sweat beading off both of the officer’s foreheads as their worst nightmares were quickly becoming realities.
After one additional loud bank on the cracked and molded apartment door, the Sheriff stood back, gun drawn, and gave it a swift kick, busting the door right off of its hinges.
“Wow, Sheriff, I didn’t know you were that strong!”
Dudley admired the Sheriff. His dream was to one day climb the ranks and take Sheriff Hazeltine’s place when he retired. He knew he had a long way to go, but he was dedicated to his craft and proud to be a police officer. He wanted to make the Sheriff proud. He was always trying to make the Sheriff proud.
“Would you just shut up Dudley, and cover me?”
Hearts thumping and knees knocking, the officers entered the apartment.
“Dudley . . .” the Sheriff whispered over his left shoulder, never taking his eyes off the layout of the apartment in front of him, “. . . you go search the bedroom and I will take a look around the rest of the apartment.”
“Okay, Sheriff, you are the boss.”
The apartment was a mess. A half-eaten carton of Chinese food that smelled like it had been there since Truman was in office, dirty dishes all around the kitchen and dining area, and even more stockpiled in and around the sink. Newspapers were scattered all over the floor and the couch cushions were all torn and turned upside down. It looked as if there was a small coffee table a few feet in front of him but so much filth and clutter surrounded it that it was barely recognizable. Whoever lived here was a pig. As the Sheriff entered the kitchenette and began making his way through some of the kitchen cabinets, he heard Dudley scream, “Sheriff! Sheriff! Come quick!”
The Sheriff rushed toward the bedroom where Dudley was screaming, and that is when he noticed the man lying there. He was naked and sprawled out on the master bed with his feet hanging over the corner. His entire body was completely limp, flaccid. He looked as if he hadn’t eaten in days and his body was covered in slash marks like someone had taken a knife and repeatedly cut him. Maggots had already began eating away at his wounds and the rancid smell of decaying human flesh nearly caused the officers to lose all interest in ever seeing a donut again. Purplish bruise marks lined the entire area around his neck and it was evident that blood, at one time, had trickled out of the left corner of his mouth.
“Deputy,…” Sheriff Hazeltine muttered through the cloth covered his nose and mouth “…I think you should call this one in to headquarters.”
“But Sheriff, I’m . . .”
“Damnit Dudley, don’t argue with me.” Hazeltine was starting to gag. The stench was just too much to stomach. “Get the Chief and the Coroner’s Office out here. It looks like we have a murder on our hands.”