I had been visiting Elaine’s cottage near Bancroft. We’re on a walk at the Eagles Nest which sits high over the north end of the town. The view was spectacular and today it did not disappoint.
I am seven and half months pregnant and feeling pretty energetic. Yes I said pregnant. It must’ve happened in Jamaica last fall. Gerry and I were not disappointed whatsoever as we wanted to try for a family before was too late for either of us.
We had had a mild winter by Ontario standards. Elaine suggested a walk while I could still move before the third trimester waddle set in. I readily agreed as exercise would make labour easier and I wouldn’t gain too much baby weight.
Before I go on my name is Laura Fitz. I am a member of the CSI team for the Metropolitan Toronto police service and the Province of Ontario. Due to my impending parenthood. I have taken a leave of absence from actively visiting crime scenes. My work is concentrated in the lab these days. Testing DNA samples and working ballistics. If you watch any of those crime scene shows on TV. My work is not as glamorous as it seems. Some days are downright tedious, but basically I love what I do. I got into crime scene investigation after finding so many dead bodies in my spare time, I figured I may as well get paid for it. Some people attract animals, I seem to attract dead people. My husband Gerry still thinks my sleuthing is a bit over the top. I don’t ask for this stuff to happen, it just sort of does. I made him a promise last year while we’re on vacation in Jamaica not to get involved in anything that didn’t include just having fun. I tried really hard but the situations we encountered found us. One of the couples we were travelling with got involved with some shady characters on the island. Once again that lead to murder and mayhem, of which I got stuck in the middle.
Gerry and I reside in North York, a borough of Toronto. There we manage a high rise building which means dealing with collecting rent and dealing with bitchy tenants. The tenants’ association president, one Stella Stadylmeyer tops my list of the most annoying residents. On this vacation weekend. I was glad to get away from the duties of my secondary job. Stella’s been chasing me around wanted to feel my belly and see if the baby will kick. She also wants to throw me a baby shower. This is something I dread. I keep telling her is not necessary as my sisters are arranging something (I can only hope my sisters are planning something to get me out of this). My biggest fear is Stella will call me down to the laundry room an alleged problem and spring a shower on me.
Our peaceful walk along the bluffs was pierced by yelling from below
“Anyone up there? I need help!”
Elaine yelled down. “We’re here, are you hurt?”
“No but I’ve found something and it’s really gross.
“What is it?” I yelled down
“It looks like a man and he’s dead.”
I shuddered. Oh my God, not another one. I thought to myself. “Stay there. I’m calling 911. What’s your name? My name is Laura and my friend Elaine is here with me.”
“Sherry” The girl said.
I called 9-1-1, as promised, and minutes later we heard sirens.
“That didn’t take long.” Elaine said.
“Must be the joys of living in a small town, Elaine. There is an OPP station not too far from here and I guess that’s where the 911 offices are as well.”
We waited for the EMTs and the police to come up the trail. We were sitting in plain sight, so they wouldn’t miss us.
“Are you the ones who called us about the dead guy?”
I spoke up. “Yes, that was me, but the person down below found him.”
Elaine added. “She seemed pretty shaken up. You might want to check her out too.”
One of the EMTs thanked us and told us the meat wagon was on its way. Everyone in the medical field referred to the coroner’s van as the meat wagon. The OPP’s crime investigation team arrived to take pictures and process the scene. I knew enough to stay away while they worked, even though I found it morbidly fascinating. I was on vacation. After all, I didn’t really need to get involved. However, like it or not, I was by the sheer bad luck of being in the vicinity of the scene.
Soon after the OPP detective arrived to question us and the witness.
“We never really saw anything officer er I mean, detective. You’ll want to talk to Sherry about that.” I was being honest and forthright with him. To this day, even though I work with law-enforcement agents all the time, some of them still scare the bejesus out of me. This guy was no exception. He was tall and built like a brick outhouse. He had strong features and looked like he could chase the devil out of hell with one scathing look.
“Ma’am?” He said to me.
“Yes.” I answered.
“Aren’t you a little far along to be roaming around up here?”
My hormonal pregozilla wanted to tell him that I was practising for the test matter for expectant mothers when Elaine shot me a look that said “behave”, so I toned it down to. “I was just getting my required amount of exercise.”
“Can’t you do then a safer place than this?”
“Probably but what does that have to do with the crime scene?”
“How do you know it’s a crime scene? That guy could’ve been drunk and just fallen off the cliff in a stupor”
“I’m a CSI myself down in Toronto. If we are called in, we assume it’s a crime scene. I’m sorry if I jumped the gun in my assumption, it is just a figure speech and you could be right.” I handed him my card with my credentials on it and gave him my cell phone number in case he had questions.
My interrogator didn’t say much. He just stood there taking more notes. I figure he had the social skills of a mortician suffering burnout. To him, I’m just another set of scribbles in a notebook and he just seemed to be passing the time of day until the CSIs brought the body out after they examined John Doe at the scene. The meat wagon arrived just trying to do the transfer. I sat there and wondered what exactly happened to the guy. Was it as simple as an unfortunate accident or did somebody help him over the edge?
Elaine looked at me and smiled. “Oops! You did again Laura!”
“Did what?” I asked innocently.
“Well you know you’re a corpse magnet.”
The detective turned around. “She’s a what?”
Elaine replied. “She’s a corpse magnet. Laura here has the dumb luck of finding a dead body wherever she goes. She can’t help it. She doesn’t find them, dead people find her.”
The detective and the officers around him looked at both of us like were quite insane.
I was sure I was turning red out of embarrassment and I promised myself I would have a talk with Elaine about revealing too much information when it wasn’t needed. I hated my uncanny ability to sniff out the dead ones, and I really wished it would go away. Gerry and I would have more peace if it did. I gave Elaine a little kick to remind her to shut up, but it was too late. The good detective wanted to know about my penchant for finding dead people.
“Are you psychic?” He asked me.
My only reply was. “Some people go geocaching. I find dead people!”