Homicide by David Simon Read Free Book Online

Book: Homicide by David Simon Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Simon
housing project stairwells, with the hypodermic still in their forearm and that pathetic look of calm on their faces; bodies pulledout of the harbor with reluctant blue crabs clinging to hands and feet. Bodies in basements, bodies in alleys, bodies in beds, bodies in the trunk of a Chrysler with out-of-state tags, bodies on gurneys behind a blue curtain in the University Hospital emergency room, with tubes and catheters still poking out of the carcasses to mock medicine’s best arguments. Bodies and pieces of bodies that fell from balconies, from rooftops, from marine terminal loading cranes. Bodies crushed by heavy machinery, suffocated by carbon monoxide or suspended by a pair of sweatsocks from the top of a Central District holding cell. Bodies on crib mattresses surrounded by stuffed animals, tiny bodies in the arms of grieving mothers who can’t understand that there is no reason, that the baby just stopped breathing air.
    In the winter, the detective stands in water and ash and smells that unmistakable odor as firefighters pry rubble off the bodies of children left behind when a bedroom space heater shorted. In the summer, he stands in a third-floor apartment with no windows and bad ventilation, watching the ME’s attendants move the bloated wreck of an eighty-six-year-old retiree who died in bed and stayed there until neighbors could no longer stand the smell. He steps back when they roll the poor soul, knowing that the torso is ripe and ready to burst and knowing, too, that the stench is going to be in the fibers of his clothes and on the hairs of his nose for the rest of the day. He sees the drownings that follow the first warm spring days and the senseless bar shootings that are a rite of the first July heat wave. In early fall, when the leaves turn and the schools open their doors, he spends a few days at Southwestern, or Lake Clifton, or some other high school where seventeen-year-old prodigies come to class with loaded .357s, then end the school day by shooting off a classmate’s fingers in the faculty parking lot. And on select mornings, all year long, he stands near the door of a tiled room in the basement of a state office building at Penn and Lombard, watching trained pathologists disassemble the dead.
    For each body, he gives what he can afford to give and no more. He carefully measures out the required amount of energy and emotion, closes the file and moves on to the next call. And even after years of calls and bodies and crime scenes and interrogations, a good detective still answers the phone with the stubborn, unyielding belief that if he does his job, the truth is always knowable.
    A homicide detective endures.
    The Big Man sits with his back to the green metal bulkhead that separates the homicide and robbery offices, staring abstractedly at the city’s skyline through the corner window. His left hand cradles a glass mug in the shape of a globe, filled to the Arctic Circle with brown bile from the very bottom of the office coffeepot. On the desk in front of him is a thick red binder with the notation H8152 stamped on the front cover. He turns away from the window and stares at the binder with malevolence. The binder stares back.
    It is a four-to-twelve shift, and for Donald Worden—the Big Man, the Bear, the only surviving natural police detective in America—it is the first day back from a long weekend that did nothing to change his disposition. The rest of his squad senses this and gives him wide berth, venturing into the coffee room only on errands.
    “Hey, Donald,” offers Terry McLarney during one such sortie. “How was the weekend?”
    Worden shrugs at his sergeant.
    “Did you do anything?”
    “No,” says Worden.
    “Okay,” says McLarney. “So much for small talk.”
    The Monroe Street shooting did this to him, stranding him at a corner desk in the coffee room like some iron-bottom dreadnought run aground in the shallows, waiting for a tide that might never

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