Requiem for a Killer
and death, Dulce was able to take the blow with
dignity.
    “Thank you for being candid with me,” she
said unhappily. “You want to know the cause of death for the corpse
you sent me, right?”
    Dornelas felt like he was standing naked in
a public square. Shamed down to his bones, he didn’t even have the
gall to nod his head.
    “Would you like some wine?” he asked, hoping
to get out of the embarrassing situation.
    “White, please.”
    Given his ham-handed behavior he felt he
deserved to do penance; offering her a good bottle of wine was the
least he could do. He called the waiter and asked for the wine
list, then chose the grape, the year and the brand – keeping his
wallet in mind – and added two bottles of mineral water. Glancing
at the TV for the last time, he turned his attention to Dulce.
    “The man was diabetic, Joaquim, that’s why
he died. But what’s weird is that I found a very high dose of
insulin in his blood, enough to knock over a horse. With the excess
of insulin, all his glucose vanished and he went into a
hypoglycemic coma, identical to an alcoholic coma. His state of
unconsciousness was so deep that his brain activity was paralyzed,
leaving him with only his breathing and circulation functioning.
Without a glucose shot in the vein he passed from this world to a
better one.”
    “Did you find any other substance, any
drugs?”
    “Only residues of marijuana.”
    “What time do you think he died?”
    “Between two and five in the morning.”
    “After how long in this state of coma you
mentioned…?”
    “Hypoglycemic.”
    “That’s it. How long afterwards do you think
he died?”
    “It’s difficult to say. A couple of hours.
It depends on how deep the coma was, which would be directly
proportional to the dose of insulin he had in his blood, which, I
repeat, was enough to kill a horse.”
    “Do you know how long it took?”
    “It was quick, between one and three
hours.”
    “Suicide?”
    “I don’t think so.”
    “Why not?”
    “He had a purplish mark on his back,
probably where the insulin was injected. Large doses usually leave
a bruise where the needle goes in. Besides, if you want to commit
suicide with insulin, you don’t give yourself a shot in the back.
It’s a lot easier in the arm, leg or even your buttocks, which are
the places most used by diabetics.”
    “Thank you.”
    Dinner arrived. Dornelas seasoned the fillet
of sole with lemon and poured olive oil on the broccoli with a
heavy hand. Dulce had the penne al pomodoro pasta sprinkled
with basil leaves, one of Vito’s wife’s specialties, and close to
the divine according to his friend. They ate in peace, caught up
with each other, and emptied the bottle of wine.
    “You’re still a shithead, Joaquim. But a
shithead I can’t help liking,” she said when they were out in the
street.
    “Can I take you home?”
    “No need. I’m going to stop somewhere else
before going home.” Dulce went up to him and kissed his cheek.
    “Good night and take care of yourself
Inspector Joaquim Dornelas”; the sugar-coated words were thrown out
lightly.
    “Thank you. You take care too.”
    And then when she turned to leave;
    “And you really are beautiful.”
    “And I’ll pretend I believe you.”
     
    *
     
    Dornelas felt as if he were at the bottom of
the sea when the alarm went off at four in the morning. His head
was pounding and his body felt like it didn’t belong to him, as if
he was some kind of strange mannequin.
    He pushed himself out of bed clumsily and
went stumbling into the bathroom. Lupi, rolled up in a ball on the
rug next to the shower, didn’t move when the inspector came in to
relieve himself and get a drink of water straight from the tap by
cupping his hands together. Thirst quenched and partially revived,
Dornelas put on old clothes and rubber boots, picked up a cap and a
flashlight, checked the batteries and went out.
    He would be back after sunrise to take the
dog for a walk.
     
    *
     
    A fresh

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