Mikey dropped his Molinaris‘ sandwich- 5 kinds of bologna layered in white French roll goodness- on his desk. He made no attempt to unwrap it. “I don’t know how you can eat at any time before or after visiting the coroner,” he said to Sosa’s general direction.
Sosa looked up from his Crackberry. “I told you, food replaces the smell, and that’s the worst part. So were you right? Was that guy homeless?”
“Nope. The third vic is… a yuppie from all accounts. Lives in Potrero, single, had some gin and juice in his stomach. Ate curry at some time that day.”
“Interesting pattern. They’re all the same guy, I mean, generally. I wonder what Beth has.” Sosa picked up his Crackberry again. Mikey rolled his eyes.
Beth leaned back in her cobalt blue prison cell of an office and took a break. She had decided to crawl around these social networks and see if she could spot the victims. MySpace made her head hurt. Everyone had these photo slideshows and disjointed punk music. She then hopped onto Facebook, the dating sites- OKCupid, Nerve & eHarmony– and pinged Yelp. It all made her pissy and hungry. She also had to get away from the Chinatown smells of ginseng and mothballs.
She crossed Columbus and walked up to Grant- at this time of day there’d be a lot of distractions at Caffe Trieste. She liked watching the walking commuters flowing from downtown to the Russian & Telegraph Hills. Guys with Timbuktu bags slung over their shoulder and white iPod earbuds plugged into place darted by the windows of the cafe, like if they walked too slow they’d get sucked in and never leave, never hit the gym or finish their taxes or whatever mundane workaday tasks they had lined up.
She noticed two guys talking at the counter who could have totally stepped out of a Mission hipster’s stereotype of North Beach. Both Italian descent, black curly hair, good looking, jeans, black leather jackets. God, couldn’t they at least wear an ironic t-shirt, or have a yoga bag? What about mutton chops?
“What’ll you have?” Mario asked the next customer in line. “Can you get us two special shots?” He asked Tony at the end of the counter. He could do this- talk to his friend and serve a line of 10 people, and not get confused. He started steaming some milk for the next order. Luckily he didn’t work in one of those non-fat, 2%, soy, nonsense kind of cafes. Here it was milk, whole milk, and nobody got anything different. He took the next order and poured two glasses of wine, then got cash. “So how are things going with you and the blond?”
Tony got behind the corner, to retrieve the secret Vov bottle from a high shelf. “Jane? Yeah, good. I gotta call her. It’s this murder thing. I can’t stop like, thinking about it. You know it was me who saw that last body. Me and her.” He poured the milky liqueur into their double espressos. “And you know what’s weird? So you know that was the second victim I saw from this killer- they think it’s all the same guy- and that night, when I saw the body, I talked to her later, and she told me. That was her second body too.”
“That gives me shivers.” He filled another order and filled the register. “Thing is, there’s so many drunks around here, I just thought it was another passed out guy, when I first heard. But he was murdered, right? It’s a real homicide?”
“Yeah. I had to make a statement, give them all my info, all that. But I don’t know anything more, like what it was all about or anything.”
Beth looked at the tall guy, the guy who had seen the victim. Sosa didn’t mention there was a witness, but it didn’t really pertain to her work necessarily. Still, overhearing the last part of their conversation, she wondered if it would be totally out of place to ask the guy his name, and if he was on MySpace. That just sounded too much like a pick-up line. She tried to sketch him. If he had seen the last victim, Sosa would know who he was.
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