Snake in the Grass by Bethany Hinkle


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(At the crime scene. PHOTOGRAPHER is taking pictures, clearly shaken.

OFFICER 2 is standing over the body holding a brown leather wallet and
OFFICER 1 is yelling at PHOTOGRAPHER)

(ROBERT enter carrying a black duffel)

PHOTOGRAPHER: (Swallows) I just need a minute. I wasn't expecting so
much blood.

OFFICER 1: This isn't even the worst thing we've seen in El Paso.
If you can't take a few lousy pictures without puking, you're in
the wrong business. Now start snapping the stiff, rookie!

ROBERT: I'm sure this man's loved ones would appreciate you
talking about him like that.

OFFICER 1: Who the hell are you?

ROBERT: (Flashes his badge) Not someone you want to piss off right
now. It's not been a good week.

OFFICER 2: (Shakes ROBERT's hand) Thank you for responding so
quickly. Detective Fischer, was it?

ROBERT: It was.

OFFICER 1: You called Homicide?

OFFICER 2: Well, it's the second death this week and it is their
jurisdiction

OFFICER 1: Whatever. As long as it ain't my problem.

(Exit)

ROBERT: What've you got for me? (Puts on latex gloves)

OFFICER 2: We got a call about a body at 6:47 this morning. When we
got here, we found this.

ROBERT: (Points to the ground) Is that his knife?

OFFICER 2: We assumed so. It's got his name engraved on it. (Hands
wallet to ROBERT)

ROBERT: (Reading ID in wallet) Thomas Runt. Age fourty-three. Five
foot nine. One hundred seventeen pounds. (Whistles) Scrawny bastard.

(Puts wallet in a plastic bag)

OFFICER 2: (Hands ROBERT crumpled note) We found this suicide note in
there, too. Couldn't take it anymore and slit his own throat.

ROBERT: (Puts note in another plastic bag) Any witnesses?

OFFICER 2: No witnesses, but we do have the two sisters who called
about the body.

ROBERT: What did they say?

OFFICER 2: Didn't get anything out of them. One of them only spoke
Spanish and the other one was coked up and jittery. I sent her off to
the hospital.

ROBERT: Alright, we'll get a statement from the Spanish speaker when
my partner gets here.

(BENITO enter; talking on the phone)

ROBERT: Speak of the devil.

BENITO: (Talking on the phone) Please call me back when you get this.
I love you. (Hangs up)

ROBERT: You're late, amigo!

BENITO: I'm aware of that, Robert.

ROBERT: Morning Mass run long?

BENITO: No, Mass got out on time. I had a run-in with Senator Donovan
Tracey.

ROBERT: I didn't know he was in town.

BENITO: Neither did I. I caught him harassing an elderly couple from
Jerusalem. I let him off with a warning. (Puts on latex gloves) I
should have arrested him. I'll bet that would look real good in the
middle of his presidential campaign.

ROBERT: Do you often say, 'I love you' to politicians?

BENITO: What? Oh! No, I was talking to Patricia.

ROBERT: (Awkwardly) Oh, so she finally answered?

BENITO: (Disappointed) No. I got her voicemail again.

(ROBERT exhales sigh of relief)

OFFICER 2: (Shakes BENITO's hand) You must be Detective Castell.

BENITO: Benito, but everyone just calls me Ben.

ROBERT: (Point offstage) We need a witness statement from that young
lady over there that only speaks Spanish.

BENITO: (Pulls out a pencil and notepad) I'm on it.

(Exit)

OFFICER 2: It's all the same to you, I'd like this to be over and
done with as quickly as possible.

ROBERT: Wouldn't we all?

OFFICER 2: Well, I've already had to run off Nora McGill twice.
She's started snooping around for information for her next big
article for the paper.

ROBERT: Figures. That woman leaves a bad taste in my mouth. She
won't rest until she has any and all information she can squeeze
regardless of whose lives she ruins in the process in the name of a
good story. She's a vulture.

(BENITO enter)

ROBERT: What did she say?

BENITO: She was pretty shaken up, but she won't talk to me. Seems to
have a problem with cops. She also seems to be under the influence of
drugs. She probably should have gone to the hospital with her sister.

ROBERT: Did you get her name?

BENITO: Ariana Valentino. I asked her if she wouldn't mind coming
back to the police station when she's calmed down so we can get an
official statement.

(ROBERT and BENITO inspect the body)

ROBERT: Do you think there could be any connection with the body we
found a few days ago?

BENITO: Not likely. The perimeters don't add up. The first victim
was found in the alley by those shitty loft apartments clear on the
other side of town.

ROBERT: Yeah, but two supposed self-inflicted deaths in one week seems
a little too convenient to me.

BENITO: Me too. Unfortunately though, until we get a positive ID on
the first victim to draw any connection, we'll have to treat this
one like a separate case.

(FLINT enter with bodybag and gurney, wearing a suit that says 'Coroner')

FLINT: Are you done with him, yet?

ROBERT: Yeah, you can take him. Thanks Flint.

(OFFICER 2 and FLINT load the body into the body bag and onto the
gurney; exit)

ROBERT: How soon can we expect Miss Valentino for that statement?

(Carefully puts the knife into another plastic bag; puts evidence bags
into the duffel)

BENITO: We can't. She won't talk to anyone in uniform.

ROBERT: (Suspiciously) That's a little weird.

BENITO: A little. Come on, let's get back to the station. There's
nothing else here. I wonder what's that girl's problem with the
police.

ROBERT: I have a theory.

(BENITO and ROBERT exit)

[end of extract]



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