John Brown’s Body

They turned the corner then and came up on the crime scene. Several patrol cars, flashing red and blue, surrounded a lone white panel truck, yellow crime scene tape marking off everything. That was fine. What wasn’t fine was the big WJHG TV truck, and the young woman reporter, the bubbly one, standing talking to a Panama City Beach patrolman, big spotlight on him in the early morning gray, cute smile on her.

“Brandon, what have you done?” muttered Blackbeard, walking up.

“Blackie,” yelled the patrolman, Brandon. “Uh, Detective Blackbeard…”

The cameraman started to swing the camera in Blackbeard’s direction, but Terry stopped him. “You’ll need to step back over there, behind the yellow tape, sir,” he said. He remembered to be polite to the press this time. The reporter and the cameraman moved away.

“Blackie, I got one,” said Brandon. “Cousin, this is it, this is the bust that’s going to move me up the ladder, probably be wearing a suit like you tomorrow. Chief put out a reminder this morning, be on the alert for gypsies selling uninspected seafood from the back of trucks. Saw this guy, pulled him over, asked for a license, he gave me some song and dance about my not needing to see the back of the truck. I called for backup, we found a truck load of TVs, and this guy.”

Brandon pointed to the body lying on the pavement at the back of the truck, still partly wrapped in the moving blanket, just the head sticking out. “That means I’ve got a murder arrest and a major burglary arrest both in my jacket. Going to be moving up.”





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