It's 2:30 a.m., but the lights burn over Detective Goswell's desk as she wades through boxes of old records from the 1970s, looking for arrest reports with intact fingerprints to compare with the prints she lifted from the Cliff College belt buckle found on the Sayers House corpse.
Elizabeth hears the door open, but she doesn't look up. She is afraid of losing momentum, or of losing her place, or perhaps of losing the tenacity to keep her eyes open. She knows Maud is there before she hears her voice -- the telltale smell of lavender precedes her.
In reply, Maud sets a grilled mushroom sandwich on the desk in front of Elizabeth, then moves to rub her partner's shoulders. Elizabeth stares at the sprouts mashed back against the sourdough crust by the tight Saran wrap. Maud's ministrations run down the taut cords of her upper back, slowly easing the tension of which, just moments before, she had been unaware.
MAUDI brought you a sandwich.
ELIZABETHWhy aren't you asleep?
Maud works on the knot she's hit near Elizabeth's shoulderblade as Elizabeth unwraps her sandwich and takes a bite.
MAUDYou're as tight as a fanbelt. Why don't you knock off and come home?
ELIZABETHHe's got to be in here somewhere.
MAUDHow do you know he's got a record?
ELIZABETHI don't, but these are the only fingerprints I've got.
MAUDThere must be hundreds of records there. You'll never get through them all comparing them by hand.
ELIZABETHIt's not so bad. He had a real distinctive kring and middlepocket to the right on his thumb.
ELIZABETHFingerprint talk... Mmmm, right there.
Elizabeth takes another bite, then suddenly comes to a realization.
ELIZABETHI'm wracking my brain trying to figure out who Virgil could have killed. I mean, he had that big fight with Dick over your letter, but then Dick's still alive.
MAUDThere was certainly bad blood between Virgil and McGeorge Archibald when Virgil was appointed department Chair over Archibald.
ELIZABETHWell, Archibald's still with us, too. And besides, who's going to commit murder over a promotion that's all work and no raise?
MAUDHis brother wasn't so crazy about him, either. You know, all that tribal politics stuff.
ELIZABETHYeah, well there's no shortage of people who Virgil had run-ins with, but they're all still around... This sandwich is great. What's in here?
Elizabeth swallows her mouthful without chewing it up, almost gagging in her haste to articulate her thought.
ELIZABETHMmmeyeth eez mot za mlljr.
Elizabeth starts rifling through the files on her desk at a furious pace.
ELIZABETHMaybe he's not the killer! What if that's Virgil down there in the morgue? MAUDYou mean he never took off? ELIZABETHMaybe he tried to, but someone got to him first and killed him for the bird!
She continues to shuffle through the files until one of them catches her eye. With a squeal of delight, she extracts a piece of paper with a small card Scotch-taped to it.
ELIZABETHI know it's in here somewhere. Remember when Dick knocked his tooth out?
She digs into the morass of papers on her desk until she finds the copy of the corpse's fingerprints. Then she compares them side by side.
ELIZABETHHere they are. Virgil's prints. And there's that distinctive kring and middlepocket.
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