clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cleaning Up

At left, tools of the trade.

Under the title of profession you may not know about is that of the appliance man.

Oh, this isn't the guy who fixes your washer. These are fellows who are ace disposal agents for the bodies and evidence of an unfortunate demise.

My first introduction to them was some years ago when I learned that - if available - a refrigerator is  the ideal storage compartment for the freshly dead. Yes, it is a beast to get the body inside. However, the problems of fitting nicely do not require the work of dislocating the hips as a dishwasher does.

It's nice to believe you can stuff a body in a mattress. They aren't made that way anymore. You can carve one up but it takes more than just a pocket knife and a leatherman tool.

Removing the evidence gets harder and harder. You cannot spray bleach around and believe the smell will go unnoticed.

The true crime section is full of "almost got away" stories with the tales of how, with a little more care, it might have worked. If you're looking for "foolproof" then these books have much to offer. It isn't my cup of tea. I write fiction. I make shit up.

Need to cover up blood stains? I give a character an industrial marine-grade spray epoxy.  Meh. It works. It isn't like I have to go and buy the stuff then live through its application.

Cleaning up is however an important topic in mayhem. Bodies are huge bags of liquids. They get all squishy. Getting rid of one is like moving 200 lbs of wet pasta. I love when a murder occurs in a book, the body is moved, and the detectives find not a trace. Oh, that makes me so happy. (Sarcasm - learn to recognize it).

How do I solve it in my stories? I have the killer leave the things as they fall. I don't want to have a conversation about how a Prius won't hold a man of 6'3" unless he's dismembered. I've hot-cut meat. I don't want to go there.

I hope things are tidy in your neck of the woods. I hope you're letting the bodies lie where they fall.

If not, watch your back. Throw it out moving Jimbo to the dumpster and you'll have a hard time getting into the convertible with the dame.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, I write cozies, so everything is super-tidy! :) Yes, I've kept away from police procedurals for many of which is the problem of not leaving clues (necessary if there's to be any sort of lengthy investigation by the police.) Interesting facts here!

jack welling said...

Oh, the cozie sub-genre of mystery: responsible for more horizontal bodies than the entire romance genre.

"I'm not sure how to get my characters in bed," complained Suzanne.

"Have then stabbed with the ice pick in the kitchen, my dear. Then they can be laid out all most anyway with ease," Agatha answered.