The dispatcher had received a call from the housemate of a 26-year-old white female who hadn’t returned home the night before from a blind date and wasn’t answering her cellphone.
It wasn’t a surprise that, at first, the police paid little attention to the dispatcher’s report. After all, mornings were like a zoo at the precinct. All of the nocturnal creatures from the night before were stepping into the light, so to speak, and the officers on duty were barely keeping their heads above water.
Besides, these are modern times and the woman was over 21. Perhaps she and her blind date really hit it off. Maybe she intentionally shut off her cell so as not to spoil “the moment.” But when she also failed to show up for work that morning, the report started to get some serious attention.
Detective Fred Morrisey had been given a heads up when they found a green dress and some other articles of clothing hidden in the bushes around the reservoir about two hours after the initial missing persons call. According to the paperwork Morrisey had reviewed, the green dress matched the description of what the missing woman had been wearing when last seen by her housemate. No wallet, purse, or cellphone were found where the clothing had been spotted.
Was she alone or with her blind date, Morrisey silently wondered. Who was he and what happened to him? Could it have been an attempted robbery that went bad? Something as simple as a purse snatching? Maybe the victim fought back and ended up getting injured — or worse — in the struggle.
Morrisey’s experienced gut told him that sooner or later the uniforms would find the naked body of the woman who belonged in that green dress. But until they did, there was no case for him to pursue. Without a body, there was nothing for him, a homicide detective, to officially investigate. No body, no homicide.
He had other cases he was working, so he put the report about the missing woman aside. When his desk phone rang five minutes later, Morrisey knew even before he answered it that the body of the missing young woman had been found.
He also knew he was going to be in for a long day.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “zoo.”