Resurrection 25Posted: November 9, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Tom watched J.W. enter the restaurant. J.W. saw him as well and headed over to their usual booth. It was 12:18.
“You’re late, I gave up on you and ordered already.” Tom said.
“Yeah, sorry, had something unplanned to take care of before I left, sorry.” J.W. wasn’t one to kiss and tell.
Sharon approached the table. “What can I get for you today, Preacher?”
“How about a plate of the chicken fingers and fries,” replied J.W. “And Doc’s paying.”
“Actually, I could use some coffee.” J.W. still hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a week.
“Commin’ up,” said Sharon. Then she leaned in a bit closer to J.W.
“Just want to say,” Sharon added, “It’s good to see you in the flesh. When I heard you died I might’ve cried a tear or two. Probably not three though.”
J.W. appreciated the deprecated sentiment. “Thanks, Sharon, it’s nice to hear.”
Sharon turned to Tom, “Your catfish will be up in a minute.” She turned and headed back to the kitchen.
Sharon had owned BJs since before J.W. was born. Thirty-seven years. She and her restaurant were a fixture in Silerville. She can still remember going to ballgames and watching J.W. and the other little leaguers. She would give them all free ice cream after a win.
In the 80s she had done the “big remodel” of the old restaurant. New booths, new tables, new chairs. Installed a pristine white acoustic tile ceiling. Now the vinyl on the seats was cracked and peeling, same with the chairs. The acoustic tiles had become so discolored by cigarette smoke, Sharon decided 10 years ago just to paint them black rather than replace them.
“They’d just get dirty again,” thought Sharon at the time.
But despite the dilapidation, there was something about BJs that kept the people of Silerville coming. Coming to BJs was not coming to a restaurant. It was coming home. It was all the memories of growing up. Sharing ice cream with your ball team. Watching UK basketball with your friends. It was first dates and Mother’s Day meals.
Everyone loved BJs and everyone loved Sharon.
“So how does it feel to be back in the land of the living?” joked Tom.
“This morning it felt wonderful,” said J.W. making an inside joke with himself.
“Do they know anything yet about who the guy was?” J.W. knew Tom would be up on the investigation.
“I got a copy of the autopsy. They’re still waiting on serology. Probably be back in a week. And the guy wasn’t just stabbed, he was gutted. The killer stuck the knife in his belly, then twisted it and sliced up. Even cut his sternum in two.” Tom talked as if he were describing the weather as Doctors often do.
“You’re killing my appetite,” protested J.W.
“Sorry. Anyway, to get that much leverage the killer had to be tall. I’m 5’8″…” Tom began.
“Yeah, I never let you forget it.”
“You’re what? 5’11” or so, right?”
“Our killer is well over 6′. And he’s strong. No way a woman could have done this.” Tom was a bit fascinated by the investigation. Even as coroner he had never been involved in this type of killing.
“Frankfort is going to hold the body in fridge until they get some kind of ID. They already sent for DNA. Mitochondrial will get back in about a week. The full DNA profile will take a month, maybe more depending on what priority they give it.”
J.W. was fascinated by the whole thing as well. He was intimately involved in this mystery, possibly by chance, and he wanted it solved, possibly even more than the cops.
“So how do they figure out who the guy is?” asked J.W.
“They’ll take the preliminary DNA and run it against the DNA database, see if there’s any hits. If he or a relative in the same maternal line is in the database, it will find them. They’ll run it again if they still haven’t figured it out once the full profile is done.” answered Tom.
“According to Dalton, there’s no matching missing person report for this guy in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee or West Virginia. He could be from someplace else. We just don’t have any way of knowing. But there are some clues they’re following up on. He had your driver’s license. They already found out it was a legitimate, not a fake, ordered in person as a duplicate from the Bath County Clerk’s office. That means this guy had to know he looked exactly like you, and had the balls enough to walk in, pretending to be you, to a County Clerk.”
“Why would someone go to such lengths to steal my identity? My credit is so so, I don’t have any money to speak of. Heck, we don’t even own a house.” J.W. wondered.
“In my mind,” Tom continued, “the bigger question is whether or not this guy is somehow related to you. You know, that’s a good possibility. I expect the Chief’s gonna have you come in for a DNA sample.”
“Yeah, I thought about that. He could be a brother or something.”
“One thing that has us all puzzled was what he was doing in Silerville. If all he wanted to do was steal your identity, he could have done that over the internet. He obviously had already gotten all of your details. You don’t have to physically come to a person’s town to steal their identity. There are lots of questions that need to be answered.”
Tom leaned in toward J.W., a look of concern on his face. “J.W., I would be careful until we figure out what this whole thing is about. I think you’re safe, but until we know who this guy is and why he was killed, be careful.”
Just as Tom spoke, Sharon brought over his catfish and hushpuppies. “There ya go. J.W., yours will be up in a jiffy.”
“You know, Doc, that fried food on your short frame is going to make you fat.” Said J.W.
“Shut up,” replied Tom, picking up a piece of catfish and taking a bite.