Today one of the guys came into my office and asked me to take a look at some autopsy photographs and render an opinion. She was a gunshot victim and there was a constellation of injuries that nobody could quite put a name to, or get a handle on. The entry wounds and the exit wounds were pretty easy, but there was this weird bunching of avulsions and friction burns clustered on her upper chest that the prosecutor wanted explained.

I went through all the photos. I got a picture of what happened.

What seems odd, though, is how goddamn interested in it all I was. I felt frustrated not being able to grab her arm and move it up and over so the one wound would line up like I knew it wanted to with another one on her chest. I wanted to have her there in front of me so I could really figure it out. I wanted to probe the wounds and excise the tissue around them and to see the myriad tiny details that a camera will never capture unless the guy shooting is as obsessive and compulsive as I am when it comes to figuring out the mechanism of injury on the newly dead.

I was hungry for it.


After that I went into the bosses office and reminded him that if he needed anybody from the office to attend any postmortems, I was the guy.


I don’t know. It maybe sounds a little bit sick and maybe it is. But I got a gift for it, I know I do. I would have been a hell of a cutter. But they never get to hit anybody or point guns at them and they don’t get to drive fast in car chases. And they probably have to go to college and med school, even if they don’t have to do very well there. I mean, somebody goes through all that and all they want to do is cut stiffs? I’d say they have a confidence problem.

But for me?

I could do it over and over again.


I like the science and the medical stuff, but mostly I like the figuring out what exactly the murderer did and what exactly the victim experienced and it is those things that I want to have and to know and to hold close to me. Because I should know. That is my job.

A lot of cops, it surprises me, they don’t give a shit.

“She’s dead, he killed her. Who cares whichever way and whatever wound, etc.?”


I get it like an itch.