CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CAPTAIN MACKIE WAITED BY A GIFT KIOSK FAR FROM THE COMMUNAL HABITATS AND THE PRESS. AS DETECTIVES LINCOLN AND COOK APPROACHED THERE WAS JUST A FRACTION OF A MOMENT WHERE HE WAS GOING TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH.   BUT THAT MOMENT PASSED.

“No offense, Captain,” Lincoln began with an expression that almost always preceded him saying something generally offensive. “But we’re Homicide, and this is clearly a mauling.   A pack of wild dogs, a stray coyote, something animally.”

“Lincoln is right, Sir,” said Gail, backing up her partner. “You would have been better off calling Animal Services.”

Mackie nodded in the direction of the press. “Tomorrow morning the city is going to wake up to read about a beautiful young coed dead in Central Park.

“The park is going to blame the city, the city is going to blame the people for acting like animals, and the people are going to blame the police for not protecting them. We’ll point out it was a mauling, and the press will shout we’re covering something up.”

“So the best way to prove this wasn’t a murder…” Lincoln began.

“…is to treat it like one,” concluded Gail.

Captain Mackie touched his nose: Exactly.   He walked away.

“Want to look at the body again,” she asked Lincoln when they were alone.

“Honestly, I’m okay with the Cliff Notes,” He demurred at the thought of seeing the damage to the victim again.

Gail rolled her eyes: Come on.   She turned to go and he hung back just a moment in an effort to afford himself the best possible view as she walked away.