Tuesday Tales:From the Word LONELY

NEW TT BADGEWelcome to September. When I was teaching, I always saw this date as the end of my vacation. Now that I’m retired, it’s just the start of a month with more of the same. This week’s Tuesday Tales is based on the word LONELY. Today, more than ever, people are isolated, alone, and lonely. I continue with The White Dahlia.


The White Dahlia

Given the time of night—or day—traffic was light. Beth reached her destination within ten minutes. A dozen people stood within a few yards of a sanitation truck up on the sidewalk, blocking the alley. Why were they even here? It was true that New York was billed as the city that never slept, but seriously, these ghouls should be in bed.

She shuddered. Hadn’t it been the same in Boston? The possibility of a fresh kill always drew the wraiths and vultures, people who got off on the misery of others, lonely souls who relished someone else’s worst luck. This person might’ve been murdered, but whether they had or not, they deserved some sympathy and respect.

Someone had to move that truck for the medical examiner’s van to get by—assuming the truck hadn’t hit someone dumpster diving for a late night snack.

After flashing her badge at the uniformed officer and the sanitation men standing with him, she scowled. They were pale, but given the intense aroma, she could understand why. Decomposing flesh was hard to mistake for anything else, but mixed with garbage like this, even her own stomach rebelled, reminded of previous gruesome acts. Glancing around, she couldn’t see Riley’s training officer. Where was Chou? It was her job to secure the scene.

“Sergeant Reynolds, Homicide. And you are?”

“Phil Carmichael and Gus Hernandez.” The shorter of the two men answered. “Gus is legal but his English ain’t as good as mine.”

“I see.” She pulled a small black notebook and pen out of the fanny pack she wore at her side, flipped the cover open and wrote down the names as well as the sanitation truck’s license plate and number. “Who’s got the keys to this thing?”

“I do, signora,” the taller of the two men answered.

“Did you hit the person?” Was that why the truck blocked the alley?

Madre de Dios, no. We found her here,” he struggled to speak English.

“I’ll take your cellphones.”


The men handed over their cellphones without argument. Glancing through the photos, recent texts, and social media posts, she verified they hadn’t taken any pictures—if there was anything really to take a photograph of—and handed the devices back.

“Don’t talk to anyone about what you found,” she ordered. “Pull the vehicle over there.” She indicated the curb a few feet away.

That’s it. Stay safe and don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales.

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