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Authors: Alan Weisz

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BOOK: Finals
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As Hayley and I left to attend class, Sister Robinson reiterated the only article we were to print relating to Brent’s death was the increase in campus security. No opinion pieces. No updates. Nada.

 

Today was Tuesday, the day when Hayley and I shared Sister Robinson’s news with the other two senior members of
The Gazette
A-Team. Victoria Veers was the first to find me in the newsroom.

 


If it’s not the one and only Miss Veers,” I said, giving her a brief smile as she entered. “You look lovely as always.”

 


And you look like a piece of shit. Do you seriously get dressed in the dark, Wayne?”

 

Our standard greeting.

 

Vickie was our foul-mouthed, fashion obsessed, living editor. She was a pro-choice, atheist who would likely have more premarital sex than I would marital sex. Her nose piercing, revealing attire and raunchy vocabulary meant that our conservative boss was frightened to death of the girl, but despite her brash temperament, the nun knew good writing when she saw it.

 

Trevor Vault, our opinion editor, was the next to arrive. Unlike Vickie, Trevor didn’t merit being an editor, but Sister Robinson loved the innocent Catholic boy no matter how incompetent he appeared. Trevor had been an altar boy during the weekly services held on campus at the Chapel of Christ the Teacher for the past two years and it was only due to a friendship that stemmed from Catholicism that linked this moron to the position he now held.

 

The opinion editor’s job was a no-brainer. You post student pieces that spark interest but not controversy. In the first issue of this year’s
Gazette,
the opinion piece Trevor picked stated that the school’s health center should pass out free condoms to any students wanting them. The backlash from that selection was not pretty. The following week, to make up for publishing such a liberal piece, Trevor picked an article entitled “
Toby Keith: The Voice of America
.” From that issue on, Hayley has reviewed or changed Trevor’s work to avoid any further travesties.

 

In her usual fashion, Hayley arrived out of breath, full of disingenuous apologies. For such a bright, organized student her knack for showing up late baffled me. I knew she had a busy schedule but come on, being a French major isn’t high on the list of most difficult majors. Personally, I was under the impression Hayley constantly showed up late because she knew she could get away with it. Being a beautiful blonde with a bubbly personality has certain advantages, such as being able to continuously arrive late without suffering any repercussions.

 

Once Hayley greeted everyone, she whipped out her notebook, her massive supply of Post-it notes, and the meeting commenced.

 


I absolutely hate starting our meetings off on the wrong foot, but I believe in this instance it is best to let it all out in the open,” Hayley said, directing this statement towards Vickie and Trevor. “Sister Robinson informed us we can no longer print articles relating to Brent’s death. This week we can publish the article about the increase in campus security, but nothing more.”

 


Tell me you’re twisting my tit, Hayley?” Vickie said.

 


Yeah, have you seen our
inbox, it’s like, at max space with opinions and news and stuff,” added Trevor.

 


I am aware of that fact, Trevor. Sadly, I’m afraid my hands are tied. I attempted to change Sister Robinson’s mind but my efforts were futile. University officials do not want additional undesirable media attention.”

 


Fuck my life,” Vickie said, throwing her notebook in the middle of the newsroom. “This shit never happens to Christiane Amanpour. Why do I even try?”

 


What? Did you find anything out?” I inquired.

 


Oh, you’d want to have my beautiful black babies, Wayne, if you knew what I found out.”

 


Let’s hear it,” I said.

 


Yes, I am rather curious as well. Who knows we could use the information at some point,” Hayley said encouragingly.

 

After an unnecessary long exhale, like one of those divas on
The Real Housewives of Orange County
, Vickie began.

 


Okay, so I’m walking out of the Round Table with my peppermint mocha when I notice a police car on the near side of the parking lot. I figured the police were at the scene of the crime so I decided to head to the library and see if I could get a question or two answered. Low and behold, I go downstairs to the bathroom and find Denzel scribbling on a notepad right outside the men’s room.”

 


Was he an officer or a detective?” Hayley asked.

 


Was it Denzel Washington?” Trevor asked.

 


Yeah, fucknut, it was Denzel Washington because when he isn’t busy acting he likes to solve crimes,” Vickie retorted.

 


I was only asking,” said Trevor.

 


If I may, Victoria,” I said, explaining this perplexing metaphor to Trevor. “By Denzel are you referring to a fine black man with whom you’d like to ‘get chummy’?”

 


Nicely paraphrased, Catholic boy, you always get me. Yes, this gorgeous black man was outside taking notes, and since he was wearing one fine-ass suit, I imagine he was a detective. Anyways, so I asked the man ever so sweetly what he found out. He said due to the library staff’s unsanitary practices, the forensic team found a lot of DNA. They probably had over two hundred suspects at that point and the number was only increasing. They found blood, urine, jizz, you name it. They even found a few strands of female hair meaning some skank could even be the perp.”

 


What will the next move be after the department analyzes the initial DNA samples?” Hayley asked, looking up briefly as she continued to write down every word coming out of Vickie’s mouth.

 


Once the forensic team matches the samples, Denzel said that the department will conduct interviews with all of the potential suspects. Denzel was hush about the questions he would ask, but from the sounds of it, he’s going to begin by interviewing those close to Brent and see if any leads develop,” said Vickie.

 


Was there an official position at this point in the investigation? Has it been ruled a homicide?” asked Hayley, continuing to feverishly jot down notes.

 


He gave me that same piece of shit cop response you hear on TV all the time. ‘At this point in the investigation we are not ruling out any option.’ But come on, every person with a scrap of intelligence knows Brent was murdered.”

 


So the dude didn’t mention suicide? Vickie you never know with these things—” Trevor began.

 


Like I said, anybody with a clue knows it’s a murder,” said Vickie loudly with disdain.

 


But there was a knife in Brent’s hand when he died. Dude, Wayne, in your article, you said there was no evidence to suggest foul play,” said Trevor.

 

Speaking for me as she often does, Vickie jumped in before I was able to respond. “Wayne wrote that so mass hysteria wouldn’t break out, you dipshit. Do you think having students walking around campus terrified that a fucking wacko is going to shank them next is a good thing?”

 


Huh, I mean that makes sense. Still, I don’t think you can totally say it wasn’t suicide.”

 


Your mama must have dropped you on your head so many—”

 


Did you find out anything else, Vickie?” I asked, half hoping to see if the police were on to me and half wanting to avoid another pointless argument.

 


Sadly, Denzel had to hit the bricks so I couldn’t get any more answers out of him,” said Vickie.

 


Marvelous work, Vickie! Absolutely stellar investigating!” Hayley said giving Vickie a hearty smile as she finally placed her pen on the newsroom table.

 


Yeah, I know, but my efforts don’t amount to a speck of shit since the almighty Sister Robinson and our conservative faculty censor, edit and cut my feet out from under me making my chances of turning this into an award-winning article utterly impossible.”

 


I know this material can’t be printed in
The Gazette
but that does not mean we should dismiss the matter like the St. Elizabeth faculty. Collectively we know more about Brent’s death than any other students on campus. Arguably, we know as much about Brent’s death as the police do. I believe it is our responsibility to assist the police.”

 


But Sister Robinson said that—” started Trevor.

 


Fuck that old nun. I’m down with what you’re saying Hayley. The university has a different agenda, one that doesn’t involve solving this case. We can at least talk some shit out or try to build a profile so we can help catch the perp,” said Vickie.

 


I love the idea to build a case profile,” Hayley exclaimed excitingly, continuing to scrawl on her notepad as she talked with childlike enthusiasm. “Sprinkle in an ounce of hard work with a dash of investigative reporting and we may find ourselves solving this murder!”

 


We have the paper to put together, Hayley,” I said. “We don’t have time to pretend we’re undercover detectives.”

 

I didn’t want the girls to build a profile against me and I didn’t want to have to spend time trying to find myself. Hayley would expect me to come up with evidence and put forth an effort to solve this crime. Revealing information was easy; finding information not linking me to the crime was a more difficult task. I would have to come up with top-notch bullshit or locate a police officer, professor or fellow student with inaccurate information, then pass it on to Hayley. Moments like this made me hate good journalism.

 

This whole ploy was pointless. The odds of Hayley building a case pinpointing me to the crime were extremely doubtful. She was one smart cookie, but bringing down a criminal mastermind such as myself was not going to happen. I had covered my tracks and left no clues whatsoever. Seriously, what was she going to find? Maybe a forensic whiz might be able to connect me to Brent’s death, but it sure as hell wasn’t going to be a ninety pound blonde French major.

 


Please, you party-pooper. We can handle more than the week to week business,” Vickie said. “Is a little brainstorming gonna kill you, Wayne?”

 

I shrugged. I would be digging myself a hole if I continued complaining. Who knows, maybe if I spewed off some convincing bull I could guide these fools down the wrong path entirely.

 


Okay then, how about we go around in a circle and share our thoughts. I know very elementary of me,” said Hayley lightly giggling. “But this way we will each get a turn to state our ideas then we can brainstorm when we are finished sharing. How about you go first, Trevor?”

 


Uh ok…” Trevor began. “No offense here Vickie, but if I were to guess I would have to say the murderer is one of your type,” he said, looking at the table to avoid Vickie’s deathly stare.

 


You’re lucky there’s a table between us or I’d bitchslap you so hard you’ll wish your mother would have aborted your ass,” said Vickie.

 


You know I didn’t mean it like that, I was—”

 


Oh, you didn’t mean it, huh? Tell me something Trevor, what’s my fucking type? Don’t tell me, I’m the type that texts while intoxicated while driving while some starving artist I met at the local dive bar furiously tongues my twat because it’s the first decent meal he’s had all month. Fuck you! At least I’m not a crackerjack momma’s boy who shops at K-Mart and spends his free time playing frisbee golf with fellow limp-dick virgins.”

 


Screw you, Vickie! I’m not a momma’s boy and if I want to wait until I’m married to have sex, that’s my own personal decision!” yelled Trevor.

 

 

 


A fucking idiotic one!” retorted Vickie. “There’s nothing better than getting hammered at a party and having premarital sex with a perfect stranger. Am I right, Yorky?”

 

I hated for Trevor to view me as a party animal, sex-having jerk that boned chicks then refused to call them back. Honestly, I wasn’t that guy anyway, but I had engaged in premarital sex and unfortunately I had done the deed with the girl sitting a few feet away from me. Vickie knew of our liaison because she stuck her nose in everyone’s business. Hearing of our relationship was easy enough, since we worked side by side, unless you were blissfully ignorant like our darling Trevor. The poor dumb bastard looked up to me as a fellow Catholic. He believed that Hayley and I were virgins like himself, waiting for that one “special” person. I couldn’t inform him that he was in the sexual minority. He would be crushed.

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