†††††††††††††††† ††††The Death Angel  

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††by Stuart Reed 

Trash runs are one-man responses by Homicide investigators not amounting to reported murders-incidents such as suicides, accidental deaths, baby deaths, and in this particular case, an industrial death. The rookie investigator had been busy since dawn that Monday morning, running about the County as folks woke to find their loved one nonresponsive or their driveway blocked by the local wino face down in full rigor. 

Before the age of beepers, cellular phones and hand-held radios, investigators had to maintain contact with their desk as assignments were meted out over landline. Such was the case when Sergeant Jack Lawton sent the Kid (not his real name) out to Firestone on an industrial death.  

"You got one at Acme plating company, Kid. You*re a Firestone lad so you know where it is, right?" "Yes sir, it*s right off Slaus - "Give me the geography lesson next time - they*re dropping like flies - stay in touch."  

The plant manager explained that Neddie showed up still under the influence of the weekend, along with the rest of the work force. The usual Monday morning occurrence at the chrome plating plant. Neddie had been on top of the catwalk spanning the plating bath, a foul smelling vat of acid used to prepare metal for the process of plating. Neddie had turned around to respond to a co-worker who was heckling him from the ground floor, when he slipped and fell over the hip-high guard railing. Into the vat went Neddie. By the time his feet were submerged, the rest of him had already dissolved! 

As the Kid filled his notebook with the manager*s statement, Parker was climbing the catwalk, yelling down, "I seen the whole thing! Neddie was hung over and when he went across to get the basket, he lost it like this and..." Neddie wasnít the only one ripped that morning because Parker tripped and slipped under the railing to fall into the vat, joining Neddie. 

The Kid telephoned the office while in a state of disbelief, his budding career churning in his stomach. Sergeant Lawton grunted once, put the call on hold and called the Captain. After an interminable wait, the Captain came on the line. "Kid, don*t talk to anyone there. Just back out and get in here before you kill somebody else" 

At the office, the Kid was tenderly treated by the oldsters with comments such as "How ya doiní Killer? "You better hope they don*t file involuntary on your dumb ass..."

"When are the posts?" Only at Firestone.