Thursday, December 9, 2004

Bonjour, Monsieur Chest-Cold!

It was really just a matter of time... I always get a cold in December, sure as ducks is ducks. I can only hope that this year's appearance two and a half weeks before Christmas (ohmigod, it's only two and a half weeks til Christmas!? Eek) bodes well for the much-desired circumstance of not being sick on Christmas or on my birthday. Because that would suck... and has sucked on a number of occasions in the past.

At first I thought that the irritating phlegm that greeted me on awaking each morning this week was due to the mildew (to which I am allergic) that sometimes forms under my window after a heavy rain, but when I armed myself with a can of Lysol and pulled the bed away from the wall, there was nothing there. And then yesterday I felt stupid, which isn't necessarily an indicator of ill-health, and which I blamed on too many different things to do at work; but this morning I feel weak and groggy as well as congested and phlegmmy.

On the other hand, yesterday's stupidity allowed me to concentrate (mysteriously) on my book, and I wrote a new scene for Worst Luck. I haven't posted it yet, I have three more scenes to get through before I can end the chapter, and I would like to do that before I post it. But nevertheless, I am making progress.

I also got to talk to my uncle yesterday about police evidence and probable cause... as a retired policeman, I have often tapped his expertise about techincalities I've so far encountered in my story, but I had forgotten until I saw him yesterday that he'd worked for several years as an evidence technician, and so was something of an expert in fingerprints.

He confirmed my hope that having oil on your hands would obscure some fingerprints, but that the oil would get left behind eventually and some fingerprints would be found unless the oil was reapplied regularly. He also pointed out that not having fingerprints on the murder weapon would not dissuade the police from making an arrest, especially if the knife used in the murder were old and wood-handled... using one of our kitchen-knives to demonstrate, he showed me that such porous surfaces wouldn't take a print, and the rivets would be too small to get a match for an adult's fingerprint. The blade would take a print, though very few people handle the blade of a knife when using it... but if Danny had rummaged around in the kitchen drawers, he might have accidentally left a print on the blade, and that accident would certainly land him in jail.

My uncle also went on a long dissertation about my recent addiction to crime dramas... he was particularly irritated by CSI, where civilian forensic techs constantly question suspects and witnesses directly, which never happens in real life, and multimillion-dollar equipment is available to everyone in the precinct, and prints and DNA are lifted from absolutely impossible surfaces.

But still, in his experience, DAs don't throw out cases just because a defense attorney could question the evidence... and defense attorneys always attack fingerprints first. The scenario I outlined for him would certainly lead to arrest and arraignment, since Danny was the last person known to be with the victim, he had the victim's blood on him, and he admitted at the time of arrest to having a violent altercation with the victim (though he eventually denied killing him). Finding a nice clear thumbprint on the blade of the knife would seal the deal, and without any better suspect, the DA would most likely prosecute.


So anyway, it was good to learn all these things, and it was good to get a little more progress on the novel. I worry that I'm getting too caught up in details still, but I figure all of that can be addressed in the second draft.

Well, my darlings, I still have to go to work, sick or not. They need me today, there's a membership meeting that I have to coordinate, and a newsletter that I have to get started on, and I have all weekend to be sick in (though I have a show on Sunday, or maybe two). And I'm already hours late and haven't called in yet. So I guess I'd better get on to that. I just wish my head didn't hurt so much. Oh, well.

Ciao, bellissimi!

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