Chapters 7 and 8
A Taste From My New Book
Here we learn that Christine has a lot to offer the Joint Human Analysis Directorate - a murder prediction and tracking station based in Heaven.
And we learn the motivations behind Harry Moss, a dead FBI agent with a desire to put child killers away where they belong.
To remind readers, the year is 1971, and Christine has just died in a plane crash...
Harry rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “An MRI…very interesting. Heard about the technology, but didn’t know it was possible yet.”
“It isn’t,” Christine held the microphone away from her mouth, “they’ve only been tested on animals so far.”
“What’s an MRI?” Rodger, the black man with the Coke-bottle eyeglasses, asked.
“Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” Christine said. “I discovered my camera had the capability to perform a rudimentary MRI during the atomic testing in Bikini. We accidently scanned the brains of 23 Japanese fishermen. The camera uses a radioactive isotope to supplement the battery pack, and that provides the necessary angstroms of electromagnetic energy.”
Awair shook his head. “But what can you tell us about Belliche from that?”
“Watch and learn.” Christine punched the mic button. “Kilo-Kilo Lima Five…go ahead and power up your camera.”
Awair’s flat screen monitor flashed and went dark – then suddenly lit up with the pulsating, but recognizable image of a living human brain.
The effect was absolutely astonishing. Christine was rather proud of her accomplishment; and even forgot – momentarily - that this was all an elaborate dream. She adjusted the refresh repetition slightly, and the image sharpened further.
“That - ladies and gentlemen - is the mind of your killer.” Christine pointed to the screen, then moved closer. “What you are looking at is the temporparietal junction of the occipital lobes. I believe this is where the brain overcomes any…hesitation…in killing another human being.”
“How could you possibly know that?” Rodger said, irritated. “Harry told us you were an expert in cameras.”
Christine spread her hands. “Cognitive psychology is a hobby of mine, but I’ve taken the process of my hobby very seriously. And I’ve honed that process by examining convicted men on death row, as well as their autopsy reports.”
“Their what?” Rodger said.
“Death row inmates have neurotoxins in their spinal fluid that is found nowhere else…”
Rodger ripped off his headset. “That still d - ”
Harry held up a hand. “Everyone, settle down. Christine, what can we do with this information?”
Christine massaged her forehead. “Well, you can study the colors in the occipital lobe of your subjects from now on, for one thing. Do you see the whitish color on Belliche’s frontal cortex?”
“I see it.” Harry said, his interest clearly piqued. “What does that mean?”
“Well, that’s myelination…and I believe the whiter it is - the better. White means very little blood flow. That would indicate – quite possibly - that Belliche hasn’t made a decision to follow through with this murder yet.”
Awair nodded. “She’s right…looking directly at the blood flow is the answer, Harry. This is a game-changer…knowing the color of that area in a murderer’s brain could make tracking a breeze compared to what we’ve been doing.”
“Umm, yeah.” Harry studied the flat screen. “And if the lobes aren’t so white?”
Christine sighed. “I think that area of Belliche’s brain will start to turn pink or even red as blood flows in after a definite decision to kill has been made.”
“So…occipital lobe color is bad?”
“Color,” Christine replied, “in your line of work, Harry - is a disaster.”
Christine sighed. “I like you, Harry….but this place sucks.”
“Tell me about it.”
A half-finished break room away from the action of the ground floor contained two commercial coffee-makers bubbling away quietly, with dozens of cups in a sink between them. Harry rinsed a couple of large mugs, then poured two cups of coffee.
“Black is fine.”
Harry led Christine outside of the massive JHAD building to a dusty terrace overlooking a town built on a bluff. Christine took a moment to admire the old-fashioned city below. The streets of a small town were alive with life, with gas lanterns lighting the way for horse-drawn trolleys and couples window shopping at mostly closed stores.
Christine noticed that the city ended at a waterfront with hundreds of antique fishing vessels bobbing in the bay. Some of the boats were dark, but most were lit up with a variety of colorful lights.
The night sky overhead was spectacular, the stars brilliant and well-defined. Christine guessed that a complete lack of pollution attributed to that, because the air smelled so clean. She was struck by the tranquil nature of the environment, and how much it was in contrast with the inner workings of the JHAD building.
Christine took one of the mugs. “It’s no fun what you do. Seriously. If this really is Heaven, I mean. Looks more like the South of France on a Sunday evening.”
Harry sighed and leaned against the railing. “You have no idea how much I’d rather be playing golf, sweetheart. Seriously. I was an FBI agent until a year ago.”
“You were in the FBI?” Christine was astonished.
Harry nodded. “I dreamed up the Behavioral Science Unit for them in 1966 - my specialty was profiling murderers. We have a lot in common, actually.”
Christine was overwhelmed. First this crap….then she remembered everything she’d left behind. Josh…his parents…the wedding.
It was all just too damn much, and tears welled.
She let her guard down without meaning to. “I was supposed to get married, you know…in just a few days. Everything was going so well. Josh and I were going to spend our lives together.”
“I know, Christine.” Harry looked up at the stars. “I am sorry about that.”
Christine, overcome by pent-up emotions, started to cry. Harry watched her without saying anything…which was probably for the best. Christine chuffled like a Snuffaluffagus….wiping her eyes crossly.
“It’s not fair, Harry!”
“No, it’s not fair at all.” Harry said gently, pulling open his shirt to reveal two puckered wounds that had punctured his chest.
“I was shot, Christine. My daughter’s first birthday. I was out getting her a present when a bank robbery call came over my car radio. It was my day off, too.”
Christine sniffled and studied his bullet wounds.
“But….you went anyway?”
“Yes, Christine, I went anyway. That’s just how things work out sometimes.”
“Yeah.” Harry said. “And fair ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.”
Christine shuddered, hugging herself against the chill in the air. Then she banged the iron railing with her fist.
“I only got to have sex once, Harry! And I really liked it! A lot!”
“Christine…” Harry paused. “You are standing here beside me – right now – for a reason. Understand this, though…God’s plan for you never included taking you away from the life you wanted. He doesn’t work that way. But if you are here with me then it’s for something important.”
“I think this agency means a great deal to God, but I haven’t figured out why yet.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re a smart girl.” Harry said with a smile. “There is nothing in JHAD that God can’t do for Himself. So it must be the people involved with JHAD that make it important – people like you and me. I’m nobody particularly special; I just want to make sure the bad guys get their due. Just like I did back on Earth.”
Christine placed a hand on the railing. “And me?”
“Are you kidding?” Harry laughed. “Did you see what you did in there? In the span of fifteen minutes you brought back one of our agents back from the edge of total burn-out, and you showed every technician that we can reliably track murderers using their own brain activity.”
“Okay, yeah…that was kind of cool…but what now?”
Harry straightened his tie. “You need some rest. In the morning we’re going to God’s house for breakfast. Best breakfasts ever at God’s house. Bacon, eggs, bacon, bacon and bacon.”
“I take it you like bacon.”
Harry snorted. “Who needs to watch their cholesterol when you’re already dead?”
You can read
Chapter 9 here
Chapter 9 here
You can read
Chapter 10 here
Chapter 10 here
Are you enjoying
the tale so far?