Homicide detectives respond to all deaths that are not natural causes. This detective was a 19 year vet with the force with seven of those on homicide. He's gregarious and fun, never letting what he sees every day affect his humor.
The call came in as a DOA. The detective walked up the narrow stairs, careful to avoid the peeling wallpaper that seemed to reach off the wall and try to grab passersby. He walked into the upper apartment towards the man who was wailing next to his lifeless friend. The television blared, tuned to the Catholic channel. A television tray faced the television with a Bible spread open and dog-eared with most of the lines highlighted in neon yellow.
Two fentanyl patches were crumpled next to the dead man's head. The clear adhesives opened and the prescription painkiller had been stripped clean. The gooey remnants on the patches matched the substance around the dead man's mouth. It was another casualty to the fentanyl epidemic.
It was ruled an overdose after confirmation by the medical examiner. Twenty-four hours later the detective was called to a familiar location. He walked up the narrow staircase, with less care for the wallpaper. The sounds of a televised preacher exhorting his flock to follow Christ sounded from inside the open door. The detective entered and found the distraught friend dead on arrival with now all too familiar fentanyl patches stripped bare on the ground next to the immobile body. The detective shook his head and walked out, unable to explain a man killed after watching his friend suffer the same fate, at the same place, and in the same way the day before.