One Way Or Another

Chapter 20

08/29/2005 Same day

Chapter Twenty

Warrick smiled as both men lifted their fisted left hands and proceeded to shake them three times to throw rock, paper or scissors. Warrick smiled as he held paper to Nick's rock. "Looks like you're swabbing and I'm writing."

"How come I always lose to you?" Nick asked good-naturedly.

"Just lucky, I guess." Warrick replied, smiling at his friend. He remembered just 3 months ago winning the coin toss that had left Nick on his own when he was kidnapped and buried alive. It still bothered Warrick that his friend had taken the hit when it could have just as easily been him. He got busy pulling out log sheets to begin copying down information that would correspond with the buccal swabs Nick would collect; his mind back on the task at hand.

Detective Vega came over after finishing with his last interview and stood next to Brass discussing with him what little he was able to determine. Vega felt something was definitely out of place here. A murder in county lockup was unusual; men got into heat of the moment fights, prepared to kill their opponents, that was common, but they didn't plot murder using a book as the murder weapon.

The circumstances of this killing, the supposed murder weapon, no witnesses in a room full of people; this was odd. Things weren't adding up.

Nick smiled as he watched Warrick go to work; he knew Warrick still blamed himself for Nick's kidnapping, but Nick knew it was just fate. Things always seemed to happen to him and he hated that, but he couldn't let it get to him every time something went wrong with the job.

He went to work himself as he laid out thirteen bags and swabs in preparation of swabbing the prisoners. He sighed as he looked up and down the line of prisoners. They all looked capable of pounding someone into the ground with just on e pile drive from their tattooed arms, but Nick tried hard to reserve any judgment. Hopefully, the DNA testing would give them their man.

"We're swabbing the guards too, right?" Nick asked Brass.

"Yeah. Looks like a given in this instance since no one knows exactly what happened. We need to hit all the bases here. Vega couldn't get much from the guards, so we need everything we can get." He answered. "Something's not right about this whole thing; it's off somewhere."

Nick nodded as he pulled seven more bags and swabs from Warrick's kit this time. "Okay, looks like we're ready to go."

Coleman stepped forward with his clipboard listing of the prisoners and the guards. "I've got everyone that was in the room listed here and I've already set aside a copy for you." He said as he readied himself to start calling off names for the CSIs.

Nick picked up the first swab, unclipped the lid and motioned for the first man in line, a dark bald African-American man in his mid fifties, to step forward. He walked over to Nick and Nick couldn't help but see the guy was a good head taller than him.

"Carpenter, Michael… ID# CAR 81305." Coleman read from his list.

Nick wrote the number on the baggie while Warrick wrote down the full name and number on his log sheet. The prisoner moved closer to Nick and stood with his mouth open before even being asked. He knew the drill and whatever it too, he wanted it over so he could get back to his cell.

Nick swabbed the inside of the man's cheek, pushed the swab in the tube and snapped the lid closed before dropping it in the labeled baggie, sealing it and handing it to Warrick who took it and stowed it in the evidence kit.

Coleman announced the next man in line as Jameson, Lawrence ID JAM 80401. Jameson was a short middle aged man with a biker's beer belly and a beard that rivaled any of the members of ZZ Top. He approached Nick and opened his mouth with a big yawn and Nick noticed the man was in desperate need of some major dental care. He couldn't help but turn his head towards Warrick and away from the smell.

Warrick laughed out loud as Nick handed him the bagged swab to add to the other evidence. I am so gonna get you for this one way or another; Nick's stare told Warrick.

Nick turned back to the next prisoner Taylor, Walter ID# TAY 80904. Taylor was a very tall very lanky bony guy with long greasy blonde hair hanging from a single braid down his back. He couldn't be more than twenty-three if he was a day, Nick thought. He looked like he had a nervous condition and Nick figured it was drug withdrawal.

The man had the shakes big time, but he stepped forward and opened his mouth after the guard prompted him. Nick swabbed and handed the evidence to Warrick. Next was Smith, John ID# SMI 71807. John was of average height and looked more like a mercenary, than a criminal. His hair was dark and cut in a crew cut. Nick was willing to bet his life on the guy being ex-military army ranger/navy seal type. He had that hard edge of battle weariness all over him. Nick figured this guy was trouble; the quiet ones usually were. They continued on until they were up to the ninth prisoner.

"Thompson, Christopher ID# THO 81213." Coleman called out as a white man roughly the same size as the Chrysler Building stepped over to Nick.

Nick's own mouth dropped open as he took in the building standing in front of him. To say the guy was huge was an understatement; the guy made Michael Clarke Duncan look like the runt of the litter. The guy was bald with dark blue eyes and no facial hair, but enough tattoos to warrant giving him his own ethnic skin color classification of multi-toned. There didn't seem to be a part of the man's visible body that wasn't inked in some way. But the most impressive tattoo the man had was on his bald head where it appeared as if the skin had been peeled back to reveal the man had an American flag wrapped around his skull.

Nick expected the man to give him trouble, but when he asked him to open his mouth, he surprised Nick by doing just that. Nick reached out and swabbed the man's cheek and was in the middle of bagging the tube, when Warrick started to ask him something.

"Nick, how abou-" Warrick froze as Nick turned around to look at him.

Nick saw the change in Warrick's face as his eyes widened just an instant before Nick felt something tightening around his neck. Whatever was wrapped around him was squeezing hard and it was pulling him backwards away from Warrick. Nick reached out to grab at Warrick, but he was being pulled back up against something hard and solid. He dropped the swab and tried to claw at whatever was wrapped around his throat. He was losing air fast and he couldn't dislodge whatever was holding him.

Suddenly he felt the pressure of a hand on the left side of his head and he realized that Christopher Thompson had him in a choke hold. Oh God, he thought as he struggled to get free, but struggled struggling was useless; he was growing weaker from the lack of oxygen and the blood supply to his brain was slowing down. He could feel his heart beating in his eardrums as he felt his blood pressure rising. He was in trouble, big trouble. Around the throbbing noise in his head, he heard Thompson yell next to his right ear.

"Nobody moves! I mean it! Anybody moves and I'll break this cop's fuckin' neck!"

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