CSI: Crime Scene Investigators
Things Lab Rats Are No Longer Allowed To Do
By A. Rhea King
Author's Note: Just like the franchise, spin-offs happened. If you like this one, you should also check out Roolz:: CSI and Lab Rat NoNo's (CSI:NY), and Roolz:: Lab Rat Do-No-Morez (CSI:Miami). Even if neither are your favorite show, they'll give you a chuckle!!
Greg had only been working with the LVPD CSI for three months when he heard about it. Hodges and Archie, huddled over a table in the garage, were talking about it and didn't hear him come up behind them.
"You're kidding?" Hodges asked Archie.
"No. It was right there. Plain as day."
"I wonder who wrote that. Does Ecklie know?"
"If Ecklie had any clue about half the stuff on that wall we'd all be down there painting it."
Hodges chuckled, and then stopped when he noticed Greg standing there. Archie glanced at him, but kept working.
"Whatcha doing?" Greg asked.
The two didn't answer right away. He'd clearly walked in on a private conversation.
He was still the 'outsider' on a lot of things and the people didn't give him quite the trust he had been used to at Stanford. But he knew his job and he did it well, and as long as his supervisor was happy with that, he'd remain employed.
"We're trying to find bullets in—" Archie turned around, holding up sofa cushion batting. "This."
"Did someone murder a couch?"
"It's ugly enough they would have put it out of its misery, but no, the person sitting on it was murdered. Bullet wasn't in the wall or the person, so we have the couch." Archie motioned to the furniture that was the object of the conversation.
"Do you need any help? I don't have anything to do right now. Waiting for results and that's going to take at least an hour."
"Sure. Dig in," Hodges offered.
Greg walked around the table and picked up a pair of gloves.
"Oh, and watch out for the syringes."
"The couch came from a crack house," Hodges informed him with an air of arrogance.
Greg just smiled. He wondered if someday he'd get to introduce him to Peter. Peter's arrogance would put Hodge's to shame, so Hodge's arrogance was actually refreshing.
The three continued carefully tearing through the batting. Greg looked up when Bobby came in. The southerner was the ballistics expert and Greg found he really enjoyed listening to his stories about "back home."
"Hey, did you see that line about Ecklie?" Bobby asked.
Archie didn't answer. Hodges shot him a cold, dark look. Bobby looked from one to the other.
Greg waited for someone to say something, but when it became clear no one was, he decided to ask, "What line?"
Bobby stared at him. "You didn't see it?"
"See it where?"
"He doesn't know about the wall, Bobby," Archie told him.
"And he hasn't been here long enough to know about it," Hodges added.
"He's been here four months."
"Three," all three corrected him.
"Oh… Since when was there a time limit on employment for the wall?"
"Since someone wrote that thing about… Catherine," Archie answered. "Don't you remember?"
"It's still there."
"I scribbled it out."
"Still can read it."
"What thing about Catherine?" Greg asked.
"We should show him the wall," Bobby insisted.
"No!" Archie and Hodges answered in unison.
Bobby didn't look happy with the overruling decision. Greg wasn't either. Now he wanted to know where this wall was and what was written about Catherine and Ecklie.
"Six months. Not a day sooner. Go shoot something," Hodges told him.
"I don't have an ballistics to work on right now. What are you guys doing?"
"Looking for bullets in a couch." Archie motioned to the couch.
Bobby made a face when he looked at the hideous thing. "Someone shot the couch? That was justice."
"No. Someone shot someone sitting on the couch and we're looking for the bullets."
Bobby put on a pair of gloves and grabbed a cushion. "Think we'll get to burn this in the pit when they've finished with it?"
Archie laughed. "I think we should bug Grissom into letting us. The last one was interesting."
"What happened?" Greg asked.
"It was a velvet covered chair that burned green for ten minutes, then purple, then normal," Hodges answered. "It had a lot of meth on it."
Greg laughed. "You guys burn furniture?"
"Only furniture they can't store in evidence and are done with."
"When does this happen?"
Hodges smiled. "After Grissom leaves for his next call in twenty minutes. We have a great recliner."
"Where did it come from?" Greg asked.
"A dealer's house," the three answered.
Hodges looked him in the eye, "And they stashed cannabis in the cushions."
"Are you guys planning on standing close while it burns?"
The three didn't answer. Greg took that as a yes.
"Wouldn't that constitute as getting smashed on the job?" Greg asked.
Hodges silenced him with a stern look. "We can't leave potential evidence unattended. We have to make sure it's fully disposed of. Not our fault if we happen to be down wind when it happens."
"See. He'd be trustworthy. We should show him the wall," Bobby said.
"Enough about the wall!" Hodges said.
"What wall?" someone else asked.
The four looked up. Grissom was standing in the door.
"What?" Hodges asked.
"What wall are you four talking about?"
Greg was silent because he didn't know what wall. But he knew the others did and they were silent because clearly Grissom didn't know about the wall either.
"Pink Floyd," Greg answered.
Grissom was confused.
"Pink Floyd's album The Wall."
"I don't listen to Pink Floyd."
"It's great album and--"
"Enough about the wall!" Hodges repeated.
Greg looked down at his cushion, smiling. Hodges was playing right along like he'd hoped. Maybe that would gain him early access to this secret wall.
"Greg, have you finished up the DNA results."
"Just waiting for the egg timer, so another forty minutes or so."
Greg dug out a digital timer shaped like an egg out of his pocket and held it up for Grissom to see. "When it dings, the DNA will be cooked."
Grissom's expression told Greg he wasn't really sure what to make of the witty come back. So he simply told him, "Call me when the test is complete. Watch out for syringes in that couch."
Grissom left and the four were silent for several minutes.
"He should get to see the wall now," Bobby said. "He covered for us and he doesn't even know what we're talking about."
Hodges looked sidelong at Greg. "Fine. We finish this, then we will see the wall. And if you tell anyone, we'll get you fired before sunrise."
Greg almost smiled, realizing that the threat was probably empty and meaningless. Seeing the wall was obviously coveted by these men, so he resisted out of respect. Not to mention, he really, really wanted to see this wall now..
Greg came around the corner to find the three waiting by the elevator. He glanced at Gina who held his gaze as he passed. Hodges pressed the elevator button.
The elevator doors opened when the car came and the four got on. Greg turned and found Gina still staring at him.
"One word, Sanders, and you'll be on the next plane back to California," Gina threatened him as the doors closed. "We don't joke about that!"
"She knows about this wall?" Greg asked.
"You are about to be inducted into the lab rats world, Greg," Hodges told him. "And you are not allowed to speak of anything you see to any CSI or anyone who might otherwise perceive the wall as a threat. Gina is a lab rat by the sheer fact she is an overlooked and underappreciated asset to this lab – like all good lab rats."
"Threat? What kind of threat?"
"You'll see," Archie told him.
Greg glanced at him. On second thought, maybe this wall wasn't so important after all. He considered saying something to that effect, but the doors opened and Bobby and Archie were herding him off behind Hodges. Down the hall Robbins and Warrick were talking.
"Smile and say hi, nothing more," Archie quietly told Greg.
Greg obeyed. The two acknowledged them, but didn't really pay much attention.
"Are we supposed to be down here?" Greg asked when he was sure they were out of earshot.
"We do sometimes come down here. We have a freezer down here in the morgue."
They turned a corner, leading away from the morgue and deeper into the bowels of the police department. They stopped a door with a keycard and Hodges swiped his card. No. It wasn't his card. Greg saw the card was completely different than his keycard. He didn't ask about it, not yet, not until eh saw this wall and could decide if it was worth it. They entered the room beyond. It was filled of floor to ceiling shelves filled with boxes. The front was brightly lit, but beyond that it some light bulbs were burned out. They turned left and started walking.
"The wall has been around for at least four or five decades," Hodges began. "It was around when Grissom and Ecklie were lab rats. It was around when I first started. It's like a yearbook for generations of lab rats. You can learn a lot about this place and people."
"But Grissom didn't seem to know about it," Greg said.
"Before I found it, I don't think many people knew about it," Archie said.
"You found it?" Greg asked.
"Yeah. There was a flood down here and we needed evidence from a box that had film in it. Catherine asked me to take a look at it and see what I could do. Thing was, she grabbed the wrong box, so I had to go looking for it. I kinda got turned around and ended up at the wall. She thought I had drowned I was gone so long."
Greg smiled. Archie talking peaked his interest in it again.
The floor dipped slightly and they turned down the last aisle of racks. The lights were dimmer as they went to the back. At the very back, almost hidden by overstuffed filing cabinets, was a dark door. There was a small space to squeeze between the wall and the filing cabinets. Hodges stopped at the filing cabinet and opened the bottom drawer, pulling out a box of chalk from the back. He squeezed thought the space and went through the door. Archie went in, followed by Greg and Bobby. Hodges flicked on the light and Greg was glad he went with Archie's description to cushion his surprise.
The room was a large conference room with a water damaged table and four chairs in the middle. The furniture and most of the walls, ceiling and floor were scribbled with writing. Some were initialed, some dated, but very few had both. The writing included poetry, quotes, lyrics, gossip, to jokes. There was some information even about cases, unsubstantiated theories mostly.
Greg turned when something cool was pressed in his hand. Bobby smiled, letting go of the chalk when Greg took it.
"First time here, write something."
"What if we get caught?" Greg asked. He knew this was vandalism.
Across the room Hodges had picked a piece of wall to start writing. Archie was sitting in a chair, doodling on the table.
"They won't find this place," Archie said, looking up at him. "Only six of us even know it's here. Including you."
"Who's the sixth person?" Greg asked.
The men went back to their writing with out answering. Greg looked at the chalk, then the walls. He walked over to a corner and with a grin, began writing a few lines of Pink Floyd's 'Brick in the Wall.' It seemed fitting.