They were lifting him onto the gurney now.

By SpunSilk

This story is a small ... embellishment of LuckyLadybug's excellent story Dead Like Me. It is meant to fit just between two of her paragraphs, you only have to suspend disbelief about where the hat landed. Enjoy!

Vincenzo paced distracted around the area. Still in a state of shock, and wanting nothing more than to leave this wretched place and go home, he still couldn't see fit to leave the scene while Kolchak –– no, that's not right...while the body... was still here. More police had arrived, flashing lights danced silently across the Museum. The police had done what police will do; chalk markings around the body, samples taken of the fur, photographs for evidence. It irked Vincenzo. It all irked him. Finally they had placed... the body... onto the gurney (rather unceremoniously Vincenzo thought) and covered it with a white sheet.

Now they filled out paper work and Vincenzo paced.

"What a waste!" he muttered, not for the first time. "What kind of an idiot goes out looking for trouble? Of all the numbskull stunts! " He glared at the gurney, now rolled over near the ambulance. "Why didn't you listen to me? When did you ever listen to me?"

Blue and red lights flashed, unconcerned, and a police radio crackled quietly in the night. Vincenzo started pacing once more, heading over again to the staircase.

He stood looking down the stairs. "This can't be happening..." At the bottom, an empty chalk outline and the large dark stain of blood mocked him. He turned on his heel and strode into the park. Again.

This time, something light colored caught his eye. He leaned down for it. Yep, it was a crumpled straw hat. It looked like it had been caught underfoot in the battle that had so bloodied his reporter. Said reporter had ended up pretty crumpled up himself, he thought stone-faced. Holding the fragile, misshaped hat for long minutes in the silence, Anthony Vincenzo felt a long string of emotions, many of them quite disparate. He sighed deeply.

He gently pulled the sides of the hat back into shape and stood a few more moments looking at the hat in his hands. "What a waste."

He walked purposely over to the gurney and reached to pull back the white sheet when Officer Blakely glanced up from his clip-board to hold up a restraining arm. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave that alone." He indicated the gurney. "Police procedure."

"Leave that alone?" Vincenzo finally exploded. "Give this man his due dignity for once! For once, damn you! " he roared. "He would have wanted his hat!"

Blakely glanced from the gurney to Vincenzo's flashing eyes and wisely yielded. He walked off to join the other officers over at the police car.

Vincenzo pulled back the sheet and winced again at the deep claw marks cutting across Kolchak's face. "With your shield or on it, eh Carl?" he asked sadly. He closed the eyelids, and solemnly placed the hat on Kolchak's stomach. He thought for a minute, then he lifted Kolchak's stiffening arms from his sides to cross the hands over the hat. That was better. Tony considered his work for a moment longer, then closed the listing jaw. Finally satisfied, he straighten. After a few moments he spoke.

"You were a damn fine reporter, Kolchak."

"Rest in Peace..."


He gently pulled the sheet back into place over the body.

He turned away, and walked off toward the park.