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Death Money


The river freeze seeped into Jack's jacket as they angled for the stern of the waiting boat.
"We got a male body," Sgt. Cohen offered, working the oars, "Maybe Asian." The word brought a cold pang of realization to Jack, knowing for certain now why he'd gotten the call.
"Snagged on a sunken tree," the sergeant continued, "After the Harbor Unit arrived, the branches shifted in the water, and the body got lifted a little." Jack nodded but was silent, taking a few shaolin breaths through his nose as they maneuvered around the bigger boats stern. He padded for the disposable plastic camera he had in his jacket pocket. There was nothing else floating, nothing remarkable in the water surrounding the scene.
As they came around, Jack saw that the dragging and twisting of the submerged tree trunk had raised the body almost even with the surface of the water, caught on dead branches against large jagged chunks of river ice.
Closer now, Jack saw that the body wore a black bubble jacket with a black hoodie sweatshirt underneath. Blue jeans. The puffy bubble jacket was saturated and resembled a life jacket. The distant traffic sounds faded to where Jack could hear his own heartbeat, lifting the body out of the water. Male. Asian....