"Hey Dexter! Got a killer day ahead. Yee-haw, dude!"
Oh no, not again. Mortimer "Mort" DeBeaunyard pointedly ignores his police department colleague, Officer Gene Poole. Mort sinks lower in his chair, squinting at the latest Excel spreadsheet on blood types and splatter patterns at various crime scenes around town.
Mort and Gene are both stuck in the medical examiner's office for the day. It's 9:00AM. They'll both knock off work at 5:00PM, but that seems like forever away to Mort. He fantasizes briefly about Gene being stretched out on the autopsy table instead of this poor slob in the crime scene photo who looks like he's been bludgeoned to death.
"Dexter?" Gene continues. "Get it, Mort? Like Dexter from TV? Get it?"
Mort sighs. If he hears one more joke about Dexter, TV's favorite serial killer and crime scene blood pattern analyst, then maybe Mort will explode in a violent rage after all.
Okay, so, fine, Mort had majored in hematology, and he and Dexter both specialize in blood analysis. But they don't share a name. And while Mort's a forensic scientist, he does do other things, too. Like DNA analysis. Toxicology. Hey, he even does fiber analysis. Does Dexter do that? No. Dexter kills in his spare time. Mort plays the oboe.
Not that Mort has lots of spare time, he reminds himself. Oops. Mort looks at his watch. It's 10:00AM. Time to say bye-bye to the spreadsheets; it's off to the "autopsy atrium"—Mort likes to make up funny names for unfunny things—to assess the daily parade of "horribles" (that's "corpses" to everyone else).
The fifth-floor atrium houses a faint odor of decay. Mort sees five corpses stretched out on tables. They're all victims of violent crimes, and it's "get acquainted time" for Mort and the stiffs. A clerk reads out the history of each corpse to the assembled multitude: pathologist, forensic scientists (like Mort), and a couple of cops (like Gene—yuck).
"Eighty-six-year-old woman found hanging from the rafters in attic. We think she's been dead for three days. Putrefaction has set in. Rope burns on her neck..."
Mort almost dozes off as the clerk drones on and on about things like gunshot wounds, drug overdoses, knife wounds, and blood splatters. Mort might be jaded, but at least he's not as bad as the pathologist on duty now, Dr. Frank N. Furter, who he can see blithely poking the corpse without wearing protective gloves.
Mort gets the gunshot victim to work on. "Thanks, Dr. Furter," Mort says to himself. There isn't much left of the gunshot victim's head—this is a fifty-year-old man who weighs around 300 pounds. First order of business: swab the hands for gunshot residue. Next, Mort takes hair samples, something he always does in the case of suspected homicides. He sends the swabs and hair off to the lab for tests.
Next, Mort checks the victim's clothes for any holes that look like bullet holes. Mort sniffs in disdain. This dude is wearing a powder-blue leisure suit, slightly tattered, 1979 style. He fingers the shoulder pads and finds a couple of holes. He looks closer.
Naw, not bullet holes, just regular holes. This guy really needed new clothes. Mort cuts a square of the bloody jacket off and puts it in a plastic bag. This is for those snooty attorneys who might one day ask if the blood on the jacket is really the victim's.
Mort checks his watch again—time flies when you're working the corpse detail. It's already 2:00PM. Time for lunch. Mort grabs a bite from the vending machine right next to the autopsy room, and heads off to the lab. Lots of blood samples to test, so little time.
Mort grabs test tubes from the autopsies and puts drops of blood on a sterile cloth that'll be frozen and stored for future DNA testing. Then it's on to the next thing: gunshot residue swabs. Mort checks them for barium and antimony, stuff that's used in primer.
Mort grimaces. Everything's coming up inconclusive today. It's just one of those days.
Mort thinks he'll have to take a trip to a crime scene to get a closer look at the blood spatter pattern. Gunshot from behind? In front? Two shooters? Three? None? ("Just a nosebleed?—no just kidding," Mort says to himself.)
Oh no. It's Gene. Mort's blood pressure rises.
"Dex, way to go buddy. The results just came back from those tests you ran on hair fibers in the double-murder case. We got the perp—some astro-devil worshiper who slices and dices old ladies. You nailed it. Thanks, Dex."
Mort beams in spite of himself. He'll overlook the "Dexter" stuff for now. He'll forget about the long days and the often-creepy evidence he has to analyze. He forgets the crusty month-old underwear, nail clippings, and blood-caked hair waiting for him in his lab. He's one of the good guys. He helps bring the bad guys to justice.
He really loves this job.