Archie unlocked the door to the evidence locker and peeked in, hesitantly.
Aisles and aisles of plastic bags in blue plastic tubs, lined up neatly side by side on industrial metal shelves riveted together with bolts large enough to use as toe-holds to reach the upper shelves. Many of them were bent by an officer who slipped, folded down the middle but still attached at each end; these shelves were taped off with big, red-taped Xes, like entrances to crime scenes.
Archie flipped through the form on his clipboard. Case #53306, double homicide in Murray Hill. A couple on their way home from a night out were robbed at knifepoint, then stabbed. He bled out onto the street; she died in the ambulance. They had come in as unidentified John and Jane Does, not as weird as you'd think - Their wallets were gone and, being upstanding citizens and not serving as employees of the city or state, their prints weren't in the system. No one heard a sound or had ever seen the couple before. When their identities didn't surface they were assigned numbers along with the rest of the evidence collected by the crime scene unit and kept on ice. In a few days they would be quietly buried.
The morgue techs called them "objects." It made their jobs easier and acted as a kind of psychological cushion when their characteristically dry and sarcastic attitudes gave way to inconsolable dehumanization. They were like bricks to a bricklayer.
Archie was looking for the evidence numbered 53306.003 and 53306.024 - Mr. Doe and the knife stuck in his chest. The knife was in the bucket he was picking through, supposedly. The chest it intruded upon was getting laid out for evidence photography and recovery in the morgue. Archie thought it was funny, the weapon and the body being numbered so far away, like the weapon wasn't discovered until after the prints were taken and the witnesses looked for before someone thought to put a little paper easel with a number on it next to the murder weapon, probably after a coffee break.
Archie found the knife wedged in the back of the carton, buried under a pile of rolls of raffle tickets to an upcoming police auction that, apparently, lived in the same box with the spare mousetraps and the conical paper cups for the water cooler as well as the evidence of a week-old crime. It was like Staples had a sale on "Miscellaneous Police Stuff" and sent a mailing to every police department in the city where some broad in accounting sent out a directive. The DNA test results were wadded up in a paper cup on the Xed out shelf to the right. It was a travesty. If the dead guy's body were filed there by accident, he'd never find it.
He tucked the carton under his arm and headed for the door to the cage. Gotta get out of this fuckin' unit. The plastic bags in the carton jostled each other as he walked.