DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Great Pumpkin Case
Sara stepped into the break room in search of a cup of coffee, or anything caffeine for that matter. She immediately noticed a freshly made pot and smiled as she walked over to pour herself a cup.
"Sara, I need you to meet Catherine in a parking garage at the intersection of Fourth and Freemont," Grissom ordered from the doorway.
"Okay, Grissom. Just give me a minute to get a cup of coffee," Sara replied as she picked up a Styrofoam cup.
"Now Sara. It's Halloween, and cases are sprouting up everywhere. We don't have time to waste," the supervisor demanded.
Crinkling the empty cup in her hand, Sara growled as she walked past Grissom on her way out of the room. Other employees steered clear as the angry CSI stomped toward the exit muttering under her breath.
"I know it's Halloween. I've been running from case to case all night. All I want is a fucking cup of coffee. What is so damn important that it can't wait for two seconds?"
Climbing into the Denali, Sara peeled out of her parking space and headed for the crime scene.
Catherine lifted her head from the driver's side window of the victim's car when she heard the sound of screeching tires followed by the slamming of a door. Soon, an obviously pissed off Sara Sidle was striding toward her with kit in hand.
"Okay, Catherine. I'm here. Why'd I have to drop everything to get here ASAP?" Sara asked in an acerbic tone.
Stepping back when Sara invaded her personal space, Catherine replied, "Back off, Sara. I don't know what crawled up your ass, but it better crawl right back out. I just asked Grissom for help; I didn't indicate there was any need to rush."
"Yeah right. Whatever Queen Catherine wants, Queen Catherine gets. Just tell me where you want me," Sara mouthed off to her colleague.
Turning on her heel, Catherine headed toward the passenger side of her Yukon, and Sara watched in disbelief as the woman walked away from her. Not ready to end the heated discussion, Sara followed closely behind.
Too close in fact, as Catherine took the opportunity to push the unsuspecting woman against the side of the truck and away from prying eyes.
In a whispered voice, Catherine spoke very slowly and very clearly. "Listen to me, Sara. I'm not the bad guy here. Grissom is the one who placed the urgency on my request. If you can't work in a controlled manner, then I don't want you here. Now, you decide what you want to do. And for the record, I don't always get what I want."
Removing her hand from the middle of the younger woman's chest, Catherine turned and walked back to the crime scene leaving a very unsettled Sara behind.
Several minutes later, a much more subdued Sara joined the older woman next to the car.
"What've you got?" Sara asked Catherine as if there had never been any altercation between the two of them.
"Have a look," Catherine replied, pleased that Sara had decided to stay.
Peering into the window, Sara turned her head from the left to the right trying to get her mind to accept what she was seeing. There, in the front seat, was a driver and a passenger, male and female respectively, at least that's the way it appeared from their clothing and body type.
The problem was that both victim's faces were not readily identifiable since they were each sporting a large pumpkin in the place of their heads.
"Please tell me the pumpkin has been fitted over their heads," Sara asked with a grimace on her face.
"I'm pretty sure that's what's keeping the pumpkin in place," Catherine replied as she moved to the passenger side window.
Looking around the garage, Sara asked, "How come the victim's car is the only car in the underground portion?"
"The underground car park is only used by employees of the insurance agency across the street. There's even an underground walkway for the employees to use to cross under the street. According to the security log, everyone left early for the evening. The security guard of the main garage came across the vehicle around midnight," Catherine explained.
"Excuse me ladies, but I believe I have identified pumpkin #1," Brass said with a smirk.
Flipping his notebook open, he read, "The car is registered to a Mr. Charles Brown II, who happens to be the president of the National Security Insurance Agency."
"Charlie Brown?" Sara asked in disbelief.
"At least it's not Linus or else we'd be looking for the Great Pumpkin," Brass replied with his usual sarcasm.
"We have two too many pumpkins as it is. I wish David would hurry up and get here so we can see what the mystery lady looks like," Catherine said as she carefully opened the passenger side door to get a better view of the pumpkin head.
David arrived a short time later, and Catherine and Sara collected evidence as the three slowly moved the female body from the car. There didn't appear to be any injuries to her torso so David very carefully removed the pumpkin from her head.
Looking at the inside, he said, "Wow, whoever put this thing on her head really knows how to clean the inside of a pumpkin."
Sara took possession of said pumpkin and gently placed it on a piece of plastic. No trace of blood was found inside or outside the pumpkin so head trauma was immediately ruled out.
"Ah," David stated as he examined the now pumpkin-less body.
"Looks like death by strangulation, and the killer has some pretty big hands," David clarified his 'ah' remark.
Brass escorted the security guard over to take a look, but he was not able to identify the woman. He did suggest that Brass talk to Mr. Brown's secretary, Carol Smith.
By the time Catherine, David, and Sara removed the pumpkin from Mr. Brown's head, Brass had returned with the secretary in tow and steered the woman away from where the other three were working.
Catherine and Sara stood and joined Brass as he unzipped the body bag containing the female victim.
Holding her hand over her mouth, Mrs. Smith gasped aloud and said, "Oh Lord. It's Sally Linus. She's Mr. Brown's biggest client."
"Maybe we are looking for the Great Pumpkin," Brass muttered loud enough for his colleagues to hear.
Catherine glanced at Sara, and they both bit down on their lower lip to keep from grinning at the killer's strange sense of humor.
Hours later, all the evidence from the car had been collected, and the two women were packing their kits to return to the lab. The ringing of a cell had both women reaching for their belts, but Catherine held hers up to show the lighted display.
"Willows," Catherine answered while Sara looked on.
"No kidding? . . . Okay, we'll bring everything we've got and log it in. Thanks, Jim," Catherine said and then returned her cell to its holder.
Smiling at Sara, Catherine explained, "Greg and Brass paid Albert Linus a visit, and you'll never guess what they found in the garage."
"Um, pumpkin guts?" Sara asked with a grin.
"Not only that, but the guy had dozens of pumpkins of varying sizes lined on shelves in the garage. I guess he wanted to be sure he had the perfect fit. Anyway, Linus confessed to everything and said he started to plan every little detail the minute he found out his wife was having an affair with the insurance executive. He told Brass he's always been a big fan of Charles Schulz. So, all we need to do is make sure everything is logged in correctly," Catherine said as the two women walked away from the victim's car.
"So the Great Pumpkin is off the hook again," a chuckling Sara replied.
"It appears so," Catherine answered with a laugh as each woman veered toward their own vehicle.
"Hey, Sara? Want to go get some breakfast after shift?"
The question temporarily caught Sara off guard, but she quickly answered before Catherine could retract her invitation.
"I'd like that, Catherine."
"Great. Let's hurry and get this stuff to the lab, and then we can sneak out before Grissom realizes we've gone. Besides, there's only an hour left in shift, and I'd say we've both put in a full night already," Catherine replied with a smile.
Sara returned the smile and turned to climb into her vehicle as Catherine enjoyed the view of the younger women's fine ass. Catherine waited until her colleague had closed her door before she got into her own truck, and as Sara was backing out of her space, Catherine slowly came out of her stupor.
Grinning, she muttered, "Hm, perhaps I was wrong earlier. Maybe today will be the day I will finally get everything I want."
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