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Fantastic Four

Cut to Warrick walking inside and greeting Vartann. Since the victim is thin, he's suitably outraged over this senseless loss of life. She is Lisa Schumacher, age 29. I should point out that I actually typed in my own name there, as the victim and I share a first name, and our last names both begin with "Sch," have an "m" in the middle, and end with "er." No doubt this is purely coincidental. Warrick muses, "A convention girl." Emergency Backup David plays the naïf for exposition purposes: "A what?" "You know, a model, stripper or showgirl working the convention floor for extra cash," Warrick replies. I can't help but wonder if there's some sort of convention-girl hierarchy depending on what your other gigs are. Anyway, we find out Lisa died at 4 AM, she's got laceration on her lower lip, contusions on her neck, and petechial hemorrhaging. Vartann says soberly, "So she got slapped around, strangled, and maybe somewhere in between she was raped." Warrick notices some streaks on Lisa's neck that don't look like blood, but she's got all sorts of skin and hair fragments under her nails. Well, that's a bonus.

As the convention continues with its clamorous hubbub, Warrick is collecting evidence in the world's largest RV. So does it work as a ski lodge, a beach house, and state-of-the-art virtual office because it combines the square footage of all three separate structures? Fortunately for Warrick, he finds a semen sample in the toilet. Snapping open the flip-bottom lid that separates the bowl of the toilet from its waste tank below, he spies several condoms sitting on top of...things better not contemplated in what was presumably a new vehicle. Warrick mutters to himself, "So that's why they call it a recreational vehicle."

When we get back to the morgue, David the Compact Coroner is explaining to Catherine, "Her COD is strangulation. Whoever did this used a lot more force than they needed to. There's bleeding in the neck muscles, fractures in the cornu of the thyroid cartilage and the hyoid bone." Catherine asks if David did a wet mount. He tells he did, and he "found motile sperm in the vaginal cavity." Catherine's eyes roll expressively. Well, at least some part of her face is still capable of expression. Catherine says, "Well, Warrick found several used condoms in the RV. Killer must have run out and started riding bareback." David's all, "Don't go assuming anything there, what with me not having mentioned any evidence that would imply penetrative sex." He adds, "The semen was found at a depth not consistent with penile penetration. In this case, only a couple of inches in." Catherine's eyes roll in another direction -- hey, they're doing the work of an entire face here -- and she archly suggests, "Maybe that's all the killer had to work with."

Back on the convention floor, it turns out the Bickersons just won a Hummer. Let's hope they don't get too attached to that car. Meanwhile, some guy who'd like to think he's a player is busy telling Warrick, "I got over 70 women working this show -- booth bimbos, crowd gatherers, narrators, demonstrators, translators. Whatever you need, I got it." Vartann points out they're only interested in Lisa Schumacher, and the guy smarms, "She's one of my girls. I represent her. They call her 'Cris,' for Cristal, the champagne. She can't get enough of it." Warrick asks if Lisa -- whom I am going to call Cris from now on, because I'm getting a severe case of cognitive dissonance from typing my name -- liked to party, and DemiPimp answers, "She liked to make money. Girls who like to party make money. This ain't L.A. where you get up at 10 AM for an audition." Because when we think of "Protestant work ethic gone west," the first city that springs to mind is Las Vegas. Anyway, at 10 AM, DemiPimp's girls are still at Drai's, partying with the clients. Warrick finally breaks the news of Cris's death, and DemiPimp feigns shock. The tragedy of it all will sink in later when he's balancing the books. Warrick and Vartann want to know what Cris could possibly have been doing in the RV after the show floor closed at 10 PM. DemiPimp doesn't know. He'd rather focus on the ravages of time: "Look, she worked behind a booth, yapping her mouth. I can't really throw her in a bikini no more -- three-oh, uh-oh." Before Warrick and Vartann can ask DemiPimp if this no-bikinis-after-30 edict applies to them too, a very busty young woman in a lot of spandex comes up and whimpers at DemiPimp, "Donny…" Donny -- whom I will continue to call DemiPimp because I darn well feel like it -- reads the situation with the innate tenderness of the born humanitarian, and snaps, "You're late! And you're not dressed. What's the deal, girl!" From the depths of the couch, Mr. Sobell registers his indignation at DemiPimp's callous ways, and expresses fervently, "I love her. She needs to run in and discover bodies every week. She's awesome."

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