Nov. 13th, 2011

Lieutanant Holter ducked under the police tape surrounding the crime scene. It was a dry cleaning establishment, and according to Holter's records it had been closed for four hours before the shooting. Holter's CSI group was already there, sweeping the area for clues. Holter noticed a clear bullet hole through the storefront glass and arched one eyebrow.

A uniformed officer met him on the front sidewalk. "I think we've got the perp, sir," he said. Holter held up an arresting hand.

"We'll let the facts be the judge of that, officer," Holter said curtly. "The facts, and the best science Tennessee can bring to bear on the problem."

"Yes, sir," said the officer doggedly, "but the facts are pretty damning. Our perp was seen by three witnesses entering the premises and shooting the victim. He's confessed to the crime. There was also video surveillance that has a very clear view of the shooting. The perp was in a fight with the victim yesterday, and we already have witnesses saying he threatened to 'finish the job'."

Holter frowned. "Don't say that word," he said.

The policeman blinked. "What word?"

"'Damning'," said Holter. "It's not Christian. Where's the alleged shooter?"

He was in handcuffs in the back of a cruiser. Holter opened the door and looked at the perp, head cocked. The man looked back sullenly. Holter frowned. He slipped nitrile gloves onto his hands, then removed from his belt a measuring tape and a large set of calipers.

"You go to church?" he asked the man, carefully measuring the circumference of his skull.

"Yeah," said the man. "Baptist."

Holter nodded approvingly. "Ever had any relations with sinners? Persons of loose moral character?" he asked, stretching the calipers over the perp's skull to measure the distance between his temples.

"Naw," said the man. "I like to keep it clean. Except for killing folks who deserve it."

Holter shrugged. He put his tools back in his belt and felt the bumps and nodes on the man's skull with his gloved hands. "Have you ever," he asked seriously, "received any markings or tattoos upon abduction by individuals not native to this planet?"

"Hey, now," said the uniformed officer. "What's all this about?"

"What's this about?" asked Holter, straightening up and looking the cop in the eye. "This is about science. Phrenology, specifically, and physiognomy. Per Browne et all, the configuration of the eyes indicates strong character, and according to Gall's diagrams, his Destructiveness node is far too small to support criminal behavior." Holter removed his gloves emphatically.

"Science says this man is innocent," he proclaimed. "Cut him loose."

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