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The Open Door

by Matt J. McGee

About the Author: Matt J. McGee work appears in Spectrum, Gnashing Teeth and The NonBinary Review.


The sun was still a calm early yellow when Detective Hayden Drake and his supervisor Linda Donovan walked around an idle 90’s sedan. The car had parked at an angle in the dirt lot of a state park beside the lots only decent-sized tree. Yellow crime scene tape circled the tree’s trunk and ran the length of the sedan. The driver’s door was ajar and a body, half in the car and half out, lay beneath a sheet.

Donovan looked the car over, bumper to bumper. “Who in their right mind, especially in this neighborhood still owns a hoopty like this?”

Drake, crouched near the body, didn’t crack a smile. “A what?”

Donovan shook her head. “A hoopty. What, you’ve never heard that before? Don’t tell me I’ve got superior automotive knowledge over you now.”

“Something tells me that’s not superior automotive knowledge. Probably just something they say on the side of the country you were born in before moving out here.”

“Got me there. In Chicago, if you’re driving anything older than four years, you’re teetering on hoopty status.” Donovan gestured at the mid-90’s Mercury sedan. “This guy’s got hoopty covered five times over.”

“And what do you mean ‘a neighborhood like this,’ ” Drake added.

Donovan swung the tip of her pen at the spread out houses. “Each lot’s got at least an acre, most of them a whole lot more. Permits to build up here by a state park are highly coveted and hard to come by. Base price of these houses are minimum three mil.”

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