Thursday Morning – Marlowe Spade, Food Detective
This story is continued from HERE.
Thursday morning, July 26, 2061. It’s been three days and no prime suspect. This is not good. My thoughts were interrupted by Joe, “Marlowe! Chief wants to see you!” It was inevitable. I decided to take the stairs because it would give me a another minute to collect my thoughts. Something is different about this case, I thought. I knocked on the door.
“Come in Marlowe!” yelled the Chief. He sat at his desk with his reading glasses eying my report. He didn’t bother to look up. “Sit down!” he said sternly. He was upset.
“Got anybody yet, Marlowe?”, he said looking straight at me over his glasses.
“Uh…No Sir,” I hesitated.
“Come on Marlowe, it’s not like you. The most you’ve ever done was six hours. I’ve cut you a lot of slack.” he put his glasses down, stood up, and walked to the window.
“Yeah, you did. I appreciate it. This one is different ….”, I started to explain.
“Save it!” he growled as he looked out the window. “Look, Marlowe. I’ve got to say something that you may not like. ” I was puzzled. I could handle anything the Chief could dish out and he knew it. “It’s true! This case IS different!” He walked over to me and looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Are you sure you didn’t make a mistake?” I was surprised and he saw my reaction.
“Well, let me see… we checked all the leads and contacts and…” I went along with him to fish for what he was getting at.
“That’s not what I am talking about.” He paused.
“I didn’t think so. So what are we talking about?” I shot back.
He looked straight at me again. “How do you know he didn’t die from a simple heart attack?” I was stunned but he didn’t wait for me to respond. “Look Marlowe! We got a problem. This case is a problem. The other cases you solved two years ago…well, they were …uh…acceptable….”.
“Acceptable?” I distinctly remember him congratulating me. “What are you saying?”
“Let me explain: The cases you solved before: they were cancer patients, allergies and diabetics. But this here is the very first heart attack case and… that’s a big problem.”
“Now, why is that a problem?” I was puzzled.
“Each of those cases were unique and you were able to find the perps quickly,” He continued.
“Yeah, that’s right. Don’t worry about that. I’ll get this one.” I smiled.
He shook his head, “It’s not about that. You see Marlowe, those cases could be chalked off as anomalies but this one can’t. This one is a heart attack.” There was genuine concern in his voice. “Did you know that last year 4,200 persons died of heart attacks in this city? If you find the perp, and you probably will, then it’s gonna change things forever. From this point forward we are going to have to take on every single heart attack death and make sure that they weren’t either a murder or a suicide before it can be called a ‘death by natural causes’.”
“Well, I could have told you that!’ I shot back.
“The problem is this: there aren’t enough detectives to go around to handle one-tenth of those deaths and all the ones we do have now don’t know a thing about murder by food. In fact, all we have is you, Mr. Marlowe Spade, Food Detective!” He emphasized those last words. “And that’s not all: we’ll need more coroners and more morgues!”
“Yes, I see your problem” I replied. I held back my smirk.
“Let me ask you again,” he stood directly in front of me. ” Are you sure you didn’t make a mistake?”
Then it dawned on me. “Now hold on! You’re right! I don’t like what I’m hearing. Just because you’re getting caught with your pants down doesn’t mean I’m gonna cover your ass and look the other way. C’mon Chief! What’s gotten into you? I appreciate you telling me about this but I have better suggestion: Why don’t you and the boys in charge start finding more Food Detectives because, like I told you before, and as you finally figured out, we’re gonna need them.”
“Okay, Marlowe. You’re right. They aren’t ready and they want me to slow things down. They’re putting a lot of pressure on me and I’m glad you haven’t found a perp yet. If you don’t find one soon then I will shut this case down. It won’t look good for you.” He paused and then continued, “In fact, I’m gonna give you three more days and if you don’t come up with a lead then I’m calling it!”
“If I don’t find the perp in three days then it should be shut down! ” I agreed with him. “But you know I always get my man! Since when have you been putting politics before justice?”
He ignored my question, “I don’t doubt that you’ll get the perp, Marlowe. I know I shouldn’t be but I’m worried about this. Let me know what you come up with. Just know, that if you don’t find a perp, then that’s okay with me. Okay?”, said the Chief as he showed me out the door.
I took the stairs again to reflect on what just happened. The Chief finally understood the magnitude of murder by food. The moment we all accepted “food as medicine” then the moral responsibility of our lives changed forever. There were no more victims by sickness. It’s as if we all took a bite out of the proverbial forbidden fruit from the tree knowledge and have since forever been expelled from our Garden of Eden of blissful food ignorance. While everyone was focused on the positive aspect of curing all kinds of diseases no one was looking at the dark side of the coin. No one but a handful of people could see it coming.
I wonder if, fifty years ago, Dr. Ornish knew of the moral implications of the future of his work. I wonder if he knew that once we all knew that we could end heart disease by changing our diets then death by heart attack would no longer be consider a death by natural causes. I wonder if he ever imagined that we’d have to look at every heart attack death as either a suicide or a murder. The Chief finally got it and he didn’t like what he saw.
The moral questions don’t end there. Are all sicknesses deliberate? Should we consider anyone who falls ills as irresponsible and having suicidal tendencies? Should we lock them up and force feed them back to health? How much should be left for the individual to deal with by himself and how much should society intervene? Where do we draw the line? There was a lot to think about but I didn’t have the time. I had a murder on my hands and the clock was ticking. It was time for me, Marlowe Spade, Food Detective, to get back to work.
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