Access Denied

by Mark C. Wallfisch

“I dunno,” Leo said when the officer asked him who Marcus Trumbley was.

“His name’s on the credit card you were tryin’ to use, but you don’t know who he is?”

“He’s a friend.”

“He gave you this card?”

“Yeah, I don’t wanna talk.  Are you arrestin’ me?”

“Not right now, but we need to find out how you got this card.”

“Like I said, I got nuthin to say.”

Leo is a coroner’s assistant who transports cadavers to the coroner’s office.  He often picks up fully-clothed bodies that have pockets with items worth taking.  He also goes into houses, into rooms where he’s alone with corpses, no one there to see when he removes more than the bodies.  The officer didn’t know yet that Leo had stashed at his own home other credit cards that he had taken from the departed.

The law calls credit cards “access devices,” which is an apt term for cards that are keys to commerce, until there’s an illegal scheme and access is denied.  During a trip to Walmart, Leo’s access had been denied.

“So how’d you get Marcus Trumbley’s card?” the officer persisted.  After a lot of hemming and hawing, Leo admitted that he stole from the dead.

“What are you tryin’ to pull here?” the officer asked hours later.  “The coroner says he’s had no cadaver named Marcus Trumbley.  Plus we found other cards at your apartment – all in names the coroner didn’t have record of.  Where you been gettin’ these cards?”

“Honest, only from stiffs.  This must be entrapment.  You musta planted cards for me to find.”

“No, you’re just robbin’ the wrong kinda dead people.  You’re robbin’ thieves, dead thieves,” the officer figured out.

“Hell, ya can’t trust nobody, and I mean ‘no body,’” Leo figured out.

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