Link to [Part 1
] [Part 2
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] [Part 4
“What were you doing when the fire broke out?”—————————————
McCoy leaned against the counter in the exam room, arms crossed, watching Hal interview Cutter. Hal’s manner was sympathetic and professional, cognizant of the limitations of his injured witness.
“So you didn’t notice anything strange? Smells, sounds, anything?”
“Not that night, no. I … fell asleep as soon as I got home.”
“Any other times?”
“Every weekend.” Cutter took a pull from the oxygen.
“What did it smell like?”
“Ammonia and paint thinner. Sometimes it smelled like rotten eggs. He was running a meth lab.”
“You’re sure?” McCoy asked, and Cutter nodded.
“I’ve smelled it before.”
“Any idea why the local precinct didn’t take it seriously?”
Cutter shook his head. “Ask them.”
“So, what woke you?” Hal asked, trying to regain control of the interview.
“The smoke alarm,” Cutter replied promptly, and breathed from the oxygen mask again.
“And when you woke up…?”
“It took me a minute to figure out what the problem was,” Cutter said. “Then I got up and went to the door to my bedroom.” He hesitated, and McCoy saw his hand convulse slightly. “That’s when I burned my hand.”
“I went out the window and down the fire escape.” Cutter looked strained. “The fire department was already there. They gave me a coat … that’s the last thing I remember, until I woke up here.”
“Thank you, Mr. Cutter.” Hal closed his notebook and offered his card. “If you think of anything else….”
Cutter took the card and nodded.
Link to [Part 6