Who’s responsible? Who’s to blame? Who’s guilty? The Bullets Forever team gained unprecedented access to the intrepid investigators digging for the truth. Led by Detectives Bullet and Stat, this elite unit will uncover the truth and explain the demise of the 2020-21 Wizards. The game is afoot.
Part 1 is below. Part 2 will be released next Friday, and the final edition will be released the following Friday.
There were already gawkers at the corner of 7th and F when the Detectives, Bullet and Stat, from the Metropolitan Basketball Losses Department (“MBLD”) arrived. The crowd’s grudging reluctance to let them pass eased as Bullet let fly a few sharp elbows. The final holdout gave way when Stat kneed him in the calf, and the duo got their first glimpse of the body.
The area was marked with crime scene tape and the body covered with a tarp. Bullet slipped on some gloves and extended a hand towards the body.
“You don’t want to do that,” warned the cop standing next to the dumpster. Paunchy. A face normally in a perpetual state of deranged cheerfulness was flushed with despair. Nameplate read Officer G.Wiz.
“And why’s that?” Bullet asked.
The cop gestured at a puddle of half-digested Skittles near the Metro entrance. “That was my lunch.”
“How do you propose we investigate a murder without looking at the body?” Stat snapped.
Officer G.Wiz shrugged and averted his eyes. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Bullet snatched away the tarp and the onlookers gasped. The unlucky ones at the front retched. Their lunches joined G.Wiz’s.
Bullet’s stomach gurgled but held. So did Stat’s. The crowd trickled away, faces green and bellies empty.
Stat jerked a flask from an inner pocket of his trench coat and took a long chug. He offered it to Bullet, but his companion was already having a slug from his own flask.
“The body’s fresh, so why does it smell so bad already?” Stat asked.
“Maybe it’s not so fresh,” Bullet offered in response. “No blood. No sign of struggle. And I think this body was moved.”
Even as hardened sleuths, they had to shove aside their revulsion and force themselves to stare down at the grotesque scene before them.
“Do we know who this is?” asked G. Wiz.
“It’s the 2020-21 Washington Wizards,” said the Detectives in unison.
The corpse was massive and misshapen. Muscles overdeveloped in some places and atrophied in others. Tangled, matted hair and a janky beard. And the stench. Lord, the stench.
G.Wiz wandered off sucking in deep breaths.
“We’re not gonna figure this thing out from here,” Bullet said. The Wizards’ body had on a grey hoodie with red and white stripes. Bullet dug into the hoodie and came away with a two-way pager. He pressed the button and the screen lit up for a moment and then faded to nothing.
“Needs batteries. Came on strong but faded quickly,” Bullet said. “Do the numbers 3, 24, 1+1+1 and zero mean anything to you?”
Stat produced a small laptop from an inner pocket of his overcoat. He tapped at the keys and peered at the screen. “No. At least not yet. I can write an algorithm to run an analysis and find correlations with online data sources...”
Bullet turned back to the corpse. In another pocket he found a scrap of paper that seemed to be an ad for a job: “Wanted: 3-and-D wings. Apply at 601 F St NW, Washington, DC. Resume not needed.”
“Look at this, Stat,” said Bullet, handing Stat the ad. “Reckon he was put on ice shortly after applying here?”
“Probable,” Stat said. “What’s that by his hand?”
Bullet leaned closer, brow furrowing. On the sidewalk were a couple discarded chicken wings with no obvious origin.
Bullet sniffed one. “Lemon-pepper,” he said. “I’d bet my life on it. We should be able to get some salivary DNA evidence from this, I think.”
“Chicken wings by his hand and an ad for 3-and-D wings. What does that tell us?” Stat said.
Bullet shrugged and shot a glance down the sidewalk. “What the hell?”
G.Wiz had stumbled back, a leash in one hand and a Shih Tzu-Poodle mix tucked under an arm.
“New friend?” Bullet said.
“Seemed lost,” G.Wiz said. “I found him around the corner. Tag on his collar says his name is Dex. Maybe our corpse was feeding the mutt when he got turned into fish food,” G.Wiz said.
“Leave the puns to us,” Stat said. “One thing we know for sure, Bullet: that knee is busted.”
The Wizards’ body left knee was scarred and damaged, and a gaping opening showed the ligaments in clear view.
“When does Z. Lowe get here?” Stat asked G.Wiz.
“The Medical Examiner?” G.Wiz gasped, eyes widening. “We must be patient. He arrives when he arrives.”
“Look there,” said Stat pointing to the corpse’s ankle. “That looks broken. And this looks...”
“Painful ending for this guy — gashed at the knee and broken at the foot,”interrupted G.Wiz.
“Why don’t you do us a favor?” barked Bullet. “Instead of bouncing around like some kind of useless mascot, get some evidence bags and start collecting. Don’t come back until you’ve photographed, bagged, and documented everything you think one of us might think is relevant.”
“Will do,” said G.Wiz. He swaggered away, waving to passersby and stopping to pose for selfies with kids.
While Bullet went back to examining the body, Stat hefted the corpse’s backpack. Blue, heavy and decked with an #DCABOVEALL decal.
He gestured at the decal. “Nazi slogan?” he said to Bullet. “Possible motive?”
“Don’t get ahead of the evidence,” Bullet said.
Stat emptied the bag. He said: “A broken compass, a bamboo plant, some bricks and a book: Trading on the Margins by E. Grunfeld.”
The book fell open and something clattered to the ground.
“Correction,” Stat said. “Not a book. It’s a VHS of Grunfeld’s Ted L. Talk.”
“That’s some ish,” grunted Bullet.
“Why would this guy be carrying bricks in a backpack?” Stat asked.
“Made him feel good?”
“But it’s inefficient…”
“On the grave of Wes Unseld, not this again!”
“Is that a laser pointer?” Stat said, changing the subject.
“Yeah. Made in Latvia. Needs to be calibrated or something. It’s not shooting straight.”
“Detectives,” interrupted a merry Officer G.Wiz, who had clomped back onto the scene. “I’ve photographed, bagged, and documented everything. Need me to do anything else?”
“Stay with the body until the meat wagon takes it to the morgue,” Bullet said.
As Officer G.Wiz wobbled away, Bullet turned to Stat. Their eyes met and they knew what the other was thinking.
“I’ll retrace his steps to see what he missed,” Stat said. “Like those sticky notes under the shoulder.”
Bullet pried the scraps of paper loose and shined a flashlight on them.
“J.Robinson was here. And Free J.Bell?” Bullet read. “Suspects?”
“Wait until we have all the evidence,” said Stat as he finished bagging the last sticky note. “Would be dumb to leave a signature. But you’ve been around this town. People do stupid all the time.”
The Detectives surveyed the scene once more.
“We’ve collected what we can,” Stat said.
“Let’s see what Z. Lowe finds,” Bullet said. “We only need a few things to solve this.”
“Yeah,” Stat said. “Suspects, motive, means and opportunity.”
“Same as always,” Bullet said. They tapped flasks and drank.
Three days later:
Medical Examiner’s Report
Decedent: 2020-21 Washington Wizards
Date of Death: June 2, 2021
Type of Death: Violent
ID: Bullet and Stat
Autopsy: Z. Lowe, E.S.Pn
- Brain Damage
- Torn left ACL
- Fracture of the right fibula
- Meralgia paresthetica of the hip
- Torn left quadriceps
- J. Robinson was here note matches DNA of J. Robinson
- DNA sample taken from knee matches that of T. Bryant
- DNA sample taken from right fibula matches that of D. Avdija
- DNA sample taken from hip matches that of B. Beal
- DNA sample taken from left quad matches that of R.Westbrook
- DNA sample taken from broken compass and Trading on the Margins VHS matches that of T. Sheppard
- DNA samples taken from wings match multiple subjects: I. Bonga, C. Hutchison, A. Gill, G. Mathews.
The Washington Wizards 2020-21 season (“Wizards’ body”) died of multiple metabolic and cardiac complications following a physical altercation. According to the EMS report, MBLD arrived on the scene at 20:30 hours and found the Wizards’ body with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 1, which is to say none. Death pronounced at 20:35 hours. Body was transported postmortem. Stains on hoodie and stomach contents indicate deceased recently spent time in Philadelphia.
Wizards’ body had a medical history of clutch-time disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, unspecified personality disorder, and obstructive defensive end narcolepsy. Pre-existing conditions include Leonsisitis, characterized by indecision, procrastination, poor goal-setting, and irrational optimism.
Autopsy revealed numerous blunt force injuries of the head, torso, and extremities. A deeper cranial contusion shows that the Wizards’ body had injuries to the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Injuries to this area contribute to impulsive decision-making and irrational optimism.
Toxicology analysis shows the Wizards’ body had a large amount of the supplement “grit.” Furthermore, the chicken wings discovered at the scene were not chicken. The wings are vegan, composed of vital wheat gluten and seitan.
The Wizards’ body displayed signs and symptoms of an acute offensive delirium, typically characterized by standing around, impulse control and feelings of grandeur or heroism. The numerous nonfatal abrasions and contusions on the head, torso and extremities are consistent with a lifetime of physical struggle or toil consistent with mixed martial arts professionals or bricklayers.
Linear abrasions on the wrists are consistent with what has been described in the medical and forensic pathology literature as “Lack of Shooting.” This description is a conglomeration of signs and symptoms which have been said to have a high season-ending rate. Wizards’ body displayed many of the signs and symptoms of Lack of Shooting. Final Lack of Shooting diagnosis confirmed by marked degradation in long-distance ocular processing and atrophied biomechanical shooting function.
Deceased also suffered from offensive personality disorder, which medical literature says includes symptoms such as lethargy, lack of impulse control, unwillingness to share, and feelings of grandeur or heroism.
Upon dissection, Wizards’ brain was determined to be overdeveloped in areas associated with excuse-making, strange justifications, and irrational confidence. The brain was found to be underdeveloped in regions associated with logic, long-term planning, and strategy.
Causes of these serious and often fatal conditions are multifactorial and include, Lack of Shooting, Leonsisitis, torn ACL, fractured right fibula, meralgia paresthetica of the hip, a torn quad, lack of defenders, and offensive delirium. Due to the litany of damage the Wizards’ body suffered, we cannot conclusively target a specific cause. Each of these factors could be a primary or secondary cause.
Recommend continued investigation, including interviews with deceased’s friends and colleagues.
To be continued...