After years of avoiding volunteer organizations, Chicago high school teacher Tom Mason is finally guilted into volunteering a few hours a week at a local gay services clinic. Since he finds the bitter in-fighting at the organization to be intolerable, and the head of the clinic to be downright poisonous, Tom does his hours on early Saturday morning before anyone else arrives and avoids most of the office politics. But his quiet Saturday goes quickly awry when two gay teens, in a particularly difficult situation, seek him out for counseling early to avoid being seen by anyone else. After they leave, Tom decides to tidy up the cramped, disordered office and file some of the tettering piles that are practically everywhere. Filing turns out to be a surprisingly gruesome task, however, when in one of the filing cabinet drawers Tom finds the severed head of the director of the clinic. The director, called Snarly Bitch behind his back because of his unpleasant demeanor, had a particularly long enemies' list and Tom himself is not particularly choked up about his untimely demise. But with a long suspect list, a fairly indifferent police force, and the welfare of some of the clinic's youthful charges on the line, Tom himself must sort out the murder before an innocent takes the fall for this very unusual crime.
by Mark Richard Zubro
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