June 28th, 2008

handgun forensics

Time and place: contemporary New York
Searches: 9mm on Wikipedia; I've also turned to Law & Order and The First 48 for counsel, and been told both "yes" and "no." My father left the crime beat before 9mms became common on the streets.

If I kill someone with a 9mm, will I leave behind shell casings or just a corpse?

Wetting One's Spoon Before Eating?

All right, I give up and am asking for help. In the Japanese drama, Lunch Queen, the heroine first put her spoon in a glass of water before eating, and was ridiculed for it (apparently only poor people do this). I have been searching all over the Internet using Google and keywords like "before eat water glass spoon curry rice" in quite a few combinations (and I even used the "-recipe" modifier to get rid of all the recipes that were coming up), but I can't find anything on this. Help--can someone tell me where this habit originated, and how/why?

14-year-old boys and slang

Time: Contemporary
Place: not vital to this question, but Iowa City, IA

One of my main characters in this play is a 14-year-old boy, and I'm wondering - do guys, specifically teenagers, ever actually use the "2nd base" "3rd base" metaphors in their discussions of "how far they've gotten" with a girl?

How To Be A Pawnbroker

Google isn't very helpful on this, as most searching involving pawning, pawnbrokering, or the like are resulting in advertisements for services, laws and history, or consumer advocacy groups trying to dissuade consumers from the practice. Seems I picked too ugly a road for my poor guy (same one as my last post).

I need some backstory for a pawnbroker who my main patient comes in contact with on his run of downward luck. New York has some strict rules on the practice and remarkably good enforcement of stolen property in many places. That said, I'm looking for how one might plausibly get involved with an illegal operation that could supply him with money for items of questionable, but not always illegal origin (if one's worn out their welcome with aboveboard brokers or is already on the lam). Ideally this would come in the form of a fence-to-the-fence, a person who would then find a way to make the property find the hands of a licensed pawnbroker or a further network by which to distribute goods and raise capital. Also, where would one get involved in the pawnbroker business, either above or under the table? How does one learn how to appraise valuables and get the street smarts of the business, and how to handle a customer such as my patient (likely a common sort of customer - not necessarily what he'd do, but where he'd learn to do what he did)?

I'm assuming financial details on this are at my discretion, but if anyone has ideas as to how the criminal underground works I'm all ears. Specifically, how does one find this sort of resource should they go into a city searching? My character is from rural upstate New York and would be going to any of the major cities (along I-90 or I-87, or perhaps Binghamton or Ithaca, but excluding NYC and surrounding area). As you might surmise from my previous post, he is not driving on the legal.

I know very little on how the criminal underground operates in reality, so if this isn't plausible at all tell me so I can figure out more ways for him to get in trouble :).
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