Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

March 9, 2013
Weed's Farm

Weed’s Farm

Gunfight at the Weed’s Corral

(Episode 35)

 

The Sheriff’s SUV spit some gravel as he backed it up and turned it onto the main road.  After passing through town, it felt to Nancy as if they were going at a pretty good clip on their way out to the Weed’s farm.  No one spoke and all Nancy felt was the jostle of the road, and all she heard was the whine of the tires and the whoosh of the passing air.  Nancy wrote this down.

Finally, Nancy felt the crunch of the tires on the roadside gravel as Sheriff Leland brought the SUV to a stop by the side of the road.  “That’s the Weeds farm up ahead.  That cut-off to the left leads to it.”

Agent Hailey nodded.

“I figure we ought to have some sort of a plan worked out before we go in.  There’s Bob, his wife Harriet, his dog Vomit – who is one, big, mangy, son-of-a-gun of a Great Dane, though there is absolutely nothing ‘great’ about him.  And then, there may be a hired man, who would more than likely be our lead killer, if things are as I suspect them to be.  Or two hired men.  Who knows?”

Agent Hailey nodded.

“So.  Since they know me, it’s probably best I drive in, in my Sheriff’s vehicle well announced.  This should draw everyone towards me, including the dog, fleas and all.  Our killer, or killers, may think this is a good time to slink away.  So I’d suggest I drop you off half of the way in, and you perform a flanking maneuver in order to cut off our main perp if necessary, and also to provide me back up if necessary – and vice versa.”

“Works for me,” Agent Hailey replied.

Leland nodded.  “Fire a shot if you need help.”

“Got it.  Gunshots mean the ball’s in play.”  She smiled.

Leland shook his head.  ‘It’s that attitude,’ he thought.

Nancy licked her pencil and wrote all this down.

Both Leland and Agent Hailey re-checked their weapons before starting out.  Nancy Gillis could hear them clearing the clips and working the cylinder action, before placing the weapons back in their holsters.   Leland drove back onto the blacktop and up the road about a quarter mile before turning off to the left up a rutted road.  He stopped after several minutes.  Nancy heard Agent Hailey leave the vehicle and shut the passenger door softly.  Then the SUV moved ahead.

Nancy could tell when he arrived at the farm, which was on a knoll, by the sound of the vehicle dropping down into the low gear and the sound of the dog barking.   “Hi ya Bob.”  Nancy heard the Sheriff shout.  She wondered why he didn’t get out.  Then she heard the sounds of the dog barking, growling, scratching the doors and slobbering on the windows.  “Hey Bob!  Oh Key-rist!”  Nancy heard Sheriff Leland cuss as he started the car up again.  “I’m going to have to drive this damn car right up into their living room in order to have a decent conversation,” he muttered as the car lurched forward, the dog growling and barking and chewing on the tires as the SUV ground in low gear up the knoll.

“That would be a good place, right there, to park your car Sheriff,” Bob Weeds shouted.         Sheriff Leland yelled to him through his front car window.  “You want to shut this damn dog up in that shed there or something Bob, so’s we can talk?”

“What is it you wants to talk about, Sheriff?!”

“Oh, I’m thinking it would be Sheriff business Bob!” Leland shouted from out the crack in his driver’s side window.  The dog growled and chomped at Leland’s nose.  “You want to curb that damned dog of yours?!”  Leland ordered.

“I don’t think he trusts you Sheriff.”  Bob laughed.

“Would a bullet make him more cordial?”

“C’mon Vomit!”  Bob ordered.  The big dog cocked his left ear.  “C’mon!”  He ran into the shed before Bob, and Bob shut the door after him.  Leland opened the door and stepped out of the car.  When Bob reappeared he was carrying a rifle.

“There’s no need for that Bob,” Leland said.  “At least yet.  I just came here to talk.”

“You brought yours.”

Leland heard a screen door slam and from the other side of the road came Harriet, and carrying a rifle also.

Leland sighed.  “Good afternoon Harriet.”  He waved.

Harriet cocked her head, but didn’t say anything.

“Well, I can see that I’m not going to be invited in for tea and cakes! so I’ll just get right to the point.”

“That would be a good idea,” Harriet called out, walking closer.

“You know the last time I was here you two weren’t coming out to meet me with guns,” Leland observed.

“That would be when you was working for the farmers around here and not someone else,” Harriet observed.

“When was the last time you cum out here?”  Bob asked.  “Cause I can’t even remember Leland.”

Leland looked at Harriet.  And he didn’t like what he saw.  She was usually the more neighborly of the two.  Now, she was staring at him like he’d never grown up in these parts.  “What do you mean, “I’m working for someone else.”, Harriet?”

“I mean, back when you represented us as Sheriff.  I’m havin a hard time now believin’ I voted for you.  Who are you working for now Leland?”

“I’m still the Sheriff of Kimmel County Harriet.  Here’s my badge, and there’s my car.”

“Things aren’t quite like they seem anymore, we been findin’.”  Harriet raised her gun.

“Harriet, I gotta say.  I don’t know what in the hell you are talking about,” Leland replied.  “You want to just put that gun down so we can talk.  And, by the way, maybe tell Bob there to put the safety back on his.”

“No Leland, I’m not gonna do that.”

“You haven’t noticed Sheriff that there been some strange things going on around here of late?”  Bob Weeds said.

“Yeah, Bob.  I have noticed that.  Two woman found dead with their heads cut off, and one of them raped.  Now I have real reservations about Harriet being involved in any of that.  But I’d thought that I might come out here and talk to you.  And I have to say, your having a gun right now doesn’t make it look too good.”

“I’ve had a gun since I was six,” Bob replied.

“That would be before puberty,” Harriet observed.

“Yeah?  Do you usually carry it when you come out to greet your neighbors?”  Leland asked.

Bob spit.  “Sometimes,” Bob replied.  “My land.  My rules.”

“Well then, I’ll come right to the point.  Did you rape and murder a woman just south of here several weeks ago?”

“Why do you want to know?”  Bob spit.  “What business is it of yours?”

“Bob!  I’m the Kimmel County Sheriff.  When people around here get raped and murdered it’s my business.”

“Okay.”

“And this is how you investigate?”  Harriet spoke up.  “You drive out somewhere in the country and just ask people if they’d done it?  Are you some kinda idiot?”

“Harriet.  It just seemed polite to ask first.”

“Before what?”

“Before I take Bob here in for questioning.”

“Bob ain’t goin’ nowhere for ‘questioning’.”  Harriet looked real sure of this as she raised her gun towards Leland.

“Harriet.  I’ve got to say,  I’m kinda confused about this.  Because if your husband Bob did actually go and rape and murder the woman in question here, and then cut her head off – I’d think you’d at least want to hear a little bit of the evidence first?”

“Well then, I’d guess that makes him look a little more innocent, wouldn’t you think?”  Harriet countered.

“Well, to tell you the truth Harriet, I have found, at least with criminals, that wives are not always the best judge of their true character.”

“You think I would be harboring a rapist, and I wouldn’t know it?”

“Well.  That’s what I would think Harriet.  But now I’m having some second thoughts.  I could understand Bob here wanting to hold a gun on me.  But why in the world you are taking this course of action has got me puzzled, I have to say.”

“If’n you take Bob here down to that jail there and talk with him more’n 5 minutes… intelligent a man as we all know my husband to be, he’s also real sensitive and apt to admit to just about anything in order to quell an argument.  Isn’t that right Bob?”

“You have understood my true nature Harriet.”

“He could quell an argument right now by putting down that gun of his.”

“It ain’t an argument till I pull the trigger.  Right now, it’s just a discussion,” Bob observed.  “And this gun is what keeps it on those terms.”

“That was well put, Bob.”  Harriet smiled.

“Thank you, dear.”  Bob looked a bit embarrassed, grinning back at her.

Leland didn’t know what to make of it.  “What the hell?  You two been to marital counseling or something?”

“How would you know about that?”  Bob turned suddenly grim, thinking that perhaps the Sheriff had learned something about his impotence, also.  “Who you been speakin’ with?”

“It was just a question Bob.  Calm down.”  Leland put his hands out – partly because he was getting the feeling of having walked into some kind of weird parallel Universe where a known couple of marital bickerers were grinning lovey-dovey at each other while pointing rifles at him.  It could make a fellow’s thought processes dizzy.  And just then that Agent Hailey chose to step out.

“I checked all the outbuildings and looked over the nearby area.  Nobody else is around.”

Harriet swung her gun towards Agent Hailey, who had her revolver aimed at Bob.

“Hold your fire everybody,” Leland spoke as calmly as was possible with his arms held wide as possible.  “And we can sort this out.”

Meanwhile, Nancy Gillis – who had slipped out the back clamshell door of the Sheriff’s SUV in order to better hear and to take notes – decided to snap a photo.  Using the war correspondent’s slogan: “up at 5 to shoot at 8”, she set the aperture at 8 and set the camera shooting mode at rapid.  Then she poked her head where she could look out from under the front bumper to quickly focus the scene.

When she drew her head back, she saw it was a good picture – if you didn’t mind silhouettes.  She swore.  The sun was behind her subjects.  If she wanted to get the best shots with full of facial expression and texture, she was going to have to move herself about twenty yards to the left and about ten yards closer.  And there was no way of doing that without being seen.  ‘But’, she figured hopefully, ‘they’ll be so busy with their guns aimed at one another, I should be fine.’  So she gulped some air, positioned her toes like at a track meet, and took off at a run, pressing the shutter release and clicking photos all the while she was so scared she dribbled urine.  And it turned out fine.

But others didn’t fare as well.

Harriet saw Nancy spring from behind the Sheriff’s front right fender and reactively swung her rifle towards what was initially just a figure in her peripheral vision.

Agent Hailey saw Harriet aiming her rifle at a child and immediately shot.

Harriet dropped, from a bullet through the center of her temple, like a sack of wheat.

Bob looked befuddled for a moment; then started to scream:  “You shot my wife.  You shot Harriet, you somabitches!”  And turned his gun on Leland, who, dove behind a tractor discer, left unattached of its tractor there in the driveway.

“You are dead!  I am killin’ you!!”  Bob yelled and shot repeatedly, the bullets zinging from the frame and blades.  All the while, Leland was yelling:  “Stop shooting!  Bob!  Quit shooting that damn gun, would you please?”

“No Leland, I’m not gonna do that,” Bob said, as he calmed down some for a better aim.

Leland already had his pistol in hand, prepared to fire..

But that’s as far as Leland got.  There was another “pop!”, and Bob Weeds dropped, just like his wife Harriet, to ooze a gathering pool of blood out of his head onto the dry ground.

Agent Hailey strode up quickly to kick the rifles from both Bob and Harriet Weeds hands and then test the couple for signs of life.

Meanwhile Leland strove to crawl from under the disc.  “Are you okay?”  He hollered to Nancy Gillis.

But Nancy Gillis, fairly shell-shocked, only nodded, mutely.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

March 2, 2013
Whiteboard

Whiteboard

This Jail is Getting Too Small

(Episode 33)

Sheriff Leland was pacing.  Agent Hailey was on the phones.  Ruth was making busy in the outer office, after informing Leland with great relief, for no reason that Leland could figure that, “The bodies are still there!”  And Ramey was whining in the jail:  “When am I going to get out of here?!!!…”  Sheriff Leland spun.

“It’s no use.” Agent Hailey hung up.  “No one knows anything.  For about a week there we were getting good information.  And now, I swear, it’s as if they have lost all the samples.”  She looked both dejected and embarrassed.  “I’m sorry, Leland.  The FBI is usually a very tightly run organization.  I guess you just have to believe me about that.  But I just have no idea where all our evidence is, or who has it, or why we don’t know.  Trust me, this isn’t how it usually works.”

Leland shook his head and rubbed his temples. “It’s not your fault,” he said.

“I know that,” Agent Hailey replied.

Leland looked at her; tossed up his hands.  “Fine.  So where does this put us?”

“Ruth?”  Leland called.  “Could you go back there and ferret around a little through all of those empty evidence lockers and see what we might have left, if anything, from that serial killer crime scene investigation.”

“Sure!” Ruth called from right beside him.  She was glad to be escaping the vicinity.

“Sorry I snapped at you there, Leland,” Agent Hailey said.

“You’re the least of my worries,” Leland laughed.

Agent Hailey huffed.

“I’m sorry!”  Leland swore.  “I just meant that you’re not my problem.”

When Ruth returned, it was with a small baggie in hand.  “I found this one thing,” she said.  “I would suppose, the plastic seal got caught in a crack so that the baggie didn’t empty into the shipping box.”

Sheriff Leland held it up against the fluorescents and looked it over.  “It looks like manure.  A small piece which has fallen out of a boot tread, is my guess.”

“I think that’s a good one.  Seeing as we’re surrounded here by dairy farmers.”  Ruth chuckled slightly.

Leland frowned.  “Well, maybe we can glean a little more out of this one than what first meets the eye.”

“Let me go!  What about my patients?”  Ramey called from the back cell.

“Trust me, you’re patients are not gonna want their dental work performed by a practicing transvestite,” Ruth shouted back at him.

“They might!  If they are in pain…”

Leland tucked the baggie in his jacket pocket and hooked a nod at Agent Hailey.  “You wanna come?”

“No.  I think I’ll just sit here like a little girl and sulk.  And then maybe shoot myself with my revolver.”

Leland just didn’t seem able to win today.

But when he strode out of the office, Agent Hailey smiled and followed.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

November 26, 2012

 

Rape Kit continued

Episode 16

 

And…” a hand came out of the door pushing Sheriff Leland back, “he wants a woman.”  Another hand came out after him then, and pulled him forward.  “And… not Ruth.”  The hand appeared to be Ramey’s.

Leland stood there nonplussed.

“I believe it is in the patient’s best interest, Leland,” Doc Chatham whispered.

“I believe I’ve got just what you need,” Leland said, holstering his pistol.  And he waved Agent Hailey over.

“Ramey, meet Agent Hailey of the FBI.  Agent Hailey, of the FBI, meet Ramey.”  Leland pushed on the door.  “Ramey.  You’re going to have to open the door wider if you want to Agent Hailey to be able to get through.”

The door slowly opened wider.

Leland introduced Agent Hailey again with a nod.

Ramey looked like hell.  But he looked at Agent Hailey, sized her up with a hardened aspect that Leland had never seen on Dentist Ramey before, and let the door swing open as he turned on his heel and stepped back inside.  Agent Hailey gave Leland a ‘what-the-hell?’ look.

“I’ll get the kit,” Leland said.  He motioned that she should go in.

 

“It’s not so much a split-personality disorder as it is a two-person personality disorder,” Dr. Chatham said as he conferred quietly with Leland outside on some porch chairs.

Meanwhile, Agent Hailey was inside questioning Ramey and performing a rape kit exam, ‘however that goes,’ Leland wondered.

“Typically, with a split personality, it’s just that.”  Doc Chatham stared at Leland intently.  “Either of the personalities may have their own name because they share none of the personality traits of the other.  Whichever character represents the splinter personality is what the literary crowd might call a ‘stock’ character or a ‘flat’ character.  They are the simple possessor of one character trait the heretofore ‘whole’ personality disavows, in essence saying, ‘that’s not me.’”  Doc Chatham spread his arms wide.

Leland nodded.  He’d watched the movies too.  And he didn’t much care for this ‘psychobabble’.

“But in Ramey’s case, this ‘splinter personality’ is much more like a ‘whole’ person!  It has its own name, sure.  But it also has a history and knows things which would seemingly be foreign to a person like Ramey.  Unless our Ramey has been very clever at living two, totally different lives.  And, one life is as a woman.”  Doc Chatham stopped as if to let that sink in.

Leland wondered where he thought it was going to ‘sink’.

“The upshot of this is that either I am being totally buffaloed, or I’ve never seen or heard of anything of this sort before.”

Leland stared at him.

“That is, of course, outside of the movies.”

“Oh yeah?  What movies have you seen?”

“I was just being rhetorical… or something,” Doc Chatham spread his hands… possibly in hope.  As if he were entreating Leland to dispel the confusion and perhaps come up with something.

“And you are going to ask me to bill the County for,” “….this?”  Leland and Doc Chatham stood taking the measure of either for a long breath.   Leland spun his hand.

This got old Doc Chatham’s back up.  “You can take that up with my office manager, Leland.”

Leland didn’t want to take up anything with her.  And he didn’t think Ruth would either.

“Fine.  Okay.  Thanks for your help in this time of crisis Doc,” Leland grumbled.

The Doc left abruptly, and Leland stood outside for a while, before he figured it was better that he go in.  Just ‘cause it was silent, you never know what could have happened.  He knocked softly.

“C’mon in,” Agent Hailey chirruped sweetly.  “We’re all done.”  She opened the door while snapping a latex glove from her right hand.

“You don’t want to know,” she said, in answer to Leland’s astonished glance.

Ramey was lying naked on a living room table with his knees up and partially covered by a sheet.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

November 23, 2012

Rape Kit

(Episode 15)

After Leland had dealt with the last of the reporters, he returned to the booth where he sat, eating his pie across from Agent Hailey.  “You want to come with me to visit a suspect?”  He asked.

“Why all the favors?”  Agent Hailey replied.

“As long as you’re going to get pimped, you might as well get paid.” Leland said.  “Besides you may come in handy.”

“Handy?  How so?”  Agent Hailey put down her fork.  She hadn’t eaten much of the pie.  Which was too bad, Leland thought, because the pie was good.  “You want the rest of it?”

Leland rose.  “C’mon, let’s go.”

As they left the café Leland shouted back to Carmella, “Department billing.”

Carmella flipped her receipt book and wrote this on the back of the check.

“Regular tip,” Leland added.

Carmella nodded and scribbled a quick calculation on the front of the check.  “What do you want me to call it?!”  Carmella called after him.   “A date?!”  She flipped the receipt book over again and looked real interested as she smiled at Leland.

“Community rela  …PRESS relations,” Leland corrected himself, and slammed the door behind them.

Out by the Kimmel County Sheriff’s SUV, Leland paused before unlocking the vehicle.  “If you come, you’ve got to promise me this is just between you and us.  The FBI proper needn’t know any of this yet.”

Agent Hailey didn’t hop in.

“Hey.  They ‘pimp’ you out.  They’re assuming you’ll do what’s needed to please the customer.”

Agent Hailey looked up and down the street, perhaps looking for her vanished partner, as she considered this.

“Why don’t you want me to share any of this with the Agency?”  Agent Hailey asked, after she’d settled in and fastened her seat belt.

“Because this town only has one dentist.  And if the FBI were to interrogate him presently, like as not, he’d be whisked off to a black project somewhere and we’d never see hide nor hair of him again.”  He pulled down his lower lip.   “And I’ve got receding gums.”

“Sorry to hear it.”  Agent Hailey replied.

Leland nodded.

Heading out of town by way of a network of back alleys and crossing a dirt lot or two, Leland shook the remnants of the press corps which had stuck to his tail like burrs.  Agent Hailey raised her brows at the irregularity, and gripped the door handle, initially thinking that perhaps this Sheriff was the town lunatic.  But when Leland indicated the rear view mirror with a nod of his head, Agent Hailey looked behind and caught the method behind this madness.  The last of the press vehicles was bottomed out on a log hidden in a field of weeds and the fellow was getting slowly out to inspect the damage.

“So…” Leland began as they hit the paved road leading north out of town with a brief chirp of the tires, “…Ramey, our local dentist / psychic.”  And he began filling Agent Hailey in on the details to date as he drove swiftly north.

By the time they had reached Ramey’s, Agent Hailey was pretty well up to speed on all that Leland presently knew about the case – as it applied to Ramey.

“It sounds to me like we have already located the killer,” Agent Hailey said as they pulled into Ramey’s gravel drive.  There was another car there, which Leland knew to be Doctor Chatham’s.  “Unless you believe this man can truly predict events?” Agent Hailey adjusted her hip holster to cant her duty weapon a bit more comfortably. The Glock 23 functioned flawlessly, in sand, rain, and mud, but carried like a plastic brick.

“Were it so simple,” Leland sighed, remained seated in the car and indicated Agent Hailey should do likewise.  “But there are ways any normal person, and especially a hypersensitive Dentist/Psychic like Ramey could have come across a snippet of this information around here.  And then there are some other discrepancies.  Ramey doesn’t have any buddies to speak of, and all indications are that these crimes involve two perps.  Second, I know that Ramey is nervous around any kind of weapon.  And third, I just have a real hard time imagining Ramey as any kind of sadistic murderer.”  Leland indicated Agent Hailey’s revolver.  “So let’s not shoot him, just yet.”

“Fine,”  Agent Hailey said, holstering her revolver.  “Do I take the front or the back?”

“You take the side,” Leland indicated with a toss of his head.  “That way you’ll be able to see both exits.  I’ll go in.  Give me five minutes.  And I’ll either step back out and wave you in,  or you can break down the door and come in shooting.”

“Gee.  Sounds like fun.”

So that’s what they did.  Agent Hailey stationed herself twenty yards south of the house, where she could see both entrances to the home with revolver raised and locked in both hands.  And Leland rang the buzzer.

Doctor Chatham answered it, peering out the cracked door.  Leland had to bend down to hear him.

“He wants a rape kit,” were the first words Doctor Chatham uttered.

“You’re kidding,” Leland replied.

“Noooope!”

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

November 18, 2012

Downtown Kimmel

Romance Over Pie

(Episode 14)

Agent Hailey returned with two capped, Styrofoam containers of coffee.

“Where is Agent Curtis?”  She looked around.

Leland nodded to indicate the direction Agent Curtis took.

Agent Hailey swore, stared up the street a while and then offered Leland the coffee.

“Thanks.”  He reached for the coffee.  “Agent Curtis suggested I buy you a slice of cherry pie.”  He nodded his head to indicate the café across the street out of which she had just come.

“So he pimped me out again.” Agent Hailey snorted.  She took a moment to survey her options, which included a short visual inspection of Leland.  “Sure.”

Leland glanced both ways and made to lead across the street.   Agent Hailey paused.  “All those press boys are inside you know.”

“I know,” Leland called from mid-street.  “Ruth hates having them underfoot and milling around outside.  So she promised them updates if they’d wait in the café.”  Leland nodded across the street.  “Seems to be working so far.”

Agent Hailey raised her brows and followed.

Inside Carmella ushered them to Leland’s regular booth.  It was at the far end nearby the juke box.  Whenever Leland wished to have an especially private conversation he pushed in a quarter and played “Rock Around the Clock”.

“How’s business Carmella?”

“Not bad.  The press corps, they are pretty cheap.  But there’s a lot of them.  And if you keep them waiting long enough they’re going to buy a meal.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”  Leland smiled.

“Thank you,” Carmella said.  “You might also suggest to them that a tip would help to lubricate your lips.”

Leland frowned.  “I’ll do what I can Carmella.”

Carmella nodded down the way towards the boy sitting at the counter working on what looked to be the second of two huge floats.  “That’s the one pulling in the chips.  He offers to take them to the scenes of the crimes.  He charges thirty dollars a trip, I’ve heard.  And he will only take one person at a time.  My guess is, he’s making more than you.”  Carmella nodded, as she flipped the page on her waitress pad.  “What will you have?”

Leland recognized the boy who had run the Mercedes.

“Two pieces of your cherry pie.  And maybe these coffees in some cups?”  Leland handed Carmella the Styrofoam containers.

Carmella scribbled.  “Sure,” she said, leaving.

Leland stared out the café window, in order to keep from staring at certain parts of Agent Hailey, which actually he could observe well enough in the reflection in the window.

“Agent Curtis does this all the time, you know.”

Her voice seemed to be saying “look at me”.  So Leland did.  Really nice breasts, bound really tight, beneath a buttoned up blouse.  If she’d just worn a normal open shirt it wouldn’t have been as near a turn on.  But her attempt  to repress her sexuality seemed to  torment  it and make it scream.  Any guy would want to help.  Plus she was very good looking, with plump, plush lips, a pert nose, freckles, and eyes like tropical beach water.  Leland just wanted to stay here all day.  Coming over to this cafe had never gotten him this excited.

“He pretends to drive off without me.  I get invited for pie.  We chat.  I learn all I can.   He says it’s just a matter of utilizing all of our assets.   That I should do the same thing for him – if it’s a younger woman.”

“It will be a struggle to give fair value.”  Leland smiled.

“You don’t mind being used?”

“Use away.”

Agent Hailey shrugged.  “Fine then.”

The pie came.

“It’s pretty good pie here.”

“Good,” Agent Hailey barked.

Carmella set it with a conspiratorial smile, and left.  The first reporter approached.

“Sheriff.  Vince Delaney of the Seattle Times.  Do you have an I D on the second victim, yet?”

“Yes we do.”

With that the rest of the press rose.  Leland raised a palm, and turned his attention so all could hear.

“My advice:  Order yourself a nice meal.  Tip the waitress generously.   Maybe get a drink.  And if you just wait until I’m done conferring with my colleague here, I’ll tell you more.”

The man from the Times was about to open his mouth when Leland shook his head and rotated his index finger back towards the group.  The man’s mouth closed, and he turned back to rejoin the group.

“So!  What can I get for you all?”  Carmella cried.

Agent Hailey and Leland continued their conversation.

“I don’t know when I’ve been so closely observed,” Agent Hailey said uncomfortably.

“Sorry,” Leland said.

“I don’t mean like that.”  She nodded her head.  “I mean them.”

Leland nodded.

“When it comes time, would you like to say a few words also?”

Agent Hailey shook her head.  “Uh… no?”

“A large part of advancing in the law game involves public speaking.”

“No.  I’d rather you just go ahead and advance yourself.  I’ll just concentrate upon catching a killer.”

“Alright.”

They ate their pie quietly.  Agent Hailey raised her head to speak, perhaps to apologize, but Leland shook his.  “Save it,” he said.  The last thing he needed now was an argument with a woman.

Once Leland had seen that all the reporters were starting to tuck themselves into their meals, he pushed himself back from the table and rose, saying, “It’s time for the Kimmel County Dinner Theater.”

Agent Hailey’s eyes followed him as he made his way over to the press corps and pulled out a chair which he leaned over the back of.  “I’m Leland Kelly, Sheriff of Kimmel County, for those of you who don’t know me.  And I appreciate you saving your questions for the present time.  This is Agent Hailey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”  A lot of the men craned their necks for a better look, as their brows rose.  Several diners who were not members of the press contingent nodded quietly also, damping the clatter of their cutlery as they followed developments with gawking gazes.  “The Bureau has generously offered its help, both manpower and technical acumen, to Kimmel County in a combined effort to track the perpetrator of these egregious crimes.  Though we have not yet identified the identity of the first victim, the second victim appears to be a middle-aged woman from the Seattle area by the name of Nancy Loomis.”

A hush fell over the press crowd.  “You mean… the Muffin Lady?!” a voice cried out.

Leland nodded.  “Apparently she is also popularly known as the Muffin Lady.”

The Muffin Lady was a well known figure in the area, having been spotlighted in many promotional ads for her company.

“Was she decapitated like the first victim?”  A reporter cried out.

Leland paused, considering how much he wanted to reveal, and was beginning to shake his head, when a teenager in braids, from over her writing pad, declared:  “Something was rolling around in that body bag like a bowling ball.”

Leland looked directly at Nancy Gillis, who had poked her head out from behind the reporter from the Seattle Times.  All heads turned to Nancy Gillis.  “You were at the scene, initially?”  One of the reporters asked.

“Yes she was,” Leland answered, in an effort to take charge of the briefing once again.  “And the victim was decapitated.  Though, whether or not, this confirms linkage with the first victim is still to be determined.”

But half of the reporters were now turned to Nancy Gillis and tossing her questions.  She was quite demur with her answers, and ended it finally by saying,  “All of your questions will soon be answered if the next issue of the Kimmel High School’s Wolverine News, due out tomorrow!  I suggest you get an issue!  We’re starting with a three part series.  The first will start with an evaluation of the scene of the crime.  The second will involve a short interview, conducted directly thereafter, with the leading investigator, Kimmel County  Sheriff Leland Kelly.  And the third, which I am still working on will cover the extent and reason for possible Federal involvement in the case.  As for local color and the reaction from local residents, we have made an executive decision to let this softer news be covered by the more standard commercial news outlets.”  The press corps nodded, shocked.  “That’s it for now!  If you need me, for any further comment, I can be reached through the Wolverine Press.”  Nancy Gillis spoke quickly, and then she left.

Leland waited and then tried beginning his briefing anew:  “As I was saying…”

But everyone had their head turned and were following Nancy Gillis’ exit from the café.  And Leland felt as if he were speaking into a vacuum.

“Who was that?”  The first reporter to look back at Leland asked.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

November 12, 2012

Veteran’s Day!

The Feds Continued…

(Episode 13)

 

“What the hell kind of cell is this?”  Agent Hailey said, looking around.

Leland wondered when they would remark on it.

Leland explained Ralph Bunch.  Ralph Bunch was their local poet/painter /alcoholic,  who had been doing fine with a wife and kids until he got kicked in the head while milking his cow one day, which gave him blinding headaches he assuaged with drink.  In time the headaches went away, along with his wife and kids – but the drink stayed.  The man was too proud to accept charity so when the cold came, Leland often had to arrest him – which actually was illegal.  And in return Ralph painted murals to pay for his room and board, ‘which probably was illegal too’, Leland mused.   ‘But what the hell, wasn’t illegal?’

In fact, just to see who had the better working knowledge of illegality in the area,  Leland and Ruth, now and then, would play the game, “So Arrest Me!” over lunch.  They’d flip a coin to pick someone in the area.  The first one to ‘seize or detain something by legal authority’,  won.   Sometimes it went on for days.  But they usually ‘got their man’.   Whoever scored a felony – the other person bought lunch for a week.  Leland had the upper hand in his understanding of the law, but Ruth was overwhelming with her knowledge of local affairs.  ‘Shit’, sometimes Leland wondered why he went driving around talking to people at all.

But to get back to what we were talking about, Leland had Ruth run out for Ralph’s paints and linseed oil.  And while Ralph worked, the two of them would often chat – sometimes elaborating on a mental design for the perfect woman – to the strains of Chopin or Rossini with the odor of art in the air.  It was a refreshing change from the boring smell of ‘office’ and staring at metal filing cabinets.  No one in Ralph’s art work ever needed arresting, except perhaps for lewd conduct.

“That’s his second wife.”  Leland smiled at the curvaceous nude with the ravishing lips who levitated above the bunk where they sat, pink nipples fully aroused with the left having an enlarging pearly droplet of mother’s milk hanging just above Agent Hailey’s squinting right eyeball.  ‘Whom actually’, Leland felt with absurd pride, ‘he had had a hand in designing.’  Fronds and lovely moonlit flowers abounded.  Strange animals filled the forest glade and strangely shaped clouds filled the ceiling sky.  Leland smiled.

“How’d this guy find someone like that to marry him, after being kicked in the head and having his face rearranged by a cow?”  Hailey frowned.

“He hasn’t.” Leland sighed.  “This is just the schematic …for the model  …for the prototype.”  Leland shook his head.

Hailey started to read some poetry scratched across the mons pubis.

“He’s our local John LeClair.”  Leland shrugged.

Hailey raised her brows and gave Leland a second look.   “He’s not a suspect?”

“Hailey, you want to run across the way and get us some coffee?”  Agent Curtis said.

“No,” Agent Hailey said.  But she rose, and walked out swiftly, probably to best plan where she could hide to kick Agent Curtis in the nuts when he emerged.

 

Agent Curtis coughed.  “You’ve been here ten years?”

Leland and Agent Curtis strolled back into his office.  Ruth had found them a respectable chair, produced it, commanded them politely out of the jail cell, and shut the door, where she listened, catching what she could.

Where Agent Curtis had sent Agent Hailey, Ruth didn’t know.  But she would find that out soon enough, too.  She found out everything soon enough.  That phone on her desk was like the center of a vast spider web.  It rang with any little ‘tingle’ in the firmament.

“Actually, I grew up here,” Leland said, staring out the window at Main Street, watching Agent Hailey stride across it.  Right now, the Press was right across the street drinking coffee in Mayor Pete’s Campaign café.  Leland could see them looking through the window back at him looking through the window at them.

“I know.”  Agent Curtis nodded.  “You played linebacker in high school.  Attended Stanford on scholarship where you majored in Criminal Law.  And then worked another eight years for the LA Police Department, where you rose through the ranks, finally breaking your pick in the Latin Gangs division.  Where, I imagine you may have picked up some Spanish.

“Si.  Beuno.  Sí, lo hice.”

“I’ll take that as a “yes”.”  Agent Curtis smiled.  “…with qualifications.”

“You’d be right.”  Leland was beginning to like him.  “You’re still not convinced Benny Green is not behind this, are you?”  He said.

“No, I’m not.”

“Why?”

“Benny isn’t a complete fool.  He reads the papers, and being a no-good, lo-life, dickhead, slime ball of a worthless dog pile of shit, he particularly likes the lurid crime stuff.  He reads that there has just been a recent horrific murder, in Nancy Loomis’ very area, committed by some kind of lunatic.  People are worried it could the beginnings of a serial killer’s rampage… and, Benny’s sure of it!   He got wind of what Nancy was doing with us, and this looks like a great way to tie up some loose ends.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”  Leland nodded.   This relaxed mano-mano charade had to end.  People were getting killed out there and he had work to do.   He rose.  “Well, as long as you feel that way, I would guess that the resources of the Federal Government are with us?”

“That’s pretty much the case,” Agent Curtis agreed.  “Until we have it confirmed, one way or the other.”

“Good.  Because I’ve got two bodies plus heads stacked up like cordwood over in the freezers at Vern Smithers’ butcher shop, and enough evidence bagged in the back room by some local teenagers here to keep a small army of agents busy for at least a week or so,” Leland said.

“Okay.”  Agent Curtis stopped on his way to the door.  “But tell me.  I’m curious.  How do you intend to proceed?  I’m guessing you are still hanging onto your crazy lunatic, theory of events.  But I would think in this isolated area, an oddball like this who suddenly appears would stick out like a sore thumb,” Agent Curtis observed.

“Not really.  The rural areas attract oddballs of every sort, plus drifters.  There’re a lot of itinerant farm laborers passing through.  And then we’ve got a large Latino community.”

“Your Spanish doesn’t help you there?”

“I know the Latinos well enough around here that they’ll tell me what they can’t tell me, and that’s pretty much everything.  Something goes haywire in their community and they kick the guy across the boundary so’s I can grab him.  But otherwise it’s a closed society.  We probably have a thousand undocumented aliens working all around here whose bosses aren’t particularly keen for them to be known, seen, or heard from.  If this screwball has any kind of sense, all he has to do is put on about 2 extra shirts and a baseball cap and we’ll be none the wiser.  He could be walking past outside right now, or buying a gallon of milk and a six pack of beer down at the store.”

As a matter of  fact, Leland had just turned away from the front window and was shaking Agent Curtis’ hand again,  as Stan walked past… wearing two flannel shirts and a dirty Seattle Seahawks football cap.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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