Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

May 13, 2013

Secret database2

Tracking a Scent

(Episode 48)

 

“Do you know that Robert Frost poem, where he says,

 

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,” ?

 

Nancy spoke as her fingers raced over the keyboard.

“Well, Mr. Wallace, the teacher I had for investigative journalism, said that you find those ‘two roads’?  And you trace them back to where they first ‘diverged’?  And that will make ‘all the difference’.”

Nancy had supplanted Ruth at the keyboard and was speaking to the others clustered around as she sped her investigation through the networked maze of a national data base.  Nancy had two files open.

“Okay.  In this window I’m back tracing our first victim, Clarisse Clemens.  Oh, this is interesting.  She has past arrests for prostitution and confidence games.”

“She could’ve met any kind of murdering low lives in those professions,” Ramey suggested.  Then his head twitched sharply to the right, so quickly, Ruth was afraid he might have hurt himself.

“I’ve never done any of those things,” the Muffin Lady objected sharply.  “Nor have I associated with anyone, knowingly anyway, who did them.”

“Okay, okay.  By ‘interesting’, I meant more that her background will add color to the article.”  Nancy turned and smiled.

Ramey smiled sweetly back.  ‘This is weird,’ Nancy decided.

“Anyway, so in this other window I’m tracing Ms. Loomis here, our ‘Muffin Lady’.  Oh, look at all the articles here.   And here’s those two of mine, in the New York Times!  The first, with the picture of Sheriff Leland, and then the second, with those pictures and stories of the shoot out…”

“And!  moving on…” Ruth said.

“Sorry,” Nancy apologized.

“You know, I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone test the Sheriff more than you have little girl,” Ruth admonished her.

“I know, I know.  I’m sorry,” Nancy apologized again.  “Mr. Wallace said that we may have to say that a lot.  But that, that was okay, as long as we did our job.  We got the story,” she said a little more upbeat.

“Remind me to have a word or two with this Mr. Wallace of yours,” Ruth said.

Nancy kept her head down and continued searching through the screens, trying this keyword, then that; this association, then that.

 

This went on for several hours.  Nancy kept at it, while Ruth stepped outside to have a smoke.  Then Ramey walked back to his cell, to lie down awhile, and cover his eyes with a cool washcloth.  Then Ruth stepped back inside and called across the street for some take out lunch.  Then they all ate while staring at the screen.  By the late afternoon Ramey was sawing logs while Ruth was playing solitaire in the Sheriff’s office.

“I’ve got it!”  Nancy cried.  “You were born in Pinch, West Virginia.  Doctor Ramey.  Doctor Ramey!  Did you hear that?”

“I could have told you that, had you just asked!”  Ramey/Muffin Lady staggered in groggily.

“And Clarisse Clemens was born in Charleston, but raised in Elkview, West Virgina,” Nancy declared.

“Yeah.  Just a few miles up the holler,” the Muffin Lady replied.

“Quite a coincidence, huh?”  Nancy exclaimed.  “Maybe you two went to the same school?”

“No.  No.  The kids from Elkview attended Milton middle school and then later on went on to Benton High.  While we went to the local Pinch Middle School, and then attended Sadie Meyers High.  We only saw them at the games.  And me, rarely, because girls didn’t have any sports, and I’d be damned if I was going to go miles out of my way to scream and cheer for a bunch of pimpled boys, who felt any recognition opened the door to my drawers.”

“Oh.”  Nancy reddened slightly.  “Well, still, you have to admit.  This is an enormous coincidence.”

“ But that’s all it is.”  Ruth nodded.

“What do you mean?!”

“That’s all it is.  It is an enormous coincidence.  But that’s all,” Ruth said.  “What, if anything, does this tell us?”

“Jeeze.”  Nancy sighed, and turned back to the computer.  “You know, you people in law enforcement don’t get enthused enough.  Maybe you should get out more.  Shoot something,” she groused.

 

It took Nancy three more days of after school sleuthing, before she finally hit upon it.

Sheriff Leland and Merlin had returned meanwhile with their news.  And the Sheriff had beaten up the phone and hammered on the computer for several days himself trying to figure out just who Bob and Harriet Weeds had fed to the pigs.  He tried all the databases.  He used all his passwords.  Then Agent Hailey dipped into her FBI database, using all her passwords.  Ruth googled.  And Merlin went back to his Vet lab to see what he could find and match with the weird plastic shred of evidence they had.  But they all drew blanks.  “What in the world good is an ID, if the agency doesn’t exist?”  Merlin asked.

“Probably just for show,” Leland admitted.

“So they could have been just anybody, posing to be somebody?”  Merlin said.

Leland sighed.  He nodded.

“We could have just talked to the pigs,” Merlin declared.

Leland smiled.

“I’ve got it!”  Nancy squealed, from Ruth’s office.

 

Both Leland and Merlin’s brows rose.  “What have you got?”  Leland called from his office.

“Just… the answer!”  Nancy called back haughtily.

Photo lifted from Google Images

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Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

February 19, 2013

phone call 4

Pitching Ruth

(Episode 33)

“How’s it going?” Nancy said, after she’d introduced herself.

“How’s it going?  Is that the sort of cleverly crafted question which keeps a writer publishing just below the fold of the New York Times these days?”

“It’s called a ‘conversation opener’, Ruth,” Nancy replied.  “And why are you trying to break my balls like this?”

“My name is not ‘Ruth’.  It’s Ms. Haphelstot to you.   And where in the world did you get that expression, “busting my balls,” Nancy?  You’re a 15 year old girl.”

“Sorry.  But I’ve been hanging out at the Café with the other journalists, and that’s just how professional reporters talk Ruth.”

“You have no balls.”

“It’s a euphemism.  A turn of phrase.”

“I know what a euphemism is, little girl. And I’m been intimately acquainted with a lot of turns of phrases in my day, and they’re all just dicks calling themselves Richard, if you can handle my French.   And I’m surprised Carmella would put up with it over there.    And I have half a mind to call your mother, that is, your father,  Nancy.  And I’m not Ruth.”

“Sure, you are.”

“Not to a 15 year old girl, I’m not.”

“Are you going to be a prude?”

Yes!  When I’m employed in a professional  capacity.”  Ruth was adamant.

“The Sheriff calls you Ruth,” Nancy whined.

“That’s because he’s the Sheriff.”

“Well, I’m a reporter,” Nancy retorted hotly.

“You’re a gossip,” Ruth replied.  “And a little, 15 year old one to boot.”

“That’s not what the New York Times thinks,” Nancy said.

“What the hell do you want, Nancy?”  Ruth said finally.

“You may call me Ms. Gillis, please.”

Ruth sighed.

“Alright.  Ms. Gillis it is.  What would you like to know, Ms. Gillis?  And does your father know where you are?”  Ms. Haphelstot asked tartly.

“Look.  Maybe we got off on the wrong foot here Ms. Haphelstot,” Nancy said solicitously.  “Because I’m merely calling to see how the investigation is going.  We haven’t heard much about it out here, where there is so much fear and so little real knowledge!   And I bet you can imagine how conjecture will fill in all those vacant spaces!  …!!!   So, I thought I’d call and nail down a few facts.”

“What facts are those?”

“Is it true the Federal Bureau has been dragging its feet in analyzing the evidentiary material in this case?”

“Where’d you get that idea?”

“Well, despite the scuttlebutt I overhear at the café, I figured it couldn’t be because our Sheriff is at fault.  He strikes me as a pretty sharp cookie, and pretty resourceful  law enforcement officer to say the least.”  Nancy hoped she wasn’t slathering it on too thick.

“He is.”

“Well, then, what’s the hold up?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.  I shouldn’t be talking about this.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Leland take the fall here.   The fact of the matter is, we don’t know where the evidence is.  We sent if off to the FBI, two weeks ago.  We got back an intitial dribble of information.  And now it’s like it’s fallen into a black hole.

“I’ll bet Lelan…  Sherriff Leland’s pretty upset.”

“Would you call shouting, upset?”  Ruth asked.

“Um.”  Nancy replied, writing.

“But I can’t fault Agent Hailey.  She’s done all a body can do, as far as that goes.  In fact, I think she’s very embarrassed.  Her organization has really let her down on this one.”

“Um huh.”  Nancy said, taking more notes.

“But at least we still have the bodies.”

“The bodies?”  Her pencil stopped.

“Yeah.  You know, how when people are killed, their bodies often remain.”

“Do tell,” Nancy replied sweetly.  “And where are they?”

“That,  I can’t say.”

“But you’re sure they are still there?”

“What?  Why would the bodies be missing?”

“Well.  I don’t know.  But the other evidence is, right?”

The line went silent.  And Nancy could almost feel the vibration of Ruth’s mental gears turning through the phone; first slowly, and then at hyperspeed.

“You know what?  Something’s come up.  And can I talk to you a little later about this, Nancy?”

“It’s Ms. Gillis.”

“Certainly Ms. Gillis.  Just let me handle this bit of new business, and I’ll get right back to you.  Okay?”

“Sure,” Nancy agreed, and hung up.

By the time Ruth had locked up the Sheriff’s office and headed out in the Sheriff’s car, Nancy was following closely, pedaling hard, on the far right side of the road… the playing card in the spokes humming.  People rarely looked for tails, Nancy figured, riding bikes on the opposing sidewalk.

Nancy lost her after six blocks, 3 dodged dogs, one shopper and another biker, a small boy, going the opposite direction (poorly), but by then Nancy had already figured out the only place Ruth could be heading.

Ruth had reached the butcher’s and was talking animatedly and motioning with her arms, by the time Nancy arrived.  Nancy saw them go to the meat lockers together, and stood wondering what she should do.

She left her bike against the bushes and walked over to the Sheriff’s car.  Ruth had left it unlocked.  Nancy  looked in the back hatch window, but saw nothing as there was a security shade drawn.  So she opened the clam doors and saw plenty of room for a small girl to hide.

Nancy  considered.  Today was Friday.  So there was a good chance her father wouldn’t be back until the wee hours, and then, not up until eleven or twelve that next day.  Which gave her lots of time.  She still had a bottle of water and half of the hamburger she’d purchase at the restaurant wrapped up in a napkin.

Nancy hopped inside and closed the clam shell doors softly behind herself, just as Ruth was exiting from the butchers, at a calmer pace and looking relieved.

Photo taken from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch

January 9, 2013
Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just...

Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just…

Bad for Attendance

If you’re part of the disagreement about why staged theater attendance is dropping nationwide, you’re probably not interested in my opinion, but I’ll give it anyway.  It’s the Left Wing.

Live theater has been rocked by technology since the advent of the movies, many, many years ago, and more recently by the home movie market.  But I think there are real parallels between the problems of the American Stage and those of current leading newspapers’ in maintaining their readership in light of the overwhelming growth of online media.  In a recent piece by Keith Windschuttle in The New Criterion, he notes that since a Leftist Cabal has striven to impose its values on a couple large East Coast dailies, (the New York Times and The Boston Globe), their loss of readership as reflected in stock values has gone from $54. in 2002 for the NY Times to $7.80 in July of this year.  And The Boston Globe has undergone a 90 percent fall in value over the past twenty years.  Meanwhile The Wall Street Journal’s circulation has increased 5 percent between 2007 and 2012.  He believes the Lefties have accomplished this loss of readership at the Times and at the Globe in two ways.  By insulting the intelligence of their Conservative readers these newspapers have driven away half of their readership, and by boring their core readership with the ensuing substandard fare, they have also been losing their Left Wing base.  His favorite example is a story in 2005 about a seal hunt in Nova Scotia written by the former NY Times journalist Barbara Stewart.  Here is a portion of what she wrote:  “Hunters on about 300 boats converged on ice floes, shooting harp seal cubs by the hundreds, as the water and ice turned red.”

“The truth is,” Winschuttle reports, “she wasn’t’ even there and did not know that the hunt had been put off for a day due to bad weather.  She knew so well what was required in a story of this kind that she could write it before the hunt had even begun.”

That last paragraph rings so true to the state of our contemporary stage today.  Most attendees of the larger theaters around this town know pretty well what is going to happen before they even go.  Some current shibboleth of the Left will be polished to a bright sheen either by the play, or by the theater’s take on the play.  The Right will have stayed home because they DO have some intelligence.  And the Left will applaud both the play and themselves, that they donated their time and spent their money to support the thing.

Here’s an example of what tickles the enthusiasm of a local theater brahmin.  The Theater Director of Cornish recently spoke to the Northwest Chapter of the Dramatists Guild this past Sunday, where he waxed approvingly regarding a past production of the Intiman Theater which was about the practice of womens’ genital mutilation in Africa.   He exulted that they had full attendance and that there were even women in the lobby with petitions to help support prevention of this practice.  He’s talking about some glory days at the theater before having to be re-organized after declaring bankruptcy.

Now, in terms of full disclosure, I have never supported women’s genital mutilation, nor have I participated in any.  And it doesn’t sound like a sound, prudent ‘best-practice’ to me.  And I understand that this issue probably really pisses off some women, and probably fairly so.  But… is there a real problem with this in the Northwest?  Would I want to attend this play with my wife, or family?  How about with my mom and dad?  Would I like to watch this play by myself?  How many people enjoy discussing genital mutilation, or watching descriptions of it?  Would a cruel, sadistic serial killer enjoy this play?  (Maybe!)  Was this play really such a success, or was it just a success to the ‘True Believers’?   Or was it a glorious chance for the Left Wing supporters of this theater to ‘out’ themselves – and cement their takeover?  And did many in that audience really care about genital mutilation, or is the play mostly an excuse to march out the ‘usual suspects’, to tar and feather them – as my experience would suggest?

The Cornish don went on to say that he probably shouldn’t talk about politics, but since all of us in that room probably agreed…  (I voiced the lone “No.”  And the conversation continued, just like a car does after running over a possum, or one of those Lone Star pickups does after running over an armadillo… when passing through those vast stretches in the Red States.)  The powers of this country, he said, seem to be wanting to separate us into the ignorant and the educated…. blah, blah, blah.

He went on to say that Theater attendance isn’t ALL down.  At the 5th Avenue and Issaquah’s Village Theatre (musical houses) attendance has actually grown.  He thought this might be because of their having the ‘beat’, the ineffable draw of music.

I think it’s because at these ‘musical’ houses the public can still bring their families.  And when with their families, nearly everyone becomes a conservative.  And the 5th Avenue and the Village Theatre know enough to respect this.  They don’t alienate their audience.

But, as far as I can tell, our Cornish don still remains among the ignorant.

Photos taken unattributed from the Internet

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 5, 2013

Barnbirdsb

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm

(Episode 20)

Harriet was a pretty quick study.  A woman had to be when she was hefty and plain of appearance.  And she figured this Stan fellow was a real ‘misogynist’ the minute she saw him…  which didn’t bother her none, or much, anyway.  She figured all men were, and to tell you the truth, she wasn’t all that impressed with women folk herself.  She didn’t hold it against the men much for not finding her attractive.  Hell, it wasn’t their fault.  But it did gall her when the women would slight her for the same thing.  Now, that was just downright mean.  It was like someone crossing the street just to stand in your way.

“You don’t like women much, do you?”  Harriet said to the hired man, Stan, as she set the evening’s mashed spuds on the table.

“Now why would you say that?”  Stan took this quite seriously.  Harriet liked that.

Her husband, Bob, on the other hand, visibly stiffened.  He was such a puppy.

“You look to be about 30-35 maybe, passable looking, and you’re still single, or at least runnin’ around all by yourself, and not fittin’ in exactly anywheres. “

“Maybe I like them, but they don’t like me.”

Harriet noticed Bob’s smile as he said this.

“I’d believe that,” Harriet said.

Bob thought Harriet had been suspicious ever since they came back that morning with blood all over themselves and complaining about a triplet, breeched stillbirth over at the Munson’s spread.  (Stan had warned him not to make such an extravagant story of it.)  And Bob was pretty certain as the meals began deteriorating.  But he wasn’t certain, certain until Harriet pulled the gun on Stan.

Here they were chowing down!  Bob had been in a pretty good mood despite Harriet’s problem.  He felt like he had gotten all flushed out down below and was just about ready for more.  The prices for milk were good.  The cows were healthy.  And the pastures were all dry for the season.  And it had been a warm Sunday!  So all in all, it seemed a shame when Harriet pulled out that gun and aimed it at Stan, one of the best hands they’d ever had.

“I want you outta here,” she said.

“You want to talk privately with your husband?”  Stan inquired, calm as could be.  Bob just couldn’t help but admire this.

“No.  I don’t want to talk privately with that adulterer!”

“I ain’t no adulterer.”

“You had sex outside the bounds of marriage, didn’t ya?”  Harriet turned the gun on Bob.

“Woman, what are you talking about?”  Bob flushed.

“I’m talking about putting your wee little pecker into someone, somewhere where’s you shouldn’t.  An’ now about you bein’ a bald faced liar to boot.”   Harriet reached down and pulled out the Sunday edition of the New York Times which she slammed down on the supper table.

Bob looked dumbly at it as if he were staring at an old school textbook of the advanced sort.

“Turn it over.  It’s below the fold.”  Harriet nudged the newspaper forward with the barrel of the gun.

“Below the fold?”

“Look at the other side!”

“On the bottom of the page,” Stan advised.

“That’s right,” Harriet said.

Bob turned the damned heavy newspaper over, and a trickle of fear crawled up his back leg  like a bug.  There was a headline about Sheriff Leland and Serial Killers.  Bob turned his wide eyes on Stan without thinking.  Then he pulled his gaze back.  “I don’t see anything in here about adultery.  Mine, or anyone else’s,” Bob said.

“I believe they call it “rape”.”  Harriet lifted the tip of her gun to emphasis the point.

“How the hell would they know that the rapist is a married man, Harriet?”  Bob indicated.  “There’s no way.  That’s the answer.”

“They don’t say it’s a married man, you blinkin’ idiot!”

“Well then, I don’t see how you can come off callin’ it an adultery!”  Bob matched her volume.

I’m callin’ it an adultery, because I think that you and Stan here did it.”  Harriet moved the barrel of the gun so that it was pointed midway in between the both of them.

Bob said nothing, because he couldn’t think for a moment what he should say.  And then, when he finally decided he should say “No”, to deny it, Stan was already talking.

“You sure are a good cook, Harriet,” Stan said.  “You mind if I continue eating?”  He nodded at the gun.

“Just keep your hands where I can see them,” Harriet said.   “An’ don’t take more than two pork chops.”

Stan nodded and continued eating.  He did it with such a relish, he was actually making Bob hungry to watch.  Which was something, considering a cold wave of fear had just about frozen Bob to his chair, and shriveled his genitals and squirreled them like nuts high up in his scrotum.  He was either going to get shot, or going to admit something  he’d rather not.  Either choice was rather riveting.  And Bob couldn’t see how Stan was able to take it all so lightly.  “Maybe you could tell Harriet where we wuz, Stan,” Bob entreated.  “Seeing as how you’ve got a better head for explanations and such.”  Bob nodded.

The only think Bob could figure was that Stan must know something he did not.  Which must be why he was taking all of this so cool.

“We wuz wherever you two ends up figuring we wuz, I’d guess.”  Stan smiled, chewing.

“What the hell.  Why are you saying that?!”  Bob exclaimed.

“Well.  Where ‘wuz’ we?”  Stan asked.

Bob was totally flummoxed.

“Yeah, then.  Where wuz you?”  Harriet aimed the gun at Bob.

“Well.  What?  I don’t know.  I mean, when?  When are you talkin’ about?  Wuz it then, or last night or two weeks ago.  What are you talkin’ about?”

“Ah’m talkin’ about when Ms. Muffin Lady here got clobbered.”  Harriet thumped the newspaper with the barrel of the gun.   “Where wuz you then?  That night?”

“Honey.  I can’t remember where I am every night of the year.”

“Ah’m not askin’ about every night of the year.  Ah’m just asking about them as when you’re not in bed at home asleep where you oughta be.”

“Well, them too.  Those are hard to keep track of.  I mean, there’s cows that need milkin’, dogs that start barking all hours of the night.  You know how crazy it can get around here!”

“I’d think you’d remember if you was off rapin’ some woman, and draggin’ her in the darkness from some car on the highway.”  Harriet nodded.

“It’s the kind of thing that would stick in my mind.”  Stan nodded, as he relished another bite.

“And I don’t know what you’re laughin’ about either.  As I’m just a split second away from shootin’ you too.”  Harriet eyeballed Stan.

“Why aren’t you helpin’ me deny all this?”  Bob whined.  “I thought we wuz partners.  I thought we wuz together on this.”

“So you’re admittin’ everything?”

“Ah’m not admittin’ anything, woman,” Bob declared hotly.  “An’ just cause you got a gun doesn’t make no difference either.”

“You might feel a bit different once I use it.”  Harriet’s finger clenched tightly on the trigger.

Stan raised his hands.

Both Harriet and Bob looked at him.

“Harriet.  You start out pointing the gun at me, but if this keeps on you’re going to end up shooting your only husband, Bob,” Stan pointed out.  He paused to push his plate away, take out a cigarette and light it.  He inhaled, then exhaled up towards the bare light bulb.  Bob just had to admire this no end, in spite of the dire situation.  And he did appreciate the help, a bit.

“Don’t you just admire that?”  Bob gestured to Harriet.  “Can’t you admire that?  I mean, look.  You’re got a gun pointed at the man.  An’ rather than getting’ all upset an’cryin’ and whimperin’, or yellin’,  like you’d half expect, he’s just cool as a cucumber and sets there ready to discuss things.”  Bob waved his finger between himself and Harriet.  “We could take a lesson there.”

“An’ you could take a bullet here.”  Harriet scowled, poking the gun at Bob’s pecker.

“Stan,” Bob said.  “I appreciate your cool and all that, but I think right now it’s best if we explain to Harriet just wut it is we got to say.”

Harriet moved the gun sights back on Stan.  “An I think it’s best he don’t provoke me.”

Stan shrugged.  He looked at Bob.

“All I’m saying dear,” Bob tried to continue as best he could in as soothing voice as he could, ““…instead of getting all upset about some Muffin Lady who gets herself killed an’ probably nothin’ more than she deserved, in some New York newspaper there…”  Bob pointed,  “…is that perhaps you don’t recognize a quality man.  I mean, here is a quality man.  He works hard.  He works smart.  And he’s cool as a cucumber under any kind of trouble, and here you want to go runnin’ him off with a gun?!”

“Ah may just shoot ‘im, and drag him off with a back hoe,”  Harriet spit.

“Well that’s yur problem.  You just don’t recognize quality.  You just don’t and never did!”  Bob was getting upset, gun or no.  “Now I know for a fact that there may have been other crime figures involved!  Now wasn’t she saying somethin’ about thinkin’ we were in with Benny Green, or somebody?!”

Stan sighed.

Harriet just shook her head.

Bob considered a moment.  “…oops.”

“You see what I got to contend with?”  Harriet asked Stan.

Stan looked over at Bob who had been holding his arms out in indignation, but was now just looking defeated and rubbing his chin.

“If any of them come sniffin’ around here, what am I supposed to say?”  Harriet dipped the gun at Stan demanding an answer.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress… by Eldon Cene

December 9, 2012
And finally:  Let's Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

And finally: Let’s Give It Up for the Lone Star State!

(Pin-up in Sheriff Leland’s back room, which was replaced by the White Board)

Whiteboard

(Episode 19)

             A week had passed.  They had identified the first murder victim as Clarisse Clemens, another newbie to the area, which explained why no one had appeared to claim her body (parts).  Also, she had a rap sheet.  Apparently at one time she had also worked as a prostitute and a bunko artist.  Neither one very successfully it appeared, because she was found way out here and missing her head with a total of $19.37 and a six pack of condoms in her pocketbook.  Agent Hailey had retrieved a lot more information about her from their forensics team, which Agent Curtis wanted her to postpone sharing until he could be present at the meeting.  Presently he was in the city preparing to move against Benny Green and his operation, and he wanted to keep his ‘operational status’ clear for that, before entangling himself in that ‘rural muck’ portion of the investigation once again.  “Besides,” he said over the phone, “that’s what I have Agent Hailey there for.  I assume you two are working together okay?”

“Yes, we’re doing fine,” Leland replied.  “She’s very capable.  There’s no need to rush for that reason.  Although I would like a look at those findings as soon as possible, the pressure in a small community to find the perpetrator being what it is,” Leland said.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Agent Curtis replied curtly.  “But I have to let you know, Benny Green is still my top suspect.”

“We’ll see you when you get here,” Leland replied and hung up.

“You’ve got all the forensics?” Leland asked.

“Faxed this morning,” Agent Hailey replied.

“Thanks,” Leland replied.  If Agent Curtis knew the kind of end run Agent Hailey and he were perpetrating, he might have to re-consider who was pimping who.  As it stood now, Leland had an inside to the full resources of the FBI through Agent Hailey.  And Agent Hailey had a full run of the investigation through him.  And “all there is left now is marriage,” Leland smiled, happy with how this was all playing out.

“Is that a proposal?”

Agent Hailey had softened quite a bit under Leland’s professional wooing, and was becoming a real part of the team.  ‘…of two’, Leland considered happily.  It was like every day was another date with his dream law enforcer.  He had never been so happy chasing a murderer.

“I have my tux pressed,” Leland bantered.

Agent Hailey sobered.

“Maybe we’d better go over that new evidence and tape it up,” Leland said.

As her gift to the operation, Agent Hailey had brought in a large whiteboard with tape, yarn and marking pens… where they were doing some mind mapping of the crime.  Ruth was impressed.  “Never saw me do this to chase down a missing cow, now did you?”  Leland grinned.

Ruth smiled.  Ruth was happy when Sheriff Leland was happy.  And currently, he was chasing down this cruel, ruthless, absolutely amoral serial murderer with his shoes two feet off the ground like a love struck schoolboy.  She just hoped he didn’t become too addled by infatuation and kept his wits about him.  About Agent Hailey, she still hadn’t made up her mind.

“You see this latest news?  It’s that ‘in-depth’ interview that schoolgirl Nancy Gillis did of you coming back on the bus from the crime scene, and written up for the Kimmel High Wolverine.”  Ruth dropped a massive newspaper upon Leland’s desk.

Leland’s mind was on the whiteboard, but he turned when he heard the ‘thump!’.  “The Kimmel County Wolverine puts out a paper that big?”

Ruth shook her head.  “It was picked up by the New York Times!” Ruth said deadpan.

Leland and Agent Hailey both stared as Ruth placed the front page of the New York Times neatly where they could see the picture and headline, just below the fold.

The photo, taken in provocative shadow, was of “Sheriff Leland Kelly, Kimmel County Sheriff, oiling and reassembling his 45 caliber Colt Anaconda behind the partly open blinds of his front office.”

The headline read:

 

“They Pursue Serial Killers Differently in Kimmel County”

 

            Ruth gave Leland the sober eye.

            “Ooooh shit,” Leland whistled.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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