Posts Tagged ‘serial murder’

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

Advertisements

Murders in Progress

November 10, 2012

The Feds

(Episode 12)

Likely enough, Bob Weeds had been somewhere, where he had absorbed some ‘growing community sentiment’, Leland figured on his way back.  He made it a mental floss to think a little bit more about Bob, and he put Ruth on the phones when he got back.  Ruth was a master at ‘salting the mine’: just little tidbits of insider knowledge, enough to let the local network of gossips share with the public at large that – at least in the Sheriff’s office – events were bubbling, things were moving.  Because, Leland knew,  in his job, the campaigning never really stopped.

Five gallons of gas wasn’t enough to get to Ramey’s and back to town, so before Leland could get out to Ramey’s, he first had to get back to town to fill the car and 5 gallon container.  And while he was at it, he decided it might be best to stop back by the office to check on a few things.

“Ruth!” He shouted as he tossed back the entry door.  “Fill that damned cruiser with gas after you use it.”  He tossed Ruth the keys.

Ruth skittered out.

Leland’s first need was to change his firepower.  Leland had figured the county issued pistol he carried was adequate for most of what he was required to do as part of his job as Kimmel County Sheriff.  But this latest string of murders had larger troubles written large all over it.  And Leland imagined he’d need to blow a bigger hole through whomever it was doing it than a regulation pistol would allow.

After this second murder, a saying of Leland’s Sergeant in the LA Police Department had come to mind.  “You don’t go hunting bear with a squirrel gun.  Bigger game requires a bigger gun.”  His mentor had said that the morning before they went up against the Jamaicans.  Leland had never seen so much blood.  But it was Police Department 10 / Jamaicans 0.

Leland sat at his desk cleaning and oiling and reassembling the .45 Colt Anaconda he’d fetched from back in the evidence locker, checking its action, and practicing moving it in and out of his holster, while looking out onto the main street through the slats in the blinds.  Leland had been here ten years settling things like shot pet disputes, filched timber, and crop damage complaints when all of a sudden people were getting murdered.  It was changing how he looked out on Main Street.   And he didn’t like it.

Leland turned back to oiling and working his gun.  He checked the sights.  He figured anybody who was out murdering people might resist arrest, also.  And while he was thinking this and spinning the cylinder, something flashed in the window.

Suddenly …a flash of light!

He looked up just soon enough to see a pair of pig-tails disappear.

He was thinking of giving the damned kid a chase, when an unmarked American sedan drove up and parked directly before where he stood looking out, .45 Colt Anaconda pistol in hand.  There was something about the speed and authority with which the auto parked.  He parted the Venetian blind wider with a forefinger and saw a man and a woman in the front seats.  The man was driving.  They both wore dark suits.  Everything about it said, government.   And everything about that said, “Feds”.  And everything about that raised flags.  He slid the gun and oils, tools  and bullets into his top drawer, and wiped down the top of his desk.  He brought out a writing tablet and pen and set a little Smiley Face which said Kimmel County Sheriff’s Department underneath on the front ledge.  It was a little kitsch which Ruth had purchased.

When they poked their heads through the door, Leland noted that they were both carrying.  It’s funny how that was the first thing you noticed about somebody in this business.

“Sherriff Leland, I’m guessing.”  The man was 30-40ish, and looked fit.  He shook hands with the overbearing grip of an alpha male.

“That would be me,” Leland admitted, while they ground knuckles for a while.  “And who is this?”  He turned to the younger woman, who was who was already working her way around his office.

“Agent Hailey.”  She turned away, as if she had already been forced to reveal too much.

‘Not a bad looking woman.”  Leland’s brows rose.

“And I’m Agent Curtiss, out of the FBI’s Division office.  Can we sit?”

“Please do.”  Sherriff Leland waved a hand.

Agent Hailey glanced around.  “There are no chairs.”

“That’s how I keep people out of my office.  Plus, you know, it’s the budget.”  Leland rose from behind his desk.  “Usually when I really need to talk, I take it into the jail cell.”  Leland indicated the door behind them.  “It’s more private.”  He nodded towards the door they had come through, on the other side of which, Ruth grumbled, and returned to her desk.

Sheriff Leland led them into the cell, where he straddled a plastic chair while they sat on the steel bunk.

“Sounds like you’ve had a murder.  A couple of murders here, actually.”  Agent Curtis began.

“Yes, we have.”

“Any suspects?”

“Oh yeah.  Nearly everybody.”

“Everybody?”

“People don’t move to the country because they enjoy each other a lot.”  Leland gave the G-Man a smile.  He continued.  “In an out of the way area like this, grudges are made; they  fester.  This idea of burying the hatchet and making up happens maybe 5% of the time around here, except on evening TV sitcoms.  Here, people fight, divorce, re-marry, or drink, or run amuck with a gun or a tractor.  So, something like this happens and we’ve all got our suspicions.  I must have had about a thousand calls so far.  Lots of tips.  My guess is, that you’re bringing me another.  And you’re FBI, so I’m thinking that you’re going to tell me that this all has ‘larger ramifications’.”

“That’s right,” Agent Curtis said.  “We think that this latest homicide of Karen Loomis might be connected to the mobster Benny Green.”

Agents Curtis and Hailey looked at Leland as if he might have something to add.

“You didn’t say, …”in some way”…”.

“Huh?”

“You didn’t say that it was connected in “some way” to the mobster Benny Green.  So I’m guessing that you may have some hard information to offer,” Leland said.

“Yes, and no.  Nancy Loomis was working for us.”

“I heard she cooked muffins.  You eat muffins?”

Agent Hailey huffed.  “She was CEO of a 5 million dollar corporation which produced Food Accessories.”

“In a big way, I meant.”  Leland nodded at Agent Hailey.  “So why would a woman who is so successful and doing so well be working as an informant for the FBI?  That’s pretty dirty, disagreeable work, isn’t it?  I mean, it tosses you in with all types.  …It’s not the Rotary.”

Agent Hailey shook her head.

“The recession,” Agent Curtis smiled, leaned forward placing his elbows on his knees, and lowered his voice as if he were letting Leland in on something.

The guy was a pretty good salesman, Leland had to admit, except for that Godawful grip.

“During the recession of 2008, credit streams just dried up.  It didn’t matter who you were.  And even very successful companies were scrambling to meet their cash flows.  And that’s where Benny Green comes in.  He figures this is an excellent time to launder a lot of drug monies that otherwise he has to pay a huge commission to get pressed and cleaned.  So he’s out there helping out all he can.  He comes across our Miss Loomis, and even though it is not love at first sight… They manage to work things out.  Fine.  But then two years in, credit has loosened a bit, Nancy has bitten the bullet, and she’s wanting to pay Benny off.  But Benny doesn’t want to be paid off.  He wants what he’s got now.  And it’s then that Nancy knows that she’s stuck with this Benny Green whether she likes it or not… like with Super Glue.  Which she doesn’t.  AND, being the plucky little 120 pound thing she was, she comes to us.  And we hammer out an agreement.”

“It was a very dicey negotiation,” Agent Hailey cut in.  “Because she was already up to her neck in legal shenanigans, and knew she was at legal risk.  But, she also knew that they only way she would get herself and her company out of Benny Green’s clutches was if we could somehow take him down.”

“So we joined forces,” Agent Curtis continued.  “She helps us take Benny Green down, and we call it good.  That was the deal.”

“Only now she’s dead.”  Agent Hailey said this with some real anger, looking as if Sherriff Leland had let it happen.

“End of deal,” Leland said.  Leland looked at them as if to say, ‘Then you must have gotten her killed.’  And they both looked down.

“It doesn’t look like a mob killing,” Leland offered.

“And you know what, about ‘mob killings’?”  Agent Hailey retorted hotly.  She glanced around with derision.

“I know that they seldom saw off the head, go through the brains looking for God Knows What, leave cigarette butts, beer cans, and what look to be donut sprinkles and footprints all around, make weird cuts all over her body with a knife and take the left nipple for a trophy.  Oh.  And by the way, she was raped.”

“Shit!  You’re kidding.”

“No. I’m not,” said Leland.  “Whoever is doing this, I doubt they’re in it for the money.  And as to whether they might have mob affiliations…  Frankly, I don’t think the mob would have anything to do with them.   We’re looking at the ultimate loose cannon.”

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

October 15, 2012

Setting of the Crime

The Only Law Within 50 Miles

(Episode 8)

Leland was heading out the door when Ruth caught him.  He had a list of known sex offenders he intended to question first, and then the farmers who lived round the area where the decapitated corpse was found.  The body and physical evidence found at the scene had been sent off to the county lab, and he was still awaiting the results on that, which he wasn’t too optimistic about.  The county corner was an elected position.  And theirs was also Mayor, Postman, Building and Roads Inspector, and was promoting his wife for State Representative to boot; an over-achieving quadruple dipper.  So that if Leland got back an autopsy with a finding with more than cause of death as, “corpse is missing head”, he would be greatly surprised.  If anybody was going to stop the dead bodies from popping up around here, it was not going to be their coroner.

“Ramey, the Dentist, called again,” Ruth said.

“You mean our “only one within fifty miles as the crow flies”?”  Leland stopped in the doorway to stand for a moment with his eyelids shut.

“That would be the one.  And he sounds pretty broken up, this time Leland.  All blubbery and crying, I think, from what it sounded like over the phone.   He’s a mess, it sounds like.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.  You might want to have a talk with him.”

“I would, but he’s called at an awkward time,” Leland nodded.  “Tell him that I’m tied up at the moment with someone out there who is not extracting teeth…  he’s extracting whole heads.  And as the “only the practicing dentist within fifty miles as the crow flies”, he should appreciate the severity of that.  So tell Ramey that the only law within fifty miles as the crow flies is out trying to nail this asshole – and will talk to Ramey when he gets back!  Maybe!”

Leland let the door slam as he left.

“Gotcha,” Ruth answered.

Leland had already questioned two former sex offenders by mid-morning, and he was on his way to the third when he passed the fancy Mercedes left parked on the highway side.  It was a nice day and there were lots of flowers roadside, so Leland hadn’t thought much of it until he’d trolled past moving slowly and noticed that both front headlights were broken.

Instead, he had been mulling over the two interviews he’d just given.  He’d ask all the appropriate questions and written down their alibis and answers, which they had signed off on.  But what he’d really been looking for was evidence that they had a buddy or access to a pickup truck, and neither had.  In fact, both appeared to be broke, jobless, all alone, and depressed, not even having enough energy to argue.  In fact, it had been all Leland could do to get the second one to speak at all.  And then, once he’d started, the unshaven guy had just gushed and tried to bribe him with some ”right-out-of-the-oven brownies” not to leave, chasing him right down the steps and back into his patrol car with a hot pad and a pan.

Physical evidence can sometimes come as a relief; especially the kind with that soft leather interior you can smell, Leland noted.  So, it was with some relief that Leland turned the car around and headed back to question the Mercedes.

‘Well, usually,’ he amended that thought, when he saw the crows hovering above the trees somewhere off in the woods.  He walked over to the Mercedes and immediately got a bad feeling.  “Oh shit,” he mouthed silently to himself and undid the snap to his holster.

The headlights were not just broken.  They had been shot out.  Drawing his pistol he followed an obvious trail through the undergrowth and trees for about thirty yards until he came upon the scene of what was obviously another crime.  Dried blood was everywhere.  And Leland put away his pistol.  All that was left were the pickings…

He taped off the scene, called his friend the local Vet, and made it back to the car, but found it locked.  He scanned the car’s interior.  Nothing seemed amiss.   It look Leland another ten or fifteen minutes to pop the locks and have a look inside.  Nothing still seemed amiss.  He checked the trunk.   Nothing was strewn all over.  The dash box and other storage slots were all shut.  Neat as a pin.  Leland soon found the registration and had a look at it:  ‘Nancy Loomis’.  The name gave Leland a chill; then a raging anger which tore right up through him.

“Ruth!”  Leland growled on the phone.  “When was it that Ramey left me that first message?”

“I don’t know exactly.  I can look it up.  But it was a couple days ago.”

“Do that.  And call Ramey.  Tell him I’d love to see him to have a chat, and soon!  Ask him to drop by the office, if he would?”

“Gotcha Chief.”  Ruth always called Leland,  Chief or Boss! when he was in that mood.  And today, as much as she was able, she even tried to enunciate the capital letters.

“You know what?  Wait on that,” Sheriff Leland said, feeling another surge of anger.  “I’ll call him.”

“Sure, Boss.  Sure,” Ruth said, clicking off and removing her headset as if it were a hot potato.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

September 24, 2012

Episode (4)

Does the Name Nancy Loomis Mean Anything?

          “Does the name Nancy Loomis mean anything?”

          “Sir, do you have some information you wish to share with the Kimmel County Sherriff’s Bureau?”

          Ruth liked the word ‘Bureau’ better than the word ‘Office’.  It sounded vaguely Federal which, she felt, gave it more ‘Oomph’.  Sheriff Leland didn’t.  But then again, Sherriff Leland never answered the phones.  So Ruth figured the two of them were whoever she said they were. 

          “I don’t know.”  Ramey was on a disposable cell phone he had picked up in the city.  He had a box of them.  After watching all of the TV shows he figured one could come in handy.  And he had been right.  He couldn’t have these calls traced back to a practicing dentist.  That could cause all sorts of difficulties.  “I’m not certain, I mean.”  Ramey was looking out his car window at a flower stand.  He was working his way, left to right, through the various hanging baskets of assorted flowers, slowly pronouncing the name of each.  This seemed to keep the flashes of horrible imagery, terrible things really, from overwhelming his thoughts.  “Petunia,” he said softly.  “Chry-san-themum”…

          “Sir, you’ll have to speak more loudly,” Ruth said in her Passive Aggressese, getting a bit annoyed.  After all, this was Federal Business.

          “I don’t know!”  Ramey shouted.  Then tried to calm himself, moving onto the next hanging basket of florals.  “Begonia…  I mean, I’m not sure.”

          “What information is it that you wish to share with the Kimmell County Sherriff’s Bureau?”  Ruth said again, mustering all of her authority.  These ‘informants’ were so flakey.  She had often told Sherriff Kimmel, ‘sometimes I wish we could just haul them in and beat it out of them with a rock!’, which had gotten a laugh.  But she also wondered if Sherriff Leland hadn’t become a pussy.  After all, she was the one in the trenches. “Is there information that you wish to share with the Kimmell County Sherriff’s Bureau?”  She growled more loudly, “…sir.”

          “I don’t know.  I mean, I’m not sure if I do or not.  If the name Nancy Loomis means anything to you, that is, if it figures in a current, by that I mean an, on-going investigation, then, I figure, I do.”

          “I know what current means, Ramey,” Ruth said, finally discarding all of her patience.

          Ramey looked at the cell phone as if he had been cheated.  He had asked the fellow in the city directly: ‘Is this phone traceable?’

          “How do you know my name?” Ramey asked, the disbelief creeping into his voice.

          “You’re my dentist!” Ruth barked.  “Everybody around here knows your name Ramey.”

          Ramey flushed.  “Well fine, then!”

          “What is it you want Ramey?  … for the fourth time.”

          “I need to know if the name Nancy Loomis, figures in any way into your investigation,” Ramey’s voice trailed off softly, “of the recent murders…”

          “I’m sorry sir, but ….”

          “Ruth, it’s me, Ramey!”

          “And I told you, I know who you are, RAMEY.  But we can’t reveal any information on an ongoing INVESTIGATION.”

          “Well then, for Pete’s sake! Ruth.  Just tell me if the name Nan-cy Loo-mis  figures in any way in what is currently happening in the investigation.”

          “That would be to reveal information.  This phone is for incoming information: tips and leads only.  Now if you would like to leave a tip or a lead, or any other information you may have or know of relating to the current INVESTIGATION, I would be happy to write it down and relay it to Sherriff Leland.  Do you have any of that information?”

          “I don’t know!”

           “Well then, perhaps you could call us back when you do know, sir.”

          “That’s not my job, that’s your job,” Ramey pointed out.

          “Are you phoning to tell me my job Ramey?”  Ruth’s voice went from Passive Aggressive Bureaucratese to actively hostile in a quick second.  Which was a relief, Ramey felt.

          Ramey quickly said the names of three more flowers.

          “Okay, Ruth.  Let’s do it this way.  You’re into me for $300. of past dental work on two old fillings with a deteriorating crown coming up that could fracture any second, given the nature of this ‘fractious’ conversation.  Now do you really want to give the only practicing dentist within 50 miles – as the crow flies – trouble?”

          “Are you trying to threaten a Federal officer, sir?!”

          “YES!” was Ramey’s curt reply.  You didn’t stay in a dental practice long without learning to play trump.

          Ruth ground her teeth, then stopped, remembering what Ramey had just said.  Then Ramey could hear her polished nails clicking on the desk as she thought it through.  The one with the big phony rock on it struck loudest and last.

          “Okay Ramey,” Ruth said.  “I’ll give Sherriff Leland the message.”

          The finger with the big rock on it struck once again.  Then, dial tone…  Ramey smiled.  Sherriff Leland was a patient with a lot of gum problems.  He’d get back.

Photo by Carl Nelson


%d bloggers like this: