Book Four: Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter 10
Tuesday – July 10th
The Squad Room – 8:30 p.m.
“I know we will be getting another riddle before too long. It will continue until this person, or persons are apprehended. So far, there hasn’t been one misstep by said person or persons, to shed any new light on the why, either.”
“One thing is certain,” J.W. said with clarity, “whoever, whatever this is about; people like this eventually screw up somewhere.”
“That’s true, J.W. The averages are always on our side. Eventually, we will nail whoever is responsible.
“On another side-bar note; in your inbox tomorrow, will be your scheduled time to be at the Brewster Gun Club. It’s that time of the year for everyone to qualify. Like always, you get two chances. Fail, and its desk duty for thirty days, then you get a third try.”
“Has anyone not qualified the first two times out, Baker?” asked Lowery.
Baker gave a thin-lipped smile.
There were a few surprised looks, and a few “no ways”.
“If there isn’t anything else, then get out there and stay safe, and keep our streets safe.”
Lucy’s Restaurant – 11:45 a.m.
Devon, J.W., Johnathan, and Dianne, were sitting together at one table enjoying a burger with home fries, grilled ham and cheese sandwich, pastrami and Swiss on pumpernickel, and a chef’s salad.
Their conversation was casual, remarking on how when things were so quiet for so long, then came the evacuation trials turning into the real thing. It had been a storm most residents were still trying to get behind them with home repairs; but they remained tough through the entire ordeal. Then came the diddle-diddle-riddle-thing, as Devon put it.
“It’s odd,” remarked Johnathan, “how some people think. It’s like they come out of the woodwork with all kinds of crazy ideas.”
“And we’ve had our share of crazies,” said Devon, “starting with Freddy. And we’ve gone up and down the scale of weirdos since.”
“The funniest though, was those two old men and the boy from Arkansas. It gets to me now and then, that they actually make milkshakes down there with fish oil!”
“Even though nothing happened to the president when he stopped here to make a campaign speech; for me, that was probably one of the tensest moments I can remember,” said Dianne.
“We’ve had our share of freaks, that’s for sure. That brother-sister duo, Jessie, and Claire Waynestead. Then there were the two snipers that took some good people down. I mean, the list can go on and on,” said Johnathan.
“What’s odd about that; Montie isn’t all that big. If this were New York City, Boston, Philly, or Chicago, I could see all this happening, but in a city this small? It’s like Montie is a magnet drawing bad eggs here.” J.W. stopped to sip his ice-tea.
Just then, Michael Collins walked into Lucy’s, went to the take-out section, grabbed a white bag and a bottle of water, and paid for it with his gold Visa. As he turned to leave, he saw J.W. sitting with three other police officers.
He walked to the table, and stopping short, said, “It’s nice to know that some of Montie’s finest are keeping an eye on Lucy’s place.”
Everyone looked up and smiled forlornly.
“And how has your day been, J.W.?”
“Doing well enough. You?”
“Never better. I have to get back to my office and prepare for court this afternoon. It’s the arraignment over the Kelso robbery and the four Hispanic subjects.
“By the way, J.W., those papers you asked for are ready. You can pick them up, say, around four, if you’re free.” Michael put a slight emphasis on the last three words.
J.W. eyed him casually.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Michael turned and left Lucy’s.
No one at the table asked any questions, and only Devon noticed a little tightness with J.W., but after they left Lucy’s, he didn’t say a word.
There were no papers.
Johnson County Memorial Hospital – 1:30 p.m.
“Sorry, Dr. Cutter. It was one of those days that goes way beyond simple explanation.”
“No need to. I understand, Lieutenant Baker. I listen to the news. My wife and I have twin girls that attend Millard Elementary. Before we get started, give my personal thanks to everyone involved.”
Baker smiled. “I can do that.”
“Let’s proceed, shall we?”
Doctor Cutter pulled back Baker’s hair, removed the bandage, and looked at the sutured wound.
“This has healed rather nicely. Have you had any severe pain, dizziness or headaches since the accident?”
“Outside of the first two days, nothing.”
“Good. I’m going to remove the stitches and then Becky will take you to X-ray. A one-stop shot that will tell us all we need to know in about twenty minutes.”
“Works for me.”
By 2:20, Baker was out the door and in her Hummer. No cranial problems. No concussions to worry about. She was good to go.
Michael Collins Office – 5:16 p.m.
“I’m here, Michael. What’s on your mind.”
“I have always loved directness, it’s the reason I became a lawyer. The namby-pamby attitude with so many people these days is enough to drive a sober man down into the bottom of a bottle of scotch.
“What is on my mind, is us. We seemed to have started out well enough, but the last several days you have seemed distant; as if your mind is somewhere else, or perhaps, thinking about someone else.”
“Sorry, Michael, but a lot has been happening lately if you haven’t noticed.”
“Noticed? J.W., I notice everything. Part of my job as an ADA, is to observe and be aware at all times what goes on both in, and out of the courtroom, at every turn of the hour, but ….”
“But what, Michael? All we have done at best is talk, hold hands, and had a few kisses. We aren’t living together. We haven’t made any commitments, and frankly, I’m still not ready to commit to you or anyone at this point.”
“I see. Then, this wouldn’t have anything to do with Mr. Davenport.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Since the night we had dinner, and you saw him there with Cliff Potter, your mind has been infused with him. And … you have been to his office a few times as well.”
“We aren’t in a courtroom, Michael. I don’t need to answer to you for my actions. Stop trying to cross-examine me.”
“Please, just tell me if you are seeing him.”
“I’m not, but if I were, it wouldn’t be any of your business.”
J.W. started for Michael’s office door; but pivoted sharply.
“I think it would be better if we just remain friends, Michael. Let’s leave it at that.”
J.W. could see a twinge of both hurt and sadness travel across Michael’s eyes, but he could also see a swelling anger rising upward.
“Very well, J.W. I’m sorry if I was rushing you. I didn’t mean to have you feel like I was trying to box you in a corner. It wasn’t my intention.
“When you are ready, please call me. I will always be available for you.”
J.W. nodded his head, left Michael’s office, and once behind the wheel of his rig, he sat still for a few minutes. He knew his initial attraction for Michael was simply the fact he could talk with another gay man and not feel hemmed in or constricted by his thoughts or words.
He also knew, for him, a relationship was still too early to jump into.
Still, Patrick’s personality, his poise; and though he wasn’t the most attractive man he’s ever seen, there was still that underlying beauty that seemed to ooze from him. He was willing to bet Patrick didn’t even know when that happened.
Maybe he might call Patrick this weekend, or the following weekend for a Saturday lunch out of town.
“Don’t sweat yourself. It’s just a lunch and conversation.”
111 Homestead Lane – 6:07 p.m.
“Mom! Pablo’s is here!”
As Baker headed for the front door to pay the delivery driver, she popped in the computer room and said, “Dinner’s here, Ed.”
“On my way.” He had just finished one of his last exams and very happily hit send, then he shut the computer down.
Every night the three are home together, each one tells something about their day. Stevie went first, followed by Baker. Then it was Ed’s turn.
“My day started with my trip to rehab, for what Mrs. Peterson calls, reflexive therapy.
“I would do simple things like bending the arm at the elbow several times or raising the arm over my head and stretching the fingers. A warm up of things to come.”
“Ed, you really need to start saying, my arm, instead of the arm. After all, it is your arm now.”
“You’re right, Stevie. It slips my mind now and then.
“After the stretching exercises, that’s when Mrs. Peterson would have me grab objects off a metal table. Coins, pens, pencils, playing cards; that kind of stuff. Sometimes, I would have to try two or three times to catch what she threw at me; other times I’d catch them right off.
“The last ten minutes is where she gets me though. She has those hollow rubber balls, and tennis balls. She started throwing them at me. I caught four, but with my right hand.
With my other hand,” he looked at Stevie and gave a small smile, “I didn’t catch a one. So, besides having homework online, I have homework from Mrs. Peterson.”
Ed got up and went back into the computer room and returned back to the dining room with a cloth sack he put on the center of the table.
“In there is my homework. Two rubber balls and two tennis balls. I’m supposed to get you two to throw the balls at my left arm, so I can try to catch them.”
“Hey, I can help you with that, Ed. No problem.”
“And your help is greatly appreciated, Stevie. And there is a bit of other news. Earlier today, I received an email from the college; they sent me a quarterly grade, and I am the proud owner of a 3.75 GPA. I sent in my final exam for this semester, and next month I enroll on campus and finish out the last nine months toward my law degree.”
Baker hugged him, and Stevie high-fived him.
“So, when you pass the bar exam, what kind of lawyer do you want to be?”
“I want to be a prosecutor, Stevie. I think since being a cop for almost sixteen years, I would have that added depth to know who is really guilty of a crime and go after a person for a year, five or ten years, or life.
“I’ve seen my share of brutality and mayhem, so has your mom; the perverted to the maniacal, that never deserve to walk our streets ever again. At the same time, there have been others who deserve a second, and sometimes third time depending on circumstances.”
“I see it the same way, Ed. I might become a judge one day. Hand out justice, but fair-minded at the same time.”
“If it ever came to that, the two of you could never be in the same courtroom because of family ties,” said Baker.
“That is so wrong.”
“Your mom is right. It might be wrong, but were that to happen, a defense lawyer could do a conflict of interest, favoritism; any number of things to get a client off. Bias, prejudice; you could be ruled to stand down or declare a mistrial, or a change of venue could be administered. And that’s just for openers.”
“Then, if you’re in one courtroom and I’m in another, that would be good. Justice would still be served twice, and no one could argue that.”
“Time out, you two,” said Baker. “It’s movie time.”
“I’ll make the popcorn this time,” grinned Ed.