“So Watson, where the hell is Howe?” the Lt asked.
“She called me this morning. She said she was stopping by the personnel office. Before you ask I have no idea why.” I said.
“So, you haven’t seen her since the shooting,” he asked.
“I carried her Eclairs the morning after. She has been calling me every day since. I think it’s so I won’t stop by again. I knew she put in for an extension of her days off,” I explained.
“So did I Marion, I had to approve it. She looked pretty rough when she came to see me. Looked like she hadn’t eaten or slept at all since she shot the ass hole,” he said.
“She told me she was fine last night,” I said. What I didn’t tell the Lt. was she said she needed to talk to me. I was worried that the gang might have contacted her. I was getting too old for a gang war. Then again I did owe Sally a cadaver, I thought to myself.
It was two cups of coffee later when she entered the office. I noticed she looked a little less put together than usual. Even so it was great to see her again. She looked confident even though she looked a little ragged.
“Well good morning. It has been peaceful around here even so, it’s good to have you back. You are back?” I asked.
“You bet I am, I heard you couldn’t work without your body guard,” she replied with a smile.
“I did just fine,” I replied. “I just didn’t leave the office.”
“He’s kidding.” One of the plain clothes vice officers commented. “He almost craps when he sees a motorcycle.”
“Sonny, when I arrested my first gang banger, you were still in diapers.” I said.
“And now you are again,” Howe said joining in.
It was a good thing to see that she was handling her emotions. I admit that I had been worried about her.
“Let’s get breakfast and go to the lake after my meeting with the lieutenant,” she suggested. I agreed with a nod.
“Hand me that biscuit.” I said since she was in the passenger seat. I already had my coffee by that time. I didn’t bother to spike my coffee since I already had the required amount of alcohol in my blood stream.
“God I love this place,” Sally said.
“It a church summer camp parking lot. It’s not exactly glamorous,” I replied.
“Better than looking at a bunch of losers in Jack’s Joint,” Sally said.
“Hardee’s takeout is better than that,” I agreed. “So what do you want to say.”
“Don’t get excited, but I’ve been helping a neighbor with her new baby this week,” she said.
“Stop right there Sally, you are not going to have my baby. That isn’t even possible, is it?” I said with a laugh.
“No and why the hell would I want to bring another alcoholic into the world. I just want you to look the other way while I run an off the books investigation,” Sally said.
“Why and who?” I asked.
“Mary Ann is the mother. I took her to the hospital, so she told me the father was in Iraq. I sent him an email for her telling him he was a father. Next day I get a two page Jihad propaganda letter from some cell located in the next county. I’m going to send it to homeland security of course, but I also want to know who this fucker is,” she explained.
“Okay but why, you can’t investigate every crazy out there. If you do that it will eat you up,” I said.
“This is personal I held this shit head’s baby in my arms not an hour after she was born. If he has done a runner, I’m going to find him and kick his ass,” she said.
I believed her. “Let me know if you need any help. As long as it doesn’t involve using a computer, I’m your man. Tell me this what did the letter say?”
“It was a form letter. Looked like a soft core recruiting tool. You know send your support to our brothers in the homelands. It was just a mild propaganda tool. I just wonder how deep he is in the movement. I also what to know where he really is living,” Sally said. “I don’t think he is in Iraq or Iran.”
“If you saved that email, send it to the state police computer lab. They will give you an answer the same day,” I said.
“It’s already gone out. I had to wait till I could get on the police network to send it,” she said. I just nodded.
“Find where he is and we will pay him a visit. Maybe he is just young and stupid,” I said.
“Or maybe he is a terrorist in the woodpile,” Sally said.
“Just don’t get your panties in a wad till we know something,” I said as I started the car. “Read the file we are working presently. We need to stay on it as a cover.”
“Just give me the broad strokes Watson,” she demanded.
“There have been three home invasions of senior citizen in the county. Last week they broke the door of an eighty year old woman. The bashed her skull in and they beat her guard dog to death. The pooch had human blood in his mouth and on his fur. Maze says if we get her a body, she can match it.” I explained.
“Can she get a match from a bandage on the perp?” Sally asked with a smile.
“Aren’t you the blood thirsty bitch?” I asked with a small laugh.
“This little town was supposed to be a quiet place to ease my way back into the job,” she said.
“Whoever told you that shit lied,” I explained.
“I think it was you on my first day,” Sally replied.
“I guess I lied then,” I smiles as I said it. She read through the file as I drove to the old lady’s house.
She opened the broken door then said, “At least two of them...” she walked into the living room. There were two pools of blood. “Make that three perps all wearing masks.”
“The masks I get the vics most likely knew them, but why three?” I asked.
“Two dealt with the dog, and one with the old lady,” Sally said. “They knew there was a dog in the house before they came in. At least one of them knew the old lady at least a little. Find out who the victims had in common, and we can walk right into the house and arrest them.”
“I’ll take care of that,” I said.
“Since when?” Sally asked.
“Since Jolly Joyce began to bug me about going to meetings. I have to listen to her preaching every time she sees me, and she has to do this shit without complaints.” I informed her.
Our first stop was Maze in the lab. She hugged Sally as I watched. Maze, the tiny redhead, struck Sally, the tall for a woman’s, breast against her face. Yes it was a strange sight.
“Hey can we get to the slide show?” I asked.
“Of course grumpy old man,” Maze said. She had become a smart ass lately. “This is the walk around shots.”
Sally and I stopped the crime scene tour often, since neither of us had been on he scene before it changed drastically. Sally noticed things I didn’t, and I probably saw one or two she missed. We generally complimented each other, which is was why the brass tolerated us.
Next we went to the detective division office to meet with Jolly Joyce. Joyce kept her eye on both me and Sally as she filled us in on what she had learned from the county sheriff’s reports. She also had her own research over the last couple of hours to share.