on the Move
Copyright 2015 by Donal Buchanan
I'm through.” The Medical Examiner
stood up creakily. His dew-soaked trousers were a crumpled mess. The
pasty-gray color of his face could have resulted from the inadequate
lighting provided by police flashlights and a distant street light.
He joined the circle of four policemen and one detective around the
headless nude body lying in the grass. In the darkness near the road
another detective was trying to lose the contents of an already dry
stomach. An occasional car whirred by on the highway.
Kowalski forced himself to stare down at the poor
mutilated ruin. “What can you tell us, Doc?”
anything I say now is going to be off the
cuff,” said the ME, “I'll do better once I get her
know that, Doc. Give!”
. . . we have here a white female probably
in her late twenties. Height about 5'6''. She probably weighed about
one-twenty. Unless she dyed her hair, she was a brunette.”
did she die?”
to tell. I'd guess, not more than two or
three hours ago. It is one a.m. Now. That means it could have
happened as long ago as 10 p.m.” The thin bespectacled man
peered up at Barney. “I can tell you one thing, though. She
wasn't killed here.”
knodded. “Yeah,” he said.
knew that?” The ME looked a bit pained.
Doc,” said Barney, “Even a
rookie could see that. There's not enough blood here. Let's get on
with it. Was she sexually assaulted?”
know that until later, but there are no
overt signs that she was.”
knife. Whoever used it was a sadistic butcher!
I counted fifteen penetrations, five of them serious enough to cause
death. There may be more. Will that be all?”
the ME left, Bolivar Cohen came staggering out of the
darkness, wiping his ashen face with a handkerchief. He was a big
man, topping Barney's six feet by four inches.
you get it out of your system, Bo?”
don't think I'll ever get it out of my system!”
snapped Bolivar. “God! I thought I'd seen some messy things
battle, but never anything like this. Who would do such a thing? How
could it happen?”
she lost her head over a man!”
cracked one of the older cops.
winced. “Sullivan, you got no respect! For
that, you get to hang around until the techs are through. And you
escort her to the morgue and observe the autopsy. Then hustle the
report to me —along with her personal effects!”
Loot,” Sullivan replied. “She
ain't got no personal effects that I can see.”
you and the techs can beat the bushes.
There's gotta be something we
can go on. C'mon, Bo, let's get out of here!”
put his hand on Barney's shoulder. “Just a
minute, Barn.” He turned to Sullivan. “Jim, I
set of pretty deep tire tracks back there. Be sure the techs get
those. Sullivan nodded.
two detectives walked toward their ancient Plymouth
parked on the grass just off the road, a lonely two-lane stretch of
highway that chopped through the wild flatlands on the outskirts of
let Bo take the wheel. He pulled the red flasher
off the roof and slumped down in the passenger seat. He laced and
unlaced his fingers—a sure sign of cogitation. Bo swung the
onto the road just as an ambulance roared towards them from the city,
its siren dying to a moan as it slowed to a stop.
poor suckers are in for a shock,”
said Bo. “Say, Barn, how'd she come to be found so
She was back from the road in that tall grass.”
called it in on the CB emergency band.
They weren't specific —just said something funny was goin' on
here. Sullivan and his partner found her. Probably somebody saw the
body getting dumped.” Barney hit the dash with his fist.
I got a bad feeling about this. I think we're dealing with a
muttered Bo, “And who can
figure a nut? I wonder what he did with the head?”
where was she killed?” asked Barney. “I can't see
him doing it in the car then driving off with the
Barn, if he's psycho, he's liable to do
why are we saying 'him'?” said Barnaby.
“A woman could of done it.”
really believe that?
no; but we gotta consider it anyhow.”
worried the case for the rest of their shift, but
got no answers. Neither detective slept well that night.
ten a.m., Bolivar was awakened by the phone. “I'm
not here!” he shouted into the receiver. “I've gone
it off, Bo, and get over here,”
Barney's voice crackled. “They've found where she was
slammed down the telephone and reached for his
clothes. Ten minutes later he picked up Barney at his apartment.
was a large auto lot on the edge of town specializing in recreational
vehicles. The two detectives pulled up next to two cops and a
civilian standing beside a Dodge motor-home parked on the lot. As
they got out of the car the civilian approached.
am Calbert Buffey, gentlemen. I presume you are
the detectives they sent for?”
admitted to it and announced their names.
pulled them towards the door of the camper. “This
vehicle was here when we opened up this morning. It wasn't here when
we closed at 7:30 last night. It isn't one of ours because all of
ours are kept in the fenced lot overnight. We went inside —it
wasn't locked—and —and it was horrible! Blood all
the place inside! Naturally we called the police at once.”
looked at the cops. One said, “That's
right, Loot. It's a mess in there.”
entered a door just back of the driving area and
found themselves in a small lounge/kitchen. The cabinets and fittings
were of the best.
said Barney. “Where's the
here.” Buffey led them down the short
hall past bookshelves that seemed to hold only porno books and
magazines. Further down were a toilet and shower. The entire rear of
the camper was filled by a large, comfortable bed with fluffy
pillows. Lacy curtains shaded the one-way glass windows. He flicked
on a light which reflected garishly from a mirror in the ceiling.
silken sheets were so gory that you could hardly
tell that their original color was gold. The walls and curtains were
spattered with blood.
right, Barney” said Bo. “This
has got to be the place.”
replied Kowalski. “Now,
where's the rest of her?” He began opening cabinets in the
hall, then stopped.
Barn?” Bo and Buffey stepped over and
peered around Kowalski into the broom closet he had opened. There,
impaled on a mop handle, was the missing head.
God!” gagged Buffey. He stumbled out of
least it wasn't you, this time,” said
because I'm numb!” Bo retorted.
“Looks like Doc was right. She was a brunette. And pretty,
Say, Barn, take a look at this!”
message was scrawled in blood on the inside of the
closet door; 'ALPHA'
nodded. “I'll finish up here, Bo. You get
Doc and the techs here fast —and arrange to have the head
transported to the morgue as soon as we're through with it.”
hours later they sat in a diner and compared notes.
layout was really posh,” Bo remarked. “It
must have cost a fortune. Maybe she's a rich kid who picked up the
to the driver's license in that purse
we found in there, her name was Mary Lee Jacobs. She was twenty-five.
No occupation listed. Her address is local, but not in the rich
district by a long shot. It's on the tender end of Loyne street. Did
you happen to notice one thing about that motor home?”
has a CB”
Most of them do these days . . .” Then
Bo looked shocked. You mean—?”
I think the nut called in his own crime
—from a safe distance, of course!”
shook his head in wonderment. “You know, Barn,
this 'alpha' business bothers me. Do you think he's gonna go through
the whole alphabet?”
haunts me too, Bo” said Barney.
could be a military man —you know,
phonetic alphabet and all.”
or a cop. We use it too, y'know. Or he
could be a Greek.”
our next move?”
check out her address.”
address on Loyne turned out to be a sleazy hotel of
the sort catering to down-at -the-heels traveling men, old
pensioners, and tired hookers. The desk clerk spotted them for fuzz
the second they walked in the door. He was an unappetizing gross lump
of flesh who so filled his cubicle that he appeared to have grown
there. He wore no jacket, an open-collared shirt, and suspended
trousers. This, not to mention the beer clutched in one beefy paw
proclaimed that he knew the joint lacked class and didn't give a
damn. He peered at Kowalski and Cohen belligerently.
want? I run a good place here. Just ask
the beat cop,
raised his hands in supplication. “Cool it,
cool it. Don't go off half-cocked. Does a girl named Mary Lee Jacobs
clerk looked honestly puzzled. “Nah. I know
all the dames here. There ain't no Mary Jacobs.”
desk clerk's face went blank. Something flickered
behind his eyes. His next words were reluctant.
you must mean Ginger Lee. She ain't in now. What's she done?”
said Bo. “How about letting
us see her room?”
I don't know about that,” blustered
the clerk. “Ain't you supposed to have a warrant or
reached across the desk and grabbed a handful of
shirt. “Friend, we're from Homicide and you wouldn't want to
obstruct justice would you? How about it?”
okay! 203!” Sweat beaded his porcine
nose and cheeks. “But she shares that room with another girl
who might be there now.” He handed Barney a key.
put —and stay off the phone,”
warned Bo as he and Barney headed for the stairs.
room 203 there was no answer to their knock, so they
used the key and entered. The room looked lived in —in only
way that two messy and uncaring single females can leave a room.
There were twin beds, a single large dresser with a mirror, a small
table and a couple of well-worn easy chairs. Clothes hung in the
closet, but were also draped casually everywhere else. The tiny
bathroom was festooned with drying pantyhose. Letters lay on the
dresser addressed to Ginger Lee and to a Cindy Masters. One envelope,
addressed to 'Jenny Baker', had the address crossed out. Someone had
marked it 'Return to Sender'. The sender had given no name, but the
return address was out of state. Barney and Bo noted all this as they
carefully searched the premises. They found a photo album that
belonged to Ginger Lee. They confiscated the album and the letters.
the room phone, Barney put in a call to the
department. A few minutes later he replaced the receiver and called
to Bo, who was rummaging in the closet.
it, Bo, we're finished here. The'll be a
some techs along in a bit and we'll leave a man on the place so we
won't miss Cindy Masters. We now know what these ladies do for a
living. Ginger has a record as a hooker from way back. It figures
that Cindy is one too.
working out of one room? And from the looks
of things there must have beena third girl here, too,” Bo
exclaimed. “What'd they do? Work shifts?”
Bo,” replied Barney. “We saw
Ginger's 'office' already. What we have here, obviously, is the home
base of at least one mobile whore —and possibly two or
eyes grew round. “The oldest profession has
some new wrinkles! How do they get their customers —flag 'em
down on the highway? Maybe that jerk downstairs pimps for
scratched his head. “Maybe. At any rate
he's got some questions to answer. They also could be working for
whoever provided that expensive set of wheels. These gals usually
work out of the truck stops, but I think this bunch came up with a
I think they meet their customers on
yeah! That could be it. Then our murderer
must own a CB.
possible,” said Barney. “C'mon,
let's question the rest of the people in this dump. We might get
we're dealing with a fruitcake, that's
probably the only way we'll ever get him,” muttered Bo.
left the room and entered the dimly lit hall which
was carpeted with a frayed 'Persian' rug made in Belgium. There were
ten rooms on the floor. The locks on three doors were broken and the
rooms were empty. They showed no signs of recent occupancy. Four more
were locked and there was no reply to their knocks.
were luckier at 205, next door to 203. The door
opened on a chain lock and a tiny, apple-cheeked face crowned with
snow hair above merry blue eyes showed itself between the door and
the jamb. “Yes?” chirped the lady who owned this
of geriatric loveliness.
identified them and asked about “the girls
door closed and the chain lock removed and the boor
was opened wide. A spry, slim little lady in her younger seventies
stood before them. She wore a very up-to-date and well-fitted beige
pantsuit. “How exciting!” she said. “You
right in. I hope the girls aren't in any trouble. They've always been
very kind to me. We're really good friends. Please sit down. Will you
have some tea?”
and Bo could see that this was more like an
efficiency apartment than a room. The furniture was tasteful and the
room was as lovely and ageless as its occupant—whose name,
said, was Mrs. Ruth Juergen. He and Bo sank into a comfortable couch
and Mrs. Juergen perched perkily on a straight chair in front of
them. They woefully declined the tea. Mrs. Juergen looked
hardly ever have any visitors, you see. It
would have been nice,” she said.
straightened up and, placing her hands together in
her lap, spoke directly to Barney. “All right, to business,
then. What can I do for you?”
you see the girls next door often, ma'am?”
yes, every day. Not in the evening or night
of course. They work then.”
. . . uh . . . are you acquainted with the
nature of their . . . err . . . work?”
certainly, young man,” her eyes
twinkled mischievously. “I wan't born yesterday y'know! They
follow an ancient and well established profession. But they are good,
kind girls all the same and I am proud to call them my friends. They
do my washing for me and all sorts of little errands that make life
pleasanter —at least Ginger and Cindy do. There was a third
girl with them for awhile . . . Jenny, think her name was. She was a
mess. On those awful drugs. Ginger and Cindy took her in for a bit
and we all tried to help her . . . uh . . . 'kick the habit' I think
you say . . . but it was no use. She finally overdosed and died. I
believe it was in the papers. Happened at some party where a lot of
drugs were being used.”
remember that, Barn,” said Bo. “It
was at that pusher's pad a couple of weeks ago.”
yeah,” replied Barney. “They
locked up the jerk didn't they? They raided the place before he could
get rid of her body. Some neighbor called. Narco handled it.”
was it,” said Mrs. Juergen. “That
was what happened. Poor girl . . . But we could all see it coming.
She was just no good to herself or anybody else. She had a very
strict upbringing . . . too strict, apparently, and just decided to
kick over the traces and went from one mistake to another.”
shook her head. “There's so much of that these
Ginger and Cindy ever use drugs, Mrs.
Juergen?” asked Barney.
no. Of course I can't say for certain, but
I'm sure that they'd never do it. In fact Ginger told me once that it
was bad for business. Why don't you ask them yourselves? Cindy said
that she had got her hair done before going to work so you won't see
her till tomorrow, but Ginger ought to be there. She usually looks in
on me before this.”
looked uncomfortable. “She can't, Mrs.
Juergen,” he said quietly. “she's dead. We're
investigating her murder.”
Juergen's straight little body sagged. She stood up
and walked stiffly to the window and stood for a bit with her back
Juergen . . . ”
turned. Her face was wet with tears. “I do so
hate people t-that lose control, don't you? Oh, why did it have to
happen to that fine girl? Does Cindy know yet? How did it
She returned to her seat.
explained as much as he felt she should know. He
didn't mention the decapitation. “Now, is there any way you
help us? Did you see Ginger yesterday? Do you happen to know who she
planned to see?”
Juergen shook her head. Her hands clenched and
unclenched in her lap. “No. I-I saw Ginger, yes, but I didn't
know where she planned to go or who she planned to see . . . I never
pry. Maybe that is why they became my friends. I can ask Cindy when I
see her tomorrow, if you want . . . ”
you know any of Ginger's friends or steady
customers?” asked Bo.
Like I said, I don't like to pry.”
stood. “Thank you, Mrs. Juergen. If you
think of anything, we'll have a man outside Gingers door in the hall
for awhile. Just tell him and he'll get it right to us.”
the door, Bo muttered. “What's a nice,
sweet little old dame like her doin' in a dump like this?”
grimaced. “Poor old gal probably can't
afford anything better. You know how little Social Security amounts
to these days.
tried more rooms with no response to their knocks.
The last one they tried was #208. Almost immediately the door was
opened to reveal a large, lean man in his fifties with a face that
could have been carved out of frozen vinegar. He wore a black suit
with a white shirt and string tie. His tight little mouth creaked
and Bo identified themselves and went into their
spiel. The man shook his head emphatically. “Nope. Don't know
nothin' about them gals. Handmaidens of the devil, if you ask me!
Temptin' good men away from the path righteousness! I only been here
a few days, but I know their kind, Haven't said nary a word to 'em
and don't intend to. They deserve anything that happens to
makes you think something has happened to
them?” queried Barney sharply.
man was taken back, then said: “Stands to
reason, don't it? When the minions of Caeser come nosin' about after
a body, somethin's either happened to 'em —or is about to
happen to 'em!”
say you have only been here a few days?”
Got here last Monday. Thought I'd drop in on
my Bishop.” He drew his lanky frame up proudly. “I
Reverend Thomas Barlow, sir. A minister of God in the Church of the
Everlasting Lord. It ain't a big church, but we like it that way. I
got my call twenty years ago and have been chasin' sinners and savin'
souls ever since.”
man would give them no further information. Barney
thanked him and he closed his door, leaving them standing in the
took them the rest of the afternoon to check out the
residents of the five-story hotel. Some were cooperative (when it was
made clear that they were not the targets of investigation), others
were hostile. No new information was developed. Back on the second
floor, the patrolman now standing in front of 203 reported that the
technicians had come and gone, but no Cindy.
now, Barn?” asked Bo.
go see a friend of mine,” Kowalski
took the wheel and drove them out to the northern
suburbs, turning off the north-south highway into a large development
of postage stamp lots and identical, boxy, asbestos-shingled
cottages. Barney pulled up in front of one of them. The steps leading
to the front door were covered by a strong wooden ramp with side
rails. A cheerful voice answered their knock: “Come on in.
entered a small parlor where all the furniture
seemed carefully lined against the walls to give the maximum amount
of floor space. A small, middle-aged black man sat in a wheel-chair
in one corner hunched over a table littered with electronic gear. Bo
noticed an excellent instrument of the sort used by CB base
stations. The man grinned and waved at them when he recognized
Barney. “Hi! What are you doin' out here, Lieutenant? I don't
think I know your friend.”
Callahan, meet Bolivar Cohen. Nice to see
you, Mike. How's the dictionary coming?”
turned his chair to face them. He had no legs. He
grinned again. “It marches,” he said. “It
Begorrah, a Spanish Jew teamed with and Irish Polack. Glad to know
you, Cohen. I'm a mixture too. You might say I'm one of them Black
Irish!” He chuckled at his own joke. “Can I offer
gents a beer?”
looked hopeful, but Barney said, “Thanks, no,
Mike. This is a duty call.” He turned to Bo. “I've
Mike about 10 years, since the hit-and-run that left him legless. I
nailed the crumb that did it. Mike's some kind of electronic genius
and lately he's been getting into CB. He's compiling a dictionary of
CV lingo, so he listens to it most of the time.”
see where you're headin',” said Bo.
I don't,” said Mike. How can I help
you? Sit down and tell me all about it.”
and Bo sat. Barney briefly outlined the case they
were on. “So, you see, Mike, we need to get a line on the way
these mobile mammas operate. Did you happen to be listening last
between eight and ten pm — make it
eleven pm, just to be on the safe side.”
Not only did I listen, I taped some good
stuff. Mostly truckers, but there were a few dames. What's her
You know, the name she uses on the air.”
said Barney. We've got a couple of
names, but I don't think we've got any 'handles' yet.”
said Mike, reaching over to a shelf
lined with tapes, “during that period last night we had quite
bit of action . . . Ah . . . These are the ones I want . . .”
He consulted t notebook. “Okay, at eight-fifteen Tillie the
Trucker came on. I don't think she's your gal. I met her once and
she's a straight arrow. Handles an eighteen-wheeler outa
not.” said Barney.
Then we got Swingin' Susie at 8:29. She
was looking for beer company as I remember.”
. . . Now, at 9:10 pm we got Aura Lee.”
A-U-R-A Lee,” said Mike. “Like
the poem—but the thought could be there. She had a real sexy
cried Bo. “That could be it:
Mary Lee . . . Ginger Lee . . . Aura Lee! I'll bet that's our
like to hear that one, Mike. Any others?”
one. Another sexy, come-hither dame who
called herself Cinder Ella. She was on the air about 10:30. I
remember her 'cause she got no returns on her call that time.I'd
heard her on the air earlier—about 7 pm and she made a date
with some trucker to meet him at a truck stop north of town.”
must be Cindy!” said Bo, exitedly.
hear Aura Lee now, Mike.” said
placed the seven inch reel on his recorder and
pressed the fast-forward button, keeping an eye on the counter.
Finally, he stopped it, grunting with satisfaction, and pressed
soft, breathy female voice filled the room.
. . You got Aura Lee. Come on . . .Say
again, good buddy, you're breakin' up. . .”
can't we hear her caller?” asked
stopped the recorder. “Whoever was calling
her must have had a small set —possibly a hand-held job. He
close to her, but too far off for me to pick up his signal.”
pressed 'play' again.
. . Okay, Alpha Man, that's better. C'mon .
. . You got a pooped-out pedaler in a portable pad--. that's me,
but I can't eyeball you. Are you over my shoulder? . . . Uh-huh . .
.Hey, let's get together and split a brown bottle. D'you known the
chew and choke on the right just past the hole-in the-wall?. . .
Okay, see you in five. Here's eighty-eights to you and Aura Lee is
stopped the recorder. “Alpha Man,”
breathed Barney. “Damn! I wish we could have heard him. Save
that tape, Mike. That's our victim all right, making a date with her
Barney,” Mike rewound the tape and
took it off the machine. He boxed it and made a notation on the box.
Then he handed it to Barney. “Here, you take it. I've noted
down the counter numbers where you can find her message.”
Mike,” Barney turned to go. “C'mon,
laid his hand on Barney's arm. “Say, are you
guys interested in that Cinder dame too?”
said Barney. “We'd like to
I just got her on tape again a little
before you guys showed up—must have been about
picked up a reel from the table top and fitted it
onto his machine. He scrunched his brows together in thought, then
held down the fast-forward button for about 15 seconds. Then he
pushed the 'play' button.
. . This is Careful Charlie clear with his
hammer down .. . . Keep On Truckin . . .”
was a brief hiss of static, then a cheerful female
voice gave some call letters and said:
. . This is Cinder Ellie, a bodacious beaver loose
on big nineteen. Anyone got ears? C'mon . . .” A
male voice identified itself as Horrible Harry and tried to make a
date, but Cindy didn't buy it. “Now,
ought to know I know your voice by now. You were Lonesome Larry last
week and I figure you are still a County Mounty —and I just
left your stompin' grounds. So long, Horrible . . .If nobody can give
this beaver some good numbers, she'll just have to put a cork in it.
C'mon . . .” There
brief pause filled by a faint indiscernible babbling. Cindy must have
understood, however, for she answered. “You
barefoot, Cotton Picker, your signal's week . . .” Gabble
does she mean, 'barefoot'?” asked Bo.
means he's got a low-powered CB, like the guy
he was Alpha Man, not Cotton Picker.”
Cotton Picker's not a handle. It's like
'good buddy'. Now, please shut up. She's talking again.”
mercy, Omega Man. You vibe good, but
let's eyeball each other over some road tar. What're you pushing?
says he sounds good, but she wants to check
him out over a cuppa joe,” Mike explained. “She's
lingo all right.”
sure does,” said Bo. “Sounds like
a new language.”
exactly what it is!” Said Mike.
“Hush, here she goes again.”
Omega Man, it's a date. I know the
place. I'll bang a u-ee —pun intended—and see you
in twenty minutes. You'll recognize my rig. It's a portable bedroom
with twin mamas mounted rear. This is Cinder Ella clear. Keep the
greasy side down and the shiny side up. . .”
cut off the recorder. “I'd like to meet that
girl. She could really add to my vocabulary!” he said.
more ways than one!” said Bo. “Say,
what'd she mean by twin mamas?”
nine-foot antennas. She's got 'em on the rear
bumper of her mobile home.”
God,” said Barney. “It's almost
six. She must be with him now. Maybe she's late. Mike, can you raise
her on that thing?”
Mike turned to his radio set,
flipped a switch and set the channel-selector carefully. He spoke
into his microphone: “Breaker, breaker nineteen, this is an
emergency call.” He gave his station designation and
“This is Black Elf calling Cinder Ella. C'mon . . .
repeated this two or three times with no results. “She's not
the air,” he said.
got to find her or she's dead!” said
me try something,” said Mike. He turned
to his set. “This is Black Elf lookin' for Cinder Ella. She's
drivin' a portable pad with twin mamas mounted rear and banged a u
u-ee about 30 minutes ago. Who's got ears, c'mon?”
Elf, this is Hangover Hal parked at a
bean store on 29 north. A portable pad
twin mamas banged a u-ee on my front awhile ago
on 29 and headed towards the wall. Don't know if that's your party,
but a beaver was pushin' it and had the hammer down. Any help?
a big ten-four! Good numbers to you,
Hangover Hal. This is Black Elf, Clear.” Mike turned to
“That give you any ideas?”
Barney said. “Remember where
Aura Lee met him? The Chew and Choke on the right past the hole in
the wall — translation, please, Mike.
be Rosie's Diner. Going north through the
Markham Tunnel it would be on the right.”
Mike!” Barney started to leave,
then turned back while Bo went out to start the car. “They
might leave there and be on their way before we can get to them. You
keep trying to raise her, Mike, and if you do, try to get her to stop
and get away from her vehicle. Tell her you're behind her and her rig
is on fire or something. It might get us some time. I don't think the
jerk will try anything out in the open.” Mike nodded, and
Barney hustled out.
screaming, they sped back to the highway. Barney
muttered, “Damn! I'll take us ten minutes to get there from
here.” He grabbed the mike. “Dispatch, this is
We're in Seneca about to turn north on 29 to Rosie's Diner. Murder
suspect believed there with intended victim. Are any other units
closer?” Dispatch responded: “Negative.
closer than fifteen minutes due to rush-hour traffic and other
cried Barney. He pressed the mike button. “Get us at least
units there for backup as soon as you can. This is a Code
a cop when you need one,” said
Bolivar, concentrating on his driving. “I hope that piece
drinks slow coffee.”
minutes seemed to drag as they weaved their way
north through the heavy traffic, crashing through stoplights,
narrowly missing cars and pedestrians.
mile-long Markham tunnel was choked with cars moving
at a steady forty miles an hour. The clangor of their siren in the
confined space reverberated endlessly.
that damn thing off,” said Barney. “It
won't do us any good in here.”
they emerged from the tunnel and could see
Rosie's Diner about 600 yards ahead.
they are!” cried Bolivar.
enough, a large Dodge motor home had just turned
out of the Rosie's Diner parking lot into the North-bound traffic.
Barney could see the twin antennas mounted on the rear bumper. An
army of commuter traffic surged between them.
that siren again, Bo!” cried Barney.
“C'mon, you turkeys, move! Okay, Cindy-baby, turn on your CB!
Damn, they're really movin', Bo! We've gotta get this clunker to the
shop. It can't cut it any more. Can't you step on it a
bother me, I'm busy, muttered Bo as he
whipped the Plymouth around an antique Chevy whose aged owner must
have bean deaf. “Hey, look! They're slowing down and pulling
over. Mike must have gotten through to her!”
motor home drove onto the grassy verge on the right
and stopped. A startlingly pretty blonde leaped out of the driver's
side. Clutching a small fire extinguisher, she ran to the rear of the
vehicle and peered under it. A man climbed out the passenger door as
the two detectives screeched to a stop. He took one look at them and
turned to run. Barney leaped out of the Patrol car, drew his
thirty-eight and aimed it at the man across the open door.
Reverend, and I'll blow your head off!” The man froze, his
hands in the air. “Go get him, Bo!”
frisked the man expertly, coming up with a ten-inch
carving knife which he wrapped very carefully in a handkerchief.
Cindy, who had stood by as if mesmerized, her eyes flicking from
person to person, gasped when she saw the knife. Bo whirled the man
around and handcuffed him. Face-on, it was easy to recognize the
vinegary visage of Thomas Barlow, their acquaintance from Room 208.
straightened up and walked over to Cindy. Sirens
could be heard approaching Rosie's Diner. Barney called to Bo,
“Stick that turkey in the back seat, Bo, and send our back-up
home. We'll take him in ourselves.” Bo waved and propelled
now listless Barlow towards the Patrol car.
had, by now, recovered some of her poise. She held
the extinguisher with two hands like a club. “What the hell
going on here? Are you busting me, too?.
Barney explained. Cindy's blue eyes grew big and
round, then her face crumbled. Dropping the extinguisher she clutched
blindly at Barney and flooded his shoulder with tears. “Mary
. . Ginger . . . dead . . . and . . . me next! But why? We've never
patted her back. “It's over now. You're
safe. I don't know why he did it, Cindy.” Then, a thought
occurred to him. He disengaged himself and turned her face towards
him. “Cindy, who was Jenny Baker's father?”
. . . he . . . I think he's a preacher. I
never met him. Jenny couldn't stand him. He's the reason she . . .
You mean that's . . .” Horror filled her eyes as she jerked
around to peer at the figure in the Plymouth.
said Barney. “I think so. I'll
bet his ID reads 'Baker' and not 'Barlow'. I think he blamed you two
for Jenny's death.
God!” Cindy could think of nothing else
the end of their shift Bolivar drove Barney home.
he said. “How'd you know it
was the Rev? You couldn't see his face from where you were”
need to study our bible as well as yours,
Bo,” replied Barney. “You thought we were going to
whole alphabet of murders. I knew who it was as soon as I heard Cindy
talking to him on the CB. He never planned more than two: 'I
the Alpha and Omega—I am the Beginning and the End.'
good,” admitted Bo. “It sure
is nice to save someone's life for a change. That nice old chick,
Mrs. Juergen, will be happy.
yeah,” said Barney. “I meant to
tell you. I checked with Vice. That 'nice old chick' is the owner of
that hotel and, incidentally, also owns those motor homes. She's a
well-known madam they've been trying to pin down for years.”
groaned. “Doggone it! You can't trust
your eyes on the road, Bo!. Let's keep the
greasy side down and the shiny side up. . .!”
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