Saturday 26 – Tuesday 29 October 2013
Hugh Scott and Amy Griffin wandered into the coffee shop across the road from the police station house. It was always filled with police, no matter the time of day. Scott glanced around the shop for two specific officers, spotted them, and dragged Griffin in their direction. When he reached the booth that Sergeant Frank O’Brien and Officer Max Deacon were sitting, he loudly cleared his throat, then pushed his way onto the booth’s bench seat. Deacon slid along, making room for the detective. O’Brien made way for Griffin, and waved to the waitress to bring fresh coffee.
‘And what do the celebrated detectives want from us lowly grunts?’ O’Brien snarled.
‘We don’t want anything from you, O’Brien, but your partner here . . . now he’s a guy we’d like to speak with,’ replied Scott, slapping the table a few times as he spoke.
‘Me? The hell you want with me?’ Deacon asked. Scott raised an eyebrow at the young officer’s lack of concern for the rank of the detectives.
‘You want to rephrase that, Officer Deacon?’
‘Not really, Detective Scott. I think I made my point. You wanna answer my question?’
‘I want to know what you know about the Pettit, Hamilton, Fisher, and Lawley scenes,’ Scott replied.
‘I told you everything that I wanted to tell you the other night.’
The waitress obliged O’Brien, and returned to the table with a fresh pot of coffee and two additional mugs. She placed them in front of Scott and Griffin, but poured the coffee for O’Brien and Deacon before filling the detectives’ mugs. Scott smiled patronisingly at her, but she maintained an expressionless face. Griffin thanked the young woman, and received a smile in return. When she made her way back to the counter, Griffin put Scott in his place.
‘You know, Scotty, just because that woman is a waitress, it does not give you the right to look at or treat her like a piece of meet. Manners wouldn’t kill you. Saying thank you wouldn’t kill you. I, however, might if you don’t start showing women the same respect that you dish out to your misogynistic, chauvinistic, slime bag pals though.’
Deacon, amused by Griffin’s dressing down of Scott, sat quietly and watched as Scott squirmed in his seat. Griffin had clearly hit a nerve with her partner. A snort escaped from Deacon and his cover of sitting quietly was blown. Scott turned his attention to the officer.
‘Just fucking tell me what you know about those cases. It’s pertinent to this case, and if you don’t start spilling your guts now, I’m going to have you on foot patrol for the rest of your life.’ Scott was unable to disguise his anger. Deacon didn’t want to tell the detective anything, but he also didn’t want to end up on foot patrol, and he knew that a guy like Scott would go out of his way to make good on his promise.
‘I can’t tell you specifics. It’s not worth my hide if Walker finds out I opened my mouth,’ Deacon replied.
‘So tell me what you can.’
‘The Pettit, Lawley, Fisher, and Hamilton scenes were identical, save for the victims. The killer was meticulous. There was no trace left at the scenes, any of them, and nothing on the bodies. And there was no link to any of the victims or their families. By all accounts, these victims were chosen entirely at random. Now that indicated to us that the victims were, in fact, specifically chosen and not random like the perp wanted us to think. We spent hundreds of hours looking into the victims, but we couldn’t find anything that linked them. No similarities between them. Nothing. Walker always felt that they were how we’d catch him.’
‘And yet,’ said Scott, ‘Walker and his great white task force still couldn’t pin down a killer.’
‘I didn’t see you doing anything to help narrow down the list of suspects,’ Deacon snapped.
‘That’s because you didn’t have a list of suspects to narrow anyone down from.’
Griffin shook her head. ‘It’s official, Scott. You’re an asshole.’
Her partner snapped his attention back to her. ‘What the fuck is your problem now?’
‘You’re quick to pay out on the guys who do the grunt work, and you’re quick to take credit for work you didn’t do. We’ve got a missing woman, and you want to get into a pissing contest with him?’ Griffin pointed at Deacon. ‘No offense, Deacon.’
‘None taken,’ the officer replied. Scott had been rendered speechless by Griffin’s outburst. His jaw flapped open and shut a few times before finally staying closed. Deacon took the opportunity to add to the information he’d already given Scott.
‘Actually, Detective Scott, we had three credible suspects which, I’m sure you’ll find, was three more suspects than you and your guys had.’
O’Brien was the first to pick up on what his partner had said. ‘So, if Walker had three suspects, why wasn’t an arrest made?’
‘Because of who our suspects were,’ Deacon said. ‘An aide to a congressman, a prominent businessman, and a reporter, all well known, all in the public eye, and all with alibis that just didn’t quite fit.’
Scott opened his mouth to speak, and Griffin glared at him. He sighed, but didn’t say a word.
‘Deacon, what’s your opinion? Is this new case a copycat, or do you think it could be the original killer?’
Deacon drank half of the coffee from his mug while he thought over Griffin’s question. What did he think about the Aitcheson case?
‘I think,’ he said, ‘I think there’s something not quite right with this case. I can’t put my finger on it right now, but I don’t think that it’s exactly the same as the original cases. At the same time, I don’t think that it’s necessarily a very good copycat either.’
‘So what would you do now if Walker’s team still operated? What would be your next step?’ asked Griffin.
Without missing a beat, Deacon replied, ‘We’d look deeper at Nora Aitcheson.’
‘Then that’s where we need to start,’ replied Griffin.
. . . To be continued . . .