Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 November 2013
Hugh Scott had singlehandedly managed to clear out the incident room in a matter of seconds. After his raging tirade about the utter ineptitude of the officers involved in the Nora Aitcheson case, he was left with only three members of the investigative team. His partner, Detective Amy Griffin, rested her head on her desk. In her mind, Scott was becoming increasingly more difficult to work with as the case went on. His chauvinistic attitude, frequent outbursts of rage, and disparaging remarks to colleagues not in the Detective squad were only the tip of the iceberg of difficult traits that he was displaying.
Sergeant Frank O’Brien glared at Scott. It was one thing for O’Brien himself to berate Max Deacon, the guy was his partner, but Scott had no right. O’Brien looked at Deacon, whose head was hung in shame. He had to stand up for the guy.
‘You’re a moron, Scott.’
‘AND YOU’RE AN INCOMPETENT SENIOR OFFICER, YOU JERK WAD.’
O’Brien maintained his cool but hit back at the detective.
‘Oh, stop being a sore loser, detective. You’re throwing a tantrum because you followed a dead end lead to the warehouse district, and a junior officer was on the end of a credible tip that has busted this case wide open. Suck it up and deal with it, big man. We’re all on the same team here, and what you’re forgetting is that we’re trying to find a missing woman. So, who is actually the jerk wad here? Because my money is on you.’
‘You’re show of alpha masculinity is, quite frankly, making me nauseous,’ she mumbled, head still firmly on the desk. ‘Max, if these two boys are going to continue their game of ‘who can piss the highest’, would you mind filling me in on what happened, please?’
O’Brien and Scott’s chest thumping had come to an abrupt conclusion, and all attention was focussed on Deacon. He cleared his throat, and ruffled his hair.
‘I got a call from a former cop that there was a couple who’d recently taken up residence in Blackbriar gated community. He’d seen the media reports about Nora Aitcheson’s abduction, and thought he recognised her as one of the new residents. Said they’d moved in a few months prior. Unknown male, and the woman he thought was Nora. Um, they were going by the names of Sean and Leigh Gaynor.’
‘How reliable is your contact?’ she asked.
‘Was my contact,’ replied Deacon. ‘He died before we arrived at Blackbriar.’
‘Looks like he was bludgeoned to death. Practically unrecognisable,’ O’Brien joined the conversation, leaving Scott to stew alone. ‘We weren’t able to ascertain whether or not the female of the couple was Nora. We sent a team to the Gaynor residence but it was vacant. Neighbours believe the couple has gone on vacation, although no one can tell us where they’ve gone on vacation to, or when they’re due to return.’
‘This case goes from crap to worse,’ Griffin lamented.
‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, what gives here in O’Brien’s little house of fun?’ Pete Walker sauntered into the incident room, dragged a chair across to Griffin’s desk, and parked himself in the middle of the team.
‘Sarge, what are you doing here?’ Deacon slapped the shoulder of his former senior officer as he spoke.
‘Max Deacon, my star pupil. Why else would I be here? To see you, of course,’ Walker replied.
‘I highly doubt that. Pete, how ya doin’?’ O’Brien thrust out his right hand, gripped Walker’s as tightly as he could, and squeezed.
‘Oh shit,’ said Griffin, ‘another freakin’ pissing contest. Call me when the testosterone level drops dramatically.’ She pushed her chair away from the desk, got up, snatched her bag from under the desk, and began to leave the room.
‘Hey, sweet cheeks,’ Walker called out to her, ‘don’t leave. I’m here on business. I’ve come to give you my expert assistance on the Aitcheson case.’
Griffin stopped dead.
‘I wouldn’t have done that if I were you, Walker,’ snickered O’Brien. ‘She’s gonna kick your arse now.’
She turned around, fuming, but refrained from giving Walker a piece of her mind.
‘Oh dear, O’Brien, it appears that once again, you’re wrong. This babe’s a pussycat,’ Walker said as Griffin returned to her desk. As she passed Walker’s chair, she gave it a firm kick, and almost unbalance the man in it.
‘Woo, feisty. Just how I like ‘em.’
Scott gave the interloper a quick slap to the back of his head.
‘What the hell was that for?’ Walker snapped at Scott.
‘The only one around here permitted to refer to Detective Griffin as a pussycat is me. Got it, jerk wad?’
O’Brien shook his head in disbelief, and said, ‘Pot. Kettle. Black.’
Walker, now the centre of attention, smiled smugly at Griffin.
‘I miss something?’ Walker aimed the question at O’Brien.
‘Nothing that concerns you.’
Scott interrupted the fierce staring competition that was occurring between Walker and O’Brien.
‘Exactly what sort of business are you on in this precinct?’
Walker scratched his chin, and still wearing the smug smile, he replied, ‘Thought I could help you out with this Aitcheson case. Seems from everything that I hear, you’ve either got a copycat of the Pettit, Hamilton, Lawley, and Fisher cases, or, you may have the original perp. Just thought I could help establish whether it’s genuine or a copycat.’
‘We don’t need your help, Walker,’ O’Brien snarled.
‘Oh, you don’t? ‘Cause I don’t see a suspect in here.’
Deacon attempted to placate his former sergeant. ‘We’re pretty sure that it’s a copycat, and that the Aitcheson woman is involved in her own abduction.’
Walker snapped his head around to eyeball Deacon; Scott felt a sense of unease with Walker knowing too much about their case.
Although Walker posed the single word as a question, Scott was sure that he meant it more as a statement.
‘We can’t go into detail with you, Pete. But I can give you this much,’ Scott paused for Walker to take in what he was saying. ‘The door is that way.’
Walker was confused. He hadn’t ever been denied information regarding any cases in other precincts before. Scott gestured to the incident room exit, but Walker did not move from the chair by Griffin’s desk.
‘I said, the door, Sergeant Walker, is that way.’ Again, Scott pointed to the door. ‘Don’t make me have you forcibly removed.’
Begrudgingly, Walker stood, and then swaggered out of the room, pausing only once to look back at the team. They watched him go before engaging in conversation.
‘No disrespect, Detective Scott, but what the hell was that for?’ Deacon asked. Scott looked at Griffin, and raised an eyebrow.
‘You wanna tell fanboy here?’
Griffin nodded. She lowered her voice as if what she was about to say had the ability to cause panic.
‘Pete Walker’s under investigation from Internal Affairs. All I can tell you, Max, is that there are a number of cases that he’s worked on where suspects have been tipped off, and convictions have been dismissed on technicalities. Internal Affairs thinks Walker’s dirty.’
. . . To be continued . . .