CHAPTER TWENTY 6TH SATURDAY Mike gets up early before anyone is out of bed and throws his briefcase into the car.
He drives towards Chilliwack and calls Trudy as he's driving down Young Road. "Good morning, beautiful. It's Mike." Carol says, "Good morning, Mike. I'll get Trudy." She giggles as she leaves the phone. "Mike, are you hitting on Cookie so early in the morning?" "Sorry honey, I thought it was you. Your up, are you?" "I am now.
What you looking for?" "You, of course. Come on back to bed." Mike walks around the house and opens the sliding glass doors to the bedroom. "Mike, where are you? Are you here?" "Come and see." She pushes open the bedroom door and rushes into his arms.
Later Cookie gives her the devil for not hanging up the phone but at least it didn't ring to disturb them. Over breakfast Mike explains that he thinks it's time to get back on the murder case. Trudy and he plan a strategy. It's important to find out what the police have been doing, so Mike starts by calling Nina. "Mike, where are you?" "How are you this morning? How is Jeff taking the situation?" "He's out of sorts, but he's coming around. It's hard to tell when he's so hung over." She giggles.
"Can you bring me up to date on what's happening in the murder investigation of Flo Hanson?" "Oh, they've worked on two other murders since then.
I recall some mention of trying to get the physical evidence reintroduced into the August trial. I think that's about all at this time. Are you working on it again?" "Yeah. I'm trying to find a starting point. The trail is getting cold and it's going to be hard to put it all together. Thanks for your help. Good morning." "Wait, Mike? Are you still there?" "Yes." She whispers, "Can we meet at the restaurant for coffee." "Not right away.
I'm in Chilliwack." "Oh.
You're with Trudy. Is she right there beside you?" "Yes." She whispers, "I thought we might sneak away somewhere. I could use some TLC this morning." "I'm afraid it's too late." "You mean she and you have been . I get it." She giggles, "I guess she's the one who got it. Damn! We'll have to wait until Monday at noon. Don't you forget!" "I won't.
You have a good day now. Bye." He gets off the phone and Trudy says, "She was trying to entice you over, wasn't she? I could tell you were awfully guarded in what you said. Don't try to hide anything from me, Michael Claymore." "Trudy, you have a suspicious mind." "But, I'm right, ain't I?" "Yep, your right." "What about the RCMP murder investigation?" "Seems to be shelved for now.
There are some efforts to have the coveralls and boots re-admitted to the trial. Otherwise they are busy with other cases. "Where do we start then?" "Flo is dead. She was killed for a reason. Either her ex committed the crime in a drunken rage or she was killed to prevent her doing something. What was she going to do? It wasn't anything with the other hookers that would affect Scanlon's operations. He's definitely been cleared of the crime.
Rita Harrison could have did it or had it done in a jealous rage. Tony could have done it if he had a reason. Ron Harrison has something to hide besides his penchant for other women. The connection between Tony and the Harrison's is, I suspect, something to do with drugs. Are you with me?" "All the way. I think your right there. Drugs are definitely involved and I think they're involved in Flo's death as well. I feel the connection. I can't explain it." "You're usually right.
Hmmmm." "I'm always right!" "Right. So what was Flo's view on drugs? As far as we know, she was strictly against them. Funny she should choose to associate with the Harrison's or Tony." "With the former it was business, even the extra attention to Ron. I imagine he paid her well. She may not have known about Tony's involvement in the drug trade. She does seem to have spent a lot of time with him, although he doesn't admit it.
I wonder how deep he's involved in drugs? Can we find that out?" "Any week day we could go through his house while he's working. Or we could camp out this evening and observe activities around his house. Maybe catch one of his customers and put pressure on him." "Why don't we do that?
We could visit with Marie this afternoon and find out her plans when she's released from the hospital next week then go over to Tony's this evening. Monday we can go through his house and maybe visit Rita Harrison. How's that?" "Okay, let's do it. So, what do we do with the rest of the morning?" "It's either tennis or me.
Your choice." After lunch they drive to New Westminster. As they go up in the elevator at the hospital Trudy says, "I guess there will be quite a change in her appearance. I haven't seen her since we were here over two weeks ago. Has she changed a lot?" "A lot of the head bandaging was removed last week.
There was still a lot of discoloration on Thursday. I expect a lot of that has faded by now. You'll see." They go to the third floor and find Marie in the general ward. She greets Mike with a smile and a wave. Mike smiles back and is surprised how much her natural healthy color has returned to her face. He turns to Trudy who appears a bit shocked and is trying to hide it. Before they cross the room, Trudy whispers, "Her hair. There's only a fuzz on one side." "Of course.
It was all shaved off that side for the operation on her skull." They come up to her bedside. "What are you doing in bed? I thought you'd be up and watching TV or out playing handball?" He grins. "It won't be long. I'm really looking forward to going home next week. Bob was up this morning. He looks so good. He's attending AA meetings every night now and he's got a job. He's doing deliveries for Eaton's." "You're planning to go back to his home?" "Our home!
Yes, I'm going home with Robert. I will be all right. He's changed. You should meet him now; you wouldn't believe the change. He credit's you for his changes. He said you talked him into going to AA.
Thank you, Mike." "But he still doesn't think he's an alcoholic. He thinks he just had a drinking problem and AA can help him take care of it. Please keep my number handy. I'll try to visit when I can. Trudy asks, "When did they move you up here?" "About a week ago. They brought an inmate from the prison in for appendicitis and had to use the secure ward. Roger keeps hanging around, I think because Mike asked him to but there is really no need any longer.
Your worrying about nothing, Mike." "Let me be the judge of that. Better safe than sorry." "I don't mind. Roger's good company." Trudy and Marie start talking about what she will do when she gets home.
Mike stands back and lets them gab. He studies the layout and location of doors, etc. around the ward as they talk. He would hate to have to protect someone in this environment, he thinks. Later, as they leave, it is after three and they go for coffee in Surrey.
Trudy says, "It was quite a shock to see her hair. The last time she was all swathed with bandages and I never noticed. Can she eat, now?" "Very carefully some soft foods. Not too much chewing." "I noticed she was turning her head a lot. She's lost the hearing on that side, hasn't she?" "Yes. I'm afraid so. The doctors don't hold out much hope of her ever recovering any hearing on that side.
Too much damage." "How about the skull fractures?" "It's wait and see with that. The doctor said she would not have to have it operated on again. You probably noticed her movements of that arm are stiff. They have hidden the contraption that holds her shoulder in place quite well. They say it is healing nicely but will take a while. She's still so fragile. I hate to see her go back to live with Bob. One bad night and he could kill her. It doesn't bear thinking about." Trudy shivers and says, "I agree." They pay for their coffee and drive over to POCO.
Mike pulls into the CPX yard and parks by the terminal. It's not too busy since it's Saturday. Mike runs upstairs to dispatch and checks for bills.
His names not on the board for a run Monday and he can't find any bills assigned to his truck number, yet. It looks like he might have Monday off. He comes back down the stairs and stops at the front door. He walks back towards the washrooms and stops by Ray's locker. He opens it and stands looking into it. He rubs his chin and steps back to look over all the lockers. Then he closes Ray's again and drops the bent nail into the hasp. He leaves the washroom and goes into the lunchroom, gets a Coke out of the machine and goes back to the car.
"Want a slurp?" He pulls the tab on the can and it hisses. "Sure." She takes a long drink and burps. "Oops!" "Not very ladylike, are you?" "Would you like me if I was?" He takes a drink from the can, "Hmmm, You got a point there." He laughs with her and hands the can back.
He starts the car and he heads down to Diamond Blvd. In a few minutes he pulls up to Ray's place. Trudy looks at him and gets out with him. They walk to the front door. There's no buzzer so Mike knocks. After a bit he knocks again. Trudy says, "What's the point of seeing Ray. I thought we had everything from him?" "Something else occurred to me over at the terminal.
It might not be any good. I don't know until I see Ray." "Well, I'd say he's not home." They leave Ray's and drive into town. Mike drives to the west end and Wilson Ave. He drives through the entrance of Reeve Street Park and around the loop. Soon he comes to a spot near the entrance where they can look through the trees and see Tony's place. He backs up and parks out of sight in bushes.
They get out and walk back towards the entrance. When they reach the point where they can make out the house, Mike signals for Trudy to follow him. He moves between the trees and shrubbery to a point where he can clearly look into Tony's property. He says, "This is where we will watch from tonight." He sits down and clears back some branches. He has a clear view.
He lets the branches fall back into place. "Stay here and I'll bring the car robe so we can find the spot later." After he has the robe laid out he checks the area. Not far from their spot is a footpath that leads to a gate that opens on Wilson next to Tony's driveway. The perimeter fence of the park runs right along Tony's property and down to the river. Mike is satisfied he knows the layout so they return to the car. Trudy likes the location of the car and suggests they kill time by making out in the back seat but Mike vetoes that.
He drives back over to Ray's. This time Ray answers the door on the first knock and says he just came back from the store. He invites them in. He has fresh coffee on and asks if they will join him in a cup. While he's pouring the coffee, Mike asks, "Ray, your lawyer gave me an idea. Can you identify your coveralls or boots?" Ray puts two cups in front of them and says, "The coveralls are all the same. Canada Linen provides them and launders them every week. We just chuck them into the bin when they're dirty.
It's pretty much the same with the boots. Most of the guys get their boots like I do. Off the safety boots salesman who comes around once a month." "Did you ever carve your initials or write your name in yours?" "Nope. The only way I'd ever know them is by the nick in the sole." "You can identify them?" "Sure. They all look alike except I stepped and slid on a steel ribbon, one of those ribbons they use to bind heavy stuff on pallets with.
It cut an S shape in the right heel. I didn't realize that stuff was so sharp." "Ray, did you tell your lawyer you could identify your boots?" "No. I never thought of it." "See if you can get him on the phone." "Now? It's Saturday. I'll try. He might be in his office." Ray lets the phone ring and ring, but no answer. Mike says to Trudy, "If I'm on a run Monday, get Ray's lawyer on the phone and make sure he knows Ray can identify his boots.
Those ones the RCMP have may not be his. I figure our murderer either took his coveralls and boots to commit the crime or traded his for someone else's after the crime was committed. I don't think Lindross is going to let me have a look at the ones he has as evidence. Ray says, "I wish he'd give them back. They let me go back to work this week and I had to wear an old pair of boots. They're all worn out and uncomfortable." Mike grins and says, "I saw them. I figured you must be back to work.
Well Trudy, I guess it's time we went parking." She grins at Ray's sharp glance and says, "I wish!" They all chuckle as Mike gets up to leave. Trudy shakes hands with Ray and Mike claps him on the shoulder as they go. "We'll clear you yet, my friend." It's late afternoon and they take time to grab a bite in a restaurant in downtown POCO at the mall.
As they watch people teeming by Trudy says, "Look at them. All in a hurry and intent on their affairs. I think this is the age of 'me first'. Do you know what I mean?" "I'm afraid so and it's rubbing off on the younger generation. I think it's one of the reasons for so much trouble in the schools and playgrounds. Children have no respect for their elders, who have set them such a poor example. They have no respect for each other. Its do unto others before they can do unto you." "It's sad, isn't it?" "Very." Before dark they pull into the park and make the circle.
Mike backs into the bushes where he parked before. As they walk along towards the entrance they pass a young couple wandering along kissing and intent on each other.
Mike grins down at Trudy and she nods. They find the robe and check the yard and house below them. Lights are winking on along the street and in a few house windows in the distance. There is no sign of actively at Tony's but his car is by the house. They kneel then sit on the robe as dusk turns into night. A light comes on in Tony's kitchen but that is all there is to see. Finally Mike speaks softly, "I'm going to stretch my legs.
If you see anything, don't leave this spot. Just watch and report when I get back." Mike wanders back towards the roadway circle in the park and sees a car moving without lights. It stops and he notices two girls standing by the vehicle talking to the driver. They chat a moment and one of them laughs as the other goes around and gets into the car. The car pulls away. Two other girls join the girl who is left. Mike can't believe his eyes. They are school age kids. Not more than eighteen, if that.
As he watches another car slithers through the trees and a young girl gets out, waves good-bye and joins her friends. She flashes a hand full of bills and they laugh together. Then two of the girls wander away around the track out of sight.
One young girl who looks to be the youngest, about fifteen Mike judges, comes his way and squats to pee mere feet from him. As she stands up she sees him in the shadows and smiles. Bold as brass she comes to him and says, "Looking for some fun, good looking?
How about a blow job for thirty bucks?" Mike is startled by her brashness and stammers, "I'm just out for a walk, young lady. You should be home doing homework." She laughs at him and wanders back to the other two, pointing in his direction. Another car approaches and Mike takes the opportunity to leave.
He goes back to Trudy and tells her what he's seen. "Oh yes.
They're making money for drugs for them and their boyfriends. It makes me shudder to be raising a daughter in this day and age." Mike grunts and says, "I have two." "Nothing happening down there at Tony's. Mind if I stretch my legs now?" "Don't go too far. God only knows what else is going on in these woods." In a few minutes she's back. "I didn't have far to go. Within forty feet of us is a couple in a hollow. I think he's a John.
He's much older than the teenager." "Did they see you?" "I don't think so. She was looking the other way and he was much too busy to notice." "Hold it. I thought I. yes, someone is by the house.
See them?" "They're going to the back door. It's one of the teenagers from the woods, I bet. She sure looks young." "I think it's one of the ones I saw earlier. Where'd she go?" "She must have gone inside. No, there she is in the hollow by the basement door. Now she's gone inside." "Yeah and another shadow is moving around the house. It's another girl and she's following the same path.
There she goes into the door. Hell, that was the one that offered me a blowjob. She can't be more than fifteen." "I don't think she's that." In a few minutes they come out together and slip away through the gate into the woods.
Before they are through the gate a car silently slips into the driveway and turns it's lights out. It glides back the drive and around into the hollow behind the house. Another one follows it. Mike and Trudy crawl closer to the fence and as the cars come out, jot down license numbers and descriptions of the vehicles. Another car is waiting for the last one to leave then comes into the drive, lights out.
Mike can see the face of the driver, a young teenage male. He whispers to Trudy, "They're all teenagers." "Shhhh." She points to the gate and Mike sees another girl who reminds him of Shelly coming their way.
He holds his breath as she passes, only a few yards from where they are behind the fence. As she goes behind the house, Mike signals to Trudy to go back up to their spot where they were. He follows her, only to bump into her as she puts her fingers to her lips and point ahead.
There on his car robe is a young child that Mike would estimate to be about twelve. A man he would judge to be thirty-five kneels over her prostrate form playing with her vagina as she holds her legs spread open for him. His pants are undone and she pulls on his organ.
Mike can't even see any pubic hair on the girl. He sees red and pushes Trudy aside. Mike grabs him by the shirt collar and ass of his pants. He lifts him high in the air then throws him to the ground, bellowing, "She could be your daughter, you fucking pervert." He dives to grab him again but the guy rolls away and scrambles up, pulling his pants up and holding them.
He takes off at a run and Mike turns to the girl.
By now she's running away with her panties and shorts in her hands. Laughing, she calls out, "Too late. I already got his money." He hears her young laughter echoing in the woods.
Trudy grabs up the robe and says, "Come on, Mike! We've got to get out of here. Tony might come to see what the ruckus is or the cops might be about.
Let's go!" She pushes on him to hurry him along. As they drive out of the woods, Mike notices that the lights are all off at Tony's. He drives into town and along the Lougheed to the White Spot Restaurant. He pulls in and sits staring at the wheel. Trudy says, "God, I never saw you like that before.
I'd hate for you to get mad at me. If there had been a tree stump behind that guy when you threw him, he'd be dead. I didn't know you were that strong." "Shut up!" Everything is quiet in the car for a few minutes then Mike sighs and takes a deep breath. "I'm sorry, love. I just had to cool down for a minute. That is the kind of temper that causes murders, your right.
I try to keep mine under control at all times. That animal. " He starts shaking. "She was just a little girl! How could he?" "Mike, it's going on every night all over the country.
This is Saturday night and there is more of it than usual. You know these things. Why did it get to you?" "I guess it was that other girl in the driveway who came so close.
She looked so much like my daughter. That set me on edge, and the other scene rocked me. I literally saw red. Everything in sight turned various shades of red and I hardly remember what happened. It's all a haze, a red haze." "You scared the shit out of me. I thought you'd gone crazy. I bet that guy never comes back to that park, even in broad daylight." She giggles and Mike smiles.
He says, "Let's go get a cup of coffee." When they come back out Mike asks Trudy to drive. He feels totally wiped out and relaxes in the passenger seat as they head for Chilliwack.
Near Abbotsford Mike calls Marlene and tells her he's been working on the murder case today and has been on stake out tonight but he'll be home in an hour or so. He tells her not to wait up for him if she doesn't want. She says she likely will be on the couch watching TV. "She's going to wait up for me. Guess I'll have to head right back tonight. I'll see you Monday. We'll put it all together and see what we've got. Maybe your friend on the Freeway Patrol could run those license numbers for us.
I think they are all local teens. It looks like Tony is the drug lord for POCO teens." "Those drugs he sells tonight will find their way into all the schools around POCO. He must be raking in thousands every Saturday night and a lot during the week.
Is it enough to kill over? If we only knew Flo was a threat to expose him, we'd have him." "But it still could have been the Harrisons. If she threatened their supply of drugs or was playing games with Ronnie, who knows?" Mike's cell phone beeps. He puts it to his ear and says, "Mike here." "Mike, it's Lindross. Why do I have to be pulled out of bed on a Saturday night to hear how you're screwing up our stake outs?" "You have Tony's place staked out, too, eh?" "Mike, you're like a bull in a china shop.
My drug squad is demanding I do something about you. What were you doing there?" "I was sitting in the park with my girl, minding my own business. What do you think I was doing? Tony's a suspect in the Flo Hanson case, in case you forgot." "There's bigger fish involved in this, Mike. Don't get in the way. I heard they already took a shot at you?" "Okay, I'll go after your judge friend then, instead." "Don't get flippant with me. Stay away from Tony.
Can I make myself any clearer?" "I will if you drop the charges against Ray. Any chance?" "Don't be ridiculous. What has one to do with the other? I'm telling you for your own good, stay out of it!" Mike hit's the 'end' button and puts the cell phone in the charger.
Trudy says, "That was Lindross, wasn't it? He should know better than to use a cell phone." "Yeah, he's warning us to stay off Tony. We're getting in the way of his drug squad.
I guess they were there somewhere. With the ruckus in the woods, all action stopped tonight. Bah! Well, we were going to work on the Harrisons next Monday, anyway. He didn't say to stay away from them." Mike goes right home when he drops Trudy off.
Sunday he spends with the family on an outing to Cultus Lake. CPX hasn't called, so he still has Monday to work on the Harrisons with Trudy.