Part One - Evil Times 3 - Chapter Eight
St. Peter’s Sunday Morning Service
May 17th – 10:45 a.m.
“In the name of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, and the Holy Catholic Church; may each of you, go with God. In His Holy Name, we pray, amen.”
The organist started in with her almost scary version of standard fare that would make you believe the Phantom of The Opera was in the house.
Maybe this time he was.
The choir kicked in a half-beat after the organist, and Bishop Ekerson walked the center aisle, dressed in virginal white, heading for the twin doors to bid everyone who walked back into the light of day, a wonderful Sunday.
All twelve plainclothes police officers hadn’t seen anything to be considered out of the ordinary during the service. There had been no indication from Bishop Ekerson while he was behind the pulpit to even hint at the possibility the killer was somewhere within the congregation.
Both Baker and Ed had positioned themselves near Ekerson in hopes he might be able to recognize him as he walked through the front doors. A killer that was hell-bent on a mission of destruction and mayhem.
They watched as the procession of people flowed effortlessly out the doors into a crisp clear blue sky. Such a beautiful day,
With family in tow, came Mayor Rydell Fredrick Abrams; sauntering or wobbling, take your pick. Such a pompous ass, Baker believed. Plus, he needs to lose weight. Jenny Craig would have her work cut out for her.
Alongside him was his wife, a somewhat overrated do-gooder. They stopped just long enough to introduce their son and daughter-in-law, who were going back to Seattle, Monday morning.
Baker wanted to visit him and Deputy D.A. Mosher at their respective homes later, but Ed suggested it would be better just to have them come down to the Precinct.
As Ed said to her once, “Why risk opening a can of worms at home they wouldn’t be able to repair? If all they are guilty of was kinky sex; if they knew what we now know, they would likely stop altogether. Why risk a marriage and a career?”
After the Mayor came Josephine Gulatta. A short heavyset woman cleans homes part-time, or in the General’s case: apartment. Gulatta, married twenty-nine years, three grown sons, and still married to the same “Grouch” as she called her husband, when the police first called on her to ask her a few questions.
To Baker, it appeared as if Josephine Gulatta would live to be ninety or die in the next ten years from a stroke. She wasn’t just heavyset, thought Baker. At 4’10” and 395, she was a baby beach whale.
Yeppers, she thought, good old Josephine is on her way to the glue factory one day down the road and she doesn’t even know it. Hell, she could fool everybody and live to be two hundred. In this day and age, who’s to say?
“Father, I found this under the door to the Rectory with your name on it. I thought that before I locked away my music sheets, I would give this to you.”
His part-time secretary, Jayne Forest, shopper and all-around go-getter, and Sunday morning organist, handed him a small envelope; the kind that would hold a greeting card. Jayne turned and went back to the organ to clean off the keys, seat, and polished the brass and chrome laced throughout the organ.
With no one else leaving the church, Baker and Ed went over and stood on each side of Bishop Ekerson.
“Open it up and see what it says.”
“What about fingerprints?”
“If there are any prints to be found other than yours or hers, we might find something, but I’d say that idea has been compromised. Try to handle the edges of the letter or note as carefully as you can, with this.” Ed handed him a pair of tweezers.
Baker looked at Ed.
“Hey, one never knows when they’ll come in handy.”
It was a single sheet of paper.
Printed in the same style as the notes left behind and it read:
We reap what we sow, but no one will know, how far I will go. Is it you, or him, or her, or will I simply vanish; flee. But (buts are great!), one truth I let out of the bag; another double murder, but first the old hag! After them comes the other bitch.
Yes, you, too skinny under-developed-excuse-for-a-woman-playing-cop. I have decided it will be time for you to go, nice and easy and terribly slow. Then your lover. After all, you both work together.
Johnson County Airport – 3:27 p.m.
“Mom, please, let me stay! I’m not a little kid any longer!”
“I know, Stevie. It’s for that reason I’m sending you back to your father. Like I explained to you at home; until this killer is caught and put away, a threat on my life is also a threat against your own. I will not risk you being abducted from this maniac to get to me. You will be much safer back home with your father.”
Stevie had tears in his eyes.
“Mom, you know I love you, right?”
“You know I’ll do anything to help you, right?”
“You know I would die for you, mom; right?”
Tears now ran from two sets of eyes as Baker clutched Stevie to her and whispered, “I know, but you have to live to make me a grandmother, at least a dozen times, right?”
Stevie pulled back, wiped the sniffles from his nose on his coat sleeve and nodded his head slowly, saying, “A dozen!”
“Okay, maybe a dozen is pushing it, but at least a couple times.”
Tears forgotten, they grinned at each other.
The agreement game they sometimes played ended there.
A few more hugs, and I love you’s, and seventeen minutes later, Stevie was in the air, Colorado bound.
Baker’s Townhouse – 10:23 p.m.
Until Ed left thirty minutes ago, both had racked their brains and ideas off each other as to where the killer would strike next, other than Baker herself.
The best thing they could do was seven couples; but neither one could swing the captain in paying for extra surveillance.
Tonight, all she could hope for was a kill-free night. Four bodies in four days, and somewhere, another two, guaranteed dead, not counting herself.
She tossed and turned in the bed until the wee hours of the morning before exhaustion finally won her over.