Book Four - Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter Eight
Monday – July 2nd
The Squad Room – 8:31 a.m.
“We are back to normal routes, and you all have your assignments.
“Clausen, Klugston, and Lowery and Banyard; I want both units to check the schools based on the second riddle that came in this morning.”
“Must be a ghost dropping it off since no one has seen who it is leaving notes like this to begin with,” said Devon.
“No, no ghost. Sergeant Spinelli found it taped to the front door when he came on duty this morning. Whoever left it, did it sometime in the middle of the night.
“Just check out all the school’s band departments. See what you can find. Beyond that, get out there and stay safe, and keep our streets safe.”
In her office behind her desk, sipping half-warm coffee, she looked over the latest riddle again.
‘2 bad you didn’t get the riddle i sent you last. At least U are still alive but that’s all in the past. This time LOOK 2 the band for 1 sour note played for a long time will stand – sniff for the smell and U will say what the hell. Hey diddle-diddle, it’s only the second riddle. Keep in mind when all is said and done, a death will happen, and i will have won.’
All Baker could imagine was that whoever this was, they did something to one or more band instruments. What she couldn’t imagine was—who would die.
The Baker-Manning Home
111 Homestead Lane – 9:53 a.m.
Stevie was in the kitchen fixing breakfast for himself and Ed. Ed was on the computer, emailing another of his online college course exams he completed.
He still had two other assignments to complete and sent in by Friday. As soon as he hit send on the one exam, he heard Stevie yell that breakfast was ready.
Five minutes into salt and pepper on the eggs and home-fries, crisp bacon, stirring sugar into Ed’s coffee, and pouring two glasses of orange juice, Stevie asked, “How is summer- school working out for you so far?”
“If I paid you fifty bucks to finish up for me. It would be much better.”
“Ed, I’m not cheap.”
“And I was kidding.”
“I knew that.”
“Do you and Ellie have anything planned for today?”
“We’re going to meet a few friends out at Rim Rock Pass. Go out, goof around, take some pictures. Ellie and her parents are leaving tomorrow for a ten-day vacation.”
“Oh. Where are they headed?”
“The Outer Banks of North Carolina. They have a cottage rented right off the coast of the Atlantic. They’ll be like five miles from Kitty Hawk.”
“Home of the Wright Brothers Museum.”
“Yeah. I asked Ellie to make sure she gets some pictures for me. She said she would email them to me. I think Kitty Hawk would be cool to see.”
They ate in silence for a little while before Stevie spoke again.
“Ellie’s birthday is the twenty-first. I’ll talk with mom about this too, but I’d like to have a second cookout here and invite some of our friends to celebrate.”
“I’m fairly sure your mom won’t object, and I’m okay with it. Your mom really likes Ellie.”
“Cool. Now I have to figure out what to get her for her birthday.”
“Let’s see, you got her a locket for Christmas, and you two have been together a good amount of time; my suggestion would be a ring.”
“Oh, I don’t think so, Ed. Yeah, we did talk about marriage and that, but that’s for down the road, not now, and we’re too young anyway.”
Ed raised his right hand.
“Let me rephrase, then. Get her a friendship ring. Make it a symbol of how you feel about her. She’ll love it.”
“Okay, I get it. That’s a great idea. Have it made special. A small diamond in the center, with our birthstones on each side. One to signify our love for each other, and the diamond to express, forever.”
“There you go. Case solved.” Ed looked at his watch.
“Damn, 10:20. I have to run, Stevie. Time for my therapy. I have twenty minutes to get there.”
“Good luck with that. Takes me about a half hour and that’s with normal traffic and speed.”
“I’m good. See you later.”
As Stevie was clearing away the plates, Ed had already backed out of the driveway, and with a terrible screeching sound, Stevie heard Ed peel leather as he took off.
Montie High School – 1:48 p.m.
After searching each school, Montie being the last one, neither Clauson, Klugston, or Lowery and Banyard, neither saw, heard, or smelled anything unusual with any of the band instruments at the three other schools. They were led to believe that Montie was it; all or nothing. If it ended up being nothing, it would be a prank that would have a different kind of smell to it.
The full-time year-round janitor arrived as scheduled and opened the front doors for them. He led them down a hallway to the band room, and where the instruments would be put away for at least another month before the band would begin their marching drills and playing songs for the football games.
The second the janitor opened the door, the stench hit them.
Within an hour, five instruments: two tubas, a saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet were on the outside grounds, bagged and tagged appropriately.
Inside each instrument they found dead mice, rats, and even a squirrel. The janitor, Joel Hilsop, told police officers that sometimes kids came into the school when he’s been cleaning from one to seven during the week, and that sometimes, he could hear music being played. He did remember four boys in the school last Friday and gave the police their names.
Clauson and Klugston took two names, while Lowery and Banyard took the other two. Before they would be questioned, they brought the instruments to the crime lab to be gone over for fingerprints, per Baker’s orders, when they called to let her know what they found.
By four that afternoon, four boys: Jeff Minske, Samuel Helper, Darren Gabney, and Blake Brewster, were questioned, and cleared of any potential involvement. There were several different fingerprints on the instruments, making it impossible to charge them with anything. And Brewster was ruled out almost immediately.
As it stood, the riddle was solved, but the culprit was still out there.
The report was written out and put in Baker’s computer files.
1125 Clearfield Street – 6:28 p.m.
J.W. sat at his kitchen table, munching on a BLT, and drinking a glass of milk. He was looking over a copy of the information he printed out on Daniel Watson’s accident. He would call Mr. Davenport, and let him know he would stop by his office when it was convenient for him and give him a copy of the report he originally filed. Plus, he would also let him know he was by Watson’s side moments before he died, and he now remembered his last words that came out in a whistling whisper.
2916 Murphy Lane – 7:15 p.m.
A certain poet was putting together another verse. Since the riddle had been solved so quickly, which was expected, it was time to step up the game. Another prank to keep people in line until the final reason may or may not be figured out in time.
Of course, one could always ask the obvious, “Why is this being done in the first place.”
To answer that, would make the game no longer important. A game involving death. A long-awaited and needed death.
6337 Dusty Lane – 7:35 p.m.
Patrick’s cell phone was vibrating on the outdoor stand next to his chair, as he was sitting outside, enjoying the early evening.
“Yes, who’s calling?”
“This is Officer Roberts. I have the information that was filed on Daniel Watson. I have a copy of the file with me. I can stop by your office any day you are free and give it to you personally. There are also matters to explain that aren’t in the report.”
“Wonderful! I’m free all day this Thursday. I do lunch between noon and one. Otherwise, I’m in my office from seven to five. You can stop by when it’s convenient for you.”
“Let’s make it Thursday, around eleven.”
“I’ll be expecting you, Officer Roberts. I do hope I haven’t put you out because of this.”
“Not at all. It made me do some thinking anyway.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Just doing my job and doing the right thing. We all need closure, so we can move on.”
After their brief, but informative chat, Patrick looked up at a blue sky changing its color, preparing for nightfall, but the colors held with traces of orange and purple hues billowing in the background, fighting for a foothold in daylight, but steadily being pulled away.
Patrick took another sip of his beer and said, “Daniel, this will give me closure, but it will never close the years we shared.”
Five minutes later, Cliff called, asking Patrick if he would like to spend the night at his place.
Patrick declined the offer, citing a headache, and that he also had to be in the office early in the morning. He begged off for another time. Patrick could hear the disappointment in Cliff’s voice.
In truth, there was no headache, but he was in a different frame of mind at the moment. The fact that he would have all the information to Daniel’s death, and that J.W.’s voice was very calming, reassuring. It even made Patrick wonder what his initials stood for. Rugged looking in a sexy way, but it was his voice and his eyes, which had Patrick entertaining thoughts better left to another time, if that other time made itself known. Probably not.
One thing he was certain of; Cliff didn’t have that magnetic attraction he had hoped for. He suddenly understood that Cliff was nothing more than a substitute for a place that could never be touched, at least by Cliff. It’s a deep, private place for a love that can never be replaced.
Patrick now knew Cliff also wasn’t the kind of man who could create a new and vibrant energy, that fiery fusion of mind, body, and soul. On the other hand, if he had the time, Patrick felt almost certain that J.W. could be the man to create a new set of highs for his life.
The only problem: J.W. was seeing someone else.