“Mackenzie. If it’s more dumping I’m not interested. I got a shit load of cases already.” Stewart Mackenzie was in a bad mood. The damn tooth was playing up again; he needed to get it fixed.
“Mac, it’s Elmer, from Stockton. We got a homicide up here. A young girl from your neck of the woods. I’d appreciate your help.”
“And ‘how you doing buddy’ would be nice, but no you come straight in at the deep end. How’s Carol?”
“Mac, me and Carol split nine months ago.”
Mac took a deep breath. Had it been that long ago since he talked with Elmer? Buried under caseloads of homicides, no time for anything except work, and occasionally a chili dog and a cold Bud or three, and then maybe followed by a few shots.
“Hey, that’s too bad. I’m truly sorry it didn’t work out with Carol.” He paused while Elmer muttered ‘thanks anyway’, and ‘isn’t life a shit pile sometimes’. He came in over the top. “Listen up. The chief will hang me out to dry, if I don’t get results today. I got three homicides as it is.”
“Mac, you know I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important. I only need a bio.”
“What’s the hurry? You’re not telling me everything, huh?”
“Worst case scenario, we got a serial killer on the loose. Possibly connected with the Bees, they’re due in Longfield in a few days.”
Mac sat back and poked his tooth with his fingernail. Just what they needed. “And best case?”
“I could be wrong.”
Not Elmer. He rarely got it wrong. His hunches were world class. “Look, if I need to swing it past the chief give me the low down. It won’t go out of this room, that’s official.”
Elmer told Mac that Stockton had a history of unsolved young girl homicides, or girls going missing, dating back a while. “I been doing some digging through the news files, they all correspond thereabouts with the Bees’ tour dates. I’ll send you the dead girl’s picture and a recent photo shoot of the Bees taken by the missing girl. It’s pretty thin, that’s why I need your help.”
“Look miss, I’m a very busy police officer. I can get my tooth fixed while you’re getting the info ready for me. Then I’m out of your hair.”
The Stateside receptionist sighed and picked up her pen. “Fill this form in, and I’ll talk to our fill-in dentist. His case load is manageable.”
Wish mine was, he thought. And he’s probably earning a hell of a lot more than I am. He turned on the charm. “Thanks ma’am, I appreciate your cooperation. If every citizen was like you, we’d all sleep easier at nights.”
She touched her pale blonde hair and smiled. “I certainly would with you around.”
Mac blinked. Was she flirting with him? “I can cook good, too.”
She laughed. “You telling me a busy cop has time for cooking and all?”
He laughed back. “Okay, I lied. You’re too quick for me.” The phone rang. He filled in his form while she answered it.
She finished the call and read the form. “Stewart Mackenzie, huh. Take a seat while I go see if the dentist’s busy.”
Tooth fixed real good and a date lined up with Katie Forbes later in the week. She was as good as they come. Strip away that cool receptionist exterior, and he’d bet she’d be real hot in bed. She certainly had a lithe enough figure under the dainty white outfit. Mac was pleased with his morning’s work. He sat in his car munching a chili dog with extra topping and read the information she had provided from their nationwide database. Ruth De Maggio, single, age 27, middle class address in Longfield, occupation sports media journalist and a few other personal details. He wiped the crumbs off his mouth, piled the documents back into the envelope and turned on the ignition. He pulled out into the traffic flow and headed to Ruth’s neighborhood, the Longfield Mafia heartland.
The apartment had been ransacked. The place was a tip. Cupboards had been ripped off walls, contents from drawers strewn over the bed, books and magazines flung on the floor, nothing left untouched. What did that tell him? Someone, not a professional, was looking for something and it had been difficult to find, maybe it wasn’t found. He turned to the janitor and ushered him out. “Ok Mr Rossetti, I’ll take over from here. Anyone comes to look, call me ok?” He gave the janitor his card and a twenty dollar bill, and turned back into the apartment. ‘Let’s see what you missed’ Mac said to himself.
The photograph was concealed behind the back of a picture frame, the front showing a picture of Ruth holding a trophy against a backdrop of Long Island pistol shooting tournament. Overlooked by an amateur in a hurry. Mac took it out. Young black man in a white muscle shirt and tight shorts, bright white teeth grinning at the camera. He turned it over. To Ruth, my hot honey, xxx BG.
Mackenzie cleared a sofa of books and magazines and sat down. There were no other personal effects that he could find. No link to anyone except BG. What had Elmer said? Connection to the Bees. He unzipped his jacket and took out the photo shoot pictures. Jackpot--there was BG. Babe George, quarter back. He was intrigued. The chief could wait for his report. He would go along to their training camp and ask some questions.