The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Barnes and Melanie were back by noon. “It was a flipping farm of cubicles. I sent everything to a forensic accountant. It’ll be eons before they can make heads or tails of it.”
“Aren’t you full of good news.” Spence’s mood was black.
“Who pissed in your Wheaties?” Melanie frowned.
“Shit. There’s no easy way to lay this out there.” Spence stopped staring at his screen and made eye contact. “Turns out the leak was Tom.”
Melanie laughed and turned to her desk. She grabbed the wall calender hanging there.
“What are you doing?”
“Checking the date. You’re a couple of months late for April Fools.”
Spence shook his head.
Barnes pulled out his chair. “The new girl right?”
“Oh, come on.” Melanie’s face scrunched up. “We do not need this right now.”
“For now, he’s off the case. I don’t know if he’ll be back or when.”
“All these years, we’ve all debated what it might take to bring down ‘dynamite’, turns out it’s one bleach blonde bitch with a big mouth.”
Barnes snorted. “Say that three times fast.”
“Bleach blonde bitch with a big mouth, bleach blonde bitch with a big mouth, bleach blonde bitch with a big mouth.” Melanie sing-songed her way through the words.
Spence let it slide. They needed to process losing a family member. If making jokes helped, he was on board.
“I got a couple of the lab reports back.” Spence hoped this would get them focused on the case. “The mystery meat.”
Barnes provided a drum roll on the work table with his hands.
“Human. DNA was too fried for a match to Paulson. Think about it, how many bits of human flesh can we expect to find within 30 feet of a body missing those same bits.”
“That’s a new one for our serial killer.” Melanie frowned.
“We’ve had that thought about a number of aspects to this case.” Spence countered.
“I know, I just think we shouldn’t lose track of the minutia.”
“Fair enough,” said Spence. “The eyeball jelly is back as well.”
“Vitreous fluid,” said Barnes correcting Spence.
“Right, the vitreous fluid contained Rohypnol.”
“Somebody roofied the old guy?” Melanie asked in blatant disbelief. “That has never been done by our serial killer. He always overpowers them.”
Spence nodded his acquiescence. “It fits with the mode of death suggested by Choi, smothering. A few drops in a cocktail, he passes out. Couple of minutes with a pillow.”
“He passes way out,” Barnes chuckled. “That’s cold. And not our guy. I agree with Mel.”
“You two think we should pass this case off then?” Spence knew a copycat designation by his team right now, could tank Tom’s case for accidental information transmission. Harold was dead before the story hit the front page but it would still come down on Tom.
“That’s a hard call.” Barnes shook his head. “I think I’d rather take a gander at the personal financials we have access to now.”
“That sounds reasonable.” Spence looked over at Melanie who was staring off into space. Okay then, back to the data.
It was several minutes later when Melanie leapt to the cork-board and grabbed the preliminary autopsy report. She flipped pages. Then slapping the page in her hand, said, “No marks on his heels.”
“No what?” Spence asked.
“Marks on his heels. Paulson was 5’11”, 180 pounds. If he was dead already, how did the killer get him from the murder location to the pool without dragging him?”
“He carried him.”
“That’s a lot of dead weight. No pun intended,” she continued when Barnes guffawed.
“We’re looking for a big guy, a team, or someone with a little red wagon. That really narrows it down.”
Melanie flipped the papers back into order and retacked them to the board. “At least I’m trying.”
“As opposed to me?”
“You’re just staring at your screen, feeling sorry for yourself and Tom.”
Spence considered how to answer this without lying. Because Melanie was right. He did feel sorry for himself, for Tom, for the team. And he really hated Stephanie Lewis right about now. The ringing phone on his desk saved him the trouble of answering her. “Thomas.” He hung up ten seconds later. “It appears my wife is here.”