The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty Three
Wednesday morning Spence felt the effects of the long hours. He slept in, turning off the alarm and enjoying the peace.
Tess was in the kitchen when he awoke. “Good morning sleepy head.”
He kissed her on the way to the coffee maker, reserving speech for after he had a cup in his hand.
“Your phone has been blowing up.”
“Probably the team. We kind of struck out at the Paulson house last night.”
“Nothing probative. Slightly bizarre behavior. A fragment of a burnt ledger sheet.” Spence shrugged. “Melanie was pissed, the widow had already cleared all Harold’s personal things and tagged them for donation.”
“That is harsh.”
“We’re pretty sure Harold had told her he was leaving her though.”
Tess gaped at him. “Where did you hear that?”
“The mistress told Barnes.”
Spence nodded. “Can I make you some eggs?”
“I already ate.” Tess paused watching her husband gather eggs, butter, and a frying pan. “Have you ever noticed you call Melanie – Melanie and Barnes by his last name?”
“Daily.” Spence laughed adding butter to the skillet to melt.
“Don’t you think that’s kind of sexist?”
Spence’s brain tried to make sense of the line of questions. “I’m a misogynist for calling a woman by her first name?”
“When you call a man of the same rank by his last name, yeah.”
“Wouldn’t it be more misogynistic of me to call a woman by her husband’s name? That’s what Witlow is right, Melanie’s husband’s last name?” He cracked a couple of eggs into the pan and grabbed a spatula to scramble them.
“Maybe. I hadn’t really thought about that.”
“I call Tom by his first name.”
“That’s different. You two are friends.”
“But he’s part of the same hierarchy.”
“You don’t like Barnes, is that it?” her voice rang with exasperation.
“Is this a pregnancy hormone fight?” Spence asked incautiously as he slid eggs from the pan and onto a plate.
“Not everything is about my hormones,” Tess shouted. “Or the pregnancy. Or the baby.”
Spence held up both hands. “We all call him Barnes because he was named Scott after an uncle he hated as a child.”
“Oh.” A single tear rolled down Tess’s cheek. “Maybe it is a pregnancy hormone fight,” she wailed, then she burst fully into tears.
Abandoning his breakfast Spence walked over to her chair and slid an arm around her shoulders. “I’m sorry honey. I shouldn’t have said that. It was the lack of coffee talking.”
“How can I make this better?”
“Maybe I could come by the station again today and help out?”
A conflict of thoughts flitted across his mind. Yes. No. Maybe so. Spence finally settled on, “One hour, later this morning, home by lunch.”
Tess beamed. “Thank you. It really helps to contribute something useful to the world at large.”
Spence kissed the top of her head. “Copy that.”
Fighting with Tess, no matter how silly the arguement always put Spence in a grumpy mood. The triple car accident he pulled off the road to help with on his drive in, didn’t improve matters. Effing idiot shaving while texting and driving, brilliant.
By the time he was Godzilla stomping through the building at work, his mood red-lined at fire breathing. Woe to the department shrink who crossed his path. “I still haven’t seen your report, which you said we’d have yesterday.”
“I dropped it on your desk last night.”
“No, it wasn’t there.”
“Yes, it is.” Her voice was firm and still polite in tone.
“I have not seen hide nor hair of it.”
“I’m not surprised given the state of your desk, Detective. Do you need me to send you another copy?” she asked shortly.
“Did you leave it on the desk closest to the door?”
Spence groaned. “Not my desk. Thanks anyway. Email it next time like everyone else does.” Spence took the stairs two at a time. Tom’s desk did indeed look like a paper mill exploded. Files on top of folders at precarious angles covered every inch, made worse Monday when Spence had cleared space to use Tom’s keyboard and bring up the Academy Board of Directors web page.
Looking for white paper with green outlined boxes and black text in a sea of white paper with green outlined boxes and black text. Why did every department have the same color scheme on their reports? Made everything look uniform but it was impossible to find anything. He’d love to mention color coding to the higher ups, if he had the foggiest idea who to mention it to.
One injudicious movement and an avalanche slid to the floor. Melanie walked in as Spence said a four letter frustration release.
“You went into the pit of paperwork hell?” she asked in surprise.
“Damn shrink put the report on Tom’s desk last night.”
Melanie laughed. Spence’s scrunched forehead and radiating heat motivated her to quickly crouch down and help with the mess. She sifted, gathered, and sorted along with Spence, uncovering a five-by-eight yellow envelope with Spence’s name scrawled across the front. “You seen this?”
Spence shook his head and reached for the envelope. Inside was a notebook. He flipped through the first couple of pages. “It’s Tom’s casebook. For this case.” Spence felt his anger ratcheting back up. Was it too much to ask for people to do their job in a way that made sense? “Lieu must have confiscated it and then left it on his desk.”
Melanie laughed. “She’s very busy. You can’t expect her to remember where you sit.”
Spence growled, “It’s been one of those already.”
“You’re two hours late. How bad could things be?”
“Pregnancy hormone fight. Three car pile up. Idiot shrink. Idiot-”
“Don’t say it,” Melanie interrupted him. “Why don’t you flip through that and I’ll keep looking for the psych report.”
“What was the fight about?”
Spence laughed. “Why I call you Melanie and Barnes by his last name. I’m a misogynist now.”
“Did you explain he doesn’t like his name?”
“Mean uncle and all.”
“How long ‘til she delivers?”
“Too long.” Spence planted his face in his hands and rubbed trying to reset his emotional barometer. A couple of deep breaths and he was ready to work. He flipped pages, Melanie flipped pages. The race was on for who would hit pay dirt first. “Room 319.” Spence flicked the page. “Curt lives in room 319. The guard told Tom the boys from room 319 were bird watching when he was on his rounds. I’m guessing they were trying to catch their buddy getting a little something something.”
Melanie let out an annoyed puff of air. “I hate to lose. That’s a damn good reason to though.”
“We need to talk to those boys. And Matt is going to make us get a warrant.” Spence started typing into the warrant request form.