The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty Five
“This is an eleven page report. Three hours to find the damn thing, three hours to read it, and three dead trees to print it,” snarked Melanie.
“Maybe you could skip to the interesting highlights while I drive,” Spence suggested as he pulled out of the lot.
Melanie nodded. “That I can do.” She ripped the report from its staple and handed half the pages back to Barnes.
They skimmed as Spence drove out to Whispering Evergreen Academy to interview the boys in room 319 about their late night bird watching.
“The shrink is kind of full of herself. Listen to this, ‘I could totally write a paper on the narcissistic personality tendencies of the rich in enclave communities based on these people.’” Melanie laughed.
“I’m sure she could. Not useful though.”
“’Definite aggressive personality types. A number of passive ones.’ I hope all her comments aren’t this general.”
“Are you two sharing the stuff most likely to irritate me?” asked Spence.
“I’m happy to drive and you can read. The report is full of useless generalizations and fifty-cent words,” Melanie insisted.
Spence laid on the horn a little too long to goose the driver in front of them to move over to the slow lane.
“Don’t want to read, got it,” said Melanie.
Taking two or three deep breaths, Spence asked, “At any point, does she suggest who might have killed Paulson, psychologically speaking?”
Melanie flipped a few pages. Then flipped back to the start and read closer.
From the backseat Barnes said, “I got that part. ‘I can see most of them as a killer under the right circumstances.’ That applies to everybody. Then she lists circumstances she can see each person killing for.”
“Does she ever get to these specific circumstances?” Spence’s tone implied Barnes should know better.
“Blah, blah, blah, noblesse oblige, blah, blah, blah, in a fit of rage, blah, blah, blah, ah. Yeah. Roger.”
“She says all the decisions Roger and Paulson made without the rest of the board’s knowledge suggests they were in cahoots. She actually uses the word cahoots.” Barnes gave the word a little extra hoot.
“I still don’t think Roger has the balls,” Spence replied turning off the valley highway.
“He doesn’t,” Melanie agreed.
“Guess that makes this report a waste of time.”
Melanie folded the pages and stuffed them between her seat and the center console for safekeeping. “I don’t know, sometimes it can be good to have a checkpoint that you didn’t miss anything.”
“Consider us checked,” Spence replied. “Because we have a warrant and Matt can’t object, I want to split the boys up when we interview them.”
“Good idea,” said Melanie.
“At least the reporters seem to have moved on.” Spence commented as he rolled down his window at the gate. “Detective Thomas, Sheriff’s Office.”
The guard checked his clipboard. “Are you expected?”
“Then you’ll need to make an appointment with Doctor Wallsgraf.”
“Today I have a golden ticket.” Spence held up the warrant. “Open the gate or I will open it for you.”
“Yes, sir.” The guard nodded and pushed a button.
“That worked. Let’s see how it does at the door,” Melanie said with a laugh.
“Oh ye of little faith.”
“I have faith in the justice system,” she replied. After a long questioning eye from Spence she continued, “I don’t have faith in man’s ability to follow the rules though.”
Spence laughed with a half nod. “Shall we?”
The gate guard had clearly called the headmaster who stood on the front steps, no Matt this time however.
“Doctor Wallsgraf, we are here to interview the students in room 319 and yes, I have a warrant.” Spence extended a copy of the warrant.
The headmaster’s hand shook as he reached for it. “Those boys are in class now.”
“Matt Sugden, our General Counsel, isn’t here though.”
“You are welcome to contact a lawyer, if you please, but we are under no obligation to wait for his arrival before executing the valid, signed warrant you have in your hand. You can provide a location for us to speak to the material witnesses listed or we can locate them and transport them to our offices.” Spence always thought waiting for a warrant to come through sucked. Serving one though, pure joy.
Without reading the warrant the headmaster gestured to the open door, “Do come in.” He followed behind the detectives. When Spence glanced back, he was rubbing the creases of the paper packet between his hands.
What was the headmaster excessively nervous about? Spence slipped out his phone and texted Melanie. See what you can get out of the doc.
“Do you wish to speak to Mr. Anderson again?”
The headmaster nodded for an extended period of time without moving beyond the entry hall.
“Doctor Wallsgraf?” Spence prompted him.
“Sorry. I’m thinking out the best way to do this.”
“Detective Witlow will escort you to collect the boys. Detective Barnes will use this room here.” Spence opened the door on to the sitting room. “Do you have another location I can use?”
The headmaster nodded. “Duplicate room on the other side of the foyer.”
Spence nodded. “Sounds like we have a plan. Off you go.”
Melanie lightly placed her hand on the headmaster’s back to guide him into moving forward. “Are they all in the same class right now?” Her tone implied baby ducks needed rounding up.
“I’ll need to go to my office to check their schedules.”
“Let’s do that then.”
Spence caught Barnes eye and he snort-laughed. Barnes made a rocking motion with his crossed arms. Melanie would mommy the dirt out of the headmaster if anyone could.
Spence told himself it would be a few minutes. He should enjoy the peace and quiet, the momentary break. The boys might say something that would have them off and running again. And that was the rub. The anticipation kept him pacing.
“Detective Thomas. And you’re Parker?”
“That’s what the header said.”
“You share room 319 with Curt Anderson and Billy Singh.”
“Do you know what this is about?”
“Were you bird watching last Thursday night?” Spence emphasized the word bird.
“I’m not sure what that means. Can you explain kinda?” Spence made a note to himself to raise his child to speak to authority figures with a little respect.
Parker sighed heavily. “Dude, it was nothing.”
“Look kid. I am not one of your dudes. I am a detective and if you don’t talk to me here, I will be forced to take you downtown for impeding a homicide investigation.”
“You can’t arrest me. My dad’s a lawyer.”
“My warrant lists you as a material witness. Do you know what that means?”
“Do I care?”
“A judge has decided you have knowledge of this crime.” Spence was bending the definition a little to suit his needs. With his attitude problem, the kid deserved to be scared. “If you don’t share said knowledge, I can take you downtown.” Spence hadn’t said he would arrest the kid, he couldn’t actually do it. He hoped he had implied enough.
“Whatever. Yeah, we were bird watching.”
“See how easy this can be?” Spence smiled through gritted teeth. “What sort of birds were you watching for at eleven at night?”
“Hot birds.” Parker laughed.
“Can you elaborate?”
“Come on man. You know this. You talked to Curt. He and Stacy were going out to have a little fun. Billy and I decided we’d try for a little look see.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere. When did you go to the window?”
“Which window?” Parker laughed. “Curt didn’t exactly say where he was taking her. We kind of had to check a lot of windows.”
“Did you look out over the pool at any point?”
“Yeah. The study rooms on every floor look out over the pool deck.”
“Did you see anything? Anyone?”
“I don’t mean Stacy. I mean absolutely anything.”
“Yeah man, I got you. There was no one. Dead zone out there.”
Spence sighed. “Thank you for your cooperation. You may go back to class.”
Spence opened the lounge door for Parker and saw Curt sitting on the stairs waiting. He looked angry. “Come on in, Curt.”