The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty Seven
Spence rushed them out the door to the privacy of their car.
“What are you two so amped about?” asked Melanie as soon as the door closed.
Spence started the car. “Go ahead Barnes, this is all you.”
“One of the bird watching idiots spotted a person with a wheelbarrow that night.”
“Did he know who it was?”
“No details. A wheelbarrow,” Barnes emphasized.
“I get it. Arlene and her trip to DIY. If he didn’t actually see her, we don’t have anything we can use,” Melanie said, raining on their parade.
“Can’t we even have a moment of joy before you stomp on us?”
“I think you did. Move on to how we’re going to arrest her,” said Melanie.
Barnes deflated. “How are we going to arrest her?”
“Magic?” Spence quipped. “We’ll go back to the office. We’ll step it through. Maybe we don’t have enough. Maybe we do.”
As he drove, Spence kept hearing Tess in his head, “when you’re in a tight spot, you use your best players.” Without Tom the balance was off. Could he push his luck with the lieu and ask again to have Tom taken off the bench to finish this case? Or was it better to ask for forgiveness than permission? He hadn’t reached a decision by the time they returned to the squad room.
“Let’s take it step by step. Go back over everything involved in this case. Photographs, reports, evidence logs, interview notes. We’re looking for anything we can go further on. For anything that might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Anything we didn’t pursue immediately because something hotter came along.”
Melanie and Barnes agreed. All three allowed the case to absorb them. They worked the rest of the afternoon, reading and sorting.
Tess texted Spence around six. Did you go see Tom yet?
Spence sighed. Permission or forgiveness? He thumbed a quick text to Tom. You free?
The reply came in less than a minute. No job, friends still on the job, no girl because she caused the no job situation. What do you think I’m doing all day?
Spence laughed. Waiting for me to text you. Roadhouse?
On my way.
“I have to run guys,” Spence announced.
“Tess?” Melanie asked.
Spence nodded the affirmative. His gut gave a twist. Lying to the team. Wasn’t that how Tom got into hot water?
“Give her my love,” Melanie replied before turning back to her computer.
“Sure.” Spence grabbed his coat and got to getting before his conscience got the best of him. He hit the stairs two at a time. With commute traffic he was looking at an hour plus to get out to the restaurant, his motorcycle could cut that down a little. It all depended on how much lane splitting he was in the mood to risk.
Tiffy greeted Spence cheerfully, “Back again and with my friend Tom.”
Spence nodded. He was too eager to talk things out with Tom to get too chatty with anyone else.
She read his mood and gestured to the back. Spence caught sight of Tom at the pool table and moved directly to him. Tossing off his jacket, he grabbed a cue stick from the wall. Tom was busy racking the balls for a game of nine ball. “Your break.”
Spence nodded and did as directed sinking the seven ball. As he moved around the table to follow the cue ball, he spoke, “I have a problem.”
“You make it too easy,” Tom quipped.
“It’s serious my friend.”
“Foul.” Tom kept one eye on the table.
“It’s almost touching the rail.”
“Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”
Spence tossed his free hand up in a give gesture. “The case, it’s too clean. We’re pretty sure we know who did it but we have nothing to arrest her on. We don’t even have anything to press her on.”
“No one is that good,” Tom responded, sinking the one ball.
“Can you stand to hear about it?”
Spence recapped the investigation as they continued to play.
“This was meant to look like Dismember. And I think as a back up, she put the body at the Academy to tie it to them, if we saw through the serial killer facade. We have one dead accountant, who used his position to embezzle funds to the tune of millions to fund his new life with a much younger mistress.”
Tom interrupted, “The nurse, right?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
“She dropped the cream jug when you mentioned his name.”
“That’s one hell of a jump.”
“I’ve had a lot of time to think lately.” Tom shrugged and reracked the balls.
“Harold told his wife he was leaving her. She booked a plane ticket to the Caymans.”
“Is that where the money is? The embezzled money?” Tom asked.
“We’re still waiting on that. Takes forever to get these banks to cooperate.”
“That’s why people stash money in places like the Caymans and Switzerland though, because it is hard to get information on the accounts.” Tom lined up his break and stroked the cue ball.
“That said, we can’t prove the money is there. If we can’t prove the money is there then we can’t prove she’s going there to collect.”
“When’s her flight?”
“Friday night,” Spence took a drink of his beer.
“No minute like the last minute, eh?”
“I know, quit effing wasting them. She books a flight. She buys a wheelbarrow and supplies to disguise it later. Kills the man and launches her cover up. Moving him to the school, where she was seen with the wheelbarrow.”
Tom held up a hand.
Spence nodded. “Yeah, she was seen. Not well enough to be identified.”
“You can’t catch a break on this one.”
“Tess says my mojo is off because I need my work wife,” Spence said with a laugh.
“Smart woman, your wife-wife,” Tom joked back.
“I’ll be sure to tell her. Anyway, Harold’s wife cuts off his bits, dumps him in the pool, tosses the shrimp on the barbee. Goes back home, sands down the wheelbarrow, fills it with dirt, and a plants a fern.”
“You’re kidding me. She turned her body disposal tool into a planter?”
“Who caught that? Melanie, right?”
“Tess might have helped a little,” Spence mumbled.
Tom laughed. “Substituting the wife-wife for the work-wife? Just don’t try the reverse.”
“No worries there man, I’ve tasted your cooking.”
Tom opened his mouth to comment something less appropriate but changed his mind as Tiffy delivered burgers and another round of beers.