The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty Nine
By the time he drove back the building was in that golden period between when the day shift guys have gone home and before the night shift insanity kicks in. The building was almost quiet, or as close to quiet as it ever got. He badged in through the front desk and ran the stairs up to the third floor. The narco bullpen was deserted. A steaming cup of coffee rested on Detective Hooper Amudenson’s desk. Spence pulled up a chair and sat down to wait.
Hooper returned a short time later, munching on a snack. “Hey man, how’s it going?”
“It’s good, but it would be better if you had something for me?”
“Just came from your office. I heard there were blueberry muffins.” He held one up.
Spence nodded. “Wife brought them in.”
“Nice. I’ll get down to business. If you’re sure your suspect wouldn’t have gone urban for her material it cuts your list way down. There are only a couple of suburban end user suppliers.” Hooper made a few clicks on his computer. “This is Marcus Grady. He runs a crew of little shitheads that supply all the local raves and house parties.”
“Seems unlikely. This woman doesn’t have kids.”
“Another possibility then is Sweet Sarah Snow.”
Hooper laughed. “They call her that. Her real name is Sarah Barker. She’s currently supplying all the boys and girls at several local area high schools. And I do mean supplying. Word is Sweet Sarah can get you anything you want from drugs, to tests, to under age prostitutes.”
“A one woman supermarket of illegal products.”
“I’d think twice about the woman moniker. Check the date of birth on that one.”
“February 28, 2002. She’s 16 years old. Now I’ve seen everything.”
“Yep. Coming up on her 17th birthday in a few months. Rumor also has it she’s a shoo-in for early admissions to MIT.”
Spence laughed. “This is a joke, right? You’re winding me up.”
“Wish I was. She runs her whole operation online. Underground website. Once you access it, you can order up anything you like delivered to your door. She’s as good as it gets, two days or less.”
“How have you not shut her down?”
“We’re working on a little more information. Want to see who her suppliers are, where she gets her materials.”
“Tell me you are wiretapping her site.”
“I am wiretapping her site.” Hooper said straight.
“Don’t fuck with me.” Spence was nearly jumping out of his skin.
“I’m not,” he replied with a smile.
“How many people bought roofies or GHB since October first?”
“Do you know how many people you are talking about?” Hooper sounded highly disgruntled.
Spence shrugged. “Sooner you bring it up the sooner I’ll know how many people.”
He groaned and dove into his keyboard. “All orders from October first to when? When was the murder?”
“Last Thursday night.”
“I don’t have an entry for that. I need a date. Where’s my damn calendar?” He fussed a bit on the desk and then found it. “Okay. November 17th.” He clicked enter and sat back. “I’m warning you, this is going to be a huge list. Halloween is a damn party day.”
It took only a few minutes to get the results. “We’re looking at 92 orders for GHB or roofies, using a keyword search. I assume we can exclude some of these orders based on other criteria.”
“Like what? What can you sort on?”
“Other materials ordered? I assume your killer won’t be looking for the answers to the chem midterm.”
Spence laughed. “Touche. Maybe also filter for people who are looking for large quantities, over say twenty doses, and people ordering other drugs as well.”
Hooper nodded and continued to click and sort, sort and click. “We’re down to 11 orders in the month-and-a-half before the murder.”
“They don’t use their actual names, I’m sure.” Spence paused while his brain turned. “What about delivery addresses?”
He nodded. “Smart. I think it would be easiest at this point to look at the transcript of each order, narrow them down that way.”
“Let’s do it.”
Hooper read from the screen. “Order number one was for a double order of liquid GHB on October 15th for delivery to locker 219, Shadow Valley High.” His voice lost all interest at the end.
“Yeah. That’s not it.”
Hooper read on. “Order number two was for five ounces of GHB, ordered on the 11th of October, delivery to the coffee drive through at Mountain Springs Road and 195th Avenue NE.”
“That could be a possibility, I guess.”
“Alright, I flagged that one. Next is a half an ounce, ordered on the 30th for delivery to the high school library during fifth period.” Hooper shook his head. “Seriously. We need to bust this girl. I hope that was a student accepting delivery.”
“Fifth period pretty much guarantees it was a student. Keep going.”
“Next, two ounces, ordered on the seventh of October, for delivery to the Mountain Spring Country Club on the tenth. It’s very specific about leaving the drugs in the BBQ on the side patio.”
“That is a good possibility. The whole BBQ connection. I’ll pull the club surveillance for the tenth, see who picked up the package.”
“Next one is for two ounces, man that’s a popular amount, delivery to a locker at the high school again.”
“Keep going.” Spence pulled out his cell phone and texted Melanie. Are you in the office? Can you contact the Mountain Springs Country Club and see if they will share their security video without a warrant for October 10th, specifically who picked up a package from the BBQ on the side patio.
“Next order, three ounces, for delivery on the 30th of October to locker 514 at the junior high.”
“You have got to pull this girl in and take her out of business.”
“We will, we will. Next order, three ounces, for delivery on the 20th of October at the country club again. This one to be hidden in the women’s locker room in locker 51. It includes the combination to the locker and says cash payment will be in the locker.”
“Sweet Sarah takes COD?”
“Aww, such a kind hearted entrepreneur.” Spence texted Witlow again. Need footage from the country club for the 20th as well, specifically women’s locker room.
Melanie responded almost immediately this time. Where are you? You better not be snogging Tess as you give orders.
In the Narco bull pen. Working with Hooper. Arlene Paulson had to get the roofies somewhere, Spence responded via text.
Was this Tess’s idea? Your wife is flipping awesome, Melanie texted back.
In a round about way it was her idea, Spence responded via text. Tess told him to talk to Tom, it was her good idea that produced the results. To Hooper he nodded. “Keep going.”
“Order for delivery on the second of October of five ounces to the school library during seventh period this time.”
Spence snorted and shook his head. “Keep going.”
“An order of three ounces for delivery to an address this time.”
This peaked Spence’s interest. Arlene wouldn’t be that stupid would she?
“On the twenty sixth of October. The notes on this one.” Hooper shook his head. “‘Please don’t come by until after eight thirty when I should be able to have the kids I am babysitting in bed and asleep, the parents never come home until after midnight so it will be cool.’”
“Make a note of that one. You need to let those parents know what their sitter is up to.”
“Right, cause that wouldn’t tip off Sweet Sarah too much.”
“After you bust Sweet Sarah, you can let the parents know.”
“I hear rumors from the upstairs folks that they’re planning on running a full breakdown in the paper, outing every kid they can name.”
“They’ll never do it.” Spence shook his head. Publicity was anathema to brass unless it was positive publicity. Busting a minor running drugs and prostitution in local high schools would not be positive publicity, no matter how you spun it.
“Two more orders for delivery to lockers at the high school and one to the junior high again. Finally, one more for delivery on the fifth of November to the Rusty Porpoise.”
“That dive bar in Shadow Valley?” asked Spence.
“Yup. Says deliver to the back door of the Rusty Porpoise after six on the fifth of the November.”
Spence pulled out his phone and texted Melanie again. Can you reach out to the Rusty Porpoise and find out who was working back of house on 5 of November? Again, no warrant.
“Anything more I can do for you?” Hooper asked.
“Is there anyone else selling in the area?”
“Not really. Not on a large enough scale to be on our radar. Which means probably not on a large enough scale for your suburban housewife to know about them.”
“Thanks man. I’ll give you an honorable mention if we manage to catch this woman.” Spence clapped Hooper on the arm. His phone buzzed and he pulled it back out to read a text from Melanie. Left message at country club for manager. Front desk says not in until morning. Did you say the Rusty Porpoise?
I’ll go there in person.
Want backup? still upstairs.
Let’s do it.
Spence hightailed it back down the stairs.