The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Forty Two
Spence stood in observation with Melanie. Casey Jackson sat at the wooden table on the other side of the glass, his head in his hands, his elbows on the table. His night was about to get much worse.
“We’re down to 15 hours before she flies,” said Melanie.
“No pressure.” Spence laughed.
“Um, no, actually the opposite. Lots of pressure. Get in there and break him.”
Spence grabbed the folder he’d prepared, a yellow lined notepad, and a pencil with wobbly lead then headed on in to interrogation. He sighed loudly. He kicked the chair away from the table and plopped in it. He gave Casey an exhausted look, before he picked up the folder and pretended to read from the blank pages inside. He didn’t speak for several minutes, letting the tension build as he “read” up on Casey. Finally, he closed the folder and slapped it down on the table.
“You’ve got yourself in quite a pickle.” He didn’t leave Casey an opportunity to speak. “Alright. Your name is Casey Jackson, yes?”
With a slow nod, Casey agreed.
Spence started to write down Casey Jackson on his yellow notepad, pressing hard enough to break the wobbly tip. “Ugh. Seriously. I can not catch a break today. First I have to chase you. I slip and fall on that damn wet floor. Then I got to walk around looking like I pissed myself. Get called back in here at midnight to interview you. And now my pencil breaks.” He broke the pencil in half, slapped the pieces down on the notepad and sighed.
“Can we make this easy, kid? It’s been a long ass day. Tell me why you ran.”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know why you ran from the cops.” Spence kept his tone flat.
“You don’t know why you ran but you ran so far and so fast you ran out of gas halfway to the summit.”
Spence took a beat in his act. The kid wasn’t defiant. He wasn’t copping attitude. He looked resigned.
“What made you think we were even looking for you?”
“Do you know what department I work for?”
Casey shook his head.
“Homicide. Did you kill anyone?”
“I don’t know.”
This took Spence by surprise. “You don’t know if you killed anyone?”
“I might be a what do you call it, accessory.”
“You might be. How do you figure that?”
Casey shook his head.
Time to switch gears. “Everyone I talked to about you, told me what a good kid you are. Your boss, your next door neighbor.”
“You went to my house?”
“Then you know half the story already.”
“Can you tell me the other half?” Spence asked kindly.
“If I talk to you, can I go home?”
“I suppose that depends on what you tell me. If you don’t talk to me, you won’t be going home.”
“I kind of really need to go home. I walk Mrs. Semple’s dog for her every morning. He’s a pit bull. He has a lot of energy. That’s how she fell last year and why I started walking him for her. I don’t want her to get hurt if I’m not there to walk Brutus in the morning.”
Spence didn’t know what to say. He’d never grilled a suspect like this before. The kid wasn’t worried about getting arrested or charges or jail time. He was worried about not walking the dog. “I’ll make you a deal. You tell me what’s going on, why you ran from us? And I’ll walk Brutus in the morning.”
Casey stared at him. “Are you the kind of man who tells lies?”
He startled Spence. “I am. I wish I wasn’t. I promise I am not lying about walking Brutus though. You tell me what time and I will be there.”
“I usually walk him around 6:30, you know before school.”
“I can do that. I will do that.”
Casey stared at Spence for a long minute. “A few weeks ago this woman comes up to me in the parking lot of the Rusty Porpoise. I was on my break. Smoking a cigarette. I know it’s a bad habit. Mrs. Semple gives me hard time about it.”
“She asks what I do at the restaurant. I tell her I wash dishes. She wants to know how much I make an hour washing dishes. Eleven dollars.”
“She opens her purse, this big leather thing, and pulls out five hundred dollars. She asks if I want to make double that. At first I’m thinking hell no. It’s got to be illegal if she’s offering cash to strangers in a parking lot.”
Spence had to agree with the kid.
“Anyway, I guess she saw my suspicion because she pulls out five hundred more. I’ll double it, she says. Two grand. That’s a lot of money. I ask her what I have to do for it. Play mailman. Mailman. I didn’t know what to think about that. But she explained it. Someone would bring me a package at work at the back door on a specific night. I would give them fifty bucks. Then I would hold the package until she picked it up the next night. She’d give me the other grand then.”
“It sounded too good to be that simple. Also too good to turn down, you know. I agreed and she asks me about the days I work. Says the delivery will be on the fifth, hands me the grand cash and walks away.”
“That was it. On the fifth a kid knocked on the back door. I gave him fifty, he gave me an envelope. The next night the woman came back. I gave her the envelope and she gave me ten more hundred dollar bills.”
“When you showed up today I thought maybe she’s done something bad with whatever was in the envelope and I was in trouble for it, too. I didn’t even spend the money.”
Spence stared at the kid for a minute. “Could you pick the woman out of a photo array?”
“I guess so. I saw her in pretty good light when she picked up the envelope.”
“Give me a minute,” Spence said.
“I can’t really go anywhere.”
Spence chuckled and bolted from the room.
Melanie met him in the hall. “I know, I know. Get a photo array.”
“No. I’ll get the photos. You get the district attorney on call on the line and them that we have a witness that can tie Arlene Paulson to the purchase of Rohypnol. Tell her they won’t cooperate without full immunity. Make sure you stress Arlene is leaving the country in less than fourteen hours.”
Melanie stopped walking. “What are you doing, Spence?”
“He’s gonna do time and he’s already paid a harsh price.”
“The dead mommy?”
“The dead mommy, the missing dad. He’s working full time, going to school, and still making time to walk his neighbor’s dog. And he isn’t smart enough to work this for himself. We’re gonna do it for him.”
“Yeah. I’m in,” said Melanie as she grabbed the nearest desk phone.