Unlikely Justice

Detective Superintendent Ian Cudney lowered his bulky frame into his deck chair and slipped his can of cold Molson Canadian into a foam cozy. He sighed as he propped his pale, bare legs on a stool and gazed with satisfaction at his freshly mowed back lawn. His wife, Lois, slid back the screen door and poked her head out. “Ian, take it easy on that beer or you’ll be asleep before the second inning. Judy called and they’ll be here in about half an hour.”

Cudney stood 6’4” in his black dress socks and tipped the scales at an easy 250. He shuffled stooped over and, more than anything, resembled a bear shambling through the offices of the London police force. Behind his back they called him Columbo for his gentle style of interrogation, although he could be a scary bastard when the situation warranted.

“Alright,” he growled. Judy, their only daughter, was visiting for a Sunday barbecue. She and her husband, Craig, would bring along their two children, Ian and Lois’ only grandchildren.  Conner, the oldest at eight, planned to watch the Blue Jays game on TV with grandpa.

Ian took a satisfying pull on his beer when the phone rang inside. ‘Uh oh,’ thought Cudney. Sure enough, moments later Lois stepped on the porch and handed him the phone and said with a frown, “It’s the duty officer. Tell them to send someone else.”

Ian grabbed the phone. “This is Cudney!” he shouted.

“No need to scream, Ian. We have a perfectly good connection,” replied Assistant Chief Halstrom.

“Oh, sorry, Chief. Didn’t know it was you. What’s up?”

“I know it’s Sunday and all, Ian, but they just discovered a body over in Springbank Park and I want you on this case.”

“Can’t someone else handle it? I can get Traci on it. I know she’s home this weekend.”

“Get her out there, too. This is a clear homicide and it’s one of your favorite pedophiles. The newsies are going to be all over it and it’s going to be political.”

“All right, Boss. I’ll get a hold of Traci and beat feet out there. Springbank Park…. That’s off Commissioners Road, right?”

“Yeah. Call me on my mobile when you get a look and don’t let anyone make a statement to the press.”

“Got it.” He was about to dial Traci’s number when he noticed Lois standing there with her hands on her hips and a big frown on her face. “Got a murder and it looks to be sensitive. The Chief insist I’m on it. I gotta go.”

Lois shrugged with resignation, “Well, at least change out of those ridiculous shorts. If anyone gets a picture of you in those, it will be on the front page of every paper in Ontario.” Cudney glanced down at his blue, pink and white checked Bermuda shorts and replied, “I don’t know. I think these are quite becoming.”

“Yeah, and the black socks with the white runners are a nice touch.”

Detective Traci Whitequill slept peacefully with the hot afternoon sun sneaking through a
gap in the drawn curtains and doing battle with her aging air conditioner. Her shining black hair spilled over her pillow and her slender arm draped over the broad bare chest of her equally relaxed “friend” Pete Gerard.

Traci’s phone began to vibrate and ring like an old alarm clock on the coffee table in the adjacent living room. She groaned and threw back the sheet and headed for the phone. Pete rose on one elbow and admired her naked ass as she strode across the carpet. She glared at the screen and then answered the phone with a crisp, “Whitequill.”

“Yeah, Traci, this is Ian.”

“Hey, Ian.”

“Murder over at Springbank Park. It’s gonna be a big deal with the newsies and Chief insists it’s you and me, girl.”

“I’m without wheels, Ian. My car’s in the shop for a few days.”

“Have Gerard give you a ride. He’s there, right?”

After an awkward pause, “Ah, yeah,” she admitted.

“OK, soon as you can make it.”

She set the phone on the table and looked up at Pete who stared at her with a smile. “Up and at ‘em cowboy. I need a ride.”

Pete smiled at her. “You got a great ass, Whitequill. Are you sure you’re an Oneida? Looks like an Irish ass to me.” She stooped and grabbed her running shoe and flung it at his head. He ducked and it sailed harmlessly overhead.

“Get your hairy butt out of bed and get dressed. I got a murder to solve and I need a ride.” Pete swung his legs to the floor and grabbed his jeans.

Pete glanced over at Traci while they maneuvered their way through the downtown London traffic. He could not get used to her stunning beauty or that she would be interested in him, a beat up spec ops vet twelve years her senior. The blood of her First Nations ancestry gave her an exotic look that only enhanced her beauty.

Feeling his gaze she turned and said, “It’s not an Irishman who can take credit for my ass; my great-grandma married a Frenchman.”

“Ah.” Pete replied. “I should have known by the way you wiggle that thing that it was French. That and the small boobs. Still Celt, though.” Traci glared at him and then gave him a sharp punch to the shoulder.

He slalomed his five year old F-150 up the narrow park lane until stopped by a uniformed London cop. The officer peered in the window and spotted Traci in the passenger seat.

“Hey Traci. Ian said you were coming.” He pointed, “You can park over there. Follow that hiking trail until you see a yellow tape tied to a branch. Take a right. The body’s back in the bush about 20 meters.”

Pete followed Traci down the trail despite her assurances that Ian would be pissed. He said, “I was rudely awakened from a nap and conscripted to drive out here, at least I should see what all this is about.”

Traci called out to Ian when they started into the brush off the trail. She wanted to make sure not to trample evidence at the crime scene, but Ian assured them that the people that found the body had already made a mess of it. As they carefully approached the crime scene, Ian looked up and frowned at Pete. “You’re not supposed to be here.” Ian was willing to cut Pete some slack for he was a genuine hero in the military as a member of the JTF2, the Canadian equivalent of the US Delta or Navy SEALs. Also, he had taken out a disturbed young man who was committing mass murder, shooting up Christmas shoppers at a crowded mall last year.  Pete’s role in killing the shooter was not widely known.

Pete just shrugged and looked down at the body. It was pretty clear that the victim had been bashed in the back of the head. A large pool of blood had gathered on the leaves and was now attracting a swarm of blue bottle flies. The victim lay on his back and his trousers and undershorts were pulled down exposing his wrinkled genitals. He had a pair of high powered binoculars hung around his neck.

Traci peered through the trees and brush and found herself looking at a school with the playing fields between the woods and the school. Ian followed her gaze and remarked, “Middle school. I’m guessing he was spying on 11 and 12 year olds and masturbating while he did it.”

“Spanking the ol’ monkey. Looks like he’s been here before,” offered Pete as he pointed to several wads of discarded tissues in the nearby bushes.

Traci wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Who is this asshole and how did anyone find this body tucked back here in the bushes?”

“We received an anonymous tip is what I was told on my way over here. His name is Joseph Rafferty, age 46. He has multiple pedophile convictions. Been in and out of prison numerous times and was released three months ago.”

Traci stared at Ian. “You know this guy?”

“I put him away five years ago for molesting at least seven minors between the ages of five and eleven, although there were probably more.”

“Well,” Pete observed, “Looks like somebody decided to fix his problem for good.” Ian gave him a sharp look and Pete responded, “Hey, don’t look at me. I’ve got an airtight alibi.”

With little more Traci could do at the scene, she and Pete headed back to Pete’s truck leaving Ian to deal with the media. As they approached the parking lot they could see that the TV people had been kept well back but a few of the print media folks had slipped through. A skinny bottle blond with a skin tight outfit, unnaturally white teeth and a poised notepad stepped forward blocking their way. Aggressive, and clearly looking for a career move up from the weekly “Londoner”. Noticing Traci’s badge she tried to engage her with questions and received a terse, “No comment” for her efforts.

Spotting Pete in his casual clothes she slid in front of him, thrust out her augmented chest and insisted, “Who are you?” Pete ignored her and brushed past. The reporter hurried after him and stepped into his path again, repeating the question. Exasperated, Pete responded, “P.W. Reese.” Traci glared at him in alarm.

“And, what do you do for the London Police, Mr. Reese?”

“I’m Detective Whitequill’s chauffeur.”

The reporter hurried along beside them as Traci tried to tow Pete to the F-150. “And why, Mr. Reese, does a detective require a chauffeur?”

Traci was now officially panicked as Pete casually responded, “It’s part of the First Nations Assistance Programme.”

In the truck at last Traci was furious. “You asshole! What are you doing?!”

“Ah, don’t worry. I was just pulling her chain. No editor would be stupid enough to publish that bilge.” Pete, as it turned out, was mistaken about that.

Ian sat at his desk with a newspaper open in front of him, beet red and furious. He growled, took a deep breath and rubbed the stubble on his chin. Traci sat on a chair in front of him with her hands in her lap like a school girl caught cheating on an exam. Ian’s cursing and raging had run its course with an impressive string of expletives. Finally he said, “The editor of the ‘Londoner” was madder than a scalded bobcat. I’m not sure if he was more pissed at us or his dumb reporter for publishing that phony story without his approval. Every print journalist and TV anchor in town has phoned me wondering about the mythical ‘First Nations Assistance Programme’. God, that poor reporter is going to be writing for her college newspaper again.” Cudney chuckled and then, trying to stifle a laugh, broke into a hearty belly laugh. They laughed until the tears ran down their cheeks. Ian choked, “Tell that damn Gerard to keep his big mouth shut! Jesus, Pee Wee Reese!” He burst into laughter again. “Shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s!”

After they calmed down, Cudney observed, “It seems pretty likely that whoever bashed Rafferty is a friend or relative of one of his many victims. First thing Monday get that researcher, Mary, working on compiling a list. You and the new guy, Acting Detective Kelly, can start interviewing them and see if we can come up with some suspects…somebody with enough hatred for the guy to be willing to bash his head in.”

“That could be most of the parents of the victims,” observed Traci.

“True, but they would also have to be capable of following him out there and actually committing the act. By tomorrow we should have the autopsy report and anything the crime scene people come up with. When we get an idea of the time of death I can go over to the school and see what was happening at the school that turned Mr. Rafferty on.”

Pete sat at a table in the Tim Horton’s across from the police building sipping an iced tea and reading the sports section of the Sunday paper. When Traci emerged from the station, he dropped some cash on the table and joined her at his pickup. “All done for the day?”

“Yeah.  Not much more can be done until we get the coroner’s report and compile a list of all Rafferty’s victims.”

“Good. I need a shower and something to eat.”

Ian hung up the phone as Traci walked into his office at 10:00 the next morning. She dropped a sheaf of paper on his desk and said, “Did you know that 435 sexual offenders live in and around London, Ontario?”

“Is this all of them?” he asked, thumbing through the list.

“No. This is just the ones convicted of local pedophile offenses and free and living in the community. I just used the Ontario Sex Offender Registry since the public can’t see the private info on the RCMP’s national registry.”

“I remember the battle back in 2000 over Christopher’s Law. Six years of legal bullshit…. All the way up to the Supreme Court to get the right for the public to see the registry.”

“Yeah, we studied that in criminal justice class. Lots of heated debate. Seems like the privacy folks who opposed it have a point; we have a dead pedophile on our hands. Anyway,” she continued, “Mary found seventeen released S/Os living locally. The families who were victims of the S/Os are on the second set of sheets. Mary cross referenced the names with the DL and tax database for the current addresses and phone numbers.”

“Good work. Tell Mary I appreciate it.” Ian rumbled. “I just got off the phone with the principal of the school. He’s emailing me a schedule of who is using the playing fields during the weekends.”

“Ah, I forgot to mention that the preliminary time of death has been set at 1:00 pm.” Ian turned to his computer to check his email. “Yep, here it is. 12:30 to 2:00, junior girls field hockey. Bunch of little girls running around in short skirts. Enough to keep Rafferty’s attention while somebody snuck up behind him with a baseball bat.”

“Ah jeez, Ian. I hate this case already and we just started.”

“That’s why you’re getting the big bucks, Traci. Now get Kelly off his ass and start interviewing the families. I want alibis for Sunday and you guys make a judgement as to the ability and motivation to do it. Rank them zero to five. Zero is no chance in Hell. Five is guilty as sin.”

“Got it, boss.” She turned and marched out.

Cudney shook his head. He had been against making Traci a detective because he thought she was hired because of her looks or was a minority hire. She had slowly brought him around though. She was smart, hard working, and had unusual insight into human nature for someone so young. He could not understand, however, what the Hell she was doing with that nut, Pete Gerard.

He had a thought and grabbed the phone. When answered, he asked, “Mary, is there any way to know who might have accessed the OSOR? I mean, is there any record of that?”

“Hmmm. I don’t know about that, Ian, but I do know a guy over at Ontario Corrections in their computer section. He probably knows.”

“Call him. Get back to me.” He dropped the phone in the cradle.

Traci and Kelly organized the list of families by geography to avoid running back and forth across the city. John Kelly had made Acting Detective only three months previously. He was slender and stood just under 6 feet tall. Dark haired and quite handsome, the rumor that had followed him from the uniformed force was that he was hung like a donkey. Traci felt certain that he was gay. Heterosexual men behaved in a certain way around Traci. John Kelly was polite and displayed friendly humor around her, but was decidedly uninterested in her charms.

The first five people they interviewed so far all seemed to have good alibis for Sunday afternoon.  A minimal amount of follow-up would prove them out. Mary had thoughtfully included a short description of the crime and while individually tragic and traumatic for the victims, did not seem sufficient for a brutal murder in retribution. Traci had rated them all a “one”.

The next family on the list, the Kalcowskis, looked more serious. Ten year old Linsey Kalcowski had been grabbed off the street and thrown into a van. She had been vaginally and anally raped before being dumped at a suburban mall. Although Joseph Rafferty was the prime suspect, they did not have enough evidence to convict him. Linsey had been too traumatized to identify Rafferty, and there was no forensic evidence to link him to the crime.

Mary had added a hand written note at the bottom of the Kalcowski’s info sheet: “I added this family because two years after this incident, Linsey hung herself in her closet. Her father found her and has been known to have threatened Rafferty.

With Traci in the passenger seat, John Kelly pulled his battered unmarked police cruiser to the curb in front of a forty year old clapboard home in sad need of a paint job. The lawn showed the same neglect with weeds and brown patches. They climbed the steps and Kelly rang the bell. They saw the curtains move on the front window but nobody answered the door. He opened the screen and pounded on the scared inner door. “Open up, police!” he shouted.

The door opened to the security chain and a ruddy face peeked out. “Let’s see some ID.” She demanded. After examining the ID she unhooked the chain and swung it open.

Traci stepped forward and asked, “Mrs. Kalcowski, my name is Detective Traci Whitequill and this is John Kelly.  We’re from the London Police.  We’d like to speak with you. Can we come in?”

She backed away from the door and the two officers entered the drab and littered living room. A sagging chesterfield fronted an aging television and the scared coffee table held a pile of magazines, an overflowing ashtray and a half empty bottle of red wine. She motioned toward the couch and some wine slopped over the glass that she held in her hand. “Have a seat.”

“No, thanks.” Traci responded. “We just have a few questions.”

“OK.” Mrs. Carol Kalcowski was a tall woman and what would be referred to as ‘big boned’. Heavy, but not exactly obese. If anything, she reminded Traci of an aging Russian shot putter. She wore a shapeless, wrinkled dress and her shoulder-length dark hair, striped with grey, hung in greasy strands.

“Is your husband at home, Mrs. Kalcowski?” Kelly asked.

“Ha. He hasn’t been home in a couple of years.”

“Can you tell us where he lives now?”

“Sometimes he sleeps at The Mission. Sometimes on the street.”

“What’s the best place to find him?” Traci asked.

“Well, any of the bars around The Mission. His favorite is Gorky’s. You can probably find him there.” She glanced at the clock. “Too late though. He’s likely drunk by now.”

Traci glanced up from her notebook and asked, “Mrs. Kalcowski, can you tell us where you were yesterday around one o’clock?”

With eyes shifting from Traci to Kelly and back she responded, “Right here, watching Oprah.”

“All right, Mrs. Kalcowski. Thanks for your help.”

As they settled into the unmarked car, John exhaled and said, “Wow! That woman really needs a shower.”

As John started the car and pulled from the curb, Traci said, “Let’s take a ride down to Gorky’s and see if we can run into Mr. K.”

A dozen or so patrons hunkered over their pints at the bar and three gray haired men in their 60’s sat at a table playing dice. Conversations died out as the customers became aware of the neatly dressed and handsome young couple as they strolled in and approached the bar. The frowsy bleach blond bartender sauntered down and stuck out her ample bosom when she spotted the stunning Traci. “Help you?” she asked.

Traci flashed her ID and said, “We’re looking for a Mr. Stanley Kalcowski. We understand he hangs out here from time to time.”

“Stanley? Sure. He’s down there.” She nodded toward the end of the bar.

Traci strolled up to Stanley and stuck her ID in Stanley’s face and introduced herself. He turned with blood shot eyes and stared with confusion, back and forth between Traci and her ID. “What?” he slurred.

“Mr.Kalcowski, we’d like to ask you a few questions.” He wavered on the bar stool and nodded.

“Can you tell us where you were yesterday at one o’clock?”

“Hmmm. Yesterday….” He licked his cracked lips and scratched his week old scraggy beard. “Can’t say I remember.”

“Have you got a car, Sir?”

“Car?” he snorted. “I don’t even have a license anymore.” A bit of saliva escaped the corner of his mouth and disappeared into his beard. He swayed on his stool and closed his eyes, threatening to fall over. Traci gave him a gentle shake and Stan’s eyes popped open. Further questioning seemed pointless so the detectives returned to John’s car and decided to call it a day. They agreed to continue to interview the people on the list in the morning.

Traci opened her apartment door and was greeted by the tantalizing spicy aroma of Pete’s spaghetti sauce as it bubbled quietly on the stove. Pete emerged from the kitchen as Traci kicked off her heels and he handed her a glass of red wine. “Pasta night tonight, Sweetbuns. This fine chianti is the best $15 bottle they had.”

“Sweetbuns?”

“Simply a term of endearment. How’d it go today?”

She slumped in a chair and sighed, “Not great. We thought we had a solid possibility with a guy whose daughter committed suicide after being molested by Rafferty. But he’s such a hopeless alcoholic that he’s lucky to be able to button his fly let alone plan and commit a murder.”

“Well, it’s only day one. Go hop in the shower. I’ll start the noodles.”

After lunch the next day, Traci and John trooped into Ian’s office and dropped into chairs opposite his desk. “Well?” Cudney asked.

“Nothing.” Traci responded. “We interviewed all seventeen families and see no reason to bring any of them in for further questioning. Kinda at a dead end. The forensics guys come up with anything?”

Cudney responded, “Sorta. They determined that Rafferty’s skull was fractured by a round object about the size of a baseball bat.”

“Geez, there’s a breakthrough.” Traci muttered.

“They also confirmed the presence of semen on his hands.”

“Well, at least there is some justice in the world.”

“I’ll just pretend I did not hear that politically incorrect comment, Whitequill.”

“What comment, Ian? Here we have a dead scum and no murder weapon and no suspects.  What’s your next suggestion for this investigation?”

“Keep digging and get the Hell out of here.” Kelly scurried and Traci strolled to the door before turning.

“You know Ian, we are not going to figure this out until our culprit strikes again. This is not a one-off murder.” Ian waved her off in dismissal.

Paul, aka Pablo Zimmer, slowly maneuvered his three year old Lincoln Navigator through
the downtown traffic of London, Ontario. He was feeling quite full of himself. As a drug dealer and part time pimp, he had the best of his world… cheap cocaine and lots of young pussy. This life was way more profitable and fun than his previous job as a teacher at a native school in northern Saskatchewan. His proclivities had cost him eight years in prison for molesting his students and he had no interest in returning to that brutal prison environment. He loved the current situation where he had respect on the street, money in his pockets, and his young customers would do anything he wanted to get his drugs.

He pulled into a parking garage and parked on the second floor. He lit a cigarette and strolled to the elevator. His customers knew that the fourth floor was his “store” and he was hoping that some of his 12 year old buyers would be short of cash. When he was horny, like tonight, Pablo was willing to trade for some sweet young pussy.

Zimmer stood about 5’6” and although skinny, he slouched and affected the arrogant walk of a Detroit hip-hop star. With a dyed black mop of slicked back hair and carefully cultivated soul patch, he closely resembled a bad-ass villain out of a Mexican soap opera. The elevator arrived and Pablo nodded to the other passenger in the car before turning and pushing the button for the fourth floor. As he did so, he felt a hand on his chin and a knife slashing across his throat. With blood spraying everywhere, Pablo Zimmer crumpled to the floor of the elevator.

He jerked, spasmed and desperately gasped for air through his severed windpipe as he quickly bled out. The passenger calmly stepped over him when the doors opened on four.

Pete and Traci sat watching a banal romantic comedy on Netflix when Ian called. “We got another one.” Ian intoned. “Body in an elevator in a parking garage on Dundas and Clark. Throat cut.”

“Shit, Ian, I am still without wheels.” Traci responded.

“Get a ride with the trained killer and get your butt over here.”

Pete had paused the movie. He may have given in on the selection but he was not relinquishing the remote. He looked at Traci questioningly. She said, “Let’s go Lover. I need wheels.”

Pete shut off the TV and got up. “Lover?” he thought. That’s a promotion from “Hairy Ass”. Progress.

Pete swung the pickup to a halt outside the perimeter set up by the police at the parking garage , Traci hopped out and sprinted toward the structure. Pete could not talk his way
through the police cordon so he leaned against the hood of the F-150, lit a small H. Upmann and waited. When Traci came out she looked pale and grim. “God Pete, what a mess. I have never seen so much blood! His throat was cut so deep that his windpipe was cut completely through. Whoever did this is strong.”

“Are you done here?” Pete asked.

“Yes. Until tomorrow.”

“OK, let’s go home. I’ll fix you a one of my wicked cocktails and after a hot bath, you’ll be fine.”

“Great, but don’t waste your time thinking romance tonight big guy. Not gonna happen.”

Traci sat in Ian’s office discussing ideas on how to proceed with the investigation when John Kelly knocked and stepped in. “Here’s the report from the Forensics Section. Afraid it doesn’t give us much to go on. Big knife; probably a common home kitchen knife.”

“No DNA?” asked Ian.

“Nope. Forensics thinks the killer surely wore gloves.”

“You guys have all read this turkey’s bio…. Not a nice man. But we can’t have vigilantes running around offing people, no matter how deserving.”  Ian tossed the report on his desk without looking at it and grumped at Kelly. “Check with Mary and see if she’s come up with any cross matches on victims of this turkey.”

The killer removed the big knife from the heavy plastic bag and carefully washed it with dish detergent and a brush. It then went in the dish washer for a final treatment to insure all of Zimmer’s DNA was washed away.

The clothes worn during the knifing presented a more difficult problem. Zimmer, with his wind pipe and jugulars severed, had sprayed blood all over the place in a fine mist and the killer’s clothes would certainly have been contaminated by it. Sending them to the cleaners did not look like a safe practical option and that meant the only solution left was to destroy them. Using gloves, the killer divided the clothing into three bags and taped them shut. They would be deposited in three dumpsters at different locations around London. The killer then drained the vodka, the ice cubes clinking against the glass, and headed for the shower for a thorough scrubbing.

The Tasmanian Devil inside the killer’s skull had awakened and was beginning to feed. The blinding, throbbing pain returned with a vengeance, bringing with it the certainty that the skull would explode. With shaking hands, the killer shook out two of the OxyContin tablets and gulped them down with a fresh glass of vodka. The doctor had cautioned against mixing the drugs and alcohol, but the killer said out loud with a rueful laugh, “What’s it gonna do— kill me?”

The statistics on the next sexual predator to be executed lay on the kitchen counter. As the drugs and vodka started to kick in and put the Devil back to sleep, the killer was once again able to concentrate on the file of Robert Boddington. He represented the worst of the first three sexual offenders the killer had chosen for elimination. He had been convicted of raping a developmentally disabled 33 year old woman with the mental age of 11. Although he was suspected in the rape of several other women, the prosecution had focused on the one case with overwhelming forensic evidence. Boddington got 12 years and served 6, the average in Canada.  He had been out of jail for nine months now, and the killer’s surveillance revealed that Boddington had been stalking women; he clearly planned to return to his life of rape. The killer planned to put an end to it.

Robert Boddington answered the knock on his door and swung it open just enough to peer out. He got hit directly in the face from a distance of two feet with a shot of bear spray designed to stop a charging 1000-pound grizzly. He staggered back into the room and fell to the floor writhing and screaming.

The killer stepped inside, quickly closed the door and swung the sock containing a nice, fresh Idaho potato. Robert awoke with a throbbing headache and blinded, burning eyes. His mouth was duct taped and realized he had been trussed bent over his kitchenette table with all four limbs tied to a separate table leg. He sensed he no longer wore clothes and his buttocks and genitals were exposed. The killer quietly described the process by which he would die, and Robert’s screams were muffled behind the tape and he struggled against his bindings to no effect. As the gruesome and painful process began, Boddington cried burning tears out of his damaged eyes and implored to the god he had forsaken decades before for forgiveness and mercy.

Traci and John Kelly arrived at the halfway house, nodded at the patrolmen stationed outside, and stepped under the crime scene tape. Boddington’s room was on the first floor and a uniformed cop stood guarding the door. “Were you the first one on the scene?” asked Traci.

“Yes.” The officer replied. “The manager let me in.”

“Touch anything?”

“Nope. Took one look and backed out. It’s a nasty one.”

“Good move. Thanks.”

Traci followed Kelly into the room and Kelly muttered, “Christ! Any more of these and I’m going back to traffic patrol.”

They slowly approached the body, being careful not to step in the blood that had pooled around the table. As they got close, they could see that the victim had been brutally sodomized with an enormous dildo. “Well, I guess we can see what killed him.” Offered Traci. Kelly shuddered as he realized that the bloody mass of tissue that lay in the middle of Boddington’s back was what remained of his genitals.

Ian studied the autopsy report on Robert Boddington. He paraphrased to Traci and Kelly, “He died from loss of blood and probably shock. Apparently he had been bear sprayed and then clubbed with something. He had a big bruise on the side of his face.”

“We interviewed all the other residents of the halfway house and nobody saw or heard anything.”

Offered Kelly. “No one saw any strangers entering or leaving the place.”

“Once again there’s damn little to go on despite the fact that we all believe it’s the same killer for all three victims.” Traci said.

Ian grumped, “We better figure this out soon. I’m getting heat from above and eaten alive in the press. The human rights people are screaming their heads off and the law and order folks are cheering. We gotta catch this guy and put a stop to this. Get out of here and find him!”

Traci strolled into Mary’s cubicle and dropped into the chair next to her desk. She sighed and asked, “Anything new, Mary? Anything to tie the Rafferty murder with Mr. Zimmer?”

“Not that I can find,” replied Mary. “As you know, Rafferty is home grown scum and committed his crimes in Ontario, but Zimmer was convicted for his molestations at the Big Island Lake Cree Nation school in northern Saskatchewan. No connection that I can figure out.”

“Alright. Thanks. Just thought I’d check. We’re kind of out of leads.”

“Oh, I almost forgot. Ian had asked if there was any way we could find out who might have accessed the Ontario Sex Offender Registry? Well, my computer nerd friend tells me there is no way to find out who but they can determine where in the provence the inquiries came from. He says the latest hits have come from the London Public Library, Central branch downtown. He has the dates and times of the hits too.”

Mulling that over, Traci thanked Mary and headed back to her own office.

That night over dinner of burgers and beer as she explained it to Pete he asked, “Gee, I wonder if they have security video in the computer area of the library?”

Traci halted a french fry half-way to her mouth and stared at Pete. “You know Gerard, every once in a while you come up with something that makes me doubt that you are the dumb Army grunt you claim to be.”

Her car was still in the shop awaiting parts, and her patience was wearing thin with the repair guys there, so the next morning, Pete drove her downtown to the public library, central location. Pete wandered off to the military history section while Traci met with the head librarian who had confirmed over the phone they did indeed have security videos.

“I’ve set up a TV where you can watch the security tapes of the dates you requested,” said the prim Ms. Donaldson. “You will have to fast forward through the tape to find the times you were looking for, however.”

“Not a problem. Thanks, Ms. Donaldson.” Traci dropped into the chair and cued up the first tape, running fast until about a half hour before the first recorded hit on the database. The camera was positioned above and behind the people at the computers, presumably to determine if any of the users were accessing porn sites. Also, the view was of the back of their heads. Traci would only get a look at their faces when they got up to leave. There were eight computers, four monitors arranged in two rows. All four in the front row were occupied by young men, presumably college students. In the row nearest the camera two were in use by older gentlemen, one by a young girl who appeared to be of high school age and the final seat held a gray haired, neatly dressed older woman. In all, they seemed an unlikely group to yield a multiple murderer.

A couple of the male students left and were replaced by other young males. Finally, five minutes after the time the data base had been accessed according to Mary’s friend, the gray haired lady picked up her notes and her purse and rose and faced the camera directly. Something about her looked familiar to Traci. Her hair and makeup had been skillfully done, her dress neat and expensive, if a little out of style, and she wore nice jewelry. Traci rewound and watched the woman rising and facing the camera several times before it dawned on her…. It was Carol Kalcowski! She looked nothing like she had when Traci and Kelly had interviewed her at her home. She ejected the tape and went looking for Ms. Donaldson to get permission to take the tape as evidence.

She found Pete lounging in a comfortable chair deeply engrossed in a book called Ghost Soldiers. “Off your butt, big boy. I’ve got an arrest to make.”

“Who?”

“Carol Kalcowski.”

“Really? I thought you said she was a sloppy drunk?”

“I think that was an act to get herself crossed off the list of suspects. She just showed up on the security tape at the precise time someone accessed the sex offender database.”

“That doesn’t prove she’s a murder.”

“Nope. But it does give us a reason to bring her in for some more extensive questioning and to get a search warrant for her house.”

Once in the truck with Pete headed for Kalcowski’s house, Traci pulled out her cell phone and called Ian. “Ian, I’m just leaving the downtown branch of the public library and headed to Carol Kalcowski’s house.”

“Why?” Asked Cudney. “I thought you crossed her off your list?”

“Yeah, but I just put her back on. The Ontario Sexual Predators Registry was accessed at the downtown London Library and I just saw Kalcowski on the security tape at the exact time it was accessed from the library. I’m going out there to arrest her and bring her in for questioning. Get a search warrant in the works for her house and car.”

“Good work, Whitequill. I’m sending Kelly out there to back you up. Don’t do anything until he gets there and keep your “chauffeur” as far away as possible.”

“OK, boss. See you shortly.”

Traci instructed Pete to stop a couple of houses down from Kalcowski’s. She insisted Gerard remain by the truck and strolled up the sidewalk while Pete waited for her to head up the steps before slipping out and gliding up into the adjacent neighbor’s yard.

As Traci reached the stoop Pete saw a figure speed past a side window. It appeared that Carol was making a break for the back door. He reacted instinctively and sprinted as best his damaged knees would take him to head her off at the back door. He skidded to a stop just as she burst through the back door. He put up his hands and shouted “Whoa!” She snarled and came at him with the butcher knife flashing in the slanting afternoon sunlight.

She slashed left and back right at his eyes. He stepped back as the blade whistled past and when she recoiled for another series of swipes he used his training and instinctively stepped forward, blocked her knife hand and clipped her with a chopping left hook to the jaw.

Lights out. Her brain suddenly short circuited, Carol Kalcowski slumped to the turf like a lifeless scarecrow. Pete shook the knife from her hand and let it lay on the parched lawn as Traci burst through the back door.

“Geez, Gerard! Can’t you ever follow instructions?”

“Well, I stepped out of the truck to have a smoke and I saw you going up the steps….. not following instructions, by the way. Then I saw somebody sprinting for the back door through the side window. I knew you wanted to arrest this woman and I figured you probably did not want to chase her through the neighborhood in those high heels which, by the way, do wonders for your calves and ass, so I thought I’d slow her down to help you out. I did not expect her to try to slice my face up with a butcher knife so I gave her a little love tap.”

Traci looked at the comatose Kalcowski sprawled on the lawn. “Love tap? She’d better wake up.”

“Oh, she will, but if I were you, I’d cuff her before she does. She seems the angry sort.”

“Ian is not going to like this.”

“So lie to him. Tell him you socked her, or Kelly did. By the way, here comes John now.”

Pete pulled out a cheroot, examined its firmness, chewed off the tip and sniffed it before carefully putting flame to the end. Puffing, he then strolled casually back toward the truck.

—————————–

© Richard Draper, August 2015

“Dedicated to my cousin Ken who passed away recently.  He was one of my small group of fans.  We were kids together up on Beech Hill on rocky, poor dairy farms that looked over into Pennsylvania from southern New York State.  RIP Ken.”

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