Chapter Eighty One
After a light breakfast, we tour hotels. Travelodge for the salesman, Hampton for mystery woman and blackjack. As we suspected, the rooms have turned several times, there's nothing at the Travelodge, blackjack's room sparks nothing in Oceane. Mystery woman's gets her attention. Turns out only one guest occupied the room since. Oceane touches the desk, phone, chairs, all the surfaces in the bathroom.
"Scared," she walks to the window in the bedroom, "van in the parking lot," not now, she's gone back in time.
She goes to the sitting area, opens the small refrigerator, picks up the coffee pot then sets it down. Hands roam the counter surfaces, the small dining table, remote for the TV, she sits on the couch.
"A woman sat here with a man, she had fingers around her neck, pain, unconscious."
"There is no death here, but not asleep."
Janah, "The last guest was a man."
"Yes, I sense him, he watched TV in the bedroom, I felt him on the remote. Then he slept, no visitor."
"She was not herself."
Janah, "Drugged maybe."
We go to the police station, a deputy meets us, "I'm Franklin, Sergeant Franklin. Chief said to let you look at the missing person stuff. Isn't much there. I think Chief may be right, aside from the two locals, the others could all have just left town. Don't explain why the one guy left clothes and a suitcase though."
"Press giving you a hard time?"
Franklin, "Not yet. The lake is all tourism all the time. Local press will arm's length suspected bad news until there's actual bad news. Two missing locals isn't good news, don't get me wrong, but it don't run to serial killer. Mind me askin', the girl, she's what? Fourteen? Kind of young for..."
Janah, "She's observant, gifted in that way. It's okay, she's seen gruesome, nice of you to be protective."
"Gotta teen daughter. Good girl, well mostly, boys on the brain. They all know dad's a cop, comes in handy, encourages a certain respect when they see dad with a gun on his hip."
"She bugged by that?"
"Sometimes, but her mom's straight no nonsense. They talk girl stuff, boys, sex, STDs. Mom gives her condoms," he laughs, "thinks I don't know. I don't say anything, I think it makes sense, I was a teen boy. Gonna let her take birth control next year if she wants. Only delusional parents think their kids don't have sex."
"None of my business, but has she gotten the HPV vaccine?"
"On her second shot, last one's next week."
"Gee, sensible parents, you from another planet?"
He laughs again, "I'm a cop, I see it all, even in this town, hell, especially in this town. College boys around spring break, all summer, girls down the lake in snippets of string. My girl leaves the house wrapped like a Muslim, thinks I don't know about the tiny bikini underneath. She's not all filled out yet, but she's far enough along to get lots of attention, pretty like your young lady."
While we shoot the breeze, Janah and Oceane are digging through evidence bags one item at a time, lay them out on the long counter.
Oceane has a shirt in her hand, Franklin says, "Why's she handling a shirt, like she's touching every thread?"
Oceane sniffs the collar, "Fear."
She picks up a room key, flips the card around in her hand, presses it between her palms, "Hurry, run away."
Franklin, "What's all that mean?"
"The salesman was afraid and in a rush to get gone."
Franklin looks dubious, "Chief didn't say anything about a psychic, we gone down that crazy road already? Sorry miss, no offense, but I'm a practical man."
Oceane turns to him, touches his arm, lays a hand on his chest, "The boy, the one who stalked your daughter. He doesn't bother her anymore, he moved away."
Franklin blanches, "How....? Don't know what you're talkin' bout."
Oceane smiles, "She is in your heart, protected. Boy went away, he will not be back."
"Nobody knows nothin' bout it."
"And they won't find out anything from us Sergeant."
Franklin nods, relieved, "Guess I seen it all now."
"And in return, nothing about psychic...to anyone, including the Chief. We came, fiddled around with the evidence, left. We know two people were afraid, we know mystery woman was choked but not killed, now we know salesman was scared and rushed. I promised the Chief I'd tell him when we know something useful, this is only tentative."
Oceane is going over blackjack's things. Unlike salesman, there are no clothes or personal belongings, just toiletries the hotel supplies. She touches the shampoo, conditioner and soap, then rummages through the stuff from his wastebasket.
There's an empty bourbon bottle, Old Something or Other.
"He drank all of it in a few hours, then fell asleep. He was shaking the whole time," she sniffs the neck, "drank it from the bottle. He cried while he drank."
Franklin, "Say he did, maybe just a sad old drunk."
Oceane, "Not sad, terrified."
Franklin, "Of what?"
"If she knew she'd say, Sergeant. We don't care if you scared off a persistent pest, I'd do the same thing. Like I said, keep this to yourself. It gets out, it's not only a serial killer, it's Satanic. That's not on our minds, but people will jump on it, they love devil worship stories."
Franklin shakes his head, "We get enough of that shit from the tribes. I ain't pourin' no more gas on those fires. Some Indian ritual goes on, we get calls all night for a week. Like you said, you came here, sifted through the stuff, didn't tell me jack and left."
Oceane, "Nothing else."
Janah turns to Franklin, "Look for a dark van, likely parked someplace out of the way. If it's garaged, nothing to do about it."
Oceane, "Numbers and letters on the back, 6BDJ, she didn't see the rest."
Janah, "Any state, a picture on the plate?"
"No, red letters, calif."
Franklin, "How's she....?"
Janah, "It may have nothing to do with it. The woman saw a dark van in the Hampton parking lot. She must have seen part of the plate. Elle (Oceane) gets snippets of data, from objects, from a sense of the people in a room even if they aren't there anymore. There's no 'how,' she gets a vibe if she concentrates on it. She doesn't know how it works, neither do we."
Franklin, "Who in hell are you guys?"
"Pod people from Pluto."
"Okay, I get it. If I bring my daughter around, can you tell me what she's been up to?"
Janah, "Yes, but we won't."
Franklin shrugs, "Might not want to know anyway."
Chapter Eighty Two
On the drive back to the hotel, I mental Daria, "Could you or Eloise find the owner of a van, partial California license plate, 6BDJ, model and year unknown?"
They can either hack the California DMV or Janah could put a call in to a contact. Sometimes we do it one way, sometimes the other. Meanwhile, we've shot past lunch, but Zi is in. Coffee and tea serve for lunch, Dasha rents a jet ski, she and Oceane zip off to circle the lake. Zi rents another and heads off in the opposite direction. I drive Janah around the island, it's not entirely an island, but close enough. Over the London Bridge, cruise the other side.
Janah, "For the moment, I'm going with abduction. Obviously not for ransom, nobody's called with any demands."
"Maybe it's a mass abduction, one at a time, then the kidnapper wants money to release them all."
Janah, "Too much trouble, take hostages individually, keep them someplace, have to feed them, use the toilet. Who watches them twenty four hours a day? Takes two or three people to pull off."
"No, it doesn't make much sense does it? Maybe I need another coffee."
We circle the island, looking for out of the way places someone might store hostages. At the usual suspects, I stop, walk around the warehouse or empty residence, listen, peer in when I can. Zip.
"They call them empty for a reason."
"Let's go to the hotel."
Twenty minutes later, Dasha and Oceane come in, Zi right behind, they head for a shower. Post scrub, Dasha pours a vodka, white wine for Oceane and Janah, Zi asks about dinner.
"In a complete lack of imagination, let's go back to Shugrue's. It’s less than perfect, but it didn’t kill us yesterday."
No objections, everyone's ready for food, I could have suggested Burger King...eeewww.
Zi, "They fed me breakfast on the plane, but I think we all skipped lunch."
"Daphne had three cups of coffee while she chauffeured me around. There was nothing obvious, just empty spaces."
Dasha, "Oceane finds one spot, far end of lake. Tomorrow we will go with Zi."
"What did you feel Oceane?"
Zi, "Nothing means something. Oceane always feels something, she sensed a space devoid of feeling."
"What does that mean, Oceane?"
"A blank spot, everything is alive, not there, nothing is."
Oceane senses life, energy, in every object, a rock in the road, a tossed out popsicle stick, everything. For her to sense nothing is bizarre.
Janah, "Is it accessible, or do we need a boat?"
Dasha, "Boat, no road."
What could create such a place? None of us has a clue, guess we'll find out tomorrow. Tonight, girls are tired, return to the hotel and flip on the TV for an hour. Oceane is on the balcony talking to the lake, Dasha's next to me on the couch, mumbling to herself about emptiness and nothingness. It sounds like a compilation of Sartre, Camus, Heidegger and Buddhism without the big words. I'm not that deep, busy alternating my vision from Dasha's tight thighs to the movie and back again. Dasha's more enticing.
Oceane comes in, takes Dasha by the hand, "We will feel good."
They go off to accomplish Ocean's intent, now I'm Dashaless and hot.
Janah, "Zi and I will cool you down, right after we heat you up. First, you have to attend to us."
We go to the bedroom, Zi and Janah lose the t-shirts, kneel next to the bed with heads on pillows.
Janah, "Get busy, analingusly speaking."
Next, Janah takes me with a vibrating strap-on. I'm deliciously dizzy, ding and zing like a tuning fork.
Janah de-straps and moves to her next conquest, the soft sensual between Zi's elegant legs. While Janah's tongue teases, I occupy Zi's lips with mine. In a burst of creative inspiration, I slide down and join Janah. Twice tongued, Zi does her version of Tibetan singing bowl. Flush with harmonious hormones, Zi and I surround Janah, gentle kisses and sleep.
Chapter Eighty Three
I feel my shoulder shake, blink awake, it's Dasha, "Dahfoney, ees time for boating to dead place. Coffee and tea ees ready, I haf breakfast coming."
"Call and rent something, not a houseboat, something with speed."
I rouse my companions and head to the shower, when I'm out, Janah and Zi climb in. Janah's grinning, Zi must have under shower exploration on her mind. Partially blown dry, I turn and see Zi on her knees, Janah leaning against the shower wall, eyes closed, lower lip curled under her teeth.
In the living room, Dasha is holding Oceane from behind, kissing her shoulders. Must have been quite a night, Dasha isn't much for sentimental affection. Oceane turns, they embrace, kiss gently. Oceane's hand cups Dasha's face, look into each other's eyes. I'm privileged to witness the tender moment.
They come in, Dasha says, "Oceane ees delicate orchid flower, I am cactus."
I laugh, Dasha's sense of humor only pops out occasionally.
"Funny, I suppose you are prickly when it comes to our work, not with the family."
Oceane touches Dasha's chest, "I am in her heart," takes Dasha's hand and lays it against her own chest, "she is in mine."
I think about this for a minute, there's more to it, "You merged?"
I smile, mist up, mental Janah, "Dasha and Oceane merged last night."
"Oh my, how splendid, be out in a second."
Hugs all around, I ask Dasha, "You and Daria are one, was it both of you as one?"
"Da, Daria was een me, then we are een Oceane. We are tweens, to Oceane there ees only anyway one."
Janah, "Of course, that actually makes sense."
"What did you feel Oceane?"
"Wonder, beauty, embraced without restraint."
"Perfect description of the indescribable."
Sad to say, there is work to be done, have to leave it there. We head to the dock, check out the boat and zip down the lake. Intermittent camping sites border the shore, then a long stretch of desert and hills line both sides. Hardly even scrub, just rock.
Dasha, "There, the cave."
"It's got green around it, something must be alive."
Oceane, "Inside, all dead inside."
Zi, "I'm not close enough to be much use, if Oceane's right, I won't sense anybody anyway. Only thing to do is climb up and see."
Tie off the boat, clamber onto the dirt and start up. It's further than it looks, and the cave is more than an indentation in the rock, it slopes down, then a sharp left. Deeper in, it's dark, I switch to infrared.*
"Ocean's right, nothing in there generates heat, all I see is more black."
Janah, "Take the flashlight and go find out what's down there, Dasha, stay with her. Sense anything Zi?"
"Nothing there is alive."
Dasha and I start along the narrow path, "Not good, there are footprints."
Janah, "Anyone could have explored there."
We press on, going is slow, just the beam of the small light making a circle on the dirt. The tunnel is low, I bang my head on the ceiling, thirty yards further on, it opens to a larger cavern. So far, Oceane's right, I haven't heard a scurry, a bat fly, not a scorpion or lizard, not an insect. The only sound is our footsteps. I let the light roam around the walls.
Dasha, "Wait...left again, on the floor, over more, there."
A flash of white, we walk to it, bones in a pile, big ones, not a small animal. Then a skull, bare, as if it had been out in the desert sun for weeks. There's a barely perceptible draft, light as a baby breath.
We circle the cavern, more bones, including four more skulls. The bones are distinctly human, look like they've been here for a long time. I bend down and study one long one, like a femur. Uh oh, something's gnawed on it, but what, nothing in here, no animal tracks, just footprints. Some barefoot, others the waffle imprint of hiking boots.
I pull out my flash camera phone, good thing, the little flashlight wouldn't give me much of a shot.
"Okay Dasha, let's get back. We don't want to disturb anything, so far we've left footprints, everything is where we found it."
It takes twenty minutes to return, faster than the trip down. The others are waiting in the cave entrance.
Zi, "Human remains, Janah said one looked chewed on."
"I'm no expert, it was irregularly scratched, don't know if it came out clearly on my phone camera, let's see."
I flip through the pictures, "See the scratches here, on these other bones too. Two of the skulls had been bashed with something, looks like a hammer, see the hole?"
Zi, "Gruesome, I wonder how old they are?"
Janah, "We need to report this, I'm calling the Chief."
An hour later a boatload of cops and a medical examiner show up.
Chief, "Bones huh?"
I show him the pictures, the ME is looking over his shoulder, "Appears to have been nicked by a sharp instrument. Strange, usually animal teeth leave a pattern. The nicks look like a butcher's been at them."
They rope off the entrance, a team goes in better equipped that we were, big halogen lights, professional cameras, a video cam.
Chief, "Gonna take a while, mind answering a few questions?"
Janah gives him part of the truth, “The girls were jet-skiing, came across the cave and decided to take a look. Didn't go further than the entrance. Elle (Oceane) said she had a strange feeling, they chalked it up to the place being so silent. You'll notice that inside, there are no insects, no small animals, no bats, no signs of life. They saw the tunnel, but didn't have a flashlight. Once you're down a few yards, it's dark as death. When they returned to the hotel and told us, we thought it was interesting and decided to take a look. We just brought a small flashlight, I didn't think the tunnel would do much but end in nothing. Del (Daphne) and Brianna (Dasha) explored, here we are."
Chief, "Piles of bones stripped to nothing aren't likely our missing persons, still, they belong to somebody, maybe the tribes. Appreciate you having the sense not to souvenir collect."
"Said I'd call when I had something useful, this wasn't what I had in mind. We have nothing related to the missing persons, not yet," she's keeping the California license plate to herself, might be unrelated.
Chief, "Gonna keep after it?"
Janah, "Sure, Lake Havasu is a nice place, and now I'm curious about the bones. Chief, might be a long blind shot, but have the bones DNA tested against the disappeared. If that's tricky for you, give me samples and I'll get it done on the quiet."
Chief, "You can run DNA tests?"
"Not here, but I can have results in a couple of days. If nothing matches, good enough. If it does, you have something to go on that isn't going to wind up in the public record. Doesn't matter to me, if you do it through the system, I'd appreciate knowing what they find."
Chief, "Those bones could be fifty, a hundred years old."
"No, they're recent."
Chief, "How do you know Del?"
"Dental work, with composite fillings, not metal."
We leave them to their investigation, return the boat and go for a light late lunch at Barley Brothers. Nice spot, we order a couple of pizzas, they do their own microbrews, the girls have beers. Turns out they’re part of a five restaurant conglomerate, including Shugrue's and a couple of other lake spots. Incest restaurants cornering the market in the tourist destination. Doesn't matter, the pizza is pretty good, Janah, Dasha and Oceane try the beer. Oceane and Dasha get carded, no worries, their Nebraska licenses have the right birthdays.
Zi, "I'm not being much use."
Janah, "You’re just getting started. The rest of the day, we're going to roam. Your job is to do what you do, look for dark spots. We need to split up. I'll go with you, Dasha, Daphne and Oceane can take the other parts of town."
Just then I get a mental from Daria, "Car belongs to Flanders Defoe, resident of California, I have his address, won't do you any good there. I called the number in California, answering machine. We searched further, there's a mobile number, current GPS location, Lake Havasu."
"Give me the current location."
She does, I tell the others, "Don't need to split up just yet. The van is twenty miles outside town, we need to get a move on before it moves on."
Janah, "May mean nothing, but we have nothing else."
Oceane, "Van, woman saw the van, then fear."
The police are tied up, I blast down the road well over the limit and we're in sight of the van in fifteen.
"Plate's right. What is this place?"
Janah, "Looks abandoned, an old mine, the area is full of abandoned gold mines."
We're still a hundred yards off, my eagle eyes see the plate clearly, now we need to see what California 6BDJ18 is up to.
"Zi, you and I are going to do the Shaolin sneak. Let me get our SUV hidden, we'll go deeper than the mine and come up from behind. Dasha, take the wheel, you may need to get to us in a hurry."
Zi and I walk fifty yards past the mine entrance, then a left until we're directly behind. We wait, no disturbance, crazed zombie miners don't come flooding out the entrance. We start, slow cautious steps, Shaolin sneaking up practice. To tread the gauntlet, we have to walk rice paper without tearing it. Creeping over desert presents no difficulty.
Now we're over the top of the entrance, not a sound. But Flanders Defoe must be inside, he isn't outside.
Zi, "I'm sensing more than one person in there."
"We aren't finding out sitting up here, let's do this."
We jump down and face the entrance, I go infrared, something strange.
"You said people, I'm picking up on one."
"Maybe too far in, or the shaft curves."
I switch on a halogen flashlight, big mother with a wide beam, Zi clicks on a second, the place is brightly illuminated now. A man, big man, turns towards us, he'd been walking down the shaft and hadn't seen us. He growls, runs.
Zi, "We going after him?"
"Not yet, he's got no place to go, Janah, you seeing this?"
"Yes, we're coming."
The Tahoe pulls up, Janah hops out, Dasha and Oceane stay in the car.
Janah, "Go in and find him, at least see what he's up to. He may just be playing gold miner and we're scaring the crap out of him. Pay attention, he might have a gun. While you're in there, we'll check out the van."
"Dasha can check out the van, stay in my head, you may see something I miss."
Zi and I start down the mine shaft. It's been dug on a slope, not a vertical shaft. When they mined gold, lots of dirt had to be brought up, can't just dig a deep hole. It's been worked a long way, we must be fifty yards in. We go slow, first, to check the supports, it's an old mine and we don't need to be buried in it. Second, the target may be armed, we're standing behind bright lights and all he'd need to do is start firing.
Zi, "He must have some kind of lighting, nobody can do anything in this darkness."
"He's doused the lights, trying to disappear guess he hopes we get discouraged and go away. Turn off your light, use the beam on mine to move ahead, then turn yours back on and I'll come along with mine off. If he starts shooting at least we won’t be directly behind the lights."
Fifty more yards, I catch the scent of fire and more, slight scent of roasted meat lingers.
"I hope my speculation is wrong."
Zi, "What do you mean?"
"Human bones nicked with a sharp instrument in a cave, leftover smell of cooked meat in a mine shaft."
Janah, "Don't think you're speculation is wrong. There's a trash bag in the van, more bones."
I pass long the information to Zi.
Chapter Eighty Four
Zi, "I sense him. My tune in range is about a hundred feet. There's no motion, he's trying to hide."
"If this plugs together the way it appears, he's anticipating fresh meat, a gift he doesn't have to go shopping for. And remember, the skulls had holes, like they'd been busted with a hammer."
"Should have worn hard hats."
"I'm gonna give it a go, see if we can do this easy. You don't think he's a Shadow."
Zi, "No, whatever he's concocted as his rationale may be delusional and evil, but he has no power to control minds. If he was a Shadow, he wouldn't need to bash skulls with a hammer."
I shout into the darkness, "Know you're in there, you've been cooking, doesn't smell like teen spirit. Come along, you won't be hurt, but one way or the other, this is over."
It's silent for a couple of minutes, guess he's not a Nirvana fan, then, "I am multitude of souls, kill me, I become another. Stay, I will become you too."
I whack his return with my own cross court volley, "I'll take my chances ding dong. Really don't have to do anything, just wait you out. Cops will be along shortly, they're gonna tear gas your multiple souls and they're all coming out gagging and crying. Ever been gassed? It's really unpleasant. You might want to ask the other souls to take a vote."
He's mulling it over, perhaps my argument was overly complex, how high an IQ can a cannibal have?
Janah, “There was Dr. Lecter, but he was fictional.”
"There's got to be a back door, an escape in the event of a tunnel collapse."
Janah, "Oceane is flying the drone, he isn't escaping far."
I tell Zi, "We just wait. Janah's already figured out there may be an escape exit, the drone is up and surveying. Let's back off, we don't need to capture this guy ourselves unless a life's at stake."
"I don't sense another living presence, no one is with him, not alive anyway."
"Then let's go," I call out again, "Flanders, we won't be staying for dinner, cops will be along in ten, fifteen minutes. We have the bones in your van and the bones from the cave near the lake. Next one cooked will be you. Out of curiosity, did they taste like chicken?"
No reply, one presumes cannibals lack a sense of humor. Janah hasn't called the police yet, we don't plan to be here when they show up.
Zi, "He's on the move, deeper in."
"Janah, he's moving away, we're coming out."
We blink back into the glaring sun, he can't get out past us this way. I climb to the top of the mine entrance and focus on where I estimate he might pop up. Two minutes later a head peers out of the dirt, then a body clambers out and starts running to the near hills; maybe he's out of ketchup.
I turn to Dasha, "The drone armed?"
"Wiz tranquilizer dart half, oblivion dart half."
Dasha takes the IPad from Oceane, zeroes in on the fleeing figure, taps the screen. There's no sound at this distance, just a guy on the screen, grabs at his back, falls face first in the dirt.
"Pack it up, I’ll grab the dart, then let's call the Chief and split."
We leave, drive down the road and pull off out of sight. Oceane fires up the drone so we can keep an eye on tranquilized Defoe. When the cruisers screech up in a cloud of dust, I call the Chief again, explain how Defoe got in his current condition.
Chief, "Air rifle?"
"Shoots tranquilizer darts, we use it to tag animals. We track a variety of animals."
"What's in the mine shaft?"
"Not gold. We didn't see the site, but the scents were of wood fire and roasted meat. Tie that together with the human bones in his van and the others with knife marks....well."
"I had a short chat, he claimed to have many souls inside him, that if he died, he would become one of the others. Lake Havasu isn't Defoe's first stop."
Chief, "Defoe, you got his name?"
"Flanders Defoe, of California, have his home address, Janah will give it to you."
"Thought we were sharing."
"We had no idea if it meant anything. We got a partial plate on a van in the Hampton lot, we had to search for a name to go with it and had no idea if it was related."
"How'd you get the records?"
"You don't want to know."
"How'd you know the van was here?"
I don't want to get into hacked GPS, "A dark blue van with California plates isn't that hard to find, Lake Havasu isn't a huge town. We roamed around, saw the van pull out of a supermarket lot, followed it here. He went in the mine, we checked his van and found more bones. Zoey (Zi) and I went in after him, he was deep inside, hiding in the dark. We figured he either had an escape route or you guys would flush him out with tear gas. He tried the escape route, I popped him with a tranq dart."
Chief, "Two of the skulls you found are our missing locals, dental records right here in town, still working on the rest. Maybe he just killed them, cooked them to get rid of the body and hauled the bones to the cave in the hope they'd disappear forever."
"Find any burned bones?"
"He cut them up. I suspect he boiled the bones in a misguided notion it would remove DNA. It doesn't. He has some deranged ritual associated with this. Eat the flesh, put all the bones elsewhere. You may not want us further involved, Janah can get the story from him if you wish."
Chief, "We'll see, might just cough it up on his own."
"If he doesn't, don't let him get a lawyer before we talk to him. Well find out."
Chief, "You gonna beat it out of him? Can't allow that."
"Won't be a mark on him. Oh, pump his stomach and find a way to keep his stool. If he ate them, it'll show up for a couple of days anyway. You may find a makeshift toilet in the mine. Messy business, but you'll want those samples."
I hear one of his deputies, "Chief, I never seen nothing like it. Blood ever-where, dried in the dirt, but it's blood. Big vat and a propane burner, fire pit with a pig roasting spit, gallons of water. Bones still in the vat, fat floating around, Christ, I near lost lunch. No other bodies thankfully. Looks like he was here to clean up and get gone, half dozen bottles of bleach down there, lot of dry wood. If he set it on fire, we'd never know what in hell happened in there."
Chief's back on with me, "You mentioned a ritual, got any ideas?"
"He said he was multitudes of souls. Some cannibal tribes believe they ingest the soul of the person they eat. He believes he's got as many lives as people he's ingested. Six here, but he didn't start here."
Chief, "Fuck, sorry, that's....I don't know what that is."
"He's insane Chief. Mental institution or prison, the state will feed and warehouse him until he dies. Just don't let him work in the kitchen."
"Very funny. Look, you found the bones, you found the guy, I'm glad it's over, but I have no idea how we keep this quiet. Good people with businesses at the lake are going to get screwed if the tourists evaporate."
"Don't be so sure, my guess is you'll be overwhelmed with the curious. I'd be more concerned about a copycat."
"Unfortunately, between officers on the scene and the ME, it's going to come out. We can get the trial venue changed, California and wherever else this guy's been operating will want their shot at him. You might be better off letting another state handle it first, keep it out of your county. Chalk it up to interstate cooperation. The sooner Defoe is gone, the sooner you get back to business. You'll lose some spotlight of course."
Chief, "Don't want no spotlight, I ain't runnin' for Governor, the DA for the county is two years from retirement, he don't need the grief and he's no grandstander anyway."
"Let me make a few calls. Then let us talk to him, we'll find out what other states need to hop in. You can step back, the media will pat you on the back for finding him and be off to follow events elsewhere."
"You can do that?"
"Chief, I can do anything."