Zoe C, “Mickey loves gymnastics, and she’s good, fearless. The lead coach asked about entering her in local contests, I told her no.”
“Mickey show any interest? It’s not really our decision.”
She frowns at me, “I know that, I asked her after the coach approached me. She said no too. She had a better reason than I did, she doesn’t want to compete, beat anyone, she just likes doing it. I was so proud, most people shove kids into competition and push, push, push, the girl thinks that’s how things are supposed to be, get some chicken shit medal or trophy. Mickey isn’t buying it.”
Gymnastics is a side interest for Mik, she’s into her music, being with McKenzie, playing with Burma and hiking around with Zelda.
“Coach say anything?”
“She gave it a start, I stopped her and said that if she wanted Mik to continue as a student there will be no talk of competitions, that we are raising her to compete only with herself, and not to make that an end in itself either. Then money came up, you know, sponsors, prizes, endorsements. I had to laugh.”
“What’d you tell her?”
“That Mickey will have more money than God by the time she’s eighteen. No amount of commercial endorsement would matter.”
‘She’s not interested in Mickey except to the extent that her success would bring in new students, as if the coach made her great.”
“Eggs-akly, her jaw dropped when I said they aren’t driving my daughter to a life of injuries so they can make more money. She tried to deny it, I told her to lay the bullshit on someone else. Mickey comes for her couple of hours, she comes home, your desires and gratifications will have to be on the shoulders of someone else’s kid.”
“What’d she do?”
“Nothing, nothing for her to do. We pay good money for training, they can go by my rules or I’ll find someone else, gymnastics coaches are a dime a dozen. They can’t do jack behind my back, I sit there and watch every move, every moment of training, Mik is never out of my sight. I see them browbeating some of the girls, they do not fuck with Mickey. It doesn’t matter, we’re halfway into a year there, Mickey won’t be there more than another few months, then I’m getting equipment for her here.”
“Call our contractor, let’s build a full gym to the left of the house, on the west side. Martial arts mats, all the equipment, weights, aerobics, plenty of room. Imagine we’re practicing Krav, girls are doing gymnastics, or working resistance machines, stationary bikes, treadmills. And it won’t affect the views if we put it there.”
“Perfect, when it’s ready, I’ll pull her out of the class. I can even expand my own gymnastics.”
At tea this afternoon, Mickey, “A whole gym…really? That’s awesome, did you hear that McKenzie? We’re getting a gym!”
Mac is rocking gently, then, “Five feed Zelda,” she pops up and goes inside, Zelda knows what feed Zelda means, she’s hot on Mac’s trail.
Mickey goes in to feed Burma, soon as the food clinks in the stainless bowl, the cat leaps off her tree to the couch, over the arm and zips to the kitchen so fast she skids to a stop, her momentum rolls her over, catlike she leaps and lands on her feet.
Mickey, “Insane ninja cat,” she giggles at her metaphor.
“McKenzie, what did you make in the stock market today?”
“Four fifty, two green only.”
“Slow day then.”
“Slow day, four fifty,” she changes the water in the bowls.
I come in to think over dinner, McKenzie is alongside staring up at me, “Slow day four fifty.”
I get it, “You can only trade when you have a signal, red or green, nothing to do if there’s no signal.”
“Two green only.”
I stroke her hair, “Then you did the best thing possible.”
I rinse a teacup, the others are still outside, “What’s for dinner, any ideas?”
“Shrimp, lobster tail, crab claw.”
“You want seafood then, I need to get to the store.”
She opens the second refrigerator, “Store,” apparently Zoe C bought it earlier, good, no grocery trip for me.
I look it over, peeled cooked jumbo shrimp, fat crab claws, the lobster tails will need to be boiled but that takes little time.
“How about new potatoes on the side?”
McKenzie blinks, I take that as a yes. Get a big pot of boiling water, dump the potatoes in. Seafood dinner, go crazy and have caviar for the appetizer.
Two baguettes, I hold them up, “Toasted rounds and caviar?”
Mac takes the bread knife from the block, I get a tin of caviar, check to see that we have sour cream, yes.
Zoe C, “Is there Gosset?”
There’s always Gosset, I fetch a bottle, pop the cork and pour. Two flutes three quarters full with cranberry juice and the rest with Champagne, hand them to McKenzie and Mickey.
Toasts ready, two trays, one with ramekins of sour cream, the tin of caviar on a bed of ice, the other a pile of the rounds, caviar spoon and butter knives to spread sour cream.
Elle, “Spoiling us again, thank you Mac, Chef.”
McKenzie, “Grill lobster.”
“You want them grilled instead of boiled then. Sounds good, I’ll fire up the grill then make garlic butter.”
She’s hit it right, five minutes on high heat, shell side up, then flip and pour the garlic butter on let them go for four more, ready.
Natalie, “Cripes this is good, tangy seafood sauce, grated horseradish, garlic butter for lobster and crab….heavenly.”
Mickey, “I could eat lobster every day,” she bites a fat shrimp in half, “shrimp too.”
Burma is hanging out, the scent of seafood has her attention. We don’t have a lot of rules but one is don’t feed the animals from the table. Mickey tells her to be patient, damned if the cat doesn’t bound off to the side where Zelda is flopped next to McKenzie. She leaps on Zelda’s shoulder, curls up and goes to sleep. Zelda doesn’t even raise her head, accustomed to the feline’s antics.
My phone dings, remains ignored, another rule that was never stated is no electronics at tea or dinner. Breakfast or lunch is flexible, we like to read each other stories from various online papers in the morning. Lunch is generally simple and if girls want to thumb through phones or keep working, it doesn’t matter. Natalie and Elle generally work through lunch, Elle watching her algorithms pick stocks, Nat looking for investment opportunities. I make lunch now, McKenzie trades until the market closes most days. Mickey and Zoe C deliver plates to the working girls.
Diner over, I check the website. The single message is a call for assistance from a homicide detective who left only the name Charlie.
The message is: Investigation of three murders in the Seattle area stalled. Will you help?
I reply, “Send details, I will also check local news. Names, locations, cause of death, date of death, when did you find the bodies. Full description of the deceased, young, old, gender and anything else you found either at the crime scene or the victim’s domiciles. Include photos, we aren’t squeamish, if it’s ugly it’s ugly. Any details withheld from the press.”
I click the send, when or if there’s a reply, my phone will let me know.
‘Zoe, came here for a minute.’
A minute later she’s alongside reading the message and my reply.
“Interesting, let’s join the others for the next segment of Above Suspicion, maybe creepy cops will provide mental stimulation. I’ll surf the Seattle news while we watch.”
She has my vodka ready, I take it and plop on one of the cushy chairs that bracket each end of the couch. The young ones are in their TV spot, lying on the mat using Zelda as a pillow, Burma is curled up on Mickey’s tummy.
The program is just past the part with the music and opening credits, a review of the last segment, then the start of the current one. Creepy redhead is lurking in the squad room, otherwise a beehive of activity.
Nat is on the end of the couch next to me, “Got a project?”
“Maybe, something has the police in Seattle on edge, enough that an unknown detective names Charlie is reaching out.”
“We need a lot more detail. Zoe C is checking the Seattle news, I haven’t heard of any triple murders there. That doesn’t mean anything, cops probably kept them under wraps, serial killers drive them nuts. Giant headlines, media vans everywhere stirring up the public.”
“Question answered, let’s chill and watch TV murders. Then I’ll come to your room and you can make me squirm and moan.”
A splendid idea, I give her my primo idiot grin.
Seattle, City of No Sun.
Zoe C, “I have no clue why people live here. I know there’s Microsoft, but Christ, it’s damp and cold…year round.”
“It was a brilliant decision, if you can’t go outside and enjoy the weather, you stay inside and write code, give the kids free lunch and ping pong, they think they’re in Nirvana.”
“So that’s why they hire young people who can’t get a date anyway.”
“Gates is a genius, make employees think work is play, before long they’ll be paying him to work there. Grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza twenty four seven, lots of Red Bull and Monster, free protein bars, what’s not to like? It’s rainy and cold outside, inside it’s climate controlled.”
“A business model for the new millennium.”
“Like I said, pure genius.”
We vetted the detective who contacted us, she’s legit. She would have heard favorably about us already or she would never have sent the messages.
Our initial team is me and Zoe C, we want to sniff around, listen, ask questions.
Detective Casper, “You have everything we have, any ideas?”
“A few, but we’re in the imagination stage, speculation and guesses. You can’t show up in court with speculation and guesses, so here we are.”
Casper, “I was instructed from on high to offer you every courtesy and to withhold nothing. I’ve been a cop for thirteen years, a military MP before that. I have never seen civilians waltzed into a murder investigation like this.”
Zoe C, “So you’ve solved the crime and we can go home?”
“Not what I meant. It looks bad, we can’t make progress, outsiders come in, we feel….”
“You aren’t incompetent or stupid. You need different, eyes. We don’t give anything to the media, we don’t talk to the media even to say fuck off. You bring us around, we look at the sites, we look at the bodies, we listen to you tell us about the victims’ lives, in particular, their lives just prior to disappearing. We assume you’ve made no connections between them, that you have mapped out locations and any suggested similarities. According to the report, there were no drugs, no bad boyfriends, no family hostilities.”
Casper, “Nothing like that. One thing it isn’t, it’s not a domestic issue. One vic has no relatives, a boyfriend who was working at the time of death, one was estranged from family, single, no current relationships. She was a lab tech, draw blood, test for whatever the doctor wanted tested, send the results along. The third was from a wealthy family but had no claim on future inheritance that meant anything. She was a physician and didn’t have money problems.”
“The third, boyfriend, girlfriend, married?”
“Married, husband is an ER doc, she was a urologist in a group of five docs. We checked out everyone. None of her colleagues had anything but good things to say, no internal squabbles that rose to murder. Besides, the other two had nothing to do with the doctor or each other.”
“So family members, boyfriends, husband are pretty much out of the suspect pool.”
“Right, wouldn’t make sense to include them. The victims didn’t know each other, the manner of death was the same.”
“Tell us about the killings at the site, then to the morgue…wait, it’s been a few months since the first murder, are any of the bodies still at the morgue?”
“One, the other two are in the ground, well, one was cremated.”
“Nothing useful, no drugs in the system?”
“Victim One used a bit of marijuana according to friends, Two took a blood pressure medication, the doc was clean. Oh, One had minor liver deterioration that might have led to cirrhosis or it might not.”
We arrive at the first scene, Casper, “This is where the body was dumped, not the murder site, we don’t know where she was killed, we only know how.”
“Slowly. All of them similar, minor cuts that eventually caused them to bleed out. Based on the coroner’s estimate, it could have taken up to two days. The first cuts had started to scab over, about twelve, then the cuts were deeper, more blood and not so easy to just coagulate. Still, he said that any individual cut wouldn’t have killed her. The killer knew enough not to catch a major artery then.”
And the other sites, they were also dump sites?”
“Yep, no particular reason to see them now.”
“Bear with us, we want to see the other two anyway.”
She shrugs, “Sure.”
Zoe C, ‘At least she doesn’t argue.’
‘No, he got assigned to us and was likely told to do what we ask, let’s walk the area.’
“I’m sure you guys have been over this area thoroughly. Give us a few minutes to walk around, then we’ll go to the next site.”
Casper, “Go for it.”
“Are there photos of the scenes, must be.”
“Yeah, got them in my car. You wanted details, I was reluctant to send photos to a website I wasn’t familiar with, to people I wasn’t familiar with.”
“You did the right thing. FYI in the future, if you need us in the future, the site is tightly encrypted. Nobody can tell where the message came from, or where our reply came from. We can’t control what happens when replies get to your system.”
“But you’re invisible on your end?”
“We don’t exist and neither do you.”
“Good to know, no offense, but I hope we don’t need to contact you again.”
I smile, “I feel the same, no one should undergo what the three dead girls did.”
I take the east, Zoe C goes west, we trample around the area, maybe fifty yards out then up and down. The ground is damp, parts still wet with puddles, it’s Seattle, everything is always wet.
Zoe C, “Mushrooms, mold, rotting leaves. If we had to turn over every leaf we’d be here for the next millennium.”
“Let’s get to the second site.”
After a tour of number two and three, Zoe C and I have noticed the same thing, we want to talk it over, maybe come out again without Casper.
Casper, “Like I said, zip.”
I nod, “Can we see the body?”
“It isn’t pretty.”
“We’ve done it before, nobody is going to throw up.”
Takes a half hour to get there, inside and attendant rolls the corpse out of the body refrigerator, yes, that’s what they’re called. He pulls the sheet down but only to the top of the chest.
“All of it please.”
The attendant looks at Casper, she nods, the sheet comes off.
Zoe C, “One hundred forty three cuts, appears to have started with the feet and worked his way up. You noticed that all three victims had one hundred forty three cuts. And in almost identical places spiraling around the body up to the top of the chest, none on the head.”
Casper, “Yeah, and no idea of the significance.”
“Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio.”
Casper, “Fuck is that?”
“A mathematical ratio that shows up repeatedly in nature. Start with zero, then one, add together you get one. Now you have 0, 1, 1. Add the two ones, you get two, add the one and two, you get three and so on. The Golden Mean, also known as the Golden Ratio, is a ratio of two numbers or aspects that total 1.1618. You get that by dividing the higher number by the lower number before it. The killer got to fifty five, 0 1 2 35 8 13 21 34 55, which totals one forty three. If he’d kept going the next number would be eighty nine, the victim would have bled to death before he could do that many.”
Casper, “What’s the point?”
“When we know that, we’ll know who killed them.”
“So we’re looking for a mathematician?”
“No, you’re looking for someone who thinks he’s a mystic, a guru type, someone passing himself off as a sage.”
“People fall for that?”
“Come on Casper, some people believe that a guy in a robe and a funny hat can absolve them of sin. Other people believe that voting for Trump was a good idea. There are idiots everywhere.”
“I voted for Trump.”
“Then you’re an idiot.”
Zoe C stifles a laugh by coughing.
Casper, “The alternative was Hillary.”
“So you voted for a serial liar and adulterer, who goes bankrupt at the drop of a hat, stiffing small businesses he claims to support and wastes a million dollars of you tax money every time he plays golf, over a hundred million so far. Your stupidity knows no bounds, no wonder you can’t find the killer, slime mold is smarter than you.”
She fumes, beet red is an understatement.
“Look Detective Casper, it’s still America, sort of, you can vote for any moron you want. When you get caught up in right wing memes and fake news from Fox, you get Trump. He’s a mess, undisciplined and erratic. If you ran your department like he runs his administration, you wouldn’t catch jaywalkers much less murderers. You fucked up, it happens.”
Casper, “I should be pissed, and I am, but at myself. I voted against, not for, and I screwed up.”
“That’s commendable, most Trump supporters keep looking around for justification or are drowning in denial. He’s going to bury himself sooner or later. My tribe is no fan of any politician, Democrat or Republican, but Trump was an obvious horror story. If the Democrats had run anyone but Hillary, that person would be President. Although never convicted of anything, Clinton carries too much baggage, fair or not.”
We told Detective Casper we need to think over what we have, review the forensic reports and the photos. We leave it that we’ll check in when we have something.
It would be nice if we blew into town, took a quick look and came up with a brilliant Sherlockian deduction, but that’s not how it works.
“Where am I going? You booked the hotel.”
“The airline did, it’s the Alexis downtown. One premiere suite, one fireplace suite which look about the same.”
And they are, and quite comfortable.
“Hotel menu looks limited.”
Zoe C, “Doesn’t matter, we’re having Chinese delivered from Uncle Lee’s. Hot and sour and won ton soup, sesame chicken and garlic prawns. We should be suitably stuffed.”
“You check in at home?”
“Series of messages from Mickey, one from Elle, did you check your phone?”
“Yeah, Nat says things are fine. McKenzie made eighteen hundred today, the Dow was up over four hundred. Let’s call while we wait on dinner.”
We bought wine and vodka, a can of mixed nuts, never sure what the hotel mini bars will provide. Zoe C makes us a drink, opens the can of nuts, we plop on the sofa in her suite, nibble and sip. We study crime scene photos, read autopsy reports.
“Anything leap out at you?”
Zoe C, “More like leaping away from me. What in hell does a Fibonacci series have to do with anything?”
“No clue, let’s send the details to McKenzie, get her on Facetime or Skype.”
A minute later, we’re looking at our girls, I explain what we have.
“Nat, I need McKenzie to think over the point of a Fibonacci series cut into the bodies, cut in the same places starting at feet and working up. Bear in mind, whoever is doing this is insane, it may mean zip.”
“She’s listening, Mickey is making notes. Might not have much tonight.”
“No sweat, let the girls enjoy their TV programs, Mac can work on it tomorrow. Zoe C and I are going to revisit the crime scenes without the police escort. If we come across anything significant or unusual, we’ll call.”
Zelda must have spotted Zoe C on the screen, her big snout presses against it and sniffs. I doubt we carry a scent through the ethernet.
Zoe C, “Hey Zelda, taking care of the girls?”
Her head twists from side to side, trying to figure out how she can see us but can’t catch out scent, or get a pat on the head.
She backs off and our mahogany Burmese approaches the screen, her paw lifts, she gently touches the screen, ducks her head then it pops up again, paws the screen a couple more times, hops back and lands on Zelda’s shoulders.
I hear giggles.
Natalie, “We have the most wonderful crazy animals. I swear, Zelda understands everything Mac says. Burma is content to race around the rooms, zip up her cat tree and lurk until one of us passes, then she leaps and bounces off only to race up the tree again. She never uses her claws, just a soft thump and off she goes. The rest of the time she spends riding around or sleeping on Zelda.”
Knock on the door, “Dinner delivery, Chinese. We’ll talk tomorrow, what did you guys have?”
“Mac made white beans with hot sausage and delicious buttery cornbread. We did it justice but there’s more left for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. The contractor for the gym called, but I told him you were out of town for a couple of days.”
“You know what we want, have him out, show him where we want it. Obviously it should conform to the rest of the place, but he built it, he ought to know what to do.”
“Got it, so, no architect?”
“I don’t see why, it’s basically a square room, it doesn’t need plumbing, enough wall sockets to plug in electrical stuff, like the treadmills, a refrigerator and a separate freezer. The rest of it is AC and heat. All the outside walls should be double pane glass, tinted to reflect the sunlight. I don’t think we need more solar, we’re selling power to SoCal Ed already, but he can decide that.”
Natalie, “I’ll call tomorrow and get him started. You’ll be back before they start working?”
“Can’t say, I see why the cops are stymied, it’s bizarre, and the killer is hauling around bodies which is more risk and effort.”
“McKenzie wants to talk to you.”
I see our darling freckled redhead, “In the crime show Criminal Minds, the FBI agents track a serial killer who uses the Fibonacci sequence to determine the number of victims for each of his killing episodes. Dr. Reid sees that locations of the killings lie on the graph of a golden spiral, and going to the center of the spiral allows Reid to determine the location of the killer's base of operations. Many trees and flowers have a spiral structure. Leaves on the stem of a flower or a branch of a tree often grow in a spiral around the branch as new leaves form further out. Look a leaf and start counting around and outwards. Count the leaves, and also count the number of turns around the branch until you return to a spot matching the original leaf but further out on the branch. Both numbers will be Fibonacci numbers.”
I want to ask where she picked that up but she’s always surfing sites, frequently Wiki or a math site.
“Any thoughts on why he uses Fibonacci numbers?”
A shake of the head no, then, “Criminal Minds.”
“Thank you McKenzie, it something else occurs, text or call.”
Natalie, “Get anything from that?”
“No idea, perhaps she’s saying our target got his idea from the TV series. We need to think it over, Elle’s the mathematician, you use math but related to finance.”
“Some stock traders use the sequence to suggest points of entry or exit. There’s no evidence that any technical analysis tells us anything…well, with one exception.”
“If enough traders use the similar entry and exit prices the system may work for a while, they collectively buy on entry signals and sell on exit signals, making the system appear to be valid.”
“Ah, so the sequence works because of multiple applications, not because it predicts anything.”
“Yes, and eventually it breaks down. If it was a real phenomenon, not an artificial one, traders using it would amass vast sums. But they don’t for the same reason, more and more people glom onto the system, consequently overbuying ups or overselling downs. It dies of its own success.”
“I see. Let’s hope other serial killers don’t use the system, sooner or later we’ll all be murdered.”
She laughs, “Get some sleep, they say things get clearer as the brain works while we’re unconscious.”
We sign off.
Zoe C, “At least Mac gave us something to do tomorrow, we can look for the numbers while we wander in the woods.”
Zoe C microwaves the soups, we enjoy those first, then the entrees.
“These are good, sesame chicken with chunks of breast and a nice but not overwhelming coat of batter. Good call to get the sauce on the side, the batter stays crunchy.”
“I’d like to take credit but they did that on their own. Try the shrimp, they use the mega size and the garlic sauce is just right.”
You may have noticed our pasted together family appreciates good food.
We catch an episode of Wire in the Blood, finish our drinks and watch the news scroll, uh oh.
‘Seattle police release the name of a fourth victim, Sherylynne Anders, an emergency room nurse. Reports had filtered out about prior murders but for the first time the police are admitting the existence of a serial killer. They have no information about who might be behind these horrific crimes and are asking the citizens to be hyper-vigilant, and to report any suspicious activity to the number below.’
Zoe C, “Now they’ll be flooded with suspects and confessions. While the public gets angry that it took so long, they don’t understand that an announcement creates more confusion than valid leads.”
“Until they reach a saturation point. They can’t find the bad guy so hope someone in the area has useful information. Cops can’t win with these things. People want it solved in one episode, at worst no longer than a feature length movie.”
Casper calls, “See the news?”
“Yeah, they got onto it quick.”
“I can only assume we have a leak, it almost doesn’t matter, we went public as you say. Everything is still in place at the crime scene, or I should say the dump site, you want a look?”
“Body still there?”
“Right where he left it.”
“On our way.”
We pull up to the crazy, flashing lights, a million cop cars, meat wagon, crime scene tape all over the place.
Casper is waiting, “ME is giving us grief, but my Captain said to keep things static until you showed.”
“We can’t be here until we know there’s a here for us to be. We don’t need but a few, let’s get on it.”
He walks us down, there’s a ravine, the body is under a tarp waiting to be picked up and removed. There’s a fussy little man in a suit with a bow tie.”
“Dr. Crichton, these are our consultants…they don’t have names, I mean they do, but insist on anonymity.”
He looks us over, Doc has one of those pussy moustaches, grey, horned rim glasses and dainty little hands.
“I need to get the victim to the morgue and perform an autopsy, not sit here waiting on two mystery guests.”
“Yeah, I know, and I’m sorry, we came the minute we were informed and we only need a quick look, then you can do your bit.”
We turn to the body, “Take off the tarp, I want to see exactly how she was positioned.”
The ME nods, a tech pulls the tarp off, “I don’t see how that matters, she wasn’t killed here. By the time he dumped her, she was empty, at least empty enough not to leave pools of blood.”
She’s on her back, Zoe C approaches, “You finished here?”
ME, “Yeah, we flipped her over after we got pictures of her back.”
We both have latex gloves, Zoe C picks up a foot, “You count the cuts?”
ME, “Same as all the others, one forty three.”
Zoe counts anyway, we want to see the body front and back, she’s satisfied.
“All yours Doc.”
ME, “Don’t know what a couple of amateurs can do.”
“Oh, maybe nothing, why don’t you tell us what happened and your theories on who did it?”
“I don’t theorize, I report what I find, figuring out who and why is your job.”
“Exactly, so why don’t you collect the body and hustle off to the morgue, you know, since you can’t help with who and why.”
“I didn’t mean…”
“Yeah, you did, but we don’t take it personally. Do your autopsy, report your findings and do not under any circumstances release the body until we can examine it in the cold light of the morgue.”
He looks at Casper, who shrugs, “You heard her.”
Mr. Fussy, “Wrap her, we have work to do,” he takes his bow tie and his elevator shoes up the slope, his assistants left to wrestle the victim up and into the van.
Casper, “Winning friends?”
I grin, “We have friends at home, this is volunteer work. Appreciate being called in despite the hour.”
“Crime never sleeps. Want to see anything else?”
“Any tracks, indications of how she got here?”
“I wish. If he carries the body from the road, all he needs is to toss it down, it’s pretty steep, she would just roll to this spot.”
I look up, wave a flashlight along the presumed path.
“It rolled down and disturbed not a single bush, broke no branches? No signs on the corpse of being rolled through fifty or sixty feel of scrub, rocks, and grass. More like he dropped her from a helicopter. No, he came down here with the body draped over his shoulder.”
We’d like to search the scene, but it’s pitch dark with a canopy of trees and a clouded over moon.
I tell Zoe C, “Let’s go, we can return in the morning and do a thorough search. Doubt we’ll find much, but we have nothing else to do.”
To the hotel, showers, sleep.
I’m up by seven, dousing my consciousness with stimulant, Zoe C texts around seven thirty.
‘yep, working on a second cup’
‘come over so we can plot our ignorance together’
In her room now, she asks, “You want breakfast?”
“Not starving, we did a job on dinner, but for some unknown reason the sun is out in Seattle, let it dry up the morning damp. We can call the girls and kick around what next.”
She calls Natalie, “Too early?”
“No, it’s just after eight and you know McKenzie is awake.”
“Yep, feed Zelda.”
“They’re out with the animals, should be back soon. Elle is just stirring.”
She turns the phone, we see her gorgeousness, how can she wake up stunning? I have to soak my head to tamp down my hair after a night’s sleep.
Elle smiles, “Anything new?”
“Another dead girl, same as the others.”
“Fuck, how long has it been since the last one? I thought these things were a couple months apart.”
“Escalation, we don’t know why.”
“Christ, you need to find this guy and shut him down…hang on, the kids are back with the other kids.”
She turns the phone again, McKenzie is digging around the refrigerator, Mickey is staring at the phone holding Burma. The cat spots Zoe C, raises a paw and swipes the screen, trying to figure out why one of her family is so small.
I hear Mickey giggle, “That’s Zoe C, you and me looking at her looking at you and me.
“Okay sprite, go find something to do, I need to talk to Chef and Zoe C.”
Mickey disappears, we can see Natalie. Over her shoulder McKenzie is breaking eggs onto the grill.
Elle appears next to Nat, “Figured out the Fibonacci yet?”
“Not even close, we can’t even come up with a fantasy scenario. Mac mentioned a Criminal Minds program, but he character used the series to spiral down to the killer’s starting point.”
“Have you plotted the dump sites?”
“Nope, you mean do they fit on the spiral.”
Elle, “Do you have GPS coordinates?”
“We’re revisiting the sites this morning, I’ll send them to you as I get them.”
“Just text me when you arrive at each, we’re all cross GPS’d, I know where you and Zoe C are right this second.”
“Oh yeah…duh, we’ve tracked each other so long I forget. Okay, one of us will text when we arrive at each of the four sites. And keep in mind we don’t know if these are the only kills. If there are sites we don’t know about it could skew the spiral.”
We see McKenzie handing out plates of ham and eggs, platter of biscuits.
“She’s made me hungry, we’ll break for now, need to get going. The first site is about fifteen miles and we’ve caught a sunny day, which could disappear at any moment up here.”
Half hour and a McDonald’s drive thru later, we’re finishing up breakfast sandwiches and coffee. I park the car and we go into the woods again.
Zoe C texts Elle, receives a ‘got it’ reply. I take the north side, Zoe C the south. We trudge out forty or fifty yards, then back and forth sweeps like we’re cutting a lawn. When I get to the site Zoe C is already there.
“Found a locket, missing the necklace. No way to tell if it belongs to the victim, maybe the cops can show it to parents or friends.”
“I got nothing.”
“You took the side he didn’t come down, the road stops, if he pulled off and parked, my side is the only way to get here, the north is wilderness with no access roads.”
We move onto site two.
Zoe C, “According to Casper yesterday, the first body was discovered by a dog, the owner was out for a walk, dog went tearing off, then barking like crazy. This one was discovered by hikers, the third by a cabin owner who knows the woods, he saw the vultures and knew something was up. Number four we don’t know, obviously someone came across it and called the cops.”
I text Elle, then we repeat our search procedure. Nothing.
Number three is more productive, I find a work glove about thirty yards out from the center, it had rust colored stains on two fingers and the palm. It may be good for nothing, it’s rained several times since the third body was found and surely rained before as well.
We drive to the fourth, “Pretty thin clues, a locket of unknown origin and a work glove that could belong to anyone.”
“The locket wasn’t rusted or damaged, well, the photo inside was ruined by water but it almost doesn’t matter, parents or friends either recognize it nor they don’t. Unless the photo was of the killer, which is beyond remote.”