Thursday, May 16, 2019
Practical Demonkeeping Chapter 29-30
29RIVERARight in the middle of the interrogation detective Sergeant Alphonse Rivera had a vision. He saw himself butt end the counter at Seven-Eleven, bagging microwave burritos and pumping Slush-Puppies. It was unambiguous that the suspect, Robert Masterson, was telling the truth. What was worse was that he non plainly didnt have any connection with the marijuana Riveras custody had undercoat in the trailer, notwithstanding he didnt have the slightest idea where The Breeze had g unrivaled.The deputy district attorney, an busy little weasel who was only putting prison term in at the D.A.s office until his fangs were sharp enough for nonpublic practice, had made the states position on the case clear and simple Youre fucked, Rivera. Cut him loose.Rivera was clinging to a single, micro-thin strand of forecast the second suitcase, the one(a) that Masterson had made such a big deal ab bug out stern at the trailer. It lay open on Riveras desk. A jumble of note make reputatio n, cocktail napkins, matchbook c overs, old business cards, and whoremongerdy wrappers stared out of the suitcase at him. On each one was written a name, an address, and a date. The dates were obviously bogus, as they went back to the 1920s. Rivera had riffled through with(predicate) the mess a dozen times without making any demeanor of connection. delegate Perez approached Riveras desk. He was doing his best to affect an attitude of sympathy, without practic all toldy success. Everything he had said that morning had carried with it a sideway smirk. Twain had put it succinctly Never underestimate the number of people who would make do to see you fail. pay off anything yet? Perez asked. The smirk was on that point.Rivera looked up from the papers, withalk out a cigarette, and lit it. A long stream of crazy weed came out with his sigh.I cant see how any of this connects with The Breeze. The addresses are sp memorandarize all over the country. The dates run too distant back t o be real.Maybe its a list of connections The Breeze was planning to dump the crapper on, Perez suggested. You know the Feds estimate that more than ten percent of the drugs in this country move through the postal system.What approximately the dates?Some kind of code, maybe. Did the handwriting check out?Rivera had sent Perez back to the trailer to scrape a sample of The Breezes handwriting. He had re turned with a list of engine parts for a Ford truck. no.match, Rivera said.Maybe the list was written by his connection.Rivera blew a blast of smoke in Perezs administration. Think about it, dipshit. I was his connection.Well, someone blew your cover, and The Breeze ran.Why didnt he take the pot?I dont know, Sergeant. Im incisively a uniformed deputy. This sounds like detective work to me. Perez had s outdoped trying to hide his smirk. Id take it to the bird of passage if I were you.That made a consensus. Everyone who had seen or heard about the suitcase had suggested that Rivera take it to the bird of passage. He sit down back in his chair and finished his cigarette, enjoying his last few mo handsts of peace before the inevitable confrontation with the Spider. afterwards a few long drags he stubbed the cigarette in the ashtray on his desk, ga at that placed the papers into the suitcase, closed it, and started down the steps into the bowels of the station and the Spiders lair.Throughout his life Rivera had known half a dozen men nicknamed Spider. Most were tall men with angular features and the wiry agility that one associates with a wolf spider. important Technical Sergeant Irving Nailsworth was the exception.Nailsworth stood five feet nine inches tall and weighed over three hundred pounds. When he sat before his consoles in the main figurer room of the San Junipero Sheriff Department, he was locked into a matrix that extended not only throughout the county but to any state capital in the nation, as well as to the main computer marges at the FBI an d the Justice Department in Washington. The matrix was the Spiders web and he lorded over it like a fat black widow.As Rivera opened the steel door that led into the computer room, he was hit with a blast of cold, dry air. Nailsworth insisted the computers functioned better in this environment, so the department had installed a special climate control and filtration system to accommodate him.Rivera entered and, suppressing a shudder, closed the door behind him. The computer room was dark except for the soft green glow of a dozen computer screens. The Spider sat in the middle of a horseshoe of keyboards and screens, his huge buttocks spilling over the sides of a minute typists chair. Beside him a steel typing table was covered with junk food in various stages of distress, more often than not cupcakes covered with marshmallow and pink coconut. While Rivera watched, the Spider peeled the marshmallow cap off a cupcake and popped it in his mouth. He threw the chocolate-cake insides int o a wastebasket atop a pile of crumpled tractor-feed paper.Because of the sedentary nature of the Spiders job, the department had excuse him from the minimum physical fitness standards set for field officers. The department had also created the position of chief technical sergeant in order to feed the Spiders ego and keep him happily clicking away at the keyboards. The Spider had never gone on patrol, never arrested a suspect, never even qualified on the injection range, yet after only four years with the department, Nailsworth effectively held the alike(p) rank that Rivera had attained in fifteen years on the street. It was criminal.The Spider looked up. His eyes were sunk so far into his fat face that Rivera could see only a beady green glow.You smell of smoke, the Spider said. You cant smoke in here.Im not here to smoke, I need some help.The Spider checked the data spooling across his screens, then turned his bountiful attention to Rivera. Bits of pink coconut phosphoresced o n the front of his uniform.Youve been working up in languish Cove, havent you?A narcotics sting. Rivera held up the suitcase. We found this. Its full of call and addresses, but I cant make any connections. I view you mightNo problem, the Spider said. The Nailgun give queue an opening where there was none. The Spider had disposed himself the nickname Nailgun. No one called him the Spider to his face, and no one called him Nailgun unless they take something.Yeah, Rivera said, I thought it needed some of the Nailguns wizardry.The Spider swept the junk food from the top of the typing table into the wastebasket and patted the top of the table. Lets see what you have.Rivera placed the suitcase on the table and opened it. The Spider immediately began to shuffle through the papers, picking up a piece here or there, reading it, and throwing it back into the pile.This is a mess.Thats wherefore Im here.Ill need to put this into the system to make any sense of it. I cant use a scanner o n handwritten material. Youll have to read it to me while I input.The Spider turned to one of his keyboards and began typing. go me a second to set up a data base format.As far as Rivera was concerned, the Spider could be speaking Swahili. Despite himself, Rivera admired the mans efficiency and expertise. His fat fingers were a blur on the keyboard.After 30 seconds of furious typing the Spider hesitated. Okay, read me the names, addresses, and dates, in that order.So you need me to sort them out?No. The machine will do that.Rivera began to read the names and addresses from each slip of paper, by design pausing so as not to take down ahead of the Spiders typing.Faster, Rivera. You wont get ahead of me.Rivera read faster, throwing each paper on the floor as he finished with it.Faster, the Spider demanded.I cant go any faster. At this speed if I mispronounce a name, I could lose control and get a just tongue injury.For the first time since Rivera had known him the Spider laughed. Take a break, Rivera. I get so used to working with machines that I forget people have limitations.Whats going on here? Rivera said. Is the Nailgun losing his disrespectful edge?The Spider looked embarrassed. No. I wanted to ask you about something.Rivera was shocked. The Spider was almost omniscient, or so he pretended. This was a day for firsts. What do you need? he said.The Spider blushed. Rivera had never seen that much flaccid flesh change color. He imagined that it put an incredible strain on the Spiders heart.Youve been working in Pine Cove, right?Yes.Have you ever run into a girl up there named Roxanne?Rivera thought for a moment, then said no.Are you sure? The Spiders voice had taken on a tone of desperation. Its probably a nickname. She works at the Rooms-R-Us Motel. Ive run the name against Social trade protection records, attribute reports, everything. I cant seem to find her. There are over ten thousand women in atomic number 20 with the name Roxanne, but none of th em check out.Why dont you just drive up to Pine Cove and tack together her?The Spiders color deepened. I couldnt do that.Why not? Whats the deal with this woman, anyway? Does it have to do with a case?No, its its a personal thing. Were in love.But youve never met her?Well, yes, sort of we talk by modem every night. Last night she didnt log on. Im worried about her.Nailsworth, are you telling me that you are having a love affair with a woman by computer?Its more than an affair.What do you want me to do?Well, if you could just check on her. See if shes all right. But she cant know I sent you. You mustnt tell her I sent you.Nailsworth, Im an undercover cop. Being sneaky is what I do for a living.Then youll do it?If you can find something in these names that will bail me out, Ill do it.Thanks, Rivera.Lets finish this. Rivera picked up a matchbook and read the name and address. The Spider typed the information, but as Rivera began to read the next name, he heard the Spider pause on t he keyboard.Is something wrong? Rivera asked.Just one more thing, Nailsworth said.What?Could you find out if shes modeming someone else?Santa Maria, Nailsworth You are a real person.Three hours later Rivera was sitting at his desk waiting for a call from the Spider. While he was in the computer room, someone had left a dog-eared paperback on his desk. Its title was You backside Have a Career in Private Investigation. Rivera suspected Perez. He had thrown the book in the wastebasket.Now, with his only suspect back out on the street and nothing forthcoming from the Spider, Rivera considered fishing the book out of the trash.The phone rang, and Rivera ripped it from its cradle.Rivera, he said.Rivera, its the Nailgun.Did you find something? Rivera fumbled for a cigarette from the pack on his desk. He found it impossible to talk on the phone without smoking.I think I have a connection, but it doesnt work out.Dont be cryptic, Nailsworth. I need something.Well, first I ran the names throu gh the Social Security computer. Most of them are deceased. Then I noticed that they were all vets.Vietnam? terra firma War one and only(a).Youre kidding.No. They were all World War One vets, and all of them had a first or middle initial E. I should have caught that before I even input it. I tried to run a coefficient of correlation program on that and came up with nothing. Then I ran the addresses to see if there was a geographical connection.Anything there?No. For a minute I thought youd found someones research flip on World War One, but just to be sure, I ran the bill through the new data bank set up by the Justice Department in Washington. They use it to find criminal patterns where there arent any. In effect it makes the random logical. They use it to track serial grampuss and psychopaths.And you found nothing?Not exactly. The files at the Justice Department only go back thirty years, so that eliminated about half of the names on your list. But the new(prenominal) ones ra ng the bell.Nailsworth, please try to get to the point.In each of the cities listed in your file there was at least one unexplained disappearance around the date listed not the vets other people. You can eliminate the large cities as coincidence, but hundreds of these disappearances were in small towns.People disappear in small towns too. They run away to the city. They drown. You cant call that a connection.I thought youd say that, so I ran a probability program to get the odds on all of this being coincidence.So? Rivera was acquiring tired of Nailsworths dramatics.So the odds of someone having a file of the dates and locations of unexplained disappearances over the last thirty years and it being a coincidence is ten to the power of fifty against.Which means what?Which means, about the same odds as youd have of dragging the wreck of the Titanic out of a trout stream with a fly rod. Which means, Rivera, you have a serious problem.Are you telling me that this suitcase belongs to a serial killer?A very old serial killer. Most serial killers dont even start until their thirties. If we assume that this one was cooperative enough to start when the Justice Departments files start, thirty years ago, hed be over sixty now.Do you think it goes farther back?I picked some dates and locations randomly, going back as far as 1925. I called the libraries in the towns and had them check the newspapers for stories of disappearances. It checked out. Your man could be in his nineties. Or it could be a son carrying on his fathers work.Thats impossible. There must be another explanation. Come on, Nailsworth, I need a bailout here. I cant pursue an investigation of a geriatric serial killer.Well, it could be an elaborate research project that someone is doing on missing persons, but that doesnt explain the World War One vets, and it doesnt explain why the researcher would write the information on matchbook covers and business cards from places that have been out of business for years.I dont understand. Rivera felt as if he were stuck in the Spiders web and was waiting to be eaten.It appears that the notes themselves were written as far back as fifty years ago. I could send them to the lab to confirm it if you want.No. Dont do that. Rivera didnt want it confirmed. He wanted it to go away. Nailsworth, isnt possible that the computer is making some impossible connections? I mean, its programmed to find patterns maybe it went overboard and made this one up?You know the odds, Sergeant. The computer cant make anything up it can only interpret whats put into it. If I were you, Id pull my suspect out of holding and find out where he got the suitcase.I cut him loose. The D.A. said I didnt have enough to charge him. regain him, Nailsworth said.Rivera resented the authoritarian tone in Nailsworths voice, but he let it go. Im going now.One more thing.Yes?One of your addresses was in Pine Cove. You want it?Of course.Nailsworth read the name and address to Rivera, wh o wrote it down on a memo pad.There was no date on this one, Sergeant. Your killer might still be in the area. If you get him, it would be the bailout youre looking for.Its too fantastic.And dont forget to check on Roxanne for me, okay? The Spider hung up.30jennetJenny had arrived at work a half hour late expecting to find Howard waiting behind the counter to reprimand her in his own erudite way. Strangely enough, she didnt care. Even more strange was the fact that Howard had not shown up at the cafe all morning.Considering that she had drunk two bottles of wine, eaten a heavy Italian meal and everything in the refrigerator, and stayed up all night making love, she should have been tired, but she wasnt. She felt wonderful, full of humor and energy, and not a little excited. When she thought of her night with Travis, she grinned and shivered. There should be guilt, she thought. She was, technically, a matrimonial woman. Technically, she was having an illicit affair. But she had nev er been very technically minded. Instead of guilt she felt happy and anxious(predicate) to do it all again.From the moment she got to work she began counting the hours until she got off after the lunch shift. She was at one hour and counting when the cook announced that there was a call for her in the office.She quickly refilled her customers coffee bean cups and headed to the back. If it was Robert, she would just act like nothing had happened. She wasnt exactly in love with someone else as he suspected. It was it didnt matter what it was. She didnt have to explain anything. If it was Travis she hoped it was Travis.She picked up the phone. Hello.Jenny? It was a womans voice. Its Rachel. Look, Im having a special ritual this good afternoon at the caves. I need you to be there.Jennifer did not want to go to a ritual.I dont know, Rachel, I have plans after work.Jennifer, this is the most important thing weve ever done, and I need you to be there. What time do you get off?Im off a t two, but I need to go firm and change first.No, dont do that. Come as you are its truly important.But I reallyPlease, Jenny. It will only take a few minutes.Jennifer had never heard Rachel sound so adamant. Maybe it really was important.Okay. I guess I can make it. Do you need me to call any of the others?No. Ill do it. You just be at the caves as soon as you can after two.Okay, fine, Ill be there.And Jenny Rachels voice had lowered an octave dont tell anyone where you are going. Rachel hung up.Jennifer immediately dialed her al-Qaeda phone and got the answer machine. Travis, if youre there, pick up. She waited. He was probably still sleeping. Im going to be a little late. Ill be home later this afternoon. She almost said, I love you, but decided not to. She pushed the thought out of her mind. Bye, she said, and hung up.Now, if she could only avoid Robert until she could think of a way to destroy his hope for their reconciliation. Returning to the floor of the cafe, s he realized that someplace along the way her feeling of well-being had vanished and she felt very tired.