Seeking Twilight Ch. 02bydaj8577©
Jones hated Mondays, and he especially hated to work on Mondays. This in and of itself was not unusual; most people dislike, or even hate, Mondays. Monday, to most people, is the worst day of the week. But for Jones, his job meant that he dealt with most people on the worst day of their lives, and this was difficult enough without having to deal with the fact that it was Monday.
Detective Caesar Damocles Jones hated a lot of things. For starters, he hated his first and middle names, which was why he just went by C. D., if not just Jones. He hated being the only black cop on the force. He hated mayonnaise on anything. He hated being the only Bears fan in a town populated by Vikings and Packers fans, which was, to him, just the universe's obnoxious way of rubbing his face in the dirt.
He hated bad cops, both kinds. He hated dirty cops, something he had run into a lot when he worked in Chicago, but not so much here in Minneapolis, and he hated lousy incompetent cops, cops that dicked around on the job, fucked up a crime scene because they couldn't be bothered to care. He hated them so much that some days he just felt like pulling out his gun and putting one through the head of the next boy in blue who spilled coffee on a corpse or stepped in blood evidence.
Jones also hated clutter. Jones was the most organized, most meticulous, most tidy, most painstakingly anal son-of-a-bitch that anyone on the Minneapolis P.D. had ever met. He always wore the cleanest, freshly pressed expensive suits. His desk was always in perfect order, with everything in its place, spotlessly clean. He was so clean, in fact, that he kept a mini-vacuum in his car. But as much as Jones hated mess, as much as he hated bad cops, as much as he hated the colors purple, green, and gold, as much as he hated mayonnaise, he hated Mondays even more (although mayonnaise was a close second).
On this particular Monday, there were, Jones observed, a particularly large number of people having a very bad day, including him. First, there was the sixteen year old waitress who was nearly catatonic from the shock of finding a dead body. Second, there were the restaurateurs who owned the three buildings that shared the alley in which the body was found, and whose employees had been detained for questioning, and whose businesses had been temporarily closed to help preserve the crime scene. There was Jones' captain, who had, less than an hour ago, been notified to this, the second killing of not only such a bizarre nature but nearly identical m.o., in not only the city, but in a five block radius in a week. And then, of course, there was Jones Himself, whose day was being made even more difficult by one fact: he was getting a new partner.
In the six years that he had been a detective in Minneapolis, Jones had never had a partner. In fact, the last partner Jones had was currently on early retirement in Joliet County for the next 15 to 20, where Jones had sent him. Needless to say, Jones was not looking forward to having a new partner.
Jones superiors, however, felt that it was time for a change, especially after the public relations nightmare that the Jack Richards' disappearance had been. They felt that bringing a fresh mind into the department would help to "resolidify the public's faith and trust in their local law enforcement," which Jones had heard at least seventeen times a day from the administration for the last two weeks.
At present, the closest thing Jones had to a partner was Dr. Barry Wescott, lead criminologist at the Minneapolis Crime Lab. He and Jones had worked together on a number of cases over the past few years. In fact, of all the people Jones had worked with since transferring from Chicago, Barry was not just the first, but the only one who hadn't, at one time or another wanted to toss Jones out the nearest window to get him to shut the hell up. It wasn't that they had become friends or anything like that. They had simply developed a rapport, or, at least, the natural way that their sarcasm and smart ass remarks to each other had managed to insinuate themselves into their everyday work dialogue certainly held the appearance of rapport.
Barry Wescott was, to all who knew him, rather strange. He had a quirky, quippy sense of humor, and an almost complete lack of social skill or grace. Whenever anyone saw him, he was always eating something; nachos, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, hotdogs, sandwiches, always, but he never seemed to gain weight. He was still the same tall, lanky, pencil-necked string-bean that he had always been. He always wore one of the dozens of Hawaiian-print shirts and one of the handfuls of pairs of baggy cargo pants. And, although the people he worked with knew he was brilliant, he always had the dopiest and most vacant expression that gave most people the impression that the elevator never quite made it to the top floor.
On the other hand, when he worked, he was precise, detail-oriented, anal, a complete professional from the word "Go", or, in this case, from the words, "Morning Doc," which was exactly what Jones said to him when he arrived at the crime scene.
"Morning Jones. What do we have?" asked Barry.
"White male, mid 20's, dead a while. Waitress was taking out the garbage when she found him," Jones replied, hiding his disgust well, "Flies all over him."
"Anyone touch the body?"
"Nope." Jones explained further, "Owner called the cops when the waitress found him."
"And the scene?"
Jones pointed to two uniform officers and said, "First guys here roped off the alley and stayed back."
"Half hour ago," said Jones, checking his watch, "6:30"
Barry drank in the scene. He looked carefully up and down the walls and floor of the alley looking for anything and nothing in particular. With the exception of the dead body, there was nothing special about the alley; it looked like any other alley in the city. A couple of standard dumpsters sat in a convenient position off to one side, across from the back door of a restaurant and just beyond the fire exit of the bar. It was a clean alley; in a city any larger this alley might have been littered with newspapers, broken bottles, miscellaneous refuse, but not here. After all, this was Minneapolis.
Barry's attention turned to the body, as he stepped under the police tape. Jones began to follow, but was distracted by the sounds of horns honking and tires squealing.
"What now?" he grumbled as he walked back out to the street to see someone on a motorcycle speeding through traffic, bopping back and forth between lanes, cutting off cars right and left and leaving them swerving precariously. The motorcycle then pulled up onto the side walk and stopped right in front of Jones. The first words out of Jones' mouth were, "You can't park that here."
The rider killed the engine, and then took off her helmet to reveal short, closely cropped brunette hair, and sharp green eyes. She looked up at Jones, and asked, "What?"
"You can't park that here."
"Says who?" the woman said mockingly.
Jones flashed his badge and replied "The City of Minneapolis"
The woman reached behind her and under her coat. Jones drew his gun and yelled, "HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!"
The woman froze. Trying to be calm, she said, "Whoa, just going for my I.D."
The woman moved her arm slowly back out from behind her, wallet in hand. The wallet fell open, revealing a badge nearly identical to Jones'.
"See, I've got one of those, too."
Putting away his gun and pointing at the badge, Jones said, "Did you get yours in a box of cracker jacks along with your driver's license?"
"No, I actually had to send away for the badge. You wouldn't believe how many box tops I had to save up," the woman quipped back.
"Oh, for God's sake, get a damn room already and shut the hell up!" yelled a frustrated Barry from the crime scene.
The woman started to get up off of the bike when Jones asked, "So, you're just going to leave that there?"
"You gonna write me a ticket?" she asked rhetorically, to which he replied, "Do I look like a meter maid?"
She eyed him up and down for a moment, then said, "No, but I bet you'd look damn sexy driving around in one of those little golf cart things."
Barry, now also getting impatient, yelled, "Hey Jones, when you're done hitting on the Harley Davidson poster girl, I could use a hand."
"Jones?" the woman asked, now genuinely curious, "As in Detective C.D. Jones?"
Even though she'd said his name twice, it had taken Jones a moment to realize that she was talking to him.
"Are you still here?" he asked.
"Well, I should be," she explained, "I'm Detective Julie Kaldwell. I'm your new partner."
A wave of disdain washed over Jones as he flung a pair of latex gloves at his new partner and said, "Try to not destroy evidence."
Jones had a habit of sizing people up when he met them. He liked to get a feel for people. He liked pick them apart and break down what they were like to figure out why they were the way they were.
With Kaldwell, he had started sizing her up the moment he had seen her coming down the block. From the way she road down the street, the way she traded insults with him, and the total disregard she had to anyone else, he could tell that she was sure of herself to an almost narcissistic degree. He also read her outfit; a very smart looking and fashionable leather suit coat, burgundy t-shirt, black slacks, and very expensive but comfortable Italian shoes, he could tell that she was a complete professional, although she was trying to maintain a sense of individuality, which was all bullshit. He knew that this was all just something that she told herself, but the truth was that even after seven years, she was still very green, very much a rookie. The only problem was that, with seven years of experience, she no longer thought of herself as a rookie. As far as Jones was concerned, this was going to be hell, and he had no intent of going through it alone. He would share his private little hell with his new partner, whether she wanted to or not.
That will have to wait, Jones thought as he and Kaldwell crossed the police line to where Barry was waiting, and has started taking pictures of the body. He gets a little closer and sees a shadow of something under the victim's neck. He pauses and sighs to himself, "Hmm."
"What is it?" Jones asked, knowing that something had peaked Barry's curiosity.
"I don't know," said Barry, "Do me a favor and tilt his head the other way."
Jones leaned over and tilted the victim's head back and to the left, saying, "I hate doing this."
"There," Barry said, pointing out the deep punctures in the neck.
When he saw the marks, Jones made the connection.
"Bingo. Just like the Taylor case," he said.
Kaldwell was confounded by what she saw. It can't be, she thought, and then asked, "Are those bite marks?"
"From the bruise pattern between and on either side of the wounds," explained Barry, "I'd say that if they're not then we are definitely meant to think that they are. I won't know anything for sure until we get him back to the lab."
Noticing the growing number of people watching them, Jones then suggested, "Then that's what we should do. We've got too many people seeing too much out here, and if the press gets wind of this before--
"Too late!" Kaldwell exclaimed, pointing to the high-powered telescopic lens in a third story window overlooking the scene from the building across the street.
Jones yelled to the window, "MINNEAPOLIS POLICE! STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"
"I've got him," Kaldwell said, charging across the street to the fire escape that led up to the room. She jumped up and grabbed the ladder.
"Kaldwell!" Jones yelled, "What the hell do you think you are doing?!"
The ladder slid down with Kaldwell on it, and, after almost falling off, she raced up it.
"Dammit," Jones grumbled as he ran down the street to the front of the building and through the front door.
Reaching the second story landing, Kaldwell yelled out, "Hey, you with the camera, stay where you are!"
The only reply she received to this is a whispered "oh shit!" from the photographer's window.
Kaldwell dove through the window the photographer had been perched at just in time to see his foot disappear out the doorway of the room. She scrambled to her feet and chased after him. Meanwhile, Jones was taking two and three stairs at a time to try to catch the photographer. When he was only five steps form the second floor hallway, he saw the photographer. He leapt forward, arms outstretched, reaching for the running man . . . And missed him completely, landing clumsily at the top of the stairs.
Jones turned and looked up at the photographer, who was still running, to get a better look at him. He was wearing a black biker jacket, a pair of ratty blue jeans, and black sneakers. His dark shoulder-length hair was tied back in a ponytail, and he had a black canvas camera satchel slung over his left shoulder that hung low on his right hip. Jones turned to look back the other way in time to duck as Kaldwell hurdled over him. He got up and took off after Kaldwell and the photographer.
Kaldwell called out to the photographer again, "HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, YOU'VE GOT NOWHERE TO GO!"
But the photographer did have somewhere to go. He saw what neither Kaldwell nor Jones could; that the window at the end of the hallway was open. He also knew that there was another fire escape just outside that window.
The photographer dove through the window, his pursuers only a few yards behind him, and quickly rolled over towards the stairs. He slid down the banisters without touching the steps, BAM, landing on the second story platform, and then ran out on the counter-weighted steps barely waiting for them to drop halfway before leaping off and dropping to the alley below.
Unfortunately for Jones and Kaldwell, they made it to the window just a split second after the photographer had managed to duck down a side street. They both looked around desperately, trying to figure out which way he'd gone. When they finally gave up, they shook their heads and kicked themselves as they headed back to the stairs.
The photographer tightened the strap of his camera bag then leaped onto his motorcycle. He pulled on his helmet, revved the engine, and raced off with a squeal. After a few blocks, he looked back and saw a tired Jones and Kaldwell coming out of the front entrance of the building.
The photographer's name was John DeSalvo. He worked for the "Star Tribune", the highest circulating paper in Minnesota. He worked with his wife, Marleana, who everyone just called "Marley", and with his two closest friends, who happened to be Denny and Tina. And he made his living getting the pictures no one else ever got.
John had been a photographer since he was thirteen, when an art teacher gave him his first camera. Before he knew it, he was an art-photography sensation. But when he reached college, his interests shifted from art to journalism. He became a photographer for the school paper, where he met and worked with Marley, Tina, and later, Denny. He gained his reputation for being braver, cleverer, and having a better eye than the average camera bum, putting even professional photojournalists to shame.
But when he graduated from college and into the pros, he needed an edge. Where others relied on luck, he had a more useful and dependable tool: cash. Being the grandson of an Italian fashion designer and the son of a rock-and-roll icon, John was never without a bank roll, but growing up in the shadows of two generations of fame and riches, John wanted none of it. And as he and his wife both made a decent living from the paper, he had plenty of money left over to pay off patrol cops to tell him where a murder had just occurred or rent a room that over looked a crime scene for a few hours from a particularly greedy apartment building owner, which was what he did.
Now John was racing back to his paper. He pulled his bike into the parking garage. On the elevator, he pulled the memory card out of his camera, put it in his PDA, and hit a couple of buttons, which sent the photos to the printer in the offices above him. When he got to the office, he darted to the main network printer, and grabbed his photos. As he did, he spotted Denny across the bullpen. John made a bee line for Denny, grabbed him by the shoulders, and pushed him towards a side office.
"Jesus Christ, John," exclaimed Denny, hopping to keep from tripping over an office chair, "What the hell--"
"Just keep walking; I don't want to be noticed."
"Am I consorting with a known felon?"
"In here, quickly!" John said, opening an office door.
Tina looked up from her desk to see the guys now standing in her office.
"Hi honey, hi John," Tina said, "You guys need something?"
"Yeah," said John as he dropped the photos on Tina's desk, "Eight inches above the fold on the front page."
"What are these," Denny asked, picking up one of the photos.
"Your ticket to your first page one story."
In the eleven months that Denny had been at the "Star Tribune", he hadn't had a page one. In fact, he hadn't even had one decent byline. Being the rookie reporter for the paper, he was stuck scraping the bottom of the journalistic barrel, working the human interest beat. Denny hated fluff stories, and his friends all knew it, and although he would do almost anything for a real story, he hadn't had the opportunity. Needless to say, he was chomping at the bit.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Murder downtown, found this morning," John explained, "Best part is, m.o. matches Martin Taylor."
"You're kidding," said Tina in awe.
These were the first words Tina had spoken since John had dropped the photos on her desk. Tina was the junior assistant editor at the paper, which meant that while she was stuck doing most of the editing of articles while the senior assistant editor and the editor-in-chief made all of the real editorial decisions such as layout and story importance, etc. The fact was she had no real influence over editorial policy whatsoever, and the others knew it.
Tina looked more closely at the pictures. She was drawn into them, as if there were something familiar there. Something about the victim, or about the alley, or the light . . . No, not the light, she thought, the lighting is all wrong, it should be darker. Her mind flashed with the image of herself standing in the alley, as it was in the picture, but she was not herself. She was the same woman she had seen in the mirror in her bathroom the night before. She was looking down on the dead body, outside of the light cast by the street lamps at either end of the alley. She knew, somehow, somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew his name; she just couldn't focus on it, as if she were trying to read ten point font off of a billboard.
The sound of her door opening and closing had no effect on her trance-like focus on the pictures, yet, when she heard her own name, she looked up at the door and saw that same woman standing there. Confused and frozen by shock, she stared at the figure. She heard her name called out again, this time somewhere distant as her whole world was standing still . . .
"Tina . . . Tina"
"Tina!" Denny called out again, more forcefully this time, touching her shoulder.
Tina's head shook and her eyes blinked as if she were waking from a dream, and the only sounds to come out of her mouth were, "huh . . . wha"
"You okay hon?" Denny asked, "You look tired."
"I . . . I'm fine."
Tina looked over by John and saw Marley standing there.
"Oh, hey Mar, I didn't notice you come in."
Marley couldn't help but be puzzled by this.
"You sure?" she asked, "You looked right at me."
"What?" Tina asked.
Now Tina was confused, but she saw the same looks of confusion on her friends and the look of worry and concern on Denny, and tried to cover.