tagErotic CouplingsPink Panther Ch. 03

Pink Panther Ch. 03

byWifeWatchman©

This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman's biography.

Feedback and
constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.


Part 15 - Pink and Crimson

"This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Fox Two News!" shouted the lovely redheaded reporterette at 7:00am, Monday, October 2d, from Courthouse Square. "Fox Two News has learned that Eastern State assistant coach and former Bulldogs assistant coach Willy 'Speedy' Gonzales was found dead during the game between the visiting Spartans and the home team Wildcats! Let's go to Nick Eastwood for details. Nick!"

"Thank you, Bettina!" said Nick Eastwood, who was standing near University Avenue, with University Memorial Stadium visible behind him, as if the sports background was necessary for the story. "Local police are not giving out many details, but they say that Coach Gonzales had gotten separated from the rest of the Eastern State team, and was later found dead in a storage room. Our own Commander Donald Troy was at the game, and was asked to assist the local Police with the investigation. He granted me this interview yesterday. Roll tape."

Tape rolled showing Nick talking with me in the TCPD HQ Press Room. "Commander," Nick said, "was foul play involved in the coach's death?"

"There are indications of foul play," I said, in a massive understatement, "but I'll have to ask you to contact the local authorities for more details."

Nick asked: "Commander, you were taking your daughter to the game, and Police work followed you anyway. The Wildcats won the game, and there are rarely any issues with fans there, unlike State Tech. Can you give us any idea what might've happened?"

"All I can tell you, Nick," I said, "is that Coach Gonzales was found in a restricted area that is not accessible to fans, so this does not look like a random or spontaneous act by an angry or intoxicated fan. I really don't have any more, and I'm waiting to hear more details from the local Police just as you are."

Back to Bettina live: "Nick, why don't you give us the Sports report while you're with us."

"Sure, Bettina." Nick said. "Of course our Bulldogs trounced Western State, 36-10, remaining undefeated. The Wildcats defeated Eastern State 24-14, and the Tigers blistered State Tech 49-3."

"And in SEC play," Nick continued, "Georgia defeated Tennessee 41-0, their first shutout of the Volunteers in Knoxville since 1923, and the Volunteers' worst loss on Rocky Top since 1905. And Alabama annihilated Ole Miss, 45-6, in a game that was not as close as the score indicated, to easily remain No. 1 in the Nation! Back to you, Bettina!"

"Thanks, Nick!" said Bettina. "In other news, Governor Val Jared unexpectedly released his Tax Reform plan over the weekend. The plan would reduce the number of tax brackets, give the Middle Class a large cut, and eliminate the State Estate Tax, known as the Death Tax. Democrats immediately attacked the plan as a handout for rich corporations and the wealthiest people, while the Republicans, of all people, viciously attacked the plan as hurting big businesses. Let's go to Dr. Romanov of the University's Political Policy Institute for analysis."

Dr. Romanov came on the screen, though it was obviously a taped segment. Bettina asked him "Dr. Romanov, why are the Republicans not more enthusiastic about the Governor's Tax Reform plan?"

"Bettina," said Romanov, "the Republicans talk out of both sides of their mouths. They claim to be for the People, but when forced to actually take action, they take the side of the rich lobbyists that are funneling them money. The Establishment Republicans are 'crony Capitalists', beholden to their special interests that give them millions of dollars, not the People that don't give them nearly as much money. The insurance companies pay them millions to make sure health care is not returned to people and their doctors, and now the Special Interests are fighting to prevent meaningful tax reform, with the Establishment Republicans as their bought-and-paid-for Legislators."

"Dr. Romanov," said Bettina, "it would seem that Governor Jared is actually keeping campaign promises, but Republicans as well as Democrats are fighting him every step of the way, and they're even talking about impeaching him. How will the People of the State that elected Governor Jared respond to this?"

"Bettina," said Romanov, "the People are mostly Sheep. They don't care who holds the whip, as long as they get their bread crumbs. They have no sense of what Freedom is, unlike our war veterans who are beginning to die off with time..."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ain't that the truth." I said as we drank coffee in MCD. "And now Mr. Davis is becoming ill. I fear he does not have long left."

"What do you think about Coach Gonzales, Commander?" asked Theo.

"Now that you mention it... Bettina sure mentioned the victim that time." I said.

"True, that." said Cindy. She and Teresa were the only ones so far that knew about the Pink Panther at the Wildcat Stadium crime scene, as I had told them the day before, October 1st. We'd been at little Pete Feeley's birthday party. Pete was now three years old, I thought to myself. How time flies...

Then Detectives started coming in. I showed everyone the pictures I'd taken of Jamaal, having texted them to Theo and ADA Franklin Washington already. I also showed everyone a photo of a proud four year old girl in her own No. 10 Wildcats jersey. Theo said that Jamaal would be in Town during the Wildcats open date before the Bulldogs game, and he would bring Jamaal to HQ to meet Carole.

"That'll be nice." said Joanne. "Did Carole have fun at the game?"

"She loved it." I said. "She absolutely loved it. But she was tired by the end of the day, and slept all the way home."

I noticed that Teddy Parker was not in yet, and Joanne, Jerome and Theo kept furtively looking at his desk. A few minutes later, the Ole Miss alumnus Parker came in, looking pretty sad.

"My condolences, Teddy." I said. "Coffee makes things better."

"Bourbon makes losses like that better, too, sir." said Teddy. "I might've had some Saturday night. I might've had a lot." We all chuckled.

He sat at his desk and opened a drawer, and my Detectives were avidly watching. Parker groaned... the drawers of his desk were stuffed full with packets of 'Tide' detergent, the label clearly visible.

But that wasn't the worst of it... the packets had been slit, so that when Teddy picked one up, detergent poured out all over the place... into the drawer, on the floor and the desk. By now, everyone else was laughing very hard.

"You guys... are... a riot." Teddy said softly, not really amused. He did figure out that the top drawers could be pulled out and emptied into a trash can without much damage, but the bigger drawers with file folders... all stuffed with detergent packs... were much harder to do. Detergent was flying everywhere.

"Roll Tide!" exclaimed Joanne happily, showing who the primary instigator of this little prank was.

"Around the bowl and down the hole, roll Tide roll!" Teddy and I chanted together.

"I'm glad you guys didn't do the 'roll' part and toilet paper his desk like Toomer's Corner." I said, referring to the Auburn tradition.

"We're saving that for a better week." Cindy said, a certain wickedness in her voice. Teresa barked a laugh at that one. I cringed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the Main Conference Room were myself, Captain Ross, Chief Moynahan, SBI-SIS Lieutenants Chow and Orosco, FBI Special Agent in Charge Jack Muscone, FBI Special Agents Martin Nash and Julius Jefferson, and City Police Detective Robin Ventura, who was going to stop in and visit her dad, Campus Police Commissioner Dexter Robinson, later in the day. As of now, it was 9:30am, Monday, October 2d.

"Coach Gonzales was not shot, he was stabbed in the lower back with a large knife, which got his kidneys and cut his spinal cord." I said, my own back not feeling very well as I described the carnage. "He bled out quickly. They also cut his throat, probably to keep him from crying out."

"Just like that guy at the Cub Club." Cindy said softly. I nodded at her. (Author's note: 'Eyes Only', Ch. 01.)

"Was there camera coverage of the area at all?" asked Jack Muscone.

"Some." I said. "But it was spotty and not good quality. We got one shot where what looked like a uniformed Police Officer was escorting Gonzales, but it was from their backsides, so we didn't get a facial image. They're going through the process of accounting for all of the police officers there at the time, which will take some doing at a big event like that. But the going theory is that it was a fake LEO that led Gonzales to his death."

"And you found a Pink Panther disc in the dead man's hands, is that not right?" asked Chief Moynahan.

"Yes sir." I said. "Just like the others... no fingerprints except the dead man's, and he was grasping it at the time. It looks like it was put in his hands as he was dying, from the smudges of his own fingerprints."

"I got a call from the Sheriff of that county." said the Chief. "He said he was very impressed with your observations, as well as your professionalism in handling the crime scene and the evidence. So thank you for making us look good, Commander. In the meantime, any idea what links these four cases?... besides the Pink Panthers, of course..."

"The only other link I see," I said, "is that all four victims were connected to the University, the one across Town from us, here. Gonzales and Fulmer coached here, Dawson and Martinez were students here. Martinez was a student-athlete, so Dawson is the least connected of the group."

"In a strange way, he was connected." Cindy said. "He was hostile to the Athletics Programs at the University, and wrote columns in the student newspaper to that effect."

"Yes." I said. "Good point. And because of that, I am going to have to admit, as Sarek of Vulcan would say... it is possible that I was in error."

"What?!" came a chorus. "You?" asked Jack Muscone.

"If I were perfect, I'd run for God." I said. "Here's the deal, guys... I was thinking that Dawson was some kind of whistleblower, or the GOJ, or a reporter on a mission to expose BigAgraFoods or Senator Russell. But as I was driving home from the Wildcats game Saturday night, I asked myself 'What if Dawson was not a whistleblower, but was a loyal courier between BigAgraFoods and Russell, and he was killed for some other reason?'."

As everyone silently pondered, I continued: "And then some things started making sense. I was always having trouble figuring out the timeline of the 9-1-1 call, how Dawson had time to make that call, but didn't try to barricade himself in the bathroom or something. And what I realized was that this was a staged scene, and it was not Dawson that made that 9-1-1 call!"

"Ahhhhh." Cindy said, as she started to get it. The others were either in shock or beginning to be in deep thought.

"Think about it." I said. "Have any of you ever heard Dawson's voice? Hell, I can't find anyone that knows him at all. So... what if the perps busted into his apartment, subdued him quickly, went through his desk, but had little time to do more as there were other people in the area... and then one of the perps calls 9-1-1, shoots Dawson during the phone call as his buddies make fighting noises? And then they all left immediately, instead of staying around to see if anyone head the gunshot. Will it hold?"

"As good as anything else." said Julius Jefferson. "But then there's the 'why?' of it."

"We'll get there in a second. I said. "But to the points of the case, it also partially explains the data we found on Dawson. Nearly all of that stuff had already been released by The Guardians of Justice, and the rest of it didn't really lead us anywhere. So maybe they planted the data, and the cash as well."

"That's a lot of cash to let go of by planting it." said Martin Nash.

"True. But the Pink Panther at the crime scene starts to make some sense." I said. "Someone was leaving those at the crime scene for us to find and ponder... for me to find and ponder."

"It's always all about you, Commander." Cindy said with just a bit of a gleam in her ice-blue eyes. A red crowbar was waved in her general direction, even as I chuckled at her comment. Chief Moynahan was laughing also.

"In this case, it well may be." I said. "And I say that because I was in the area during the Wildcats game. If someone wanted to time it to kill Gonzales and to get my attention, they could not have had a better opportunity."

"Again, why?" asked Jefferson. "I mean, everything you're saying makes sense, Commander. But what are the motives?"

"That's the $64,000 question." I said. "And the answer will be in the links between these four victims, which I haven't found... yet."

"I would ask a different question." said Martin Nash. "Who knew ahead of time that you were going to the game, and so was able to plan and execute the scheme to kill Coach Gonzales?"

"Another great question." I said. "But it wasn't exactly a secret that we were going."

"We didn't exactly advertise it, either, sir." said Cindy.

"So where do we go from heeeerrrreeee?" asked the Chief.

"My FBI Team is going to become more involved, as this now crosses State lines." said Jack Muscone. "But we're limiting ourselves to connections between the victims, and BigAgraFoods and Senator Russell's possible involvement. Obviously the murders themselves remain local jurisdiction crimes."

"Have you guys found anything at all?" I asked.

"No." said Muscone. "And the peculiar thing is how fast everything calmed down, especially in Washington. Russell is no longer making a big stink of things. Congress is back in session, so maybe that's one reason why. BigAgraFoods has this illegal immigrant thing with the Governor, so they're not trying to draw attention to themselves for anything else, and their lobbyists are hard at work in Washington and in Midtown, trying to fight the Governor on those civil rights charges."

"One thing you FBI guys can do to help us out," I said, "is to 'follow the money'... check on the money found at the Dawson crime scene, see if it has any connections to anywhere else." Muscone nodded.

"Sir," said Norm Chow, "what do you want us to do at the State level?"

"Concentrate on the museum case." I said. "Find out how the perps got into the museum in the first place, and of course continue to find out about Butch Fulmer. Talk to Detective Shane O'Brady, and let him think he's in charge and lecturing you, but don't take everything he says at face value. He tends to let his theories distort his facts." Chow gave what was for him a smile as he made notes.

"Also," I said, "see if you can coordinate with Detective Ventura here, and also the University, and find out what you can about Selena Martinez that we don't already know. Robin, how much trouble are you going to get into for working with the SBI?"

"If no one finds out, then it never happened." said Ventura. "Let's keep this on the down low. I'll also talk to the Campus Police when I go visit my dad, see what they can get for me."

"Okay." I said. "By the way, guys, it's still possible that Dawson was a whistleblower. I've just put out a new and possible theory for us to look into. So... let's go find out which one is right..."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, the MCD Detectives were poring over the whiteboards, looking at the Rusty Dawson case.

"If it weren't for these other Pink Panther cases," said Theo Washington, "then we'd be considering this a whistleblower case, like the one down in Polk County."

"Even without those," said Jermaine Davis, "so many things just don't seem to fit. That 9-1-1 call... he had time to make it, then the perps shot him, then they ransacked his room while they had to know that the Police were on the way."

"And no fingerprints on the jump drives." said Joanne Warner. "But like you said before, Jerome, what a beautiful case right there in front of us... especially if we want to see a whistleblower case, or... or..."

"Or?" asked Teddy Parker.

"You know," Joanne said, "doesn't this thing just look... staged? I mean, they're showing us what we want to see... and when one gets down to it, it starts not making sense."

"Yeah, yeah." said Jerome, his eyes lighting up as he thought about it. "But again, how did they have time to stage it, with Police on their way after the 9-1-1 call."

"That's it!" Joanne exclaimed. "The 9-1-1 call... it can't be what it seems, either! How do we know Rusty Dawson made the call? What if... yeah, what if these guys busted in, surprised Dawson and captured him, then planted the stuff in the bed, went through the desk, then called 9-1-1 and shot him, then left?"

"Then... maybe it's not what it seems to be at all." said Jerome. "Maybe our theory was wrong. Maybe this guy was not a whistleblower, and they killed him for some other reason."

"Outstanding!"

They all turned to see Your Iron Crowbar and the Green Crowbar standing behind them. The compliment was from me.

"I'm glad you told us the same thing in that meeting, Commander." said Cindy. "Otherwise, I'd be saying they got one on you."

"Give them credit, Captain." I said. "Guys, I cannot tell you just how happy I am to hear you come to that successful conclusion. That is Iron Crowbar thinking in Iron Crowbar real time. Here, hold this. Keep it for the day." I handed Joanne the red crowbar. I need not say that I had some very happy Detectives on my hands... except Teddy Parker, who was still trying to clean up the mess around his desk...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back in my office, Cindy, Teresa, and I talked about the cases.

"Martin Nash had a good point." she said. "That is a lot of money to let go of, to plant on someone. So maybe it was Dawson's, after all?"

"By that logic, they would've taken it." I said. "And yes, it's a good point. That kind of money is not pocket change, even to a billionaire like Donald Trump. Definitely a 'strangeness'."

"The only time I've ever seen that kind of money is on drug cases." said Teresa. "And that was captured, not planted."

"Who ultimately gets that money?" Cindy asked.

"If anyone who shows they're a legitimate heir of Dawson makes a claim to it," I said, "they'd get the money when the case is either solved and closed, or after seven years or so by filing a petition with the Court. If no one claims it, it can be claimed by the County or the State, again after five to seven years. Until then, it sits in our evidence rooms."

Cindy nodded. "I was just wondering if someone thought they had a way of getting the money back, so leaving it there was just a temporary thing. Another thought: could Dawson still be a whistleblower, and he was killed by Russell or BigAgraFoods, and the others killed by someone else?"

"I've had the idea that all four were killed by different hired perps." said Teresa.

"And the Pink Panthers?" I asked, naming the one disc mold that in the darkness bound them.

"Maybe the same person or persons hired the different killers," said Teresa, "and had them leave the discs there, possibly to confound you, Commander. I know I don't have much data to support that, but the data we have doesn't exclude it, either."

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