When Chris got in his patrol car, he asked for the 20 from dispatch. His heart sank as he heard the address. He knew where he was going and he was terrified of what he was going to find when he got there.
When he arrived on scene, he was met by one of the firefighters who said “the victim is a Mr. Stewart. 92 years old. Gunshot wound to the back of the head, execution style.”
Chris hit his knees. When the firefighter asked if he knew the man, Chris didn’t answer but quickly gained his composure and went into the house. The coroner had already pronounced time of death and told Chris it looked like it was sometime around two o’clock that morning.
As Chris bent down and put his hand on the old mans’ shoulder, the words he had said the day before were screaming in his ears. “I’m afraid to go outside. The little children can’t even play in their own yards…and that just ain’t right.”
That old man wanted to make a difference. He was willing to stand up and do the right thing and it had cost him his life. Chris felt responsible. If he hadn’t talked to the old man, he would still be alive.
What seemed to be the entire neighborhood was standing by, watching them load the old mans’ body into the coroners’ car. Questions were asked but nobody was going to answer.
Chris knew that especially now, nobody was going to talk. They didn’t want to end up like the old man. He didn’t blame them and he didn’t blame them for the way they were all looking at him.
He went to the precinct to file his report and met Floyd on the way. As they were walking in, Red Dog and his high-powered attorney were walking out. He had been released on bond, almost immediately after he was brought in and charged.
When Red Dog mockingly grinned at Chris, Chris lunged at him and Floyd had to restrain him. “You don’t want to do this, son. You don’t want to do this,” Floyd said.
Red Dogs’ attorney had petitioned the court to have the upcoming trial date set aside, due to lack of evidence and witnesses. Chris knew that it would be granted. There would be no justification for wasting taxpayers’ money trying to get a conviction with virtually no evidence.
Chris didn’t come to the Waffle Shack for the next few days. His Lieutenant told him to take a few days off and he did. It was going to take him a while to come to terms with what happened. Floyd, Gary and Richie worried about him but they knew he would be alright. It would just take some time.
They tried to lighten the mood by telling Maude some dirty jokes. Maude loved what she called “deliciously dirty jokes” and had a laugh that resonated all the way across the room.
She said “okay, guys. My turn. What do you call bears that have no ears?” They all shook their heads and said “don’t know. What?” Maude smiled and said “B.”
Floyd said “okay, Maude. I’m going to have to write you a citation for that one.”
The mood changed when Maude asked Richie what they would do now.
He said “there’s nothing we can do. Just sit and wait I guess and pray for a miracle. Forensics is working the bullet but unless we find the gun and put it in somebodys’ hand, it’s not going to matter. It will just be another one of those cases, filed away in the basement with an unsolved sticker on the box.”
Maude said “surely somebody else will come forward.” Richie said “after what happened to the old man? Are you serious? Would you?
Lonesome dove was sitting in his booth as usual, watching and listening and doodling on a napkin. Maude had never seen him do that before. She went over with the coffee pot and offered a refill. He shook his head, put his hat on and got up to leave.
When she went back to take his coffee cup, she noticed that he had left the napkin. She picked it up and started to throw it away but curiosity got the best of her and she decided to look at it.
She opened it up and saw a conglomerate of concentric circles and sequential lines. “This is almost like a beautiful work of art” she thought to herself. As she carefully examined the configurations, she stood in silence when she saw a word that had been so intricately woven into the design, it was almost invisible.
To be continued_______________________________