Out Of The Ashes – Chapter One

Roland Burke was a broken man.  Not because of a failed marriage or a relationship that had soured.  Not even because he had lost his job.

He had never really returned to work.  Captain Meade and Powell had tried to engage him but the Burke they had known didn’t exist anymore.  He was sullen and defiant.

Even though Captain Meade told Burke that Pittman had been cleared, Burke was obsessed with the idea that he had something to do with Slaughter’s death.

He seemed to have taken on parts of Pittman’s personality.  When he did come to work, he came when he felt like it and he started treating people like they were less than human…and people started complaining.

Captain Meade finally had to let him go but with the promise of a revisit of his decision, should Burke get himself together.  Although their friendship had basically ended, Powell had tried to reach out to him but his efforts were futile.  He stopped by Burke’s apartment with frequency and although he knew Burke was there, his knock was never answered.

Burke had allowed himself to become too attached to Slaughter.  She was not the love of his life nor was she likely to have ever been but she had left an indelible mark.  It was almost as if she had been seared to his very soul but now she was dead and her death had left him devastated.

He felt responsible somehow and his guilt was overwhelming.  He had never disclosed the extent of their relationship to anybody but from his actions, it was clear that it had progressed far beyond friendship.

For three months, he had been lost in a world of self-destruction and self-loathing.  Booze had become his best friend and seemed to be the only comfort he could find.  He gradually retreated into a life of a self-imposed solitary confinement.

His nights were spent fitfully sleeping for a scant few hours and his days were spent in a hungover, hazy fog.  During the few hours he was sober, he cursed himself.

Untouched mail had piled up in front of the door and his power had been turned off two weeks earlier but he didn’t seem to care.  Darkness was his friend and made it easy to hide from the outside world.

Powell made the decision to stop by once more and in an uncharacteristic gesture, Burke opened the door.  The sickening smell of stale booze permeated the air.  Powell could tell that Burke was inebriated.  In an unapologetic voice, Burke said “I’m having breakfast.  Want some?”

Powell politely declined.  He was taken aback when he saw that Burke was as unkempt as his apartment.  Burke was holding a piece of paper in his hand and sat down in his favorite chair.  He showed it to Powell and said “isn’t this some kind of shit?”
Powell looked at the “final eviction notice” and asked Burke what he was going to do about it.
“Nothing,” said Burke.

Powell looked around, as if assessing a crime scene and just shook his head. There were half-eaten pieces of pizza and empty fast food bags and boxes scattered all over the room.  Beer and liquor bottles decorated the table tops, counters and even the floor.

Dishes were piled up in the sink and Powell recoiled as he watched a roach scurry by.  He said “Jesus, Burke. You’ve got bugs crawling around.”
Burke said “that’s Charlie.  He’s my buddy.”

Burke was in his pajamas and when Powell asked him how long it had been since he bathed and got dressed, he smiled, popped open another beer and said “I don’t even remember.”

This 6′ 4″ man who had been such an imposing character was now just a shell of his former self.  He was rumpled and slovenly.  His face was puffy from all the booze, his hair looked like it had been coiffed by Albert Einstein and his once well-groomed mustache looked like he was ready to audition for Duck Dynasty.

Powell asked Burke if he realized what was happening to him.  “You’re obviously not paying your bills.  Your apartment’s a wreck.  You’re a wreck. What are you going to do, just sit around here until you die?”
His questions were answered with “my life is none of your fucking business.”

Powell clearly made a mistake when he asked Burke what he thought Slaughter would think if she knew what he was doing.  Burke unsteadily stood up but still towered over Powell.  He snarled when he said “she isn’t thinking anything because she’s dead!  Now get the fuck out of here.”

Powell begged Burke to let him help but his offer was met with hostility. Burke, in an almost scream said, “I don’t need your help.  I don’t need anything from you.  I don’t need anything from anybody.”

He sat back down, opened a pint of Vodka, raised the bottle and said “cheers.”

 

To be continued________________

 

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Fifteen

Burke was at the Lounge, anxiously awaiting Slaughter.  She had figured out who the killer was and he was wondering just what the “cause for celebration” would entail.  He was hoping for a little more than a drink and an exchange of information.

She had certainly lived up to her reputation.  She was everything he had heard she was but he had discovered a softer side…a more human side and he had acquired a tremendous respect for her.  She had left her mark on him.

He smiled as he thought “never before have I met a woman who is so commanding, so intelligent, so driven and so beautiful.  She is certainly one for the record books.”

He knew he had become infatuated with her and somewhere deep down, he knew it was a mistake.  He also knew he had to face the reality that, just as Powell had warned, she would be going back home.

Did he dare think that she might entertain the idea of staying?  She was a big city player from the town some called “the Paris of the West” and he was a small town detective, living in a city that didn’t even appear on most maps.

Daydreaming made the time pass quickly and before he realized it, an hour had gone by.  Slaughter should have been there.  He gave her a call but it went straight to voicemail.  He didn’t give it much thought because it had happened before.

After a few minutes, his phone rang.  Expecting Slaughter, he didn’t even look at the number.  He was surprised when he heard Captain Meade’s voice.

“Where are you?” he asked.  Burke hesitantly told him that he was at the Lounge, waiting for Slaughter and asked “what’s going on?”  Captain Meade said “meet me at Slaughters’ place” and then abruptly hung up.

Burke felt sick to his stomach as he got up and headed toward the door.  His mind was racing as he lit up his car and sped over to her place.

When he arrived, Captain Meade and Powell were waiting for him.  He could tell by the expression on their faces, that something was wrong.  Powell told him he might not want to go any further but Burke pushed by him and walked up to Slaughters’ car.

Her head resting on the steering wheel.  A stream of blood was running from her left ear.

All Burke could think was “how?  How had this woman, a woman who could lay you all the way down with a single fiery glance, be dead?  How had a complete stranger been able to get that close to her…or had it been a stranger?”

Burke asked Captain Meade how he knew to come to Slaughters’ place. Captain Meade said “we got an anonymous tip.”
“When?” Burke asked.
“About half an hour ago.”

Burke’s thoughts immediately turned to Pittman.  Slaughter had in every sense of the word, turned him into a eunuch and he wasn’t the kind of man to let somebody get away with that, particularly when that somebody was a woman.

As he considered the possibility, he couldn’t help but think that somehow, he was responsible for Slaughters’ death.  If he had only gone to her instead of meeting at the Lounge, she would still be alive.

Burke could feel his rage almost reaching critical mass and it was showing. He was screaming like a caged animal and had to be physically restrained.

It didn’t take long for Captain Meade to understand that Burke’s reactions were more than just investigating another murder.  He told him to back off and leave the scene and that order infuriated Burke even more.

While scouring Slaughters’ car, the crime scene was the same as all the others.  Her purse was still in the car, along with her weapon.  Her files were still on the front seat.  The keys were still in the ignition.

The only thing they found was what looked like the burned remains of an envelope.  Powell gingerly picked it up and put it in an evidence bag, although he believed the chances were slim that anything was going to be found in the ashes.

Burke stood in silence as the coroner took Slaughters’ body away.

Quietly to Powell, he wondered aloud if she had thought about him before she died.  Powell put his hand on his shoulder and said “I don’t know which would make you feel worse…if I said yes or if I said no.”

It was a sleepless night for Burke, Powell and Captain Meade.  As dawn broke, the three of them walked to the lab to see if they had managed to find anything in the ashes.  The tech showed them the only thing he could salvage, which was a tiny sliver of paper.

On that tiny piece of paper, they were able to make out four words.  “They turned their backs.”  The tech asked Burke what he thought that meant.  Of course, their reports reflected that the victims had been killed, while supposedly having “turned their backs” momentarily but this piece of paper hadn’t come from a report.  It had been typed and Burke felt sure that it hadn’t been typed by Slaughter.

Where had Slaughter gotten this letter and more importantly, who had sent it?

Burke, in a fit of anger, threw up his hands and said “she knew who the fucking killer was.  Why didn’t I make her tell me?”

Powell tried to comfort him by saying he couldn’t have known what was going to happen.  Burke slammed his fist down on the desk and said “it was that goddamn Pittman!  I know it was that goddamn Pittman!”

Captain Meade shook his head and said “no it wasn’t.  We’ve already checked and he was out of town.”

Captain Meade patted him on the back and said “we’ve got a tough phone call to make and we can’t put if off any longer.”  Burke and Powell followed him into his office and sat down.  Captain Meade wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and picked up the phone.

Emotionless, Burke stared at nothing as he listened to Captain Meade.  He took a deep breath and started to walk out of the room, in an almost robotic way.  He paused and said “if it takes the rest of my life, I am going to find out who did this.”

The death of Slaughter changed Burke.  He lost focus and became almost insanely obsessed.  He started showing up late for work, if he showed up at all and was often seen sitting at the Lounge, staring into his drink.

Powell tried everything from the soft approach of offering a comforting shoulder to cry on, to the school of hard knocks prediction of becoming a homeless alcoholic.  Burke resented Powell’s attempts and his response was hostile when he accused him of interfering in his personal life.  It wasn’t long until their friendship basically ended.

Captain Meade eventually had to call Burke into his office and order him take an extended leave of absence.  The man Captain Meade and Powell had known was no longer there.  Only the shell of a broken man was left.

As Burke slowly walked out of the station, Captain Meade looked at Powell and said “kiddo.  We’re going to have to keep an eye on him.  The only thing more dangerous than a man who has everything to gain, is a man who has nothing to lose.”

 

Endirinn.

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Fourteen

Slaughter had found a common thread.  Ten murders and all the victims were friends of Pittman.

The reasonable suspect would of course, be Pittman but this wasn’t going to be Occam’s Razor.  The simplest answer wasn’t necessarily going to be the best or the right answer.  That was far too easy.

It was pure speculation and hearsay about what their relationships really were.  If the test of a real man is measured by the way he treats those he has control over, then Pittman had failed miserably and true accounts would have to come from him or the victims.  He had already proven to be less than honorable and the dead don’t talk.

Had there been confrontations over the price of advertising that could have possibly resulted in harsh feelings?  Was Pittman jealous over the meager but nonetheless, obvious success of Ludlow?  Had he harbored ill feelings toward his mother for divorcing his father?  Had somebody told him what Mulder said about him?

Had any or all of these victims at some point, diminished Pittman or assaulted his manhood, as Slaughter had so effectively done?

Some might believe that even with a man like Pittman, those scenarios would seem far-fetched but in Slaughters’ experience, she had seen people murdered for motives far less ridiculous.

Karl Pittman was clearly a psychopathic narcissist but he didn’t strike Slaughter as the type to “get his hands dirty.”  Still, because he thought the majority of people were “children of a lesser God,” there was something about him that led her to believe that murder to him, would be tantamount to swatting a fly.

Could Ellison Caldwell figure somehow figure into the equation?  It was a well known fact that he had a burning hatred for Pittman.  Their rivalry had spanned decades and although neither were still in the business, there’s the old adage, “revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Why didn’t Caldwell kill Pittman?  Killing his friends and mother made no sense and apparently had no impact, given Pittman’s insouciant attitude about the murders.  It was also abundantly clear that the only person who was important to Karl Pittman, was Karl Pittman and of course, his numerous “parasites.”

Could there possibly be another person in the mix, who also had a motive to kill the victims?

While still at the Lounge, Slaughter started reading everything in the files. Something had to be there, maybe hiding in plain sight.  She combed through Burke and Powell’s reports, looking for something…anything that could have been overlooked.

Ten victims.  Page after page of information and interviews.  There had to be a correlation, some connection, other than to Pittman and it had to be somewhere in those files.

Slaughter took the files to her place and spread them out on the floor as if she was trying to piece together a puzzle, which of course, she was.  She sat and stared, drawing mental lines and reading reports of conversations.  The word “unsolved” had never been in her vocabulary and she was determined that it was not going to insinuate itself into her flawless record.

After several hours, she took a break and began to open mail that had accumulated over a period of days.  An envelope with no return address caught her eye.  Inside were three pages that looked to have come from an antique manual Remington typewriter, complete with floating letters that were so common with those ancient machines.

She was mesmerized while reading.  Everything was spelled out in great detail…who, what, where, when and why…and to Slaughter, it made perfect sense.  Although unsigned, she immediately knew who the author was. How had this person been overlooked?  Had it been sloppy detective work? and yes, she included herself in that criticism.

She quickly called Burke.  As soon as he answered, she said “I know who the killer is.”  When he asked her who, she said “meet me at the Lounge and I’ll fill you in.  I think we have cause for celebration.”

Burke said “I’m on my way.  See you in twenty.”

Slaughter had just gotten into her car, when she heard a tapping on the side window.  She leaned forward to lower it, while hiding her right hand as it slipped into her purse and onto her service weapon.

A voice said “I think you’ve been looking for me.”

 

 

To be continued________________

 

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Thirteen

The next morning, the detectives met in Captain Meade’s office.  Burke gave his report on his visit to the upstate.  “Mulder’s ex-wife and son had air-tight alibis.  I gathered there was no love lost between them and Mulder.  The son thought his father was an asshole for what he did to his mother but said he didn’t want him dead…he just him out of their lives.”

Captain Meade turned to Powell and said “how about that warrant, kiddo?” Powell had a satisfied smile when he said he had obtained a limited warrant.  “That will allow us to search any work product or documentary materials but that’s all.  Due to the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, unless we have reasonable suspicion of possible incriminating evidence or of course, suspicion of child pornography, our hands are tied as far as his computer or phone.”

“So, what we’re likely to find is a bunch of post-it notes with chicken scratch on it,” said Captain Meade.  “Alright, go on over there and start looking.”

“What about you, Slaughter?  What’s on your agenda?”
Slaughter smiled and said “I’m meeting with the inimitable Mr. Pittman. From what I’ve heard about him, I’m sure he’s going to whip it out…and I’m going to point and laugh.”
Captain Meade shook his head and said, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary.”  After he picked up his Bible and cigarettes, he looked at Slaughter and said “remember what I said.  Try to leave him intact.”

Slaughter had arranged to meet Pittman at the Lounge.  When he strolled in, she immediately recognized him.  His swagger was dripping with haughty, high-handed superiority.  She smiled as she wondered to herself, why she wasn’t hearing “hail to the chief.”  As she extended her hand and introduced herself, he gave her a broad smile and said “Karl Pittman.  I understand you want to talk about Stan Mulder.”

Slaughter immediately took the upper hand when she said “yes, but before we talk about him, tell me a little about yourself…which is something I imagine you like to do.”
Pittman was not amused and contemptuously said “I’m retired.”

Slaughter continued stalking her prey when she said “and that’s probably a good thing.”
Before Pittman could respond, she continued.  “I understand you had a sometimes rather rocky relationship with Mr. Mulder.”  Pittman gave his best sneer when he said  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  We were good friends.”
Slaughter said “well, I heard that you butted heads on more than one occasion and I also understand that you and Mr. Mulder shared, shall we say, certain qualities.”

Pittman said, “I don’t know what qualities you’re talking about but I gave him a job after he was fired and then I arranged for him to be elevated to the top position when I retired.  He’d probably be homeless now if it hadn’t been for me.  I saved his ass…and I saved his career.”

“Yes,” Slaughter wryly said.  “I’ve heard you are quite the humanitarian and consider yourself to be a true asset to the community.  I’ve also heard that you have…a rather unsavory past.”
With a snarl, Pittman started to get up and said “okay, I don’t know what you’ve heard but I’m not going to sit here and listen to anymore of your sarcastic bullshit.  We’re through talking.”

Slaughter looked him dead in the eye and said “sit down.  We’re through talking when I say we’re through talking.  So, we can either talk here or we can talk after I haul your ass down to the station.  You choose.”

Pittman sat back down and said “okay.  Just what the fuck have you heard?”
“I’ve heard that you are ruthless, arrogant, volatile, supercilious, self-important, self-centered, self-serving and you treated your associates and employees like they were less than human.  I’ve also heard that you cheated on your wife numerous times.”

Pittmans’ rage was showing when he said “I am not going to discuss my wife with you.”  Slaughter said “funny you would refer to her as your wife.  I understood she divorced you.”

Pittman leaned toward her and said “you know, I don’t much care for your passive-aggressive, ‘queen of the bitches’ approach here.  That kind of shit doesn’t sit well with me.”

Slaughter said “well, you’d better get comfortable because you’re about to care a lot less for it.”

Pittman, struggling with the fact that Slaughter was not going to be intimidated, angrily asked, “what does any of this have to do with Stan?”
“Nothing,” said Slaughter as she smiled.  “I was just trying to determine if you had been accurately portrayed by your colleagues and I will say that I think you were.”

Pittman was seething when he asked which colleagues she was referring to. She ignored him as she said “okay.  Moving on.  Do you know of anybody who would have wanted to kill Mr. Mulder?”
“No,” was the succinct, abrupt answer from Pittman.  “And if you think I had anything to do with it, you’re wrong.”

Slaughter said “okay.  It’s been established that you knew Mr. Mulder but tell me this.  Did you know Marvin Jackson?”
“Yes.”
Slaughter was momentarily taken aback.  “How did you know him?  Was he a friend?”
“Yes.  He was a friend and he advertised in my paper.”
“How about George and Lisa Moore.  Friends?”  asked Slaughter.
“Yes.  We were friends.  George advertised in my paper, too.”
“And David Ludlow?  Did you know him?”
“Yes.  He came to several of my journalism seminars.  He fancied himself a writer, heard about me and sought out my expertise.”

Slaughter briefly suspended the questions and asked “you knew all of these people.  They were your friends.  Did it never occur to you to wonder why these people…these people you knew…these people who were your friends…were being systematically murdered?  I mean, these murders were not random and they were not without motive.”

“Never gave it much thought,” said Pittman.
Slaughter said, “I’m sure of that but did you ever wonder if you might be next?  I’ve heard that you are the most hated man who has ever been in the profession and I’ve heard you had enemies.”

“I’m not worried about it,” said Pittman.
“Because you’re so important?” asked Slaughter.
Pittman responded with a sarcastic “yeah.  Because I’m so important.”
Slaughter couldn’t help herself when she said “and that’s why you retired from a small town, no-name newspaper…the only newspaper that would give you a job after you were fired from the newspaper in the upstate?”
Pittman looked at her and said “you’re a real piece of work, you know it?”
“Thank you,” said Slaughter.

She continued as she asked if he knew Østergaard.
“Yes.  He sold the computer system to the paper where I worked at the time and yes, we were friends.”
“How about Mrs. Forney?”
“Yes.  She was my mother.”
“She was your mother?  And she had a different last name?”
“Yeah.  She and my daddy were divorced and she took back her maiden name.  You got a problem with that?”
“Not at all,” Slaughter said.  “If he was anything like you, I can certainly understand her reasoning.  Tell me something.  Were your parents by any chance brother and sister?”

Pittman was outraged by her remark and smirked when he said in his slow, Southern drawl, “now you tell me something, sweetheart.  Do you have penis envy?
Slaughter smiled as she looked at him and said “no.  Do you?”

Pittman drew every eye in the Lounge when he raised his voice and said “fuck you.”

Slaughter, laughing loudly said “fuck me?  Who are you trying to kid?  You probably can’t fuck anybody without the help of some little blue pills and I’d be willing to bet that before you needed them, you were about as satisfying as a leg cramp.”

She had just done to Pittman what she had been told he spent his entire career doing to other people.  She had systematically and publicly eviscerated him and now she was laughing while he left a trail of blood as he quickly stormed out of the Lounge, screaming “if you have any more questions for me, call my fucking lawyer.”

 

 

To be continued__________________________

 

 

 

 

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Twelve – Part Two

“Wow,” Slaughter said.  “He sounds like a real peach.  Tell me, how did he come to work for the Daily Ledger?”

“Well, that’s an interesting story,” said Foote.  He finally managed to get his foot in the door of an independently owned newspaper, with the promise of being put into the top position as soon as the current editor retired.”

“That was the paper where he and Mulder met?”
“Exactly…and like with Caldwell, he and Mulder immediately started butting heads.  The only difference was that Pittman was already Mulder’s boss.”

“Pittman didn’t waste any time immediately making everybody in the place hate him, either.”
“What do you mean?” asked Slaughter.
“Well, there was this woman named Caroline, who was in line to be Pittman’s managing editor once he was promoted.  Unfortunately, a few days after Pittman arrived, she was killed on her way to work.”

“The next day, Pittman was ready to dig in and make his mark but it was like everybody was in a fog.  He was getting more and more frustrated and finally asked what the fuck was wrong with everybody.”
“One of the clerks said ‘I think everybody’s sad about Carolines’ death’.”

“Word has it that he exploded and screamed ‘I don’t have time for stupid shit like death.  Just do your fucking jobs’.”

“He got his promotion but that didn’t stop him from pretty much treating everybody like they were less than garbage.  He would fire somebody just because he didn’t like them and he seemed to enjoy it when he made the women who worked for him cry.”

“Mulder started sucking up to Pittman.  He was lobbying hard for Carolines’ job but Pittman had always intended to give the position to Linda, until they had a falling out.”
“And why did they have a falling out?” asked Slaughter.
“Because she realized that Pittman wasn’t going to leave his wife and children for her.”

“Speaking of his wife and children.  There’s a story about his wife calling him to tell him that one of their children had been injured.  Everybody heard him scream at her, ask her what the fuck she expected him to do about it and then tell her to just fucking handle it.”

‘People started leaving the paper en masse and after several complaints, the publisher strolled down to the newsroom to pay Pittman a visit.  The altercation that ensued is legendary.  In the middle of the newsroom floor, Pittman pointed his finger in the publishers’ face and screamed ‘listen, you fucking idiot.  You have one person in this entire place who can win you a Pulitzer Prize and that’s me’.”

“As you would expect, he was fired.  It took him a long time to find another job because he was considered poison.  But, then he met Mr. Robinson, who was the former publisher of the Ledger.  The paper was struggling and Pittman charmed Mr. Robinson into hiring him to ‘fix it’.”

“In the meantime, Pittmans’ wife found out about his affair with Linda.  It seems Pittman had given her a ‘gift’ he got from Linda, if you know what I mean.  She left him and moved to another state but Pittman never took his wedding ring off and acted like they were still married.  When the staff asked when they were going to get to meet her, he would come up with some excuse, like she had to stay behind to sell their house.”

“After a few years, we were surprised when he started bringing this woman to the office and then to all the functions.  Everybody hated her.  Quite frankly, she looked and acted like trash.  She walked around, hanging all over him like a cheap suit and people wondered what was going on.  We all knew he was married and we all knew that this woman wasn’t his wife.”

Foote laughed when he said “we all took to calling her the ‘parasite’.”

“He finally started telling everybody that his wife had left him because he had gotten fired from his high-profile, high-paying job.  In other words, he wanted everybody to think she was a gold-digger and nothing more.  It was a shame really…the portrait of her he painted.”

“When he would run into somebody he and his wife had known in the past, he lied and told them he was divorced, so he didn’t have to explain why he was with another woman.”

“The worst thing was that he was still making regular trips to see his wife and playing husband to her.  She didn’t have a clue what he was doing.”

“So,” Slaughter said.  “He and Mulder were cut from the same cloth.  Both were cheating on their wives and keeping a mistress on the side.”

“Yep…and Mulder knew his wife…and he knew they weren’t divorced but she got the last laugh, you might say.”
“How so?” asked Slaughter.
“She found out about this latest woman and filed for divorce…and she filed for adultery.  Then, she wrote letters to all of their friends and all of his co-workers and told them everything.”
“Pittman was spitting nails.”

“Did you get a letter?” asked Slaughter.
“Yes, I did and he knew it.  He wanted to read it but I told him I wasn’t going to let him.  That really pissed him off and I worried that he might fire me but he didn’t.  He just tried to get me to believe him when he said ‘you can’t believe anything she says.  She’s an insane, vindictive bitch and she’s trying to make me look ridiculous’.”

“He did everything he could to make everything look like her fault.  He wrote a letter to the judge, blaming her for the failure of the marriage.  He said she was an uneducated woman who had ‘an unreasonable sense of injustice’.  He even blamed her for ‘destroying his career’.  I don’t know if this is true but I heard that the ‘parasite’ tried to get some of her male friends to say they had…”

“Had what?” asked Slaughter.

“Had been with her…in the Biblical sense of the word, if you know what I mean.  The parasite knew that charges of adultery would be voided if there was any doubt about reciprocation on his wifes’ part.”

“Mr. Foote,”  said Slaughter.  I think I have all I need.  Thank you for talking with me.  You have given me a great insight into what kind of man Mr. Pittman is.  I’m looking forward to chatting with him.”

“Be careful,” Foote said.  “He’s a great manipulator.  He will cut you open and laugh while you’re bleeding.”
Slaughter smiled as she said “yes, I have heard that about him.”

Foote started running his finger along the rim of his coffee cup.  He finally looked at Slaughter and said, “you know, Mulder’s dead and we’re talking about Pittman.  If you ask me if I think Pittman is capable of murder, I would say yes…absolutely.  But I would qualify it by saying that even though he’s a bully, he’s basically a coward and I don’t believe he’s capable of physical murder…just emotional murder.”

To be continued_________________

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Twelve – Part One

Slaughter made a call to Mr. Foote and asked for a meeting.  Foote, a little confused told her that he had already told detective Burke everything he knew.

Slaughter said “yes, I know but I want to talk about Mr. Pittman.”  She could sense the hesitation in Foote’s voice as he reluctantly agreed to meet.
“Why don’t we meet at the Lounge?” Slaughter asked.
“I’d rather not,” Foote said.  “I’m known there and people might start to get suspicious.  How about we meet at the Waffle House, around seven?”
“Sounds good,” Slaughter said.

After Foote arrived and sat down, he said “I feel a little like Judas.  I mean this man gave me a job when nobody else would.”  Slaughter assured him that their conversation would be confidential.
Foote asked if she thought Pittman had something to do with Mulder’s murder.
Slaughter explained “we just need to gather as much information as we can and I know that he and Mulder had a past.  I’ve also heard that Mr. Pittman can be a rather mercurial man.”

“Yes, to both of those statements,” said Foote.  “What do you want to know?”

“Why don’t you start with when you first met Mr. Pittman.”

With a sigh and the same hesitation, Foote started.  “Well, I first hired him as a cub reporter when he was fresh out of college.  He was cocky and arrogant but he was a damn good reporter.  He was already under the impression that he was the best out there and I think he thought he was above following the rules.”
“What do you mean?” asked Slaughter.

“Well, like everybody, he had set hours but he came to work when he damn well felt like it.”

Slaughter said “and you allowed that?”

“He was just so damned talented, I overlooked it…for a while.  We finally came to blows and he quit and started freelancing.  Not long after he quit, he married his high-school sweetheart, who had moved to the area after she graduated.”

“After he got married, I guess he thought he needed a more stable job, so he came back to work for me.  He did a good job but he would leave work and go the local college hang-out bar every night and stay until it closed.  His wife finally left him after two years.  I imagine she got tired of being alone all the time.”

Then, he met another girl who worked at the bar.  He talked to me about her now and then.  He said she was ‘sweet and innocent’ and he hoped he wouldn’t end up shitting on her.  I remember saying…well, don’t.”
“They got married and he started looking for a better job.  He found one and they moved to another city.”

“I knew from the first day I met him that he was hell-bent on climbing his way to the top and making a name for himself…and he wasn’t going to let anything or anybody get in his way.  I dare say he ultimately reached his goal, although the name he made for himself was synonymous with being the most hated man in the profession.”

“I followed his career, which wasn’t hard.  You know, we all hear about what everybody’s doing…good, bad and indifferent.  Now and then, I would get a quick message from him, telling me how he was doing and announcing the birth of another child.  It occurred to me that he never once asked me how I was doing.”

“His career took him to several different states and he always left a mark. He won numerous awards and sometimes, led the papers to some notoriety but he just couldn’t seem to get the top.  He was constantly clashing with upper management…the very people who could put him in the position he so desperately wanted.”
Foote shook his head and grinned…”he once said ‘these motherfuckers need to get their heads our of their assholes and realize that I am the smartest person in the room’.”

“In the eighties, he made a critical error in judgment when he took a job in Georgia.”

“Why was that?” asked Slaughter.

“He ran into…shall we say…a formidable enemy.”

“Was that by any chance,  Ellison Caldwell?” asked Slaughter.

“It sure was,” Foote said.

Slaughter smiled and said “I actually had the displeasure of talking to Mr. Caldwell and he certainly made an impression.”

“I have no doubt,” said Pittman.
“Anyway, he and Pittman hated each other at first sight.  They were two ‘type A’ personalities and the A stood for assholes.  They were both up for a promotion and Caldwell got it.  I hear that he got it by using underhanded methods but he still got it and it didn’t help that Pittman treated everybody like shit.  Nobody wanted to work for him.”

“Word soon got around that Pittman was having a fling with a reporter named Linda, who was involved with Caldwell and when Caldwell found out, he was enraged.”
“Caldwell set out to ruin Pittman and having just been crowned king, he damn near did.  He reduced Pittman to nothing more than a week-end reporter.  It was like he sat him in the corner and all but put a dunce cap on his head.”

“So, Pittman was cheating on his wife with Caldwell’s girlfriend?” Slaughter said.

“Yep, and Linda was a consummate game-player.  She had added fuel to the fire by successfully played them against each other until it was announced who got the promotion.”
“Shortly after Caldwell found out about the relationship between Linda and Pittman, he got rid of her and started seeing another woman, who he eventually married.”
“After that, Linda focused her attention entirely on Pittman and was thrilled when he announced that he was going to another paper.”

“Why was she thrilled?” asked Slaughter.

“Because when he left, he took her with him.”

“Then…there was the famous Pittman swan song.”
“What so you mean?” Slaughter asked.

“A local man was running for office and as punishment from Caldwell, Pittman, while working out his notice was tasked with interviewing him. Being a good reporter, Pittman dug up some dirt on him.  When he confronted the man with it, he begged and pleaded with him to not divulge the information.  He said ‘I have tried to lead a good life since then and now all I want to do is serve my community.  If you publish this, it will destroy me’.”

“Pittman didn’t care.  His said his view was that the public deserved to know the truth and told the man he should grow some balls and not hide behind purported good intentions.”
“I’m sure he was still burning over Caldwell’s treatment of him and maybe felt like he now had to power to completely extirpate somebody elses’ life.”
“Anyway, this man looking for anything that even remotely resembled compassion from Pittman was left wanting.  He never stood a chance.  Pittman more or less told him to stop crying like a little girl and said he was going to run the story.”

“And did he?” asked Slaughter.

“No, he ran a story about the man’s suicide instead.”

 

To be continued_________________

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Eleven

After Foote left the Lounge, Burke tried Slaughter again.  When she answered, he asked where she was.
“I’m on the way to my place,” she said.

He asked how it went with Pittman.
“I didn’t talk to him.  When he finally returned my call, he said he was on the golf course so we’re going to meet tomorrow.  How about you?  What did you find out?”

“A lot,” Burke said.
“Okay, you can fill me in tomorrow…or you can stop by my place but you should know…I never discuss work there.”

Burke was already half-way out of the booth when he said, “I’ll be there in a minute.”

What, if anything happened at Slaughters’ place that night would be known only to Slaughter and Burke.

The next morning, Burke met Powell in the interrogation room.  Powell was waiting to give his report to Captain Meade and was surprised when Burke entered the room, whistling.

Powell took the opportunity to ask Burke what was going on with him and Slaughter.
“What do you mean?” asked Burke.
“I mean you two seem to be buddy-buddy and now, you’re….whistling.  Is there something going on that I don’t know about?”

Before Burke could answer, Slaughter and Captain Meade came into the room.
“Okay, kiddo, what have you got?” asked Captain Meade.

“Well, his wife was understandably beside herself with grief and she seemed to be sincere,” he said. “She said that she wasn’t aware of anybody who would want to hurt him.  She gave me ‘he’s the finest man I have ever known…he was the love of my life’, you know the usual rigmarole.”

“She referred to his ex-wife as ‘that crazy ex-wife’ but said she had never met her.  She said she knew Mulder resented having to pay alimony and that this crazy ex-wife had done everything she could to ruin him financially.”

“I asked about his friends and read a few of the other victims’ names.  Her answers ranged from ‘I don’t know, to maybe, to possibly’.  She did say that she knew he and Pittman were friends.”
“Apparently, he was a genuinely ‘nice guy’.”

Burke said “well, I may have been given a different opinion from somebody else.  Mulder didn’t seem to be as pure as the driven snow, if you know what I mean and I think it would be worth a shot to take a closer look at Pittman.”

“What do you mean?” Powell asked.
“I mean, depending on who you talk to, their relationship ranged from being best buds to a couple of outlaw cowboys trying to shoot each other in the back.”

Powell said “that’s interesting, because Mrs. Mulder did say that although she considered Pittman to be a friend, she resented the fact that he took credit for ‘saving Mulder’s career’.”

“What exactly did she say?” asked Burke.

“Well, she said that Pittman bragged to everybody about how he had given Stan a job and made sure that he was promoted when he retired.”
“Her view was that Stan had earned that promotion on his own merits and it had nothing to do with Pittman.”

Captain Meade asked Burke if all the information he got about Mulder was from Mr. Foote.
“From Mr. Foote and from the publisher” Burke said.  “I talked to a few clerks and reporters but they all sang the same song…”he was a nice guy.”
“The publisher is either blind or is an expert at being politically correct. Foote however didn’t seem to be shy about saying what he thought, even though he was a bit fearful that somebody might find out that he had talked to me.”

Slaughter asked if Burke thought Foote was telling the truth or did he think that maybe he was holding a grudge and seized the opportunity to get revenge by trashing his character.

“I’m pretty sure this guy was being honest,” Burke said.  “He doesn’t have anything to gain.  It’s not like he’s next in line to run the paper and from what I can gather, the newspaper business can be very political.  I think that’s why he was a little trepedatious.”

Burke filled in Slaughter, Captain Meade and Powell about the rest of his conversation with Foote.
Slaughters’ immediate response was “I’d like to talk to Mr. Foote and I’d like to talk to him before I meet with Pittman.  I think there’s more to his story.”

Captain Meade asked Powell how the warrant was coming along for Mulder.
“I submitted my request to Judge Grantham and I’m waiting to hear.”

Captain Meade infuriated Powell when he suggested that he get Slaughter on it.  “She seems to have a way of getting things done,” he said.
“Fine,” Powell said as he picked up his folder and stormed out of the room.

“What kind of bug has kiddo got up his nose?” asked Captain Meade.
“I think he’s starting to feel a little like a third wheel,” Burke said.

Captain Meade wiped his forehead and said “for crying out loud.”
“Okay, what’s on for today?”

Burke said “I thought I’d take a drive upstate and talk to Mulder’s ex-wife and son.  You know, exes and children are more likely to offer a different perspective when it comes to a former spouse.  I think it’ll be worth it to talk to them.”

Captain Meade looked at Slaughter and said “and you?”

Slaughter said “first, I’m going to do a follow up with Mr. Foote and then, I’m going to meet with Mr. Pittman.”

Captain Meade looked over his glasses and said “you will try to leave most of him intact, right?
Slaughter smiled and said “I’ll do my best.”

Again, wiping his forehead, Captain Meade shook his head and said “oh, Lord.  What was it Clubber Lang said about Rocky?  Oh, yeah.”

“I pity the fool.”

 

 

To be continued____________________

 

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Ten

When Slaughter looked at Burke, raised one eyebrow and smiled, he knew there was no question who was going to interview Pittman.  He wondered how long it would take her to rip off his balls, shove them down his throat and leave him screaming for his mama.  As much as he wanted to witness what was sure to be a masterpiece of emasculation, he stayed to interview the staff.

A quick call to Captain Meade suggested he throw Powell a proverbial “bone” and ask him to be the one who contacted and interviewed Suzanne.

As clerks and reporters started coming into the building, he spoke with them individually.  After two hours, he felt as though they were reading from the same script.  “He was a nice guy.  We don’t know anybody who didn’t like him or at least didn’t like him enough to kill him.”

One of them said “you know, there was always that member of the public who didn’t like an editorial or a story we ran but they usually just called and bitched him out.”

While talking to them, Burke noticed an elderly man, standing just far enough away to hear the conversation but not close enough to take part.  After thanking the employees, Burke walked over to the gentleman, introduced himself and asked his name.

“John Foote” he said.  He appeared nervous and uncomfortable.  Burke asked him if he was okay and he said “if you want to talk, we need to do it privately.”
“Okay.  What do you have in mind?” Burke asked.

Foote asked him if he knew where “The Lounge” was.  Burke told him that he was familiar with it and Foote said “meet me there at seven o’clock tonight.”
“Do you have some information about Mr. Mulder?”
“I just think you should know a little more about him.  He’s not the boy scout everybody wants you to believe he is.”
“Okay.  I’ll be there.”

A quick call to Slaughter went unanswered so he left a message. “Apparently, Mr. Mulder had a few skeletons in his closet.  I’m meeting a Mr. Foote tonight and I’ll get the skinny.  Hit me up when you get time.”

Seven o’clock came and Burke was already at the Lounge when Foote walked in.  Still looking nervous and scanning the bar as if he was doing surveillance, he sat down.

Foote quietly asked if what they discussed was going to be confidential.
Burke grinned and said “unless you’re going to confess.”

Foote didn’t even crack a smile as he began.  “Here’s what I know.  I’ve known Mulder casually for twenty years.  Before he came to work here, our interaction was mostly at banquets and ceremonies and seminars about journalism.”
“He was always a secondary player, in the background but it was well known that he wanted to be in the forefront.”

“He was married to this exotically beautiful Egyptian woman for almost forty years.  After he got fired and came here, he had to leave her behind but it was only supposed to be a temporary job anyway.”

“I’ve been told that.”  Burke said.

“Well, he started seeing some woman here.”
“Suzanne?”
“Yes.  I know I’m old fashioned but I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the vows we take.  Anyway, he started seeing Suzanne and actually had her move in with him while he was still married.  He would go see his wife on the weekends and kept this other woman a secret.”

“His wife eventually found out and immediately filed for divorce.  That didn’t sit right with Mulder and he began a smear campaign against her. He told all of their friends that she was trying to ruin him and he did his best to turn their son against her.  I heard he was sending her threatening texts and emails and vowed to ‘gut her’ when he said she was trying to take everything he had.”

“Once, the entire newsroom heard him slam the phone down and refer to her as that “life-sucking, soul-destroying terrorist bitch.”

When Pittman hired him…”

“So you know Pittman?” asked Burke.

“I’ve known him for fifty years.  He actually gave me my job here.  He and Mulder never got along so when he gave him a job it raised a few eyebrows, particularly mine.  I remember once when Pittman went on vacation, Mulder said “if Karl Pittman dropped dead in the middle of the newsroom floor, not one person would get out of their fucking chair to check on him and that includes me…but I will lick his ass all day long if it means getting what I want….and what I want is his job.”
“Ultimately, he got what he wanted.”

“I also know that Mulder has ruined a few careers, including a young girl who came to work for him.  Everybody knew he had a crush on her but she let him know that she wasn’t interested.  Her stories suddenly started missing deadlines and we all knew Mulder was behind it.  She was eventually let go for incompetence.  I tried to get her to confront him or go to the publisher but she was afraid.”

“He damn near destroyed her reputation.  She had to move in with her parents because she couldn’t find another job.  He trashed her to everybody who called for a reference and it took her a year and a half to find another job.”

Burke asked if he would tell him her name.  Foote told him that he’d rather not.  “She’s working for a paper in California now and I hear she’s doing well.”
“Do you think she holds a grudge?”
“No.  She was a real sweetheart.”

Burke said “tell me a little more about the relationship between Mulder and Pittman.  I was told that they were pretty good friends now.”

“I’m sure Pittman thinks they were.  His ego would never allow him to think that somebody wouldn’t actually believe the sun rose and set at his command.  I mean, he was the most brilliant editor I have even known but that ego never allowed him to see when he was being played and Mulder knew how to play him.”

Burke suggested that maybe Pittman found out that Mulder wasn’t the friend he thought he was and exacted revenge.  Foote chuckled and said “are you kidding?  If somebody slit their wrists, wrote it in blood and had video to back it up, Pittman wouldn’t believe it.  His self-importance left him deaf, dumb and blind.”

Burke asked Foote to tell him a little more about his personal relationship with Pittman.  “Did you get along?”

Foote said “we did.  I’m grateful to him for giving me a job, especially at my age.  And I knew that all I had to do was let him think that he was God.  I let him wear his crown and he pretty much left me alone.”
“So, you play the game, too?”  Burke said.
Foote shook his head and said “pretty much have to if you want to survive.”

Foote apologized and said he needed to get back to the paper to insure the deadlines had been met.

Burke said “one last thing.  Do you know an editor named Ellison Caldwell?”

“Shoo…boy, do I.”

“Do you know if he and Mulder knew each other?”
“I imagine at some point, they met but I have never heard of any conflict between them.”

Burke said “I’ve heard he’s a piece of work and I understand there was bad blood between him and Pittman.”

Foote stood up, threw down a few dollar bills and said “I guess a piece of work is a nice way to put it but I’m not sure bad blood would be the term I would use.  It was more like an intense, white-hot hatred that burned more intensely than the fires of Hell…….but”

“if you think Caldwell’s an asshole, I’ve got a big news flash for you.  Compared to Pittman, he’s an Eagle scout.”

 

To be continued______________________

 

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Nine

En route, information was coming through to Slaughter and Burke about the victim.  He was found face down in the parking lot, next to his car with the door ajar as if he was ready to get in.

His head was resting in a pool of blood, that had come from an ice pick wound to his left ear.  His wallet was still in his back pocket and the car keys were still in his hand.  It was estimated that he had died some time before midnight.

When Slaughter and Burke arrived, they noticed security cameras and immediately asked for the tapes.  When viewed, it unfortunately revealed that his car was just out of range.  The cameras were focused on the entrance of the newspaper and the only vehicle seen entering the premises was a delivery truck driving to the rear of the building.

The newspaper was called the Local Daily Ledger.  One of the police officers said “you know, some of the townsfolk call it the ‘Local Daily Liar’.”
Almost all newspapers had monikers, especially when they didn’t slant toward what was conceived to be popular opinion.

Slaughter didn’t read newspapers and she had her reasons.  She lived in a world of death and murder, accidents and suicide and she didn’t want to re-live that world in print.  She never gave interviews in person or on the telephone.

Her view was that she did her job and the reporters could do theirs.  Any information they needed could be obtained, like Captain Meade said, through the Freedom of Information Act.  When asked if she didn’t feel a bit hypocritical with that approach, her answer was a cool “no.”

It was a relatively small newspaper housed in what resembled a collection of modified trailers, set far back from the main road.  Although not hugely profitable, it had maintained a steady and loyal readership.  With the guidance of the former editor, special interest features had been implemented, such as a wildly popular online site for the favored state football team.

Slaughter and Burke met with the publisher, Kelly Woods.  She was clearly distraught but gave them as much information as she could.  She said that he did a good job for the paper but she didn’t socialize with him and could think of no reason anybody would want to harm him.

“He was married to a woman named Suzanne and I believe he has a son by a former wife.  Other than that, I really don’t know much about his personal life.”

Burke asked if she knew any of his friends or acquaintances.
“No, I don’t, other than a few people in the newsroom but they may have just been work related friendships.  I think he and the former editor are friendly outside the newspaper.

“Slaughter said “so if we read the names of previous victims….”
Woods said “they would mean nothing to me, other than we ran stories on their murders.  Has anyone called his wife?”

“We’ll take care of that,” said Slaughter, “and we’ll need access to his computer and his company issued cell phone.”
Woods said “that’s not something I can authorize and due to the possible sensitivity of the contents, that may be impossible.  It’s not that I don’t want to co-operate.  There are things to consider, such as information about confidential informants we rely on, information concerning ongoing investigations as well as personal information.”

Slaughter said “if there’s obtainable information that might help us catch his killer, why wouldn’t you want that?”
Woods said “as I mentioned.  It’s not that I don’t want to co-operate.  There is just too much potential for invasion of privacy and that is, as you know, a protected right bestowed by the fourth amendment of our constitution.  You can get a warrant, but I will tell you up front that I will use every resource I have available to fight it.”

“Understood” said Slaughter.  “Can you tell us what you know about the victim?”

Woods said “his name is Stan Mulder.  He is 66 years old and has been at the paper for the last five years.  He had previously worked for a highly successful, independently owned newspaper in the upstate until one day, he was unexpectedly fired.  I don’t know why and I didn’t ask.  Initially he was only hired by the former editor, for a six month, part-time special project.”

“You mentioned that Mr. Mulder and the former editor were friendly outside the confines of work.  What is the former editors’ name?” asked Burke.
“His name is Karl Pittman.”
Slaughter asked how they might get in touch with him.
“He lives in the next town.  I can give you his phone number, if you like.”

Burke asked what she could tell them about Pittman.

“Well, Mr. Pittman had been Mr. Mulder’s previous editor at the upstate paper and he too was fired…for cause.”

Burke said “really.  And what was that cause?”
Woods said “I heard it was because of the way he treated his employees but I was not the one who hired him.  That was my predecessors’ decision and I never found the need to read Mr. Pittman’s personnel file.”

“There was a wide-spread rumor that the relationship between Mulder and Pittman had been pretty volatile.  Word had it that they butted heads on more than one occasion and their dislike for each other and screaming matches were renown.  Mr. Pittman can be a bit, shall we say, vitriolic and abrasive.”

“Knowing the rumors, did you not question why he hired Mulder?” Burke asked.
“I didn’t” said Woods.  “I imagine he knew how he felt, having himself been fired.  Mr. Pittman also loved to have total control and hiring Mr. Mulder I’m sure, gave him a sense of empowerment but any grudges they may have had against each other seem to have been put behind them as they apparently became close friends.  I know Mr. Mulder asked Mr. Pittman to become a notary so that he could perform his marriage to Suzanne.”

“So Mr. Pittman suddenly became ‘Mr. Nice Guy’?” asked Slaughter.

“I wouldn’t say that” Woods said.  “Mr. Pittman had a few altercations here, mainly with the Human Resources representative that resulted in her exit from the company but he was the editor and was free to hire and fire at will.  I personally didn’t have much interaction with him.  I know he was not very well liked.  Don’t misunderstand.  Nobody denied that he had talent but everybody hated him.  That being said, the bottom line is, he made this newspaper better.”

“And…Mr. Pittman is a master manipulator.  I knew he wanted to retire and when Mr. Mulder’s job was ending, I allowed him to more or less coerce me into making Mr. Mulder’s position full-time with the promise of ultimately becoming the editor.”
“I didn’t regret the decision.  Like I said, Mr. Mulder has done a good job for us.”

Slaughter looked at Burke and quietly said “Pittman sounds like Caldwell.” Before he could respond, Woods said “Ellison Caldwell?  Now, there’s a story.”

“What do you mean?  Did you know him?” asked Slaughter.

“Not personally but I’ve heard rumors.  Apparently there was some very bad blood between him and Pittman.  People used to say it would have been a toss-up as to which one of them was the most hated man in the profession but frankly, my money would be on Pittman.”

 

 

To be continued_______________

The Ice Pick Killer – Chapter Eight

The next day Burke, Powell and Slaughter were called into Captain Meade’s office for a briefing.

Looking at Powell, Captain Meade asked “what have you got, kiddo?” Powell shook his head and said “nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero…what the little boy shot at in the dark.  The telephone company is working on getting a list of all the numbers incoming and outgoing and they’ve promised to at least have Jackson’s and possibly the Moore’s by the end of the week.”

“How about you, Burke?”

“We’ve got computer geeks trying to hack into their emails.  They can find them even if they’ve been deleted but depending on how they used their computers, those spaces could have been filled in with other files. Then of course, there is no way to retrieve them.”

“Family members and friends are trying to come up with a list of acquaintances but you know, Captain, not all family members and friends know everything.  I mean, my father wouldn’t be able to tell you who my friends are.  Hell, Captain.  Do you know who my friends are?”

“You have friends?” asked Captain Meade.  Burke sneered and said “very funny, Captain.”

Captain Meade said “seriously, I don’t want suppositions and excuses. I want results.”

“Slaughter, what have you got?”

“I got some pretty interesting information about Østergaard but nothing that could link him to any of the other victims and apparently I talked to ‘the most interesting man in the world’.”  She and Burke looked at each other and simultaneously laughed out loud.

Captain Meade said “okay, what am I missing here?”  Powell was wondering the same thing.  What had happened between Burke and Slaughter?

Slaughter said, “I just interviewed some jackass who thought he was Gods’ own gift to the world but he didn’t know anything.  I imagine standing in front of a mirror, singing ‘Mr. Big Stuff” all day long would preclude any inclinations he had toward murder.”
Again, she and Burke shared a glance and laughed.

Powell, observing a never before seen interaction between them thought to himself “and so it begins.”

Captain Meade’s phone rang and before he answered it, he instructed them to “get out there and find something.”

While they were making plans for their next step, Captain Meade called them back into his office.  The color seemed to have drained from his face as he was wiping sweat from his forehead.  Grasping his Bible, he hesitated a few seconds before saying, “we’ve got a tenth, guys.”

Powell said “are you fucking serious?”  Captain Meade said “yes, I’m serious and kiddo…how many times have I told you that I don’t like that kind of language?”
“Sorry Captain,” said Powell.

“Alright, who’s going?”

“Slaughter and I will go,” Burke said, as they looked at each other and smiled.

Powell couldn’t hide his irritation.  Before Slaughter came on the scene, it was always Burke and Powell.  The go-to team.  The cracker-jack team. The A-team.  The dynamic duo.
Now, it was Burke and Slaughter and Powell was feeling like he was going to be relegated to nothing more than their glorified secretary.

Captain Meade said “okay.  Powell, you stay on top of everything here. You need to get started on another warrant and I’m thinking this one is going to be damn near impossible.”

“Why is that Captain?” asked Powell.
What he really wanted to say was “why not put Wonder Woman on it?  She doesn’t seem to have any problem getting what she wants.”

The first sign of the green-eyed monster was emerging.

“Freedom of information only goes so far,” Captain Meade said.  “We may be talking about sensitive and confidential information that could potentially destroy somebody’s reputation, cause a scandal or even put somebody in harms’ way.”

“I don’t understand,” Powell said.

Captain Meade picked up the local newspaper from his desk and said “this guy was the editor.”

 

 

To be continued____________________