The next day, Slaughter walked into the office and handed Burke and Powell eight warrants. “We’re not going to get one for Østergaard but maybe we’ll get lucky and it won’t matter.”
After she walked out of the room, Burke and Powell looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Powell said “how the fuck did she manage to get those warrants so quickly?” Burke quietly mumbled “she probably threatened to use the five-point-open-palm-exploding-heart technique.”
Powell laughed and said “or she pulled an Erin Brockovich and performed sexual acts. Eight blow jobs in one day.” Burke said a simple “hey” with a tone. Powell, a little confused said “what’s that about? Are you defending her honor?” Burke said “I just don’t think that was called for.”
Powell said “is that all it is? I mean, I see the way you look at her and don’t get me wrong. I see the attraction. It’s kind of like a moth being drawn to a flame but just be careful. You might get burned, pal. You do know that she’ll eventually go back home, right?”
Burke responded with “you know what? I think she’s interesting but I’ll tell you one thing. You’ll never see me getting involved with another detective. There’s too much potential for it to get messy and with her? We’d probably have to flip a coin to see who was going to be on top. Besides, she scares me. She intrigues me…but she scares me.”
Powell said “I know what you mean but there’s still something about her, isn’t there? Mysterious and sort of dark. Makes you wonder what she’s like outside the office.” With a hearty laugh, he said “hey. Maybe you should ask her to have a drink with you sometime.”
Before Burke could finish giving him the proverbial hairy eyeball, Slaughter came back into the room and said “okay, boys. You’ve got the subpoenas. It’s time to stick your hands in the mud, do some noodling and see what you can find, but be careful. You never know what you’re going to catch,” then laughed and said “or lose.”
Powell said “what is noodling?” Slaughter said “seriously? You don’t know what noodling is? What kind of hillbillies are you?” As she walked out, Burke and Powell did a quick Google search.
It was a good analogy for what they were up against. Sticking their hands into a hole, not knowing what was inside. They were going to be sticking their noses into peoples’ private lives, not knowing what deep, dark secrets may be hidden and yes, it could be dangerous for them. After all, nine people had died and they had died for a reason.
That afternoon, Slaughter was able to track down one of the retired editors, named Jake Hill. The call was fortuitous as he was thirty minutes from leaving on a two-week cruise. He had heard of Østergaards’ murder and told her that he would be happy to offer any help he could. He said he knew him well, thought he was a decent person and seemed to be genuinely saddened by his death.
There was only one thing that he was a little hesitant to divulge. When Slaughter promised that it would remain confidential, he revealed the secret that Østergaard had shared with him about an experience he’d had on one of his many visits to the States.
He had awakened one morning in the hotel, on the floor, completely naked and had no memory of the night before. Like the crime scenes, nothing was disturbed and he hadn’t been robbed. Slaughter said “and he had absolutely no idea what had happened?” Hill said “none.”
That same day, he needed to drive to another newspaper about eight hours away. Running late and apparently still drunk from the night before, he was pulled over speeding. When he didn’t seem to be quite lucid, he was given a breathalyzer which resulted in a DUI charge and a trip to jail.
Trying to avoid embarrassment and humiliation, he contacted his employer overseas, who arranged to pay his bail. It had been kept hush-hush because it could have potentially had a negative impact on his business relationships with the newspapers.
Slaughter asked if he could give her the names of any of Østergaards’ friends. Jake said that of course, he considered himself to have been a friend and had spent time with him in bars and on the golf course, but said there was a difference between being “friendly and being friends.” He said he would give it some thought, let her know and begged off the conversation due to time constraints.
After they hung up, Slaughter made a note that she didn’t have the chance to read the names of the other victims.
To be continued____________________