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?”
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__________________________