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________________