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He Could Have Done Anything Pt. 2

Updated on November 30, 2016

The continuation of a novel about serial killers and those who hunt them

Please read the first part of this story at the link below.

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From Pt. 1:

At the sound of the word "go" Stephanie had taken off like a hundred meter sprinter out of the blocks and by the time Dennie's head had completed its turning, she was thirty of those meters away and gaining speed, as she approached a gradual incline. He figured the hill would slow her right down, as he jumped and set after her, but he'd hardly taken three steps when, what luck!, he saw her turn right at the base of the hill and head west toward the Pendexter Brook! He quickly returned to the truck and got his blow gun, then bolted up the road, confident he could head her off. After all, he'd been training for this.

36.) Joan

When Joan said she was no artist, she wasn't kidding, however her appreciation of the arts was unparalleled, especially those that involved language. Joan lived for passion and she was passionate about passion expressed artfully in words. She never so much as kept a personal journal, but she devoured the writing of others and she knew more song lyrics than Wolfman Jack.

What had impressed Paul, shortly after they had met, was witnessing the amount of English language poetry with which she was intimately familiar. Of course at that point, he was still thinking of her as a young Italian girl. He was almost fifteen years her senior. Joan was American by birth, however she had been raised in Italy. Her father had worked for the U.S. Diplomatic Corps (Paul had taken it for granted that he was a spy, but never learned for certain one way or the other) and had met her mother, shortly after his arrival in Rome, in 1961. Gina Spadafora spoke seven languages and was working as an interpreter for her government, at the time. No doubt, though she would become fluent in only five, Joan's love of language, and the things that could be done with it, stemmed from her mother.

Her love of art came from Italy itself, an unavoidable thing, if one's eyes and ears are open in a country so steeped in art that no other can quite compare to it.

Her charm came from her father. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had once said, "I believe that Randall Cook is the most charming fellow I have ever had the pleasure to know." This was nothing to sneeze at. In his time, JFK had been acquainted with some snake charmers.

Joan stood at Paul's drawing table now, looking at the sketch that was, thus far, just a hundred or so random-seeming short lines. She'd come into the studio looking for the dog. Rufrak hadn't been quite himself since they'd picked him up at the Turners', when they returned from Santa Fe. Harvey and Janice's four kids always ran him ragged, but she was quite sure that was why, after he'd had a stay at the Turner place, they usually almost had to drag him to the car. He never wanted to leave. This time he had jumped in the Jeep as soon as Paul had opened his door to get out. Harvey had no explanation, nor did any of the Turners. Rufrak had been as normal as Spring rain up until Joan's call, twenty minutes earlier, to say they were on their way from the airport to get him and then, when Harvey and Janice and all the kids had called him, he failed to come and couldn't be found. They'd been near panic, when Paul and Joan pulled in the driveway and the retriever had come bolting across their front lawn. Joan had been standing at the drawing table for a minute or so, when the dog barked behind her. She was startled and jumped at the sound of it.

"Rufrak!", she exclaimed, whirling around to see him cowering behind a cabinet in the corner. She took two steps in his direction, holding her hands out to him, asking, "What has gotten in to you, puppy?"

"I think I know the answer to that," came Harvey Turner's voice from the doorway, startling Joan for the second time in thirteen seconds.

37.) Landings

From the air above Juneau, the city looks so small, one could be forgiven for thinking there's only an airport below; when one could see it at all, of course. Tonight it was raining in Juneau. The city was covered in clouds and they were all Paul could see from his widow, as his plane arced around in its approach to landing.

Paul was always a little worried during landings and take-offs. He knew that statistically they were the most likely times for accidents. The numbers showed that landing in bad weather was the most common situation in which crashes occurred. He also knew that some of the best pilots in the world flew in Alaska, but that the outstanding ones among them were the bush pilots, guys that took off from, and landed their small planes in, places you'd swear a helicopter would be hard pressed to park. He knew that flying was statistically safer than driving, but the truth was that the law of gravity and the flimsiness of aircraft and human bodies always scratched on Paul's medulla oblongata, from the time a landing began, until the plane was taxiing to a terminal. To make matters worse, tonight they were apparently landing in a thunderstorm. He swallowed once again and his ears popped.

38.) War Babies

What came to be known as "the baby boom" in America was the spike in births that came with the prosperity that followed the second world war and the return home of millions of young men eager to take the best life had to offer. The nineteen-fifties became a time of myth and legend that gave birth to rock and roll, the space age and nuclear standoff. Paul remembered the fifties with a feeling of inexpressible nostalgia. It was the best of times, the peak of life in this country. He always thought of it as a time when the edge of town was visibly definable, not just the start of another town, a time when there were woods at the end of dead end streets and fields beyond the last house.

Orion simply believed that the creation of the atomic bomb marked the beginning of the decline of modern civilization. Orion was a person whose destiny would be almost entirely cast by the mind that grasped the fifties as a wonderful, but terrifying time. He was deeply fearful of the potential behind the "duck and cover" and shoulder to shoulder line-up in the hall drills he and his schoolmates were put through. It had been impressed upon him that there were millions of people starving "overseas" and as a young boy he had thought the smartest, safest and perhaps even kindest thing to do was to put them out of their misery before they came charging over here to take what we had. He never voiced this idea to anyone, but he wasn't alone in formulating it.

It's worthy of note that when JFK was president, his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Lyman Lemnitzer, advocated a policy of nuclear war sooner than later, while The United States had the greatest advantage, because he was convinced that it was inevitable. He wasn't alone either, by any means. Far from it.

Orion learned to keep his ideas to himself when, after first learning about hypnotism, he suggested that you could hypnotize someone to steal or kill and you'd be safe, even if they were caught or killed. His father had admonished him that the plotter of a deed is as responsible for the deed as the doer, that a boy with his "gifts" should be ashamed at having such criminal ambitions and that a real man takes responsibility for himself; it was the very key to success. His father was not a man whose opinions were to be questioned in his own home, but Orion was already experienced enough to have seen tremendous hypocrisy in the adult world, so he secretly valued his own conclusions over those of all others. He did have gifts and he decided that his "knowing better" was one of them.

39.) Rufrak

"So then as far as you know he's never seen a horse before, then?" Joan was on the phone asking Jeff about Rufrak. He had brought the dog home from college after a friend's bitch had ten pups and, following a summer in Virginia, it was clear to everyone Rufrak would be staying there.

"Well, I can't think of any time when he did in my company. Seems kinda weird that he never saw one there though, huh?"

"I suppose, but I think the Clarkes are the closest people around here with them and I've never seen anyone riding on our street."

"The poor guy must have been terrified," said Jeff.

It seemed the Fairchilds, Harvey Turner's neighbors, had purchased a horse for their oldest boy. Shortly before the Warren's return, Harvey's ten year old, Tim, had brought the dog for a walk over to the Fairchild's corral, unbeknownst to the other Turners. Rufrak had started crying and squirming and trying to back away, as soon as he spied the huge black beast. Tim had tried to grab his collar, but Rufrak nipped at him, an act which was totally out of character. The boy then took the dog's leash in both hands and tried to drag him closer to the horse, which scared Rufrak so badly he lost control of his bowels, before finally slipping his collar and bolting through the fence and down the road like a tiny fire storm.

"Harvey said the horse shattered Rufrak's belief system. He thought he'd already seen the biggest dogs there are!" Joan laughed.

She went on to tell him how Harvey said that dogs don't ask for much for what they give us in return, unconditional love, companionship and protection, and the least we can do is to try to be as consistent with them as possible, because inconsistency confuses and scares them.

In this, dog's are not so unlike people. We all do a thing called "reality testing" all the time and when we encounter anything at all that doesn't appear to be consistent with what we believe to be reality, first we question it, then we question ourselves, but we remain confused and uncomfortable with it, until we either adjust our belief system, recognize where it actually fits into the original system, or go into a state of denial.

Harvey had picked up the dog to bring him to his place, when the Warrens last went to Santa Fe. Today Rufrak had been frightened at the sound of his arrival. He had slowly coxed the dog into his car with the plan of taking him and Tim, who had finally told his father about the event with the horse this evening, to a local ice cream stand and back, as a first step toward getting Rufrak past his newfound fears and mending his relationship with the boy. They hadn't returned yet.

"A Course In Miracles says that controversy is always available, but so is consistency," said Jeff. "When I think of how easily I get can involved in an argument, when I already have awareness of a higher truth, I sometimes think it might be easier to be a dog."

"Yes, but if you were a dog, you'd have been unable to read this course of yours!" Joan postulated.

"Ah yes, but I wouldn't need all the unlearning of meaningless words that The Course is designed to take you through, either," Jeff replied.

40.) Flesh and Blood

"You've got to figure, that some people go out on the ocean and fish, because on land they have to be dealing with people," Berkley Dighton was enlightening Paul. "Not everyone WANTS a deckhand."

Paul was standing on a dock next to The Kal-Phee, the salmon trawler on which Sandra Callahan, number seven of the nine missing women, had been a deckhand before her disappearance, conversing with the boat's owner, as Dighton expertly used a razor sharp knife to clean one salmon after another. He slit them from anus to thorax, cut the throat latch, pulled down the head, tore out the gills and threw them over the side. He cleanly cut a circular path around the exposed inner throat, then he reached into the body cavity and pulled out all of the fish's guts in one piece and tossed them overboard. He flipped the knife over and used the scraper end to scrape out the length of the inner spine, then flipped it again and deftly removed the head, tossing it where the gills and guts had gone. He rinsed the fish with a hose, inside and out, and stacked it in a rapidly filling hopper with the bodies of the other fish that had already been eviscerated. The whole process took just over a minute.

"Me, I can have it either way. I'm comfortable alone, but I prefer good company. Sandra was good company, Mr. Warren. She was real good people and a born seawoman. Best deckhand I ever had. Learned fast. Worked fast. Never ruined a fish with a careless cut."

"You knew her pretty well?"

"Well, I knew her as well as you know someone you've fished with for most of a season. You do a lot of jabberin' over suppers in a season, if you're a personable type, and Sandra wasn't exactly secretive. I suppose I could tell you a good bit about her. Not her life story, but I believe I knew who she was."

"No boyfriend, right?" asked Paul, already knowing the answer.

"She was gay, Mr Warren, and not ashamed of it. She was a happy woman."

"Girlfriend?'

"No one serious since she moved up from San Fran. She was hoping it would work out eventually with someone she'd left behind there. Someone named Delilah. She talked about her a lot."

"Of course. I remember reading that name now." Paul had read about the girlfriend only this morning in a file at Juneau Police Headquarters. "You saw her for the last time the day before she went missing?"

"I saw her crossin' the Walmart parking lot, right over there." He pointed up the road to the store that was everywhere now. "She was comin' out an' I was goin' in to get groceries for the mornin'. We'd been in town for three days waiting for a spare part for the fish-hold freezer engine and I'd got it installed that afternoon. I said, 'See you at 4 A.M. Sandra. You all set?' and she said, 'You betcha, Berk' and she walked on and I went on inside and then in the morning, she never came down to the boat."

Dighton cut into a salmon's inner throat and nicked the creature's beating heart, which shot a squirt of blood so red it was black directly into his right eye. He let the fish rest in the wooden bracket he used to hold his fish while cleaning and placed the knife down next to that.

"Damn!" he reacted.

"Gotcha!" Paul smiled.

Dighton wiped his eye with his right sleeve, then pulled off his right rubber glove, reached in his pocket, retrieved a blue and white handkerchief and used it and the hose to fully clean his face.

"Revenge of the salmon," said Dighton.

"Never say 'die'," said Paul. "So, you have any ideas, Mr. Dighton?"

"Well, I've thought about it long and hard, sir. That I have. She didn't leave of her own free will. Of that I'm certain. Like I said, she wasn't the secretive type. She'd've told me, if there'd been a change of plans." He sighed deeply, sat back against the bow and looked up at Paul. "We're out here in wilderness country. Miles and miles of empty land and water. People loggin', huntin', boats comin' and goin' all the time. Fishing boats, ferries, tourists, people runnin' away from the lower forty-eight, not knowing it's a harder life here. What I'm saying is there's a lot of comin's an' goin's of roughnecked dudes all the time and some of 'em are as bad as can be. The guy on the next stool at the cafe could be a priest or a predator and how are you gonna know, 'ey? I've had occasional ideas, but nothing beyond not likin' the way somebody looks. Nothin' you could call a suspicion."

"Well, I thank you for your time, Captain." Paul handed the man his business card, which Dighton took between two bloody rubberized fingers and slipped into his flannel shirt pocket. "If you think of anything at all, would you send me an email and I'll get back to you?"

"Sure thing, Mr. Warren. Sorry I couldn't tell you more."

41.) Delilah's Song

Paul was almost to the street when he heard Dighton's voice behind him. "Mr. Warren!" he called and when Paul turned around, the salmon fisherman was scuffing his rubber boots along the dock. Paul grasped the rail at his right and walked back down the rolling ramp he'd been ascending, meeting Dighton a few yards from its lower end.

"I don't know if this will give you any insights. I'd think not, but you're the pro. She kept all her stuff in her room on shore, 'cept the gear she'd bring along on a trip, but a couple of months after she disappeared, I found this under the mattress of her bunk on the boat." He handed the ex-agent a well worn, folded, white business size envelope with the name Sandra printed on the front in blue ink. Inside was a folded piece of white lined notebook paper. Paul unfolded it.

It was a song lyric, hand-printed in blue ink with letters in light green highlighter, which Paul took to indicate the tune's chords, superimposed over the words, which read:

Don't Be Afraid Of Loving

Don't look for something that isn't there

And look to yourself first for happiness

Don't break your heart over one who won't care,

When all the illusions are laid to rest

But don't be afraid of loving

The one who makes you feel good

And don't hesitate to give 'em

Everything you feel like you should

'Cause when you love someone, nothing else matters

And those who make you feel right will be few

Love is dif'rent for everyone

Some people turn and run

And some of 'em are gonna wanna love you

Be on your guard not to misjudge

Another person's way of living

Don't be too quick to misunderstand

Another person's way of giving

But still you gotta know how to recognize

When someone just don't want you around

Don't break your heart going crazy over someone

Who's only gonna put you down

But if you love someone, let nothing else matter

An' always try to make 'em feel right

And if you can't accept the love of one

Ever turn away and run,

Find out why...if it takes all your life

Delilah Robin 7/30/2003

When Dighton saw Paul turn the page over, he said, "This Delilah was something of a singer-songwriter and it was apparently a point of contention in their relationship that she wasn't making much of a living at it."

"Yeah?"

"Sandra didn't care, mind you. She thought a person should do what they love."

"I see.'

"Trouble had to do with Delilah not believing she was at all outstanding at it and saying she didn't really love it at all, that it was just a skill, but that it was really her ONLY skill."

"Ahh.."

"You know anything about music?" asked Dighton.

"I know what I like," answered Paul. "And I'm not sure what these chords would add to it, but the right melody can turn a run of the mill piece of advice into a theme for a love life, I suppose."

"That's true, I guess," said Dighton, nodding his head and appearing to believe it was, as he turned to shuffle back to his boat. "Well, good luck, Mr. Warren."

"Thanks, Cap'n. Thanks a lot."

As Paul was about to place the paper back in the envelope, he realized there was something stuck to the inside that turned out to be a dog-eared snapshot of a woman, with a guitar case in her hand, standing next to the driver's door of a vintage yellow Volkswagen Beetle. She had long curly blond hair and was barely as tall as the car. She was dressed in a short blue denim skirt and jacket, black tights, a black turtleneck sweater and black leather boots and was coyly grinning up at the camera. Paul was certain she was the cutest young lady he had ever seen. He suddenly ached to be at home with Joan in his arms.

42.) Narcissists and Psychopaths

"Sure, I know about this," said Captain Franklin D. Rhodes, head of the Alaska State Police Homicide Division, Frank to everyone except his adversaries. He was looking at the song lyric Paul had handed him. He had been the lead investigator on the missing persons cases and though he had an entire department to run now and Paul had no official status, Rhodes was a man who was committed on a level higher than the organization in which he worked. Fellow dedicated law enforcement professionals, including retired ones, would always be "brothers" first and he had been very generous with his time and sharing of information with Paul since their first meeting the previous morning, as evidenced by the fact that it was well after the time when Rhodes could have gone home with a clear conscience and he was showing no sign of wanting to depart. "Dighton called me up as soon as he found it. I stopped by and looked at it that same afternoon. He wanted to know if I wanted it for evidence or if I thought Delilah might want it, if it wasn't. I told him it wasn't and she wouldn't."

Paul looked at the man quizzically, so he continued. "You've read about this woman?" Paul nodded affirmatively. "How she said the press wouldn't leave her alone and they were only college roommates?"

"Sure."

"Okay, well that's not exactly the truth and neither is what Sandra Callahan told Dighton. I talked to Delilah Robin on the phone a good half a dozen times...and it's Delilah Robin Sears, by the way; she's married to a big time real estate developer, Jamie Sears, has been since shortly after her college graduation; but you know that already, I'm sure." Paul was nodding again. "Anyhow, between that and what I learned from one of our State Park Rangers, Sally Light Rain, Tlingit woman who knew Sandra, I think I've got the real picture."

"Which is?"

"Well, first, that she's apparently happily married and second, there's a child, a daughter, born the first year of the marriage, third, that they were roommates at Berkley, but NOT just roommates, fourth, that Sandra wanted Delilah to leave her husband and let Sandra support her. Turns out Sandra had a trust fund, rich as Croesus, but Delilah insisted her experimentation with women was over, that she would always love Sandra but she was happy with her husband, that she wasn't really even bi-sexual after all, but what Delilah told me was that Sandra was delusional, that she was a classic narcissist and that once she got an idea in her head, there was no changing her mind, unless she wanted to change it. She said she ran away to Alaska, rather than face the truth in San Francisco."

"Uh-huh."

"Then she says, 'But that's love, isn't it?', very casually with a deep sigh, just like she thought that clarified everything and we were just talking about some whimsical old pal we had in common, who was still alive, just off chasing a dream somewhere. I can still hear it in her voice. Bothers me to this day more than just about anything in that whole group of cases."

"And she looks so sweet," said Paul looking at the snapshot.

"Okay, the song. The song was written about Delilah's BOYFRIEND, when she was a junior in college, and this woman must be a real magnet for drama, because she herself described this character as a psychopath and the only person she ever went out with who she wished she'd never met."

"Really?"

"Really."

"Do you know his name?" asked Paul. "Has he been looked into?"

"I know his address. Name is Wolestone Lisari and he's been serving life in the Halawa Correctional Facility in Aiea, Hawaii since his meth lab blew up in August of 2004 and killed three of his neighbors, including two kids."

"Hmm." Paul was absentmindedly folding the page on which the lyric was written and staring off into space imagining what the scene Rhodes had just mentioned might have looked like. He figured this was leading nowhere, decided to shelve it for now and then remembered his agenda. "Alright. Well. I can't seem to find Arnold Washburn in town, the last woman's husband? I'd like to see him and their place."

"Oh yeah, I'm sorry. I should have thought to tell you earlier. If you don't have the address where they lived, I can give it to you off the top of my head, but he's not IN town anymore," said Rhodes.

"No?"

"No. 'Bout six months after she went missing, the guy won the state lottery! Can you believe it? 'Bout seven million bucks. He said it was God's way of releasing his family from an environment that only brought them suffering now. He was a manager at one of the fish packing plants. Quit the next day. Sold the house, car, furniture, everything. Moved his kids back to where he was raised to start fresh."

"Which is where?"

"Amarillo, Texas."

Amarillo, Texas! thought Paul, one hundred and fifty miles east on Route 40 of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. No way.

43.) Playing As A Winner

Orion was an enthusiastic game player. Very early in life, he learned to become very skilled at anything and everything in which he bothered to involve himself and to work hard at becoming better and better at it. When he played a game, he always played to win and to win fairly. And he did win.

If he encountered cheaters, even cheaters on his own team, his approach was always the same. He would deride them in front of everyone, attempting to embarrass them for not being able to win fairly and he'd give them a shove or punch them on the shoulder and warn them to stop cheating or go home. If they showed any opposition to this discipline, he'd kick their ass or go down trying and on the rare occasions when they would kick his ass, he'd put them on a little list in his head and not scratch them off it, until he had become strong enough to catch up with them and thoroughly trounce them. Ultimately, nobody who ever got put on the list would escape his wrath.

This would, of course, not by any means go unnoticed. By the time he was halfway through grammar school, he was accustomed to being afforded genuine respect by all who knew him, whether they actually liked him or not.

44.) Backdoor Bobby

"Hola?"

"Bobby?"

"Is this line secure?"

"Who do you think y'r talkin' to?"

"Sorry, Painter. Force of habit, manito. What's up?"

"I need a full watch and history. ALL travel and expenses. The best you can do."

"No problema." Backdoor Bobby sounded confident for the simple reason that he was the premiere expert on the face of the planet at what he did and both men knew it.

Bobby, whose real name was Pedro Fernandez, was a computer hacker. When the FBI finally busted the guy going by indianasantana, who they'd been relentlessly seeking for over a decade and through scores of aliases (they had nick-named him Backdoor Bobby, though he was using muchotoucho when they first caught wind of him and being used to it, Paul had decided to use Bobby as his codename in private communications with Fernandez), they'd offered him a deal and put him to work on a full time basis. It kept him out of the slammer and under the microscope, paid well, offered him security and gave the Feds access to the cutting edge of hacking, while it allowed him to do what he most wanted to do: have fun meeting the challenge of getting in and out of other people's systems undetected, taking (and leaving) whatever he wanted. Plus it gave him hands-on access to the bureau's supercomputers.

"Yeah, but I want you to understand right now that this guy will be looking for surveillance..."

"Who isn't?"

"Yes, but I mean he's expecting it, okay?"

"Okay."

"And the stuff we're really looking for won't be on any system that can be traced to him."

That stopped Bobby. Paul held the phone and waited. Bobby wasn't saying a word and Paul was sure he even heard the never-ending clicking of Bobby's keyboard cease. It was a good ten seconds before he heard it begin again simultaneously with Bobby saying, "No problema, man. Sooner or later, I can track him on video to whatever station he's doing his discreet on."

"Really?"

"Absolutely, bro! Gimme what you got. You know who he really is yet?"

"I know his name and address."

"Christ, this'll be easy!"

"Bobby?"

"Yes?"

"Take me seriously, now."

"Always, Paint'; you know me..."

"This is NOT going to be easy. This guy is one of the smartest fucks who ever ran a con; do you understand me?"

"Si, jefe. I do."

"Okay. He's also dangerous. You'd spit in the eye of a Russian mobster, before you'd look at this guy cross-eyed, so you've got to do this completely undetected. Are we clear?"

"Of course, jefe.

"Alright. Now when I say history, I mean from birth and FAMILY history before that."

"This could take some time."

"Just feed it to me as you get it and call anything that seems to catch your eye to my attention."

"Like?"

"Like what stands out, seems wrong, seems too good to be true or you know from somewhere else isn't true. That especially."

"Okay."

"And this is strictly between you and me, comprende?"

"Si, comprende. What's the name, Paint?"

Paul gave him the name.

45.) Anomalies

The house where Paulette and Arnold Washburn had lived with their three kids, two dogs, a cat and two guinea pigs was a three bedroom cape on Evergreen Ave. with a small front yard and a big back yard. The neighboring houses were visible.

The most remarkable thing about the house, in Paul's estimation, was that it was painted white with green and red trim in an exact imitation of the colors of the flag of Bulgaria, which, the current owner, a Ms. Maria Todorova, explained had been her intention and first order of business when she acquired the house from Arnold Washburn, who had been happy with it in barn red with white trim, as evidenced by the file photos Paul had seen.

Ms. Todorova was a petite, feisty, blonde, Bulgarian immigrant, who had left behind a career as a singer to come to Alaska six years earlier and become a nurse. She was proud to say that very recently she had also become an American citizen. Paul estimated her age to be around forty and would have been surprised to learn that he was short by a decade and that this was a testament to what a complete absence of laziness can do. He thought she had a very matter of fact manner and a charming accent, in which she explained that she had never met the previous owner, that his real estate agent had handled the deal, that there had been no haggling over the low bid she had offered and that she had heard every rumor under the sun about the disappearance of Paulette Washburn, but had drawn no conclusions herself, except that most of them were, of course, incorrect. She was clearly more interested in explaining that now that she was an American, she was intending to change the green trim to the blue of the American flag.

She told Paul he could feel free to look around and proceeded to give him a tour of the entire house, then left him to examine the rest of the property on his own. It all told him exactly nothing.

In fact, the only thing he felt was significant about the place he knew as soon as he realized where it was located. It was far to the south of where every other missing woman had lived or worked and Paul was aware that this was not the only anomaly in the case of Paulette Washburn.

Others included the fact that she was the only one who had been living with her husband at the time she vanished, though four others had been married, both dancers and the bartender, who were divorced, and the waitress, who had been living with her new boyfriend while finalizing a divorce. Mrs. Washburn was also the only one who had been living with her kids, though one of the dancers had a ten year old son living in Salinas, California with her mother and the cashier had a four year old living with his dad in Ketchikan, Alaska. Mrs. Washburn was the only woman missing who had no job outside of the home, including the college freshman, Amy Waterbury, who had worked as a chambermaid at The Potlach Inn in her hometown of Sitka, until days before she disappeared and though it couldn't be said for certain when Amy vanished, Paulette Washburn was the only one of the nine women who definitely went missing during the daylight hours. Her three kids all got off the same school bus shortly after three in the afternoon and within minutes discovered that she was not at home. Also, when Paul had examined the photographs of all nine women, he felt there was something different about Paulette Washburn that he couldn't quite put his finger on, but he thought he saw in her eyes that there was something behind them that she didn't want anyone to see.

Paul was beginning to get a hunch or two and he wanted to talk to Captain Rhodes again, but first he wanted to know what Backdoor Bobby had learned thus far.

46.) Church

"This guy Biggleston says that six of them all attended church on Glacier Highway," said Paul to Captain Rhodes between bites of a delicious fresh halibut fillet. He and Rhodes were having lunch at the captain's insistence at his favorite luncheon spot, Rick's Cafe. Paul understood clearly why it was Rhodes' favorite: no frills, friendly service, great food and plenty of it.

Edgar Biggleston was a reporter for The Juneau Mariner, the city's oldest and most widely circulated newspaper. He had achieved celebrity status locally during the time of the disappearances, staying on the cutting edge of the story, but his information was always accurate and all of his columns were included in their own file amended to the case files of each of the missing women.

"That's a fact," said Rhodes, "All except the first one, the first dancer, Joselyn Bonica, who was not a church goer, and the last two, Waterbury and Washburn. Waterbury was new to town and would probably have started attending mass at the Catholic church close to campus, but hadn't yet and Paulette Washburn and family were regulars at The Christian Science Church on Calhoun Ave. But you've seen Glacier Highway; it's one of the longest thoroughfares in Juneau, with a whole lot of churches."

"Yeah, but you have to admit that, statistically, it's outstanding that eight out of nine were even regular churchgoers. And given the number of churches in Juneau that aren't on Glacier Highway, it seems like it could be meaningful, were it not for the other three."

"Well, you said you wanted to see something in the geography. I guess it could be something. You can run computer models on just the six and see if it gives you anything interesting," suggested Rhodes.

"Yeah, I'm gonna do that," said Paul, already picturing it in his mind's eye. "I think I've seen everything I can see here, unless that really shows me something. I'll be leaving in the morning."

"Well, don't be too disappointed. I lived and breathed this stuff every day and I may not have all of your skills, but I'm no slouch either and...here we are."

"I'm not really disappointed, Frank. I haven't solved your disappearances, but I still think something is going to gel. Sometimes you even know things already that you just haven't realized are answers, you know?"

"Sure, happens all the time."

"Listen Frank, I know you never found any proof, but, gut feeling...was Paulette Washburn fooling around?"

Rhodes put his fork on his plate, placed both hands on the edge of the table, looked Paul squarely in the eye and said, "Gut feeling, based on how hard her husband fought the idea mostly, nothin' I ever confirmed or even heard before the rumor mill had been churning about her a good while...yeah. Yeah, my guess would be she was."

47.) Compartmentalization

An organizational skill that is often seen in organized serial predators is the ability to separate that aspect of their lives from what is observed by those around them by means of emotional detachment or disassociation from the thoughts and acts involved in their crimes.

Some among this type of perpetrator are so successful at it that those who have lived in closest proximity to them, their family, friends and/or co-workers, are never able to reconcile their experience of the person they thought they knew with the person who the authorities have brought to justice. It's not, in fact, uncommon for a multiple personality disorder defense to be proposed with this type of criminal, though it rarely applies and is even less often successful, because most folks on the prosecution's side of things know that what they are dealing with is somebody with the ability to compartmentalize.

Compartmentalization may sound cold to many of us and it seems a pure impossibility to those at the other end of the spectrum, obsessive-compulsives and the like, but it's actually taught in business management and self-empowerment courses, among others, as a way of prioritizing and sticking to priorities, because of its proven effectiveness. We all multitask, but we're also all familiar with the concept of concentrating fully on one thing at a time. Those who are best at compartmentalization can literally put out of their minds that which need not be dealt with now and leave it there until it is time to deal with it. It's a powerful tool.

48.) Avoidance Behaviors

Micky Landis was a twenty-seven year old carpet cleaner from Zachary, Louisiana, maybe half an hour's drive on route 19 north from Baton Rouge. He'd lived there his whole life and everyone knew him. Anyone whose carpets he had ever cleaned would have been happy to recommend him to anyone who had spilled grape juice on their beige dining room rug or whose dog had had "an accident" on an heirloom.

Micky liked working alone with his noisy machines in other people's houses, because it allowed him to spy on them and their neighbors, while keeping them from trying to converse with him beyond a necessary minimum. Micky had a severe stutter as a child and though he had managed to conquer it with the help of a speech therapist whose specialty was helping children with that exact problem, an inner terror, not of pitifully stammering with no control other than to stop attempting to speak, as he once had, but of getting stuck just enough to draw attention and then derision, motivated him to avoid having to speak with anyone. Avoidance behaviors had, for most of his life, dominated his social skills.

"One thing leads to another" is what Micky often said to himself and he was no dummy. But the other kids were merciless when he was a boy. They'd say mean things like: "You have Zachary's disease. You talk Zachary like I fart!" Oh, how he'd hated them all! They thought they were funny, but they were all just stupid. He was the smart one and they'd never know it, because they'd never get to know what was going on inside his head. "Nobody ever knows what's going on inside your head unless you tell them" was another thing Micky liked to say to himself. He was no dummy. He knew that he knew what psychologists know: you can only observe behavior, not thoughts, not the motivation behind behavior.

So Micky kept his observable behavior within the range of socially acceptable acts, stayed, with his thoughts, safely behind the barrier his machines provided during work hours and spent most of his free time alone. He didn't like people who were still alive.

49.) Shiv

Paul was standing in the the hallway of the courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada with Harvey Turner and Shirley McAdams, the mother of the murdered girl. Now there was a commotion in the mass of people behind him in the hall. Apparently the paperwork had been completed and Andrew Travis Johansen was about to join them in the hallway. Paul was suddenly terrified and he knew he knew why and knew just as clearly that he wouldn't be able to do anything about the reason why, because somehow whatever it was had already happened and he suddenly thought the feeling of defeat that accompanied this realization was more than he could bear. He began to turn toward the commotion and he caught Harvey's eyes widening as he looked past Paul at whatever it was. This scared him even more and he tried to turn faster, but felt like he was moving under water against the force of the stifling humidity and his inner awareness of the futility of trying.

As he completed his turn, out of the fifty or sixty people in that part of the hall, reporters extending microphones and beginning to shout questions, lights and TV cameras, and although the man was among those farthest away from him, Paul immediately focused on Tom McAdams. Tom's attention, like that of everyone around him, seemed to be riveted on Andrew Travis Johansen, and as he closed the distance between himself and his daughter's murderer, Paul was sure, from the look on his face, he needed to be stopped. Paul started to shout, knowing it wouldn't help and he saw Tom McAdams lunge at Andrew Travis Johansen from behind. Tom's left hand grabbed Johansen's hair and his right hand, which held the broken off, plastic handle from a men's room paper towel dispenser, in an instant came over the man's right shoulder, the makeshift blade found the left side of the man's neck and Tom slashed his throat deeply from left to right in one stroke.

Now everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Paul saw the horror and amazement in those closest to the spray of blood from Andrew Travis Johansen's jugular veins and virtually everyone in that part of the hallway not holding a TV camera or too stunned to move jumping on Tom McAdams. Paul, still moving towards McAdams, began to rotate his head and upper body to the left to glance back at Mrs. McAdams, at Harvey, at Phillip and Andrea Smithson, but the phone on the table next to his motel bed rang before he could complete his turn. He lay there while it rang twice more, perspiring, breathing hard and staring bug-eyed at a corner of the room where two walls met the ceiling, then reached for the telephone receiver.

50.) Clue

The call was from Edgar Biggleston, the reporter from The Juneau Mariner. Paul had called his office the previous evening and, finding him away for the night, had left a message. Biggleston had called immediately after arriving at work and then apologized for waking Paul, who in turn thanked him for the wake-up call, explaining that he had a plane to catch in a few hours.

He told Biggleston that he'd called to ask if the reporter could give him any information about the Washburn couple's Christian Science faith. Had he learned anything from other church members, for instance, and specifically, did he have any idea how deeply committed they were?

"Funny you should ask," replied Biggleston. "She was the one who brought him to the church. He was some kind of Protestant back in Texas, but I can tell you without fear of contradiction, Mr. Warren, this woman wore the pants in the family."

"Really?"

"Oh, yeaah! Everybody, without exception, told me that."

"Uh-huh. Well thanks, Mr. Biggleston..."

"Please: Ed."

"Thank-you for calling, Ed..."

"Hey, listen! What's up? You must think you're onto something here. I mean this was never a federal case, because there was no proof of kidnapping or serial murder, but you must be here because you're fairly well convinced that it should have been, am I right?"

Under the circumstances, Paul saw no problem in admitting that he believed they were dealing with a serial murderer. They talked for several minutes about the missing women before Biggleston confirmed something that Franklin Rhodes had touched on, that Amy Waterbury's parents calls to the policeman hadn't ceased, until he moved to the State Police homicide division and the cold case was put in the hands of others. Biggleston told Paul that by that time George and Henrietta Waterbury, mainly Henrietta, had been calling him, as well, for nearly as long as Rhodes and their calling had continued like clockwork, on the third of every month, the third being the last day on which anyone could say they had seen Amy, until last month, when they hadn't called, and now it had been almost seven weeks since they had spoken.

"I've been thinking about calling them, in fact, but I'm wondering if maybe they've finally reached the acceptance stage of their grief," explained the reporter.

"Maybe they have, Ed," offered Paul.

They spoke a while longer. Paul gave the reporter his contact information and asked him to be in touch if he learned or thought of anything at all that he sensed might be relevant, Biggleston wished him a good trip home and they said their good-byes, but Paul was thinking the entire time about how it's that which is out of place, like a break in a pattern, a clockwork-like succession of phone calls, for instance, that constitutes a clue.

He picked up the receiver again. He was still going to be flying, but he wasn't going home.

51.) Q & A

Most people will answer a direct question. Not everyone will speak the truth when asked, but an experienced detective will usually sense the difference between deception and accuracy. How one asks, where and when one asks a question are often the keys to success. Having a good idea in advance of what the correct answer is can obviously be a great advantage.

Things were beginning to coalesce in Paul's mind, so much so that he had to remind himself not to become overly confident in what he was now pretty sure was the truth about Amy Waterbury, and, if he was correct, what it might mean in respect to his solving the case of all of the Juneau disappearances, until he was certain about the answers to a few more specific questions.

At this point, however, Paul needed an answer to a question he was asking himself and he needed a little help, so he called Captain Rhodes for his expert opinion about Mr. and Mrs. Waterbury. Rhodes, who had seen and heard his share of the unbelievable, was at first a bit surprised by what Paul theorized, but after a brief explanation he thought that if Paul could get George Waterbury on the phone, the man would be honest with him and it wouldn't be necessary to fly to Sitka and add the intimidation factor of an in person interview, so for the sake of economy and expedience, Paul's next call was to the Waterbury home.

"Mr. Waterbury?"

"Yes?"

"Mr. Waterbury, my name is Paul Warren. I'm a former special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, currently working with Captain Frank Rhodes (it wasn't really a lie) on the case of the Juneau disappearances."

There was a moment's hesitation, before George Waterbury said, "Yes?"

"Mr. Waterbury, I spoke with Edgar Biggleston a half an hour ago and he told me that your wife and yourself have been in the habit of calling him quite regularly every month, until last month, and that it's now been an unusually long time since he's heard from either of you," said Paul and when he thought he heard George Waterbury draw a breath, he believed the man was trying to think of just how to begin to explain, so he took the plunge. "Mr. Waterbury, have you heard from Amy?"

52.) Developments

It was no surprise to Paul that George and Henrietta Waterbury had indeed heard from their daughter. Mr. Waterbury explained that they had been embarrassed to admit they'd learned she had run off on the day of her disappearance, first to Montreal and then to Southern France, with a young man she had met and fallen in love with during her college orientation weekend, which had been late in June of that year. George Waterbury made it clear that they would not have approved of this romance and, from their conversation, Paul surmised that Amy had been subjected to a rather parochial upbringing by parents to whom she had been born an only child, when they were in their late forties. Amy had, after all, used her going away to school as an opportunity to flee from them and begin a whole new, less restricted life. Whether she had ever intended to contact her parents again would remain a mystery. She still had no intention of returning from Europe, but she had recently given birth to a child of her own, a daughter, and she had sent them a photograph of the newborn along with a short, unapologetic letter of explanation the previous month, which Mr. Waterbury could confirm was definitely in her handwriting.

He said they were going to call and explain what had happened and said he was awfully sorry that he hadn't already and sorrier still for all the trouble Amy had caused and asked Paul if they or their daughter might be in yet more trouble for withholding information. Paul told the man he didn't believe they would be, that he was glad that they had learned she was alive and well and that the authorities would be relieved that they could at least close her case. He told him they'd probably be hearing from someone shortly in order to officially confirm the authenticity of the letter, but that, although Amy deserved a good scolding, none of them had anything to fear from the law.

"I'll be damned," was Captain Rhodes reaction when Paul called and informed him of this development.

"I'm not a religious man, but I doubt it," replied Paul. "Besides I've got a pretty good idea about something else that's going to come as even more of a surprise to you."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"Well, it's about Arnold Washburn. I've got a computer hacker on the payroll at the Bureau, who does some work for me as well, from time to time, and I've had him do some checking up on him. What he's given me leads me to believe you're going to want to bring him back to Alaska."

53.) Gallows Humor

"This is a nation of laws and the system works. There's a couple of myths for you!" exclaimed Andy Everly to the friends at his table at Mastro's, the Beverly Hills steakhouse where they'd all gone for dinner after he'd "killed" at the Laugh Factory earlier in the evening. "This is a nation of lawbreakers and victims and if your car or your computer worked as well as the legal system, you'd bring it right back where you bought it and demand your money back!"

"But would you get it?" asked Jeff Warren, who'd come to town to supervise the delivery and installation of his A Course In Miracles sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Oprah Winfrey had decided it should spend some time being admired by the general public. "I mean, considering that the legal system is broken and all?"

"Is it still under warranty?" asked Justine King.

"Are we talking about a car or a computer?" asked Barry Fine.

"It doesn't matter what we're talking about. Everything is broken!" answered Andy. "Just like the Dylan song! Everything in this whole fucking country, ever since Bush got elected, everything that wasn't broken has been broken and most of it by him and his cronies! Goddamn moron! I'll tell you something: I predict he'll be the first president to be assassinated after leaving office. Some Iraq war veteran..."

"Now Andy, not everyone is going to know you're joking...," Barry began to admonish him, glancing around to see who might have heard.

"I'm not joking!" insisted Andy. Then he lowered his voice a decibel. "I'm not advocating it. I'm just predicting it. You'll remember when he first announced his candidacy, that I predicted if he were to be elected, it would turn out to be the worst thing that ever happened to this country and I've predicted just about every disaster we've suffered ever since, except for exactly what the catalyst would be that turned out to be 9/11. Well, once again, I'm telling you: mark my words."

"You haven't said this on stage, have you, buddy?" asked Jeff.

"No, I told you: this isn't a joke." Andy replied.

"Good, because it isn't funny," said Barry.

"No, but it would give a lot of people who've been harmed by his idiocy the last laugh," Andy retorted, glaring at his agent. "How much is your house worth today, by the way? You realize that regardless of the conditions that existed before the turnaround in the housing market, it was Bush who caused the turnaround by threatening to do away with the mortgage interest income tax deduction to help pay off his deficit, don't you? And the media hasn't said one word about that. Not one word anywhere. "

Barry didn't answer.

"Wasn't the real estate market already slowing down?" asked Justine.

"The real estate market was still healthy and growing; that was part of Bush's reasoning for doing away with the deduction; though they were doing things like running week-long specials on TV like 'Is The Bubble Going To Burst?' in an effort to slow it down. My condo was still appreciating at better than twelve percent."

"Who's 'they'?" asked Justine.

Andy ignored the question and said, "Hey, speaking of veterans and everything being broken, here's something I want to know and it's pretty damn relevant too, considering that we're in the middle of another war that a whole lot of us predicted would be another Vietnam and is: how come veterans who have been on the wrong side of an issue get preferential treatment in the job market? My dad has been a conscientious objector since 1971. Do you think he ever made out a job application that asked him if he was in the anti-Vietnam war movement? Of course not. And he's one hell of a lot smarter than anyone who went over there."

"Did my wife write that?" asked Jeff.

"She might have," answered Andy. "She's smart enough to at least agree with me. And that's really the point. The public education system is intentionally broken, so that there's always an enormous supply of young people who are stupid enough to think that the military offers them opportunities...opportunities like the education they didn't get in the public schools. Don't think there's no connection between America being number one militarily, but only number thirteen educationally. It's all part of the same plan."

"I'm sure Alvina has said that," said Jeff, "And there's certainly nothing in the budget with which you could dispute it."

"Well, at least the price of oil is still dropping," offered Justine.

"But the price of gasoline is going up again!" cried Andy. "How the fuck does THAT work?"

54.) Whoever Speaks First...

"I knew you'd be here for me eventually," were the first words out of Arnold Washburn's mouth when he answered the door of his home in San Antonio the next morning. He hadn't seen the rented black Crown Victoria pulling up his driveway, but he didn't seem to be particularly surprised to see Frank Rhodes standing with Paul just outside of his front door, when he opened it, after they'd rung his doorbell twice. He looked Captain Rhodes straight in the eye, looking supremely tired, and he actually smiled faintly and nodding his head said, "In fact it's a relief... it feels like a relief...that you've finally come. Now I can stop worrying. Come in. Come in."

They came in, Paul closing the door behind him. He saw they were in a large, well furnished living room, with wooden walls which were made to look like a rustic ranch in a style that Texans and other westerners are often fond of. He could see family pictures on the wall by the stone fireplace, including a large photo-real painting of a serenely smiling Paulette Washburn hanging over the mantel, with a glow about her head meant to suggest that now she was in heaven.

Arnold Washburn asked, "Is it alright if I sit down?", and he did so. The two lawmen remained silently standing. This was the plan. So far things were proceeding precisely as Paul had predicted they would. From what Backdoor Bobby had told him, he knew the man was suffering from a nervous condition, had an ulcer and never seemed to leave the house except to attend regular church services. Washburn had returned to the Presbyterian faith of his youth. Bobby had also supplied the information that Washburn had never served in the military, nor was there anything indicating he was a hunter.

He noticed Paul looking at his deceased wife's portrait and said, "She's not in heaven, you know. She was an adulteress, an unrepentant one, and she's...she's gone to...she's gone to the other place." He looked down at the floor and shook his head. Rhodes thought for a moment that he might cry, but he didn't. He went on, "I knew right away I shouldn't have killed her, but from the instant I found out that she was going to leave me for the man... the man she was sleeping with...," and now he did sob, "I just couldn't stop myself!"

Now Captain Rhodes and Paul took chairs opposite Washburn, but still they said nothing.

Washburn looked at Captain Rhodes and explained, "From the time I met her, I gave her everything she ever wanted, no matter what it was, no matter how hard I had to work to afford it. I never denied her a thing. It wasn't always easy, but I didn't mind. I loved her. I loved her so much." He shook his head and looked as if he were trying to understand why his love hadn't resulted in a life of happiness ever after. "So I gave her whatever she wanted and did whatever she said she wanted us to do, move to Alaska, have another child. Those were her ideas, her wishes." He sighed, deeply. "But Paulette was someone who was always thinking that the next thing would make her happy and always finding that it didn't. Have you ever known that type of person, Lieutenant Rhodes?"

Now that the man had confessed, Rhodes was willing to answer. "Yes, Mr. Washburn, I have. It's Captain Rhodes now, by the way, and I work for Alaska State Police Homicide. But yes, I've seen many people with that same problem."

"Yes," said Washburn and he sighed again. "Many people never learn...never learn to appreciate what they have. You know, I felt sorry for her...always felt sorry for her that she was that way, but the only thing I knew how to do was to try to satisfy her...and then I lost control...and then...as soon as she was dead, I felt sorry for her again." He looked from one man to the other and back again, as if to see if they believed him.

"I think I understand, Mr. Washburn," said Rhodes.

"But I had to think of the kids," explained Washburn, "So I...hid...I hid what I'd done and pretended I didn't know anything."

Rhodes nodded silently and waited.

"I suppose you want to know what I did with her... with her...," and now Washburn broke down crying, remembering whatever it was he had done with his wife's body. He clutched at his ulcerated stomach, jumped up and quickly retrieved a brass wastebasket that stood next to a nearby, antique, roll-top desk and, having fallen to his knees, retched over it. After a while he stood and apologized, wiping his mouth with a handkerchief. "I have an terrible ulcer. Of course, I deserve it."

"I see," said Rhodes. "Now, Mr. Washburn..."

"You're going to want to take me back to Juneau," Washburn anticipated being told, once more looking from one man to the other and back again. "I won't fight it. I want to go with you. I want all of this to be over. I'll be glad when all of this is...when all of this is just over. I swear to you, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me already."

55.) Complete Pictures

Now that it had been confirmed that the Waterbury and Washburn women were not factors in the puzzle, Paul was happy to have in his company the man who had originally been in charge of the missing persons cases. As they rode to the airport with Arnold Washburn, he inquired of Captain Rhodes, who was driving, "Frank, do you recall if there were any missing persons cases of men between the ages of twenty and forty that occurred at the same time as Sandra Callahan's disappearance?"

Rhodes barely had to give it a thought. He replied, "Well, in fact there was a guy whose father began looking for him the same day that she was reported missing: Steven Beck, twenty-seven; father was a minister at the Salvation Army. He was frantic, 'cause his son was barely ever absent from home or the church and retreat center. A real loner. Nice fellow, by all reports. Shy, but helpful to the folks who came around. Never surfaced again. Father died about eighteen months later. Buried in their cemetery."

"They have their own cemetery?"

"Not a big one, but they bury a good number of people there who pass away without having had the means for other arrangements."

"What was Steven's occupation?" asked Paul.

"Well, he worked for his father; pretty much everything that didn't require a lot of smarts that wasn't being handled by one of the other administrators or volunteers. Not a very bright boy apparently, but he did maintenance, house cleaning, landscaping of the properties, dug the occasional grave..."

"He dug the graves?"

"That's what his father said."

Paul looked out the window and though his eyes saw the terrain and the buildings they were passing, his inner vision imagined a cemetery coming into focus like a developing photograph. He liked to say that developing photographs were metaphoric of the way all the elements of a case would sometimes suddenly come together to give one a complete picture.

Paul reached down into the bag at his feet and retrieved his laptop. He said to Rhodes, "You know, I plotted a good number of grids the other night with just the six church goers and with the first seven women and since we don't know just exactly where they were taken from, I had to work with other factors: homes, places of employment, where they attended Sunday services mainly. Naturally that tended to cluster the results in that same Glacier Highway area. I don't recall where the Salvation Army church is..."

"The administration and church offices are on West Willoughby, but the retreat center is right off Glacier Highway at Seven Mile Road," Rhodes enlightened him, "And they administer to about ten different locations in the area."

Paul had saved all of the Juneau grids in his computer and could now see on his screen that the location of the Salvation Army Retreat Center was just southeast of an area that many of the grids he'd plotted had centered on.

"You said West Willoughby? Is that road? Street?" he asked.

"West Willoughby Ave. It's in the five hundred block, even side of the street. South side."

Paul was nearly certain he'd have a difficult time holding a satellite signal for Google Earth in the moving car, but gave it a try anyhow. For the moment, he got lucky and saw that the church and administration offices were just southwest of an area that the remainder of his grids had indicated were a probable hotspot.

"Well Frank, I think we've got a winner."

"Yeah?"

"I'm gonna want to see this cemetery as soon as we get back."

Though Arnold Washburn, in the back seat, had his own problems to think about, so far it had proved to be quite an educational ride for him.

56.) Tactile Memory

"Don't you find that every women is different?" Orion asked.

"More or less," his old friend, Gary Knayler, agreed noncommittally.

"More or less," said Orion, shaking his head. The two men were having a late lunch in The Sky Lounge, a restaurant which overlooked the small airfield where they had spent the latter part of the morning and early afternoon with Knayler teaching Orion to fly a Robinson R44 helicopter. Gary had taught the man to fly a plane shortly after they had come home from the Vietnam war, but helicopters were a whole different animal. Helicopters don't actually fly. The disc that is the spinning top rotor flies. The rest of the machine hangs from the disc while the pilot keeps the whole craft in balance using both hands and both feet. Some skilled airplane pilots are never able to manage the transition to helicopters and it's frequently argued that it might be easier to learn to fly a helicopter, if you've never flown a plane, just as calculus is often easiest learned by children who haven't already acquired extensive skills in Euclidean mathematics. "I'm not talking about slight differences, Bird." Bird was the war-name Knayler had earned in the Nam. "I mean every woman is distinctly different in bed. And I'm not just talking about behavioral preferences. In fact, that's not what I mean at all. I'm talking about what they feel like, what they TASTE like and as a result how I'M different with every one of them."

"WERE different," corrected Knayler.

"Of course." Orion was a well known advocate of monogamy for partners in committed relationships and, being married, there was no question regarding his fidelity to his wife. "But there's nothing wrong with my memory and besides, I'm asking about you now. The miracle is that I found one woman with whom I could be satisfied to the point that I could forgo all the rest of them. You know how easily I become disinterested in things once I'm familiar with 'em. But let me give you a good example of what I'm talking about. Do you remember the Lee twins?"

"Karen and Sharon. You called them Carin' and Sharin'. How could I forget? Beautiful girls! Always smiling. Hair down to their asses..."

"That's them. Well then you may have assumed this, but I was sleeping with both of them most of that spring in Winterhaven and those girls were absolutely IDENTICAL from head to toe. They hardly knew each other apart, finished each other's sentences, the whole bit. But, Bird, I'm telling you, I could tell which one was which when I was makin' it with them. And it was incredible to me, because their skin was the same and they did everything the same way! They kissed the same and their mouths tasted alike; I couldn't tell them apart when they went down on me, but when I was in either one of 'em, I knew which one she was. And I'll tell you somethin' else: if I was stone blind, I believe I could identify all the women I've ever been with, just by what they feel like."

"Does your wife know about this, Sport?" asked Knayler.

"Now why in the world would I tell my wife such thing?"

"I think you're gonna make a good chopper pilot, Sport."

57.) Orion's Wife

Orion's wife was the most self-confident and capable women he'd ever met. He'd have preferred to have her watching his back than some of the men he'd been with in the jungles of Vietnam. She was a judo expert and a crack shot with a pistol, rifle or shotgun, but could not be equaled in the use of the antique Colt Buntline revolver, with its 14 inch barrel, that her father had left her.

She turned the heads of all who gazed upon her, was tall and slender with dark brown eyes, an arresting smile and long, jet black hair. "Mesmerizingly beautiful" is how a local magazine article about her city's ten most successful women had described her.

It was said that she looked exactly like her mother, Flame Two Trees, a full-blooded Apache, who had died giving birth to her. Her father had been a professional gambler named Wild Bill Burnright. He had raised her all by himself, teaching her everything he knew, before being shot to death one roastingly hot, Texas night in Abilene by a drunken cowboy, who had just lost a month's wages to him on the turn of a card. At the time, she was only ten years old and she'd spent the next four years in an orphanage before running away to San Francisco, where she'd lived among the hippies of the Haight Ashbury district for two years and then returned to Texas to reclaim the ranch her father had left her just north of Sweetwater.

Wild Bill's game had been five card stud poker and legend had it that you didn't sit down at the table with him unless you could afford to lose. His daughter had followed in his footsteps, though she'd turned to Texas hold 'em when it became wildly popular and had become one the world's top hands at it by the time she built the casino where she met Orion on the night of its grand opening. They fell hard for each other right off the bat. They were a perfect match. Orion loved competition and beautiful, smart, strong women. She loved strong, intelligent, handsome men who were fierce competitors. They married only months later and, though Orion had majored in business and mass communication at one of the country's top schools, as the years went by, he was proud enough of her savviness to claim she'd taught him everything he knew about making deals out west. They were envied and admired by all, as they grabbed the world by the horns and wrestled it to submission.

She was the only person in the world to ever learn all of Orion's secrets and he was the only person that she ever told about her having killed a pimp in San Francisco, who had beaten her up, raped her and tried to turn her out on the street to trick for him, before she fled back to Sweetwater.

58.) "Please come home"

Returning to Juneau involved flying first to Seattle and changing planes. The first flight out wasn't until mid-afternoon, so Paul and Frank decided having a late lunch would be the best way to kill the time. They'd been dining for fifteen minutes when Paul's cell phone rang. He could see from the caller I.D. that it was Joan calling. He pushed the send button and put the phone to his ear as he swallowed a mouthful of barbecued pork.

"Hi babe. What's up?"

"Oh Paul..." Joan was clearly distraught. Paul knew immediately she was looking for the words to tell him something had happened, something very bad.

"What Joanie? What is it?"

"Oh Paul," she sobbed, "It's Harvey. He's had a terrible accident. He's in a coma."

"What? What happened? Is he going to be alright?"

She was choking on her tears now and didn't answer.

"Joanie. Honey, take a deep breath."

Paul heard his wife collecting herself. Finally she said, "He came and got Rufrak this morning. On the way to his house his SUV rolled over. He's on a ventilator, Paul..."

"My God, Joan, how...," and now it was he who found he couldn't go on.

"They don't know. They don't know what caused it. They don't know if he's going to make it, Paul!"

"Oh Jesus."

"Paul, please come home."

Paul looked at Frank Rhodes, who had stopped eating. He saw that both the police captain and Arnold Washburn, who understandably had no appetite, where watching him with sympathetic anticipation. He said, "I will, honey."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The situation may have been more complicated, had Washburn not been so willing to return to Alaska, but under the circumstances Rhodes was confident that he could handle everything without assistance and when Paul explained to him what had happened, he insisted that Paul fly directly home. Though the airport had the normal mid-day crowd, after twenty minutes Paul was able to exchange his ticket without a problem. Then the two detectives agreed that Rhodes would contact the current Salvation Army head administrator about checking their records for burials that closely coincided with the disappearances of the missing women.

"I wish I could be there with you, Frank, and see just what we're dealing with there, but unless I'm very mistaken, you're going to find that those women are buried in that cemetery," Paul told the homicide man.

"I'm sure you're not," agreed Rhodes, shaking his head.

Paul saw them to their security check point. Rhodes said he hoped Paul's ex-partner would be alright, that he'd be in his prayers. Paul thanked him, said he'd be calling him soon, they said their goodbyes and then Paul found his way to his own gate where he waited and wondered, if he wasn't mistaken, why had Orion not left Steven Beck's body where it and at least some evidence of one of the missing women would be immediately discovered.

59.) Wendy Cartwright's Eye

One day, shortly after Micky Landis had concluded the therapy for his stuttering, he was playing with Wendy Cartwright in her back yard when she asked him to go in the house with her to see if her mom would give them a couple of Popsicles. He agreed enthusiastically and quickly followed her toward the back door of the Cartwright's house. Wendy ran to the three back stairs, stepped up and swung the screen door open and, instead of proceeding inside, turned back to say something just as Micky reached up to grab the door, which was connected to the door jamb by a spring and in the process of swinging closed. She turned in such a way that the heel of his reaching right hand hit her squarely in her right eye causing her to scream in pain and run inside wailing at the top of her lungs. He ran in after her, of course, and found her bawling in her mother's arms and shrieking, between gasps, that he had punched her in the eye.

Amid Wendy's cries, each of which seemed to be louder and more agonized than the one which preceded it, and Mrs. Cartwright's questions, directed at both Wendy and Micky, the boy objected to Wendy's claim that he had punched her, said she hadn't been looking and it had been an accident caused by her turning around as he was reaching for the door. The two children had always gotten along well and Mrs. Cartwright looked like she wanted to believe Micky, but Wendy continued to scream and cry hysterically and insist he'd punched her and she wailed until no sound came from her little mouth until, finally, Mrs. Cartwright decided, to Micky's relief, that it would be best for him to go home and explain to his mother what had happened. He said, "Okay," then he said, "I'm sorry; but it was an accident," and he departed.

Micky went right home and found his mother in the kitchen on the telephone. She looked at him with a scowl, pointed at a kitchen chair and said, "Sit there." He sat in the chair and waited, wishing he could hear what Mrs. Cartwright was telling his mother and able to guess from his mother's responses that the other woman hadn't concluded whether or not the incident had been accidental. After what seemed like a long time, but, because Mrs. Cartwright still had an injured, crying child to attend to, was actually only a few minutes, Micky's mother hung up the phone.

"What did you do to Wendy Cartwright?" she demanded.

"It was an accident!" Micky insisted and he proceeded to explain what had happened, while his mother questioned him about each detail and he explained some more. She wasn't happy about it, to say the least, but finally she seemed satisfied that he was telling her the truth and she told him to sit right where he was until she got back, went down the hall to the large den, scooped his little brother Timmy up from within his playpen and returned. She told him not to get out of that chair, as she passed through the kitchen, and with the three year old in her arms, left by the back door.

When she returned, some twenty minutes later, she looked even less pleased than when she had left. She put Timmy back in his playpen, came in the kitchen, pulled a chair from under the table, rotated his chair to face hers and sat down.

"That little girl's eye is swollen out to here!" she exclaimed, holding her cupped hand two inches from her own eye socket. "They're taking her to the hospital right now and praying she hasn't been blinded. Now you tell me EXACTLY what happened!"

So Micky explained everything in detail yet again, while his mother interrupted repeatedly to ask him if he was sure of everything he said and how this or that had occurred. At last she seemed to believe him, but still she sent him upstairs to his room from where he could hear her calling his father at work on the telephone.

60.) Discomfort

Paul never spent a comfortable moment in a hospital. Not that one could blame him, of course; people often fall victim to worse maladies in hospitals than the ones they came in to have treated and, of course, not everyone leaves a hospital alive. Paul had always enjoyed excellent health, a broken collar bone suffered in a college intramural touch football game being the only reason since he was born that he'd ever had to go to a hospital for personal care, but like most folks he'd made his share of visits to family and friends who were sick or injured. When his son was lying in a coma after being hit by a car as a boy, Paul and Joan had barely left his side and his six days of unconsciousness seemed to last forever. The experience had a permanent effect on both parents and the memory of it came to the forefront of Paul's thoughts every time he had occasion to walk into a medical facility. Combined with this was the discomfort of the feelings of guilt he felt at consciously not wanting to be there, of wanting to be almost anywhere else, while showing genuine sympathy for whoever he had come to see, sympathy that felt like an act somehow, because of his desire to be somewhere else. This wouldn't have bothered another man, but Paul wasn't someone accustomed to feeling guilty.

Joan had picked Paul up at the airport and they had driven directly to the hospital while she filled him in with the details that had been learned since they had spoken that afternoon. A woman from Harvey's neighborhood, Dorothy Schenley, Mrs. Ralph Schenley, had gone to the police and reported that Harvey had come around the bend on the wrong side of the road and they had both swerved to avoid a head-on collision. She had then proceeded around the bend and kept going and was ignorant of the fact that Harvey had suffered a rollover until hours later when she returned home and, seeing the story of the FBI agent on the TV news, began to put two and two together. Mrs. Schenley told the police that things had happened so quickly that she couldn't be absolutely certain, but it had looked to her like a golden retriever had been trying to climb out the driver's window and she thought maybe the driver had strayed to the wrong side of the road as it curved to the right because he had been struggling with the animal and that it had perhaps obscured his view. The police had thanked her for coming forward and sent her home.

The first police to arrive at the overturned wreck had found Rufrak so unharmed that it didn't even occur to them he'd been a part of the accident. They reported that he had both seemed to be trying to "attend to" the injured man, who had hung suspended by his seatbelt, licking his face and such, and barked at those who had come running or stopped their cars at the scene, keeping the strangers at bay until the cops arrived, at which he appeared to recognize their authority and had actually welcome them, then lain nearby and watched with concern while another cruiser, the ambulance and a fire truck came screaming up and the rescue was effected.

When Joan told her husband that pads on three of the dog's feet were scraped and bleeding, he guessed that Rufrak had actually jumped from the vehicle before it rolled.

Harvey had not been so lucky. He'd barely bled as much as the dog, but the big SUV had rolled two and a half times before coming to rest on its roof against a huge sycamore tree and he'd suffered a collapsed left lung, four broken ribs, fractured his left wrist and broken two vertebrae in his neck. When Paul and Joan entered his room they barely got a glance at him before his wife, who had been sitting at his bedside holding his hand, stood up and shuffled them back into the hall. Statuesque, raven-haired Janice Turner was famous for being the most unflappable, good-natured problem solver among all the wives in their circle of friends. Tonight was the first time the Warrens had ever seen her when she'd obviously been crying.

"Have you eaten?" Janice asked Paul.

"How is he?" asked Paul.

"Come on. Let's go to the cafeteria," Janice said and began to lead the way. "I need to eat something. Have you eaten, Paul?"

"I had some nuts and crackers on the plane," replied Paul, feeling both relief and guilt at the thought that at least in the cafeteria maybe he could pretend he was somewhere else, provided it didn't smell too strongly of disinfectant.

61.) Fear and Desire

Shortly after the Warrens arrived home from the hospital Frank Rhodes called. His inquiry at The Salvation Army Church had led to the information that there had been a burial at their cemetery on the day Sandra Callahan and Steven Beck had been reported missing. The head administrator, Thomas Emerson, had taken over after Minister Johan Beck had passed away, so this was all before his arrival, but as luck would have it, there was a man who had been a volunteer with the church at the time, a Fred Hughes, who had taken over Steven Beck's job and remembered a lot of details. These included the fact that there had been a heavy rain the night before and the morning of the burial and Hughes had to more or less re-dig the grave that Steven Beck had prepared the previous day, because the rain had practically collapsed its walls.

It being Saturday, there was nothing more that could be done during the remainder of the weekend, but Rhodes had already called both the family of the interred and a judge who was a close friend and had set things in motion to open the grave on Monday morning.

Further checking of the church records had shown that other burials had taken place on days that followed each of the other six disappearances. If they found what they expected to in the first grave, the others would also be opened.

None of this came as a surprise to Paul. He was certain that the rain explained why Beck's and Sandra's bodies had not been found in the bottom of the grave on the day of the burial and he was confident that the other women would also be uncovered beneath the caskets that belonged in each of the other concerned graves.

It had been a long day and Paul was exhausted, but after he and Joan retired for the night and made love with a passion that reflected both Paul's having been away and Harvey's accident having brought to the forefront the undeniable awareness that there's a thin line between life and death, a line that can suddenly be crossed and separate one from a loved one at any moment without any warning, he found he couldn't turn off his thoughts and sleep. He tossed and turned for nearly an hour before he finally got out of bed and went downstairs, first to the kitchen for a glass of milk - he poured a few ounces into Rufrak's bowl in the pantry where the dog had been lying, except for a brief visit to the yard, licking his wounded paws since Joan had brought him home that afternoon, doing so mainly to distract the animal from his licking - and then to the study where he clicked on the TV and sat in his recliner not watching it.

The broadcast was of an infomercial. A man named Brad Shields was telling his live studio audience members, who focused on him with rapt attention, that it's always a good time to take advantage of opportunities.

"And in a down market," insisted Shields, "with interest rates and home prices at a twenty-plus-year low, your opportunity to get in on great deals NOW is perhaps better than ever! It's all a matter of coming to grips with your fear and desire; your FEAR of what might happen in the future and your DESIRE to become wealthy. So..."

The words fear and desire had caught Paul's ear. He listened to Shields for a few moments and then used the remote to turn off the television. He was thinking that Shields was probably a very successful salesman, because he was actually a motivational speaker. Paul knew from experience that two of the primary motivators of human behavior were the desire to succeed and fear of failure. People highly motivated by the desire to succeed were most likely to succeed, while those motivated by fear of failure were more likely to avoid trying to do anything at which they might fail and thus never give success a chance.

Paul knew that, as a rule, serial predators saw themselves as failures, failures who blamed others for their failure and who preyed on their victims as a way of telling themselves they could succeed, even if that success was only at complete control over the fate of another person, with no lasting reward.

But not Orion, thought Paul. No, he told himself, Orion is motivated by success; he sees these people as vermin, a phenomenon of our overcrowded modern society that needs to be dealt with mercilessly, like an exterminator deals with a nest of rats. Orion is a man who pats himself on the back after a successful kill, then moves forward with the other business of his, no doubt, very successful life.

Most serial predators also save some possession of their victims - jewelry, underwear, IDs - as a trophy or a memento, to help them remember and relive their conquests. Paul was sure this was not the case with Orion. He left his trophy kills for his audience, the authorities, to find and he had no need whatsoever to relive his conquests in order to feel like he wasn't a failure.

62.) Thin Lines

It was now 1:07 AM on Sunday morning and Paul had been sitting at the drawing table in his studio for close to an hour after measuring out a shot of vodka and a shot of Kahlua from the bottles he kept in the liquor cabinet in his study and pouring them into his milk and then, after downing half of the white Russian, carrying the drink through the exterior study door and across the dew covered lawn and into the room of the garage that always smelled of oil paints. Paul wasn't much of a drinker. His father had had a drinking problem that Paul had become aware of when he was in junior high school. It was one of the few things he hadn't admired about the man and he had determined at that early age that it was one thing he definitely did not intend to emulate. As he sat looking at his drawing, to which he had added only a dozen short thin lines of ink since entering the studio this morning, he recalled someone's saying: too late we learn that our fathers didn't have all the answers and by that time we've become our fathers. Who was it who had said that? He struggled to remember, but he was unable to and it bothered him because he felt like he should know, that he did know, but it just wasn't coming to him. It was like his unfinished drawing, he told himself. It was like the mystery of Orion. It was like the dream that he now was hoping to have again and now hoping to complete, because he had become convinced that it held information of which he needed to become conscious.

Paul had had a problem with insomnia once before. It was during the time of his final exams at the end of his senior year in college. He had overstudied for each of them and was overly tired and though he was certain that he knew all of the material relevant to each course, he lay in bed for hours unable to relax and sleep the night before each day of testing. He remembered how the snoring of his roommate, Jon Rimbaud, had made him envious and he had to chuckle now. Jon had been a math major, was a certified genius, had earned his master's degree during his sophomore year by proving several of what had previously only been theories of quantum physics and was well on his way to earning his doctorate while Paul lay awake in the dark. The last time Paul had called him on the phone at his job at Lawrence Livermore Labs, within five minutes of his hanging up Paul had received a call from someone at The National Security Agency inquiring what his conversation with Dr. Rimbaud had been about. Paul had told the man that he had called about a Notre Dame class reunion and that Dr. Rimbaud had told him that, regrettably, he would be far too busy to attend. He didn't ask if the caller knew that he was speaking to an FBI agent and would ever after wish that he had. He was thinking about this when he heard Joan's voice at the studio door.

"Are you coming back to bed, baby?" she asked.

He turned to see her standing naked in the doorway, grinning at him coyly. He smiled and gladly replied, "Uh-huh."

63.) Confirmation

On Monday afternoon the call came from Captain Rhodes confirming that the bodies of Sandra Callahan and Steven Beck were indeed found approximately eight feet deep in the grave Steven had prepared the day before they were reported missing. Both were recovered with their intact driver's licenses, so the identifications were fairly certain. He told Paul that the coroner was not optimistic about determining the cause of death in either case, but of course it was too soon to tell what the forensic examinations might eventually find. Arrangements had been made to open six more graves beginning Tuesday morning.

"As for Washburn," said Rhodes, "He confessed to processing his wife's body in the machine they used at his plant to make fish meal for fertilizer out of the scraps that can't be otherwise used. After all these years we're not likely to find any evidence of her, but we shouldn't need any. He wants to do penance."

"Penance, huh?"

"Yeah, that's what he said."

-------------------------------------------------------

Paul spent several hours of the remainder of the afternoon on his computer searching for evidence that Orion had been active previous to the Beck murder and was unable to find any.

He spoke with Janice Turner about Harvey's condition, which was no better and no worse. On Saturday night he had been secretly relieved when she had told them that it really wouldn't be necessary for them to visit the hospital while Harvey was still unconscious. Joan, however, arrived there before noon on both Sunday and Monday and lunched with Janice in the hospital cafeteria. She intended to continue to do so.

Shortly after three o'clock a call came from the District Attorney's office in St. Louis asking if Paul would be interested in being an expert witness for the prosecution in a multiple homicide case. Paul spoke with the D.A.'s secretary for a while, asked her when they were going to trial, then asked her to fax him a synopsis of the file. Like many people in his field, he had found that, in retirement, appearing in court as an expert witness for the prosecution, and very occasionally for the defense, could provide a lucrative supplement to his income. He and Joan had invested wisely over the years in commercial real estate and he had a good retirement plan, but the downturn the economy had taken in the last years of the George W. Bush administration was hurting nearly everyone and in pursuing Orion his travel expenses alone had amounted to a hefty sum, so he welcomed the opportunity to make up for the dollars that were coming out of his own pocket in this case.

Tuesday and Wednesday brought the news from Alaska that the remaining six graves held the bodies of the other missing Juneau women and Captain Rhodes said that forensics had discovered evidence that Steven Beck had used the cemetery's above ground holding crypt as a torture chamber and to store the dead women's bodies while awaiting the opportunity to bury them.

On Wednesday afternoon Paul spoke with the D.A. in St. Louis and arranged to come there the following week to study the file on their accused killer. It appeared that the prosecution's case was thoroughly solid and Paul agreed to work with him and testify at the trial, if everything continued to be copacetic.

Thursday, as Paul sat at the kitchen table eating a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, while Rufrak eyed him enviously, a beautiful African American news anchorwoman on his television informed him that a patient named Daniel David O'Reilly at the Heggerty Institution For The Criminally Insane in Albany, New York, who had confessed to the 2005 serial killings of women found along route 88 from Schenectady to Schoharie, had hanged himself during the night.

64.) That's That

Paul wasted no time in getting on the phone to Albany's district attorney, a Mr. Dimitri Santa Monica. Because he had spoken to him previously about the man who had confessed to the route 88 killings and been treated with professional cordiality, he assumed Santa Monica would be candid about the circumstances surrounding Daniel David O'Reilly's death. He was fortunate to find Santa Monica in his office, the man remembered him immediately and he was entirely forthcoming, even when Paul voiced his concerns that perhaps the dead man had been the victim of foul play.

"You can put your mind at rest," said Santa Monica. "Certainly this type of individual is not well liked and we're all familiar with how guys like Dahmer and DeSalvo were murdered while in custody, but the surveillance at Heggerty is state of the art and nobody entered O'Reilly's cell from the time he received his last medications at 9:18 PM - and he's alive and well on camera at this point, by the way, and the orderly never enters the cell - and the time he's seen hanging from a section of his bed frame that he jammed between the walls and the ceiling in one corner of the room. He fashioned a noose out his pajama bottoms. This was just after 12:35 AM this morning."

"You sound as if you've viewed the surveillance," said Paul.

"That I have. I took a lot of heat over this man's handiwork, Mr. Warren. I'm not about to take any over his death. My wake-up call this morning came from the head man at Heggerty, Everett St. Germaine, before three o'clock, because he knew I'd want to know. I asked him to the send digital recordings from the hallway to my office. I was downtown before five o'clock and I watched every minute of them as my first order of business today. Believe me, O'Reilly hanged himself. No one else could have."

"No one looked in on him for over three hours, so obviously he wasn't on suicide watch."

"Never showed any inclination to harm himself, so no, he'd never been on suicide watch. Not since the mandatory one we have them all on for seventy-two hours after they're first admitted."

"Well, I guess that's that then," said Paul.

"Yes, that's that," agreed Santa Monica.

65.) Digital Video Analysis

"Hola?"

"Hey, Bobby."

"Painter! Que pasa?"

"I need you to analyze some digital video for me, but you have to find it first."

"Okay."

"I'm going to give you a couple of names of men in Albany, New York. One is the district attorney, a Dimitri Santa Monica. He had the footage emailed to him at his office by an Everett St. Germaine from The Heggerty Institution For The Criminally Insane this morning."

"Alright. I'm guessing you don't have email addresses."

"No, but I'm sure the main one for the D.A.'s office is a matter of public record and you can go from there."

"Sure. Shouldn't be hard. What am I looking for once I get the video?"

"Well, anything that indicates that it's been altered, stopped and started, anything that indicates that it's not authentic and continuous surveillance video. If you can get into Heggerty's system, analyze the original and compare the two, that would be best. If there are any differences, give them special attention."

"Sounds doable."

"Good. Let me know if anything at all looks less than kosher. Secondly, and this is going to take you some time, I want you to access the exterior surveillance of the facility, especially the building where this hallway footage comes from, the perimeter of the whole institution and the parking lot. You're looking for someone who comes and goes before and after the hallway footage and either doesn't go through security or, if he does, he's passing himself off as someone he is not. Maybe a delivery person."

"Ay!..."

"Just look for anyone who looks suspicious. I'm not sure you'll find anyone at all. Just look for him. I'm thinking he's going to be well hidden. Imagine a special forces type operator or a sniper who is aware of the cameras. You probably won't see him, even if he's there."

"Madre de dios," Bobby mumbled. "You don't ask for much."

"It's okay, Bobby. I don't expect much. Just look. If you see anyone, I'll consider it a stroke of luck."

"Bueno. How soon you need this?"

"Let me know about the hallway as soon as you can and then take your time with the rest. I've been told the equipment is state of the art, but I don't know how clear the resolution is going to be and I understand that it's night time."

"Si. Well...is that all?"

"That's all. Just remember you're dealing with the law, of course, so..."

"This goes without saying, Paint. They won't know I'm there."

"And if you could forward the hallway video to me discreetly, both what was emailed and the original, that would be good."

"No problema. That it?"

"Yeah, Bobby. And thanks."

"Oh. Well...you're welcome, Painter. My pleasure, I'm sure."

"Talk to you later."

"Later, Paint."

66.) The Bola Whip

Micky Landis was having another one of his nights during which he wished he were the only person alive. He'd been sleeping a deep and dreamless sleep when someone, in one of the apartments upstairs in the rear of the building where he lived in a basement apartment, also in the back of the building, had turned their stereo on and then slid open the glass door that let out onto their deck and now what sounded like four or five young people were out there above him, drinking, smoking cigarettes and talking louder than the horrible heavy metal rock music that blared from the stereo's speakers.

He was thinking: It's after midnight, damn it! Why is everyone so inconsiderate of the fact that some people are trying to sleep at this hour?

He had slammed the big sliding window behind his bed shut, making a noise that they had heard, no doubt, because he'd heard a couple of them laugh and heard someone say, "Jeez, it's Friday night!"

"Not everyone has Saturday off, you know, you sons of bitches!" he'd responded, knowing they couldn't hear him.

He lay there and began to brood about everyone else in the world and soon was once more thinking about his older sister Ginny and how much he hated her.

On the day that he had accidentally struck Wendy Cartwright in the eye, he had waited in his room for his father to come home from work, fearing that he'd be feeling the sting of the man's belt on his backside, even though it had been an accident. He'd sometimes wondered why only he among the four children was ever disciplined with the belt. His father had generally been very easy going. It was his mom who had been the disciplinarian, too much so in Micky's opinion, but on the occasions when his father had been forced to sit Micky down and have a talk with him about something he'd done, he would calmly talk with the boy and listen to what he had to say in response and then, if he felt it was necessary to make sure Micky fully understood and would remember that whatever he had done was the kind of thing that could not be tolerated, he would take off his belt, turn the boy around and whip him across the buttocks with it two or three times.

Micky realized now that Timmy had been too young for such treatment back then, but even as Timmy aged he had never been subjected to a belting and the girls, Ginny and his younger sister, Lee, maybe because they were girls, had never felt the belt either.

As it turned out, when his father arrived, he had called Micky's name out from the foot of the stairs and told him to come down to the kitchen where Micky was once more made to explain what had happened with Wendy, while his parents asked questions, his mother repeatedly asking, "Are you sure?"

Meanwhile, Ginny had come home from playing baseball at the park - Ginny had been a "tomboy", had always played sports with the neighborhood boys and was much better at and far more interested in these games than Micky - and then, when his parents had seemed to have heard all they wished to for the time being, they had looked at Micky and each other sternly, Lee was summoned from the den, where she had been playing with Timmy, who she adored and who she brought to the kitchen with her, and the family had sat down to dinner.

Before they'd finished, the phone had rung and Micky's mother had answered it. Micky could tell from what she'd had to say that he and his parents would be going to the Cartwright home after dinner and he'd, no doubt, be made to tell his side of the story there, yet again, and this is exactly what had happened, after which Micky had been instructed by his mother to apologize to Wendy for his lack of care. He had done so. Wendy, with a large bandage over her swollen eye, had refused to shake his hand, but her parents had seemed satisfied and Micky and his parents had returned home to where Ginny was minding the two younger children.

Micky had been relieved when his mother told him, "You go brush your teeth and go right up to bed and think about your sins." He'd been pretty sure that his father would not be climbing the stairs and that he would not feel the belt and in the morning he'd been glad to awaken and realize that it had turned out that way.

But it wasn't over yet.

Late the next morning, while he was playing in his back yard, Wendy's older brother, Jerry, and five of his friends were suddenly there in the back yard of the house on the next street, on the other side of the white picket fence that separated that yard from the Landis yard. One of them had been holding up a toy bola for Micky to see, two red rubber balls attached to lengthy, yellow, plastic cords with a red wooden handle. He'd held it up by the middle of the two cords and loudly asked, "Hey Micky! You know what this is? It's the bola whip. And when we catch you, this is what you're gonna get." Then, while the others stood back and watched and Micky stared in horror, the boy had taken it by the handle and proceeded to whip the aluminum pole which supported Micky's neighbors' clothesline frame.

Micky had run in the house, slammed the kitchen door and cowered behind it, watching the boys through its window panes, as they laughed and shouted and took turns whipping the pole.

Eventually Micky's mother had come into the kitchen, seen him at the door and, looking outside, had witnessed the older boys and what they were doing. She had opened the door, heard their threats and angrily pushed open the screen door and shouted, "Now you stop that right now!" The whipping stopped as the six boys all looked in her direction. She had stepped out onto the back stoop, descended the stairs and strode across the yard.

"How dare you threaten this little boy that way?" she'd asked at a pitched volume, pointing back towards her kitchen door. "Jerry Cartwright! I'm surprised at you! Do you know that your parents, your sister and Micky and my husband and I all sat down last night and determined that what happened yesterday was an unfortunate accident?"

"He punched her in the eye!" one of the boys had shouted.

"Who are you?" Micky's mother had loudly asked the bold boy. "I don't know you! You're not from this neighborhood! What is your name?"

The stranger had looked at the ground, then at one and another of his friends.

"Now you listen to me," Micky's mother had continued. "You get out of that yard, the bunch of you, and you leave Micky alone! What happened yesterday was an accident. Jerry, you come over here."

Jerry had obeyed.

"Jerry, your parents and Micky's father and I are satisfied that what happened happened by accident. Micky was reaching for the door and, if anything, he was trying to prevent it from striking your little sister. And she herself agreed that that explanation makes more sense than her friend striking her for no reason."

Jerry had said nothing, had just stood there shuffling his feet and looking embarrassed at having to be scolded by a neighbor in front of his friends.

"Now, I know you're a good boy and that you love your sister," Micky's mother had said and at this Jerry reddened, "But I'm really very surprised at this behavior, Jerry."

The boys had all reluctantly retreated around the west end of the neighbors' attached garage, leaving Jerry to bear the brunt of whatever this woman had to say. Micky had seen a couple of them peek back around the garage's corner as his mother's tone calmed.

"Who was that fresh boy?"

"Who?"

"The one who shouted that Micky punched her?"

"Oh. That was Davey."

"Davey who?"

"I don't know. He's Kenny's friend."

"Kenny Tyler's friend."

"Mmm"

"I might have known. And what business of this is his?"

Jerry had said nothing.

"Hmmph. You boys should be playing ball and not looking for trouble over a situation that has been resolved. Now, you go on now. I don't want to have to call your mother; she's got enough to worry about."

Jerry hastened to join his friends.

"And I'd advise you stay away from that Davey, Jerry. He's not a nice boy."

Micky's mother had come back in the house and asked him if he knew who that boy Davey was, but he hadn't recognized him.

67.) The Devil

For days after being threatened by the boys with the bola, Micky had been afraid to leave his house, almost too afraid to go into the the yard, but eventually the urge to go for a ride on the nice, red bicycle he had received on the previous Christmas got the better of him. It was his first bike with twenty-four inch wheels and it was his most prized possession. It had made him feel like a big boy and was much faster than his old bike with its twenty inch wheels. He'd taken it from the place where he'd liked to keep it leaning against his father's big wooden ladder in the garage, walked it up the driveway, mounted it and gone sailing down the hill and around the corner toward the grammar school and the playground.

He had found his sister Ginny and a group of neighborhood girls, including Kenny Tyler's sisters, Donna and Maureen, sitting around the big, roofed, wooden sandbox that had stood next to the basketball courts behind the school before it was torn down to make way for the tennis courts. He had rolled up, dismounted and parked the bike on its kickstand in the shade of the sandbox roof. He'd only been chatting with the girls for a few minutes, mainly in response to their questions about what had occurred with Wendy, when he'd looked toward the southern end of the school and who should he see coming around the corner of the building but five of the six boys who had threatened him days before? Jerry Cartwright was not among them. It appeared to him that they had seen him as well and they'd seemed to be coming fast. He had turned and run in the other direction. He'd run across the parking lot, up the hill at the northern end of the school grounds, across the street and all the way home. It was only when he looked down the driveway into the garage that he even realized he'd been so scared he had left his new bike behind.

Twenty minutes had passed as he hid in the back yard and peeked around the corner of the garage to see if the boys were coming, then he'd come out to the street, crossed it and when he'd come to the property on the corner, he'd crossed the yard and peered around its corner toward the school. Wendy's house was the third one from the corner and he'd thought that maybe the boys were there with Jerry, but he made the decision to take a chance run across the street, through the Byrd's yard and into the woods behind it, which extended to the school grounds, hoping that the boys had not gone there to smoke cigarettes. He'd known that they sometimes did that.

From the edge of the woods he'd been able to see that everything appeared to be as he had left it, except that the boys and his bike were nowhere to be seen. He'd run to the sandbox, scanning the playing fields and could see no sign of his bike.

"Where's my bike?" he'd inquired of Ginny. She'd been silent, but the other girls had laughed.

"Did they steal my bike?" he'd asked his sister.

"No," Maureen Tyler had answered and the other girls, excepting Ginny, had laughed some more.

He'd looked Maureen in the eye and asked, "Well, where is it then?"

Then, as the laughter grew louder, he had spied one of his hand-grips protruding from the sand. He'd had a hard time pulling it up, but when he had it standing, he was able to see that the chain, gears and sprockets were caked with sand.

He had looked at Ginny and asked, "You let them do this and you couldn't even tell me where it was?" She'd just looked away and said something to the other girls who were continuing to laugh at him.

With some difficulty he had managed to roll his bike home, not even realizing he had walked right past the Cartwrights' house until he was almost to the corner of his street. He'd taken it to the back yard and carefully washed it clean, then inverted it and re-oiled the chain, gears, sprockets and front axle and made sure everything was turning smoothly without any gritty sound or feel. Then he'd stood it up on its kickstand and gone in the house. His anger towards his sister hadn't dissipated any.

He'd gone to his room, found a ballpoint pen in his desk drawer, gone in his sisters' room and sat on Ginny's bed. Then he'd moved her pillow aside and, as skillfully as he could, he'd drawn a very good likeness of a snarling devil on the sheet directly below where her head would rest.

That night his father hadn't even bothered to sit him down for a little talk. He'd just come to Micky's room, where his mother had sent Micky after Ginny had found the drawing and gone hollering to her about it, he'd closed the door, removed his belt and used it on the boy.

68.) Ambient Light

"Well, as you can see, there is nothing to see, not in the third floor hallway video I sent you and there's nothing on any of the other video either, at least nothing you can see with the naked eye."

Backdoor Bobby had been up all night analyzing digital video footage and computer data from The Heggerty Institution. He called Paul just after nine in the morning and he sounded tired.

"But from ten to midnight everything from the cameras on the west side of the property, the west side of building four and its roof, and we can assume the video from the stairway from the roof to the third floor and the hallway, is from another night."

"And you know this how?" asked Paul.

"Well, when I didn't see anything, I made the assumption that there had been a switch, which is actually easy to do by simply programming the system to copy old data that it already has, but with the desired time signature instead of the one on the copied data. So I started analyzing exterior footage on the oscilloscope for variations in ambient light and it was obvious right away that the stuff from the western cameras, beginning at ten o'clock, was suddenly different."

"Different?"

"Si. The light is always changing, of course, but once you eliminate the artificial light data from the wave pattern, the natural light changes slowly throughout the course of the night or day, but in this case there's suddenly a whole new wave beginning at ten. Then at midnight it changes again and we can assume that's when it went back to real time."

"Okay, I follow you," said Paul. "This programming of the computer...can this be done from elsewhere or would you have to..."

"I could do it from here, Paint. You just need to know what to do. It would only require the know-how and a lot of analysis of the the system. Then you decide what data you want to copy, write a program and upload it."

"Is there evidence of that in the system?"

"Well, there must be on the hard drive, of course, but you write the program to erase itself when it's done what you want it to do, so..."

"Okay, I know what you're saying."

"But it's gotta be there on the hard drive, if you want to find it."

"No...I think I know what I need to know just in knowing that there was a substitution."

"The substitute data is very similar, Paint. I found when it's from."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, it's identical to the data from exactly one month earlier."

"When there was no moon."

"Si."

"Okay, Bobby," Paul said and Bobby was hoping he'd able to get some sleep now.

"That it, man? I really need to crash."

"One more thing. How much of an expert would somebody have to be to write this program?"

"Well, he wouldn't need to be a genius, Paint, just someone who's done his homework. You could learn to do it yourself in a few weeks, if you put your mind to it. Of course you could hire someone to do it for you, too."

"Okay, Bobby. Thanks for the speed on this. Get some shut-eye."

"No problema, jefe. I'm halfway there."

As he hung up, Paul was thinking he wouldn't need to be a genius, but in this instance he just might be one. Breaking into Heggerty, killing Daniel David O'Reilly and getting back out again undetected took far more skill than what was required to simply reprogram the surveillance system and he was certain that this is exactly what had happened. He had compared the pictures from the Jerome Anthony Anthony hanging in Santa Rosa with those that he now had from O'Reilly's cell. The knots used in both nooses were absolutely identical. Orion had probably incapacitated both men with some sort of choke hold before he hung them, though it was evident from the scratches on their necks that they'd been conscious while hanging and had struggled to free themselves. Orion knew, no doubt, that it was rare for anyone who hung himself to break his neck.

69.) Sympathy and Empathy

On the plane to Saint Louis, Paul was thinking about the man he was preparing to testify against when it occurred to him that he hadn't done the one thing in regard to his assessment of Orion that had made him a pre-eminent profiler. He hadn't made any attempt to empathize with him.

In figuring out who a killer might be, it was necessary to get into his head. Knowing the types of people who became serial killers, one actually had to try to sympathize with their thinking in order to learn who they might be, but Paul had always taught the agents who he'd trained that it was necessary to take it to the next level of understanding and to actually attempt to empathize with them, to imagine being them on an emotional level. Not everyone could do it and for those who could, it inevitably had terrible and permanent effects that were not at all pleasant. It changed people. It was a high price to pay to do the job of bringing murderers to justice and, knowing this, Paul now thought that perhaps this was why he had avoided even thinking about doing it with Orion.

Paul had been a lawman. He had always been primarily motivated to serve the cause of justice for the society at large and he knew Orion's motive was succeeding at his chosen course of revenge. Paul knew inside, without having to think about it, that he didn't want to have to experience the thinking that excepted vigilantism and, perhaps more importantly, he knew he didn't want to imagine what it was like to feel that being a vigilante was not only correct, but actually necessary, however he also knew that if he was ever going to figure out just who was capable of doing what Orion was doing, he would probably eventually have to do both.

70.) Naivety

" 'Ho's are born, not made," insisted George Washington Washington to the man in the cell next to his, Alexander Michael Dunlop, who was soon to be tried in St. Louis for murdering six prostitutes. Dunlop had been arguing that every one of his victims, every woman for that matter, had a choice in how she behaved and that, regardless of circumstances, it was her choices that determined whether or not she would be a whore. Washington was a pimp and a killer. He thought Dunlop was naive and he told him so. "Yo' naive, man. I been livin' 'round 'ho's my whole life. I know what I'm talkin' about. Sho, 'ho's got choices, same as anyone else, but what you don' un'erstan' is that 'ho's will always make the choices that 'ho's do."

Dunlop was naive. He believed that Washington was his friend because he shared his cigarettes with him and gave him advice, never suspecting for one moment that Washington might be a spy for the D.A., Cleveland Beauregard III, and that he'd soon be testifying against him in his trial.

"Well, some of them are offered better choices than others," Dunlop said, thinking of Diane Nicholson, a young woman he had met through Yahoo Personals, who had confessed to him that she had been a call girl, but had given it up when one of her clients, a lawyer who claimed to love her, gave her six thousand dollars so she could quit tricking and pursue her dream of becoming a writer of fiction. After an intense night of lovemaking, when Dunlop was two years clean and sober and they'd been together for five weeks, she had asked him if he'd marry her and he had gladly agreed to. Then, after another month, she had left him, gone back to being a call girl and broken his heart. He had started drinking again and before too long had started killing prostitutes.

"That's my point, mothafucka! You jus' don' get it. Ever'body got better choices," said Washington, shaking his head with a laugh. " 'Ho's jus' don' make the better choices. It ain't in the' nature to."

-----------------------------------------------------

Julian Scuncwissel was Dunlop's defense attorney. He had taken the high profile case in an effort to make a reputation for himself and he was in way over his head. It seemed he was always making that kind of bad decision, like not changing his name before beginning to practice law. Everyone in the St. Louis legal community referred to him as Juli Skunk.

At the other end of the scale was Adam Carbone, the assistant D.A. who would be acting as prosecutor in the case. He was only thirty-one years old, but since graduating from Harvard Law he had impressed everyone in St. Louis with his legal prowess. He had a photographic memory, unparalleled organizational skills and was possessed of an unshakably calm manner, that he attributed to the twice daily practice of transcendental meditation, which allowed him to maintain a level tone even in the midst of the most bitter arguments. What's more, he was good looking in a boyish way and had an ever present sense of humor. It was said that it was impossible not to like him, even as he strove to put you or your client in prison. He was a master chess player and a champion at tennis. He ran ten miles every other night before his dinner. He was exactly ten pounds heavier than the day he graduated from high school and probably wouldn't have weighed that much had he not intentionally put fifteen pounds of muscle on his upper body by lifting weights while in college, muscle that he now maintained primarily via a regime of push-ups and pull-ups. He could do a dozen hand-stand push-ups. His wife, Morgan, was delighted that he still made love to her like a hungry teenager and as often as when they were newlyweds. Very successful attorneys are often called sharks and those skilled enough to defeat them regularly are said to eat sharks for breakfast. Rumor had it that Adam Carbone actually did dine on shark in the morning and, as Morgan Carbone could tell you, the rumor was based on fact.

Carbone had never lost a case. Given the chance, he would make a fool of Juli Skunk in the courtroom and Juli would come away from the experience respecting, even admiring him for having done so.

--------------------------------------------------------

Alexander Michael Dunlop sat on the edge of his cot thinking to himself: my mistake was that I loved somebody who didn't deserve my love.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      good lens I liked it

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      JeffRiveraAuthor 8 years ago

      Brilliant writing, I love it!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Brilliant writing! 5* a serial novel about serial killing, I love it!