Pulpit love, a short story, Part 4
As she parked her little red Nissan in the parking lot of the Paradise Pines Police department, Esther Borrowitz was thinking hard. With a little luck, she could have a scoop to submit to the editor in chief of the Paradise Pines Bugle, provided nobody else had heard Detective Capella's transmission over the police scanner. Which was, quite frankly, a long shot ! So needless to say, the money wasn't in the bank yet. She had been here many times before, and she knew the ropes. No to mention that she wasn't afraid of anything or anybody. He would be fair to say she had nerves, borderline of obnoxious on many occasions. And she had a big plus on her side, she new Capella. Personally ! As in her and him bumping pelvises for a short time, a year or so ago. So she had an edge and she was going to use it. You could count on it !
Having run out of things to say for the time being, Father Gibson adjourned the meeting of the church officials. They had agreed to reconvene at 5.00 PM, before going home. Every participant was instructed to be discreet about the unfolding events, which went without saying, but it couldn't hurt to say it. Gibson also asked for everyone to call him personally and immediately on his cell phone, should any new light be shed on anything. As the adversity had now become a much bigger picture, everybody seemed to be friends again...
Hoffner stopped in a rest area on Interstate 10 for no more than two minutes. He relieved his bladder and quickly swallowed some cold water at the water fountain. He exercised his legs and arms for thirty seconds and climbed back in the van. He quickly looked at the map of the navigation system. He couldn't wait to get out of the State of Florida. Then he could take a longer break. But for now, he had to keep going. So he pulled a chocolate energy bar from the glove compartment and ate it as he was driving back onto the highway. He took a quick glance at the large black leather bag laying on the floor, in front of the passenger seat, and couldn't help but smile.
Lieutenant Gretsch made the decision that four people should be more than enough to enforce the freshly issued search warrant. Including himself. So, Capella and him rode together in Steve's car while two uniformed cops followed in a regular cruiser. No sirens, no lights, just routine work. When they got to Karl Hoffner's house, nothing had changed. The black Chrysler was still in the driveway and nobody answered the door. So Capella tricked the lock of the front door, which opened without difficulty. One of the uniforms had done the same to the back door and both teams met in the living room of the three bedrooms house :
- Wow, Mr. Clean lives here, Capella said, as they were all impressed at how well the place looked. Books nicely aligned in a bookcase, huge flat screen TV hung on the wall with no visible cables, immaculate leather sofa and chairs, bar stocked with expensive imported liquors. Maybe that would make their search easier. Each person took on a different room and Capella was assigned the living-room. After putting on latex gloves, he started to look at everything with a suspicious mind. As they had no idea what they were looking for ! As far as they knew, Pastor Hoffner may have decided to go play golf and was picked up by a friend, which would explain why his own car was in the driveway. But Capella didn't really believe that. He had too much experience, and was too intuitive to believe things were that simple. He moved every single book on the shelves to look behind and inside them. Nothing! He looked under the sofa and the chairs, under the cushions, and under the thick Chinese silk rug : nothing. He looked behind the collection of beautiful paintings and watercolors on the walls : nothing. He was starting to think that maybe this time he had overreacted, when a sudden ray of sun through the window lit something on the top edge of the sofa. Hair ! One long blonde hair that he would have missed if the sun had not cooperated. He pulled a small clear plastic evidence bag from the pocket of his jacket and very carefully picked up that single hair with a pair of tweezers he always carried with him. Now he would have to get some kind of DNA from Cynthia Randolph in order for the lab people to establish whether or not this hair belonged to one of the missing girls. How was he gonna get that from her without adding to her grief, he didn't know. Damn this line of work was hard sometimes. But somebody had to do it. And Stephen Capella was very good at what he was doing. Gretch and the two uniforms had found nothing in the other rooms. So they left the place with nothing but a single hair...
Esther was waiting for Capella to return as she had been informed by the front desk that he was out. She could have called him on his cell phone but she knew better. She didn't want to upset him and God knows that could be such an easy thing to do ! So she waited, as she had nothing more urgent to tend to. She was checking her e-mails on her smart phone when her former lover walked in. She could tell right away his mind was preoccupied. I mean, you don't sleep with a guy for nearly four months without picking up a little of his personality and behavior. This was not going to be easy, she told herself. He walked right past her without saying a word to her. Did he just ignore her or did he just not see her? Who knows ? So she decided to wait a few more minutes to let him settle at his desk, and then she would just walk in to say hello to an old friend. An old friend who, if she played her cards right, could release to her a lot of extremely interesting information. Like stuff scoops are made of...
Cynthia Randolph walked the mall in both directions, looking with distraction at a few windows, but nothing could take her mind away from the disparition of her two daughters. Every hour or so, she would try to call both of them on their cell phone but would get no answer and as time progressed, she was getting more and more worried and distraught. Her ex-husband had called and apologized for his earlier behavior. He had asked her to call him on a regular basis to keep him informed and with a very firm voice, she had answered : "No, you call me !" And hung up on him again ! In the end she didn't know what else to do or who to turn to, so she sat at the food court and ordered herself a chicken sandwich. As she looked back at her day so far, she realized that Capella, the dectective, was the only one who had showed some compassion and, in his own way, offered some kindness. And she had yelled at the guy, she had crucified him ! She made the decision that, one way or another, she would make it up to him ! You would have thought someone form the church would have called her and said some encouraging words, said they were gonna pray for the safe return of her daughters or something to that effect, but she still had to hear from them. She just felt sad and miserable...
Stephen Capella sat at his desk and let out a big sigh ! Busy day today ! He called Dr. Emmett at the lab and asked how long he would take to conduct a DNA test on some hair. Emmett asked what kind of case Capella was working on and when the detective told him "Double teenage girls kidnapping", the doctor said he would start on it immediately as soon as he would get the samples and work late if he had too. The detective realized that for the first time, he had not said "possible kidnapping" Capella thanked him profusely and immediately called Cynthia Randolph :
- Hi Ms. Randolph, Capella here, do you think it would be possible for me to take a quick look at your daughter's bedrooms. you know, get a feel of their personalities and habits, and maybe pick up something that might help with the investigation ?
- No, on the contrary, anything that might help. She was actually relieved to talk to somebody, anything was better than waiting, without knowing anything of what was going on. I'm by the mall right now, but I'm heading home immediately. Would you like to meet me there ? I live at 754 Lavender Lane, that's in Windy Meadows on 16th Avenue.
- Great, Capella said, I'm on my way then !
Esther Borrowitz looked at her watch and decided she had given Capella enough time to compose himself. So she flipped her black hair, a common occurence with her to gain confidence, got up and marched with assurance through the detective's office. Capella was just hanging up the phone when she reached his desk :
- Hey lover, what's cooking ? she said with a jovial tone, giving him her best smile.
- Wouldn't ex-lover be a more appropriate word ? He was not smiling nor seemed amused.
- Oh well, you know things come and go. Lover one day, ex-lover another day, and then lovers again, you know, life !
- Well, my dear, maybe you should have considered this before you started sleeping around on me. I liked you and I was seriously considering asking you to move in with me when I found out you were bonking that fat macho retard friend of yours.
- How did you find out anyway ? she asked . He laughed.
- Honey, I'm a cop. I find out things. That's what I do.
-Seems to me that you could use a little R & R, that's all I'm saying.
- No, I could use a lot of R & R, and I hate to break your spirit, but I'm not gonna get it from you, Dear. What's the expression ? Oh yes : you blew it ! Things were not going as expected to say the least and Esther was begining to think she had been over confident this time. So she went for the kill :
- You know Steve, as she gently laid her hand on his forearm, nobody ever kissed my nipples the way you did. Never. And I keep having flashbacks about this. She knew he would have falshbacks too. His mind seemed to wander for a second, then he said :
- Well, maybe it's time to invest in one of those multi-speed vibrators or something. I know the guy who runs the sex shop on 21st street. I can call him and he'll give you a discount. Just say I sent you.
- You're a real piece of work, you know, she said angrily. Now I remember why I dumped you like the piece of s..t you are. He was smiling, totally unphased.
- Now, get the hell out of here, some of us have real work to do. And don't let the door hit you on your way out. She gave him a murderous look, picked up her purse and tripped over her chair as she was rushing to get out of the detective's ofice. The five other detectives, who had pretended to be busy during the exchange, suddenly clapped their hands and cheered :
- Steve my man, you rule !
Rule #1 : Never, ever embarass a former lover in front of his co-workers !
To be continued...
Copyright 2012 by Austinhealy, his heirs and assigns
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