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The Voice - Part 22
- The Voice - Part 21
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
From Part 21
Margie looked down the street. Peter was running at a torrid pace driven by The Voice. In an instant, he made a sharp turn into Medford Alley and was gone. In a flash of light, Thompson was true to his word as he shut down the portal. There would be no more entries or exits. The portal had accomplished its purpose. The past was the past. The future would be. All Margie had was now, in the present. She collapsed into Lance’s arms.
The raindrops in her heart turned to floods of emotion. Just like any true mother, it was more than Margie could handle. Lance held her tight wishing he could do more, but he knew he could never fill the emptiness that had just come upon her. The following days, they both knew, would be long.
The weekend made it even more difficult. The fast pace of the week was considerably slower now, allowing more time to dwell on the void left by Peter. So many questions – How did this happen? Why did this happen? How could things have been different? What now?
Monday morning was the normal fast-paced day that Lance was used to. There was other business to take care of now that the McClanahan case was settled. He’d close out the file and that would be the end of the McClanahan investigation. Lance felt confident that somewhere in the future Marissa Richards Powers would be convicted of the attack on Peter. He also felt comforted in the fact that Peter would be well taken care of on the other side. Help would finally be available for Peter – and there would be no more serial murders in Lafayette.
Just as Lance was filing Peter’s case one last time a piece of paper floated to the floor. Lance picked it up. He did not recognize it as being part of the origninal file, yet it was.
The note was written on Dr. Kepler’s official letterhead. In the top margin was scrawled, “Peter has been taken to the future, but your town is not out of danger yet. Now, it’s time to focus on the real problem – Special Agent FBI, Ronald Thompson.”
Lance starrted to skim the pager, a copy of a letter sent to Doctor Bonard, Peter’s surgical doctor. Lance began to read more carefully.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for the part you played in this grand experiment. You will be rewarded greatly. As we progress with this exercise, it is comforting to know that you have had a heart for the perfect crime. It is with your help as well as the others that we have succeeded. Again, I thank you for the integral part you have played. I will be in touch once the next phase of the plan has been perfected.
Doctor Raymond Kepler
Lance began thumbing through the other papers. Nothing. This was all he had. Like Peter, Ronald Thompson could not return. The portal had been destroyed. The investigation was beginning all over again. Lance bolted down to Chief Gordon’s office.
“Chief! Chief! I just found this in the McClanahan file. Thompson left it behind for us. What do we do now?”
Chief took several minutes to examine the letter. Obviously, there was more work to do. But where to start was the problem. Without more information it would not be wise to contact Kepler or Bonard. And who were the others that Doctor Kepler mentioned? And for that matter, just what was the perfect crime he eluded to?
Chief placed the paper on his desk and ordered Lance to call a meeting with Bobby and Chris. Neither was immediately available. Bobby had to be hauled in from investigating a domestic violence case over on Jasper Street, and Chris was playing traffic cop for the morning at Lafayette Elementary School. Amy Bauer also was called in for the meeting. When all arrived, Chief began.
“Men, Amy, we have some new developments in what I believe to be the McClanahan case. I say, ‘in what I believe'’ because I’m just not sure what to make of this.” He distributed copies of Kepler’s letter to the group.
Moments passed as Bobby, Chris, and Amy thought on the new evidence.
Chief continued, “I can only assume this has to do with the McClanahan case as it was found in the McClanahan folder, but I’m totally lost as to what this is about. And I’m even more concerned about what this might mean for crime in Lafayette. Any ideas what’s going on here?”
Amy focused on her profiling skills. “I do agree it probably has something to do with the McClanahan case. My first thought is to tail Kepler and Bonard – see if they meet, how often they meet, where they meet. See if that yields any more evidence or direction.
“If this is all the information we have, we need to expect it will take time and patience, but I don’t believe in a perfect crime. If we do our work thoroughly, we will get to the bottom of it sooner or later. Sooner would be nice, but we have to be prepared for it to be later. We’re in this for the long haul, I’m afraid.”
Lance spoke up. “Yeah, I agree. We have to start somewhere, so let’s start with what we know – Bonard and Kepler.
“Chief cut in. “Bobby . . . Chris, are you up for this? Both nodded affirmatively. “Okay, let’s get to work on it. Bobby take Bonard. Chris stay with Kepler. Be careful. We don’t need them picking up on the tail. And if the two do meet, make sure neither of you are seen, especially together. Lance . . . Amy, come with me.” The meeting was dismissed.
“Lance, you’re our lead homicide investigator. Amy, you’re the best when it comes to profiling. We need to kick around some ideas. We need to develop a plan more than just tailing two reputable doctors in town. Let’s brainstorm this one. What do you think?”
Lance fidgeted with a pen. Amy’s inquiring mind studied the situation. Chief, looked at them both, and waited for one or the other to speak.
“Okay,” Lance started. “We have Bonard tied to Kepler who are both tied, along with others, to a supposed perfect crime which is tied to Peter’s case. We really have four elements in common, not just two.
“Zimmy’s always telling me the main part of his job is to ask questions. What if seems to be a good place to start. What if Kepler hired Peter to do the killing to cover his own tracks? What if Kepler knows a secret about Bonard, and he’s holding it over his head to gain his cooperation in carrying out his perfect crime? What if . . . “
Amy cut in. What if Peter was a guinea pig for one of Kepler’s home remedy drugs? Peter said he never had any recollection of his time on the other side. The times he had been observed entering the portal were all described as Peter being in a trance-like state. Maybe somehow Peter was being controlled by Kepler and Bonard. We still have the problem of, who are the others?”
“Okay, continue to think on this. Work up possible scenarios. We’ll meet with Bobby and Chris in the morning. Amy, does your schedule allow that?”
“If it doesn’t, it will. I’ll be here.”
The night passed without incident. Lafayette’s men in blue gathered for the morning briefing. Immediately following the meeting, a second meeting was held in Chief’s office. Lance, Bobby, Chris, and Amy were all present ready to put the finishing touches on their plan.
Bobby was the first to volunteer information. Doctor Bonard was followed from the hospital to Doctor Kepler’s office. Chris was parked in an unmarked vehicle across the street. Before Bonard got to the entrance, Kepler met him in the parking lot. A white envelope was passed from Kepler to Bonard. Bobby was the first to volunteer information, but that was all the information there was to volunteer.
Lance spoke up, “Chief, we know there’s an evil connection here. Can’t we get a search warrant for Kepler’s office? – or maybe even his house. I know there’s evidence to be uncovered, and you know it too. Can’t we try?”
Lance was all but begging Chief. He might as well have been on his knees.
Chief seemed annoyed. “Lance, do you really think Judge Kelleher will grant a search warrant on the fact that a white envelope was passed from Kepler to Bonard? You, you’re the lead homicide detective. You know we need more - much more. Get me real evidence, and I’ll think about getting you a real search warrant.” Now, get out of here. Get me the real evidence!”
Bobby headed for the hospital. Chris headed for Doctor Kepler’s office, but not before Lance pulled him aside. The two made it back to Lance’s cubicle.
“Sit down, Rook. Listen, do you think something’s going on between the two doctors. You saw it, right?”
“Lance, believe me, something’s going on. The pass was to appear casual but you could tell there was more to it than that. I think our first priority should be to find out what is this perfect crime. If we knew what we’re looking for, it would be a whole easier to find it, don’t you think?”
“Chris, we have to get inside Kepler’s office. Are you with me?”
“Well, sure but you know we can’t get a search warrant.”
“No, no, no, no no! Remember the last time we were in Kepler’s office?”
“Ohhh no. We’re not doing that again. Besides, isn’t breaking and entering against your religion? . . . Well, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, you made your point. Some of that old life stuff still hangs around. Get over to Kepler’s office. Don’t let him out of your sight.”
Lance settled down and began going through Kepler’s bank records. It didn’t take long for him to see a pattern. There were three withdrawals from Kepler’s account on the 12th of every month going back nearly 12 and a half years. The recipients of the withdrawals – Doctor Cloyd Bonard, Marissa Richards Powers, and Donald Frommson. To complicate the situation, for the first two and half years Marissa’s deposits were placed into a trust fund held by Jeremy Richards. Upon Marissa’s 18th birthday, all monies were transferred to her personal account.
With consistency like a clock, $10,000 was deposited into each account each and every month. Lance made sure. He cross-checked the accounts. There were three other deposits made early on going back almosMaybe Lance was on to something. A 125,000 dollar deposit was placed in Bonard’s bank account exactly three days before Peter’s attack took place.
What is the difference between extortion and blackmail?
Maybe Lance was on to something. A 125,000 dollar deposit was placed in Bonard’s bank account exactly three days before Peter’s attack took place. 50,000 dollars was transferred to Marissa’s trust fund on the day of Peter’s attack. The very same day Peter was released from the hospital, another 125,000 dollars was deposited into Frommson’s account.
Lance felt fairly sure he had identified the others in the cast of the perfect crime. He was familiar with Bonard. He was familiar with Powers, but who was Frommson? He continued to dig.
Next, he pulled Kepler’s phone records. He was only able to resurrect Kepler’s phone calls from the past six months. It was plain to see that Kepler kept in contact with all three on a daily basis. Then all of a sudden the contact stopped. Lance noticed that the last day the three received calls from Kepler happened to be the same day Peter made his final trip through the portal. Things were piecing together nicely.
Although the evidence began to mount, there still was no direction as to what the perfect crime was. An eye-witness would be nice, but Lance knew that wasn’t going to happen. The day was growing long. Lance decided it was best to stop his research for the day and try to clear his mind. Focusing on something other than work might be beneficial. He headed for a walk through Montgomery Park before heading home for the evening.
Sitting on a bench and taking in the fresh, almost night air helped to ease some of the stress Lance was feeling. It had been a long, drawn-out case, and just when all thought it had been solved, it started all over again.
In this moment of relief, he let his mind wander as he thought to himself, almost conversing out loud. “I wish I didn’t have to go home to an empty apartment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if after these long days I could go home to Margie? I wonder . . . “
“No, Lance. What are you thinking?”
Lance’s self-conversation continued. “What I’m thinking is . . . well, I wonder if Margie would marry me.”
He answered himself with, “Now, come on, Lance. Get real. You’ve spent your entire life alone. You never had to answer to anybody – except Chief. It’s ridiculous to even consider such a thought.”
“Yeah, I know you’re right,” Self speaking to self. “Margie’s a good friend, but marriage? Really? Better get home.” Lance finally had his mind on something other than the case.
Morning came all too fast. The morning briefing passed and Lance moved steadily forward with the investigation. He called for an impromptu get-together with Chris and Bobby.
“You have anything new?
Bobby and Chris both agreed things had been slow since Kepler was seen giving Bonard the envelope. Lance pressed further.
“Do you happen to remember the date of that letter exchange?”
Bobby volunteered first. “Sure, it was the 12th.”
“That is exactly what I thought. I think I may know what was in the envelope. Look at this!”
Lance pulled out his research from the day before. Deposit after deposit. Phone call after phone call. Chris looked at Bobby before he spoke.
“This is incredible. You’re really on to something, Lance. But we still don’t know what he’s paying these three for. There has to be something with the dates. They link to Peter’s attack, but how? And what are these other larger deposits about?”
It was Bobby who said, “We’ve got to get into Kepler’s office.”
“Oh, come on Bobby. I just went through this with Lance. If it backfires we lose the evidence. We can’t just break in, steal the evidence, and present it in court. Besides it’s illegal, and against Lance’s religion.” Throwing a glance Lance’s way, he added, “Right, Buddy?”
“Chris is right, Bobby. We have to get the evidence legally. Any ideas, you two?
Bobby suggested, “Maybe with the new evidence we could convince Chief to get us a search warrant.” The three headed down to Chief’s office, evidence in hand.
Something was eating at Chief. He didn’t want to hear anything about a search warrant even if it might break the case. “Now, look! You know as well as I do the judge will never grant a search warrant on such flimsy evidence. Get me the evidence. Evidence. Got it!
“Who is this Frommson, anyway?”
“We didn’t follow up on that one yet, Chief.”
“Did you ever stop to think that maybe if you did you might find enough evidence to obtain a search warrant? Now, all three of you – get out of here!”
Chris led the way followed by Bobby, then Lance. All three walked single file out of the office with their heads down.
“Okay,” Lance started. “Bobby, Chris, get over to Donald Frommson. Here’s the address. Keep an eye on him, but don’t reveal yourself yet. Let’s just see where he might lead us. I’m going to finish some paperwork. Let me know what you find out. Tomorrow is another 12th. Lance looked Bobby’s way. “You stay on Frommson. The rook and I will stake out Kepler and Bonard. There should be another transfer of funds.”
- The Voice - Part 23
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
© 2016 William Kovacic