Saturday, March 14, 2009
54 Wondrous, Wild, Wacky, and Weird weeks of Wordzzling.
Stop by the Raven's Nest and learn all you need to know about the Wordzzle Challenge.
This Week's Ten Word Challenge: sugar bowl, cotton, wizard, fund-raising, Ben Hur, salmonella, luke warm, telescope, bank, walk-a-thon
Mini Challenge: challenge, sparkling cider, melancholy, snail mail, master carpenter
This week's Episode: Causation
Chad Everett Hollingsworth disliked flying at night since his last tour in Iraq. While the ride in the sleek Bell 407 was much different than an Apache attack helicopter, the night flight over the desert still brought back bad memories. One too many close calls with RPGs on night missions had made him skittish of low level night flying. The challenge here was to just remember where he was and focus on his current mission.
If his douche bag uncle hadn't gotten nervous about the geek, he wouldn't have had to fly back out here at night and cover his uncle's ass. His uncle might have been a financial wizard at real estate, but he was a pussy about personnel issues. He had known from the start of the first flight with the geek accountant that his uncle was planning something wanky. He’d never thought it would be murder. He figured his uncle wanted to scare the guy. Maybe tell the dude he could bank on a hard time if he leaked any money info. Instead the dill weed had pushed the geek out of the chopper at 1500 feet.
Now, just like back in Iraq he was being sent in to clean up the mess. Of course he had participated in making this particular mess, even if unwillingly and unknowingly at first. It was hard to believe that Uncle Charles and his dad were brothers. They couldn't be more different. Chad's father was a state legislator, a fairly straight arrow, heavy into funding-raising for his campaigns and favorite charities and therefore tied into the California business and social scene.
Charles was reclusive, fantastically wealthy yet petty and mean as a snake. He had once ridiculed Chad's father for sponsoring a walk-a-thon for breast cancer fully knowing that his own wife had recently been diagnosed with the disease. Uncle Charles' feeling had been that the information should be kept confidential in case any of his competitors should attempt to use it. Additionally he had the money to provide the best care available for his wife, Chad's aunt. In the end it meant nothing. She suffered through a radical double mastectomy, chemo for a couple of years and still succumbed to the cancer.
Now, he was flying at night instead of home drinking sparkling cider with his new girlfriend and impressing her with his astronomical knowledge by showing her the space station, Venus, and Mars utilizing his Celestron CPC 800 telescope. Chad was thrilled to have this most amazing instrument to set up on his balcony and observe the night sky. It almost made up for having such a douche uncle. It could have been worse he supposed. He could still be a closet alcoholic, lose his pilots' license, his income and end up homeless.
No, he had done what was needed. The small swath of the cotton shirt and the skeletal remains of the accountant left by the buzzards would be disposed of properly and his uncle mollified and protected. That's why he made the big dollars as his pilot and he knew it. He also knew that when the economy turned around and he could get a job somewhere else he would. Though his feelings toward Uncle Charlie had initially been luke-warm, they were daily turning colder and colder. And now the old bastard had managed to make him an accessory to murder.
Chad thought all these things as he picked up the remains, scanned the scene with his searchlight and then noticed what might have been tracks, maybe even human footprints. He attempted to follow them from the air, but could not make out enough to be sure. He flew over the rocks at the end of the valley and didn't see anyone or anything in that direction. He continued that way for a few clicks, and then turned to head back to L.A. He could still get in a little star gazing if he hurried. He just had to fly over the tar pits and make a deposit on his way back to the hangar.
Back in Laughlin Captain Jenkins was looking at the FBI's report on the Jane Doe found in the Colorado River. Her name was Cynthia Dobbert. She had been the personal assistant to Connie Liplin. Of course the report had come by snail mail and not quicker ways like fax or e-mail. At the time there had not been a priority or rush. Now with the two latest victims connected it seemed more important.
He sipped his coffee and pondered about the peanut butter filled crackers he had just purchased from the vending machine in the corridor. Surely they had removed all the peanut butter products with the salmonella by now. On second thought he tossed them in the garbage can and headed out the door to go home for dinner. There would be enough time to ponder this new development on Monday when he had the whole team back together. He only came in on Sundays to read the Saturday's mail and get a plan for the week anyway.
A feeling of melancholy came over Jenkins as he drove towards his house. He had not investigated a murder and certainly not two connected murders since his rookie days in Vegas. Was his town going back to the days of Don Laughlin's murder? He hoped not. His family had made a home here. Just this Saturday he'd finished the media room on their house. While not a master carpenter, he was a decent craftsman and was proud of his work.
He reminded himself to put an expedite on the DNA work from the staties on Connie Liplin's body. He needed to be sure about the identities of the two victims. Would this become something more than the brutal murders of two women?
Somewhere in the south of France the freshly minted Cathy McCarty took a spoon full of sugar from the exquisite crystal sugar bowl and sprinkled it over her crepes with strawberries. Ben Hur could not have looked out over the Mediterranean with any more sense of ownership and power than this modern day princess of wealth and power. She looked across the patio to the tanned couple as they laughed and touched one another. In spite of herself she missed Charles. But she knew that contact at this point was impossible.
"Cathy" finished her crepes and headed toward the stairs for a walk on the beach.