These darned things are heavier than I thought. Helluva a burger though. Damn.
Spent the last of my cash on the taxi. Back at the office. Books weigh a ton. Where’s the… found the key. Got the door open (barely). Don’t want to drop anything.
Settled in. He’s not about the girl. Not for a bit here, I mean, it clearly drives him, it gives me more of what looks like a motive but…
But that’s not what’s moving him forward.
The scholar, I started calling him. Wells-Herbet. He’s smart as hell. Knowledgeable. He goes in depth, he sorts through details, he sorts and he sifts. He’s organized, he’s crafty, he’s focused.
We’ve been writing this guy off too long.
Granted, his focus is on Egyptology and especially cryptology, which is, frankly, useless, but.
I mean, what if this guy had played the stock market?
He’s deciphering ciphers of ciphers of a language that’s several thousand years dead.
It revolves around this book, if you could call it a book – The Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld. Thing’s more like a series of wall illustrations around a dead guy’s tomb. Like a museum piece or something.
His references go six or seven sources deep just to get the exact meaning in the exact context of one symbol. It’s dizzying.
This book he’s deciphering, it deals with immortality, I think. Or the death of the sun, or something.
I don’t know, but I won’t figure out this guy until I do.
How did it get to be 5:00am already?
Woke up to Sergeant LeFarge knocking.
“Working late, Detective?”
I never liked LeFarge. There’s a kind of people as is kind, and a kind as is kind as it pays to be. I didn’t like LeFarge’s kind.
He smirked on into the room, decked out in khakis which he’d ironed within the week.
Laundry was somewhere on a list somewhere stockpiled up in the apartment.
He wore suspenders, LeFarge. The kind you see in old noir movies. No one wears suspenders. LeFarge wore suspenders. And LeFarge smiled.
I knew that smile from gambling halls and casinos, I’d seen it sneak out of the back of many of a card cutter’s face.
He had an ace on me, had LeFarge.
“Brass says you’re off the project.” He was leaning on my desk. A hand crumpled a part of my research.
“They say pack it up, they’re taking you off the Wells-Herbert.”
The only thing I got is the Wells-Herbert, and I tell him so.
“They say it’s cold,” says LeFarge, “they say it’s like week old fish.”
And I got a bunch of bluechips says black it’s another case has turned up with a 12:34 timestamp from the day we found Wells-Herbert missing. But I got my hunches.
“They don’t want you running ragged no more. I don’t think –” smiles LeFarge with that smile of his — “don’t think they want you around no more.”
Cases backed up hour by hour. Where’s the time? there’s Crime every minute.
My badge and my gun are with the force with my paycheck. Least I get severance. It’ll buy me the week, maybe.
It’s getting warmer. AC bill will be higher in the apartment.
Took forever getting home. Subway backup, traffic, you name it, it hit.
And on the door to my humblest of abodes, here it is.
Couldn’t keep up with the payments.
I know Billy, I known him for years. Kindest old Pollack you’d hope to meet, just fat enough to trust, just mean enough to like. Asshole. Friend.
No longer my manager.
Took a bad heart attack a couple months back. I hadn’t noticed.
Went to live with his ex wife and kids. Looks like in the wake of tragedy, maybe things are looking up for Billy.
Not for me. New guy’s a face. Pretty face, with a pretty little wife, too young and too foreign to be legal. Lives pristine, cuts beard down as stubble, smiles and makes direct eye contact. Gives fewer shits about my situation than my ex wife did.
Got smiled out of my apartment by six today.
Papers are packed. Don’t want the photos anymore.
I call my PI’s. Johnny’s free. Shoot him the sob story and he says he’ll come by.
Watched old family movies like a sobbing idiot. Went through the good food left in the fridge. Clothes are in boxes and there’s a truck on the way.
Knocking at the door. It’s Johnny. Right eye black with a shiner like a patent leather shoe.
We share a look so’s we know it’s a work related injury.
‘Not paying me enough,” says Johnny. “I dunno I can help youse no more.”
Johnny’s a filthy Jersey wop with too much spark and not enough sense. Good kid, though.
“times is tough,” I answer, cause they are. “rent’s going up every day.”
“where you gonna live?” asks Johnny.
I give him the noncommittal shrug I gave the mirror at two.
That doesn’t matter. Doesn’t none of it matter.
The case though.
We’re out about five minutes late by smiley’s standards. He sets his watch ahead, I can tell.
Johnny’s taking my things for the time. For now it’s me and bags full of papers on the Wells-Herbert case.
Johnny had mentioned some opportunities for work but I know I won’t be able to focus on them until this damn thing is closed.
Heading to the library.
Books are laid out. Chronology papers’s set up. Scanning headlines for more cold case releases. Got Phil reporting to me, though the phone plan is up so it’s now just going to be notes at the library. Where I might be sleeping for a bit.
Setting all this to an order.
It all keeps happening at 12:34. All that same day. All that hour. Every case. Wells-Herbert.
Thought occurs to me.
What if this is all preplanned? Some big conspiracy type thing? Wells-Herbert, Egyptologist, gets big into this cult, this old old cult, and he tries to pull off some kind of blood ritual.
Well, the girl he love, she’s got to suffer. to get scared. So he jumps her, takes her hair, he dips.
And there’s this highway. Maybe the number on the exit matches something? Is it number? Is it geographic location? And the robbery.
And more and more of these cases keep piling up.
Maybe he stored his blood, let it out to commit this thing.
No way to check with forensics now. Though maybe they owe me favor.
If it is all planned, then we know a time to look for. A time to check out and research and see.
Maybe this whole thing could come down. Bring it down, get back the job, get back to…
Place is closing. I need to pack up and hide.
And hopefully it’ll be too cold here to sleep.
Place is finally clear. Last of the janitor’s left.
I head to the microforms.
I need to some research. What else happened that day? What was the weather? Any odd occurrences around 12:34 on the 19th of February? More murders?
This could take time. But now that’s all I have left.