Web Site: Price Immaculate White Smoke
If you have not read parts one and two of this you are invited to do so now:
Jack walked into the office at the precinct, humming to himself as he walked up to Audrey. The two were amazingly professional. One would have never thought they had just enjoyed a romantic episode the night before. They simply went about business as normal.
They both believed that Lynn did not hurt Sarah, but he was the last one to be seen with her and they could consider that he may have had a motive––the motive being that she was slow to tell her boyfriend she had found a new lover.
“That’s a stretch, though,” said Audrey. “I mean we don’t really know what went on between them that night and nobody actually saw anything.
“I think we should call him in for another talk,” Jack said. “Maybe we can clear him of this and try to find who actually hurt her.”
Jack could not figure why he felt so sure that it was not Lynn who had killed the girl. Audrey was at a loss for a reason but they both wanted one. They went back to the crime scene one more time and then each took one side of the street to see if they could find anyone who saw anything.
Audrey came into the bar across the street from the alley where they found Sarah’s body.
“I’m Detective Shoemaker,” she announced. “Does anyone here remember seeing anything out of the ordinary the night that girl was killed across the street?”
Nobody said anything. There was Arnold nursing a beer. He wanted to speak up, but since he had a rap sheet he was afraid to get involved. He didn’t know her, anyway. Somehow he had this strong feeling that he should break with his age old tradition of ‘who cares’ and tell what he saw that night. He fought against it and Audrey finally left the bar.
It was about quitting time when she and Jack met. Neither had learned anything. One of the frustrations with their job was long hours of disappointing searches without results.
“Let’s pick up on this in the morning,” offered Jack. “You wanna have dinner with me tonight?”
Audrey accepted and the two of them headed back to their apartments for a shower.
It was about seven when Jack came knocking at Audrey’s door. They went to the same restaurant. Neither Jack nor Audrey wanted to talk business right now. They seemed to want to know more about each other.
Audrey shared some of her childhood with Jack. It was a childhood that was not overly happy.
“When I was nine my sister got raped by some bum on the street,” she told Jack. “I guess that’s why I got into police work. Julia had never hurt anyone. Her only sin was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This guy came up to her and told her he had lost his dog. She was really naive. He asked her to check out an alley while he looked down another street. He followed her and as soon as she was far enough out of anyone’s sight, he raped her.”
“Did they ever catch the guy?” asked Jack. Audrey explained that although they did and he did hard time, her sister was never the same. This was not a new concept to Jack. He had seen it many times before.
After they ate, Jack took Audrey back to her apartment. They kissed at the door. Audrey suddenly took the initiative. She wrapped her hand around his neck forcing him closer to her and kissed him with such passion his blood began to boil.
When the two got to work, they were the same professional couple they had been.
“Let’s see if we can get Lynne to give us a DNA sample,” Jack urged. “If we don’t find anything we can clear him and move on.”
“I don’t think that would prove anything,” Audrey offered. “Remember, they had spent the night together the night before.”
“Still, it may help move us on,” Jack insisted. The two went to visit Lynn one more time.
Lynn’s reaction was an angry one. He didn’t see why they were hounding him. The last time he had seen Sarah, she was alive.
“I told you, I would kill myself before I could hurt Sarah. I’m not going to let you people come around trying to pin this on me.”
No matter how much the detectives tried to reason with him, Lynn was angry, hurt and in no mood to be reasoned with.
“We can’t get a warrant with no more evidence than we have,” said Audrey.
Just then, one of the other officers came up to their desk.
“There’s a guy out here who says he may be able to help with the Sarah Fontana case,” he said.
“Send him back,” instructed Jack. A few minutes later Arnold Moats came walking in.
Jack introduced himself and Audrey and got Arnold’s full name. Then he instructed Arnold to have a seat.
“What do you have for us?” Frank asked. Arnold swallowed before he began to explain himself. He still couldn’t understand why he suddenly wanted to do this. Something just kept telling him to do something right for a change.
“I didn’t see that girl get killed,” he began. “I did see her that evening, though. She and this tall fella, about six foot tall with dark hair came out of the hotel across the street from the bar I go to.”
“What were you doing when you saw them?” Jack asked.
“Smokin’ a cigarette,” answered Arnold. “Anyway, I saw them come out of the hotel. They talked for a minute or two and then they kissed and he got into the cab and left. That was when this other fella’ came up to her. He seemed really mad. I figured she had been seeing the guy who had just driven off in the cab on the sly or something. Anyway, she gives this guy a slap in the face and walked away around the corner. He stood there for only a few seconds and went running after her. I didn’t figure it was any of my business so I went on into the bar for a beer.”
“Weren’t you in the bar yesterday when I asked about this?” Audrey enquired.
“Yeah,” answered Arnold. “I wanted to say something; I’ve had a couple of run-ins with the police and I didn’t want to get involved.”
“Why are you here now?” asked Jack. Arnold shrugged. He gazed out the window as he answered.
“I don’t know what has come over me; I felt I needed to do the right thing at least once in my life.”
“Do you think you’d recognize the second guy if you saw him?” prompted Audrey.
“I think, but I was across the street.” He answered.
“You say you were in front of the bar?” Jack asked. Arnold nodded.
“Where were they?” he prompted, “In front of the hotel?”
No, she had walked away after the first guy rode off in the cab. She was in front of the delicatessen about three doors down from the hotel,” said Arnold.
“We want you to sit with our sketch artist for a spell,” requested Jack. “We need to know what this man looked like.”
“I’ll give it my best shot,” exclaimed Arnold. “Remember, I was across the street.”
“Anything you can remember will help,” Audrey said by way of encouragement.
Sure enough, the sketch looked like Joe Morton. The two detectives shared a look.
“I think we have enough for a search warrant and an arrest warrant,” said Joe. Audrey agreed.
Before long the two, along with some other officers, were knocking on the door at Joe’s apartment.
Joe came to the door, gave a sigh and invited the two detectives in.
“I hope you found the guy who did this to Sarah,” he breathed. Then he noticed the other officers by their side and went white. Audrey answered by handing him the papers. As the officers cuffed Joe, Audrey read him his rights and Jack proceeded to go over his apartment for anything that might be useful.
By this time Joe was shouting.
“Why is it always the one who is hurt the most that you guys zero in on?” he asked. “I loved Sarah. Why would I hurt her?”
“Maybe you loved her too much,” said Jack.
“Or maybe you didn’t love her enough,” suggested Audrey. They asked him to step aside and let them work. The detectives and others in the crime squad went through Joe’s apartment, looking for clues.
After a time of going through everything and finding nothing, one of the detectives called Jack and Audrey to the closet.
“Well, will you look at that?” he asked in a tone that was more an exclamation than a question.
“The treads on these shoes are a perfect match to the footprints one of the crime lab workers found at the murder scene.”
“Could be a coincidence,” uttered Jack. Audrey turned to walk away and stopped in her tracks when the officers answered.
“Not likely,” he began. “See the red stuff on the outer curve of the soul? It matches the photo taken at the crime scene.”
“What is it?” asked Audrey, stretching her neck for a closer look.
“If I’m right, when we take these downtown we will find they are cranberries,” answered the officer. This caused them all to start laughing.
“Cranberries?” echoed Audrey. “How did cranberries get on his shoes?”
“Remember, we found the girls body next to a dumpster. I couldn’t be sure how, but it’s a good bet that some of them spilled while they were emptying the dumpster.” As he spoke he carefully put the shoes into a plastic to take them downtown for further analysis.
“Maybe we should go back to the crime scene,” Audrey said.
“Probably not going to find anything now. They have probably cleaned that alley a couple of times since the murder,” said the officer. “There is one more thing, though.
“What’s that?” Jack chirped. “You’ll find some Thanksgiving turkey?”
“Very funny,” replied the officer with more than a hint of sarcasm. “Did you notice that on the other side of the sole of the shoe there was leftover asphalt. They had just patched a pothole and it was evidently still fresh when he stepped into it. You can see it here,” he said while pulling out the photo that had been taken at the crime scene.
“We’ll be able to tell for sure once we get this downtown.” They were soon on their way downtown.
The next morning the lab called with the results. Sure enough, it was cranberries on the soles of Joe’s shoes and likewise it was fresh asphalt.
From this point on, the detectives knew they would have little trouble making a case against Joe Morton.
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