The Sheriff’s office looked the same, a hideous mass of concrete poured on the hillside overlooking Highway 129. A line of windows across the top resembled all-seeing eyes. Yes, Citizen. You ARE under surveillance. Gaudi himself would have loved it. I wondered how much money changed hands to get the monstrosity approved. It makes one appreciate nice buildings.
Parking the car, I text my arrival. The reply came back: “I’ll meet you at the desk.” I put the gun in its lockbox and got out. Its too pretty out here to be talking to a cop. But talk I must. I pass a couple lying head to head on a bench outside the front door, lost in their phones. Modern romance, too busy to actually talk to each other.
The last time I was here it was for a interview about a boat that was jacked in Naked Lady Cove. I was nowhere near it, but the owner thought I was involved since I knew Jerry Herrington. I was in the salvage business back and got lots of referrals from him. Find and pull up wrecked stuff for insurance companies, mostly. The job required me to talk to Law Enforcement from time to time, Lake Ranger, Park Rangers, Local Yokels, all of them. Most of the time I was on the back end of the deal, somebody got drunk and hit something. I’d get a call to get the crap out of the channel. Those went fairly well. But sometimes it was a boat that had disappeared. Those were the ones we’d find under dry docks or in inlets that were totally overgrown.
The contact in those days was Det. Ray Williams. Since then, he’d managed to get himself promoted to Captain and now ran the place. But it was still small, only a dozen or so Deputies to handle everything from shoplifting to murder. And murders weren’t that common, maybe five or six a year. So when Donna was found shot in a ditch outside Chateau Elan, it was a bit of a deal. It was an even bigger deal when my name and number showed up in her purse.
The Sergeant at the desk processed my ID and sent me through the metal detector. When I got through Ray was waiting. He shook my hand and took me back to the bullpen and pointed to the chair by his desk.
“Sure.” He took his time pouring. “Been a long time, Jim.”
I took the cup. “Yes, it has.”
“How’s Angie?” His old partner was my girlfriend for a while. It didn’t last and she wasn’t my favorite thing to talk about.
“Still in San Juan as far as I know.”
“Figures. She never was one to keep in contact.” He adjusted his chair. “So, what do you sell these days?”
I took a sip out of my cup and took my time answering. “Uh…Fertilizer.“
“I believe that.” He laughed. “Anyway, you know why I called. You knew Donna Bartlett?”
“Yeah.” I pulled out my notebook because I knew he’d want dates. “I met her at the Dockside on the 6th, two weeks ago. She hired me to trace some assets pertaining to a divorce.”
“From Jerry Herrington?
“Yep.” He didn’t need to know I didn’t know that until later.
Williams nodded. “Made any progress?”
“Any boats involved?” He knew Herrington’s main scam.
“A couple of Jetskis and a Houseboat.”
Williams scratched the info on his tablet. The next question was predictable.
“Name of the big one?”
“Sunset Dream. She’s a 47 footer”
“Jerry always liked them big. Which marina were they using?”
Williams acted surprised. “Across the lake?”
“Yeah, I think they didn’t want to be around people that might have known them.”
More nodding. “Who was your contact there?” I gave the uncooperative girl’s name and number.
“Any other assets?”
“Some cash that has gone to the wind.”
“A half a million.” His brows rose with that.
“When was the last time you talked to Donna?”
I look at the notebook. “The 10th. I called her to confirm the location of the boat.”
“No other contact?”
“OK.” I notice he made a note in the margin of his tablet. “Anything else you want to add?”
A female deputy drops a folder on his desk with a pink sticky on it. He glances at it, then looks up.
“Do you remember the day we met?”
“I couldn’t help you then.”
“Well, nothing’s’ changed. We’re done for now.” He took back my stained cup. “I probably will be back in touch.”
Topic- Dahlia Ramone
Pic guesses: On a bench (in blog) head to head (in blog) phones (in blog), modern romance, sunny afternoon,