Balloon Man

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Chapter 30

Detective Booth walked around picking up items and bagging them.

“Those old wrappers and cans are trash!” Chief Fox laughed. “I don’t know what you think you’re gonna find. We’re pretty sure it’s Elaine Emmett. Got all the evidence we need.”

Booth watched Fox’s fat roll around his waist, quivering with each word. How the thin shirt stretched over his torso kept from splitting was a miracle. “You don’t get it Fox. Even if Elaine did it, we still have to find her. It means there’s a killer on the loose.”

“Well, she ran into the swamp, and I’m telling ya, she ain’t never gonna be found. No sir. This here swamp is deadly.”

“I want an airboat out here so we can search the swamp by one o’clock. Can you do that?” Booth asked.

Fox nodded. “Sure, I can give you one, but I’m telling ya, you won’t find a thing. It’s eleven now and I can get it for you by noon, but I’m not going with you. Someone has to stay and talk to the reporters. They’re all over us today. They all want to know why we haven’t found the killer yet. It’d get them off our backs if we hinted about Elaine.”

“Don’t assume it’s Elaine yet, we don’t know that. Even if that’s what it looks like, we still have to go through the rest of Swarthmore house and see if there’s anything else. So I’m telling you, don’t talk to the press yet.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Fox, “I won’t, but we do have the evidence and her DNA, so don’t take forever, because I have to announce our progress about it soon.”

“I have to talk to a few more people. I won’t give a statement to the press until it’s the right one,” Booth said. “Plus, I want to wait until all DNA recovered at the scene is proceed. Who knows? Maybe there was a partner involved? Something in my gut tells me there’s another reason for Elaine’s fingerprints on that pipe.”

“That’s a load of hog slop,” Fox grumbled.

“No, it’s not. Use your instincts, man! Don’t you think it’s strange that a killer would leave the weapon they used right next to the body? I mean c’mon! How stupid is that?”

Booth watched Fox’s face turning red and purple with frustration.

“Did it ever occur to you that Alma might be the killer? That maybe she and Elaine got into a fight and Alma decided to get rid of her sister and make it look like Elaine was the killer in the process? Use the scheme to throw us off her trail?”

Fox got defensive. “Are you insane? Been out tromping in the swamp too much during the heat of the day? That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!”

“I’ll tell you what I am, and that’s determined. I’m not some lazy fool willing to accept the easiest way out! I’m going with my gut instincts. Apparently, you don’t have any. Maybe they’re trapped under all this,” Booth smirked while patting Fox’s enormous gut. “We’re looking for a desperate person in survival mode; one that don’t want to get caught. You’re just the kind of law enforcement they want around. Lazy, slow, and easily duped.”

“You’re a jerk, Booth. A real jerk.”

“Maybe, but I believe my record speaks for itself. Now, got get that airboat.”

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