The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 19 - The Plot

“Buckle up,” said the Lieutenant.

What for? Robin thought as he snapped the belt into the locking strap.

When the Lieutenant started the engine, Robin noticed there was something different about this fish bowl on wheels. The Lieutenant gunned the engine and the tires squealed as they pulled away from the curb. This car has guts!

“Three fifty-seven Hemi,” said the Lieutenant nonchalantly. Nancy chuckled from the back seat.

They headed up highway fifteen toward Escondido. Robin knew he could find the burial spot, but he couldn’t tell them how to get there. He had to go along to recognize landmarks.

“I thought you knew I owned a Pacer, Robin. I’ve been to Nancy’s place a lot since you moved in.”

“I never saw your car. I always assumed you were driving a police car.”

“I thought you said he was psychic, Nancy,” he said to the rear view mirror.

Nancy chuckled.

As the Lieutenant turned into Fern Hill Cemetery, he said, “This monster is smart. Who would look in a cemetery for a body? But how…?”

“He buries them in freshly dug graves. He digs them a little deeper, puts in the body, covers them up, and no one notices anything wrong when they arrive to set up for the legitimate funeral.”

“And he picks small cemeteries because they aren’t as well guarded as the large ones,” added Lt. Hawk.

“Right…, no, I mean turn right here,” Robin said as Lt. Hawk passed a side lane.

Hawk hit the brakes and backed up so he could make the turn. They drove around the curving country-like drive.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Nancy. “I wouldn’t mind my body being here when I have gone.”

Sgt. Tinker stared at her like she was a demon of some kind.

“Get a grip, Tinker,” she commanded. “I’m just admiring the scenery.”

Amanda Potts laughed, “I like him, Nancy. He’s funny.”

Sgt. Tinker turned away and looked out of his window in silence.

“Over there,” Robin pointed at a freshly covered plot with flowers and wreathes arranged around it. Lt. Hawk parked his car and they all walked across the lawn to the grave.

The four of them stood at the graveside looking down at the marker.

“Are you sure about this?” Lieutenant Hawk asked.

“Positive.” Robin answered.

“I can feel it too, Hawk. She is down there,” said Nancy.

“Oh, yes,” said Amanda Potts. “This is where he put the body alright.”

“He’s a smart one,” remarked Lt. Hawk. “Who would look under a grave for a grave?”

“May I help you?” said voice from behind them.

Robin turned around and noticed a well-dressed man in a top hat coming toward them. The man was tall and lanky – more skeleton than skin. His nose was more of a beak than a nose. He reminded him of Ichabod Crane. This man isn’t a man, he’s a scarecrow, and he gives me the creeps.

“Who are you?” asked Lt. Hawk showing him his badge.

“I’m the funeral director from the home that the Johnson’s used for this funeral today. My name is Carter – James Carter. You can call me Jimmy.” He handed the Lieutenant his card, “Is there a problem here?”

Sgt. Tinker snickered.

Ignoring the sergeant, Lt. Hawk said, “I’m Lieutenant Hawk from San Diego Sheriff’s Homicide Division. This is my partner Sgt. Tinker, and these two are helping me in an investigation.”

“Homicide? I assure you, Lieutenant, Mr. Johnson here died while “J” walking across Balboa Avenue. It was thoroughly investigated.”

“I’m not here because of the Johnsons, Mr. Carter. I’m on another case.”

“I don’t understand. What other case?”

“We’re just curious about the gravesite, Mr. Carter.”

“In what way, Lieutenant? I assure you that everything has been done legally and above board.”

“I’m sure it has, sir. What we were wondering was: When was this grave dug?”

“Early last evening, why? It isn’t unusual I assure you.”

“Why is that?”

“It was hot here yesterday because of the Santa Ana. We don’t dig in the heat of the day. When the days get hot, it could cause medical problems for the diggers. The funeral was scheduled for early this morning and the digger’s union wouldn’t like it if we asked them to dig in the dark before daylight, so we do it while there is still light in the evening. The hole was dug and properly covered so that no one could fall in… No one fell in, did they?” He asked a little anxiously.

“No, sir, not as far as we know.”

“I thought not. Anyway, we uncovered the hole today, held the funeral, and filled it in after the mourners left. All as the law prescribes, Lieutenant.” He paused a moment. “Was there anything else?”

“No, sir, not at this time.”

“Then I had better get going. I have an appointment at the Parlor in half an hour. I came back for the flower stands. They are quite expensive, you know.” He took the flower wreathes off of the stands and laid them tastefully on the grave. He then folded up the tripods and started to leave. “You have my card, Lieutenant if you need me for anything else.” He tipped his hat as he headed for his black Lincoln Town Car. He waved as he pulled away.

“Jimmy Carter?” Sgt. Tinker chuckled.

Robin noticed Amanda Potts had left them and was standing a few yards away conversing with what appeared to be two other spirits. One was a man and the other a woman.

“Excuse me a moment, Lieutenant,” Robin said. He walked toward the little group. Lt. Hawk noticed that he appeared to be talking with someone, but he couldn’t see anyone there.

Robin said, “Thanks” apparently to the air and came back to the graveside.

“Are you all right, Robin?” Lt. Hawk asked.

“Yes. So, when do we start digging?”

“We don’t. I’m afraid our mystery killer is a lot smarter than we gave him credit for,” said Lt. Hawk.

“What do you mean?” asked Nancy.

“There’s not a lot we can do about this. Our killer knows the law and the law is now protecting him.”

“And I thought Robin was supposed to be the psychic,” said Amanda Potts.

“I don’t understand, Lieutenant,” said Robin.

“The only way we can open this grave is with a court order,” Lt. Hawk began.

“Let’s get one then,” Robin said.

“It isn’t that easy. To get an exhumations order from the court you have to have a lot more than just a psychic’s word that there is another body buried here.”

Robin realized the truth of that statement. He looked at the mound of fresh earth covered in flowers. He was so confident with the knowledge that he was a psychic that he had forgotten what his opinion about the subject was before his accident had made him one.

“It’s not a bit like the movies, is it, Lieutenant?” Robin said sadly.

“Unfortunately… No. Our hands are tied.”

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