The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 23 - Dreams and Realities

Robin opened his eyes. I’m having that dream again. Please don’t let me wake up too soon.

The most beautiful woman in the world was sleeping in his lap. He watched her for a while. She stirred, gave a little moan, and opened her beautiful emerald green eyes.

She smiled up at him.

“Hello,” she said softly.

He couldn’t resist. Gently pressing his lips to hers, he kissed her – she kissed him back.

“I know this is only a dream,” he said, “But I can’t help loving you. Do you know that every time I smell Jasmine, I think of you? I am so crazy for you that Jasmine tea has become my favorite drink of choice.”

“What a nice thing to say…”

“Not at all, it’s the truth. I can’t get enough of you and I know that at any time now the phone will ring or something will happen to wake me up. When that happens I will be depressed for hours afterward. I wish you were real and that you were just as crazy for me.”

“But…” she began, but couldn’t finish because he was kissing her again.

This time when he pulled away, there was a tear in his left eye. It grew larger, rolled out, and down his cheek.

“What’s wrong Robin?”

“I love you so much, but at any time now…” He didn’t get to finish his thought.

“Hello Robin,” said a gruff voice.

Robin jerked around and saw Lt. Hawk standing on the porch.

“What are you doing in my dream, Hawk?”

“Hi Malissa, what’s wrong with Robin?”

Robin stared in disbelief, “I’m not dreaming? But I have to be dreaming. My dream girl is still here and…”

“You are wide-awake, Robin,” Malissa got up and hugged the Lieutenant. He hugged her and held her in front of him.

“I think France has done you some good, Malissa. You look terrific. How was the ghost hunting? We missed you around here.”

“I missed you too. The wine and the food were terrific, but the ghosts – well, let’s just say they weren’t in the mood to entertain this tourist. Sorry I didn’t come round earlier, but I only got back last week and have been trying to get back into the teaching thing again.”

“That’s okay. Speaking of business…”

“Of, course, come inside, Hawk, and I’ll get mom for you.” She winked at Robin as she passed him.

Robin finally realized he was wide-awake. He jumped up and followed the pair into the house. “I’m awake!” he announced happily.

“Yes, I can see that,” Lt. Hawk said.

Amanda Potts who had been watching all this from the glider canopy laughed.

“You don’t understand! I’m not dreaming!” Robin insisted.

“You’re so silly, Robin,” Amanda Potts said. She raced ahead of him into the house.

A puzzled look came across Lt. Hawk’s face.

Robin was beside himself with joy. “I feel like dancing,” he said as he entered the living room. He bowed to Amanda Potts and put his arms out. Amanda and Robin began to dance around the room.

“Is he having another episode?” Lt. Hawk whispered to Malissa. “Things aren’t going to fly around the room again, are they?” he asked suspiciously.

“No.” Malissa chuckled, “At least I don’t think so.”

Robin was dancing with Amanda singing, “It’s not a dream! It’s not a dream!”

“Will you light somewhere, please? You’re making me nervous,” Lt. Hawk said sternly.

“Good afternoon, Hawk. How are things going?” Nancy asked as she stepped into the room. “What’s gotten into Robin there?”

“He’s just waking up from a nap, Mom,” Malissa explained.

“Wake up? I don’t ever want to wake up,” Robin said as he left Amanda and danced over to them. “May I cut in, Hawk?” he asked. Without waiting for a reply, he took Malissa into his arms, and pranced off with her. Amanda started to dance around the rafters giggling.

“He hasn’t short circuited again, has he Nancy?”

“Sort of, Hawk. He’s in love.”

“Love? Thank goodness. I thought he’d lost his marbles.”

“He has – He’s crazy about Malissa.”

“How does she feel about it?” Lt. Hawk said watching the couple dance around the room.

“She’s dancing with him, isn’t she?”

Lt. Hawk watched them pass in front of the fireplace and fall in a heap on the sofa laughing.

“Yes. I see what you mean.”

“How about our case, Hawk? Anything new?” Nancy asked.

“As I told you, on the phone, we found the body, thanks to an anonymous tip. It seems some grave robbers accidentally uncovered her body while exhuming our bigamist Mr. Johnson. The condition of her body upset them so much they left Mr. Johnson alone and phoned us.”

Nancy said, “Lucky for us they picked his plot to plunder.” Lt. Hawk gave her a sarcastic look.

“Sorry. That was an unintentional alliteration.”

“Forensics is going over the body,” he continued, ignoring her, “but they aren’t sure they will find anything useful. This guy seems to have given her a bath in bleach before he dumped her.”

“As in laundry bleach…?” Malissa asked.

“Yes. You see bleach eradicates DNA traces. So, she may not be able to tell us much about this guy after all.”

“Jake,” Robin blurted.

Lt. Hawk looked at him, “I beg your pardon?”

“He calls himself Jake. He drives a beat up old van. It’s blue – or used to be, anyway. The oxidation has changed its color. It’s an old Ford Econoline with windows in the rear doors, but none on the side. It does have a side opening door.

“He found Jenny by accident. He was actually stalking a neighbor girl. When Jenny came out of the house, he decided that providence had delivered her to him. I can’t bring myself to describe what he did to her before she finally died, but I can tell you that she suffered more than anyone deserves to suffer. He enjoyed torturing her. He gets his pleasure from inflicting pain. He’s most aroused when his victims are screaming in agony. I have never experienced such an overwhelming feeling of evil than when I came in contact with him.

“He lives in that van – at least, I get the impression that he does. I don’t see him anywhere else but in the van – strange… I don’t see a workplace, a home, no family, nothing – that’s highly unusual. It’s like he only exists in the van.

“He calls himself Jake – I know that, but I don’t know what his real name is. There is no last name, no middle initial – nothing. It’s all just a blank.”

The three listeners stared at Robin. Lt. Hawk almost dropped the cigar from his mouth. No one spoke for a minute or so.

“Avalon,” Robin said finally.

“Avalon?” asked the Lieutenant. “I don’t understand…”

“It’s the license plate, Hawk. It’s a vanity plate from Arizona with the word ’Avalon” on it.”

Lt. Hawk came to his senses and rushed for the hall phone to call headquarters.

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