The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 37 - The Door Handle's Story

Robin broke the silence: “How is Brittany?”

“She’s fine, Robin,” Lt. Hawk replied. “She’s going to live. She’s out of the induced coma and lucid, but she has a lot of healing to do mentally as well as physically. Dr. Parsee says she is going to make it.”

“Good. Now where’s my door handle?”

“Tinker’s bringing it. Are you sure that’s a good idea after what just happened here?’

“It’s okay, Hawk. The door handle won’t have the same effect. We’re in control now.”

“Why do you need it? Didn’t the knife give you enough?”

“No. Jake was the only one who touched the knife. The door handle will be a different story.”

Lt. Hendersen pocketed his toupée and stepped over to the little group around the bed, “I don’t understand. What more could there be?”

“Jason,” Robin said simply. “His impressions will tell us where he is.”

“But didn’t I hear someone say that they are the same person?”

“Yes, lieutenant,” Robin admitted, “but because his schizophrenia has caused him to become two separate people, the impressions he leaves on an object are only those of the personality he is at the time.”

Lt. Hendersen looked skeptical.

Nancy tried to explain: “When he takes on Jake’s personality, he becomes Jake. His whole persona is Jake, so he only leaves psychic impressions of Jake. By the same token, when he becomes Jason, his whole persona is Jason, so he only leaves traces that are read as Jason. It’s as if he really were two separate people. Does that help?”

Lt. Hendersen shook his head, “Unbelievable. Do you really believe this mumbo jumbo, Lieutenant?”

“A psychic tornado isn’t enough for you, Joe? Wasn’t that you I heard bawling like a baby after the bric-a-brac hit the floor?”

Lt. Hendersen opened his mouth to say something and closed it again. He blinked twice. A shrug was all he could manage.

Robin continued, “He dumped the van in the Coronado Hills. I can show you where if you get me a map. He’s driving a black Ford Bronco now. License FN seven three four Z. It’s also stolen. The plate is from a Toyota Corolla.”

“Hold on, Robin,” Lt. Hawk went to the door. “Perez…” he handed him a piece of paper, “Call that in on your radio.” He returned to the bedside, “Okay, Robin, anything else?”

“He’s been burying the bodies in graves dug for Jimmy Carter’s funeral home. Somehow he has been monitoring his brother’s business close enough to know when the funerals are and where the clients are to be interred.”

“How…? Wouldn’t Carter know about him being in the funeral home?” asked Nancy.

“I don’t know, but I do know he has found a way to see the files so that he knows in advance when and where the grave will be dug. Even though our Mr. Carter fancies himself a detective I don’t think he has a clue about it.”

The door opened and Sgt. Tinker came in carrying a briefcase. “You should see it out there, Hawk. The place is in shambles. Was there an earthquake?”

“Sort of,” said Lt. Hendersen said sardonically.

“Give me the briefcase, Tinker, any problems getting the item?” Lt. Hawk asked.

“Evidence wasn’t too pleased about me mutilating their crime scene, but they were finished dusting for prints so I took it anyway.”

“You people have no respect for the chain of evidence, do you?” Lt. Hendersen said.

“Who’s he?” Sgt. Tinker asked.

Lt. Hawk glanced at Lt. Hendersen, “He’s Joe Hendersen from the station. I’ll take the briefcase.”

“Sorry Joe, I didn’t recognize you without the toupée. Why are you all wet?”

Before Lt. Hendersen could answer, Lt. Hawk interrupted him. “Never mind Tinker, we’ll tell you later.”

Sgt. Tinker handed the briefcase to Lt. Hawk who said as he handed it to Robin, “Are you really sure about this?”

“It’ll be okay.” Robin opened the case. Inside was a brass door handle. It was old and green except where someone’s hands had polished it from recent use. Malissa was still holding Robin’s hand as he reached for the piece of brass.

“Hold on a minute!” Sgt. Tinker started feeling panicky, “He isn’t doing what I think he’s doing, is he?”

“Of course…” Lt. Hawk began.

It finally dawned on the good sergeant what had happened in the hall outside. All the color drained from his face making it an ashen white.

“Then I’m out of here!” he said, and with that he rushed out the door, down the hall, and grabbed the first stairwell he could find. He wasn’t about to wait for an elevator.

“What’s wrong with your partner?” asked Lt. Hendersen nervously.

“He was chased by the bric-a-brac the last time there was a psychic tornado,” Nancy said simply.

“I beg your pardon? Are you making fun of me?”

“Forget it, Joe,” Lt. Hawk said. “Okay Robin, if you’re going to do it, let’s get on with it.”

Lt. Hendersen spoke up, “I must protest. After that last episode with the knife there’s no telling what will happen this time.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in this mumbo jumbo, Lt. Hendersen,” Nancy said.

“Well… I…”

“Just stand back and relax, Joe,” Lt. Hawk ordered. “Go ahead, Robin. Do it.”

As Robin prepared to take the handle from the brief case, Lt. Hendersen began to back away toward the hospital room door, his left hand in his pocket firmly holding on to his toupée.

Robin took the handle in his right hand and removed it from the case. Lt. Hendersen crouched down against a wall. Lt. Hawk braced himself for the worst, but nothing happened.

“We’ve got him, Hawk,” Robin said happily. “Jason is on the handle. He’s been staying in a rundown hooker hotel down on F Street. It’s the old Brookes Hotel.”

“I’m on it,” with that, the Lieutenant was out the door. Lt. Hendersen slowly stood up. He felt a little embarrassed for being so cowardly. He stood there for a few seconds and finally said, “I guess I’ll be going too.” He pointed to the evidence bag containing the knife and said, “If you don’t mind…”

Malissa picked up the evidence bag and held it out for Lt. Hendersen to take, but he stood his ground near the door. Nancy got up and said, “For goodness sakes!” She took the bag from Malissa and walked it over to Lt. Hendersen.

“Thanks,” he said in a small voice. Then he left as quickly as he could.

“You sure make a great impression on people, Robin,” Nancy said as the door closed.

“Yeah, Dale Carnegie’s got nothing on me.”

They all laughed. Robin winced in pain.

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