Chapter Ten: When the Mouse is in the Hawk’s Beak, it Retaliates
John made it back to the station. He sat down at his desk, and called Bellagio. It took a couple rings, then he answered.
“CSU, Bellagio speaking.”
“Did you find him, Bellagio?” John asked.
“I think you better get over here, John. You’re gonna flip over this likeness. I know I did,” Bellagio said.
“So I take it you found Mister Predjin.” John assumed.
“Just get over here. This artist’s rendering is uncanny.”
“Be there in two shakes. See you in a minute.” John hang up the phone, and went to CSU.
As John walked in, Bellagio was sitting at his desk by the AFIS screen on his computer.
“Show me this magic, Non-believer.” John announced his entrance.
Bellagio looked up at John. “After seeing this, I believe.”
Bellagio pointed at the screen at Marvin Predjin’s Winthrop Condominium employee profile.
John had seen exactly what Kenneth had drawn. It looked as if Marvin had posed for the picture.
“I guess now you think Anezka’s real,” John assumed.
“Why didn’t you say it was Anezka Kranz?” Bellagio asked. “Simin has been sending me items from her for years. I know she’s real. You’re our Doubting Thomas around here. I thought you were messing with me when you said you got this from a psychic profiler.”
“I guess we all drank Anezka’s fruit punch. I just know that all of her psychic evidence would be thrown out in court, and that’s why I didn’t want to reveal to you I knew the name of who I was looking for because I thought you were just like the old me,” John said.
“I know where he lives,” Bellagio said. “His address is on his Winthrop employee file.”
“Give me that address. I’ll have to call SWAT for this one,” John said.
“You’re getting your panties in a bunch, John. SWAT takes care of live kidnappings, and blockaded bank robbers. Serial killers that aren’t committing a live abduction, or killing isn’t in their job description. You’re going to have to go in with Simin, and some back up to find the evidence to nail him. I’m ecstatic you’ve found your man, but don’t let him get off on a bogus, premature arrest without any evidence.”
“I have evidence! His fingerprints on a book that is frighteningly close to one of his victims!” John exclaimed.
Bellagio shook his head.
“All of that evidence is circumstantial. You know court is like geometry class. You can see it’s a triangle circumstantially, but have to show definite evidence it is with your work. And you thought Anezka’s psychic evidence would get this kicked out. You know how this works. Stop jumping for joy just because you found him. You have to do some police work in order for you to really get him.”
John was thrown back into the academy by a CSU guy. Bellagio wasn’t a professor on court theory, but he knew what happened through countless times testifying.
“Okay, Bellagio, you win. I won’t send in SWAT support until I get the evidence. Simin and I will handle it.” John understood how it went. He was jumping the gun. “Technicalities will beat you about the head and face.”
“Bring some other officers, just not SWAT. Here’s the address.” Bellagio pointed at the screen to show John the address.
“You mean all I had to do was look on the screen to find out where he lived, and we didn’t have to go through that rigmarole?”
“That rigmarole got your thinking straight. It avoided the technicality ass whuppin’ you would have gotten. I’m glad you couldn’t see the forest for the trees so we could talk first,” Bellagio said.
John smiled as he took down the address. “Thanks for setting me straight. I was too hyped to remember my procedure. I’ve just been watching this monster killing, and displaying his morbid pieces of art right in front of me to frustrate the hell out of me. He started off very arrogant with that flash paper note writing that he would never be found. That was a slap to the police department, and to me personally. I don’t like to be slapped. I got angry with him from that first display, and vowed to catch him. I even reneged on my conventional police work policy, and let Simin introduce me to Anezka. I didn’t believe in that junk, but if it produced a result, I had to try it. Now through all of this police work, legitimate, mystical, or otherwise, I got a face to a name Anezka found through psychic means. When you said you had his address, I just wanted to nail him. You understand my eagerness I’m sure,” John said.
“And I’m sure you want to hold your horses for this one. That other Brickman note was the same so I didn’t want you more angry, and didn’t tell you.” Bellagio said, “You fell into that rookie detective thing. Don’t let this guy get to you. He’s just another case you have to close.”
“I’m about to start closing it now, Bellagio. Simin’s going to be happy you took over her job of taming my wild side. We’ll get on it immediately,” John said, and walked out of CSU.
John walked back to his desk, and Simin came up to him.
“Did Bellagio find him?”
“I have his address,” John said.
“Then why aren’t we bustin’ down his door?!” Simin asked excitedly.
“Because I have to simmer. We can’t bust down his door without evidence.”
“We have evidence! We have an eye witness!” Simin exclaimed.
“What did she see, Simin? A crazy Penelope Prissy doing deadly things? She never saw his face. If we arrest him, he’ll get off on illegal seizure. We know who he is, but us knowing without proof is just us knowing. Bellagio told me that. We need to make sure we get him, and he won’t walk. I’ve worked too hard to not come up with results. I’m the detective, he’s the criminal, and I know they don’t have a graduation class for Criminal College. I have my academy diploma, I win. I just have to use my skills to really get him,” John said to Simin.
“So the non-detective told you that huh?”
“You always said Bellagio wanted to participate in an investigation. He’s just using his brain better than us both now. I’m surprised you didn’t tell me what he already did.”
Simin defended herself with, “I would’ve told you that. I was just as fanatical as you were when you got that same information. We won the lottery, but I wouldn’t let you blow all of our money gambling in Vegas. Yes I was excited, but I’m the responsible one in our partnership.”
“We aren’t married, Simin. We just work together.”
“We have a work marriage. We can’t get divorced from this one unless we transfer. Or one of us quits. Are you handing in our resignation?” she asked.
“You know I live for this. I’m retiring, not quitting,” John said.
“I’m not going anywhere, so we’re married.” Simin smiled.
John put up his spread left hand.
“I don’t see no ring on this finger.”
“You know, I’m glad that got your sense of humor back. You were becoming the grumpy old man from this case,” she said.
“My finger just feels naked though.” John smiled. “We’re going to start off tomorrow going to Mister Predjin’s house to interview him to get proper cause to search his house.”
Simin walked over to Detective Walker, asked for something, got it, and returned to John. She gave him a cigar band.
“Here’s your ring, Hubby. Now let’s prepare to nail Mister Predjin.”
Marvin was thinking of his next move to vindicate another sad American. He was sitting in his recliner, listening to classical music, and drinking wine. His quest for vindication of the masses had just begun. Out of the six doomed, only one was released because she wasn’t tainted by America. Either that, or her boyfriend was over-tainted. No matter, he let her go. She was the lucky one.
He wasn’t evil in his eyes, however, society categorized him as an evil man. He knew he couldn’t argue with society so he had to respect their opinion. When the majority says you are a thing, you are described as that thing. He had to be more intelligent than society was. Intelligent enough to avoid society’s terminal sentence. He had much more vindicating to do.
As Marvin was calculating his next vindication, he heard a knock at his door.
He got out of his chair, and went to the door. Who could be knocking for him? He didn’t have any friends, and his no solicitors sign had worked ever since he bought his house. It was probably the wrong house.
Marvin looked through the peep hole, and saw a taller gentleman accompanied by a foreign looking woman. He wanted to see who they were, so he opened the door.
“Hello, can I help you?” Marvin asked the two.
John showed his badge by opening his wallet.
“Mister Predjin, Directive John Chandless, and Detective Simin Khouri. May we come in?”
Marvin was thrown for a second. Where did he screw up? Who knew of his vindication deeds in which society called evil? He couldn’t waiver at this point. He had a failsafe just in case law enforcement tripped upon an obscure clue.
“Why sure, Officers, come in. What is this about, may I ask?”
John walked in followed by Simin.
“We have been investigating a rash of murders in the city, and we’re just checking out leads.”
How did they find him?! If they knew he was the culprit, why didn’t SWAT break down his door?! That was when he thought the police were just grasping, and had no hard evidence to arrest him.
“My goodness, Detective, that is heinous. Why have you come to my door?”
“Like I said, Mister Predjin. We are checking our leads, and your fingerprints turned up on a book that showcased one of our victim’s skyscrapers. We just need to see your basement,” John said.
Marvin had a contingency for any experienced detective. He built a fruit shed for that experienced detective.
“Well my fruit shed is out back, Detective. I’ll get the keys.”
“You don’t have a basement?” John asked.
“I had one when I moved in here, but living alone, and watching all those horror movies made me fill it in with cement. My fruit shed is just fine for me,” Marvin said as he took out his keys. “It’s out back. We can take the side door.”
John knew Marvin was cunning, and he calculated the counter for a search. He knew he had no reasonable evidence to tear Marvin’s house apart. He had his man right in front of him literally, but legally, he didn’t have him at all.
“Okay, Mister Predjin, we’ll go and check out your fruit shed,” John said. “Come on, Simin. You can see what I can’t.”
“Right behind you, John,” Simin said as she followed them out the side door.
She whispered in John’s ear, “You know if he’s taking us there, it isn’t his kill spot.”
“I know this is a wild goose chase,” John whispered back. “But we have to go through procedure.”
Simin understood John’s method, she just didn’t like it. She also knew she didn’t want to spike the ball for a touchdown, but get called back for holding, another supreme dichotomy.
They walked to a concrete shed in the back yard. Simin saw the construction of the shed, and realized it was new.
“How long have you lived here, Mister Predjin?” she asked Marvin.
“I’ve been here for eight years, Detective Khouri,” Marvin said.
“So you were in the basement all of last year because the brick dust hasn’t settled from this brand new shed. The concrete might not even have dried fully yet.” She thought she had caught him about filling in his basement.
“I only got apprehensive with my basement after that Terror on Arrival movie. Those morphing aliens freaked me out earlier this year, so I just filled it in.”
Marvin had a counter for every discrepancy they threw at him. He knew this wasn’t just a conversation--detectives detect, and try to find holes in your story. Marvin’s holes were spackled with cement, and he was ready for this game with a daunting defense. Even the vast Persian army was defeated by three hundred Spartans, except John was ready for the battle as well.
As Marvin unlocked, and opened the shed door, John saw how neat Marvin was, almost to an obsessive compulsive form of order. Marvin’s preserves were labeled alphabetically from apples to zucchini. They were on shelves with no space between them. John eyed the fruit shed, and understood that this wasn’t the area that they needed to investigate. Marvin directed them there to make sure there wouldn’t be any further need to investigate any more.
“Okay, Simin, there’s nothing here. We don’t have to look any more,” John said dejected.
“Where is the opening to the basement, Mister Predjin?” Simin asked.
“It’s sealed, Detective Khouri,” Marvin said. “But I will show you the cemented opening.”
Marvin walked back, and the detectives followed. He walked into the kitchen, and pointed to the door.
“The basement opening is behind that door. You can open it if you want, it’s unlocked.”
Simin walked over to the door, and opened it. She saw what was considered a hallway leading to the wall, with a painted gray concrete slab for a floor. There was a rowing machine, barbells, a weight bench, and a bike in the room.
“I use that room to store my exercise equipment,” Marvin said to accent there was no entry to the basement.
John walked behind Simin, and saw what she saw. There were no legal grounds for a further search. Marvin thwarted their intentions. He must have prepared himself for infiltration because everything looked solid. Not a loophole anywhere. John became angry, but didn’t show it.
“Thank you, Mister Predjin. I guess this was just the procedure to eliminate the circumstantial,” John said. “There is something else though. Since we visited you, and found out you weren’t the suspect, you might become the victim. We’ll post an officer in front of your house to protect you. If someone breaks in, they will be apprehended immediately.”
Simin looked at John in surprise.
“Do you think we have the resources for that, Detective Chandless?”
“We protect and serve, Detective Khouri. We have adequate resources for that,” John said as he gave Simin those eyes. They began to use their proper titles because it was Simin’s way to verbally slap him in the back of the head so John verbally slapped her back.
“Okay, if you think that’s required, send an officer.”
Simin understood what John was doing. He had his slippery scoundrel, and didn’t want him to kill again, so he put him in a cage.
“I’m fine, Detective Chandless,” Marvin said. “I don’t need a law enforcement babysitter.”
“I’m sorry, Mister Predjin, but this is procedure. I can’t change procedure,” John said.
Marvin’s plans were dashed by John. All of his planning had to be halted for the time being. He wanted John to pay for stifling his vindicating. John became his singular project at that point. He wanted Detective Chandless to suffer. This earthly vindication became supremely focused when John kicked his bee hive.
“Well if you cannot switch procedure, then I guess you’ll waste another officer’s time. As I said before, I’m fine, Detective Chandless.”
“What can I say, Mister Predjin? I can’t shirk my duty, and duty is the word. It frames the description of my job,” John said.
Simin interrupted with, “Don’t worry, Mister Predjin. You’ll be protected whether you like it or not.”
She saw Marvin’s rage. She knew John disrupted him. He was locked in a cage, and with his animosity towards John, she hoped he couldn’t pick that proverbial lock.
“Well, I guess you can do nothing to augment procedure, Detective. I’ll be locked in my house until you apprehend the killer.”
“You can go out, Mister Predjin. You’ll just have an escort for protection purposes,” John said.
“Beautiful, Detective. I’ll have a shadow everywhere I go.” Marvin had an irritated look on his face.
John saw the irritation, and smiled behind his eyes with a victory lap running in his mind.
“That’s my job, Mister Predjin, and I do my job,” John said. “Okay, Detective Khouri, let’s go to another potential.”
Simin remained quiet because she knew there were no other potentials. Mister Predjin was their prime.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Mister Predjin. Please continue listening to your Antonio Caldera.”
“So you know of the Baroque composer. You’re a cultured detective,” Marvin said.
“I just like classical, Mister Predjin.”
“I’ll remember that, Detective Khouri. Have a good day.”
“Thank you, Mister Predjin, you too,” Simin said.
Marvin walked to his door, and opened it for them.
“I hope you catch your man, Detectives, good bye.”
John and Simin walked out, and went to their car. They both got in, and sat down.
“What are you planning to do to get him?”
“Mister Predjin wrote that he would never be found. He’s in the jar right now. I just have to close the lid before I accidentally tip it over to let him escape. I don’t want him hiding behind the couch so I’d have to brain him with the aluminum bat,” John said.
“Your analogies are impressive, but that still doesn’t explain how you’re going to get him,” she said.
“If I knew how to get him without shooting him, he’d be in a paddy wagon right now. I put an officer on him to give me a chance to think. We’ll get him, Simin. He’s right in front of us, and I won’t let him go,” John said.
“You’re about to do that Sherlock Holmes thing, aren’t you?” Simin asked.
“It’s better than doing that Punisher thing. If that was the case, he’d be shot right now. I went to the academy so I didn’t have to resort to Wild West sheriff tactics. I just have to think.” John became contemplative.
“You’re always thinking, John. That’s why you’re so good.”
Marvin looked out at the two in their car through his window. They looked as if they were discussing what just happened to them at his house. There was no reason to send a cop to babysit him. That male detective knew something.
“He couldn’t find anything so he’s keeping me at bay until he does,” Marvin said to himself.
Marvin knew he had a formidable opponent in Detective Chandless. He also knew that to continue his vindications, he would have to disrupt his formidable opponent.
As he saw another squad car pull up in front of his house, Marvin went to his computer to investigate his formidable opponent. He found a Detective John Chandless, and began to recalculate to destroy his adversary.