Chapter Three: The Meticulous Other
Anezka Kranz was just sitting in her living room listening to some burlesque songs on her old stereo. She drank coffee while listening to the pre-teens outside of her house. They were not cordial.
“The Witch Lady’s casting spells in her house!” one kid yelled, and threw a rock.
“You better stay away, Timmy. She’ll get you!” another kid yelled.
“I aint afraid of no Esmerelda, Susan! I’m a wizard!” Timmy yelled. “Besides, she don’t come outa her house no how!”
Bobby was with them on his bike, and he threw a rock as well.
She heard the rocks pelt the siding of her house while she listened to Rosemary Clooney’s Sway. She was getting fed up with those cantankerous kids.
Anezka was a psychic profiler for the police department. She also had a gift that saved her life in a very public display. Anezka could summon your greatest fear, no matter what it was, to defend her by attacking you. It could be an ogre, or a sponge. If you feared sponges, it would be the most vicious sponge to you. That particular suspect was frightened of cheerleader pom-poms. It was strangely funny to all the police, but terrifying to the suspect. He’s still shaking over those menacing pom-poms to this day at the mental hospital.
“Sabrina’s not comin’ out guys. She might melt in the sun!” Bobby yelled. “We got the hose too. She might melt with water!”
“She might be Glinda the Good Witch, guys,” Susan said.
“Did you see what she did on the news, Susan? She cheerleaded that guy crazy with those demon pom-poms! A good witch wouldn’t do that!” Bobby yelled.
Timmy threw another rock.
“I’m a wizard, Witch Lady! You won’t cherlead me to death!”
Anezka had refrained from disciplining those kids, but when their parents let them heckle her, she had to do something.
Anezka walked to her door, opened it, and saw three children. One had a rock in his hand while the girl was just standing there, and another boy was on his bike.
“Leave me in peace! I do not terrorize your neighborhood, and do not wish to! Where are your parents?!” Anezka screamed at the quarrelsome kids.
“They sent us here to throw rocks at you to get you to leave, Witch Lady!” Timmy yelled, and threw another rock at Anezka’s door.
She saw the rock pelt off of her door frame, and thought, oh, you want me out of the neighborhood. I do not frighten as easily as you will.
She looked into Timmy’s mind, and found what the self-proclaimed wizard was afraid of.
As Timmy heard the heavy breath, and felt the dank, heated moisture blow on his shoulder. He turned to see a large white, gleaming fang being housed with other fangs in a dragon’s mouth!
“I told you, Sue!” Bobby yelled “She aint no good witch!”
As Bobby hightailed away from Anezka’s house on his bike. Susan tore off across the street, and Timmy stood frozen, and peed himself.
“If you run, he will not burn you to a cinder, Wizard,” Anezka said to Timmy.
Timmy decided to take her up on her suggestion, and began to run from the large, growling dragon.
“I warned you to leave me alone,” Anezka said towards the fleeing children. “You need to listen, or I will make you all mess yourselves.”
Anezka went back into her house, closed her door, and sat to listen to her burlesque music. The children would come back to terrorize her. Kids never listen. Their naivety is a cruel juggernaut, but Anezka was the immovable object. She went to refill her coffee as Sway played in her living room.
John sat at his desk, and listened to the chatter of the station. He knew that the crime scene was bare of clues. He wondered what dvou meant. The murderer wrote that he vindicated in dvou. Was that some kind of sick, cultish performance art? That was what he left on the pitcher’s mound.
“Why are you spraining your brain at your desk, John?” his partner, Detective Simin Khouri asked him. She knew John went to that homicide scene, but he never contemplated this in depth at the precinct.
“I’m detecting, Simin. What does dvou mean?” John asked.
“Unless it’s accompanied with Bell, and Biv, I have no idea,” she said. “Is that the thing that’s driving you crazy?”
“That’s just a puzzle piece of this psycho picture. What’s driving me crazy is the skill of leaving nothing for me to find this guy. I’m waiting for forensics to give me their report, but I already know they won’t find anything.”
Simin looked at his worried brow. “If they don’t find anything, I may have the other outlet for you. Now this will be radical in your eyes like it always is, so I won’t say anything yet. Just tell me when you’ve exhausted every lead.”
He knew what Miss Arab was talking about. Simin was a great partner detective, but she had always had unnatural ideas. She had the same conviction rate with those methods working as Nostradamus’ quatrains did, so you couldn’t knock her odd methods.
“If they can’t find anything, then I’ll ask. Just don’t go all gypsy on me.”
“I’m Iranian, not Romanian, John. I used to travel on camels, not covered wagons,” Simin said.
“Gypsy, voodoo, I don’t care what nationality you are. I just don’t believe in that hocus pocus detective work you do,” John said.
“It’s called the Vedic Trinity, and I don’t practice that. When you don’t have any other viable alternative, you might want to take up my ‘hocus pocus detecting’,” Simin said.
“Let’s see what forensics has. They’ve pulled off some impossible things before.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in hocus pocus. They’ll have positive results on this case when monkeys fly out of my butt,” Simin said. “If you’re racking your brain on this case, they’ll have less than nothing.”
“I’m just in my process, Simin. When a cog snaps, I’ll use your welding techniques,” John assured her. “But as for now, I’ll just have to do what I know.”
“When you stop knowing, call me at my desk, Partner,” Simin said, and walked to her desk.
“That girl believes in witches, warlocks, and shaman to close her cases. I don’t want to step into her world. Get something forensics,” John said quietly.
John called CSU to see if they had finished their preliminary evidence processing. They took a minute to confirm the case number. As John waited, his alternate line beeped. Since he was waiting for CSU, he clicked his other line.
“John, it’s Larry in forensics. We have the results of your case.”
“Hold on, Larry. I have CSU on the other line, but you already answered the question I was about to ask them. Gimme a sec.” John clicked his primary line.
“Is anyone there?” John asked into his other line.
“This is Bellagio, John. You were the one who called, and left us.”
“Larry’s on my other line, Bellagio. I think that my initial question to you is moot at this point. I’ll talk to Larry to get the evidence scoop,” John said.
“I’ll leave you to them then. Maybe they found prints,” Bellagio said, and hung up the phone.
John switched to the other extension.
“What do you have, Larry?”
“The fruitless results from CSU,” Larry said. “There aren’t any fingerprints on the camera, the slab on the pitcher’s mound, the victims, or anywhere, and you know that Julius is psychotic about finding prints. There were no clothes to discover any clues, and Bellagio couldn’t find any alternate epithelial tissue. We’re at a dead end.”
John became disappointed with Larry’s results. He knew that forensics was his last hope. He couldn’t conjure up any clues to investigate, and he didn’t want Simin to use her witchcraft on his case.
“So that camera was wiped clean--nothing,” John said.
“That camera was spit-shined, John. Whoever this guy is, he knows police procedure. He must be an ex-cop,” Larry said.
“I already checked the local ex-cops, and everyone’s legit, Lar. This guy’s a crime scene nut,” John said. “Don’t worry, Larry. You can’t pull evidence out of your butt. I just need to go radical.”
“What radical detecting are you thinking about pulling?” Larry asked.
“I’m about to consult Simin.”
“Your crazy lady wizard detective partner?!” Larry was surprised.
“She’s not crazy, Larry. Now that wizard label is debatable, but she has an excellent conviction ratio.”
“And you’re trusting her methods,” Larry said.
“She’s the only thing I have left. You couldn’t find anything. I have no choice,” John admitted.
“You know that you’re about to step into the land of the dhampirs, Valkyries, witches, and goblins, right?”
“Simin isn’t that crazy, Lar. She doesn’t do incantations on the roof of the station. I won’t fall too deep,” John said. “She told me to come to see her when forensics found nothing, and since you couldn’t find anything, I have to see Simin about the weird.”
“Hey, I find needles sometimes! Tell Simin not to discount my results!” Larry became upset.
“Yell at me, Larry,” John said. “Simin saw my apprehension, and tried to comfort me. Simin respects your results. She just wanted to make me feel better.”
“So when’s the bachelor party going to be, Romeo?” Larry jibed him. “I’m kidding. I know Simin’s your platonic friend. You detectives just defend your own kind.”
“I’m just telling you who to yell at for your incompetence recognition, Larry. I would rather get a beer with Simin instead of buying her flowers,” John said with slight irritation.
“I said that I was just kidding, crybaby. Drink some decaf,” Larry said. “Go and ask your soothsayer.”
“She’s not a fortune teller, Larry,” John said.
“She told you your fortune of us not finding anything. Just talk to her, and good luck.”
John hung up, and walked to Simin’s desk. She was looking at her monitor checking out her horoscope.
“I hate to be a hypocrite, Simin, but forensics found nothing,” John started. “That was my last viable alternative. I have to step into your world now. Simin, can you help me?”
Simin turned from her horoscope, and looked at John.
“My horoscope just said to expect the unexpected today. So Mister ‘By the Book’ wants to read my newspaper.”
“You’re a master at rubbing it in, lady. I know that I joked about your methods, but your conviction average is phenomenal, and I have to throw everything at the wall now. What’s in your paper, Simin?” John humbly asked.
“I guess that constitutes as you saying that you were wrong,” Simin said, “have you ever worked with Anezka Kranz before?”
“That psychic profiler?! I thought Larry was joking about you calling for witches, but I guess he’s the soothsayer now.” John was amazed.
“Anezka has a gift, and with her European background, she probably knows what dvou means. Larry’s just angry that I called him on his results.”
“How do you know that dvou is European? It might be Spanish, Native American, or even Haitian,” John said.
“I’m not an accomplished linguist, John, but I play one on TV,” Simin said. “I’m from Iran, and the word sounds like it’s from Europe. I don’t know what country, but it aint from Haiti.”
“She may know the word, but you said you wouldn’t go all gypsy on me,” John claimed.
“Anezka’s from Czechoslovakia, not Romania. She’s no gypsy,” Simin said. “Gypsy’s don’t practice psychic profiling.”
“I watch the news, Simin. I know that she summoned a slew of barbarian pom-poms on that guy. Some gypsies practice witchcraft, don’t they?” John asked.
“She’s not a gypsy, John,” Simin became slightly irritated. “Do you want help in solving your case or not, because you kicking and screaming doesn’t help your cause.”
John knew he was being crass. He wanted to solve his case, but doing it this way frightened him. Since he didn’t understand it, he criticized it. He had to think smarter than that. It was everything against the wall time.
“I’m sorry, Simin. It’s just that, well, Anezka freaks me out, and working with her is like juggling Nitro Glycerin to me.”
“Anezka won’t bite you, John, and she won’t cast any spells on you. She works for the police, and you’re a detective. That’s like having a back pack full of Nitro Glycerin ready to be tossed at your potential suspect. Stop being a bratty child, grow up, and work with her,” Simin said.
“My straw grasping skills are inadequate, Simin. I’ve never worked with a psychic profiler before,” John stated.
“That’s because you never needed to work with one before,” Simin said. “Stop kicking the wolf, and sic it on the deserving.”
“You’re just chock full of analogies today. Anezka’s not a wolf,” John said.
“But you can sic her. She won’t bite you, but she’ll tear the assailant apart.” Simin smiled.
“So when do we get to meet wolf lady?” John asked.
“Funny, John, I bet you can see my laughter,” Simin said sarcastically. “I’m ready, are you?”
“Let’s go, you drive. You know where she lives.”
Simin grabbed her keys, and began to walk out of the precinct.
“I guess that we’re off to see the wizard,” she said.
“Just look out for those pesky lions, tigers, and bears.” John joked, and followed Simin.
“Oh my,” she added.
They drove to a suburban neighborhood. Some kids were playing Frisbee while others played tag in the streets. The air was light with all the children around. Then they got to Anezka’s house. It was silent, and John felt that it was darker in some sense.
“Are you sure she’s home, Simin?”
“Anezka Kranz is a recluse, John. She never goes out with the ladies, and her sons go to college in Michigan. She’s home,” Simin said.
“Why am I getting this Amityville feeling while you’re parking in front of her house?” John asked.
“Wow, you need to harness that paranoia, John, buck up, and be a homicide detective. Jumping at your own shadow isn’t allowed.”
“Hey, you put me on alert, dear, and I’m not jumping at my own shadow. I’m just hyper aware,” John defended his prowess.
“You can’t get that hyper aware crap past me, John, you’re nervous,” She called him on his bull.
“Let’s go so you can introduce me. That would stop my jumpiness,” John said.
They parked, and walked to Anezka’s front door. Simin rang the bell, and waited.
“Don’t freak out when you see her. She’s fifty two, your age, but she looks forty. She doesn’t have a magic youth serum, she just moisturizes well.”
“You’re just trying to make me feel better,” John said as Anezka opened the door.
“Hello, Detective Khouri, who is this?” she asked.
“Hi, Anezka, this is Detective John Chandless. He needs your help.”
John put out his hand. “Hello, Misses Kranz. I’m Detective Chandless. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Anezka took his hand, and said, “Hello, Detective Chandless. Has Detective Khouri told you about me?”
“Simin said that you’re a psychic that could help me. I’m in a pickle, Misses Kranz,” John said. “I have no clues, and I went through all the proper channels.”
Anezka released his hand. “So you have reduced yourself to go through the improper channel. Do not worry, I’m not angry with you. I’ve been improper since my birth, come in.”
John looked strangely at her, but he entered her home along with Simin.
He heard some old big band music playing out of her stereo as Anezka went into her kitchen.
“Sit down! Your libations are coming up momentarily!” Anezka yelled from the kitchen.
“Libations?” John whispered to Simin.
“It’s customary for a Czechoslovakian to offer drinks. Just shut up and drink it.”
As Anezka came from the kitchen with a tray of coffees, sugar, and cream, she walked to the cocktail table to sit the drinks down.
“What can I help you with, Detective Chandless?” Anezka asked, and gave him a coffee, She offered sugar, and cream.
“I take my coffee black, Misses Kranz.” John held up his hand. “I do have a question for you though. Would you have any idea what the word dvou means?”
“That is Czechoslovakian for two, Detective. Is that all?” she asked while giving Simin her coffee, cream, and sugar.
“You just filled in a piece, Misses Kranz, but that was just a piece. I’m looking for a hairy, taller man for at least two murders. I don’t know the nationality, weight, or exact height. I just know that he’s a smart, sick man.”
Anezka thought about what he was asking. She knew that she had to work once more.
“Where is the crime scene?” she asked him.
“It happened at Kleiko Park on the pitcher’s mound,” he said. “But the crime scene was cleared. There was nothing for clues.”
“You have never worked with a psychic profiler before have you, Detective Chandless?” Anezka assumed. “There were no physical clues. His essence still lingers. That is how I find him.”
John felt strange about this whole situation. He normally found solid evidence to arrest a perpetrator. This mystical evidence collecting wouldn’t hold up in court. Then he thought about what his intentions were. He wanted to find this perp. To get him off the streets. When other hardened inmates found out what he did, he would become their prison prize. He would never walk correctly after his stint. Hopefully, he would know that, and not want to go upstate. He will resist, and that would give him free reign to use deadly force. When he found him, there would probably never be a trial.
“I speculate that you want to visit the park,” John assumed.
“I cannot find him if I don’t visit the park,” Anezka said.
John looked at Simin.
“Are you ready to see the crime scene?”
“My schedule is clear, John. I knew of the process from my last case Anezka solved for me,” she threw him the keys. “You drive this time.”
John caught the keys, gulped down his coffee, and turned to Anezka.
“You’re going to have to get me up to speed with this profiling thing you do. I’m a rookie in this field,” he said.
Anezka patted his cheek. “We are about to dance, Detective. You can stand on my feet for this one.”
Simin finished her coffee, and stood.
“Are we ready?” she asked.
They all stood, Anezka turned off her stereo, and they left for Kleiko Park.
John drove to the park. All the park goers were as normal as they always were. The scene had been cleaned. There was no abstract gruesome art on the pitcher’s mound of the baseball diamond.
John parked in the lot, and pointed to the field.
“It happened over there,” he said.
They got out of the car, and walked to the diamond. John pointed to the pitcher’s mound.
“It was right on that mound.”
“Were there any cameras?” Anezka asked.
John pointed to the camera surveying the field above the dugout shelter. “He wiped it clean.”
“I am sure you had the proper police work done, Detective, but if he wiped it clean, he touched it,” Anezka said, and walked to the camera.
John followed her, and saw her being vertically challenged to try to touch the camera when it was elevated ten feet.
“Here, let me help you, Misses Kranz.”
John picked her up, and smelled the lilac scent in her dress. She was very light. He benched two hundred seventy pounds at the gym, so her one hundred ten pound body was no problem.
She put her hands on the camera, and closed her eyes. She began to hum in a trance-like state.
This was an entirely different method of investigation for John. He was in a new area of finding a suspect.
Anezka stopped humming, and said to John, “You can put me down now, Detective Chandless.”
John placed her on the ground, and asked her, “Did you get anything?”
Anezka looked at him. “What did he write to you?”
“Uh, it was a note that said he was vindicating everybody, so don’t try to profile the victims, and don’t try to find him.”
“It burned to ashes in your hand,” she confirmed that she knew what happened. “Do you have any of the ashes left?”
“I gave the vial of ashes to Sergeant Milner. It’s tagged, and in the evidence room, John said. “Why do you need those?”
“When he wiped the camera, he wore latex gloves. Latex is not a good essence conductor. I got traces of it, but not a complete make up. I expect that he did not write the note with latex gloves on, so since that matter was touched by him, his essence will open wider with his uncovered hands,” Anezka explained.
John leaned to Simin, “How did she know he wrote a note?”
“This isn’t her first crime scene,” Simin said. “She has picked up certain nuggets of procedure.”
“So that wasn’t psychic?” he asked.
“That was plain old experience, John. Anezka’s a psychic profiler, but she can’t float yet,” Simin said.
“Can you enter the evidence room, Detective Chandless?” Anezka asked.
“It’s my case so I can sign out that vial,” John assured her.
“Then we need to travel to the precinct. I can find out more there,” Anezka said.
“Okay, off to the precinct,” John said, and began walking to the car.
“Hold on, John,” Simin said.
John turned around to see Simin with her hand out.
“Give me back my keys. I’ll drive back.”
John was confused. “I know where the precinct is.”
“So do I.” she confirmed. “I just didn’t know where the exact crime scene was, so I let you drive us here. Give me back my keys, it’s my car.”
John knew Simin loved to drive her car, so he tossed her the keys.
They all got into the car, and went to the precinct.
They got to the station, John signed out the vial, and gave it to Anezka.
Anezka poured out a small amount on a sheet of paper, touched it, and began to hum again. After a minute, she stopped.
“This man’s soul is damaged,” she began. “He has a God complex with a remorseless narcissism.”
“I could have told you that by the note, and gory victim display,” John said. “Nice trick, Anezka, but where is he?”
“I do not know. I have only touched a burned, and a secondary object. I need to touch his victims,” she said.
“Those victims were cremated at the parent’s request. They didn’t care for a closed casket reminder of their children’s heinous murders, so they’re gone,” John said.
“Then I will have to wait for his next victim. He will not stop.”
“I’m trying to prevent his next victim! I don’t want to wait on the sidelines just so they can burry another!” John was upset.
“What other choice do you have, John?” Simin interrupted. “You came to me because you were out of options. Now your only viable choice is telling you how to catch him, and you yell at her?! You have to bite the bullet on this one, John.”
John hated that Simin was right. He had a tantrum, and took his frustrations out on Anezka. She didn’t have that tough of a hide. She was a civilian, and she was helping him. Just because she worked with police didn’t mean you could yell at her.
“Forgive me, Misses Kranz, I lost my head. It isn’t your fault the maniac wants to kill everybody. You’re the only one who can point me in the right direction. You just need a little bit more—-I’m sorry.”
“It is fine, Detective Chandless. I have children that are much worse than you could ever be,” Anezka said.
Anezka was different in John’s eyes. She was a simple, smart, younger looking lady. He wondered why she lived alone.
“Your kids are in Michigan, I know that, but why do you live by yourself?”
“My twin children are freshmen in college, and Mister Kranz passed from his reckless night life at the bars from alcohol poisoning. He couldn’t handle my gift, so he decided to leave permanently,” she said somberly.
“I am so sorry for your loss, Misses Kranz,” John said.
“That was years ago, Detective Chandless. Hugo took the coward’s way out. I was torn, and very depressed when he died, but time, and my sense of self has healed me. I have been fine with that situation for two years. My children have been in college for a year now, so I have not been lonely for that long. Aside from my life, are you alright with my methods?”
John learned more about Anezka. With that knowledge, he began to trust her more.
“Like I said earlier, Misses Kranz, I’m a rookie here, and you know much more than I do, so my input is inconsequential. I may rant at things because I’m still into the conventional tactics. This is uniquely unconventional. So have Simin yell at me to keep me in line, and I think that we can get along,” he said.
Anezka accepted John’s explanation, and said, “Getting along is very key in solving your case, Detective Chandless. Our next step is to wait for another victim. I can access his essence directly then. If you can take me back to my home, I will be there for whenever you need me.”
“Do you remember where she lives, John?” Simin asked.
“I scored a one hundred on my navigation recollection test, Simin, I think we can get there,” John said.
“Don’t get testy with me, Detective Chandless. I just have other duties, and can’t drive Anezka home now. It’s your case, cater to your asset.”
John smiled at Simin, and looked at Anezka.
“Let’s go, Misses Kranz. You’re my asset now.”
They walked out of the station, and to John’s car. This was about to get very interesting for the veteran detective.