Doughnuts - Loretta H. Campbell
Unfortunately, there is no mistake,” she said, closing the file.”
Alberta Finch, the city coroner handed the file folder to Chief Detective Beasley Whitfield.
Whitfield looked at the folder. She ignored the myriad phone calls blaring in the squad room. Three of her officers had died horribly and inexplicably. Whitfield wanted to know how and why. So far, she didn’t like what she was learning.
Still, Finch was a thorough and serious woman. She rarely if ever made mistakes.
“None? Whitfield asked pleadingly.
Finch stared at her and said nothing.
Whitfield was getting flustered, something she seldom did. She looked out at the early morning traffic and silently prayed for answers.
“The killers must have been animals, and humans put bites there to throw us off..”
“What? Finch said obviously annoyed.
“Yeah, it’s easy to get human saliva.” Whitfield was reaching and both women knew it.
Finch wasn’t having it. She was an old soldier kind of coroner. She didn’t believe in guess work. She believed in science. The data was conclusive.
She straightened herself up to her full 5 foot height and said,
“There has been no trace of animal hair, dander or anything else. Listen, I’m a coroner not a fucking zoologist. The teeth marks were clearly human. People bit and sucked every ounce of blood out of three police officers.”
She stopped and wiped her sweating forehead with a lacy handkerchief.
“This is an impossibility. Or a clusterfuck. I don’t know which.” Beasley replied.
“Beas, that’s it. I ran these tests myself three times.
“If humans did this, where’s the blood? The area around the bodies was clean.” Beasley’s mind had been filled with the pictures of the three dead cops.
Both women stared at the murder board in Whitfield’s office. The men had been killed in their own precinct during one of the worst blackouts in the city’s history. It had been a sweltering summer night. Nobody heard anything. The backup generators were enough for the lights but not enough for the department surveillance cameras apparently. The pictures were blurry. One minute the men were talking amiably. The next they were dead in their various grotesque poses.
“I don’t know, Beas. That’s for you guys to find out anyway. Now, I need sleep. I’ve been up all night with this. I’m fried.”
Finch walked out of Beasley’s office leaving the sharp click of 3 inch-stiletto heels in her wake.
A small legion of reporters surrounded her in the lobby and began demanding answers to numerous questions at once. “No comment at this time. This is an ongoing investigation.” Finch said getting into her car and driving cautiously through the encircling press.
Beasley was afraid to look out of the window for fear the reporters would see her. They had been trying to storm the battlements of her outer office for days. The make-shift precinct was an old Quonset hut that had been used for storage back in the day. It was the best alternative to the crime scene of the real Precinct 107. It was a strong fortress against the press.
She turned back to her murder board. There in vivid color were the bodies of the three cops. The men were in the same proximity from each other, yet each of them had been killed differently.
On a quiet street near the old Sydenham Hospital, Jamie Webster sprang out of a troubled sleep. Nestled between her cat and dog, she sat up and looked around anxiously.
Both of her pets were fully awake and staring at a point in the middle of the bedroom. There were three bodies scattered around the floor. All were glowing and unnaturally pale.
There were two white policemen. She recognized them because they worked with her uncle Glenn.
Then she saw her uncle or what was left of him. He sat slumped over a desk with his head on the floor. She heard her uncle’s voice whisper something. She wasn’t sure what it was. The image began to fade.
Jamie started to tremble, then shake violently. After a few seconds, she lost consciousness. Because they were used to their mistress, both pets covered her with their bodies and slept.
Hours later, her mother called with tragic news. Jamie’s beloved uncle Glenn was dead.
When there was silence on the other end of the line, her mother said, “You knew. Didn’t you?”
Finally, Jamie croaked out. “I saw him.”
“They won’t tell us how he died.” Her mother sobbed. “All they said was it was in the line of duty.”
“His head was cut off,” Jamie said dryly.
“Oh God. Please God.” Her mother sobbed again dropping the telephone.
Jamie hung up. She got out of bed and went to the kitchen to feed her animals.
The telephone rang again. “Can you see who did it?” Her mother asked.
“No, but Unk said something. I couldn’t understand, but I think it was a name.” Jamie said putting the telephone on speaker. She mixed cat food with the dog food and both animals ate. For a few minutes, the only sound was teeth crunching food.
“It couldn’t be Nanette. Could it? He broke up with her when…”
“Who’s Nanette?” Jamie asked. She was watching her pets eat. Something about that soothed her. For the millionth time, she congratulated herself on getting pets. Jamie was sure that they thought they were brothers. She wondered if they thought they were human.
“Never mind, baby.” Her mother said. “What Frankie don’t know won’t hurt her. Besides, Nanette ain’t that kind of crazy.”
At the precinct, George stepped in front of the murder board.
“Hot chocolate, Chief?” He asked.
“Thanks,” she said extending her hand but not turning from the murder board. She sipped. “Wait, this is cold.”
“Yes, it was hot a half an hour ago when I brought it in.” He said.
Beasley sighed, “Sorry I didn’t hear you come in,” but George was already walking out of the room munching on a doughnut. She didn’t know how long she had been staring at the murder board. She could hear detectives comparing notes in the other office.
The sound of the voices disturbed her because the killer was still at large. The only constant was George. Beasley liked the way he came and went quietly but efficiently. On the other hand, her husband David thought George was seriously repressed.
“He never talks about himself. He doesn’t have a personal life, and he never fucks.”
“We don’t know that,” she had answered
“Listen,” David had countered. “I’m a man. We talk about sex whether we’re straight or gay. This guy don’t talk about nothing.”
To David, George was a deviant of some kind hiding out in the police department. “Best place to hide is in plain sight,” David said often.
Thinking of her husband, she decided to call him to tell him she wouldn’t be home again tonight.
“Hey,” she said trying to sound perky.
“Hey back,” David said evenly. He clearly wasn’t interested in sounding perky. “I’m down the street, so I’ll be there in a minute.”
“Down the street from where?”
“Headquarters. Or whatever y’all are calling this temporary place.”
“David, you can’t just come here. We’re in the middle of a police investigation.”
“I am a police officer on temporary leave, offering assistance in a homicide investigation of fellow police officers.” He said testily.
“On leave my ass, you’re retired and on disability. Besides, you retired from Vice. This is …” She decided to try another tact. “Don’t you have bird watching to do?”
“I can do that anywhere. Plus, I’m alive which is more than you can say for the three dead cops whose deaths you’re investigating. I’m volunteering my services. You got a problem with that, take it up with my superior.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“Just open the door when I knock.” With that the connection ended.
Beasley went back to her murder board. Four of the detectives came into the adjoining room. As she was going to join them, there was a knock on her side door, and her husband came in carrying two large Dunkin Donuts coffee boxes.
“I’m going to talk to the guys,” she said avoiding her husband’s stare.
“You look like a thrown-away brown paper bag,” He said. He walked over and gave her a deep, slow kiss.
“Is that a gun in your pocket? Or, are you just happy to see me?” She asked huskily.
“Actually, baby the gun is in the holster on my shoulder. That’s a hard on pressing into your tummy.” He pulled her tighter and rubbed his erection across her belly.
“I miss you too,” Beasley sighed.
“Vacation when this is over. I know.” David said clearing his throat. “Now to the troops.”
Beasley walked slowly behind her husband. He was immediately surrounded by former colleagues.
“What’s up?” Jacobs said shaking David’s hand.
“I was in the neighborhood, thought I’d drop by.”
“You’re shitting us,” Reynolds chimed in giving David a bear hug. David visually flinched at the pressure on his wounded shoulder.
“Fuck man, I’m sorry. I..” Reynolds apologized.
Nobody wanted to comment on the near fatal gunshot wound that David was recovering from.
In an attempt to be light hearted, Maisie said,
“If you can’t keep a good cop down, what’re you doing here?” She pecked David’s cheek.
“Folks ignore this man, he is stalking me.” Whitfield said trying to keep the levity going.
Her husband wasn’t interested in humor. “I’m here to help.” He said a sudden serious tone in his voice.
“The papers made us look like fools,” Maisie said with an injured look.
“You want to tell me where you were. Sometimes fresh ears hear something.” David offered.
“Me and the chief were at the World Trade Center. We’d gotten a tip about a bomb,” Reynolds said.
“I told you about that,” Beasley added. “It was a stink bomb—no shrapnel just unadulterated funk.”
“Thank you for burning those clothes by the way,” Jacobs said picking up a notebook and giving it to David.
With a slow deliberate attention to detail, David Whitfield questioned his former colleagues one by one. Except for Beasley and Reynolds, everyone else had been on different floors of the department at the time of the murders. The shouts of the 8 am crew brought them to the killing floor.
Despite the same old questions, none of the detectives showed signs of annoyance. David was a trusted friend who grieved with them.
Suddenly, Maisie, known for being the toughest cop in the department, broke down and ran into the bathroom to cry. Her colleagues looked away as if they hadn’t noticed.
While her husband questioned her subordinates, Beasley checked in with the K-9 unit. Saliva like blood is unique to each individual, Finch had told Beasley. Two of the victims had had salvia in their wounds. Every day the dogs accompanied the detectives and volunteers from other precincts. They questioned dozens of blood ritual cultists. Even imprisoned cannibalistic murderers were questioned in their cells. Some of them might have been in contact with copy cat acolytes, Whitfield told her team. Police officers were combing files all over the city looking for clues.
The evidence was slim to none. Still, they had to try whatever they could. Once they found it, they would find the killer or killers.
Just standing in front of the murder board was frustrating. Whitfield had to do something.
She put on her coat and headed for the door. Once again, she would view the actual crime scene. She had to find a lead. Her men were killed horribly, and she had to find the killer.
“Where are you going?” David asked as he walked back into her office.
“Over there,” she said pointing with her chin.
“Not tonight,” he said taking her arm. “Home and sleep.”
“They were my men,” she countered.
“And they’re dead. They’ll be dead from now on. Time to rest, so you can find their killers.” David pulled her through the door.
She hesitated but had to admit that he was right. Resigned to fatigue, Whitfield followed her husband. Although she was surprised that George was still in the office, she was so tired that she asked him to tell her team goodnight for her. Thank God for George she thought. It’s good he doesn’t have a life. It means he’s always available. She was too sleepy to even feel sorry for him.
That night Beasley nestled against David and dreamed of the dead cops. In the dream, the murder board was above the bed and, she was examining the pictures.
The veins in Warren’s neck looked like limp plastic straws. They were a bluish white completely free of any color. Suddenly, Warren’s head tried to speak. Beasley attempted to reconnect the veins and arteries.
She woke up to the smell of hot chocolate.
Beasley lay for a second. She thought about how painful it had been to tell the cops’ families about the killings. Death was an occupational hazard for cops. Yet, families are always the same. They are shocked and outraged when their loved ones die. The craziest part was keeping the information out of the papers until the families had been told.
The blackout had been the worst possible problem for Jamie Webster. Although she had a closet full of candles, that light wasn’t enough. Plus, the amount of candles she used was a fire hazard, according to Ricky the super. Ricky had gone around to the tenants and offered flashlights and candles. When he got to Jamie’s apartment, he had yelped.
“What the fuck? You trying to burn the whole building to the ground?” Ricky was excitable, in Jamie’s view. However, she had a hard time explaining that burning 100 candles to illuminate an apartment was perfectly acceptable during a blackout.
Ricky was a good super. All of the tenants called him “golden hands.” He could fix any machine, except his brain. He was as dumb as bad weather. Jamie gave him a generous tip to calm him down and went to bed under a mountain of comforters. Most of the shadows were banished by the candles. The blackout would save on her usually high electric bill. Now, for once, she couldn’t leave the lights on all night.
Later, when the vision woke her up, she realized that thousands of candles would have been useless. She learned that there were things much worse than burning buildings.
Whitfield was awakened by a telephone call during the night.
“Chief Detective Whitfield?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“Jamie Webster. Glenn Warren was my uncle?”
“Oh, you got this number from his wife?”
“Of course, I’m very sorry for you loss.”
There was silence on the other end of the line.
“Would you like to come by my office? We could talk a little. If that’s what you want.”
“Yeah. That would be good. Could I come by tomorrow?”
“No problem. Any time is fine.”
“Thanks. I’ll be there.”
Jamie hung up. She picked up her cat with effort. “Scylla, you weigh more than twins.” The cat purred loudly and snuggled up to its mistress.
Whitfield, now fully awake, stroked her husband’s butt.
“Again?” He murmured.
“All you ever think about is sex,” she said half joking.
“Oh yeah, right. Come ‘ere Sex.” He said pulling his wife closer.
However, Whitfield’s sense ofcontentment was temporary. When she got out of bed later that Saturday morning, she turned on the news. The lead story was about the grisly murder in the largest police precinct in Queens. Three cops were killed with no known witnesses, and the police were not communicating with the press about details. Whitfield followed the smell of food into the kitchen and turned off the tv.
The next morning, Jamie walked into Whitfield’s office. Both women were shocked by the other’s appearance.
After hearing the sweet melodic voice of Jamie on the telephone, Whitfield expected a young, placid-faced buppie. Instead, she saw a tall blue black woman of about 30. Jamie was bald with a tattoo of an angel behind both ears. She wore a long black dress and red sneakers. She smelled like wet dog fur.
When Jamie extended her hand in greeting, Whitfield had a moment’s hesitation before she shook it.
Jamie was equally taken aback by Whitfield’s appearance. Here was this brown-skinned woman in a sea of white men. She was short, barely Jamie’s mother’s height, and her mother was 5 feet. Whitfield had a snow white Afro. Her hair was parted on the side with a beret the color of rubies. Her uniform looked brand new. She was wearing make-up and smelled like sex. Jamie hoped her senses were deceiving her because that wasn’t a “professional” smell.
Maybe the smell was some new kind of perfume that buppies were wearing. She could tell that Whitfield was reluctant to shake her hand. That didn’t bother her. A lot of people didn’t want to look at her. Her look was her armor. Not that it helped any.
“Would you like anything, coffee, tea? We have juice if you want that.” Whitfield began.
“Coffee would be okay.” Jamie said.
Whitfield had to remember that this voice belonged to the woman on the telephone and the one standing in front of her.
“George.” Whitfield called.
“Ma’am,” George said poking his head in the door.
At that moment, Jamie yelped as if burned.
Both George and Whitfield gave her a questioning look.
“Something wrong?” Whitfield said.
“No, I mean, I don’t know. I just got this pain in my head.”
“Maybe you’d better sit down. I didn’t realize you’ve been standing this whole time. Sorry.”
“I’ll get some coffee,” George said and ducked out quickly. If he thought Jamie looked odd, he didn’t show it. The other detectives seemed to have noticed something, however. They were coming over to her side of the department and pretending to be talking to each other. They kept casually looking into her office. Whitfield drew the blinds and sat down.
“What’s that smell,” Jamie said taking the seat that Whitfield pulled up for her.
“It’s like blood or something.”
“I don’t smell anything. Are you…?”
“No, my period was over last week.” Are you…?” Jamie asked.
“No not any more thank God.” Whitfield said with relief.
Jamie shrugged and sat down.
Jamie cleared her throat and began telling Whitfield about her vision. Whitfield listened because she was trained to. She showed a neutral face, but she thought Jamie was completely insane. The outfit, the tattoos, the dog smell. In fact, everything about Jamie seemed crazy in Whitfield’s opinion. She was probably a nice girl underneath all that, but nuts. Case closed. Then Whitfield heard the words “head on the floor.” That information had not been shared with the press. Only the killer or killers and the police knew these details.
“Oh my God,” Whitfield said out loud. She sat up straighter.
Jamie didn’t react. She was used to people thinking she was bonkers when she talked about her visions.
“Sometimes, it takes a little longer for me to remember the words people say in my visions. Unk was trying to tell me a word. I can’t remember it yet, but I know it was the killer’s name,” as Whitfield began to take notes.
On the night of the murders, Vinny woke up and scratched his scrotum. The lice were particularly hungry, he noticed. He took a swig of cheap and plentiful wine and stretched.
His ‘partment was the dumpster behind Precinct 107. It hadn’t been used for its intended purpose since Vinny took up occupancy 5 years previous. He had to pee, so he climbed over the top and went to the port-a-potty. This too had been in existence for about 5 years. Unofficially, Vinny was a homeless man. In reality, he lived in a dumpster behind a police precinct. Everyone knew him. Over the years, the cops had stopped trying to get him into rehab. Food was left for him in a small pantry off the kitchen.
He was fed on the condition that he never went inside the precinct. Ever. Vinny was not a thief and took pride in telling anyone near or far that he wasn’t. He did have a horrible odor. In the summer, his smell could produce nausea in a fishmonger.
After using the toilet, Vinny went to get his dinner. All of a sudden, he noticed something. There were no street lights. He had been using the full moon to navigate. He could see a little up the street. This was a quiet street, but nobody was driving a car. Nobody was out walking a dog. Nothing was happening. Where were the lights? It must be the heat, he thought. He had lived through numerous blackouts.
Most important to him, he was hungry. Very hungry. Whatever it was had to wait until he had eaten. Even he had to have food with his wine. He groped his way to the door and went in. To his relief, there was light inside the precinct. Vinny knew the precinct had a generator. The chief insisted that it be tested regularly despite the fact that it was a loud as a subway train sometimes. It would mask any noise Vinny made, but he was perfectly quiet—as usual.
From the pantry, he could see the desk sergeant writing, and Warren and Carter hovering over a box of doughnuts. He salivated and turned to the boxes left for him.
Just then, the door flew open. All three men turned to see who is was. Vinny was curious until he saw the lights flash. He looked again and saw a man pick up Carter and tear into his body with his hands. Vinny stood as rigid as a stone. It happened so fast that Carter didn’t have time to make a sound. The man threw him on the floor like a wad of paper.
Jameson drew his pistol. Before he could fire, the man had picked him up by the throat. The man threw Jameson down so hard his head cracked. Vinny could hear the smack.
The man was moving faster than anything Vinny had ever seen, but Warren was trying to jump him. The man caught Warren in mid flight-by the head—and pulled it off. Then he put Warren in a chair like he had been a naughty boy. He set the head next to Warren as if it was a piece of furniture.
Vinny was so scared that he felt faint. Where were the other cops? That damn noisy generator. Maybe the other cops were dead too.
As Vinny was thinking that, the man started to sniff. Vinny knew his odor would make him a target. He eased out of the door. Over the years, he had learned how to move carefully and silently
He slid over into the dumpster just as the man came to the pantry. Vinny prayed with all his might. Vinny looked through the crack in the dumpster, and watched the man sniffing like a wild animal. His prayers were answered..
He heard wind rushing past the dumpster, and saw the man vanish like fading light. He passed out clutching his bottle and praying.
The next morning, Vinny’s brain was clearer. He remembered the nightmare. It had to be a nightmare. Then he heard voices. Everyone was talking about killings. He realized it wasn’t a nightmare. Worse, he realized he knew the face of the killer.
Whitfield studied the profile she had had worked up on Jamie Webster. The girl’s story sounded insane at the beginning. Still, the details that she gave were conclusive. So much so, that Whitfield had the department psychologist examine Jamie. The girl was sane. Whitfield didn’t believe in psychic powers per se. Yet, she had seen cases where psychics had been brought in and gotten excellent results.
Despite this, Whitfield sensed that Jamie was hiding something. It wasn’t about the case. It was something personal. Whitfield checked into Jamie’s background. She had been a good student but prone to fighting. The girl had a spotty work record. Her most recent job was on a psychic hotline. That was not surprising. It paid the bills apparently. Jamie had her own co-op and little credit card debt. No romantic interests apparently.
For the most part, Jamie’s biggest problem was her lack of fashion sense. At least that’s the way Whitfield saw it. Because of her talk with Jamie, Whitfield had decided to try something unheard of. Some of the team members weren’t happy about it, she knew.
George came in and closed the door behind him. He looked shot to pieces. The overtime made them all look their worst, Whitfield realized.
“Chief, about this saliva check. I mean some of us haven’t had any dental work for some time.”
“We can’t be sloppy about this George. It’s essential that we get the most recent information.”
“But, you’re checking us.” He said emphatically.
“George,” Whitfield with equally emphasis. “There was no way anybody could have gotten in here. No glass was broken on the windows. No doors were jimmied. There was no forced entry. The cameras are fucked up, but nobody left the building.”
“It’s messing with morale, chief.” George was clearly trying to appeal to her guilt.
Whitfield disliked this new tact even more than the first one.
“We are looking for a killer, a murderer of one of our own. If it is one of our own, it’s better that we deal with him. This isn’t going to an arrest, trial or jury, and we all know that.”
Before George could respond, Whitfield turned to the murder board on her computer. She continued making notes.
George left with his usual quiet. For some reason, Whitfield felt that quiet was more about anger than acceptance. She couldn’t say he had been insolent. Yet, something about his manner seemed defiant. Although she was surprised by his request, she didn’t let him see it. Whitfield had a gut feeling that she was on the right track with the dental records. Her gut had never been wrong. She was the leader of a team, and three of them had been killed.
She knew, everyone knew, that is she didn’t catch the killer, the team would never trust her again. Nobody said it to her face, but it was an unspoken truth. So, she had to go at finding the killer the best way. It didn’t matter if the team liked her methods. She had to get results. She contacted the head of the New York University Dental School. Usually, she would have had George do that, but she felt a little leery of him at that moment. The testing would be done in a special room set up in the temporary precinct.
The days that followed were the new normal at the precinct. Reporters were trying to get interviews with Whitfield or any of the detectives. The public relations department was busy thinking of new ways to say the same thing. “Ongoing investigation. All possible leads being followed.”
Despite all that the dentist came and went discreetly. The reporters thought he was another cop. The public relations people said he was bringing the newest technology in forensic equipment.
It was the third week, and Whitfield felt like she was swimming through mud. That feeling got worse when she came into her office to find the police commissioner sitting behind her desk.
He motioned her to sit down. Without further preamble, he began. “You know Beas, it’s important that outsiders (He drew the word out) know they can’t come into our house and fuck with us.”
“That’s right. Who else? Because we’re family, and family doesn’t do that kind of thing.”
He looked deeply into Whitfield eyes as if to hypnotize her. She just stared back blankly.
Inside, she was enraged. How dare he tell her how to conduct an investigation. This ridiculous political whore. He’d never been a real cop. He was just some ladder climber trying to get into office. He saw the police department as a vehicle for his political aspirations.
The commissioner got out of her chair and extended his hand. Whitfield took it and pressed lightly.
“Keep up the good work, Beas. Make those outsiders understand the true power of the NYPD.” With that he left her office. Whitfield had the urge to spray disinfectant.
She sat at her desk trying not to scream obscenities at the walls. The door opened slightly, and Maisie walked in.
“Beas, none of us called that motherfucker. We’re not really down with this whole dental thing, but we wouldn’t rat you out. Dead ass.”
Whitfield sighed heavily.
“Good, because I am going through with this.”
Maisie nodded and left the office.
The process took two days, and it was stress filled the entire time. The quiet was so unsettling that Whitfield offered to bring in free pizza. They ate the pizza, but they were clearly tense.
The dentist, Dr. Lorie, did his job efficiently and thoroughly. Whitfield had been the first to have her saliva swabbed, and out of solidarity David had had his done too. A total of 15 detectives were swabbed. George kept a list and checked off everyone’s name.
By mutual consent, it was decided not to discuss the results in Whitfield’s office. The evidence would be sent by special courier and email.
“I’ll send you the prints by email later on today. The courier should be here within the hour with the hard copies,” Dr. Lorie said as he his assistants were packing up the equipment.
“Dr. Lorie,” Whitfield said. “We appreciate your help and your discretion. .”
George walked in casually, “I can go with Dr. Lorie and bring the records back,” he offered.
Whitfield hadn’t realized the office door was open. Still, she didn’t want any courier. It was better to have her assistant bring the hard copies. She figured it would take an hour even in light traffic. Although had been his usual organized self, he had been withdrawn. It was good to see him back on board.
As a result, Whitfield was surprised when George didn’t return. She called him, but there was no answer. When she checked her email, Dr. Lorie hadn’t sent the print either.
The tests were a long shot, she knew, but they were also the best chance of isolating the killer. Whitfield was certain the killer was another cop.
“Doughnut run,” David yelled from across the squad room.
Wolf whistles answered him, and Whitfield heard the stampede of cops getting free doughnuts.
Her husband pushed past the crowd of appreciative detectives and walked into his wife’s office.
“I saved you a couple at the risk of limb and life.” He said plopping a napkin full of delicious smelling pastry.
“Yummy, free my favorite,” Whitfield with strained smile on her face.
“Actually, they are chocolate, but you clearly don’t care one way or the other. What else is wrong?”
“The doc hasn’t called with the prints, and George hasn’t come back with the hard copies.”
“Shit. What’s up with that?”
“Don’t know. I do know that I’ve called George, and he isn’t answering his cell either.”
David looked at her for a minute. She could almost hear him thinking that he never trusted George. This was important, and George was AWOL or something.
“Look,” Whitfield said reining in her own worry about George. “As an assistant, George is very good and very reliable. Something could have happened to his phone. It’s Sunday. Whatever it is, there’s an explanation.”
“Beas, there are public telephones. You can buy a trac phone for $10.”
“Whatever,” Whitfield said. “I need those prints, and now only I can go get them.”
“I’ll go with you.” David offered.
“No, you’re officially on leave. Remember?”
“But,” David tried to interrupt.
“But nothing. You’re not assigned to this case. You are a consultant. More like a volunteer really.”
“And you can’t go alone.”
“No,” Whitfield said emphatically. “I don’t know why, but the vibe about this case is wrong. Until I hear from Dr. Lorie or George, nobody does anything on it alone. I’m taking Maisie.”
“Beas, this is no ordinary cop killer. This is some kind of ghost.”
“I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“You know what I mean,” David said flexing his once-wounded arm. It was a nervous reaction whenever he felt uncomfortable.
“I mean no tracks, nothing,” he said.
“We can use the tests.” Whitfield said with conviction.
Before David could speak to that, Campbell walked into Whitfield’s office. Tall and skinny, he looked like a teenager. Whitfield’s secret name for him was “Anglo Saxon.” His large blue eyes were trained on her.
“Chief, where’s George?” He said getting right to the point.
“Don’t know. That’s not as important as the prints. The doc hasn’t gotten back to me yet.”
“I’ll go and find out,” Campbell said firmly.
“No, I’m going, and I’m taking Maisie.”
“Chief, I’m volunteering,” Campbell was a man on a mission.
Whitfield’s cell phone rang. It was Jamie.
“I know the word Uncle Glenn was trying to say.” She began breathlessly. “He said the name is Doughnuts.”
“Doughnuts? That’s food.” Whitfield asked.
“No, not food. He said it like it was a name. ”
“Okay. Thanks. You’ve done something very important Jamie. I’ll be in touch.”
She said goodbye and hung up. Whitfield blinked as if that would clear her mind.
Turning her attention to Campbell, she imagined him in her position in about 15 years. Anglo Saxon was police chief material. Damn, she thought he was police commissioner material. He was intelligent and a little reckless. Whitfield blamed the latter trait on youth. He had integrity and grit.
She had liked him immediately, but didn’t want to show that. Favoritism was anathema in a police department. Worse, it created envy and back stabbing. Whitfield had seen it before. Yet, Campbell was right. He was there, and he was volunteering. There would be other assignments for Maisie.
“Fine.” She glanced at David.
She glanced at her husband. Without admitting that she had changed her mind, she said,
“Detective Whitfield is coming along as a consultant.”
David blinked in surprise but quickly recovered his composure. Campbell nodded to David and stepped aside to let Whitfield pass. The ride there was uneventful except the police radio seemed to be on the fritz. Whitfield assumed the murders had put even the mechanics in the garage on edge. The radio had probably been overlooked.
The dental school was located in an old municipal building. It was late Sunday, and the building was closed. As with all buildings of New York City, there was 24 hour 7 day a week security. Except, there were none. The building looked totally empty. Whitfield rang the night bell. Campbell tried pushing the revolving door and found it unlocked. The other doors were also unlocked.
“Something is wrong,” Campbell voiced what each of them was thinking.
All three of them pulled their guns. Whitfield led them into the building. David and Campbell flanked her.
“Hello,” she called. The building was neo-roman with high vaulted ceilings. The floors were marble, and the building was granite. It was like a man-made mountain. Her voice echoed around the large chamber. They walked slowly into the reception desk. The lights on the console were off.
“Where are the guards?” She said. “They must be here.”
“They are,” Campbell looking at the ceiling where he stood.
Hanging from the dome like human mobiles were the bodies of three men. From where Whitfield stood, they seemed to be facing one another. Each of them was the same blue-white as the three cops killed in the precinct. None of them was as fat as those cops, but all of them looked muscular.
They must have been hired right out of the army, Whitfield thought. These men were soldiers. How could they have been hanged?
“No blood,” David said looking around the desk, under the desk, on the desk. They all looked everywhere. Blood on a marble floor would be impossible to conceal.
“Call this in,” she said looking at Campbell.
“The killer is OCD.” David responded matter-of-factly. “Looked how evenly the bodies are spaced.”
“They’re responding, Chief,” Campbell said.
He stared at the ceiling again.
“What is it Campbell?” “Something about that mural,” he said. “It looks wacky.”
“David,” Whitfield said turning to her husband. “Did you bring your binoculars?
In answer, he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a pair of small field glasses. He walked over to the spot directly beneath the mural and looked.
“This is why Dr. Lorie didn’t answer the phone.” He said holding the binoculars out to his wife.
She looked up and saw the head of Dr. Lorie impaled on one of the figures of the mural.
She handed the glasses to Campbell.
“What the fuck! He said.
“We’ve got to find George, and the rest of Dr. Lorie.”
“Chief this has to be more than one guy.” Campbell said.
He’s trying to master his fear, Whitfield. Good for him. I hope I can master mine. This was a fresh new hell.
Still flanked by David and Campbell, Whitfield turned on the console and found Dr. Lorie’s office.
“Stairs,” she said.
“How many flights?” her husband asked.
“Wait,” Campbell said. He picked up a shotgun from behind the desk and offered it to Whitfield.
She shook her head. Following his lead, she checked for automatic weapons. There was a small one, a flame thrower and an axe.
“What were they preparing for a wooden homicidal maniac?” She said looking at David.
He shrugged his shoulders and took the flame thrower. Whitfield took the assault rifle, and the three headed up the stairs.
They were quiet and Whitfield could hear the slow even breaths of her husband contrasted to the short nervous breathing of Campbell.
On the second floor, they continued in their formation. They walked into Dr. Lorie’s office, where a young woman was slumped over a desk. She looked Asian. The nameplate on her desk read Wu Lin, assistant coroner. Campbell checked her pulse and shook his head.
They walked into Dr. Lorie’s office. There was no sign of him. A closet door opened and George walked out. His eyes were blazing, and he looked feverish with sweat.
Whitfield recognized shock when she saw it.
“Easy George. You’re in shock.” George was swallowing hard. His hands were blood soaked.
David walked toward George. As he advanced, George began to giggle. Then he laughed. Then he guffawed loudly. Campbell shook his head again.
Whitfield said, “George, we’re taking you down for observation. There’s no shame in being afraid. If hiding in the closet saved your life, that’s a good thing.”
George stopped laughing abruptly and hissed. David hadn’t moved any farther, but he looked warily at George.
There was a loud thump, and the body of Dr. Lorie fell out of the closet. David made a move to check Dr. Lorie, but George blocked him.
“He’s gone,” George said firmly.
“Move George,” David said motioning with his hand.
“I’m not really George,” George said licking his hands.
“George, you’re obstructing police business.” Whitfield said.
George gave her the finger and nimbly leapt onto Dr. Lorie’s desk. With the agility of a gymnast, he back flipped out of the window behind it. The three of them rushed over to the window.
Whitfield was certain she would see George’s body splayed out on the pavement. Instead, she saw him running confidently across the parking lot. Clearly, he had hit the ground running and seemed to be unhurt. The insane could run incredibly fast, Whitfield knew.
“George, stop. We can help you.” Campbell shouted.
“What the fuck happened?” David said. “Did George pretend to be dead and hide in the closet?”
Whitfield sighed. There was no other explanation she could think of.
They heard men running into the building. Her walkie talkie squawked.
“Chief, where are you?”
“We’re on the second floor. We think the place is empty, but proceed with extreme caution. There may be several preps here.”
Campbell had been looking out of the window next to them. He shook his head stubbornly. “Fuck. Look at Doughnuts go. That’s some Olympic shit there.”
“What did you call him?” Whitfield said with a sinking feeling in her stomach.
“Doughnuts. We call him that because he’s always eating them. Leaving powder and crumbs all over the place. The man is a pig. What.. why are you guys looking at me like that?’”
Whitfield didn’t bother to answer. She got on the walkie talkie.
“Don’t bother covering the building. We’re fine. I want the area within a mile radius covered. You’re looking for Police Officer George Hesub. He is in uniform. A male white, 6’1’’, light brown hair, crew cut. The suspect is dangerous. Very possibly psychotic.” She could hear footsteps running down the hall toward the office. Then the footsteps stopped.”
“Copy that chief.” It sounded like MacNally was responding to her orders. A few moments later, she looked out of the window and saw the cops pour out of the building into the surrounding area.
“Does he have the records?” She asked just to break the weird feeling she had.
“I didn’t see anything in his hand,” Campbell offered. Then added, “except…” His voice trailed off.
“Blood,” David finished.