When I pulled up to the address there were police from as far away as Lansing at the office. Three of the federal SUVs sat huddled together at one corner and officers were everywhere. I started to walk towards the gathering and was spotted immediately. Assistant District attorney Talbert marched up to me and the way he was looking you might have thought he had intended to strike a blow. Instead he started firing words as me as Crammer and Doyle came up behind him.
"Where were you last night at midnight?" He demanded.
"Fuck you, call my lawyer." I snapped. Not a diplomatic start, but there it is.
"Goddamnit Collier!" He shouted. "I'll have your license if you don't smarten up and co-operate!"
"Fuck you." I repeated and looked at Crammer. "Tell this little cunt to call my lawyer."
Crammer's hands were bunched up into fists and his face was as red as a summer beet. He wasn't looking at me with such rage though, he was looking at Talbert. The look on Doyle's face, you'd think he wanted to shoot the DA. Talbert turned, ignored Crammer's face and shouted at him.
"Arrest him!" He shouted and spun back to me, "He's done all this! He's killed all of them! He even gave the faggot the gun to shoot himself with."
It happened so fast that if I hadn't been there to see it, I wouldn't have believed it myself. I hit him in the stomach with my right fist, my left fist then hit him across the check with a sharp jab, followed by my right fist which came in for two quick strikes and then my left again to even things up. Crammer didn't move, I think he was waiting to see if I'd let it go with those hits or not. He hit the ground on his rump and shuffled away a few feet. Crammer stayed still and looked at me, I think if I'd gone forward he would have stepped between us, but I have no proof.
"ARREST HIM!" Talbert screeched.
"What charge?" Crammer asked.
"Assaulting an officer of the law!" Talbert demanded.
"I didn't see anything, besides you tripping over." Crammer said. "You see anything Doyle?"
"I heard something." Doyle said. "I heard him accuse Mister Collier here of murder, and of giving that kid the gun he killed himself with. That's slander, defamation of character. He's got two police officers as witnesses."
"It was because you called him a faggot." I snarled at Talbert. "You can say what you like about me and mine, that'll roll off my back. You make all the cracks about drunken Micks and the fact that Welsh is a word for going back on your word. You can say what you like about the French and the Dutch too. I don't care. Run through my entire family tree until you get back to the drunken indentured servants that came to this country for free 'cause they couldn't hack it mining coal and wanted an easy out. It'll all run off me like water off a ducks back. What you don't do though, you don't start calling gay kids faggot, you got that?"
"Crammer?" Talbert asked, but Crammer didn't move.
"Have you got it?" I asked.
"Yeah." He said.
"Good." I said. "See that you remember it."
I looked up and saw Crammer smiling. I was told later, it doesn't matter by who, that he really liked that speech. He went on to quote it to several of his buddies. He said it showed real class, standing up for a guy who had cost me so much just on principal. It wasn't just principal though, not just that, there was more. There was more, but I didn't feel like explaining and I didn't think they'd understand it anyway.
"So what do we have here?" I asked as I stepped over Talbert.
"You ever been here?" Crammer asked pointing at the doctor's office.
"No," I shook my head and pulled the sheet that Eddie had written Calgary's address on from my pocket. "But I was going to come today."
"The time on this right?" Crammer asked looking at the sheet closely.
"As far as I know," I shrugged. "I was there around midnight, maybe a little earlier."
"Says eleven forty-eight." Crammer said.
"Sounds about right." I nodded. "We talked about what the list meant for a little while and I went home."
"They pegged the time here at about midnight." Crammer said stopping before we went into the building. "Is this list what I think it is?"
"A couple strands of hair out of Hewie's head." I said. "You want to bust me for taking evidence?"
"Evidence of what?" Crammer asked. "We know what happened to him."
"Who decided to run a toxicology report?" I asked.
"I did." He told me. "He seemed pretty hyped up when I saw you two."
"What do they think?" I asked.
"Same thing you thought." He said. "Who did you see to get this?"
"Eddie the Bear." I said.
"Look, don't get angry when I ask this."
"Don't tell me he's dead too." I complained.
"About two this morning." He sighed. "Killed Eddie, his little friends Roo and Tig. That guy who ran his meth lab is in a coma."
"Fuck." I said. "So am I supposing I don't really want to see what's in here?"
"It's bizarre." Crammer said as he turned to the wall. "Who ever decided to do this cut the doctor up and then yanked up the floor and put him in. They've got one of those false floors where you can put cords and computer things. He was putting lots of stuff under there though and then who ever did this put him under there."
"Try to cover it up?"
"No, big blood trail the whole way, the door was under a carpet that he pulled up. It was plain as day."
"Let's go look." I said and we went towards the building.
It was as bad as I had feared it might be. The blood isn't even the worst of it really, you get used to that. It's the smell that'll get you every time. I won't describe it, because it's not exactly a pleasant explanation. It's pretty nasty in fact, and you find yourself distracting yourself from it in anyway you can. I saw a crime scene photographer taking pictures with the same kind of digital camera I use.
"Can I ask you something?" I asked turning to him.
"Yeah?" He asked, looking at me.
"How do you get the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each of those if it's digital?"
"Photoshop." He told me. "You can encode a lot of text into the picture file too."
"Oh." I nodded, and turned back to Cramer "Anyone here when you guys came calling?"
"No." Crammer shook his head. "Just the corpse."
"Well, that's something anyway." I said.
"Where did you go after leaving Eddie then?"
"Back to the office, and then home to bed." I explained while looking at the trail of blood where the body had been dragged. "You think slaughter one and slaughter two are connected?"
"Yes." He said unequivocally. "I just wanted to make sure you weren't around it."
"I understand." I nodded. "So do we think he's the one who supplied Hewie?"
"That's my thought." Crammer said. "You have any ideas?"
"You looked for Knock?" I asked. "The big mountain troll that was working with the group?"
"We're looking, but we haven't found him yet."
"They'll have to hunt him down I think." I said looking around and the up at the ceiling tiles.
"I suppose you can go back to your office." Crammer said.
"Thanks." I said.
I walked back to the car and drove back to my office. I thought about calling Char, asking her what she thought, but she'd just try and solve the problem for me somehow. I appreciate Char, I really do, but some things a man has to do for himself.
When I pulled up into the parking lot I saw the blue Taurus with the "Follow me to Big Bob's BBQ'd Ribs N More" bumper sticker. I wondered again how many people followed Knock to my office hoping for ribs. I looked at the car and then looked at the door. I decided to check on Debbie first and started towards the door. After three paces something struck the back of my head. Judging by later events, I would say it was a leather covered lead sap. I didn't pass out, but being hit on the back of the head with a sap is no joke. I dropped my keys, collapsed, and felt something hit my stomach to keep me down.
"Sorry about this." Knock's voice came to my ears as he picked me up and grabbed my keys. "Things have to be done like this though."
I was tossed into the back seat of my car, and as I tried to get up a fist the size of my thigh smacked me in the head. The back door closed and Knock got into the front seat. As I sat up the sap swung down and whacked me across the head again. I fell down and rested my head on the seat, letting him drive us where ever he had decided we had to go.
I didn't pass out, and I know I've said that before in situations which might cause you to doubt, but I kept my head off the seat so that the blood dripping out of my split scalp wouldn't stain the fabric. So as you can see, I didn't pass out, I just stayed down so that he'd think I was out cold. I sat up again at once more and again the sap cracked across my head and I decided to just lay quiet.
When he finally stopped it wasn't too much later, but we seemed to be out of the suburbs or even the farm lands. We'd driven down a wooded street and up to a large house. I seem to think that it was Sam's place, the house he bought after the divorce. We didn't go to the house though. He was driving towards the large garage as I sat up. He pulled the Hudson into the garage and stopped. I reached for the door handle and opened it, ready to tumble out and start trouble if he swung that sap again. My hand slipped into my coat, but it only ended up feeling my empty holster on my chest.
"Fuck." I said looking down.
"Yeah, I had to take that too." Knock said as he got out of the car and walked to the garage door.
He pulled the door closed and plunged the room into momentary darkness. The light shone through the small windows on the doors. I noticed then that it was an old garage with two doors that slid horizontally instead of vertically. The light that shone through was bright and cold. I felt a chill as I stood up and walked around the car.
"I need you to write a suicide note." Knock said.
"I beg your pardon?" I asked.
"I need you to admit to killing Eddie and Calgary."
"You're fucking nuts." I said.
"You might claim that." He said.
"I do claim that." I said.
To say he slapped me is to say that it was just a little smack. His hand was the size of a Georgia ham though, and as hard as a piece of old teakwood. Embarrassing as it is, I have to admit that I spun around from the blow before falling to the ground. I have no idea if it was his hand or the sap that smacked across my shoulder when he hit it, but I collapsed again.
"You're going to have to take the fall, I certainly won't." His voice was till calm and cultured as he beat the crap out of me.
I looked up at him and this time when his hand came down I dodged out of the way and gave a swift kick to his groin and stabbed my fingers into his throat. He fell backwards, dropping the sap on the ground. I picked it up and swung it down across Knock's head. His reaction was minimal besides smacking me with his hand again. I fell back and his kicked me in the side.
He then grabbed me by the left wrist and dragged me across the floor to the work bench. The sap swung through the air again and smacked into my left hand. I hate to say I screamed, but it's very possible. The sap smacked into my hand again and I shouted with pain again. I tried to yank my hand away, but his grip was like iron.
"You killed Calgary and Eddie?" I asked.
"No." He shook his head. "I followed you to Eddie the Bear's place, and then I waited for his guests to start passing out before going in to get him."
"Who did the Doctor then?" I asked.
"None of your fucking business." He said and whacked my shoulder with the sap.