Pink Lemonade Ch. 03

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The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 10 – The Lemonade Plot Redux, Cont’d

“So,” I said to my shocked audience. “Did everyone see what happened?”

“I did.” said Cindy. “But I’m used to you by now. You switched the cups when you pretended to fall over.” I heard small gasps of understanding.

“Yes, very good, Crowbar 2.” I said, pulling the cup with pink droplets from my pocket. “Reubens drank the poisoned pink lemonade. Then someone came up to him and switched the cups. That’s why we didn’t find cyanide in the cup next to him.”

“Well I’ll be damned.” SBI Director Jack Lewis said quietly.

“So, girls,” I said, addressing the watching Girl Scouts, “you can see that this was not your fault, and was the work of someone else. And I do thank you very much for helping me recreate the scene.”

“Does this mean we can get selfies with you?” one Girl Scout asked.

“Uh, sure.” I said, acquiescing to modern fads. It was not long before ‘the Facebook’, as Captain Moynahan called it, had pictures of Your Iron Crowbar with a Girl Scout troop posted upon it.

As everyone talked about the crime, Director Lewis said to me “This is very interesting, Commander, but it doesn’t give us the criminal.”

“That’s true.” I said. “But we’ve gotten a lot of footage from citizens, and we can go back and look at it. If we catch someone pocketing a cup or replacing it, then we’ve got something on someone.” I was thinking of one person in particular as I spoke.

“So, what about the Wargrave case?” Lewis asked. “Anything new?”

“No, Director.” I said. “I’m sifting through my findings and writing my report now. There is simply no evidence of anything but Mr. Wargrave committing suicide.”

“And how did that shatterproof, bulletproof window break?” asked Lewis with a hint of a sneer in his voice.

“All I can tell you is that was totally shattered.” I said. “Wargrave may have had some kind of sonic device, like a musical note shattering a wine glass. It may have fallen out the window with Wargrave. His associate Austin Murphy was on tape on the ground floor of the building. Maybe he picked up the device on the ground and left before the City Police realized what had happened. But that’s sheer speculation, and I’m not even going to write that down for my report.”

“Okay.” said Lewis. “I’d rather see you bring Reubens’s killer to justice, anyway. Good work figuring this much out. I’ll make my goodbyes to the crowd and go.” And he suited the deed to the word.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Just one thing I don’t understand.” said Cindy. She was riding in the backseat of my SUV, with me driving and Laura riding ‘shotgun’. “I can’t figure out why the killer would bother changing the cups like that. Seems like an unnecessary finesse.”

“I agree with you.” I said. “But I had been thinking about that, and a couple of possible reasons came to me. First, the killer thought that someone might see what happened at the Festival, and by taking the contaminated cup he removes the evidence completely.”

“That’s true, though he risked being seen switching the cups.” Cindy said. “But what’s the other reason?”

“Well, let me put it like this.” I said. “I think our un-friendly neighborhood Consultant of Crime has a tendency to introduce dramatics into the crimes he is consulted upon, and sometimes unnecessarily so. The whole thing with Jimmy Tolson and the dramatic disappearance from an unescapable room, for example. The Trish Donolan murder case, and hiding the murder weapon the way it was hidden is another example. The painting delivered to me, and the matchstick Trojan Horse, and there are other examples, also.”

“Leaving a map of your location at Lake Amengi-Nunagen in my office.” said Cindy.

“Exactly.” I said. “By having the killer switch the cups, we’re left astounded by there being no cyanide in the cup by Reubens’s side. It’s just an extra touch to confound us. Needless, over the top, but a signature of the man who thought out the crime.”

“And if that’s a tendency of his, maybe we can use it to find it and take him down?” Cindy asked.

“Maybe.” I said. “But he’s still very good about staying hidden and keeping himself disassociated from it all.”

Part 11 – Making His List, Checking It Twice

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!” shouted the beautiful older redheaded reporterette at 7:00am Wednesday, August ankara eryaman escortlar 12th. “Channel Two News has learned that the State Supreme Court has made a stunning decision in the Jack Burke sex tapes case, formally called KSTD v. Town & County Council!”

“The State Supreme Court ruled that the Open Records Act does not apply to evidence acquired in connection with ongoing Court trials and appeals. However, the Supreme Court left open other aspects of the case by returning it to the Appellate Court for further review. While the Jack Burke murder case is considered still open, it is well known that Joe Arruzio admitted to the murder of his wife and her lover Burke before committing suicide. If the case is deemed closed by the Court, it is unclear whether the evidence can be requested or released under the Open Records Act.”

“Also, while the Supreme Court said that the prurient interest of the Public’s Right to Know was not in and of itself a legitimate consideration when considering the public release of evidentiary information, they also said that withholding information from the Public because of potential embarrassment to citizens cannot in itself be considered a legitimate reason for withholding the information from the Public.”

“The case is now back in the hands of Judge Leahy of the Appellate Court. SBI Director Jack Lewis, who is widely expected to announce his candidacy for Governor over the upcoming Labor Day weekend, said that he believes the information should be released to the Public, and that State Government should be open and transparent. Governor Val Jared has said that he will press the Legislature during the next legislative session to refine the law to specifically exclude evidence in all cases, open or closed.”

“Here we go again.” Cindy Ross said as she sipped her coffee in the MCD room.

“Yep.” ADA Paulina Patterson said. “And it gets worse: last night I got word that KSTD had filed a motion with the Appellate Judge asking for the names of the women on the tape if he won’t release the tapes themselves. We filed a counter, but Krasney is worried that Leahy will be eager to give KSTD the information. He is rabidly anti-Police and hates the Rich. Leahy has politicized his Court and uses his Bench for political purposes rather than jurisprudence. He would love to do something like this.”

“They don’t have that information, do they?” asked Joanne Cummings, the lovely blonde Detective. “I mean… unless they already have the tapes themselves?”

“Unfortunately, Miss Cummings,” I said with plenty of asperity, “it is more than possible, it is likely that they do have the list of names without having the actual tapes. Otherwise, KSTD would still be fighting to get the tapes themselves. Now all of a sudden, they just want a name list? Connect those dots, Detectives.” There was a general groan in the room.

Cindy came up next to me and said very quietly “You better get ahold of Sheriff Allgood and stay with him.”

“Way ahead of you, Crowbar 2.” I said. “Wayyyyy ahead of you on that one.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sheriff Daniel Allgood and his top Deputy, Charles T. Oswald, had come to the Chief’s conference room for a meeting with Police top brass at 9:00am, still Wednesday, August 12th. However, Deputy Chief Robert Brownlee was not in attendance, so the administrative portion of the meeting was postponed. I invited Daniel into my office.

At 10:00am the news broke on KXTC: “This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News! We interrupt this program to bring you the shocking news that Appellate Court Judge Leahy has determined that the names of the women in the Jack Burke sex tapes should be given to the SBI per a motion filed by our competitor KSTD, and he has ordered the Town & County Police Department to provide that information immediately, and without regard to any further appeals of the case. We now go to John Hardwood at the State Office Building on Courthouse square.”

“Oh my God.” Daniel said as we watched. I remained silent as we watched what unfolded.

SBI Deputy Director Robert Gaston was at the podium, but the shocker was who was with him: TCPD Deputy Chief Robert Brownlee. Brownlee was speaking: “In accordance with Judge Leahy’s legal order, on behalf of the Town & County Police Department, and to keep the Police Department in compliance with the legal order of Judge Leahy, I am now giving SBI Deputy Director Gaston the list of names on the Jack Burke tapes.” With that, he handed the list to Gaston and the men shook hands.

“I am going to kill that son of a bitch!” Daniel almost screamed.

“Easy, Daniel.” I said. “First of all, I’ve got dibs on killing him. Second, it is entirely possible that Brownlee does not have the entire name list.”

“How the fuck would you know that?!?!” Daniel shouted, then saw the look in my eyes. “Wha… how… you? Did you leak those names?”

“No, not directly.” I said. “But I happen to know that the list escort etimesgut is only about a third of the total, that the women on it are either already dead or were heavy contributors to Katherine Woodburn’s campaign, and SBI Director Jack Lewis will be hoping for their contributions to his gubernatorial campaign. I’m sure he’ll get those contributions… if and when he bears down and keeps this information from coming out. He’ll work on Woodburn to help him squelch the names, taking care of Priya, and then the thing dies down at least through the campaign season next year.”

Daniel was dumbfounded. “And her name is not on that list?” He meant his wife, Melina.

“Of course not.” I said. “By the way, she said she’d be glad to stand up and tell the world she fucked Jack Burke’s brains out and that it was long before she ever met you, but I told her that it would still affect your political career.”

“And she was married to you at the time.” Daniel replied.

“Like I care.” I said. “You know my affection for the Duke of Wellington in situations like that.” It was Wellington that had once been threatened by the exposure of a sexual scandal. His awesome reply was “Publish, and be damned!”. The ol’ Iron Crowbar shares those sentiments. Hard to blackmail me.

Daniel was still shocked, but then got his wits about him. “What about that bastard Brownlee? What are we going to do about him?”

“This is where we find out how bad a mistake I made in supporting Bennett as Chief. Or not.” I replied. And then I began my reverie…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Days before, I had visited the offices of the Chief Executive Officer of BOW Enterprises. His assistant, a lovely Asian woman, greeted me as I entered the anteroom office. As she phoned Todd to tell him of my presence, I made some observations of her… and my observations served to confirm some things I’d suspected.

“Hi Uncle Don!” Todd said in his mischievous way as I was admitted into the office. “I’m a little surprised to see you here, but I’m glad you came by. We got a new contract and we’re ramping up the nanotechnology factory, if you’d like to see it. Barry Oliver is excited about it.”

“Yes, I’m sure he is.” I said. “Sure, I’ll take the grand tour, but there’s something I need to ask you about first.”

“Sure, what’s that?” asked Todd. In reply, I took out my bug-scrambling device and activated it.

“Todd, why did you tell Priya Ajmani about the Jack Burke sex tapes?” I asked, my eyes boring into my nephew. He instantly figured out that this was not a time to play mental games.

“Wow.” he said, stunned. “Not much gets by you, Uncle Don. How much do you know?”

“Not as much as I want to.” I said. “I think your mother has been a bad influence upon you, but I don’t know why.”

“I don’t know why she wanted me to, either.” Todd said. “I went along to keep my dad distracted. Didn’t work out as expected, though.”

“I figured that.” I said. “But what I don’t think you know is who the women on the tapes are. You do know that one of them is Melina?”

“What?!” Todd asked, and I could see he was shocked. “I… I didn’t know that…” He did the family thing of going into a reverie, realizing the ramifications.

“Yes, Todd.” I said, hurling my words at him very brutally. “Melina fucked Jack in college, then she fucked him when he came to this Town before he was murdered. She’s on the tapes. I figured my mother wanted you to tell Priya about the tapes to hurt Melina. Am I right?”

“I… I don’t know.” Todd said. “I had no idea Melina was on the tapes. If I did, I’d never have done that. I don’t want to hurt her. Hell, I still have feelings for her…”

“Yes, I know.” I said. “She doesn’t care if all the world knows she banged your brother Jack. But there’s still going to be unwanted attention for her if it comes out.”

“You know,” Todd said musingly, within his own thoughts, “I don’t think my mom hates Melina. Not like she hates you, anyway. And since you’re divorced from Melina, why would my mother want to cause her problems like this?”

“I don’t know.” I said, and didn’t care… I had the admission from Todd that his mother was behind this.

“Wow…” Todd said. “So… what can I do to fix this?”

“I was hoping you’d ask that.” I said, smiling for the first time…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back to the present: the press conference at Police Headquarters was short. Chief Bennett went up to the podium and read a statement saying “Deputy Chief Robert Brownlee was not authorized to release those names to the SBI. I have formally suspended him pending an investigation of his actions as possibly criminal. The County has also filed a motion with the Court to enjoin the media from reporting any name on that list publicly. Any media outlet or reporter in this County who reports any name on that list will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law batıkent escort for illegally revealing Court evidence. I will be taking no questions.” With that, the Chief walked off the podium and out of the room, leaving snarling reporters to whisper “We’ll see about that…”

Within fifteen minutes, the Police Captain’s Union had filed a formal grievance against Chief Bennett, demanding the reinstatement of Deputy Chief Brownlee and the resignation of Chief Bennett. The process was already in the process of being rigged…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Hello, Katherine.” said SBI Director Jack Lewis later that day as he entered her Senate office in Midtown. “Thank you for making some time for me today.”

“My time is yours, Jack.” Katherine replied. “Interesting times up in my District, wouldn’t you say?” She was grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

“Yes, but not in the way you might think.” said Lewis. “Now that we have the names, there’s no way, of course, that they can be released.”

“Why not?” asked Katherine, peering at the SBI Director.

“Have you seen the names?” he asked.

“Yes, of course.” Katherine replied. “And I know that some of the women on that list are dead, and others are contributors to our Party and helped finance my campaign.”

“And I don’t need to tell you how important they are to my campaign.” said Lewis. “Especially now that Henry Wargrave is dead.”

“So how is the Iron Crowbar’s investigation of that going?” asked Katherine with a sly grin.

“Nothing special.” Lewis said. “He’s not going to say anything that might cause him trouble later. I was hoping he’d make a mistake and then we’d hit his partner Ross and catch him in a contradiction with her testimony.”

“I guess that won’t happen now,” said Katherine, “since she can’t be compelled to testify against him.”

“She might plead the Fifth,” said Lewis, “but we can still get that on record, if we were to move– what?” He’d seen her look.

“You haven’t heard?” Katherine said. “It’s been discovered that Cindy Ross is Donald Troy’s first cousin. Their fathers were half brothers by the same mother. Ross’s biological father is Dr. P. Harvey Eckhart of that ‘Vision’ cult in Coltrane County.”

“What? Blood kin? You’re kidding.” Lewis said. Reassured that she was not kidding, he contemplated that information. “And she was promoted to Captain, so no nepotism laws violations. Damn, that bastard Crowbar is smart.”

“Yes, and not only that, Priya thinks he’s behind this restricted list of women on the Burke tapes.” Katherine said.

“How do you figure that?”

“Look at the list. Our own contributors are the ones named, and the most important name was omitted entirely.” Katherine said. “Once she got the list, Priya went back to get some confirmations. One unimpeachable Source told her of the omission.”

“How are you going to get the rest?” asked Lewis.

“We’re not.” said Katherine. “This was all just a feint. Sure, it helps us keep the Sheriff and the Police Department agitated and distracted, but in the long run, it’s not our ultimate goal.”

“What is?” Lewis asked. “And you need to tell me something about it… we have to work together here, Katherine. If I don’t win the Governorship, our plans are severely impacted, even if I remain SBI Director, and this could be important.”

“I know, Jack, I know.” said Katherine. “This one is big… Priya is going to expose the murderer of the Reverend Jonas Oldeeds, and this exposure will devastate the Iron Crowbar.”

“He didn’t do it. He was almost killed himself.” said Lewis.

“I know, and I curse whatever Act of God saved him.” spat Katherine angrily. “Just keep your ears open… you’ll hear it soon enough. We just need one more distraction for that bastard with the Crowbar and his little blonde pitbull…”

Part 12 – The Threat

“This is Priya Ajmani, Five Alive News This Morning!” said the lovely Indian reporterette at 8:00am, Thursday, August 13th. “The Police Captains Union’s grievance of the suspension of Deputy Chief Brownlee for giving the SBI the names of the women on the Jack Burke tapes was upheld! Chief Brownlee was proven to be right when he complied with Appellate Judge Leahy’s orders to turn the names over. KSTD is working with the SBI to obtain the list of names, but is fully prepared to once again work through the court system to bring you the names that you have a right to know…”

“Damn.” said Cindy in my office as Priya went on to other stories.

Priya then finished: “Don’t forget my special tonight!” She went on to talk about her prime-time special that evening, which would be an hour devoted to the life of the Reverend Jonas Oldeeds, followed by an examination of his murder and her claim of a cover up by Police.

“Can it get worse? Cindy asked.

“Yes.” I said. “Yes it can. I just hope it doesn’t. Priya is playing with fire, as it is.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Still Thursday, August 13th. I was catching up on paperwork in my office at 5:30pm when Cindy knocked on the door and came on in.

“The Chief has left, so you can go.” she said, in the form of an order.

“Sounds like a good idea.” I said. “I think I’m caught up on most of the paperwork.”

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