Lucifer’s Semi-Final Conclave, part 11----
Freemont Street, a mile east of Starbucks
As they rounded the corner at the rear of the Poker club, in the small parking lot they saw Buffy’s purse, open, sitting on the hood of a nearly new, compact SUV. Sitting on the gravel, leaning back against the drivers door, Buffy’s hubby Ken was sprawled contentedly, a silly grin on his face, legs spread and out like a light. Buffy shook her head slowly back and forth, looking at Danielle with obvious embarrassment. Danielle put her right arm about Buffy's shoulders and gave her a little squeeze. Buffy fingered for the key fob in her pocket, and and popped the doors.
Ken was not a small guy at all. He was muscular, maybe only an inch shorter than the 6”2 Phil. The 3 of them managed to get Ken placed in the passenger seat, and after they had reclined the seat a bit, belted him in and closed the door, Buffy reached into the back seat and produced her travel pillow. Gently raising his head, she carefully arranged the pillow between Ken’s head and the door frame, and kissed his cheek while she softly muttered the single word, “asshole” in his ear.
She then reached into her pocket and handed Phil the keys, retrieved her purse, and jumped in the back seat.. Danielle followed on the left side. Phil passed Danielle their bags, who then boosted them over the seat back into the rear. Buffy squeezed Danielle's arm and exclaimed “I feel all better now” venturing a smile… and continued… Ok, Phil, turn left on Freemont when you exit…let’s go….
Bally’s Casino, the Boutique
Two ‘suits’ and Bally’s Chief of security were talking to Cherie Dawson, the clerk on duty… They handed her the first two of the thousand identical photos they were producing in their makeshift office. They were full on pictures of their suspects, one showing a tall hippie holding a Bally’s Boutique bag, and his obviously pregnant dark haired companion. Bob said, we have reason to believe that this pair was in here, possibly between 10 and 11 this morning. Did you seen them?
No, she said, but I did not come on duty until 12. The maternity outfit sure looks like ours, though, see…, she pointed to her right, and she did a double take at a now empty case, as her eyes blinked and her mouth opened in surprise. She turned back to them as she stammered… And the hippie’s get up... We have lots of such novelty stuff over there, she pointed. And the bag is definitely ours… As the security chief went to check the receipt files for today, the suits produced two more photos. One each of Phil and Danielles agency pictures, blown up to 8x10. In that photo, Danielle had then had shoulder length auburn hair, so they produced yet another… a smiling Danielle with a pixie cut, retrieved from her Hertz turn in. Cherie slowly nodded negatively. Finally, they produced the photos from their episode at the cashier’s cage. Again, no. At that time the security chief returned. He said, there were only 14 sales made between 4 AM and noon today, all by credit card. None listed any of that novelty stuff, nor any maternity outfits…. Cherie ventured…Maybe they paid cash? He replied, no, the register matches the card take, and anyway, there should still be a written receipt. Well, I guess, check with Jordan, He was on until noon.. He may even still be back at the Highlife bar, with his dealer boyfriend Josh.. He hangs around there sometimes all day…They hurriedly left and headed back into the casino.
Silver Springs MD
#2 and #13 descended the elevator from the heliport at RockSense and stopped by the forensics lab on the way to #2’s office. A technician looked up from his microscope at their approach… Find something? #2 asked… Sir, we are still laying an acceptable approach to determine age… the sample would by necessity be destroyed in RC dating, besides it may not be massive enough anyway. We are planning on AMS, but that will take more than 10 days to run, after they spend the next 4 or 5 days cleaning and calibrating the machine. In the meantime I have been examining it visually, and have found several things of import. Namely, it has 2 distinct ..er.. small stains, one of which was gray, and has been determined to be silver oxide. The other was yellowish, and so far it appears to be pure sulphur, not oxidized at all .. but we are still testing. For kicks, we also did another DNA swab and it showed positive for Danielle Meacham, which I am sure you expected.
The most curious thing so far, though, is the two ends… neither end was separated by strain, nor cutting. Oh? Said #2... Meaning? Well sir, this piece was burned off. On both ends. And, not only was it burned off… close examination of the shoulders on each end reveals no signs of being near any fire …. pausing momentarily, then continuing with an obvious look of bewilderment... It’s as if the separating fire came from inside the sample itself.
#2 said….keep looking, 101, until I bring further instructions.
In his office, #2 said suddenly, wait one, George, and I’ll be right back. Meanwhile, check on the USB downloads. When he returned, he asked, Well? George replied that they have thoroughly reviewed the video from the moment Danielle and I exited the heliport until I called lockdown, and verified what we already knew, and that the clerk testified to. It also shows them exiting the concourse to the Hertz lot, merely 3 minutes before lock down. Audio only heard Warren ordering food, otherwise the concession audio is just too noisy. There were occasional phrases from them however, that were either not English, or severely distorted. We are applying filters, but so far nothing definite. They have brought in our gloss analyst and are still looking.
Well, George, I have to tell you that I just talked to Vegas, and they have located them at Ballys less than 2 hours after your flight left. I decided not to call back after our SAT talk to tell you, because we have other things to talk about, and I wanted you here anyway. They don‘t physically have them yet, but they just now informed me they have donned disguises, and have clear pictures of their new persona. They are putting together an APB, full city. So, call your USB dogs off for now. Go get some sleep, and be back here at 8 am. He replied - yes, chief..
Las Vegas, NV
‘Sniffy’, aka Peter Belmont was 64, and the recently retired Chief of the detective Division, LVPD. He frequently thought back on his career as a lifer cop, beginning when he was just 20 years old as a junior patrolman -- a flatfoot, as they were known back then. He was on his way to see his son down town, who after 6 years had just been transferred to the detective division as a greenie. They had planned for lunch, but his son, Jim, had called and postponed because FEDS had something going on.. so lunch was out for today. Sniffy replied -- well, I’ll pop by later this afternoon for a visit anyway.. Jim replied Sounds good, dad….
Sniffy was sitting in the drive thru line at Starbucks in old town waiting for his order .. Straight black Starbucks Kona, - Grande… ‘NOTHING else’ as he glared at the loudspeaker… None of that sissy stuff he exclaimed as the invisible clerk unsuccessfully tried to grow his order. He pulled up to the window. Try as he may, Sniffy could not break his lifelong habit of watching and judging people with his well honed detective curiosity. He smirked as he watched the milling sheep on Freemont street… Get a load of that pair, he said to himself as a wanna be hippy held the star bucks door for a really classy looking well dressed pregnant lady as they exited, each clasping their just purchased expensive half-liters of Ethnos water. Geez, he grimaced .. You sure see it all in this town…. It’s a freakin menagerie. He handed his card to the clerk as she handed him his coffee. He carefully raised the lid to insure it was not polluted with sissy stuff, as the clerk turned, shortly holding out his card and receipt. Carefully placing the steaming cup in his center console, he eased forward, and as the sheep stopped on either side to let him pass, he spied a rare empty curbside space just across Freemont. May as well, he thought. I’ve got a couple hours to waste. He negotiated his way across, slipping into the space. He sighed, picked up his coffee and resumed his habitual game of being people judge and jury.
Meantime, at his old haunt, two ‘suits’ were conversing with his replacement, Clyde Bowman, holding a large box of photos. The chief beckoned to his newest greenie which he used as a ‘bug chaser’. Jim, he said, distribute a copy of these BOLOs to all the detective desks, and then take the remainder down the hall to the Patrol chief. Tell him that I will be down shortly with details… Sure thing, Jim said as he accepted the box…
Freemont street, stopped at the light on Freemont and Las Vegas Blvd
Straight ahead, Buffy advised Phil, who nodded in agreement. Freemont turns into NV 582 just ahead… it’s the Boulder highway, she ventured straight as an arrow. … She then continued .. “just after we go under the I-15 overpass, there will be a small shopping center on the right … gotta stop there a sec... best Pizza in Vegas. It’s a return trip tradition each time we come, and besides, I’m eating for two, remember…
Danielle replied … Sure sounds good, Buffy, as Phil just said… Yes, ma’am, as he cracked his trademark, silent grin.
A curbside parking spot, Freemont street, across from star bucks…
Now bored, and suddenly disgusted as he watched the two gay creatures, one in pink tights smooching and hugging, and prancing toward him, he glanced down at his watch. It’s time, Sniffy muttered, as he slowly eased out of the space as a car stopped, and patiently waited for his exit.
As Sniffy entered his old haunt, he smiled and waved at the duty sergeant, who acknowledged him with a big smile exclaiming… Sniffy… good to seeya. Gonna visit Jim? Yep, Sniffy said as he briefly shook hands and swapped pleasantries… As the sergeant hit the button beneath his desk, Sniffy turned to the stairs behind the now unlocked glass door and headed upstairs. As he opened the door to at his old department, he was curious of the excitement… two separate groups of dick tracys were gathered at the ever popular coffee urn, swapping spit, as he had often told them when he was Chief..
He immediately spotted His son Jim, who had stood up at his back desk, and was smiling and waving to him.
Sniffy and Jim hugged .. he said to Jim, so what’s all the excitement? FED’s he said, as he pulled up a metal chair to his desk, motioning to it. They sat, as Jim pointed to his copy of six photos spread across his desk. Emergency Federal BOLO … he said.
Sniffy stood and perused the photos. When he spotted the one from Denny’s exit camera showing the tall hippie and petite pregnant lady … he exclaimed loudly… JIM … I just made this pair two hours ago at the Starbucks on Freemont… All dick tracey’s within hearing gathered about Sniffy as he added the details… salted liberally with 40+ years of experience…
They had just pulled in the shopping center, and Buffy pointed to their left, at a separate group of three shops in an older building, off by itself.
A large neon sign on the right hand shop conspicuously exclaimed .. LOUIGI’S ORIGINAL NEW YORK PIZZA. As they pulled up, Danielle spotted the buisiness on the other end of the building, which said simply “Thrift Store”. She immediately looked at Phil, who was now standing at her door waiting, She pointed at the thrift shop and said… baby, don’t you feel the need for a wardrobe change? Yes indeed, he said, as she retrieved her Bally’s bag from the rear, A knowing and smiling Buffy stood by her open door, and just grinned. She retrieved the two diaper bags that contained Phil’s clothes and exited the car…
As they approached Louigis entrance they paused, had a few words together, and Phil, claiming the two bags from Danielle, waited at the side of the entrance while Buffy and Bree went in to place the Pizza order. They shortly returned, laughing intermittently and chatting, holding a yellow reciept, which they handed to Phil, while yet again passing words among themselves.
LVPD… Main Precinct…
Sniffy had just completed his download to a group of detectives, accompanied by the new C of D, standing beside two ‘suits’. Both ‘suits’ pulled their cell phones and relayed identical messages… ‘Freemont street… everything east of Starbucks..’ meet you at Starbucks.. Out .. They shook Sniffy’s hand and promptly left. The new C of D reached for the phone on Jim’s desk and punched up the Patrol division’s duty desk. This is the C of D. we just made the FED BOLO pair.. Freemont Street, hoofing it east bound from Starbucks.. Each carrying a Starbuck’s half litre Ethos water. … Right on it… Chief. the Sergeant replied.. He hung up the phone, looked at Jim and said… Your Dad just earned you your first ride with a Detective partner. My name is Clyde… C’mon…
To be continued…
The previous part 10 is here: