Sheriff Porter 72
First thing to do was to start with at least one case that wasn’t too old. So that people would not have forgotten the details. There would be details in the Dana Summers case file. Since she was the most recent known victim, people might remember her.
“Wilson,” I said the next morning. “I want a complete case file on the Dana Summers episode from last year. Maybe we can get ahead of this year by going back to last year. We need a time line for the night of the rape. I will probably have to go see her, but I want as much information as possible before I do.”
“Have you given up on Brian,” Wilson asked.
“Hell no, I’m convinced even if he couldn’t have done them all, somewhere their paths have crossed. It’s too far fetched to think, in a community of this size, there would be more than one source of Ruffies.”
“Yeah, I agree, so why not have a go at him?” Wilson asked.
“Because I have no leverage. What I need is something to link him to the rapes. I could have shouted date rape at the time, but I didn’t. I suspect that is the case with others as well. So let’s see if we can figure out whodunit, then put Brian in touch with that person,” I suggested.
“Or couldn’t you just pick Brian up, then cut off chunks of his fingers till he spills all?” Wilson asked.
“And what if I find out later he wasn’t the one? How do I put it right? I’m afraid an ‘oops my bad’ wouldn’t cover it,” I replied.
“Yeah, I suppose. In his case it would be more fun,” Wilson said.
“No Wilson that would be more satisfying. This will be more fun. Look at how we got to Lamont. You had the chance to play with your new scanner thing. Which I still have locked in the truck,” I suggested.
“That is just a probe it is almost worthless. It connects to your smart phone which connects to our computer and server which are all the real stuff.” He saw my blank stare. “It’s not worth anything to anyone. I doubt anyone would bother with it. It’s like stealing a bullet without having a gun.”
“So you are saying nobody will bother stealing it?” I asked.
“It won’t even turn on unless one of our smart phones is within 20‘ of it. Then the menu won’t work unless one of us has connected to it, so for all intents and purpose it is just a piece of junk.”
“An expensive one I’m sure,” I said.
“Replacement probably would be under $500,” Wilson said.
“That’s a pretty expensive bullet, but with what I saw last night I can imagine it’s value,” I agreed. Oh course it won’t be of any value at all, if I don’t have it with me. With that in mind I thought again about having the side tool boxes installed, but not on a ten year old truck.
I called Ev at the boat yard. He owed me, whether he liked it or not. “Ev, it’s Sylvia calling from the barge boat,” I said.
“Hello, is something wrong with the house boat?” he asked.
“No, I need some work done on my truck,” I said.
“We are not auto mechanics,” he said distastefully.
“This is something you can do. I’ll be by in an hour to explain,” I said.
“So Wilson, when I get back from the boatyard, have a time line for Dana Simpson’s fateful night. It doesn’t have to be complete, but as close as possible.”
“Want me to see where Brian was as well?” he asked.
“If you can that would be lovely,” I replied. I left for the boat yard. I stopped along the way to have a coffee in the parking lot of Mr. BJ’s. He had a WIFI connection. I didn’t find anything of interest on the net, but I still sat banging around the net until time to drive to the Boatyard.
After some extremely cold pleasantries I started to explain. “What I want you to do is to fabricate a secure storage box for me. Then I want you to remove the seat from my truck. Then I want you to mount the box underneath the seat, and replace the seat so that it all fits like before. The seat need not be adjustable if you put it back exactly in the same position as before.”
“I can have Mike measure it now and have it fabricated in a couple of days then install it in a few hours one day next week. Is that satisfactory?” he asked still not being friendly. He just didn’t like to lose, especially to a woman.
“That works fine for me,” I said.
Mike the master welder was called to the office. I drove the truck up to the door of the welding shop where Mike measured the space under my seat. You aren’t going to have much storage inside this thing. If I raise the seat two inches I can get you five inches inside the box. Where do you want the opening?”
“Raising the seat is fine but make sure I can still reach the pedals or we will have to rebuild them as well. I want the door to be able to flop down when I unlock it. I want one door on each side of the truck. Two different boxes would be alright as far as that goes,” I said.
“Since this thing is front wheel drive one box all the way through would work best for you, and wouldn’t be any trouble for me. I will have to build a support for the door so I can build it a little stronger, no problem,” Mike said with his mind already working on the details.
“Mike in addition to the two padlocks on the doors I want a trick lock. One with a trick or lever or something hid under the seat. Just so if they take bolt cutters to the padlock there is something to hold the door closed,” I suggested.
“Oh my a hidden second latch. I love it. I can put it in the space that would be behind the seat so it can’t be seen you would have to feel for it and a thief wouldn’t know that. I just love it because it is so 13th century thinking. It’s fucking eloquent in design,” he said.
I left Mike with his drawing, and headed back to the barge. Lunch for me was going to be bran cereal with dried fruit mix which I made myself. So in a way it was a homemade meal. Okay it was fast and easy and not too awfully bad for me.
“So Wilson what’s the word?” I asked while spooning bran flakes and fruit in my mouth.
“Have you ever been told that you eat like a pig, when you think you are not being observed?” Wilson asked.
“Obviously that isn’t true, because you saw me. I guess I eat like a pig all the time. Since I have been called a pig before, it isn’t really a shocker,” I said smiling. “Now what do we know?”
“The night of her attack she told the security officers that she had dinner at the Rum Runner’s restaurant. I pulled her credit card receipt and she was indeed there. From the cost on the check she ate alone. If she had been with someone odds are he would have paid. Frankly she was in town for a conference. The time stamp on the receipt was 8:49 PM so sometime around nine she left the Rum Runner alone.
She told the security officer after dinner she went to the lounge at the Marshall Inn. She sat at a table near the dance floor and had about three drinks. She doesn’t drink often and the drinks affected her quickly, so she went back to her room. A man met her in the parking lot. He noticed how wobbly she was and offered to walk with her, so she wouldn’t fall.
In the description she gave of him, he was about forty or fifty years old, certainly not Brian. She also said he was large, but not fat just a big man tall and solid. She also said his head was shaved bald.”
“Any scars or tats?” I asked.
“You would think so with that look, but she didn’t see any. He helped her to her room and suggest he would stay a while just to be sure she was okay. She drifted into a fog then. She said it was like a dream. In the dream the man tore at her clothes until she was naked. He raped her mouth and vagina. She didn’t really resist. That’s why she felt she shouldn’t report it. She knew people would think she was making it up. Beside she couldn’t swear to the description. After he raped her, he apparently went back to the parking lot and drove home,” Wilson informed me.
“You know Wilson I never understood drug rape. Rape is all about power and the sex is just a means to that end. But it takes no power to drug someone,” I suggested.
As I understand it, they will go along with what they sometimes see as the most vile acts and are humiliated. They have just enough memory of it to be humiliated, so I guess that is power of sorts,” Wilson explained.
“Well Dana might remember something, but I kind of doubt it. Let’s run with what we have. If we come to a halt, I will drive to where ever she is living to talk with her. In the meantime find out how many of the other questionable assault victims had drinks at the Marshal Inn. While you go through the files, I’m going to check on that wrecker,” I said.
“Damn, you have a mind that runs wide fucking open all the time, don’t you?” Wilson asked.
“Wilson it’s a fucking wrecker, not a spaceship,” I said. I returned to the house and called the pro who was supposed to look at it. “I haven’t gone yet Sylvia, but I will go now if you like,” my pro said.
“Can I come along,” I asked.
“Of course you can,” he said. I’ll call and make the arrangements. Stop by the shop and by the time you get here I’ll have the appointment made.”
When I picked up the professional mechanic, who just happened to be a black man. I met him when the truck made a whistling noise. Something about a vacuum line, I was told by the pro. I liked him. He seemed competent and he only changed me twenty bucks. I had his number on file after that. I called and had him work on things from time to time.
“So the man is expecting us?” Deacon asked.
“Yeah so what are you thinking?” I asked.
“Frankly, I’m wondering why you want a wrecker?” he asked.
“Well there is this man,” I said.
Before I could go on Deacon said. “Say no more.”
“Deacon it isn’t like that,” I said. I noticed Deacon was well over fifty and his clothes were grease stained. His hands were stained as well. He reminded me of the old time mechanics from my childhood.
“Well we are here,” Deacon said. I listened while deacon talked to the seller. I stayed with the seller while Deacon drove the Wrecker. He wasn’t gone long. When he came back he pulled me to the side.
“It seems to be strong. I took it down the road and ran the wench, then pushed the truck against a tree. Nothing seems to be slipping. That’s the good news. The bad news is the engine and tranny on it isn’t the best ones ever made. It’s pretty close to being due for some real work,” the Deacon said.
“Okay give me a dollar figure with the understanding the work has to be done,” I suggested.
“$65,000 is a fair price but I expect he has been offered that before. At sixty five that truck would have moved. At seventy five it will continue to sit here. If your man needs it now and isn’t going to abuse it he might could earn several hundred bucks before it breaks down on him,” Deacon explained.
Edited by Walt