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SliceJohn Culjak의 지식창고 2018.04.22. 14:19 (2018.04.21. 18:59)

Chapter 10

 
John Culjak' Novel 'Slice' - Chap 10
Redmond pulled into the driveway at Philip Nickerson’s house on Wellington Street. There was no other car parked in the driveway. The small two-story modern, nondescript house, painted beige over cedar shingles, blended in easily with the other houses on the block. Rick walked up to the front door that Nickerson had opened and was anxiously waiting for him dressed in a grey pinstripe suit with a three- button jacket. “Detective Redmond.” Rick said mounting the steps to the door. “Mr. Nickerson?” “ Yes. Come in, Detective, come in.” Nickerson said, bringing Redmond inside quickly, harboring a feeling of paranoia about being visited by the police. Nickerson preceded Rick into the living room, sat and offered him a chair. Rick sat in an armchair that was covered in a rich wine-colored fabric. The room was not large but comfortable without feeling confined.
 
“I don’t have a lot of time. I have to get to work.” “I’ll be as brief as I can, Mr. Nickerson.” He said as he took a note pad from the inside pocket of his sport coat, exposing his gun and holster. He sat. Nickerson shuddered at the sight of the weapon and the violence that it symbolized. “You were friends with Geoff Jenkins, Mr. Nickerson, were you not?” Rick started. “Yes, yes. Yes, I was. It was horrible what happened to him. Do you have any idea who did it?” He asked, his eyes shined with a glossiness that verged on tears. “How’d you find out what happened to him?” Redmond wanted to know. “Lisa, that is, Mrs. Jenkins, Geoff’s wife, told me ... she phoned me to let me know. It’s so horrible, so sad.” Nickerson said repeating himself. “Where were you when Mr. Jenkins was killed?”
 
“What? You know very well where I was, Detective. I was with Lisa. She told me that she informed you that I was with her.” He added quickly. Redmond looked up from his note pad at Nickerson, said nothing, then returned to the pad and jotted down another note.
 
“I suppose you know that Lisa and I were having an affair.” He continued nervously. “I might as well be up front about it.” Without looking up from his notes, Redmond responded casually. “Oh, is that right?”
 
“Yes, that’s right, Detective.” He said, sliding his suit jacket and shirtsleeve up to check the time. “I’m sure you were aware of that.” Redmond did not respond. “Didn’t she tell you?” “Why do you think I should know that?” Philip looked at Redmond without saying anything. “What time did you get to Mrs. Jenkins’ house, and what time did you leave?”
 
“To answer your first question, I think it was about nine fifteen when I got there and, the second question, I probably left elevenish. I’m not positive that the times are exact ... they are approximate, and reasonably accurate.”
 
“Did anyone see you at the house, coming or going ... besides Mrs. Jenkins?” “No, of course not. We ... that is, I didn’t want anyone to see me there.” “And why is that, Mr. Nickerson?” Redmond inquired, knowing the answer. “Jesus Christ! That’s obvious, isn’t it?” Nickerson snarled. “Perhaps.” Rick calmly replied. “But why don’t you just tell me anyway.” “I told you we were having an affair, Detective, that’s why. Geoff didn’t know about it. He probably would have killed me if he knew. And besides, if anyone saw me at the house and told Geoff, he mighy have put two and two together.” Redmond just looked at Nickerson and patiently waited for him to continue. He learned early on to be silent sometimes, to let the suspect wait, and when he felt uncomfortable enough, he would start talking again, and you never know what might come out of his mouth. “I ... I ... was supposed to join him at Indian Lake for a round of golf. I called him to cancel as soon as I found out he booked us in ... so I could see Lisa.” Nickerson dropped his head into his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. “Oh man, if I were with him, this would never have happened.” Redmond watched Philip’s reaction wondering if he was faking. “So you feel bad that Geoff was killed, that you might be at fault, for not being with him?”
 
“Of course I do. What do you think? He was my friend.” “Really? Redmond feigned surprise. “Do you have affairs with all your friends’ wives, Mr. Nickerson? What kind of friend is that?” “No, not at all. You don’t understand.” “Then fill me in so I will understand.” “I love Lisa. It’s not just a simple affair.” He divulged. “So it was a complex affair, was it?” “You make it sound trivial.” “Does she love you? Was she going to leave Geoff for you?” “I think she loves me. Maybe. I don’t know. No, she would not leave Geoff.” “Then she wouldn’t want Geoff to know about you?” Redmond persisted. “Oh no, she didn’t want that. She definitely did not want Geoff to find out.” “I suppose that would be a good reason to get him out of the way. Did you kill him, Nickerson? I suppose it would be handy to get rid of him so you could have Lisa to yourself, especially since she wouldn’t leave him ... and I wonder,” Rick pushed, “would she lie for you?” “No, I would never do that, never kill another human being. I couldn’t do that. I was with Lisa ... I was with Lisa when Geoff was killed. You don’t really think I could do that, do you?” Philip said, tormented.
 
“On the contrary. I think you could. I think any man is capable of murder, given the right motive...” Redmond’s cell phone rang interrupting the interview. “Excuse me.” He said to Nickerson. “Detective Redmond here.” He said into the phone and listened quietly. “Oh? Oh boy, here we go. Okay. I’ll leave right away. I was just about to wrap things up here.” He closed his flip phone and put it into his outside jacket pocket.
 
“Are we through here?” Nickerson asked. “We are for now. If you killed your friend, Nickerson, I’m going to get you for it. You’ll slip up and I’ll get you. I hope you’re not planning on taking a vacation or leaving Halifax in the near future, Nickerson? I wouldn’t, if I were you, ”
 
.. .. .
 
Redmond turned on the flashing red and blue light that was mounted just inside the grill and used the siren as he sped through the city on route to the Indian Lake Golf Course. He donned his dark glasses to ward off the glare of the mid-morning sun, which, although it was high in the sky, was strong enough to inhibit his vision. When he arrived, the front entrance gate to the clubhouse had been cordoned off. Several would be golfers milled about somberly in the parking lot. An ambulance, an Identification Unit van and several blue and whites were parked haphazardly in the lot. A few of the grounds staff was standing in front of the clubhouse, tense and talked quietly among themselves. The policemen recognized Redmond and allowed him to pass through the gate without having to flash his badge. Inside the clubhouse, Mitch Kline was consoling Karen Kelder, his wife, who was sitting on a stool behind the reception counter. The color had been drained entirely from her face causing her to look deathly. Liz stood near the door to the kitchen, leaning against the frame. She was biting her fingernails and looked devastated. “Are Copp and Stenson here?” Redmond asked, directing his question to Karen Kelder.
 
“And you are...?” Mitch asked. “I am Detective Redmond, sir, Chief of Operations.” He replied flashing his badge. “And who might you be? “I’m Mitch Kline. I own the club. Karen is my wife. She is very upset, as you can see. The Detectives are talking to witnesses in the other room, the dining area.” He said, pointing to the doorway. “Thanks.” Redmond started toward the dining area and stopped. “Are you okay, Mrs. Kelder?” he asked. Karen nodded, and Mitch said, “I think she’ll be okay; I hope so. I can’t believe it, twice in as many days.” Redmond walked into the small dining area to look for Copp and Stenson, and found them immediately talking to four men. Detective Martin and Officer Slater were with a group of about 30 people who had been at various holes on the course. Redmond addressed the four men. “Are you the party that found the bodies?” The men nodded somberly; one man looked like he had been or was going to be sick. He, the ill-looking man, spoke up. “I hit my ball into the woods and went in to find it when I ran across the two bodies. God! It was awful. I never saw anything like it in my life. The poor boy was just lying on top of the man; pools of blood around the bodies.” The man was getting greener as he spoke. “Excuse me,” he said, covering his mouth and running to the washroom. “Do we know who they are?” Redmond asked turning to Stenson, whose face was grave and his normal smile absent. “Yes, we do. He and his son are...” he corrected himself, “were from New Brunswick. They were visiting his brother in Clayton Park. The man’s name is John Harris. He had played here a few times before with his brother. This is the first time he brought his son with him... unfortunately. This was brutal, Rick. Absolutely brutal.” “And the bodies?” Rick asked taking Stenson and Donna aside. “They are still out there, in the woods at the third hole.” He said solemnly. “The FIS Unit and dogs are there; they’re all out there; as well as the paramedics...to no avail. If there is anything to be found at the site, Rick, we’ll find it.”
 
“Is it too early, or can you tell if there is a connection between Jenkins and these two?” Donna reluctantly added. “It is too early to tell, but there are some similarities. It looks like both the boy and his father were struck in the head by a blunt instrument. It could be a golf club, but we don’t know for sure, and we won’t know until the autopsy is completed. It sure seems like one helluva coincidence though. Oh yes, we found a white wooden tee next to the bodies, nothing unusual about it, one of a million. It looks to be similar to the one we found with Jenkins body.”
 
“Do we have the names and phone numbers of everyone here, staff included?” “Yes, we do. The group with Martin and Slater all claim they saw nothing. None of them had gone into the woods at the third hole, and saw nothing unusual. These four guys were in one of the last groups out. The foursome after that... well they never got to the second hole. Everyone was called in off the course.” “Do we have any idea when they were murdered?” “There was about an hour time difference between the starting times of the victims and the group that found them. So we figure they were killed sometime between 45 minutes to an hour prior to the time that the party that found them left, making it in the vicinity of 10:30 a.m. or thereabouts.” Stenson calculated.
 
While they spoke inside, another ambulance pulled up to the clubhouse lot. The attendants went inside to tend to Karen Kelder who had collapsed. Kline went to ask Redmond if it was okay for him to go to the hospital with his wife. Redmond, concerned about her health, told Kline that he could go to the hospital with her.
 
“Let’s check the list of those here today with the one when Jenkins was murdered. And make sure you include the staff. I want to know if any of the golfers were here during both murders, and I want to know where all of these people were at the time of the death of the man and his son.”
 
“I can take care of that, Rick.” Stenson said. Redmond turned to Copp. “Donna, I want you to look into Jenkins’ an Harris’ background; see if you can find anything that may link them together. I want to find out if they knew each other, and if so, how. Did they have any business together? Find out what you can. I can’t imagine both murders just being a coincidence.” Redmond called to Martin who had remained with the large group who had witnessed nothing. “Dave?” Martin walked over to Redmond. “Yeah?”
 
“I need you to canvass the same houses we did when Jenkins was killed, and then after you submit your report, I want you to check to see how Mrs. Kelder is. She was taken to the QEII a few minutes ago. And if she is going to be in the hospital for any length of time, see that she gets some flowers from the department. Also, tell Slater to close the club down for the rest of the week. I want every inch of this place covered. I want to know how the perp got in and out. We have got to come up with something. If we have a mad man on the loose, I want to find him before he kills someone else.”
 
“Okay, Rick. I’ll take care of it.” He said walking back to join Slater who continued talking to the group. Redmond turned his attention back to Donna and Stenson. “We’ll meet tomorrow morning at eight sharp. Make sure everyone is there. I hope and pray we don’t have a serial killer on our hands. Now let’s get to work.”
 
.. .. .
 
Earlier Driver had walked back to his car, which was parked in front of Moosehorn Auto. The lot was filled, as often was the case, with cars that had been repaired or were in need of maintenance. Although, the shop was open, no one was outside, so Driver felt safe. Even if he had been seen, he most likely would not be connected to what took place at Indian Lake. Especially since there were several other auto-related businesses side by side in the industrial strip mall. He could easily have been doing business with any one of them. Driver was pleased that he decided to hide his club in the woods and not carry it with him in the light; that would have been too conspicuous. He could not afford to be seen walking out of the woods with a single golf club. He drove back to his house staying within the speed limit. Now would not be the time to be stopped for speeding. On route, Driver thought about the boy that he killed. He wished that the boy did not come into the woods after his father. He didn’t want to kill him, but still he felt no remorse. It was necessary. He saw me, knew what I looked like. He would have been far more unpleasant if the boy saw him, lived and later identified him as being in the immediate vicinity when his father was murdered. No, it had to be done, he reasoned. It had to be; I had no choice.
 
Driver pulled into the driveway, got out of the car and nonchalantly looked around before entering the house. He had taken off his golf gloves and carried them in his still latex-gloved hands. His head was buzzing, yet his mind was clear in spite of the circumstances. His astuteness was contradictory with the drone inside his head, yet a clear bright light seemed to prevail almost pushing him into a meditative state. He was acutely aware of everything around him, especially the condition of his clothes. He knew that the bottom of his pants were damp from the moisture on the weeds and bushes in the woods; he knew his shoes were muddy, he also knew that his pants and shirt were blood free, unlike one glove that was stained with he blood of the man, which was tainted when he checked to see if he was dead. Driver felt insuperable. Once inside Driver locked the door before he kicked off his shoes, leaving them in the hallway entry. Then he went down the stairs to the basement. Driver lifted the top of the washer, stripped naked, and put all of his clothes inside including his leather golf gloves. He added detergent, set the settings to hot, closed the lid and started the machine. Driver left the basement still naked, took off his latex gloves and put them in a small plastic bag that he tied and deposited in the large garbage bag. He picked up his shoes and took them into the kitchen where he found a stiff bristled bottlebrush underneath the sink. He held the brush under the hot water, added dish soap to it and slowly, but forcefully brushed his shoes; the soles, the tops, and in all of the crevices where there was stitching. Satisfied that no residue from the woods and the golf course remained, Driver rinsed the shoes and dried them with a dishtowel. He put his shoes at the bottom of the second floor stairs. Then he took the dishtowel to the basement and deposited it into the washer with the other clothes. There he remained, thinking, wondering if he overlooked anything. After a short period of time, Driver went upstairs to his bedroom, taking the shoes with him and putting them in the bottom of the closet where he kept all of his shoes. He calmly walked into the bathroom to take a shower. Upon completing his shower, Driver went back to the bedroom to dress. He put on a pair of jeans, a clean, short- sleeved polo shirt that he took from his dresser, and pulled on a pair of socks that he took out of the top drawer. He put on a pair of black soft- soled walking shoes and then went downstairs. He inspected the floor of the entryway to make certain it was free of any droppings from his shoes.
 
It was. To conclude his plan, Driver went into his office, booted his computer, and brought up the list file. He looked at the last entry at the top of the page, the question mark. After it, he typed in who? and then hit the space bar and typed two done. He was about to close the file and shut down when he decided to highlight the entire line, which he did and clicked on delete. Now only the names on the list remained. He closed the file. I hope I did the right thing, killing them both, he thought, without concern for the act, but more so for the possibility of avoiding detection, and perhaps of eliminating him from being directly linked to the murders. Remorse was never an issue. It was always about not getting caught. He recalled the time in his childhood when he approached a boy who was going to church on the street. Driver was angry. He couldn’t remember why, but he knew he was in a rage. As he was passing the boy, he struck him in the stomach with as much power as he could muster. The boy doubled over and fell to the sidewalk. The boy was crying and trembling on the ground. Driver had picked up a rock, bent over the boy, and said you had better not tell anyone about this and hit the boy in the head with the rock. The boy was laid up in the hospital for a week with a ruptured spleen and a concussion, but he never told anyone what happened or who attacked him. Driver never felt remorse. He remembered that it was all about not getting caught. Driver, without closing down the computer, dialed his office and told his receptionist with an air of superiority that he had finished his meeting and would continue working from home for the rest of the day.
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