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Slice     【John Culjak의 지식창고】 2018.04.22. 14:18 (2018.04.21. 17:28)

Chapter 2

 
John Culjak' Novel 'Slice' - Chap 2
Detective Richard “Rick” Redmond, fully aware of the early morning heat and humidity, which he found to be overbearing, labored up the stairs of the recently built police station. The two-story building, which was built about ten years ago, but still referred to as the new station, looked like a brick fortress, with smoked gray windows, protected by a six-foot overhang. The dark architectural concept made a statement, which was to forewarn people with its gloomy appearance, so everyone thought. Redmond nodded to the officer, who monitored the front door entrance from an enclosed booth. Rick detested using the back entrance, which was the on-duty entry, also used for bookings and which was monitored by video cameras. It frustrated him waiting to be identified before going inside. It was a rigid routine, one in which he refused to participate. So, instead, he always used the front entrance. He was buzzed in and walked through the second set of doors where the older and mostly overweight, former street cops somberly held vigil behind their desks. The front desk sergeant looked up from his work as Redmond walked by. He nodded and gave Redmond an abbreviated wave, which was returned. Redmond liked expensive clothes and wore them well. However, he was a most pugnacious man. His dark brown hair was cut short, and his face looked like he went fifteen rounds with Jake LaMota. Still he possessed a rugged handsomeness to which both men and women were attracted. Once, years ago, he entered a “tough guy” competition at the urging of his colleagues. The bouts were held at the Halifax Metro Centre and Redmond lasted through a series of three fights, winning two and was severely defeated in the third and final match, mainly because of his size; he was 5’10” and he weighed 175 pounds. His opponent weighted more than 235 pounds and it took only two rounds for Redmond to be destroyed. Redmond often worked out after he made detective, and, as tough as he was, could not compete with the heavyweights, who outweighed him by as much as 60 pounds. He smoked and drank too much, too often, so thought almost everyone who knew him. The shape of his nose, somewhat flat and crooked, was attributed to the competition. Besides a few fighting scars from his youth, his cheeks were lightly pocked from pubescent acne. Underneath the scars and twisted nose, lay gentleness and vulnerability. Redmond was unaware that such emotions dwelled within him. If it ever occurred to him that he possessed those emotions, he would deny it vehemently; kindness and compassion were not part of his emotional makeup. He saw himself as a stubborn, macho tough guy who took what he wanted, and would not give an inch. He felt he had to maintain that persona if he were to deal with scumbags on the street. As Redmond climbed the stairs to the Special Investigation Section (SIS), which he headed up and was part of the RCMP/Halifax Regional police integrated major crime unit, he hoped that this day would not require a great deal of energy. He drank far too much last night and his head was as murky as his tongue was fuzzy. Today he felt older than 38. He sat down at his desk, slouched in the chair, and shuffled some papers that were left from the day before without looking at them. Detective Donna Copp approached him with more paper. “This just came in.,” she said, handing him the call sheet with some urgency. Rick quickly scanned the sheet.
 
“Shit! Did Dave see this?” “No. It just came in. I thought you’d want to see it first.” Donna explained. “Why did they call homicide?” Redmond wanted to know. “How did he die? Was it a heart attack or what?” “Your guess is as good as mine. I guess they weren’t sure what happened. They didn’t want to take a chance that he may have been murdered, that’s why we were called.” Redmond said nothing. “The body was found at a water hazard at Indian Lake Golf Course. Shall we go take a look?”
 
Redmond exhaled a long slow breath. “I sure as hell don’t want to go there for nothing.” Donna looked at him, rolled her eyes, and shrugged. “Okay, Copp, let’s get our ass to the golf course and get it done with.” “Shall I bring my clubs just in case we want to play a round of golf?” she said smiling. She had an easy, relaxed, unforced smile. Copp, who had been a detective for only about two years, had not been exposed to the brutal slayings and violence that was typical to those who have been on the force for much longer, and the kind of aggressive behavior that soured one’s personal life and their perspective on other human beings. Copp was not a typical cop. She was a psych major at Dalhousie University, with a minor in criminology, before she enrolled in the Police Service training program in Toronto. Her career path turned out to be a great disappointment to her parents. They thought of her as scholarly and expected her to pursue a career in academia. She had other plans, a life of excitement that would deliver a constant adrenalin rush.
 
It was her degree in psychology and minor in criminology that helped move her up the ranks quickly. After only a few years on the street, she applied for, and made detective, much to the chagrin of other officers who were on the street longer and still remained there. However, she gained the respect of her fellow detectives with her fearless attitude and her excellent investigative abilities and arrest record. Even though Copp was quite attractive and single at 33, she was not subjected to any sexual harassment for the most part, oddly enough.
 
“Just tell Dave that I want him to come with us, Donna.” .. .. .
 
Dave Martin and Donna went in Dave’s car; a ten-year old black American-made sedan that spewed black fumes out of the exhaust pipe and burned about a quart of oil a month. Rick took an unmarked police issue. It was still early, almost 8:00 a.m., so rush hour traffic was not too heavy, especially since they were going in the opposite direction of the traffic entering the city. The sun was bright and strong, and poured in the drivers’ side window as they headed south. It took Rick less than 25 minutes to get to the Indian Lake Golf Course, even though there was a slight delay at the Armdale rotary, a rush hour driver’s nightmare. The recent redesigning and construction of the rotary did, however, help the flow somewhat. The Indian Lake Golf Course sign was posted at the intersection of the highway and the unpaved turn-off road. Rick took a right, saw the dust rooster tail behind Dave’s car, and followed him about 300 meters to the clubhouse parking lot. Rick slowed his car past the parking lot, through the personnel only gate, and stopped in front of the clubhouse between Dave’s car and a standard blue and white with its lights flashing. Several golfers who were waiting to play a round of golf approached him, obviously having gotten nowhere with the uniforms. They were evidently angry to find the course closed. “What the hell is going on?” One golfer asked. “Did someone get hurt?” Another wanted to know. Ignoring their inquiries, Redmond walked by them and went directly into the clubhouse to find detectives Martin and Copp. Officer Jim Slater, who cordoned off the area with yellow crime tape, blocking access to the first two holes, had been the first to arrive with his partner. The first hole was about fifty yards to the left of the small clubhouse, and the second hole, just to the right, could be seen from the canteen deck. The tee box of the second hole was about 50 feet higher than and 130 yards from the green.
 
“Hey, Jim. How’re ya doing?” Redmond asked Slater. “Fine as can be.” “So what have we got here?” “One dead golfer, male in his mid-40s.”
 
“Who found the body?” Slater, a junior officer, took charge. He was young, fresh, clean-shaven, and anxious to be involved in the work. His uniform was impeccable; clean, pressed, boots highly shined, and he performed by the book. He could easily have been mistaken for a lifer in the military. Slater was black, one of a handful of blacks on the force. He was resourceful, a leader and he was strong, both physically and mentally. Besides being intelligent, he possessed the kind of street smarts that were a positive asset to doing a good job. Slater knew that because he was black he had to be that much better than everyone else, if he was to move up the ladder. He was proud that he was willing and capable of going the extra mile. He did his best to ignore the occasional racial remarks from his fellow policemen. He dismissed the sporadic remarks as ignorant comments made to rouse him and also as an attempt to treat him as inferior. “He was found on the pond at the third hole by two guys playing behind him. Apparently, the two started their round about fifteen minutes after he did, and were the only players on the course.” “Did you get their statement?” “Yes, I did, but...” Martin interrupted him, exercising his rank and authority. “Just a sketchy statement, Rick. I thought you might want to talk to them yourself. I checked the body and it looks like it was no accident.” “Thanks, Dave”. Rick said, looking for the witnesses. “Where are the two who found him?” “They’re in the dining room having a coffee. They’re quite upset. Ms Kelder, who manages the place, is with them.” “Dave, you and Donna get their full statement. I’m gong to check the body. Did anyone contact forensics?” Slater, almost at attention, “I took the liberty of contacting RCMP FIS, the Forensic Inspection Services, Detective.” He said adding the formal unit name. “I hope you don’t mind. They said they’d have someone here within the hour.” “Good work, Slater. What about the K-9 unit, were they contacted?” The only response was shrugs. “Donna, get them out here immediately. I want to see if the dogs can track the perp’s direction in and out. Dave, get a team to canvass the houses on the road coming in. I want to know if anyone saw a car, a person, anything out of the ordinary. I want the entire area scoured, at least 500 yards in every direction from the body. I want to know where the perp came from and where he went.” “I’ll get on it, Rick.” Copp went directly to Constable Slater’s police car to make the calls and Dave made his calls from Rick’s car. “Slater, show me where the body is,” Redmond said. Slater led Rick around the deck and down the steep hill along a gravel path that led to the second hole green. Once at the bottom, they took another gravel path to the left that led to the third hole. About forty yards from the tee box, on the left of the fairway, was the body laying face down along side the boulders that bordered the pond. “Did you ID him, Slater?” “Ms Kelder said his name is Jenkins, Geoff Jenkins. His wallet is intact and his driver license confirmed that. About $90 and plastic all seem to be there. His watch, a Rolex, is still on his wrist and gold wedding band on his finger, so I think we can rule out robbery. Apparently he golfed here a couple of times a week.” “Was a weapon found?” “Nothing yet, Rick. The only thing we found next to the body was a white
 
wooden tee. It may belong to the Vic. I bagged it. I’ll give it to forensics when they get here.” Rick looked at the swollen bloody head without touching it. “Did anyone move or touch anything?” Slater shrugged, “As far as I know no one touched anything...except when I checked his wallet, but I used gloves.”
 
Redmond noticed that Jenkins’ hair and his golf shirt was wet almost to the waist. His hair was matted with water and blood. “Looks to me like he was in the water. Someone must have moved him. Shit! With that nasty wound, I don’t think he moved himself,” Redmond muttered almost to himself. “Did anyone get a fix on the guy? Where he lives, works, relatives?” Rick asked without looking up at Slater. “Detective Copp called in for a check on him, as soon as she got here.
 
As far as I know, we didn’t get a fix yet.” Redmond stood up and looked around. “That kinda wound couldn’t have happened from a fall. It looks like he got clubbed real good with something.” “Bludgeoned,” Slater said. “Yeah, bludgeoned.” Redmond said, smiling at the use of the word. Sorta looks like an execution.” “If it was an execution, why didn’t they just shoot him? It’s quicker and more efficient.” Slater asked. “Too noisy, Jim. The perp probably didn’t want to draw attention to him. That would be my guess. Stay here until the forensic boys arrive, and don’t touch anything. I’d like to see a photo of that wound, and find out if maybe the perp left anything behind...besides the tee. At least we got a reasonably good fix on the time of death.”
 
.. .. .
 
Redmond backtracked from the murder site to the clubhouse and went in to talk to the pair that found the body. Karen Kelder, the manager, was sitting with them at a table in the dining room. “I’m Detective Richard Redmond. Are you the two that found the body on the third hole?” Both men stood up. “Yes sir, we found him laying face down in the water, just to the left of the fairway, about sixty yards or so from the tee.” One of the men said.
 
Redmond motioned them to sit down. He sat down across from them, and took out his note pad. “Ms Kelder, you’re the manager of the clubhouse?” “Yes, I am...and owner. What a terrible thing to happen to Mr. Jenkins. I can’t believe it. He was such a nice man.”
 
“Did anyone talk to you at all, Ms Kelder?” She shook her head indicating that they had not questioned her. Rick did not want to duplicate the inquiry unnecessarily. “How did you know it was Mr. Jenkins, Ms. Kelder?”
 
“Well, first of all he was the only one on the course before these gentlemen teed off.” Redmond waited for her to continue, and when she didn’t, “and secondly?”
 
“When Mr. Miller ran back into the clubhouse, almost hysterical, and told me that they found a body in the water at the third hole, I ran down to see who it was. I recognized him immediately. I brought my cell phone with me so I could call 911, which I did.” She clutched the top of her blouse, just below her neck, as she spoke, and held it tightly in her grip. “I wasn’t hysterical, Karen, but I was excited”, Miller said defensively. “I never saw anyone dead before.”
 
“Did you touch the body, Ms Kelder?” “I didn’t touch anything. I wouldn’t do that”. Kelder was slender and spry for her 54 years. She had been an amateur golfer who continued to play a round of golf most days. Wrinkles formed in the dry tanned skin around her eyes and mouth and her brown hair was cropped short and naturally highlighted by the time she spent in the sun. When she smiled, her straight white teeth exemplified the youthfulness and beauty that still lingered.
 
“Someone must have. Didn’t you say that the body was in the water?” He asked the two men. Miller jumped in. “Only his head and shoulders were in the water, not his entire body.”
 
“Then why was his head out of the water when I saw it?” Rick asked. Miller’s head dropped involuntarily, “I thought he had fallen in the water and maybe was drowning, so I pulled him out. Then I saw his head swollen and bloody, and his eye socket crushed. That’s when I ran back up to the clubhouse. At first I thought he fell and hit his head on a rock at the edge of the pond.”
 
“Shit! So the scene had been compromised.” He said resigned. “Okay, okay. Did either of you see anyone else on the course or near the body?” They shook their heads. “How’d you pull him out?” “We grabbed him by the belt and kind of dragged him out of the water. When we saw his face, we just left him there and came back to the clubhouse.” “Mrs. Keller, did you see anyone else besides Mr. Jenkins and these two gentlemen?” “No, not a soul.” As an afterthought, she said, “at least not until the others outside came to sign in and pay for the round they booked.” “Do you know if Mr. Jenkins had any altercations with anyone here? Any problems with anyone?” Redmond directed his question to Karen. “Not that I know of. He was always smiling, very polite and pleasant. He was so sweet and funny too. If he did have any problems here, I wasn’t aware of it. I always looked forward to seeing him here. He was quite a charming man.”
 
Redmond asked Martin and Copp, who returned from making the calls, if they had finished with the witnesses. They had. “If you think of anything else, no matter how insignificant, please call us.”
 
He gave each of them his card, and drew Dave and Donna aside. “I would like you to wait for the forensic team and give me a report on their findings, and have the area checked to see if the perp left anything for us.
 
Oh yes, we had better get the witnesses’ prints, just in case they show up on the body, and have forensics check their shoes, as well. I don’t want to go on a wild goose chase in the event that they left a shoe print. Did I mention I want dogs out here?”
 
“Yes, you did, Rick.” “Good. Donna, did you get a fix on the victim yet, family, anything?” “What I have so far is an address, he was 45, and he’s married. His wife’s name is Lisa. Apparently, they’ve been married for about 14 years. He was a regular here at the golf club. He also has a sister living in the city.
 
Do you want me to follow up with his wife and sister?” “No, I’ll take that dirty detail. I assume they weren’t notified.” “No one has told them yet, as far as I know.” “Okay, I’ll talk to his wife first and then get to his sister. Did the Vic have any other relatives?” “Not that I know of, Rick.” “Okay. We’ll meet at my office as soon as you finish up here. Then we’ll see what we have. Oh, yes, double check with the golfers who are waiting to play to make sure they arrived after Jenkins was killed, and not before. Also get everyone’s name, address, and phone number.” Redmond turned to Kelder, “Ms Kelder? Do you know if Mr. Jenkins car is here?” “One second,” she replied and walked through the clubhouse reception area and outside, looking for his car. When she returned she told Redmond that his car was the black Volvo parked in the first spot on the left.
 
“Donna, Dave, would you check out his car and then have it hauled in for a tight inspection?” “Sure thing,” Dave said. “Ms Kelder, we are going to have to close down the course for the day, at least.” Rick told her.
 
“What about the back nine? Can we use them?” She pleaded. “Definitely not today you can’t. We don’t know if the perp is still on the grounds. We can’t take any chances. The course is closed until tomorrow morning.” He said, annoyed by her questions. “By the way, do you have a map of the course?” “Yes, I do. I’ll get it for you.” Redmond walked to his car map in hand, angry at having to deal with a murder and struggling with a hangover. He did not like the smell of it. It didn’t seem to him to be the run of the mill drug-related hit or a crime of passion. And obviously, it wasn’t robbery. He wondered if he missed anything.
 
.. .. .
 
Driving back into Halifax, he tried to clear the cobwebs from his head; still he could not think straight. It was to be hoped that he covered everything at the site. His fear was that he did not look at all the details, consider all the possibilities. Redmond was concerned that he may have overlooked the obvious and his team would call him on it. This shortcoming so irritated him that he wished he could beat someone with his fists. He was so mad that he wanted to spit.
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