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Slice     【John Culjak의 지식창고】 2018.04.22. 14:19 (2018.04.21. 18:53)

Chapter 9

 
John Culjak' Novel 'Slice' - Chap 9
The predawn air was cool coming off the ocean, and the daylight on the horizon was barely perceptible. A single car passing the house slid by unnoticed; only its lights, like a bolt of lightning, flashed and dissipated. Driver paid no heed to the fleeting light. He busied himself with the work necessary to continue with his strategy. He wanted to be at the Indian Lake Golf Course before the sun rose. He dressed in the clothes, old golf attire he laid out the night before. He made his bed, brushed his hair and teeth and went downstairs. He looked in the cabinet under the sink and found a box of clear latex gloves that he bought at a medical supply store on Ilsley Avenue. He took a pair, put them on, and said silently, ‘they fit like a glove,’ at which he laughed out loud like a fool. Driver went to the hall to get his club, stopped and realized that he should also bring a pair of golf gloves, a right and left hand glove. He thought about eating first, but realized he had no time. He opened the front door, carrying the club, looked both ways to make sure no one was on the street. Then Driver looked at the houses across the street to be sure there were no lights on. Only when he was reasonably assured that he could leave the house without being seen he did so. He got into his car, putting the club on the floor of the passenger’s side, started the car, turned the lights on, and started out to Indian Lake. Driver drove along Henry Street and once he turned left onto Coburg Road, he knew he was just another early morning driver on the street. Driver took a right on Oxford driving at the 50-km speed limit. He was just one of the few on the road driving to work. Then he headed down Quinpool Road toward the newly constructed Armdale roundabout. It was clear at this time of the morning, and Driver turned onto the Bay Road, gradually picking up speed. He knew that it was almost dawn, and he needed to get to the golf course before light, so as to be unseen. He was only five minutes away now. He turned onto Route 333 and began to exceed the speed limit, knowing that the old highway would not be patrolled at this time of the day. He drove past Exhibition Park and knew he was getting close to his destination. When he arrived at the course turn off, he stopped the car. There was no other traffic. He got out, taking the club and hid it in the bushes. Driver got back into the car and drove along 333 for about two minutes, saw Moosehorn Auto on the left, pulled his car into the unpaved lot and parked it among the other cars. Then, without being seen, walked back to the entrance to the golf course. The trek took about eight minutes. He retrieved his club, walked on the grass along the gravel road leading to the golf course so as to make the least noise possible. Moving cautiously, he paused at each house along the road to make certain there was no outdoor movement from any of the residents. Once past the houses, he approached the club parking lot. He saw no one; there was no activity, but he still stayed close to the right edge of the lot so as to be less conspicuous in case a staff member drove in. In no time, Driver was at the edge of the woods by the second hole. He moved into the woods holding his club at his side drifting out of sight and disappeared in the dark of the trees and heavy brush.
 
.. .. .
 
Jean Jenkins awoke at her customary time, which was at the first hint of daylight. She never set an alarm, yet seven days a week she woke and got out of bed without the slightest feeling of sleepiness, regardless as to what time she went to bed. However, her bedtime normally allowed her eight hours of sleep. This morning was no exception. Even though Jean bathed the night before, she took a shower, then dressed, and had breakfast that consisted of a half of a grapefruit, and one slice of toast with butter and marmalade. She also took several vitamins and supplements with a small glass of mango juice. Within an hour after she got up, Jean was on her computer to search for gun ownership requirements. To the left of her desk, on a small shelf was a photograph of her and Geoff, taken thirty years ago on a warm summer day. Jean remembered that on that day the family was on a picnic at Point Pleasant Park. She and Geoff had been throwing a Frisbee around and the game later turned into a wrestling match. As she reminisced, Jean let out a sigh that became a soft whimper. She returned to her undertaking at the computer. Jean googled gun ownership requirements and on the first page of results she saw and clicked on Gun Control laws in Canada. She read down the first page; the Canadian Firearms Act required one to obtain a possession and acquisition license. In addition, Canadians who own or are buying handguns are required to take and complete the Firearms Safety Course, as well as having a present or past spouse, or common-law partner sign the application. More importantly, handgun ownership is restricted to collectors, target shooters and those who demonstrate a need of a gun to protect their lives. I suppose I could qualify under the target shooting category, Jean thought optimistically. As an afterthought, she realized that it would take forever to go through the process, even if she qualified, which was not likely. I’ll have to take another route. Friggin’ gun control, she thought, her eyes welling with tears. Jean dialed Lisa who picked up after the third ring. “Lisa, have you started preparations for Geoff’s funeral yet?” Getting right to the point. “Yes, I have, Jean,” she said crying softly. “But I need to wait until his body is released. My mom is helping. Actually, she is doing most of it.” “Do you have a gun, Lisa?” Jean asked without hesitation. “A gun?” “Yes, a gun.” “No. No, Jean, I don’t. Why do you ask?”
 
“Did Geoff have one, do you know?” Jean wanted to know, ignoring Lisa’s question. “If he did, I’ve never seen it. I just can’t imagine him having had one.” “Nor can I, Lisa, but I just thought...well, it was a long shot.”
 
Why do you want to know, Jean?” Jean ignored her question again and asked, “Will you let me know if there is anything I can do, Lisa? Please let me know, okay? You know how much Geoff meant to me. We are...we were very close.” She said holding back tears. “I know, Jean. I know.”
 
.. .. .
 
Rick went to the station earlier than usual. It was quiet; he was the only one there. He found the murder book on his desk where Stenson had left it the night before, and searched through it quickly. He found Philip Nickerson’s home phone number, work number and address, and scratched it down in his note pad, then looked at the time. Should call him now; maybe I’ll catch him before he goes to work. Redmond dialed Nickerson’s number. He picked up, and said “Philip here.”
 
“Philip Nickerson?” “Yes, it is. Who wants to know?” “Mr. Nickerson, this is Detective Redmond, the Halifax Police.” “What? Are you kidding me? What’s this about?” “Not kidding you at all Mr. Nickerson. I’m calling because someone you know had been killed and I need to talk to you about it.” Redmond informed him. “Oh my god! Who was killed? And how?” “I have to meet with you, Mr. Nickerson. Is it possible to do that now?” “What did you say your name was, Detective?
 
“It’s Detective Redmond. And it is important that we talk as soon as possible.” “Well, Detective, I was about to leave for work, but I suppose we can get together now. Where do you want to meet?”
 
“I would prefer meeting at your place, if that’s possible. I can be there in ten minutes.” “That will be fine Detective ... a ... Redmond. Do you know where I live?” “Yes. I have your address. You’re on Wellington, right?”
 
That’s right Detective. I’ll wait for you. I hope it won’t take too long.” “I’ll see you in about fifteen minutes, Mr. Nickerson. And it shouldn’t take too long.” He said and hung up. Redmond noticed that Martin had come in while he was on the phone.
 
“Hey, Dave.” He called out to him. “Did you see Donna and Stenson?” “Yeah. I saw them about a half hour ago. We came in about the same time, but I went back out for a coffee. I think they said something about going out to the golf course to talk to someone there.”
 
“Okay. Thanks. If you see them before I get back, tell them to wait here for me. I need to talk to them both.” “You got it, Rick. Will do. Is there anything you want me to do in the meantime?”
 
“Yeah, Dave, call Lisa Jenkins and see what you can find out about her husbands friends. We need to know who they are, where they work, what kind of relationship they had with the Vic.” “Consider it done, Rick.” He shouted to Redmond as he left the office.
 
.. .. .
 
Donna and Stenson left early for the Indian Lake Golf Course, so as to avoid the early morning rush hour. En route, Donna called ahead to the club manager, Karen Kelder, to tell her that they were on the way to talk to her. After a short mild protest, Karen agreed to meet with them. Stenson pulled the car into the parking spot closest to the entry gate. Two other cars were sitting in the newly expanded lot. A man, who was landscaping the area of ground that was an extension of the gate, stood up and stretched to relieve the stress on his back. The area he was working on looked like a narrow seawall with stones on either side of the rich soil enriched by flowering bushes. “Good morning,” he said to the detectives. “Good morning,” Donna replied, Stenson nodding. “We’re looking for Ms Kelder.” Stenson added. “Oh. I’m her husband, Mitch. You don’t look like you’re going to play a round.” He said smiling. “Are you the detectives who wanted to talk to her about Geoff’s death?” He directed his question to Stenson.
 
“Yes, we are, Mr. Kelder.” Stenson replied. Mitch smiled. “That’s Mitchell, ‘Mitch’, Kline. Karen kept her maiden name when we got married.” “Oh, sorry.” Stenson said. “I shouldn’t have assumed. “That’s okay. It’s a common mistake. It happens both ways. Let me take you there. Karen is working the desk in the clubhouse. She’s the social one. I’ll fill in so you can talk to her.” Mitch said, wiping his dirty hands on the back of his pants and as he headed toward the clubhouse. “Thanks, Mr. Kline.” Donna said as they followed him. Both Donna and Stenson recognized Karen from the first time they saw her. She was standing behind he counter busy with the daily setup. “Karen, these are the detectives that wanted to talk to you. I’ll take over for you so you can talk in the office.” “Ms Kelder, I’m Detective Stenson, and this is Detective Copp.” “Yes, hi. I remember you,” she said and turned to her husband. “No need to cover for me, Mitch. Liz is here. She can handle it. You have your own work to do.” “Good,” Mitch said with a sense of relief. “You know that I would much rather be working outside.” Grinning. “See ya later.” Mitch left to return to his landscaping. “Liz. “Karen called into the kitchen. “Yes?” Liz answered as she went to the doorway between the kitchen and the counter reception area. Liz is a pretty girl in her late teens with a plump rosy-cheeked face, her auburn colored hair was pulled back neatly in a ponytail. She wore a white apron and was obviously preparing food for the day.
 
“Can you look after the desk for a bit? I have a short meeting to attend to.” She said gesturing towards the detectives. “I won’t be long. If you need anything, we’ll be in the office.” “Sure thing, Karen.” Liz said warmly, undoing her apron and tossing it in the kitchen on a counter. Karen led Donna and Stenson through the kitchen to a small office in which was a desk and two chairs. She closed the door behind them. The desk was neat, with two piles of papers, a laptop computer, an electronic calculator and an accounting book. On a small table next to the desk was a printer-copier. Various forms and other papers were spread out on a shelf. Karen sat on the edge of the desk and offered seats to Donna and Stenson. Donna sat; Stenson did not. “Now, how can I help you?” Karen asked.
 
“There are a few things we need to know, Ms Kelder.” Donna started. “We need the names of everyone on staff, especially those who were working when Mr. Jenkins was killed.” “That’s easy.” Karen reached behind her and took a sheet of paper from the desk. “This is a list of everyone who works here and the work schedule for the week.” She handed the schedule to Donna to peruse. Stenson looked at the schedule over Donna’s shoulder. “As you can see, there were only three of us working at the time of Mr. Jenkins murder; Mitch and I, and Buddy. Buddy works full time, does the grooming, and watering of the fairways and greens. He was here, but he doing maintenance on the machines in the shed just below the clubhouse. It was also his job to wipe down the carts before he brought them out. Liz wasn’t in yet. She was scheduled to come in at ten. I hope that helps a bit.”
 
“That’s very helpful. Now, does the FT and PT after the names refer to full time and part time?” “Exactly.” She replied. “What about the other employees?” Donna asked. “Is it possible that any of them were here, on a casual basis?”
 
“I don’t understand what you are talking about. What do you mean by a ‘casual basis’?” “What I mean is,” Donna explained, “were any of your employees, who were not scheduled to work, here for any reason, possibly hanging around?”
 
“It’s possible, I suppose. Jim is on vacation. He said he was going to see family in Ontario, so obviously he wasn’t here. Barb and Nick have classes at Dalhousie just about every day. You’ll have to check with them to see if they were at class or not. I certainly didn’t see them. Their phone numbers are on the schedule, by the way.” She said, pointing to the copy that Donna held.
 
“Do you know if any of them had any contact with Mr. Jenkins: perhaps a run in or a confrontation of some sort?” Stenson inquired. “Not to my knowledge. If anyone of them had a disagreement with Mr. Jenkins, I never heard about it. You’ll just have to find out from them, I suppose.” She said with some irritability.
 
Donna asked if they could keep the schedule or have a copy of it, and Karen told her to keep it, that she has it on the computer and would print another copy out for herself. “Thank you so much for your help, Mrs. Kelder. You’ve been most helpful.” Stenson smiled broadly. “Oh, by the way, where was Mr. Kline that morning?” “Pardon me? Are you telling me that you suspect that Mitch had something do with the murder? He’s the gentlest man I ever met.” Karen said defensively. “No, I don’t think he had anything to do with it, but we do have to ask; just to eliminate him as a suspect. Perhaps he saw something that might be helpful.” Stenson offered. “Well, detective, I find that quite offensive. However, Mitch was here in the office, calling gardening centers, Halifax Seed and Atlantic Gardens I think, to have some bushes delivered. You may have seen him planting them when you came in.” She said folding her arms tightly. Donna cut in. “We’re sorry if that offended you, Mrs. Kelder. We had to ask. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t. Besides, as Stenson said, it is possible that he saw something that could be helpful. Thanks again for your time and trouble.” Stenson as an afterthought added, “Do you have any idea who Mr. Jenkins played golf with? Or did he usually golf by himself?” After giving it some thought, Karen said, “Most of the time Mr. Jenkins played with two or three other men. In fact, the only time I recall seeing the others is when they came with Mr. Jenkins. On the rare occasion Mr. Jenkins played a round by himself, like yesterday.” “Do you know the names of the other men, Mrs. Kelder?” Donna asked. “Umm, let me see.” Thinking. “Mr. Jenkins usually booked the times, but every once in a while a...a Mr. Devion or something like that, booked the times. I don’t remember the names of the others.” “Mr. Devion.” Donna wrote. “If you remember or if you have the names down anywhere, please let us know as soon as possible, or if you think of anything else that may be of interest to us, please call. Anything at all, okay?” Stenson requested. “And thanks again, Mrs. Kelder.”
 
“You’re welcome; and yes I’ll let you know when I find the names of the others. I am sure it’s in my accounting somewhere. And I’ll call you if I think of anything else.” Karen quickly led them out to the front reception counter and then Donna and Stenson left the clubhouse.
 
.. .. .
 
At the third hole, Driver sat out of sight in the woods with his club at his side about 150 yards or so from the tee box. Mosquitoes were buzzing around his head as he sat still. The pests were starting to annoy him. He already had several bites on the back of his neck. He hoped for the wind to pick up and blow them away. It never happened. Driver took a small bottle of insect repellant out of his pants pocket, took the golf glove and the latex glove off his right hand, opened the bottle and poured some of the contents into it. He rubbed the repellant liberally on his ears, neck, face, and in his hairline. He repeated the process on his arms up to and under the short sleeves of the shirt. He felt immediate relief. The buzzing continued around his head but did not bother him at all, now that the mosquitoes were no longer landing on the exposed areas of skin. He was growing impatient waiting for the right moment. Several groups of golfers had already played the hole and moved on. He did not want to spend the entire day waiting; he deplored waiting. Waiting was enigmatic and could only set in motion a series of unwelcomed mistakes, he thought. Driver pulled several used golf balls out of his pocket an examined them. Each one was a different brand; all were the most popular commercial ones. Driver heard some lively talking on the fairway. He stood up, knowing he could not be seen, and peered from around a tree to see a group of three women playing the hole. He experienced mixed feelings about the group; too much chatter, too slow a pace. If anyone were playing behind them, they would be, more than likely, very close by. That was not good. In fact, it could be disastrous. Driver sat down again and waited. The women were laughing and noisy. None of them hit the ball any great distance, but when they hit it, it was very accurate, which did not help. Their banter aggravated him and he feared that he would not be successful today. He found that coming back again would be unpleasant and risky. The less time he spent in the woods, the better. He was pleased when the women finished the hole even though he could hear them chatting on the way to the next hole. Driver stood up to see if there was any more traffic. He saw a man and, what he believed to be, a boy at the tee box. The boy teed off first and drove his shot about a hundred yards down the left side of the fairway in the first cut of the rough, which was about seventy yards short of where Driver was waiting. The man followed with his drive and the ball was a high slice going into the woods and landing about ten feet from where Driver was sitting. He was in luck, which didn’t say much for the man who hit the ball. They walked after their balls, and Driver heard the man say, “You might as well look for your ball and play through while I go ahead and see if I can find my ball.” The boy said he would catch up to him after he took his next shot. Driver took the balls out of his pocket and strategically placed each one either under a log or bush, or in a hole. He then started walking around as though he were searching for his own lost ball. The boy arrived in the area where he hit his ball, but did not find it immediately. The man walked along the right side of the fairway, pulling his cart and bag behind him until he reached the spot where he believed his ball had entered the woods. He took a wedge from the bag, left his clubs in the fairway, and climbed over a small drain ditch, and found a worn path that he followed into the dense wooded area. He began looking for his ball after taking about ten paces into the woods. He kicked at new growth bushes, pushing the small branches aside with his club. He stopped and surveyed the entire are, looking at clear open areas with expectations of spotting his ball. At that point, Driver walked into view and said, “Hi. I think your ball is over here. I didn’t see it, but I heard it rustling through the trees and heard the thud of it landing.” “Thanks,” the man said, starting in Driver’s direction. “You’re not playing this hole are you? I didn’t see your golf bag.”
 
Driver said, “No, I hit my ball from the fairway on the other side; a disastrous shot, I must admit.” Driver pointed in the direction of where he planted one of the balls. “There’s a ball. Is that yours?” The man checked the ball. “Nope. That’s not it. I was playing a Top Flite XL, number three. Well, I think I’ll just play another ball...the found one.” Driver walks over to where he placed the other ball in a hole and said, “Hey, wait a minute, this may be yours.” Pointing to the ball. The man bent over to pick the ball up, and Driver, moving in behind him, brought his club back, high over his head and swung down as hard as he could, striking the man square in the temple. Driver felt the skull collapsing under the force of the blow. Blood poured out of the open wound. The man fell to the ground and did not move. After taking a moment to watch the man, Driver reached down to check for a pulse in the man’s neck. There was none. It was quick and simple. Driver wiped his bloody club first in the soil and then on the pants of the downed golfer. Then he checked to make sure that no blood spurted on his clothes. He found no specks of blood. Driver was startled by the voice of the boy who had been accompanying the man. He called out. “Dad, did you find your ball? You should have seen my shot. I got it on the green in two; first time ever. This is a great course; glad we came here.” Driver did not have time to leave or obscure himself from the boys view. “Oh,” The boy said. “Did you see my dad?” Driver responded quickly. “Gee, son, I think your dad is injured. He may have fallen or something. I saw him lying on the ground and I was going to go for help. He’s over there. I’ll show you.” Driver lead the boy to the area and the boy ran to his father’s body and bent over him to help. “Dad! Dad!” He cried. Driver was behind the boy and without hesitation calmly and deliberately lifted the club and brought it down swiftly and with brute force upon the boy’s head. The boy’s skull bore the brunt of the blow and he fell listless, his body coming to rest on top of his father’s body. Again, Driver brought the club high behind him and level with his shoulders as though he was going to tee off and smashed it hard into the boy’s skull, driving it home. He struck the boy several times more to ensure that the he would never awaken to identify him. He then took a white wooden tee out of his pocket and dropped it next to the bodies. When driver left, the boy’s body was lying on top of his father’s body in a loving embrace. The blood from the dead boy’s head wound saturated the man’s shirt.
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