“At Every Turn”
“Now there's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown, when there's no one around”
-Sung by Smokey Robinson
(“Tears of a Clown”)
We were happy to use the sirens and pass traffic on all sides.
This ability to speed was one of the few advantages we had had up to this point.
They had given him a picture of the captured shooter, and one of the dead one. Both of them struck a chord. I had seen them before, but some connection wasn’t firing. Who was this and why did I get a feeling of familiarity when I looked at him?
I passed the picture to Harry, but he didn’t know them.
Max was the break-through, though unwittingly.
“Wow,” he said, looking at the black suspect. “Some elephant is missing his ears!”
That was it! The ears!
Back a few years I had broken a case for a chum at the CIA. His name was Elliot Caine; we had known each other for years, since I had helped him on a case with Iraqi terrorist, but that is wholly a different story.
The problem he was having now was about terrorism ultimately, but right now, it was criminal
Someone, it seemed an organized group, was breaking into evidence storages both here and in our overseas military bases and stealing huge caches of seized guns. That was why the CIA was involved. The market for those stolen guns would be terrorist organizations worldwide. Whoever was selling this many guns to our enemies was making a lot of money, but he was also costing American lives. No one’s favorite kind of Capitalism.
But my friend had a hunch about an upcoming local hit. He was getting a lot of brush-back from his bosses; they hate doing things inside America. (They are only supposed to work overseas and turn over within-the-borders issues to the FBI. But they hated the FBI and more than once they have just done it and missed filing the reports.)
Because of the dancing around with his bosses, we eventually showed up only minutes late for the one big caper. The perps had blasted their way into the storehouse and trucked out the arms. I figured there wouldn’t be much in the way of clues till I saw a black smear on the wall, right by the site of the explosion. Everyone saw it, but nobody put any value to it. It was just some smeared dust from the explosives.
I saw something there.
Following the smear to the end was my pay-off. I got their evidence men to photo it and reconstruct what was basically a print of an ear. Somebody got slightly sooted by the blast and fell against the wall coming into the room. The soot left a swipe on the wall, but we could use the computer to compile it and make it a print of an ear.
Few people know that ears are as individual as fingerprints. Long story short (although it never is), it let us identify one of the team. His name was Lawrence Pressman.
Thinking about it, the other guy seemed to be linked in my mind to Pressman from the same case.
But, unless something was very wrong, Pressman should have been in stir at least till this year. Hardly time to get involved with a cult like this one. Certainly not long enough to reach a higher security level. They wouldn’t want some newbie to leak some valuable clues. Unless…
I called the station house and put in a request. When we got there, we might be better armed for this interrogation than we had thought. And if I was right, things had just gotten far more complicated than they had been.
© C. Wayne Owens