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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.
Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.
This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.
Part 5 – Killing Power
FBI Special Agent Martin Nash went with me and Cindy as the afternoon of Tuesday, February 21st began showing signs of age. We were driving in the Black Beauty, and Martin Nash was really looking over the car from the shotgun seat. Cindy showed him a few of the things in the car, like the radar and portions of the GPS tracking system that most everyday cars don’t have access to. But she may have conveeeniently forgotten to mention the weapons systems.
Our first stop was the home of the late Honey Parker. Her husband Eric Parker talked to us. After the initial condolences, I began.
“Sir, your wife worked with a human resources consulting firm?” I asked. “May I ask what she specifically did for the company?”
“Yes.” said Eric Parker. “The company would advise their clients on efficiency and regulatory compliance, but also would handle some of the data technology, automation, pay, things like that. She was a liaison between the clients and the data group.”
“And you are a lawyer, sir?”
“Yes, I am.” said Eric. “I was in my own practice up to about three years ago, then I sold that out and became a lawyer for BigPharmaCorp, mostly handling lawsuits against them.”
“I see.” I said. “Do you know of anyone at your wife’s company, her client companies, or BigPharmaCorp that might have reason to want to harm your wife?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Let me be a little bit more incisive on that.” I said. “You didn’t report your wife’s disappearance for well over 48 hours after she was last seen, at a dinner with some of her I.T. group. Why did you wait for so long?”
“Uh…” said Eric Parker. “Er, this is kind of hard to talk about. My wife and I had what you would call an ‘open’ relationship. She was… ‘dating’, for lack of a better term… one of the younger men in the data group, a guy named Mike. I thought she had gone home with him for the night; it would not have been the first time. So I didn’t think much of it until she didn’t come back the next morning. I couldn’t get a hold of her, nor Mike, but I still waited another day before really getting worried.”
I peered at Eric Parker as Cindy asked “Did Mike disappear also?”
“Yes. He did.” said Eric. “When I was told of the bodies that had been found, I thought the man that was found was Mike. But it wasn’t, it was some college student. I have no idea who he was, though.”
“Let me ask you this, Mr. Parker.” I said, letting my voice get just a bit hard. “Were you contacted by someone regarding your wife’s disappearance? Like on the night she disappeared?”
“Uhh…” Eric said, then halted.
“Mr. Parker,” I said, “we really need to know. We’re trying to prevent any future deaths. We need your help, Mr. Parker. Did someone contact you?”
Eric conceded. “Yes.” he said. “I was contacted by a man. His voice sounded weird… whispery… and almost like he was laughing at me through the phone.”
“What did he want?” I asked. “What was his ransom price? And Mr. Parker, I know it wasn’t just money, or you would’ve told the FBI that, and they could’ve helped arrange to get the money. But you said nothing, so the man wanted something else. What was it?”
Eric was contemplating hard. He finally said “I don’t know if I can tell you without ankara eryaman escortlar incriminating myself. So I can’t answer the question, and if you press, I’ll formally take the Fifth.”
“I understand.” I said. “So why don’t I tell you what the blackmailer wanted, and you can withhold a denial if it’s true. I think he either wanted some legal papers you had, or he wanted you to obtain some legal information, either about a past client of yours, or about BigPharmaCorp. Or maybe about some shady legal work you did in the past for someone, something dirty you helped hide. Now Mr. Parker, I am not interested in going after you; I’m trying to find your wife’s killer. So do you deny that I am right?”
Eric Parker just stared at me and said nothing, maintaining a stony silence. “Thank you, Mr. Parker, and again I am sorry for your loss. I want you to get a lawyer, then contact me through the SBI. Here’s my card, just call that number. I will arrange to get you immunity so that you can tell us more, if you’d be willing to do that… for Honey’s sake.”
“I’ll consider it.” said Eric.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Grant Leslie’s parents were in their early fifties, and like Honey Parker’s husband, lived in the western suburbs of the City.
After introductions and formalities, I began: “Grant was a college student when he disappeared?”
“Yes.” said Mr. Leslie.
“He had no official major, but do you know what he was interested in studying?” I asked.
“Not sure.” said Mr. Leslie. “I was surprised he went to college at all. I figured he’d have to find a job or start a business of his own after he got out of the Army.”
“Do you know of anyone who might have wanted to harm your son?” Cindy asked.
“Uhhh, not really.” said Mr. Leslie.
“Dear, let’s tell the FBI the full truth.” said Mrs. Leslie, a very attractive woman whose shapely body was just beginning to put on weight. She reminded me of Della Harlow. She said “Grant was very sexually active. We were always scared to death that some girl was going to knock on our door and tell us that Grant had impregnated her. Grant seduced at least ten of the wives in our neighborhood, and while they tried not to talk in front of me, things came back to me about what he was doing.”
I nodded as Mrs. Leslie continued: “Grant was caught in bed with Mrs. Christian, one of the teachers at his high school, by her husband. Mr. Christian attacked Grant, and Grant beat the man up, and pretty badly. It was self-defense, but the Police arrested Grant, anyway. Mrs. Christian made a plea deal to avoid being prosecuted, and as part of it she admitted under oath that Grant was defending himself.”
“Still,” said Mrs. Leslie, “Grant was ‘encouraged’ to join the Army and the charges would be dropped. They don’t sentence people to join the Army anymore; the Army won’t accept them. But Grant went to the Recruiting Office and joined up, anyway.”
“And he was dishonorably discharged?” I asked.
“Yes sir.” said Mrs. Leslie, as her husband looked on with a face of deep disapproval… at what, I was not sure. “Grant was again caught having sex, this time with an Officer’s wife. A young little Second Lieutenant. That cuckolded Lieutenant attacked Grant and Grant had to defend himself, and then the wife said Grant was raping her! The Army CID found out that she was a filthy tramp that would spread her legs for anyone, so they leaned hard on her and she admitted the sex was consentual.”
“Still,” continued Mrs. Leslie, “the Army charged Grant with assaulting an Officer. He was offered a Dishonorable discharge in exchange for no jail time, and his military lawyer told him to take it or end up in Leavenworth. If you ask me, the whole damn thing was rigged, destroying an Enlisted man to protect their worthless Officers regardless of the truth.”
“What about right before he disappeared?” escort etimesgut I asked. “Anyone want to harm him at that time?”
“I’m sure there are a number of other husbands who didn’t like Grant seducing their wives.” said Mrs. Leslie. “But I don’t know any specifics or any names. And Grant never said anything about being in trouble.” Mr. Leslie nodded in agreement.
“You were a journalist at one time, Mrs. Leslie?” I asked.
“Yes, I was. I was with KSB.” said Mrs. Leslie. “I left there some years ago.”
“You resigned?” asked Cindy, peering at the woman.
“No.” Mrs. Leslie conceded. “I was part of a massive layoff they have every so many years. They treat people like toilet tissue, then throw us in the toilet and flush whenever they damn well please.”
“Do you know of anyone who might bear a grudge against you, for past reporting, Mrs. Leslie?” asked Martin Nash.
“No sir.” said Mrs. Leslie. “Not that I know of. I was never a hard news reporter or someone who found out things one shouldn’t know.”
“Mr. Leslie,” I said, “you were with the Court system?”
“Yes sir.” said Mr. Leslie. “I was a Custodian of Records. I would bring evidence from the Evidence Rooms to the Court when it was needed for the trials, and I also transferred paperwork for legal proceedings. Stuff like that.”
“I understand.” I said. “So you didn’t call the FBI for three days after Grant was last seen alive. Is there a reason for that?”
“Simple.” said Mr. Leslie. “We didn’t know. We would go for days without talking to Grant at all. It was one of his friends at school that called and asked if he was at home with us, and when no one could find him, we contacted the Police.”
“I see.” I said. “”So… I’m going to ask you a question, and for the sake of your son and to find his killer, I need your cooperation. Did anyone contact you and try to blackmail you, particularly right before or after your son disappeared?”
“No.” said Mr. Leslie.
“I wouldn’t say ‘blackmailed’.” said Mrs. Leslie. “But right before what we now know is the time Grant disappeared, a man contacted me by phone. He said his name was George. He had a very strange voice, kind of quiet but that’s not a good explanation, it was just… weird. Anyway, he said he had a potential story on abuse of sanitarium patients, of drug tests being done on them.”
“I asked if he had any proof, and that I would meet him in a public place if he did.” said Mrs. Leslie. “He said he didn’t have the proof, but had leads that would point me in the right direction, and as a reporter I could do some digging and break the story. He said it would get me a new job, and make KSB sorry for firing me.”
“So what happened?” I asked when Mrs. Leslie stopped right there.
“Er, nothing.” said Mrs. Leslie. “I offered to put George in contact with a reporter I knew from a competing network, and that seemed to make him angry. He just said I’d regret it and he hung up. I never heard from him again.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I did not play the Game. After getting Jack Muscone’s permission, I called and asked Jonathan and Jennifer Hart to come to the FBI offices for interviews. They came down… with their lawyer. He was Nathan Masterson, of Gresham he went to the DepDirector’s office. Les Craig went in, and I did not introduce him, wanting to see the Harts’s reactions. Yep, they knew who he was, I swiftly observed.
“My clients believe they are in a situation that might be misinterpreted by law enforcement.” said Nathan Masterson. “They also are aware the the FBI likes to throw the ‘lying to Federal Agents’ charge in people’s faces as a means to extort confessions. So my client is going to make a statement. If you want further information or questions answered, we will have to negotiate an immunity agreement.”
“I’m not promising anything yet.” batıkent escort I said. “But let’s hear your statement.”
Mr. Hart began: “I started my Pharma Research venture company when my now-wife and another doctor, a Dr. Paul Sexton, came to me. They had researched some old drug patents which had expired, and were looking on ways to improve them with new processes and formulas. My team did find some promising leads, and we got patents on the new drugs we created as well as a couple of process patents.”
“The old, original drugs were attempts to reduce the effects of mental illnesses.” said Mr. Hart. “Our new drugs were tested under rigorous FDA conditions, with the safety of our patients always at the forefront of our plans and thinking. We did not think the results were all that promising, and we informed BigPharmaCorp of that when they offered to buy us out. They did not seem to be worried, but bought the company, the drug rights, and leased the patents that we held.”
“Any questions?” asked the wily lawyer Nathan Masterson.
“No.” I said, which I think shocked almost everyone in the room. When no one else had questions, I said “Thank you for your time and for coming here, Mr. and Mrs. Hart, especially in this, your time of grief. I look forward to bringing your daughter’s killer to Justice.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“We don’t have to ask.” I said. “Isn’t it obvious?”
“Not to us.” said the DepDirector as we sat in the conference room after the Harts and their lawyer had left. Also in the room were Jack Muscone, Les Craig, and Cindy Ross. Outside, the sun was setting on this very busy Tuesday, February 21st.
“I asked them if they had been contacted by a blackmailer. Like Eric Parker, they clammed up.” I said. “If I asked any further, the Harts would’ve done the same.”
“So a blackmailer is extorting money from them by kidnapping their daughter or wife?” said Jack Muscone. “Why not just admit that? Why not pay the money? Or contact the FBI in the first place? We handle these things all the time.”
“This blackmailer…” I said. “… is different. Very different. This guy is blackmailing over something else. It is not money that he is seeking. It appears to be some form of vengeance. And I might add that as far as we know, none of his victims have ever been returned alive.”
“That’s true.” said the DepDirector. “So let me ask this: Jonathan Hart has a connection to BigPharmaCorp, as do some of our Superior Bloodlines suspects. Do you think there is a connection there?”
“I… I dunno, sir.” I said. “I think Hart told it straight tonight: his company was supporting some research startups, nothing was panning out, and they sold out to BigPharmaCorp when they had the chance. I do think BigPharmaCorp may have developed other things out of their acquisitions, but Hart may or may not have a clue about that. Your people will have to research that, and him.”
“And his wife.” said Cindy. “She’s hip-deep in whatever kimshee he’s in.”
“How do you know that?” asked Les Craig, as if speaking to a misguided child.
“Observation, deduction, and knowledge.” said Cindy witheringly. “I was watching her facial expressions and her eyes, Agent Craig, while you were obviously looking at… other parts of her.” I chuckled as Craig’s eyes flashed fire. Muscone and the DepDirector remained stone-faced silent.
“All right, guys.” said the DepDirector. “I’m going to tell Clark Webster and Lindy Linares to keep working on any missing persons that might be the work of this Black Velvet wacko, but beyond that I’m handing the ball back to you, Inspector Troy of the SBI. Feel free to work with Lindy as much as you need to, but that will be the extent of our part in it.”
He continued: “I’m going to re-focus the rest of us on Superior Bloodlines and the very real and grave threat of these nerve agent mothballs. So, unless there’s something else, I’ll let you guys get on the road to get back home.” He stood up, indicating the meeting was over.
“Thank you for all your help, Mr. Director.” I said, shaking his hand. He shook Cindy’s hand, also.
“Jack, will you walk them out?” said the DepDirector.
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