Welcome to the Mystery World of Reason…
“One more time, tell us exactly what happened when this woman, came here.” I say to Jason, the gas station clerk showing him the picture of our killer.
“Well she came in and was looking around, but she didn’t buy anything. Now I realize she was probably just waiting for everyone to leave.” Jason says, “When everyone was gone she came up to the counter and handed me this letter. Then she said, ‘Wait ten minutes then call the police’. I tried asking her what this was all bout but she just walked away.”
“And why didn’t you call us right away?” Steve asks.
“I don’t know.” Jason says plainly.
“And you’re sure this is the woman you saw?” Captain Philip asks Jason.
“Yes, Sir.” Jason replies, “What is this all about?”
“A murder investigation.” I say as I walk out of the gas station. I need to clear my head.
“John.” Stone says, “Are you alright?”
“No I’m not.” I say pacing back and forth, “How could she be this close? She’s really bold you know. She could have picked any gas station, but she picks the one that is closest to our office. TO THE FBI OFFICE! Is she crazy or does she want to get caught? Or maybe she’s so arrogant that she thinks she can walk right next to us and we won’t notice. Or maybe she thinks we’re that dumb.”
“Why don’t you take the rest of the day John?” Cap says walking out of the gas station.
“I’m good.” I say. “Have they figured out what the letter says and what language it’s in?”
“When was the last time you went to therapy?” Cap asks.
“I don’t know.” I say, “A couple of days ago, but I haven’t had any blackouts so like I said I’m good.”
“He’s telling the truth Cap.” Steve says, “I’ve been watching him.”
“Alright.” Cap says, “Let’s head back to the office, and see if they’ve translated the letter.”
We all head back to the office and I can tell I am not the only one on edge. “Cap, we have to do something.” Steve says.
“She was right under our nose.” Stone says.
“She’s so arrogant.” Chambers says.
“This killer isn’t arrogant. She’s determined.” I say, “Which is even worse. She has a mission and she is determined to complete it, to matter what.”
“Usually sociopaths deescalate and make a mistake, but this woman hasn’t made a mistake yet.” Steve says, “Except for leaving that hair with DNA on it wrapped around the baby’s hand, but there’s no way she could have even known that.”
“Yeah.” I say, “That really was just luck…for us anyway.”
“Steve, John go to the location agent Minder gave us.” Cap says, “Stone, Chambers go talk to the guy that runs the Doctor’s Fantasy website and see if we can find out more about ‘Amanda’s’ profile.”
“Cap, you never did tell us how the killer kidnapped the twins?” Steve asks.
“The killer posed as a babysitter.” Cap says.
“What?” I ask. “Did she have references?”
“Yes.” Cap says, “All her references ‘checked out’ according to the parents, but I don’t think they actually checked.”
“Why do you say that?” Stones asks.
“We checked those so called references and they came up fake.” Cap says, “If the parents had bothered to call any one of those numbers they would have seen that none of them were real.”
“Why wouldn’t they check?” Steve asks, “That doesn’t make sense.”
“They’re young.” Cap says, “And they and I quote ‘had a really cool party to go to’”
“I’m walking away now.” I say.
“That was my reaction.” Cap says.
Steve and I go to the Locks of Love location agent Minder gave us and when we walk in, there is a lady at the front desk frantically trying to organize a large pile of papers and boxes. “Ma’am, I’m detective Gray, this is detective Meres. Is the manager available?” I say showing her my badge.
“Yes, hi. I’m Margaret.” Margaret says pushing papers and boxes left and right, “Sorry about the mess. We don’t usually have visitors, this is just the sorting office.”
“No worries.” Steve says.
“Deb is on her way, she’s late.” Margaret says, “She’s the manager. Why do you guys want to talk to Deb?”
“Margaret, that’s a pretty name.” I say.
Margaret stops what she is doing and smiles shyly, “Thanks. No one has ever told me that before.”
“I can’t imagine why.” I say, “A beautiful name for a beautiful girl, it makes sense.”
Margaret giggles then says, “Oh my you’re making me blush, but thank you. You’re a very handsome guy. What nationality are you?”
“I’m Haitian.” I say, “And yourself?”
“I’m from Jamaica.” Margaret says blushing.
“Hey, sorry I’m late.” A woman says, coming into the office. She must be Deb.
I look at Steve and he approaches Deb, “Hello you must be Deb. My name is Detective Steve Meres. Is there somewhere private we can talk?”
“Yes, of course.” Deb says, “Come into my office.”
“Aren’t you going with them?” Margaret asks looking at her feet.
“I’d rather be out here talking to you.” I say.
Margaret looks at me and smiles, “I don’t know what to say.”
“So how long have you been working here beautiful?” I ask.
“Well, about five years now.” Margaret responds.
“That’s a long time.” I say, “Do you like it?”
“I love it.” Margaret says.
I walk around the desk so I am closer to Margaret. “What do you like about it?” I ask leaning on the desk.
“I don’t know.” Margaret says, “It’s a quiet job, and I get fulfillment, knowing I’m helping people who have cancer.”
“Wow so you’re not only beautiful, you have a beautiful heart.” I say looking into Margaret’s eyes.
“Thank you.” Margaret says looking down.
“So how does this all work?” I ask pointing to all the boxes.
“When people donate their hair we send them a package and they send it back with the hair.” Margaret explains, “We have very specific instructions and requirements on what we’ll accept.”
“Hmm.” I say, “And what about the people receiving the hair, what’s that process like.”
“They have requirements as well, they go through a screening process.” Margaret says.
“Do you keep a record of everyone you donate to?” I ask, “Like if I wanted to know who a particular hair was donated to could I get that info.”
“Well, I don’t know about other offices, but we keep a really tight record of every transaction.” Margaret says whispering, “Deb is kind of a control freak.”
“There’s a lady who donated her hair to this office.” I say.
“Oh.” Margaret says.
“If I gave you her name could you look to see who it was donated to?” I ask smiling at Margaret.
“Well…” Margaret hesitates, “I’m not really supposed to give out that kind of information.”
“I understand.” I say moving away from Margaret and heading towards the door.
“But.” Margaret says, “If you don’t tell anyone. I could look it up for you.”
I smile at Margaret and walk back towards her. I tell her agent Minder’s name, “I wouldn’t tell anyone. It would be between you and me.”
Margaret smiles and starts to look through a bunch of papers. Then she looks through the computer, “Here it is.” Margaret says. “Miss Dorothy Minder donated 20 inches of red hair, hmm and that hair went to a…Beatrice Walker.”
“Wow, Margaret you made my day.” I say, “Do you have contact information for Beatrice?”
“I made your day? Really?” Margaret says looking at me.
“Yes, you did.” I say smiling, “The contact info?”
“Oh right.” Margaret says. “I’ll write it down for you.”
Margaret hands me a piece of paper with an address and two phone numbers. “Thank you Margaret, excuse me for a second.” I walk towards the door to contact Captain and the office.
“The second number is my number by the way.” Margaret says, “Call me anytime.”
“Yeah, yeah of course.” I say, “Excuse me I just have to make a quick phone call.”
I call Cap and give them the information Margaret provided soon after Steve walks out shaking his head and says, “Detective.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you Detective Gray?” Margaret says smiling at me.
“No, Margaret, you’ve done a lot.” I say.
Steve and I walk out of the office and when we get in the car he says, “I sure hope your plan worked, because I got nothing from Deb.”
“She gave me the name, number, and address of the person who received the donated hair from agent Minder.” I say looking at Steve smiling.
“Seriously?” Steve says, “Do you know what this means John?”
“Yup” I say, “We could be on our way to finding our serial killer.”