Saturday, May 16, 2020

Trout's First Case- Chapter 1

Move over Poirot, a new detective is here - columns - Hindustan Times

If you haven't read it here is the link to the Prologue.

“Hanson, your attention to detail is superb, but at times, your methods are questionable.” The tone was stern, but Hanson could tell that Chief Grassly was told to have this conversation and, deep down, wasn't that angry.

“They had booked someone else, bringing him in was the next step, right?” Hanson loved putting forth his clear arguments, even if he knew they wouldn’t get him anywhere.

“You and I both know it's not. The next step is to get permission to bring him in.”

“That could have taken days, or weeks. He was there, I had an opportunity, and the two just snowballed.”

“Yeah, some opportunity. I’m not sure that was the best way to bring someone in.”

“Oh, so we can't use animals anymore?”

“No,” Grassly said, trying to think of the best way to throw off Hanson’s attempt to make him contradict himself.“That's not it.” Grassly was now getting truly irritated, “but we prefer you not to deploy lions in large crowds: others may have been hurt.”

“I had total control. You know that lion wouldn’t have hurt anyone without being influenced.”

“Yes, and you aren’t the only one out there trying to influence people...or lions. You and I both know that could have gone wrong.”

“Well, it didn’t. I brought him in cleanly. They found him with merchandise and money from the heist and the weapon that killed the guard. I wrapped up the case in a tight bow for the beats. Get the guy, help the beats, isn’t that why we are here?”

Grassly cut him off. “Hanson, you understand the job. And no one, no one, is a better detective than you. But there is a line between what we do and what the people we put away do; you just better be sure you don’t cross it.” Grassly took a long pause, “They want me to take action.”

“Not my badge?” Hanson asked.

“Lucky for you, no. But it might be next time.” Relief fell across Hanson's face.

“However, they want me to remove your authority to bring someone in. If we get permission to bring them in on your case, it will be assigned to someone else to do it.”

Hanson was not pleased. “Just because I understand using the element of surprise?”

“Hanson, when we talk about maintaining the element of surprise, we're talking about surprising the perpetrator—not your superiors.”

Hanson knew arguing was pointless and grew anxious to move on. “Fine. What's my new case?”

Grassly felt like the point had not sufficiently sunk in but didn't know what else to say, so he decided to go along with it. “Potential homicide just came in. No Witnesses.”

“Of course.”

“But get on it quick; the beats will find the body soon. I think you should go look around before they touch stuff. You should have the file.”

Hanson looked down at the screen that hung in the air in front of him with a photo of a middle-aged man. There was some information along the side of the photo that he began to read.

“Wait, there's a mistake; This gives the case to me and a. . . D. Armentrout. What about Disher?”

“Disher is being promoted to senior detective.”

“Will miracles never cease?” Hanson threw in, but Grassly chose to ignore him.

“But I'm glad you mentioned it because I almost forgot: Detective Destry Armantrout is your new junior detective.”

“You are kidding me, a new junior? And what kind of name is Destroy Armantrout? Does he want to kill all fish with arms, or did his ancestors make shields for trout?”

Grassly continued to ignore Hanson’s wisecracks. “Seriously, Hanson. It’s my call and I think you need a new junior. It's a big responsibility, and I chose you because despite how you act, you're good, and I need more good detectives. Teach him well and please be a good example. Don’t make me regret this.”

Hanson nodded.

“And Hanson, he's not only new to the force, he's also really fresh, so don't be too hard on him; I know it’s been a long time but hopefully you remember what it's like.”

Handsome growned, “How fresh?”

“Last week.”

“Last week?” Hanson said in Desperation. “How is someone that fresh on the force?”

“He used to work as a beat.”

Hanson buried his face in his hands. “Former beat fresher than maggots on a corpse. You should have taken my badge.”

“Get moving Hanson. He's in the lobby, and I wouldn't be making fun of anyone's name, okay Llewellyn. Hanson turned and disappeared out of Grassly's office.

Hanson approached the young man who sat looking much like a rabbit whose just had the flashlight turned his way. Besides the dazed look, he was a fairly respectable looking young man: tall, slender, clean-cut with dark hair, and dark eyes. He looked like a man in his mid-20s. Being so young was rare, and Hanson instantly felt a bit of sympathy for someone being thrown into their world in their youth.

“You Detective Armantrout?”

“Yes sir, and you must be Detective Llewellyn Hanson.”

“Not to you I'm not,” Hanson quickly cut him off. “You can call me Detective Hanson, or Hanson: I never go by my first name. And as for you, I'll be calling you Trout, because there's no way I'm saying Armentrout every time.”

“That's fine.”

“I wasn't asking your permission. So, have you looked over the file?”

“I didn't get a file.”

“I saw you were sent the file.”

“Where do I pick it up? Do we get mail?”

“Boy, you really are fresh. It doesn't come in the mail, it's sent to your visor.”

“Cool.” Trout didn't want to sound dumb, but decided he better ask. “What's a visor?”

Hanson looked a bit shocked and pointed.

“Oh, this weird screen that seems to follow me everywhere?”

“That's your visor.”

“I thought it was so weird at first, but I got used to it; I honestly forget about it sometimes.” He looked at the screen. “So, how does it work?”

“Didn't you get any training?”

“They said I'd learn on the job. They said you'd be happy to teach me, but I see now why they laughed after the word happy.”

Hanson was stung by how predictable he'd been, so decided he better stop being quite so surly. “Think about the case and look at your visor.”

“I don't know anything about it. What can I think about it?”

“Just do it.”

Trout looked into the visor and thought about the case, or thought about a desire to see something about a case. Instantly, the same photo of the man who Hanson had seen earlier, popped up.

“Caden Mason?”

“That's him, died less than an hour ago. No warning, very unexpected, could be murder.”

Trout looked closer at the picture of Caden. He was middle-aged, nicely dressed, and overweight but not obese. It was clear the photo was a zoom-in from a larger photo, and as soon as Trout thought that he would like to zoom out, the photo did so, and Trout could see Caden kneeling on one knee, and on his other knee sat a woman, presumably his wife. Given her size, Trout was happy she was on Caden's knee and not his. They were in a nicely landscaped yard, and in front of them were two Dalmatian dogs. Along the side of the photo was some demographic information.

Height: 5’10”

Weight: ….

“Wisconsin?” Trout asked after reading the address. “We cover Wisconsin?”

“That's a close one for us.” Hanson had decided to let his Greenie’s lack of experience stop being an irritant and try to enjoy it. “We better go check it out.”

“How will we get there?”

“How have you traveled to places in the last week?”

“I walked,” Trout admitted.

“Oh, to be that fresh again.” Hanson said as he put his hand on Trout. Looking down at Trout, he gave a wink. Trout suddenly felt a bit queasy and then opened his eyes, which he didn't recall closing. He was in the living room of a middle-class home that was filled with a crowd.

The crowd was talking in a large group with most of the focus on one man, a man Trout instantly recognized. Everyone seemed anxious to talk to him.

Hanson quickly spoke up and took control of the room. As he did, Trout noticed for the first time the body that lay on the ground, in front of the couch. There was a bullet wound to the head and a revolver in it’s right hand.

“All right folks, listen up.” Some stopped and turned to Hanson, others kept talking. “Folks, please listen. I'm Detective Hanson from enforcement.” Hanson said, holding up his badge as he spoke. “I realize this is an exciting time for most of you but I'm going to have to ask you all to quickly move to the outside. You can talk there.”

Everyone made a motion for the door except for the man who stood in the center. He looked confused as those next to him told him to quietly step outside.

Hanson turned to the man next to him and said, “Don't let him leave: we will want to take his statement.” But as they turned to leave, a woman in the back with a bathrobe started down the hall, and the group stopped to watch her.

“Keep moving folks,” Hanson reiterated. The woman ignored him as she walked down through the crowd to the adjacent kitchen. She gave a confused look as she held up the empty coffee pot. “Honey did you forget to make the coffee this morning?” She called out.

People continue to watch, but especially the man who Trout had recognized. Trout knew what was going on, and did not want to be there, and yet couldn't turn away. Hanson continued to push the crowd. “Everyone leave now or I will get reinforcements.” People reluctantly began to crowd out but the man was now also ignoring Hanson. The woman began to walk towards the living room, and the man stood in front of her, trying to stop her progress. “Listen, don't be scared, it's not what it looks like.”

She acted as if he wasn't there and walked slowly to the couch. She noticed the body. “Hun, get up or you'll be late.” She stopped and saw the gun and the blood, and screamed. “No, it can't be!” she ran to the body and tried to see if any life was left, and began balling as she held her dead husband close. All the while, the man kneeled by her side and tried to console her. “Honey, don’t worry, we can figure this out. I’m here. Look at me. I’m right here by your side.”


Hanson walked over to him and picked him up. “I'm sorry, Caden. She can't hear you, or see you. You're dead.”


Here is Chapter 2

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