Hanson had seen this scene hundreds of times but that never made him comfortable with it. But comfortable or not he knew what to do. He held the man who was weeping in his arms, “Caden, we are here to get to the bottom of what happened. I know it’s a lot to take in, but I need you to stay calm”
“I knew this would happen.” Caden wasn’t prepared to listen until he got a few things out. “But how did it happen like this?”
“We don’t know, but that is what we are here to figure out.” Hanson’s calm was equal to Caden’s lack thereof.
“What do you mean you don’t know? How can you not know? I’m dead, right?” Caden asked.
“Yes, you are definitely dead,” Hanson replied.
“Then you should know who killed me. Didn’t you see who killed me?”
“I wasn’t here at the time. If someone was, we will find them, but it’s likely there weren't any eye witnesses.”
“Eye witnesses? Don’t you people just know?” Caden asked.
“It doesn’t work like that, but don’t worry too much about that right now, I see that you have some family and friends here to see you.” Hanson gestured to a few folks who still stood in the doorway. “I assume you know them.”
“Yeah, that’s my Uncle Scott.” Caden said as he started to walk to the doorway.
Hanson walked over with Caden to Scott. “Scott, why don’t you take Caden outside and answer some of his questions. But keep him close by, we will want to ask him a few things after we look around.”
“But what about my wife?” Caden asked as he looked down to the women who cradled the lifeless body against her while she sobbed throughout this interchange. “Can’t I somehow tell her that I am, I don’t know, okay, in a sense?”
“I’m sorry, but no. Go catch up with your Uncle and others; she’ll be calling the police soon and I’d like to look around before they show up.”
Caden and his family walked outside and Hanson turned to his shell shocked partner. “Let’s get to work.”
“With her crying there?”
“Yes. She will be up in a moment and, I assume, will call the police. You can listen if you like, but I doubt she’ll know much more than we do.”
“Shouldn’t we interview Caden first?”
“Wouldn’t do much good. It will take several more hours for the idea he’s really dead to set in and another few hours for him to realize that we're not omnipotent. The first 200 questions we ask him will be answered with, “don’t you know?” I’d rather he use up those responses on his relatives. Your training starts now. What do you see?”
“Looks like suicide to me.”
“Wow, I have more training than I thought.”
“What? You don’t think it’s a suicide?”
“Not sure. See, you are busy thinking, assuming, and conjecturing. There may come a time for that, but I don’t start doing those things until I gather the facts. So, let’s try again; what do you see?”
“Man down. I guess we can say he’s dead because I saw his spirit walk out the front door and the body stayed behind. Appears he has a gunshot wound to the head, entering on the right side, and revolver in his right hand.” Looking on the coffee table, Trout noted, “Hand written note.”
“What’s it say?” Hanson asked.
He went to read it, but before he could the sobbing wife picked it up and read aloud, between gasps of breath, “I can’t go on. I have been living a lie. I have cheated on my wife and know she will be devastated. I can’t be without her, nor can I live on with her disappointment. So, we say goodbye.” She again burst into tears.
While she read and Trout listened, Hanson was busily looking around the room, the mantel piece, around the T.V., out the front and back windows, on counter tops, and at an assortment of many other household items. As she finished, he looked back to Trout.
“What else?” Hanson said.
“Um…” he looked around again, “bereaved wife. Need to start verifying if he really had an affair and that the gun was his, but still looks like a classic suicide.”
“Finally, you said something insightful,” Hanson said with a smile. “This is a classic suicide, everything is exactly to the book, a cliche suicide. Take the note; you could slip that note under any dead body for a suicide. It doesn’t mention him or her by name. Doesn’t that seem odd to you?”
“I have seen vague notes at suicides before.”
“And I’ve seen beats call murders suicides before.” Hanson ment for this comment to sting. But as soon as it was said it was clear it did not have the effect he had planned and Trout’s question explained why.
“Who are beats?”
“Beats, live officers, the people she is dialing as we speak.” Sure enough the woman was trying to compose herself as she picked up a phone and started to dial.
“Heartbeat. they have one—we don’t.”
“Are you saying cops don’t do their due diligence?” It took a while, but his earlier words finally stung.
“I’ve known a few officers who really like that ‘case closed’ stamp on their desk.”
“We are not like that,” Trout said.
“What do you mean ‘we’?” Trout’s face was unable to blush, but that didn’t stop him from being ashamed as Hanson pointed out his error. “Anyways, they are going to be here soon.”
“Yes, my husband is dead.” The woman could be heard in the background talking to dispatch.
“Why are you in such a rush before they come? Do we have to be out by the time they show up?” Trout asked.
“No, but if we are lucky enough to get a decent detective and they do investigate, they will swarm the place. I wish we had that kind of man power: two of us will have to keep up with 10-15 beats. Best to pick places you want to look at and try to be there when they look. We need them to open the drawers and turn pages for us to see much.
“We also need to be prepared with information to help influence the beats in the right direction.”
“What does that mean? How do we influence the beats?”
“I would explain it to you, but then I would have no information to help or influence the beats with. So, we better get back to it.” Hanson was continuing looking in every place possible while they spoke.
“Fine, you don’t think it’s suicide,” said Trout.
“I Never said that, suicide is one of many possibilities I am looking for more clues.”
“Okay like what?”
“No forced entry, on the front door, back door or windows, is a good example,” Hanson said.
“I noticed that.”
“You didn’t say it. Nor have we searched the rest of the house. More importantly, the dogs,” Hanson said.
Trout thought back to the picture. “The Dalmations?”
“Precisely, where are they? No sign of them, not in the house or either yard.”
“That picture could have been years ago. Perhaps the dogs are long gone.” Trout said.
“Gone maybe...long gone. No.” Hanson continued, “Dog bowls on the kitchen floor, empty but still there. The leash by the front door on the key rack. And most telling of all, the urn on the mantel with the date from last week on it.”
“The dogs died last week?” Trout asked, “Are you sure? That urn could be from a relative.”
“Good old Uncle Munchies? The name on the urn led me to believe it was one of the dogs.” He then added under his breath, “but I may have made the same assumption with the name Destry.”
“Nothing,” Hanson said.
“Okay, so where is the other dog? No second urn?”
“Excellent. Those are the questions that will get us somewhere,” Hanson said.
Trout suddenly stopped and looked at Hanson, shouldn’t we be writing this stuff down? We wrote everything down when I was just a low down ‘beat’.”
“Yes, beats are so meticulous.” Hanson said with his ever so common roll of the eyes. “I have been writing it down.”
“Check your visor.”
Trout had once again forgotten he had a visor but as soon as he thought about it, it appeared. He had no idea how to get it to display what he wanted but he was curious about the case notes Hanson had supposedly taken and suddenly that is what popped up. Trout was amazed at the amount and the detail. Hanson had noted all they had talked about and 100 times more. It stated how many people had been there when they walked in. What time the wife had entered. How many windows and doors, their sizes and types of locks, the security system. A diagram that showed the location of all the furniture, and every other item in the room. A copy photo of the suicice note, and dimensions of the yards. As he read more things appeared below as clearly Hanson was still making observations. The next one read, a deceased male had a solid wedding band, possible titanium. Woman on the scene, no band but imprint, so recently removed. Sure enough looking over at her left hand holding the phone to her head there was no ring but the tan line showing it must have recently been there. And two inches from her hand was Hanson's face looking very closely. Clearly personal space between the living and the dead wasn’t a thing.
“How are you making all these notes?” Trout asked.
“Think about what you want to write or take a photo of it, and it’s done. Your visor is merely an extension of your mind, only the stuff we put in the file others have access to.”
Trout tried to think of something he could add, instantly text started to appear, beginning with his name.
Trout: What can I add. I can’t add anything, this guy is a freak. How could I add anything? Oh, wait don’t write that, stop, delete, how do I go back.”
Hanson looked over at Trout. Trout smiled, “You’re not reading the file are you?”
“Yes. I am.”
“um...I didn’t mean to...sorry.”
“That’s fine, it takes practice. Focus on the part you want to delete, and delete it.”
Trout saw that if he thought where to start and moved his mind over the text it highlighted much like a mouse on a computer. Once all the text he had put in was highlighted he attempted to wish it away. “I did it, and it’s still there.”
“True, but it’s been marked for deletion. All redacted notes get reviewed, it will be deleted soon. You can’t delete an official record without permission.”
Trout was now stuck between wanting to do the right thing and take notes and fear of being on the record, everytime he tried. As if reading his mind Hanson said, “Don’t be afraid of it being official, in my experience everything we do, say or think will likely get figured out at some point. Might as well get used to only thinking and saying things you are okay with others seeing anyways.”
Trout wanted to say, easier said than done, but realized that went without saying, so moved on to another curiosity he had, “Why don’t I see your visor?”
“I don’t see yours and you don’t see mine. Remember it's really an extension of your brain except with access to the hub.”
“Listen Kid, Make a personal note and I’ll tell you later. Now I need to scope out the rest of the house.” Meanwhile Hanson made a personal note that he liked Kid, even more than Trout.
“What should I do?”
“Watch her, Note who she calls and what she does. Message me when the beats arrive.” Hanson said as he started up the stairs.
Hanson was already halfway up the stairs and followed his own advice when he said, “Never mind, just yell.”
Trout sat quietly watching a woman in shock, staring at her dead husband. They both felt helpless. She because her husband was dead, and Trout because he was. Crime scenes were not foreign to him. He had been a badged officer by age 19, youngest recruit in his academy’s history, and detective by 25. He was so determined to change the world, catching one murderer at a time, and after only a few years he was dead. When his great-great-great, truth was he wasn’t quite sure how great this particular grandpa was, but he told him he could be a homicide detective over here he ran down to the office to sign up. And here he was, nothing to do, staring at a dead body and it’s wife.
His mind thought of 100 things that needed to be done, dust for prints, bag the body, the weapon, interview the wife, set up the autopsy and each of those led to 10 more things to do, but all those things required something he didn’t have, a body. And everything he could think to note that didn’t require a body, the dead Hercule Poirot had noted within five minutes of them being here.
As Trout stewed on the limitations of death he noticed that the woman was coming out of shock and that something clearly hit her, as it did she picked up her phone and dialed, “Tom is that you?”
Not being able to make out the voice on the other line, he moved in closer, as he did he made a note, his visor popped up and he saw,
Trout: She called a Tom at…
He wanted to think of a time but didn’t have a watch, so simply thought the words, current time and 6:47 AM popped into the notes, “Wow, this is nice.” he thought, but was a little disappointed that it appeared in the notes, he marked if for deletion and went back to listening.
“Caden’s dead,” She said.
“Is this a joke?” He was close enough to make out the other line, after stealing a play from Hanson’s playbook when it came to personal space.
“No. I am serious. I came down stairs and he was lying dead on the couch.”
“I’m so sorry, did you call the police?” Tom asked.
“Yes, they are on their way.”
“Good, they will know what to do.”
“But what if they ask me about last night, and who was in the house?”
“Wo, wo, wo, I didn’t end up coming last night. Jim asked that I stay late and guard his stupid paintings. I can prove it to you, in fact, I didn’t want to tell you this but Jim fired me last night.”
“What? He can’t, you need that job.”
“I know. But he can, and he did. He said, I stole something, which is totally untrue. But the point is, I wasn’t there, so don’t mention my name to the cops. It will only confuse them, and even if they clear me, you know what will happen to me?” Tom asked with growing desperation.
“I know, but what if they ask about who has been here lately.”
“Don’t mention my name. I can’t go back. You know that. If not for my sake, think of Riley. She needs me. I need her.”
She thought and he waited for some reassurance. “You never did like Caden,” she said as tears again began to form around the edges of her eyes.
“Daisy, don’t talk like that, I would never, could never hurt Caden. I wasn’t even there, please, please, please don’t mention my name.”
A knock came on the door. “There here, I have to go.”
“Don’t tell them about me Daisy. I can’t go…” She hung up the phone and headed for the door.
“They’re here Hanson.” Trout called out as loud as he could. Instantly Hanson appeared by his side making Trout jump about 6 feet. “Whoa, you can’t even walk down the stairs?”
“There are zero benefits for exercise over here Kid.” The door opened and Hanson cried out in terror.
Here is the link to Chapter 3.