Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5.
“What are you two doing back?” Caden asked.
Trout and Hanson had traveled back to Caden’s living room and Caden was sitting on the couch when they arrived.
“Good news,” Hanson quickly responded. “Your death is now a muder investigation.”
“Great,” Caden replied. But you could tell by his lack of enthusiasm that he didn’t seem too interested.
“We will be in your study. Let us know when the officers arrive.”
Trout was glad to have a half hour while they waited for Driggs and Lung, being able to magically pop from one place to another was convenient but Trout didn’t realize how much he had relied on car rides to and from crime scenes to process what had happened. Hanson seemed able to process instantly as they went but Trout needed to talk through things in order to process.
“I would have thought he’d be happier to hear about the investigation,” Trout said as they entered the room.
“As you know, it can be hard, when you first cross over. The fact that he is here sitting on the couch is not a good sign. He needs something to do.”
“Can we give him something?” Trout asked.
“What?” When Hanson wanted more man power, what he meant was he wanted to duplicate himself. He had a hard enough time working with one partner, let alone someone else. Other people were all so, not him.
“You said you need more manpower, why not give him something?”
“Maybe, I’ll think about it?” Hanson's response reminded Trout of the tone he used when his kids would ask to go to Disneyland.
Hanson sat and would have been happy to stay quiet but Trout had too many questions and after two seconds of silence asked, “Did you tell the Chief to open the gun?”
“How’d you know?”
“I didn’t but I assumed, Caden claimed he didn’t shoot himself. Well if he kept the gun for security, why not keep it fully loaded. I realized the murderer could have removed a bullet, but we knew our murderer didn’t hang around long because Caden didn’t see him.”
“I was curious about that, even if the murderer got out quickly would Caden have seen him?”
“Not necessarily, you don’t come over instantly. You should know better than me, you got here last week. When it’s a hundred years in your past you won’t recall it too much.” Then Hanson allowed a rare personal question and asked, “So, what was it like for you?”
Trout thought back, even though the memory was recent, it was buried. Was it really only last week? He thought, before saying, “It was like waking from a deep sleep. I remember feeling really groggy.”
“That is how it is for most people. And unfortunately, many murderers are gone by the time the person really comes to. But it doesn’t leave a lot of time. Hence, my assumption that no bullet had been removed.” Hanson paused, “I was glad the bullets were there, I was worried for awhile that it actually was suicide and that Driggs would be...I can’t even say it.” Hanson cut out before the thought of Detective Driggs being correct could seep in.
“What do you mean you were worried it might be suicide? We interviewed Caden, he said he didn’t kill himself.”
Hanson rolled his eyes, “Kid, don’t believe everything people tell you over here, people don’t die and get sprinkled with magic honestly dust as they pass. Dead people lie, and people who kill others, even themselves aren't anxious to admit it. Even generally honest people have a hard time admitting to others and themselves some of the things they do, especially suicide. If you want to succeed as a detective over here you better question everything, anyone tells you.”
Trout realized that everything Hanson said was obvious but had to admit he hadn’t thought to question Caden, looking back he couldn’t see why, maybe he did implicitly trust dead people. Realizing this was silly and not wanting to admit or discuss it further he moved on.
“So, what cupboards or drawers do we need to be standing over?”
“We need to look at the medicine cabinet and any medication or drugs in the kitchen. It still concerns me that the wife was giving him sleeping medication. Besides that look for anything out of place, unpaid bills, love notes, drugs, stashed alcohol, you know the stuff. I doubt we will find much.”
“Wait a minute, if there wasn’t some specific things to look for, why all the work for them to change this to a murder investigation?”
“Well, I may not expect to find much, but we might find something, but more importantly it’s protocol.”
“Protocol?” Trout asked.
“I keep forgetting it’s my job to teach you all this.” He took a big sigh, it was further evidence that teaching was not Hanson’s preferred job. On top of that Trout could tell whatever was about to come out of Hanson’s mouth was what he had to say, not what he wanted to say. “ We are supposed to always work with the beats to get our guy. Not only do we work to solve cases but we work to ensure the beats get it right. Honestly, the second part is more challenging than the first.”
“What do we do if they get it wrong?”
“We are supposed to do everything in our power to ensure they get it right.”
“But, what if they don’t?” Trout repeated.
“It depends, in my case, usually I do things that get me in trouble.”
“And what does that mean?”
“Never mind, what we're supposed to do is decide if it’s worth pursuing and then take it to the board to get permission to bring them in.”
“Does bringing them in, mean what I think it means?”
“I’m not a mind reader I don’t know?” Hanson said.
“Kill them, does it mean kill them?”
“We prefer the term, ‘bring them in,” Hanson said.
“That is a lesson for another day.” Hanson tried to say with finality. Truth was Hanson, having been recently stripped of that authority, did not wish to discuss the subject.
But clearly he didn’t know how to speak with finality for Trout continued his line of questioning. “But if we can ‘bring them in’ as you say. Why not just do that in the first place instead of going through the beats? When I was a beat and our guy had been ‘brought in’ sure saved us a lot of hassle.”
“I couldn’t agree more. But it’s not my call and if you are smart you will follow protocol, trust me.”
“Are you smart?” Trout asked.
“I mean did you ever just bring someone in?”
“I think I hear Driggs pulling up, let’s go.” Hanson quickly turned to the door.
“You didn’t answer the question.”
“And I am not going to, so don’t ask it again.”
They entered the living room as the knocking at the door began.
They turned to Caden who hadn’t moved from his seat on the blood stained couch.
“Caden is your wife home?” Trout asked.
“No, she’s been gone most of the day. Meeting with morticians and lawyers and what not.”
“You didn’t go with her?”
“No.” He said a bit defensively, “I’m rather upset with my wife at the moment.”
The knocking continued, as did Caden, “She is going to have me cremated.”
“Did you not want to be cremated?” Trout asked.
“No, I don’t want to be cremated. I had told her before that I wanted an open casket funeral.”
“I’m not sure that is wise given the circumstances.” Trout offered.
Caden looked at him a bit exasperated, as if to say, ‘that was insensitive’, but only vocalized, “I guess you have a point, but she could have at least given me a casket. She read some stupid article online about cremation being better for the environment. And that’s not the only thing, it sounds like she might try to alter the terms of the trust.”
Four ears in unison bounced up quicker than a cat hearing a can opener. Hanson spoke first, “The trust? How?”
The knocking and now yelling from the other side of the door became more persistent. The threats to knock down the door were loud enough that Caden didn’t answer the question but instead asked his own. “Do you think they will really break down the door?”
“Yes.” Hanson said matter of factly.
“Any chance you could stop them? That door cost me $2000, it’s solid oak and I’d hate to replace it.”
“Sorry, not much we can do at this point.”
A loud crack told Caden that breaking down doors was well within their repertoire. He ran and put himself in front of the door yelling, “Leave the door alone.”
“That won’t do any good,” Hanson stated.
“Doesn’t hurt to try,” Caden offered. As the door began to splinter.
“You said your wife was going to alter the trust, how?”
“Oh, I doubt she will go through with changing it, even if she could. She loves the dogs too much, so I think it will still go to them. She’s just mad right now. My guess is they will even hire the person she likes if they have to.”
Another crack of the door and Detective Driggs and Lung came marching in as Caden was forced into the air like a plastic bag in the breeze. “Looks like nobody’s home,” Lung said. “Well, we better look around.”
“And what exactly do you want me to look for, since this is your case.” Driggs said with as much malice as he thought he could get away with.
Lung was not one to push it so trying to be as professional as possible simply said, “Can you check upstairs for any sign of forced entry?”
“Sure thing, it’s your case.” He said drawing out the word your.
“I doubt Driggs is going to put any effort into it but follow him, just in case it’s true what they say about a blind squirrel. I’ll follow Lung.” Hanson said to Trout. And then turning up to Caden who was still making his way back to the ground said, “I have a few more questions for you to if you don’t mind.”
They spent the next several hours going through items throughout the house but while both Hanson and Trout took lots of notes, they didn’t notice much that brought more to light. The pleasant surprise was Caden. While most of the time was spent complaining about the beats not being careful enough with his stuff there still was time left for him to answer questions about documents and items that turned up.
Driggs put zero effort in the upstairs where he failed to notice the fact that a window was unlatched. A fact that was of little concern to Trout once Caden confirmed his wife regularly opened it and Hasnen confirmed it had been closed earlier when he had looked around.
Driggs' next assignment was Caden’s study. Here Caden was more than pleased with Driggs leaving most things untouched. That was clearly how he liked it. Trout tried to put thoughts into Driggs mind that would lead to the doggie door. He put in thoughts of dogs, or the office chair, of looking for entry points, of the bushes just outside, but nothing had any effect on Driggs.
The only noticeable thing was after pushing thoughts about dogs, and specifically the victims dog he heard Driggs wonder aloud, “I wonder what Trixie is doing?”
Trout of course had no idea who Trixie was but hoped it was Driggs’s dog. That means he was potentially impacting Driggs’s thoughts and while it did little good for this case, it meant he could do this telepathy thing.
Soon other officers entered the office and much to the disappointment of Caden they did not share Driggs’s lackadaisical attitude toward their work. They opened every drawer, took photos, and boxed documents. And while they were thorough in some respects their focus was on documents, not on doggie doors and the small entrance went unnoticed.
“Caden,” Trout said, interrupting Caden yelling at an office not to touch his fancy boat model on his desk. “Do you notice anything missing?”
“I don’t think so?”
“What about in this safe?” Against the back wall there was a large safe, almost 5 feet high. It was hidden behind the door when the door opened. It was of an old style and had a large wheel on the front of it, that was part of the locking mechanism. There was an officer opening it and looking inside. It surprised Trout that it was unlocked, and was completely empty.
Both the officer and Trout assumed this was a big break, an empty safe.
Caden went to answer but first finished scolding an office, “Don’t take that photo, that was the largest fish I ever caught and if you had ever caught more than a minnow, you’d have some respect.”
“Caden, the safe, what’s missing?”
“Oh, the safe, nothing missing.”
“But it’s empty!”
By this time the officer had called over to Driggs and both were speculating what was missing, “Could have been guns, gold, coin collection, important documents, whatever it was, somebody’s taken it all.”
Caden clarified to Trout, “It’s always been empty. I never even change the factory preset code of 000. I bought it because it was a nice piece for the office. You know, symbolized security and that your money is safe with me, but I never kept anything of significant value in the whole house, especially not a safe. No matter how good a lock is, it would be the first place someone looked, or tried to get into. I told my clients to keep their money invested or in financial institutions and I practiced what I preached.”
By the time they had wrapped up it was nearly dark. Driggs began to complain about staying late and that he better be getting overtime, all the complaining finally convinced Lung to call it a day.
Daisy had not shown back up but Hanson had heard Lung get a hold of her and request that she come in for further questioning the next day. Hanson and Trout sat in the study and briefed each other on what they had seen in order to plan next steps. “I think we better go check out this Jim character from Canine Hope.” Hanson proposed.
“Tonight?” Trout asked, Hanson could see his reluctance.
“I guess we could meet him first thing tomorrow, but we have to be at the beats precinct by 10, I want to hear what they ask Daisy. She is looking more and more like their prime suspect.”
“Can I come?” Caden had overheard as he walked in. “I could tell you more about Canine Hope and would like to be there when they question Daisy. I’d hate for her to get locked up over this. Besides, I’m not really sure what else I’d do.”
“Hanson looked at Trout who shrugged, finally Hanson said, “All right, we will meet back here at 7 AM sharp, good night boys.” Caden walked out.
Trout wondered if Hanson had forgotten something and added, “one more thing.”
“What is it?” Hanson asked. “You clearly wanted to go, you are free to go.”
Trout sheepishly replied, “I hardly know where I am, you have zipped me here and zipped me there.”
“Port,” Hanson corrected.
“Okay, you port me here, you port me there, I’ve been ported almost everywhere.” Hanson glared at Trout, clearly not appreciating the Dr. Seuss imitation. “Can you help me get home?”
“Porting is simple enough, but I can take you back to the station tonight and we can work on porting tomorrow.”
“How about taking me to my home? I’d be just as lost at the station.”
“Sure, show me where you live.”
“I live on…”
“Just send me the information to my screen.” Hanson said, getting only a blank stare in return. “Think about sending me the info and I’ll get it on the screen.”
Before Trout could answer if it had worked they were standing in Trout’s living room.
“Thanks,” Trout could tell that Hanson had planned to continue the investigation before he had requested to come home and now being dropped off he felt like an awkward date at the doorstep where one person had asked to go get drinks and he said he’d rather just go home. He felt the awkwardness demanded an explanation. “I really enjoyed the work today. It's just that today was my wife’s first day back to work since the funeral, and the kids first day back to school and I’d like to see how things went.
It had been a long time since Hanson had connected to the day to day lives of the living. He was always wrapped up in his work. People he dealt with were often in the middle of death of a loved one and far out of the day to day routine. Talk of kids at school was a reality that had been foreign to him for a long time. It made him realize how fresh his partner was, and how stale he felt. Something he’d rather not think about.
“Do you have any kids?” Trout asked
Hanson paused long enough that Trout felt bad for asking but eventually he simply said, “no.” Hanson hated to lie but as he had told Trout earlier that day sometimes even honest people find the truth too painful to vocalize.
Here is Chapter 7