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The order of my stories to read is:
Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, Case of the Executed Evangelist series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, The Murdered Football Player series.
The Black Widow, Ch. 01
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 1 – The Crime Scene
“Looks cultish to me, Lieutenant.” Tanya Perlman stated.
It was 8:00am on Tuesday morning. It was near the end of September, the air was getting cooler at night, the leaves were beginning to turn colors, and the University football team was 4-0… as was the team from my own alma mater within the same conference. Laura and I had been feverishly but pleasurably at work the last two weeks trying to make a new baby.
But I had no time to think about any of that at the moment. We were standing in one of the older warehouses of my least favorite place in the County: The Ward Harvester Company. And one of the strangest crime scenes I’d ever witnessed was in front of me.
I was looking at the body of a heavy-set, bearded man, sitting in a small metal folding chair, his hands handcuffed behind him. His pants and underwear were puddled around his ankles, his genitals exposed. The back of his skull was crushed in by a blow from a heavy object, probably a baseball bat. There was plenty of blood around the crime scene, indicating that the man had met his fate right here at this location. Lipstick had been smeared on his mouth and around his genitals, though none was on his still-semi-erect penis.
“CMB estimates the time of death from 10:00pm to 1:00am, probably around 11:30 to midnight. And you’ll note that the man’s penis is still enlarged.” Tanya said. “Looks like he climaxed just before he was killed- oh wait! Hey Barry! make sure to get extra blood samples, this guy may have been drugged.” Barry Oliver, our young new Police Scientist, nodded as he brought a kit out of his bag.”
“Why do you say that, Tanya?” I asked as Cindy Ross and Angela Harlan came up to us, knowing the answer but wanting the other ladies to hear it.
“He climaxed, but is still hard.” Tanya said. “That bespeaks some Viagra-like drug that kept him hard after climax. Barry is great about identifying drug compounds.”
“Sounds reasonable.” I said. “Any other DNA we can get?”
“We’ve taken samples.” Tanya said. “Can’t say for sure, but it looks like vaginal secretions, suggesting a woman. We’re going to have to run everything and see what we get. No chess sets or old movies around to give you any clues, I’m afraid.”
“So who is this guy?” I asked, ignoring Tanya’s remark about clues from previous cases.
“His name is Tom Burleson.” Tanya reported. “He’s a Plant Manager here, one of Ward’s top guys. Cindy remembers interviewing him last summer during the Swap murders, as we’ve come to call that case.”
“What do we know about him so far?” I said.
“Divorced years ago, no children. Has a younger brother whose security company works for Crown Chemicals across the river, that’s the only family we know of. Lives in an apartment complex not far from here.”
Just then Officer Pete Feeley came up. “Lieutenant, we found something.” He led me about 10 yards away. On the floor was a riding crop and a whip.
“Hmmm, no chess sets, but clues nonetheless.” I said, teasing Tanya back for her earlier ribbing of me. But she wasn’t listening:
“Wow, BDSM stuff!” Tanya said. The excitement in her voice seemed more sexual than evidence-based.
“I don’t need to tell you: photographs, prints, the works.” I said. “Oh, and Tanya, did you notice those handcuffs our victim was secured with?
“They’re chrome-plated, very shiny… and very expensive. Definitely not standard police issue.” Tanya replied.
“Exactly. Not police issue, but something the connoisseur of BDSM might have.” I said. “As you said, definitely cultish. Now I need to call ADA Patterson.”
I walked away from everyone else a distance so that I would not be overheard. I dialed ADA Paulina Patterson’s cell phone. “Paulina, there’s been a murder at Ward Harvester. I’d like to take this opportunity to see if we can get a warrant to get all of Ward’s business records and files. Think you can swing that?”
“I’ll try.” said Paulina. “I’ll go to Judge Watts first; Folsom has been really bitchy about warrants lately.”
After hanging up I went back towards the crime scene, seeing that Angela Harlan had joined Tanya kartal çıtır escort in the examination of it. “Angela says she had some experience with serial killings and thinks this might be the work of one.” Tanya reported.
“Okay Harlan, what can you tell me about this?” I asked.
Detective Angela Harlan replied in her gravelly, husky voice: “I worked on a couple of serial killings at my last job, in Texas. The M.O. sounded like a serial killer who we thought was a woman. Three men were found tied or handcuffed to chairs with their brains beaten out.”
“Any BDSM stuff in that?” I asked.
“No sir.” Harlan replied. “I don’t recall anything like that, though I didn’t see every crime scene personally. We called the ‘Black Widow’- oh, that reminds me: Tanya, would you check the man’s penis for markings?”?
Detective Perlman put on a fresh set of latex gloves and went over to the body. She grabbed the dead man’s penis and lifted it up.
“Oh, you’re right, Angela!” Tanya exclaimed. “There’s a drawing here on his balls.” We all came over and looked. The drawing was two red triangles outlined in black, the apexes touching each other in an hourglass shape.
“Red hourglass.” I said. “The marking of a black widow spider. Same calling card as your previous cases, Angela?”
“Yes sir,” Angela replied, “except the triangles were painted in various areas: one on the back of the guy’s neck, the other on the guy’s belly above his penis.”
“Angela, see if you can pull up any files or notes for all of us to look at on your previous cases.” I said. “Also, check the databases for any other similar killings, and contact Jack Muscone of the FBI or one of his team members to see if they have any information on this. Detective Perlman is in charge of this case, but I want you to work closely with her on it. Last but not least, work on the BDSM angle… it may not be your serial killer but a copycat associated with the BDSM crowd in town.”
I left Tanya and Angela to talk as they examined the red triangle hourglass, bidding Cindy to walk with me. I was carrying my iron crowbar, and Cindy had a police billy stick in her hand, though she was in plain clothes. When we were alone out of earshot, I said “We also need to look into any angles regarding Ward and his behind-the-scenes business dealings. I’d like you to get with Myron Milton and see what you can dig up… and I need not mention that anything you find comes to me first and very quietly.”
“Yes sir.” Cindy said, then looking behind me said “Uh oh, speak of the devil.”
“WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU GOD DAMNED POLICE DOING IN MY WAREHOUSE?”
I whirled around. The high-pitched voice was from Mr. Ward himself. He was ambling towards us, wearing a trenchcoat and fedora hat. The man accompanying him was bespectacled, had graying hair, and was wearing a five-thousand-dollar suit. I deduced that he was Ward’s lawyer.
“We are investigating a murder on your property, Mr. Ward.” Cindy Ross said, walking towards them as I circled around from the side. “And I’d suggest you take a more respectful tone.”
“You don’t tell me what tone to take on my property, young lady.” Ward said, his voice a sneer. “Do you have warrants to be here?”
“I think the dead body of your manager suffices as probable cause, Mr. Ward.” said Cindy. “Of course, you can check with your legal beagle here about that.”
“It’s a god damn good thing that Lieutenant of yours isn’t here.” Ward said. “Or I’d shove his crowbar right up his ass.” Cindy just glanced at me as I came up behind Ward.
“I’m right here, Ward, crowbar and all.” I said, my voice low and menacing. “And I’d love to see you try to shove this here crowbar or anything else up my ass. I suspect you won’t survive the attempt.”
Ward had whirled around to face me as I spoke, his face a mask of pure hatred. At only 5’6″ or so, he had to look way up into my eyes, as I stood at a full 6’4″ tall.
“Oh Jesus Christ, the shit eater is here, too.” Ward said, trying not to show any fear in facing me down. “Get the fuck off my property, you bastard! Now.”
“Sorry, Ward, that’s not how it works.” I said. “I’m here investigating the murder of your plant manager on your property. And as you’re the owner, you’re my number one suspect right now.”
“I don’t give a shit who is dead or where he’s dead, you get your fucking ass off my property right now, or I’ll have your badge and everything you ever thought you owned in your life, you miserable sack of dog shit.” Ward said, his voice ugly and shrill.
“Detective Ross,” I said, “place Thaddeus Ward under arrest, read him his considerable rights, and take him to Headquarters and book him. Fingerprints, DNA sample, the works.” Cindy smiled maliciously and approached Ward with handcuffs ready.
“You can’t do that!” the lawyer spluttered. “On what charge are you arresting my client?”
“Obstruction of justice, interfering with a police officer in the course of my duties, kadıköy yabancı escort threatening a police officer with bodily harm… and if I get a mind for it, suspicion of murder in the death of his plant manager.”
“You can’t do that, you piece of shit!” Ward screamed. “I haven’t killed anybody, this is my property and I can tell you to fuck off any time I damn well please! Now you-“
Ward’s tirade was interrupted by the lawyer, who put his hand on Ward’s shoulder and whispered something to him.
“Okay, I guess you can be here at the scene, but you can’t go anywhere else on the property!” Ward said.
“My client is not obstructing you.” said the lawyer. “You can do your work.”
“Detective Ross, you heard me.” I said. “What are you waiting for? Arrest Ward, read him his rights, take him to Headquarters and book him.”
“I protest this!” screamed the lawyer as Ward looked on in total shock. “He hasn’t done anything! You can’t arrest him-“
I got right in the lawyer’s face, inches away, toe-to-toe, keeping my voice level but very menacing: “Listen you bag of dog shit, your client is under arrest. I was not negotiating, I am arresting his sorry ass for the crimes I stated. He’s going to jail, he will be booked and his fingerprints and DNA taken! I suggest that you do your fucking job and start working on his bail, but if you try to stop me from doing my job, as he has, I’ll arrest your slimy ass and throw you in jail, too… and the perps in my jails would just love seeing some legal asshole in a five-thousand dollar suit come into their cells. They’ll tear you a new ass in seconds!”
I turned to Cindy. “What ARE you waiting for, Detective? Get going! Arrest Ward!”
“With pleasure, Lieutenant.” Cindy said, quickly spinning Ward around and deftly cuffing his hands before he realized what was happening. “Thaddeus Ward, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…”
Part 2 – Media Matters
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, what are we covering? Bettina, you’re first.”
Katherine Woodburn sat at the end of the long table in the conference room of KXTC News, looking at her reporters and editors. She was the executive producer at KXTC, and she was also owner, publisher and Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper, the Town & County Examiner. She was in her early 50s, with dyed blonde hair that didn’t hide the beginnings of graying. She was attractive, sporting big breasts, an hourglass shape, nice legs and feet, especially when she wore high heel pumps. She was always wearing a business suit, was absolutely ruthless about schedules, deadlines and getting scoops, and had no scruples about invading people’s privacy or rights in order to get a juicy story full of dirt.
Bettina Wurtzburg was seated near the center of the table at one side. “I’m getting the details of the murder at Ward Harvester. They found the body of a plant manager this morning. The police are doing their initial investigation right now, and we have a couple of ‘cubs’ on the scene.”
A ‘cub’ was a very junior reporter that basically observed a crime scene or situation when more senior reporters couldn’t be there. The senior reporter would, of course, take all the credit when he or she arrived at the scene to report the story.
“I will begin getting more information as soon as this meeting is over. I’m hearing that they actually arrested the owner, Mr. Ward, when he created a scene.” finished Bettina.
“Yes, check into that, and see what we can do to help Mr. Ward get his story out about police abuse.” said Woodburn. “Priya?”
The lovely Indian woman Priya Ajmani said “We are getting some new information about the FBI’s ongoing investigation of the Rev. Jonas Oldeeds’ murder. We finally found out that the lead investigator is Special Agent in Charge Jack Muscone from the City. We are arranging an interview now.”
“You’ll never get that interview.” Katherine said sharply. “And I want you to begin developing another angle to the story while you work on getting something from Muscone: I want a big story on why the FBI is unable to find out anything about the murder of Jonas Oldeeds. It’s been months- months!- and the FBI is sitting on their asses.” Priya nodded her full understanding.
After going around the table, Katherine Woodburn said “Okay, if there’s nothing else-“?
“Er, ma’am?” Tim Dawdle said from near the far end, raising his hand. His black curly hair looked oily and unwashed, his pimply face not hidden by the thick, black-plastic-framed glasses he wore. He was the stereotypical “pajama boy” millennial that, like so many people in their twenties, looked absolutely worthless.
“What the hell is it, Dawdle?” Katherine Woodburn said, near exploding. “You’re a sportscaster, not an investigative reporter.”
“But ma’am, I’m working on a bombshell piece about PEDs in the University’s athletic programs, and Coach Harlan’s efforts to cover it up.” Dawdle said. “I’d like to run a nightly kadıköy genç escort series of stories on it as the information comes out from my confidential sources.”
Katherine sighed. “Okay, Dawdle and Wurtzburg, come to my office. Everyone else, get out there and get me some fucking stories. Do you really mean to tell me that there have not been any drug-related crimes since Ikea went to the SBI?”
“No ma’am, nothing big at all.” said Bettina Wurtzburg, other reporters murmuring their agreement. “It’s been amazingly quiet for weeks.”
“My office, Wurtzburg.” Katherine said.
“Sit down.” Katherine ordered as she took her own seat behind her desk in her surprisingly small office. She had a much nicer office in the newspaper’s building next door to the television station. Bettina and Dawdle sat down.
“All right, Tim, let me explain how this works.” Katherine said. “We don’t run piecemeal stories on something like the football team’s PED use. If you try, you’ll get shut down in no time, you’ll have some bad people really breathing down your neck, and I’ll be getting phone calls from every rich alumni and politician in the State. I really don’t need that, I have enough problems as it is.”
“What you do, Tim,” she continued, “is to get your information, get your ducks in a row on it like never before, then bring it to me for clearance. If it’s dynamite, if it’s a nuclear bomb, I’ll have no problem running it and running Coach Harlan out on a rail. However… it had better be dynamite and lead to some arrests or mass firings, because if it’s anything short of a nuclear bomb, they will come down on both of us like a ton of bricks, do you understand?”
“Yes ma’am.” Dawdle said miserably. “Thank you, ma’am.”
“Bettina, I want you to watchdog Dawdle on this. I can’t have this sniveling pajama boy fuck this up, especially if it’s a real story there. Don’t worry, Timmy, it’ll be your story if you can get it, but you’d better not fuck it up.”
“Yes ma’am.” Dawdle said, sounding and looking like a whipped puppy dog, absorbing the abusive insults of the famed Editor with nary a whimper of self-esteem that any real man would have.
“Bettina,” said Katherine Woodburn, turning her attention totally to the lovely redhead reporterette, “we have got to get more information out of the Police Department. You need to develop new sources and get more. Griswold is a piece of shit and easily fooled, so what’s the problem?”
“Ma’am, with respect, we all know who the problem is.” Bettina replied. “The Iron Crowbar.”
“Oh for God’s sake… do they really fear one man who beat up a drug punk with a crowbar that much?” Katherine asked, unable to believe it.
“Ma’am, it’s not fear, it’s loyalty. They love that man.” Bettina said. “They love the Chief, but they know the Iron Crowbar is the real deal. And if he runs for Sheriff like the Big Boyz and Big Girlz in this County want him to, then we’re really going to have problems developing sources within the entire Public Safety Department.”
“I know.” said Woodburn. “Okay, I need stories. I have no problem destroying Harlan and the football team, but it has to be 100% solid. Now get out there and get me the story on that dead body at Ward Harvester, and see if you can scoop something before our vaunted Police Department finds it.”
Part 3 – Legal Procedures
“Come to my office.” Paulina Patterson said into the phone. I was in the I.T. office in the basement when she called me.
It was 10:00am. Ward had been processed, fingerprinted and cheek-swabbed despite vociferous protests from himself and his lawyer, and within fifteen minutes of booking had been released on his own recognizance by Judge Folsom, who simply called from the Courthouse. I figured that Paula was calling me in for the CYA spanking for what I’d done this morning.
However, when I got to her office, her face was somber, not angry. I instantly realized that it was bad news.
“Come on in and close the door.” she said. I did so, then sat down at her unspoken invitation.
“I’ll get right to it.” Paulina said. “I went to Judge Watts as soon as I got your call… but someone had already beaten us to the punch. Judge Folsom has seniority, and he pulled rank. He’d already told Watts that only he, Folsom, could issue warrants concerning the Burleson murder and Ward Harvester, and that if Watts issued a warrant he’d be disciplined and referred to the State Legislature for impeachment.”
“Wow.” I said with a whistle of disbelief. “That’s a heavy threat Folsom is dealing to Watts. It’s like crushing a nut with a triphammer.”
“Yes, but the nut is very effectively crushed, all the same.” Paulina replied, then continued: “Both Folsom and D.A. Krasney were called by State Senator Nathan Allen, Town & County Councilwoman Kelly Carnes and Councilman Pastor Raymond Westboro, all demanding that the most stringent application of the law be applied to any ‘probable cause’ concerning Ward Harvester’s records.”
“What it amounts to,” Paula summed up, is that Ward’s lawyer is in our faces, he’s calling the big shots to back him up, and our warrant for the business records have been denied for the moment, pending you bringing something that will constitute ‘probable cause’ much better than what we have now.”
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