Common Ground

"Protected by Copyright"

"Excuse me, Captain Rains, do you remember me?" Darcy Moore said drawing Rains' attention.
"Ms. Moore, after last night, how could I possibly forget you. What brings you to the mission?" Rains said wondering quietly about the timing of her appearance on the sidewalk in front of his home. Had Joe Dziedzic set him up or was it simply a case of dumb luck that she would come along now? For the moment, Rains was leaning toward the latter. Something else he was unaware of was at the same moment across town, Joe Dziedzic was facing down his own demons.
"I was hoping you could spare some time to talk about us continuing to work together on the hospital case," she said.
"I'm sorry, work together? I had no idea we were," he replied. Moore ignored the rebuttal and kept right on talking.
"So how about it, Captain? This will only take ten minutes of your time. What do you say?" 
Spending any amount of time with Darcy Moore was the last thing Rains wanted to do right now, but predictably, he relented unable to refuse the attractive woman, who had struck a provocative pose waiting for a response. Tony Rains would always be an easy mark for a beautiful lady, and Moore, perceptive as she was, could read his mind like the trashy dime store novel it was.
"My place is two doors down," Rains said pointing. "Fred and I are on our way home for dinner. You're welcome to join us if you don't mind bachelor cuisine." Moore glanced back at Rains' building then down at his dog.
"Sure, as long as Fred promises to be on his best behavior," she said reaching down to pet Rains' constant companion, who avoided the advance by backing away snorting.
"Just stay clear of his dinner and you and Fred will get along fine," Rains said half-jokingly. Freddie the Wonder Pug, in his infinite canine wisdom, doesn't care much for the ladies, except for maybe Maggie Grant, who he had grown attached to just as Tony had.
Moore followed Rains and Fred the last twenty steps to the entrance of Rains' building and up to their second-floor apartment. Once inside Fred made a beeline for the comfort of the far end of the couch where he promptly dozed off. 
"It's 'his' spot," Rains explained, recalling Dr. Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory fame. Moore looked at the dog and smiled.
"How nice."
"Let me get out of this uniform. I'll be right back. Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. There's a six-pack in the refrigerator."
Rains disappeared into the bedroom while Moore helped herself to a beer then took a seat on the couch opposite Fred. Rains reappeared minutes later dressed in jeans and a snug fitting tee-shirt.
"Good, you found the beer. Are you hungry?"
"No, not really. What I would like though is to clear the air between us and see if you and I can get along for the cause," Moore said.
"I'm sorry, for the cause?"
"You know, for the good of the department and DA's office," she replied.
"And just who sent you to talk to me about supporting the cause?" he said.
"Nobody sent me. I'm here on my own accord, Captain."
"Ok, but what gives with the kinder gentler approach? What's changed since last night?" he said.
"Nothing, I'm just as determined as I was last night to do the job the DA sent me to do, but I'd much rather do it with the understanding that I'm on the same page as you and your team. Right now I don't feel like any of you trust me."
"Your perception of the obvious is admirable, Ms. Moore. You're right, my guys and I don't trust you, especially not after the way you bullied your way onto our crime scene last night," Rains said.
"Yeah about that, sometimes I get a little too assertive," she explained. 
Rains chuckled and said, "Some people call that being a pushy bitch. Are you a pushy bitch, Ms. Moore?" Rains said smiling.
"Guilty," she conceded. "You know as well as I do, as much as things have changed, this is still a man's game. Sometimes that's the only way to be heard."
"I see your point. Come sit in the kitchen so we can talk while I get my dinner going. Bring your beer."
Moore stopped short and sat on a stool on the living room side of the counter divide while Rains reached into the cupboard for a can of Campbell's Chucky Soup. Clam Chowder, his favorite.
"That's it, that's your dinner?"
"This and two or three slices of bread and butter to dunk and wipe the bowl clean," he said with a look of anticipation working its way across his face.
"Tell me it's real butter at least," she said.
"You damn right it is. 100% Wisconsin gold."
"You're from there, aren't you?"
"Born and raised," he confirmed.
"So what brought you out here?"
"Opportunity," he said. Moore nodded at the reply already knowing the rest of the answer. Tony Rains' reputation proceeded him.
"I've heard about your colorful past," she said.
"Have you been checking up on me, Ms. Moore?"
"I wouldn't call it that. Let's just say I make it a point to know a little something about the people I choose to work with," she said.
"I get it now. This is about you picking and choosing, and you chose me. Is that it?"
"Something like that. Look, Tony, I know you and I can work together. I don't care what anyone is saying and neither should you. There are a lot of different agendas at work on both sides of the system. You get that don't you?"
"You don't have to tell me. I've been caught in the middle of opposing agendas before. Now hurry up and tell me what you've got in mind before I change mine. How do you propose we move this unholy partnership forward?" he said stirring the soup simmering on the stove top.
"I haven't worked out any of the details, but one thing is for certain, we need to be sure we do it quietly. All you have to remember is I can help you find the killer," she assured him.
"And tell me again, Ms. Moore, how are you going to do that?"
"It's simple. I have a knack for developing profiles that point investigators in the right direction. I've done it before, and I can do it again for you. I've got a perfect track record you know," she said grinning proudly.
"So I've heard."
"Oh, so you've been checking up on me?" she said.
"No, not intentionally. Let's just say certain people in the department have gone out of their way to be sure I knew who all the players are, and you're on the list."
"I had no idea there was a list, but it's good to know I'm considered a player. So are you ready to work together?" she said.
"At this stage of the game, I would usually say something like give me a good reason why I should. But under the circumstances, I don't think it would matter much how you answered."
"So you trust me?" she said.
"The jury is still out on the question of trust, but I'm ready to work with you. I just hope my decision doesn't come back to bite me in the ass. Don't let me down, Ms. Moore."
"I won't, thank you, Captain. Now we just have to come up with a plan," she said.
"I'm going to leave the planning part up to you. I'm a cop, not a tactician like you lawyers. When can you have a profile ready?" Rains said.
"I'll need forty-eight hours to work something up."
"Alright, forty-eight-hours, that's all you're getting. The trail is already going cold," Rains said.
"You'll have it," she said confidently.
Rains glanced at the digital clock display on the stove and said, "Good because you're on the clock, Ms. Moore. Now, would you like some soup?"
"Yes please, and my name is Darcy."
Rains and Moore shared a can of soup then spent three hours seated side-by-side while she began working up a profile that when finished, would paint a picture of a person, presumably a man, capable of taking seven lives on a compressed timeline, all within yards of each other. It was nearly eleven when Rains finally called it a night, pulling the plug on the impromptu after-hours session.
"George, it's Tony Rains. Sorry if I woke you."
"Skipper. Nah, I'm laying here watching the news. What's up?"
"I've been mulling over your case, George. I don't think it makes any sense for you and Frank to spend a lot of time checking out the three elderly women. They were unfortunate victims of convenience just like the members of the hospital staff that were killed. Old man Radcliffe was the intended victim. He's the central figure you should be concentrating on."
"For the first time that I can remember, we're ahead of you, Skipper. We wrapped our look at the women late this afternoon and are already focused on Mr. Radcliffe. I pulled Dan Bishop and Jimmy Crocker from their cold case work and have them checking out the doctor and nurses. Have I missed anything?" Reagan said.
"No, that covers it. You guys are way ahead of me. I like that. Sorry again about the hour, George, good night," Rains said before tapping off the call. Reagan stared at the darkened screen of his cell phone for a long moment before returning it to the nightstand.
"That man really needs to get a life. It's eleven at night for Christ sake. He should be off somewhere banging a smoking hot barmaid," Reagan thought, looking at his wife of thirty years laying fast asleep beside him, her hair up in curlers. "Lots of damn curlers," he groaned softly.

No comments:

Post a Comment