Connect With Us   Follow SerialTellercom on Twitter Follow SerialTellercom on Twitter

The Paths We Take #8: Skittles & Rumors

Apr 3, 2018





Detective Townsend


“Am I seriously going to jail for this?” the doe-eyed twenty-something asked as she sat in the plastic chair biting her lip and picking at her amethyst colored nails. She was yet another Covington University student picked up by a uniform for simple possession of Schedule VI after getting caught smoking it behind the theater downtown. The part that interested me, was that she also had a faux mascara tube containing three dexies and an oxy.

“Where’d you get the weed?” I asked.

“Everyone’s got weed,” she said as she held her hands to her face and admired her nails. “I was at a party and I got it from this guy,” she hissed. Little miss I’ll-have-your-badgegave me the answer I knew she would. I asked her for his name, and all that she could come up with was “Kyle.” Sometimes the answer was “Kyle” or “James,” or whatever plain name they managed to think of while they were blitzed out of their minds, but a lot of times it was just “I don’t know.”

She described “Kyle” as white, kind of tall, and wearing a blue hoodie. The school was full of “Kyles,” but in the past few years, these “Kyles” have been slinging dexies, handlebars, juice, and even smack and ice if they had the balls to go across the river to get some from The Breed.

“What about the Adderall? You get them from Kyle?”

“I have a prescription,” the girl lied as she started to bite at her nails. I studied her almond eyes bounce up to the right and back down, all the while lifting her hands in the air, palms up, in the I-don’t-know pose before surrendering them back to the table. “I’m sorry, I was messed up. I don’t know anything else about Kyle. He did say he had some skittles too, but he’d have to come back with them.”

The uniforms would call me if they thought that they had someone who would be willing to cooperate. I didn’t like to waste my time with simple possession charges; half of them would be back on the streets within hours, and the other half would plead down or be completely dismissed if “daddy” or “mommy” were well connected. They called me about Molly; the uniform said that they see her all over town and that she knows a lot of people, especially the people that frequent the jail, but I needed her to know just one or two of the “right” people.

“Molly, I can’t help you right now… but I will. I need you to get me more information, something else about “Kyle”, like a last name or where he stays. I’ll make sure the D.A. knows that you were helpful.”

“Wow. Thanks. Can you tell your little minions to take me back to my car?” she asked, batting her long sooty eyelashes.

“They tell me that you know a lot of people,” I said.

“What detective, you couldn’t figure out that I’m popular on your own?”

I wasn’t going to question her further. Judging from the dilation of her pupils, she had already railed a few dexies, or Molly was already rolling on the “Molly” that Kyle was supposed to be coming back with. I handed her my card and instructed her to call me if she wanted to help herself by giving me some names or agreeing to work with me on some buy-busts. I told the uniform to cite and release her for the simple possession of marijuana, and then process her on the possession of the Schedule II.

My cell vibrated, and the grating “bzzz bzzz bzzz” sound echoed in my ears; I was fairly sure it was Morse code for, “answer me asshole.” The call was from my wife. I let it go to voicemail; I wanted to check in with Sgt. Marks before I cut out for the evening.

Special Investigations was dark, most of the team was already sitting down to dinner with their wives and kids. Sgt. Marks was the only one in the weight room. Despite popular opinion, most of the department spent more time at the gym than the local Dunkin’ Donuts. I caught him the middle of a set of weighted tricep dips.

“Sarge, you have anything substantial yet from the alleged kidnapping from Nancy’s?” I asked as he finished his set. He grabbed a white towel from the rack and took a gulp of his Rockstar.

“Nothing there. I tried; the cameras don’t show shit, no one has reported a missing blonde, and there are no other witnesses,” he said. “Your boy Luke seems like a good guy, but he didn’t see what he says he did.”

I heard the “bzzz bzzz bzzz” sound again as my personal cell vibrated in my jeans pocket. I ignored the call again, sending it to voicemail. “I dropped by to see him a while ago. He is on edge about this thing,” I said.

“This case is going nowhere right now, and we don’t need to get your unit involved in this,” Marks said. “I am slammed with several active homicide cases going right now, if something legit comes through with Luke’s missing girl, I’ll let you know.” He picked up a set of dumbbells and started hammering out reps of bicep curls. I took the cue, left the weight room, and returned to my office, like a boy who had been just kicked off the monkey bars by the older kids at the playground.

Drugs & Vice and Special Investigations were in a pissing contest, mostly because Special Investigations had to rely on our informants for information, and we didn’t like to hand them over. The Special Investigations team didn’t use the finesse needed to handle tweekers and street level dealers; they forget that to get information from the streets, you needed to be a part of the streets.

Lasagna was still warm in the oven for me when I walked into the kitchen. Kristin was sitting there at our counter-height dining table, her eyes immersed in her phone; I could hear the video playing, someone broadcasting their advice on how to find the perfect color of lipstick.

“You and your phone. Why have it if you aren’t going to answer?” she asked. She put her phone in the back pocket of her jeans and glowered at me with her serene cinnamon eyes. “I burnt the garlic toast,” she said as she swatted at the air.

The only thing I could smell was the lasagna that I had taken out of the oven. I watched as she swatted the air, her UCLA t-shirt swaying from side to side with every swat, like she was swatting at angry hornets.

“Everything smells great,” I said. She stopped swatting and studied me as I took an oversized scoop of the lasagna and plopped it on the plate. She always mentioned something that went wrong when she cooked. She secretly liked it when I praised her efforts and ignored whatever thing that she tried to find wrong with the meal.

“You like it?” she asked. “I got the recipe from this chick on Facebook who enters all of these cooking contests.”

The lasagna was culinary perfection. I gave her a smile and took another bite, making hyperbolic “mmm” sounds. “Nailed it babe. Not that shirt though; you should get rid of it, right now,” I said.

“Start answering your phone,” she advised. A white toothy smile framed by dimpled cheeks formed, the kind of smile that let you know that good things still existed in the world. “Enjoy,” she said as she paraded up the stairs.

After I finished eating, I dropped my bag by the computer in the den, and then kicked off my trainers in the hall closet. I turned the utility room downstairs into my personal locker-room. I took off my Kevlar vest and laid it out on the counter to air out. I put my duty Smith & Wesson .45 M&P and my secondary Ruger .38 in the safe, and then made my way upstairs to the bedroom.

Kristin was in the shower already, so I plopped down on the bed until it was my turn. “What’s up with that girl that was kidnapped?” Kristin yelled from the shower.

“How do you know about that?” I asked as I jumped out of the bed and opened the door to the bathroom.

“Some of my marketing students were talking about it before class. I didn’t join in on the conversation or anything, but I did hear them say that the police were looking for a chick that had been kidnapped.”

Kristin had started teaching as an associate professor at Covington several years ago. The students would only know about the kidnapping if one of the uniforms told their “cop story” to their girlfriend, or one of the students had seen something.

“It’s nothing,” I lied. “Probably just a rumor.” There was no reason to have her worry; she was uneasy for weeks when the last two girls went missing. She had called me when she was walking to her car after teaching her evening classes, and a few times I met her there and walked with her, an unofficial police escort. She joked that it was the sole benefit of being married to a cop.

I jumped in the shower after Kristin finished, letting the steam cloud the bathroom like a warm fog after a summer rain. I heard the rattling of my cell phone on top of the cherry nightstand. “Work phone,” Kristin called out from the bedroom.

I hurried out, toweled off in the haze, and went over to the nightstand, but I didn’t catch the call on time. The call had come from an unknown caller with a local area code. “1 New Voicemail” popped up on the screen.

“Glad to see you make a valiant effort to answer your phone,” Kristin teased, not taking her eyes off the book she was reading while I put the phone to my ear.

“Detective Townsend, this is Molly Shaeffer, I need to talk to you…it’s about that kidnapping.”


© Josiah A. Miller 2018. All Rights Reserved.