Xenocide, Episode 3
These Guys Bug Me
These Guys Bug Me
“You’re the responder?” Jobst grunted.
“I was. You’ve got my photos and the report, right?”
“What did you see?” Plant’s tone said we’re asking the questions here.
“It’s in the reports. And the photos. The — whatever it is — took a shotgun blast to the body at close range. It appeared to be wearing some kind of respiratory apparatus, and there was a bag under the body. I didn’t attempt to inspect any further.”
“No. Plenty of people out there with the means, maybe some had an opportunity, but motive? We got nothin’. Besides a galloping case of arachnophobia. You got any better ideas?”
Plant huffed — I’d dared to ask them a question again. “It’ll take some time to assess the data, Adler. We’ll need your full cooperation in the meantime.”
That’s the way the interview went; like I told the kid, they asked the same questions several times and then wrapped it up. “If you think of anything else,” said Jobst, sliding a card across the table, “here’s a number you can call. We’ll be staying at the Garden Inn while we conduct the investigation.” There was a slight emphasis on the we. “We’ll be in touch.” They up and left without another word.
Sheriff Carmichael let them walk out the door, counted to three, and came in. Without a word, he leaned over to look under the table. He rolled his eyes and said, “Adler. I need a smoke. You want one?” He put a finger to his lips, then tapped his ear.
The Fibbies bugged us? I thought. Aloud I said, “Sure,” and followed him out the back door.
I don’t smoke, but the sheriff was trying to quit. Trying. I followed him out back, and he lit up and took a drag while I tried to stand upwind. “Quite the charmers, those two,” he said.
“I’d say it’s pretty likely our vehicles and phones have been given similar treatment. And anyone with a scanner can listen to our radio traffic anyway. So if we need to discuss anything further about this case, we’ll just step out for a smoke, right?”
“Sounds like a plan.” I liked working for the sheriff. He did things different.
The sheriff chuckled. “Anything you thought of that you didn’t tell our friends?”
“Yeah, one thing: just because the body was found along Cain’s Creek doesn’t mean the murder took place there — or anywhere else in the county. They probably thought of that anyway.”
“Sure. And they woulda said they’d thought of it even if they hadn’t.” We laughed. “I think I know what you’re thinking here, but what gave you that idea? About it being a body-dump.”
“The scene had the classic elements: it was near a road, wrapped in a blanket — even if it was the alien’s own blanket — and remote enough to not have anyone see them.”
“Wasn’t it on the other side of the creek from the road, though?”
“There’s at least two people involved. Good work, Adler. What else?”
“If they carried that thing in the trunk of a car, it’s gonna reek. It smelled strong, like worms and burnt coffee. They’ll either have the car cleaned or torch it.”
The sheriff puffed his cancer stick. “That might explain why they dropped it in our lap, instead of continuing north and leaving it somewhere it might never turn up. We’ll ask ‘em when the time comes.”
“So we’re going to keep investigating this?” I was surprised.
“Damn right.” He ground his cig out against the brick. “Nobody dumps bodies in my county and gets away with it, and I don’t care if the victim came from Forsyth County or Your Anus. And I got a hunch that our friends from Washington aren’t all that concerned with justice in this case.”