Deep Waters - Chapter 1, Part 2
As I drove up to one of Otter Bay’s main piers, the fog was still thick. The lights on the roofs of several emergency vehicles illuminated the dark grey landscape with swirling bright colors. I parked the Lincoln legally in an empty parking spot away from the scene and approached slowly on foot.
I am a retired police detective turned private investigator. While on the staff of a large department in a major city, I took a bullet in the line of duty trying to apprehend a murder suspect. Even though I made a full recovery and was cleared for active duty, the department chose to retire me early and since they offered full pay and benefits I had no choice but to accept. They didn’t want the liability of an injured investigator within their ranks was the official word, unofficially I was ruffling too many feathers at city hall and my unpopularity caught up with me.
I came up the coast a few hours on a fishing weekend to Otter Bay after my retirement became official. While in town I took a half day deep sea fishing trip with a local private investigator. He was looking to retire, I was bored and seeking a new career direction. Within a mater of weeks I was the proud new owner of Coastal Investigations and inherited a short list of clients, most of them divorce attorneys seeking that extra bit of evidence for their clients. Between the human nature of not being able to keep marriage vows and a steady stream of background checks for local employers I kept busy and almost turned a profit.
When I approached the dock, I felt a sense of excitement lost for years within my boring recent existence. This was a real life murder and I was in the middle of the investigation like it or not. 

“There you are,” Crane commented as I strolled up to the dock, “I wondered if you stopped for breakfast before you came down here.”
“To early,” I replied in a mutter, “What do you have?”
“A body that came up when a fisherman brought up anchor this morning,” he explained as we walked side by side down the pier, “Our victim was tangled up in the chain, must’ve wrapped him up with the tide this morning.”
“Cause of death?” I asked as we reached a crowd of emergency personnel at the end of the pier.
“Blunt force trauma,” said the medical examiner overhearing my question, “Possibly drowning after that. I won’t know until we cut him open.”
“So somebody whacked this guy on the back of the head and dumped him?” I asked to no one in particular.
“Looks that way,” said a uniformed officer standing nearby, “It isn’t clear if the victim was attacked on the pier or on a boat.”
“How many of these fishermen were on their boats last night?” I asked addressing the question to the cop who I assumed had been first on the scene after the body was called in.
“Surprisingly this dock was vacant until about five this morning,” the cop replied looking at a note book.
“That’s a little weird,” I commented, “There are always people on these piers day and night. Somebody knew that there weren’t going to be people around last night.”
“Or they got lucky,” Crane commented showing his lack of investigative experience.
“If you deal with enough violent crime,” I explained, “There is never a coincidence especially in a situation like this. Somebody had a meeting with Mr. Luther last night and they set it up and made sure no one would be around. Murder in the underworld is a business transaction, carefully planned and seldom random. People who loose control of their emotions or act impulsively don’t live very long on the street.”
“You think this was a mob hit?” Crane speculated.
“Until you get some information on the victim,” I commented, “Does anyone recognize him? Where is he from?”
“Identification lists an address in San Francisco,” the uniform cop answered, “We are running it down but after an initial check it appears to be fake - came up as a commercial building.”
“So we don’t really know if this guy is named Luther?” I asked and received a bunch of blank stares in return.

I was just about finished with breakfast at Cat’s Cafe when detective Crane came walking up to my table a couple of hours later. Sally the owner met him as he sat down and poured a cup of coffee without asking. She quickly extracted a pencil from behind her ear and wrote something on a ticket pad.
“You look tired,” I said as Crane took a sip of his coffee black without adding any cream or sugar.
“I am not used to being dragged out of bed in the morning,” was his reply between sips.
“Do you want to order?” Sally said impatiently because the place was filling up.
“He wants the special,” I cut in and before Crane could protest added, “Put it on my tab.”
“You don’t have to do that,” he said stirring sugar into the strong coffee.
“I want to,” was my reply with a smile, “You need it. This is the big leagues. Ever had a murder to investigate?”
“Not while I have been here,” Crane explained, “Just a couple of suspicious deaths at hotels that turned out to be suicides. Those were just sad, nothing really that hard to figure out except why people do that to their friends and family.”
“I worked a dozen or more murders a year for ten years before I took the magic bullet,” I said after taking a sip of my own coffee, “You’ve already got a problem with this one.”
“What’s that?” Crane asked looking at the patrons streaming into the cafe.
“The local media is going to be all over this by lunch time today and you will be a rock star,” I explained, “The problem with that is a star has to shine and deliver results.”

True to my prediction, the media was waiting for Crane when I dropped him off at the police station an hour or so later. He was a smart kid and did he first bright thing he had done all day, refusing to answer any questions he said the chief would have a press conference later in the day. I told him to make his boss earn that large paycheck he enjoyed each month for basically pushing a bunch of papers around his desk and having long lunch meetings at the golf course with the fire chief and city council members. 
Rule number one of an investigator is to avoid the press at all costs especially early when the trail you are following is still hot. The media can be useful when you are looking for someone and you know who they are, if you don’t know they can make your job all that more difficult. I had used the media to help solve cases in the past, they had also made more than one investigation go stone cold before it even got started.

“The Otter Bay Police department is currently investigating a suspicious death reported this morning that until further facts are revealed is being classified as a homicide,” the Chief of Police said at the press conference which I was watching in my living room on my tiny television set. As I listened to the man conduct a press conference like he had just read how to do one from a book out of the for dummies series that morning, my mind wandered a bit. 
I was looking out my large front window at a bird in a tree across the street when the phone rang again. I had been anticipating phone calls so before I sat down in my well worn recliner, I had brought the phone into the living room from the bedroom. Some people wonder why I don’t have a cordless phone, the answer is simple you can listen in on the conversation easy with a little help from some not to expensive and easy to operate electronic devices available anywhere.
“Luther didn’t sleep with the fishes long,” said the same mechanical voice as this morning in my ear.
“Got some help from the tide,” I explained.
“His real name isn’t Luther,” the voice confirmed my suspicion before the line went dead again.
I looked at my wristwatch. The call had lasted less than thirty seconds. Whoever was calling had some knowledge of voice alteration and phone tracing technology. They had assumed that my line was being watched and therefore had cut short the conversation before it could be traced live. 

“Got another call,” I explained to Crane.
“What did they say?” he asked as I heard a bunch of office noise in the background.
“Confirmed that the victim’s name isn’t Luther,” I explained.
“Why would they want us to know that?” Crane asked impulsively.
“To mess with us,” was my answer, “Whoever did this is not your run of the mill underworld crime figure. This person is physcologicaly unstable and craving attention.”
“Yeah I figured we were dealing with a weirdo,” Crane observed, “A mob hit would be silent and no one would be offering up information like this.”
“This is good and bad,” I said, “Good because we have information to go on, bad because this might not be a professional hit afterall and the work of a serial killer.”
“Wait a minute,” Crane said raising his voice slightly, “You mean to tell me we might have a physocpath running around?”
“Yes,” was my simple reply, “One who thinks he is a mobster from an old movie.”

A serial killer in a small town, sounds like a bad late night cable movie I thought to myself. I grabbed the remote and without thinking started to channel surf, stopping at the broadcast of a college football game. I didn’t really care about either team but the game was close and only five minutes were left so I put the remote down. As I let it drop to the floor, Max my cat rubbed up against my hand and let out a loud meow. I realized that in my quick exit that morning I had failed to feed him and now he was letting me know about it.
I got up from the recliner with a groan and took a step towards the kitchen. On my way across the living room I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye just before it crashed into the living room window. A loud smash followed by the sound of broken glass rang in my ears as I stood staring at a brick. 
A note was pinned to the brick. My first instinct was to reach down and grab it, but my investigator training kicked in and all I did was stare at it. I didn’t have to wait long for a response from the police, my alarm system had been activated by the window being smashed. Within a couple minutes a cruiser had pulled up to the curb with its siren blaring. A pair of uniform cops jumped out and ran across my lawn with their guns drawn.
“It’s okay boys,” I yelled from inside as they came into view, “Somebody is trying to scare me is all.”

The crime scene people took their time getting to my house. My guess was they were tired from working the murder scene this morning. When they did arrive, their work was interrupted by my insurance agent. I had called in the claim simply because I didn’t want to feel useless and really hadn’t wanted to just sit around in my own house while crime scene techs crawled all over my front lawn looking for clues left behind by the assailant. 
My insurance agent, genius that he is walked right up to the front door and rang it like he was making a door to door sales pitch. A crime scene tech groaned as he caught the agent in a series of digital pictures of the broken front window. 
“Wow this is quick service, Art” I said with a sarcastic smile for the techs benefit, “Smile you are now in the police files forever.”
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Art said with an innocent clueless grin, “Somebody took a shot at you?”
“I don’t think they wanted to hit me,” I said pointing at the brick which was still in the middle of the floor, “They just wanted to deliver a message.”

After what seemed like hours crawling around my property, the crime scene people packed up their equipment and retreated to the police station. The sun was beginning to set and I felt tired. Art had arranged for somebody to tack up plywood and that covered up the large opening left by the broken window. I could have had the window replaced already if I wanted another glass one - I decided that it needed something stronger and was willing to wait. With the drapes pulled across you couldn’t tell anything was different on the inside. From the street the window was obscured by trees in the front yard, this isolation had aided the attacker in their assault.
The crime scene investigators found a couple of boot prints in my front yard near some recently watered flowers. A quick investigation of my closet revealed they were not my size and since I did my own landscaping they probably belonged to the brick thrower. Casts had been made and taken away along with the brick and its attached note.
The note turned out to be a blank piece of paper at first glance. Further investigation revealed that someone had written on the surface with a disappearing ink like substance. When the paper was treated in a chemical bath at the lab it revealed a somber message, “Sorry to dump trash on you. More to come.”

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Novel / Novella
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The conclusion on Chapter 1