ASN 3.3 Connections and Calamari

by Matt P.

Ashland had brought sufficient evidence with her to convince them of her claim, and they spent most of the rest of the morning going through it. A lot of it was speculation—references to other odd drug outbreaks going back at least twenty years, which had potentially been misidentified as other kinds of narcotics. Tainted crack, a new form of meth—in the nineties there had even been something that had been labeled as a Thai drug called ‘Yaa baa’, which Walter had needed to look up; and all of it was a potential outbreak of what they now called Salvation. They had a lot of leads to potentially follow; they also had pizza they ordered.

“Well,” Walter offered philosophically after washing down some pizza with a splash of soda, “at least we’re not starving for information this time.” He looked at the piles on the table in front of them. “I’m not saying the other side is much better, mind, but…”

Alexander smirked. “But at least it’s different? If only it made much of a difference, instead of just being different.” At that the older man sighed, and put down a report he had been reading. “But whether you’re in a desert dying for a drop of information or drowning it, the end is the same. Like this report…I’m the reporting officer, for Christ’s sake, and I remember it. Marshal Herrera assigned me to look in to what we thought was a batch of tainted heroin, because she had no leads. After about two months, I didn’t have any leads either and then we had a more important missing person.”

Andre Alexander, Walter’s partner wearing the dark green Border PD dress uniform from a visit to a local elementary school, leaned forward. “Was that when the Mayor went missing, back in the 90s?” He asked curiously. He picked up the file underneath the tainted heroin, and nodded. “Yep, here it is. Liam McElroy, Mayor of Border, mysteriously disappeared from the locked Mayor’s house, without a trace.”

Leah Silverman, Walter’s other partner also in the green dress uniform, blinked a little bit. “Do you think they’re related? I remember when that happened, it was big news. Everyone thought the Deputy Mayor must have done it on account of her being his ex-wife, but she was acquitted,” Leah explained to Walter, who was starting at them in startlement.

“The Mayor of Border was kidnapped? Was he ever found?” Walter asked curiously, leaning over to leaf through the file as well. Even Ashland looked interested, drawn out of her shell of smugness to watch as they looked over the papers. “Never found. Holy shit, Border, how do you lose a mayor?”

Morgan coughed delicately from the corner. “There were rumors he was engaged in some…salacious activity that caught up with him,” she offered. And then with a raised red brow she shared a very meaningful look with her sister for a moment, before looking back to Walter. At his very questioning look, she continued the facial communications with a look that clearly said I’ll tell you later.

“Needless to say they tore down the new Mayor’s mansion and went back to using the old one,” William Alexander said with a sigh. “Since it was the second time in fifty years a mayor went missing in the new on. New being relative, since it was built in the 50s.”

“I…” Walter offered slowly, shaking his head from side to side with a little laugh. “I’m not entirely sure how to process a town that loses two mayors in half a century. So why don’t we just move back to the data. Are there any patterns in what we’ve got, besides ‘stuff happens, weird drug involved’?” He picked up three of the files up from the table. “What’s the oldest one we’ve got?”

Leah picked one up between slim fingers and considered it. “I think this is the oldest case that might be connected. It’s from the sixties, and I haven’t seen anything older here,” she offered. Everyone at the table shuffled the papers ahead of them, and one by one shook their heads. “Ok, so that’s our starting point. How often does it happen, is it regular?”

Andre considered the papers in front of them and sighed. “Nope. And they involve different people—I remember two about black gangs, one about a Latino gang, and then some college students. Different ages too, and different times of the year. If there’s a pattern here then it’s not one that I’m seeing, boss,” he offered to his uncle the Marshal.

“No, there’s something,” the elder Alexander responded. “If Ashland is right and these are related to Salvation, there has to be a rhyme or a reason. We just don’t know what it is. But that means we need to get to wearing out shoe leather, and run down these cases.” That brought a general silence to the green carpeted room, as the detectives considered the amount of work before them—and no doubt the civilians tried not to be noticed and ‘volunteered’ to help.

“Can we change first?” Leah asked wryly, looking down at the military-style buttoned wool coat with standing collar. “Or at least get some bottles of water?” At Alexander’s laugh and nod, everyone began to filter out of the room. Ashland collected her papers and proffered a very lazy salute in Walter’s direction and a wiggle of her eyebrows at Ryan. Finally the room fell to quiet again with just Walter and a recently red-headed coroner and Faerie Queen.

“Did Tania murder the Mayor of Border after sleeping with him or something?” Walter asked, after a long beat. Morgan blinked, and then couldn’t stop a peal of laughter from escaping. It was, Walter reflected, very much like a giggle.

“Oh no, is that what you thought that look was? I mean…we killed the shit out of him, to be sure,” she offered in continued amusement which only grew at his horrified look. “But he was part of a cult trying to summon a squid god into the town.”

That drew another series of blinks, choking noises, and an elongated silence from Walter as he processed it. “That’s…quite a little word picture, for a simple couple of sentences. Would it have worked?” He managed to ask as he stood up, and began to walk with Morgan out the door.

“I don’t know, but we went out for calamari afterwords and took great relish in chewing it…vigorously afterword,” she confessed.