A little after 8 PM, the captain joined them at the secluded table Jack had reserved. The captain hugged Kathy and said, “You are even more beautiful. Jack, thank you for bringing your bride to our city on your honeymoon.”
“Hey. You know this is my favorite city. How could we pass up seeing our favorite police captain on our honeymoon?” Jack smiled.
“As I remember the last time you were here, both of you damn near got killed. If it hadn’t been for Shadow, the assassin would’ve done you. Where is the super dog?”
“He’s up in our suite. We had to promise he wouldn’t come down to dinner.”
Kathy said, “I love that dog. He can do no wrong. I don’t mind Jack leaving me alone but Shadow better be there. I’m really excited – when we leave here we’re going to Philadelphia to pick up Shadow’s baby brother.”
“Why to Philadelphia, the home of the hated Eagles?” snorted Shorer.
“We’ll be in and out before any Eagles fans know we’re in their city,” Jack said. “It just so happens, that besides the hated Eagles with their dog-loving quarterback, there are some very good Bouvier breeders close by.
“We’re picking up a prize four-month-old pup who has already won best in breed in a national show for young Bouviers. Little guy has a testicle that hasn’t dropped and so he is out of competition. The breeder’s loss is our gain. Shadow is getting old and I want him to help teach this young pup his manners. Shadow will always be the alpha in our house.”
After a bit more small talk and at Jack’s suggestion, Captain Shorer signaled their waiter and said they were ready to order. Pushing the menu aside, he ordered a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay, lobster tails, cups of clam chowder, six-ounce filet mignon on the rare side, browned boiled new potatoes, and a small Caesar salad. He passed on drinks and asked the waiter to bring the wine instead. When the wine was poured, Captain Shorer cleared his throat. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with the both of you. Unfortunately, our period of working together is drawing to a close. My retirement date is next month and politics being what they are, I have to put my papers in.”
Kathy glanced at Jack before turning to face Captain Shorer. “When does this happen and how will it affect us?”
“It will happen within the next three months. I’m not able to give you a precise date. I’m afraid my successor will have no use for you. Our arrangement of working together will not be continued. In fact, I’m doing my best to make it all go away. The paperwork is already destroyed and computer files deleted and overwritten with a random program. Sometime soon I’ll need your badges back and ask you to destroy your official gun carrying permits. I’ll not be able to protect you any longer, like I was able to do when you killed the four people that attacked your Charleston home. I’m sorry, but whoever said all good things come to an end was right on.”
“Why don’t we give you our badges now?” Jack said.
“Because I want you to look into one more thing for me. I have another one of those nagging outside-the-box thoughts I want to tell you about. Are you willing to hear me out?”
“Captain, you know we both would walk on hot coals for you. Go ahead.”
“Today we had a patrolman shot from ambush. He’s in critical condition in Mercy Hospital. He was hit once in the face and once in the upper arm. The weapon used was a .22 Hornet. The rounds were hollow-point .22 Hornet. Ballistics not much use here. There was another patrolman right beside him. The second shot might have been intended for him. No one heard anything or saw anything. First I would like you two to examine the area, look for the sniper’s hide, and see what else you can find.
“I don’t think this is a straightforward attack on police officers. In the last year there have been 13 reported shootings involving police or firemen in the U.S. Only a few resulted in death. No clues anywhere, no matter how thorough the investigators were. But matching those attacks with other crimes within a few hours of the shootings revealed some perplexing information. Without exception, each case has a reported missing person report filed with the last known sighting of the missing person very near to the time of the ambush shooting of police officers or firefighters. All were young women, less than 22 years of age and between the heights of five-six and five-eleven. All were blonde, well dressed, with good family backgrounds. They were either students or young professionals. I believe the kidnappers are partial to students because of the movement patterns of students and the difficulty in pinning down the actual time of the crime. Unlike professionals, students don’t check in to a workplace on a fairly exact time schedule.
“You know how slow the police are to react to missing young women of that age. By the time it’s probable that some crime has been committed, the scene is cold and details are hard to come by. This is especially true if we are all chasing after a phantom sniper attack on police or firefighters in the same city at nearly the same time. My belief is that the timing of these separate crimes is not a coincidence. The shootings are used to cover up the kidnapping of young women by a group that carefully scouts and selects the women to match their profile.”
“And you want us to…..?” Jack trailed off.
“I want you to go over this file and investigate both crimes using your usual unorthodox approach. Report only to me on the phone. Do not come to the office. Try to stay out of the way of your old contacts.”
Jack saw Kathy nod and said, “Okay. We’re on it. Will check in when we have anything.”
“Okay, enough shop talk. Here comes our dinner.” Picking up his wine glass, the captain said, “Here’s to the honeymooners and my two best investigators. May you enjoy many happy years together.”