Saturday, June 28, 2014

First Shot (12)

Andrew Salzwedel's call interrupted Blow as he studied the video Mary Lloyd had sent him in an email link.
“It wasn't us.” The history teacher's effort to conceal his excitement wasn't working. Despite the measured pace, Blow heard rapid breathing and a higher pitch than before.
“We didn't do it, whatever happened to Gunther. Our aim was too high.”
“Uh huh. I take it you've seen the video.”
“The one on YouTube, yeah. Clear as day. The ballistics weren't right. None of us could have killed him, either intentionally or by accident. You seen it yet?”
“Watching it right now--”

“Look how high our barrels are when the shots are fired. Lined up, all eight of 'em. No way if a ball had been in any one of those muskets it could have hit anybody. Would've missed by a mile. Landed back in the woods somewhere.”
“It does look that way, Andy. It sure does. But...Gunther and the other riders are moving away. I don't know ballistics from logistics, but wouldn't it be possible for the bullet to be dropping and reach Gunther at a greater distance? You know, like a pass receiver catching a ball at the far side of its arc?”
“That's a good point, but the answer here would be no. There wasn't enough distance.”
“Weak charge, maybe?”
“Theoretically, but then the ball wouldn't have had enough velocity to take his head off. It could have killed him, but so could a lead ball from a slingshot or just thrown by hand. They're heavy. Sixty-nine caliber. Bigger than a 12-gauge shotgun slug. Whatever hit him was traveling too fast to arc that soon if it had come from one of our muskets. As I said, it would have ended up in the woods, at least three hundred yards beyond the riders. That may be where it ended up anyway. It wasn't any of us, Mr. Stone.”
“So what do you think happened?”
“Well, obviously someone shot him, but whoever it was used a high-powered modern rifle, and no reenactor had one of those on the field. It would have stuck out like a bazooka. So it couldn't have been an accident, which should make Herr Himmler happy. Who did it is the mystery, but frankly I don't care. At least now I have the perfect alibi.”
“Don't I?”
“It would seem that way.”
“Seem? Can't you be more positive than that?”
“I believe you, Andy, but the police can't rule out you might have had an accomplice.”
“That's crazy.”
“Not really. Stranger things have happened.”
“Not this time. Not with me, anyway.”
“I hope not.”
“You still my lawyer?”
“Yes, I am. So long as you stay truthful with me I'll represent you, all the way.”
“I'm not lying, Mr. Stone.”

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