Blow remembered the peach pie soon as he got to his Ranger pickup after meeting with Lt. Callahan. Rather, he remembered he'd forgotten to bring the piece he promised Mary Lloyd the night before. She called him while he sat in his truck trying to decide whether to go back home and get the pie or head down to the newspaper office, apologize and offer to buy her lunch instead.
“Where's my pie?”
“At home. I forgot it.”
“Where are you?”
“In my truck. Just got done talking with Callahan. He called me first thing this morning. Interrupted my schedule.”
“He tell you about the break-in? At the high school?”
“He did not. When'd it happen?”
“Sometime yesterday. Assistant principal discovered it this morning. School's canceled today.”
“Nope. Just found out about it. Getting ready to head out, though. I was gonna invite you to come along, but you forgot my pie.”
“I'll meet you there. Sorry about the pie. Lunch is on me.”
Before he started the truck, Blow considered calling Callahan about the break-in. It seemed so obviously connected to the shooting investigation. Then he realized Callahan might not agree, as he apparently believed the shooting was accidental. It was Himmler who would make the connection. Instead, Blow called Andrew Salzwedel.
He arrived at the school before Mary, and was surprised at how few vehicles were there. Less than a dozen, and only three looked official. Two were marked units, and a tan Crown Vic with a whip antenna was likely an investigator's. He could see a uniformed deputy just inside the entrance. He decided to wait in his truck for his client. Mary got there first, parked next to his truck. He rolled the window down.
“Think they'll let you in,” he said.
“They should. It was John Humphreys who called me. He said he's acting principal.”
“Do you know who's investigating?”
“I don't recognize the car.”
“Look, if they let you in, will you tell Humphreys I'm out here, that I represent Andrew Salzwedel?”
“Sure. Does Andy know?”
“I called him. He didn't know, but he said he'd be here right away. I told him if somebody'd broken into his classroom it could be related to the shooting. He'd need to check it out.”
“Do you think it is?”
“I wouldn't want to guess, Mary, but the timing sure is suspicious.”
“Yeah, it is. Well, I'll head up there.” She walked to the entrance, carrying her camera bag. The door opened, and Blow saw her converse with the female deputy. Mary stepped in and the door closed behind her. Salzwedel hadn't yet arrived when Mary called.
“Andy's door was forced open, Blow. John has no problem with you coming in, but the investigator wants you to wait until Andy gets here. He wants Lt. Callahan here, too. Called him just now.”
“Oh, yeah? Who's the investigator?”
“Calvin West. Don't him. I think maybe he's new.”
“I don't recognize the name.”
“Anyway, I don't think he made the connection until I told him you were out there.”
“Aha. Quick study, huh?”
Andrew Salzwedel's lime green Sienna van pulled in five minutes later. He climbed out and started toward the entrance. He was wearing chinos, white running shoes and a U. of Maryland sweatshirt. Blow called his name. Salzwedel stopped and turned around as Blow left his truck and jogged toward him.
Blow told him what Mary had said about the door to his room being jimmied open. Salzwedel's brow was creased with worry. At the entrance, he showed the deputy, Connie Rodriguez, his school ID tag. “He's my lawyer,” he said, nodding at me.”
“He is, huh? Looks pretty young to be an attorney.” She said, winking at Blow. She waved them in.
A big, balding man with a moon face intercepted Salzwedel and Blow as they headed down a hall toward the history teacher's classroom. He said something to Salzwedel in a voice too low for Blow to understand. He seemed a little nervous. Dressed casually. Jeans and flannel shirt, the ubiquitous running shoes. Salzwedel introduced him.
“Joe, this is Assistant Principal John Humphreys. John, my lawyer, Joe Stone.”
Humphreys smiled modestly. “Actually, I'm acting principal now. Good to meet you, Mr. Stone. It was a terrible thing that happened, but I hope your services won't be needed.”
“I do, too, John. Please call me Joe.”
They bantered formally as Humphreys led them to his office. When they got the office area, Mary Lloyd was taking photos of the door to Newt Gunther's office. Its frosted window had been smashed. Humphreys led them to a nearby office and closed the door behind them. He motioned them to padded wooden chairs, and sat behind his desk.
“Inspector Callahan wants us to wait until he gets here. He doesn't want anybody to touch anything.”
“Inspector? Didn't know Callahan'd been promoted,” Blow said with a wry grin.
“Oh, damn. Lieutenant Callahan, of course. Guess I've seen too many Dirty Harry movies.”
This broke the ice, and they relaxed some. Mary had joined them when Callahan arrived. Blow didn't recognize the other man was with him. A uniformed deputy showed them into Humphreys's office.
Callahan nodded at everyone in the room. As he didn't recognize Salzwedel, he introduced himself, then turned to the other man.
“This is Frederick Himmler. He's with Colonial Liability, and will be working with us temporarily.”