Saturday, July 5, 2014

First Shot (18)

The paramedics, their unit's back doors standing open, were already inside the Gunther home when Blow pulled up behind one of the cruisers. Evidently so was one of the deputies. Connie Rodriguez was the only one he could see, and she was standing with a cluster of neighbors on the Gunther lawn. It was an upscale neighborhood with some distance between the architecturally varied homes. The Gunthers' was a split level two-storied affair with a gabled roof and attached double-door garage. Blow walked up to the cluster. The deputy spoke first.
“Hi, Joe,” she said, stepping away from the neighbors. “You representing her?”
He smiled, nodded. “Connie. I am, for the time being. Are they...?” He let the question hang.

“They appear to be OK. Mrs. Gunther and one of the boys. The other one got away and called 911.”
“Can you tell me what happened?”
“Not really. Door was ajar. Sergeant Teach went in first. They were on the floor in the front room. Seemed like they were drugged. No sign of struggle. Boy saw us first and started talking. Very excited. I couldn't make out what he was saying. Then she looked up, saw me and started screaming and pointing at me. I came back out.”
“She stopped screaming then?”
“Yeah. Phil said she thinks I'm the one who attacked them.”
Blow gave her his ironic smile, using just one side of his mouth. “Ring any bells, Connie?” They locked eyes. Blow watched recognition slowly appear in hers.
“Oh, no!”
“'Fraid so. She's back.”
She looked at the ground and shook her head, its braided bun wagging under her Smokey Bear hat. “Can't believe they haven't found her yet. She killed one of their own!”
“She's a wiley one. Uses the name Moriarty now. Jamie Moriarty.”
“You're kidding? Like in Sherlock Holmes?”
Blow have her the complete grin. “Maybe her name is really 'Worth', you know, descended from Adam Worth, Doyle's real-life model for Moriarty. Hey, you think I could get in there now and talk with Mrs. Gunther?”
“I'll check with Phil. Maybe it's Mary Worth. Wouldn't that be a hoot!” She grinned, adjusted something on an earpiece and twisted a small hooked mic to her pretty lips. She spoke into the mic, but Blow couldn't quite make out what she said. She waited, then nodded and looked up at Blow. “It's cool, Joe. Go on in.”
Sgt. Phillip Teach met Blow at the door. Husky, fit-looking, unfriendly face, black brush mustache, short thick black hair, aggressive jet eyes. He stared at Blow a moment longer than necessary, then stepped aside. Blow saw a pair of white-clad medics attending Mrs. Gunther and a boy seated on sofa. Both seemed dazed but otherwise uninjured. The coffee table Blow remembered from his first visit had been pushed out of the way, but the room showed no other evidence of having been disturbed.
Teach was holding a notebook. “I'll stay here while you talk,” he said, then, “if that's OK with you.”
“No, Sergeant. That wouldn't be appropriate. I'm her attorney. If you're not finished with your interview, I'll wait outside.”
Teach continued staring at Blow. Nothing obvious had changed in the composition of his face or his posture, yet the stare had become a glare. This lasted only a couple of seconds before the deputy said, “I'm finished,” slapped his notebook shut, turned and left.
Nancy Gunther's face lit up with relief when she recognized Blow. She said something to the paramedics, starting a small argument. The voices grew louder when she appeared to be trying to wave them off.
“Is there a problem?” Blow asked. One of the paramedics explained that both mother and son apparently had received powerful electric shocks. He advised they be taken to the emergency room to be examined by a physician. Nancy was refusing.
Blow could see she was still dazed. He knew from from his experience with the powerful taser Cynthia Snow had used on him it would take Nancy and her son awhile to get back up to speed. Deferring to the medics' professional and liability concerns, he advised her to go. He said it was most important especially for her son to see a doctor. She relented.
As the medics were strapping her son onto a gurney for the ride to Walter Reed Memorial Hospital, Nancy motioned Blow to her. She whispered, “The woman is out there right now. She's wearing a sheriff's uniform.” Blow explained that it was a different woman but that she looked like a known criminal who was probably their attacker.
“Did she say anything, before she zapped you?”
“She wanted to know where we kept the guns. I told her we don't have any guns in the house. Then Benny started hollering at her, telling her to leave us alone. He's my brave little trooper. Then...I'm sorry, that's all I remember.”

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