STCD Fresh Prints Part Three!
By Michael J Pennington
See Parts One and Two here.
Read the Smoke: The Cannabis Detective Book!
The morning came and Gwen and I were waiting for Charles with anticipation.
He came to the door we invited him in with great zeal. “What’s with you guy’s?” he asked.
Gwen and I looked at each other and Gwen said, “We’ve been thinking about your offer.”
“And…” Charles replied.
“It’s official.” Said Gwen.
“Welcome to team Smoke!” I said.
“Team Smoke?” asked Gwen, her face a little weird.
“Um… Yeah, that’s you, me Sarah, and now Charles, that’s what I call us in my head…” I said.
“Yeah…” said Gwen. “I don’ think so…”
“But it sounds cool, it could be a whole thing…” I said.
“That is not going to be a thing,” said Gwen definitively she began walking to the door.
“But, we… but, Charel’s help me out here buddy!” I pleaded with him.
“Sorry,” said Charles. “but I agree with her.” And they left together.
“Fine!” I called after them. “But I’m taking your names out of the theme song!”
We were off to see another unofficial member, Hymie. Hymie was a co-owner of a local cannabis grower he mostly took care of the IT, he also helped people with computer stuff. He liked helping us so he didn’t charge us.
“Peter! Gwen!” cried Hymie. “Did you bring me some work?”
“Sure did!” I said. “Say, how’s the family in Porto Reico after the hurricane?”
“Beter than most, we’ve been sending them money and supplies. Jorge is there now, helping them rebuild. I’m minding the store.” Hymie was distant.
“Have they gotten the power back on?” Gwen asked.
“No.” Said Hymie bitterly. “It’s been months, it’s like the states just don’t care. They just take our money and leave us high and dry when it matters.”
“Here’s some paper towels hope it works out.” Said Charles.
“Exactly!” said Hymie. “This guy gets it.”
“Oh sorry!” I said, “This is our new team member Charles he’s in charge of security.”
“Alright!” Siad Hymie offering his vape pen to Charles.
“No thanks.” Said Charles, “I’m on duty.”
“I respect that,” Said Hymie. “Let’s get to work, I really need something to take my mind off things.”
“I’ll try some,” said Gwen referring to the vape pen. Hymie obliged her.
Hymie lead us his office which looked a lot more like a computer repair shop. Lots of computers in various states of repair. His walls were covered in posters. Some were of Porto Reico, lots were for comic books and there were quite a few posters for Tarintino movies.
Hymie wasted no time plugging the flash drive into the computer. “Confidentiality,” he said, “I got this software from my old employer.” He meant the C.I.A. “So this is just between us. I can get you results now, but officially it’s going to take a few days.”
“Got it.” Said Gwen, and Charles and I gave a nod.
He pulled up the file and ran the software. “So you think maybe this is tampered with?”
“Possibly.” Said Gwen.
“Well it ain’t, or whoever did it is better than me, and let me tell you…” Said Hymie.
“Dam!” I said in frustration. What was it about this case?
“It’s okay Hunny. We knew this was a long shot…”
“I guess we just have to except that Dill did it,” I said.
“That’s weird,” said Hymie scrubbing through the footage.
“What?!” I asked.
“This guy committing the murder,” said Hymie “He looks too gangster.”
“Did ya ever see a bad T.V. show where they really wanted to sell it? So they give the Gangsters every gangster trope possible.” Hymie was onto something. “It’s like this person only knows about gangsters from T.V. and just did his best to match it.”
“That could just mean that Dill was a wannabe gangster,” I said.
“Maybe, but he grew up on the streets with his mother.” Said Charles.
“Yeah, and even if he wore this regularly why would he wear this at night?” Asked Gwen.
“Wait a moment!” I Said. “Dill was going to be on a T.V. show! I wonder if that had something to do with it?”
“That would explain the over the top appearance,” Said Gwen.
“Do you think Preston might have been fooled by it too?” I asked.
“Maybe,” said Gwen. “It was pretty dark in that room.”
“Hay Smoke,” said Hymie. “Didn’t you say something over the phone about fingerprints?”
“Yeah,” I said. “That’s one of the big problems.”
“Um…” said Hymie. “Did anyone notice this fool is wearing gloves?”
We looked at the monitor it wasn’t the best quality but it was plain to see the killers hands we’re much darker than his face.
“Hymie, can you zoom in?” Asked Gwen.
“Sure,” said Hymie. As he made one of the killers gloved hands lager.
“Can I take a picture?” Said Gwen taking out her phone.
“Sure,” said Hymie.
“I thought you were worried about the government finding out about your pilfering of their software,” said Charles.
“Pilfered!?” exclaimed Hymie. “You wound me, Charles. Naw this was just part of my ‘retirement’ package. I just can’t let the general public know what the government is capable of. CIA has this room bugged already, don’t they Chris! They so funny I love fucking with them…”
“Who’s Chris?” Asked Charles.
“Chris is parked in a white van down the street. He’s part of the team that keeps an eye on me. He works Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.”
“Wait,” I said. “Isn’t it Tuesday?”
“Broden is sick,” said Hymie.
“Who’s Broden?” I asked.
“The Tuesday guy,” Hymie said.
“How do you know all of this?” asked Charles.
Hymie gave a wry smile. “They keep tabs on me, so I keep tabs on them.”
Gwen was too busy of taking a picture of the killer’s gloved hand. “This won’t violate your agreement?” she asked.
“Naw it’s just an enlargement,” said Hymie.
She took the picture and sent a text to Victoria I read over he shoulder:
Sorry to bother you but we got a lead.
What!? I thought the case was closed.
We wanted to give Dill every benefit, we took it to our computer expert.
We think the killer is trying to frame Dill.
Do you have proof?
Gwen sent the picture:
The Killer was wearing gloves…
My place two hours.
“Well, that was fast,” I said.
“Victoria doesn’t mess around,” said Gwen.
We started to leave. Gwen turned to Hymie and said. “Thanks, Hymie you were a big help.”
“I’ll let you know when the official copy is ready,” said Hymie. “Say hi to Chris…”
I was pretty sure Hymie was just pulling our leg. Ex-CIA, sure, but he probably didn’t… As we were about to get in the car we spotted the van. “No way,” Said Charles.
A man was sitting in the front seat getting ready to move the van. He seemed to be quite grumpy. He saw us but tried not to. Just for fun, I gave him a subtle wave. He rolled his eyes and waved back. Then he drove off. “Okay, I think Hymie just moved up on my scariest person alive list…” I said. Charles nodded.
“And you are going to start playing D&D with him,” said Gwen.
“It’s G.U.R.P.S.” I said, “There’s a difference.”
“Sure hunny!” said Gwen with a smile and a kiss on my cheek.