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Main Line Murder: Another Mike Claymore Mystery Chapter 04

CHAPTER FOUR

2ND TUESDAY

The phone wakes him at 7:30 and he reaches for it on the bed before it wakes Marlene, but when he looks at her he notices that she's already up and gone. He says: “Good morning.”

“Mike, is that Mike?”

He hears a woman's voice on the phone and tries to figure out who it could be. It's almost like Trudy and he can't understand why she called him at home. “This is Mike. What happened?"

"This is Nina. I have a list of suspects for you, but I didn't see you at home Monday night. I saw your car in the driveway this morning and I'm calling you on the way to work. Where would you like to meet?”

“Just give me a minute and I’ll be right there.”

"No. Someone might see us. We'll meet in the Seven Oaks shopping center parking lot in ten minutes. Can you do that?”

“I’m on my way.” He hangs up and jumps out of bed.

He is wearing sweatpants and a pullover sweatshirt. In the kitchen, Marlene feeds the children and prepares them for school. “I'm going for a little run this morning, darling, for the old waist. I'll see you soon." He kisses her as he walks out the door.

"Who was on the phone?" He's already left and she gets no answer.

He jumps into the Mustang and throws his wallet into his briefcase. His bag and briefcase are still in the car from his last trip. He retreats and goes to the mall.

He spots Nina's Pinto near the park, under the overhanging trees. He stops next to her. He rolls down the window, but she's already outside, running to his passenger door. He opens it and she sits next to him. She giggles as if she's dizzy and says, "I could get fired for that." She slips him a photocopy of the list of suspects and some facts about each one.

“That’s great, Nina. I could kiss you!" He scans the list before lifting his head and reaching over the seat for his briefcase.

"I'm waiting." She sits there and looks at him expectantly.

"Hm." He realizes what he said and quickly adds, “Sorry, that was a figure of speech. You know what I mean. I really appreciate you sharing the list with me.”

She looks down and he says to himself, "What the hell!" He lifts her chin and covers her lips with his. Her reaction is immediate: she wraps her arms around his upper body and hugs him tighter, he is surprised. He throws his head back and says, "Hey, wrong place, wrong time." We have to get back to business. I hate to ask, but there are other things you can help me with. I need details of the crime. Scene. Could you get them for me?

She pulls her hands back and looks at him. “You really want me to get in trouble, don’t you? If I ever give you such documents and someone finds out, it could be classified as theft and they could send me to prison. It's bad enough that I copied their list of suspects. "

"Come on. You must have seen the crime scene reports. You don't have to give it to me, just tell me what it says. Your description will help me in my investigation and you will help solve the case.”

“I have seen all the reports. I actually copied it for the investigation team, but I don't remember everything."

Mike looks her in the eye and wisely guesses, “You made a special copy of all the reports, didn’t you? This thing really turns you on!”

“Oh, Mike. I can't let you see her. What if someone finds out.”

“Do you have them with you?”

"Naturally. I don't know where I can safely leave her. I wanted to burn them. She's really scared now.

“Leave her with me. I will destroy them if anyone becomes suspicious. Don't you trust me, dear Nina? - He looks pleadingly into her eyes.

She bites her lip and says, "I have to go to work." I'll think about it." She turns in her seat to open the door.

"What if someone trips over her in the meantime? Like Jeff, or a friend you're taking with you, or maybe a suspicious officer you're working with?"

She turns and lunges at him. "Oh, Mike. I should never have copied them. I don't know what to do."

Mike holds her for a moment and she stops shaking.

"Don't let anyone see her." She whispers the last statement and walks to her car. She quickly hands him the folder through the window and then turns to leave.

Mike takes her hand and says: “Thank you, Nina. No one will ever see them.

"I have to go now".

Mike watches their car pull out of the parking lot before opening the folder. He quickly scans the folder to see what's inside. There are photos of the crime scene. in color, the first forensic laboratory reports (more to come), as well as statements from officers, witness statements, a preliminary summary of results and other documents related to the case. Mike studies a map created by one of the officers on scene.

As he studies it, he realizes that he has been caught in the middleThis place once was. A year ago, one of the inspectors noticed that a car was driving suspiciously on an empty industrial site next to the farm and, upon checking, discovered a small plant growing business in this very hollow. No one was caught for this, but Mike went over and investigated the place out of curiosity. He knew that this place was out of sight until it was encountered, and that it was right next to the main tracks leading out of the stations in POCO. It should be easy to find, but in daylight it should be almost impossible to visit without being seen. “Anyway, they probably combed through everything thoroughly,” he thinks.

He returns to the list of suspects. Number one is Ray Shoff. He is listed as 30 years old, a driver for CP Express and Transport, unmarried and known to frequently associate with prostitutes. He was listed as a shy and introverted person. A search of his home uncovered several illegal pornographic videos that were banned in Canada because of their violent, graphic depictions of the abuse of women. Some of them were also banned because they crossed the line into incest and child pornography. Someone wrote in his name with a pen that Ray sought Flo's company through taxi driver Jay Scanlon. It is not known whether he was successful.

Mike laughs and says to himself, “I guess that’s what they decided.”

Second on the list was Robert Hanson, aged 26, with an address in Surrey. “This will speed up my investigation,” thinks Mike. The deceased's ex-husband lives with Marie Mathers of no fixed address, who claims to be from Summerside in the Maritimes. No confirmation regarding this place of origin. His arrest report lists repeated DUI, spousal violence and driving under the influence. (Drunk Driving) and charges of assaulting women and/or men in taverns, bars and restaurants.

Number three on the list is Ron Harrison, a 34-year-old real estate agent from Port Coquitlam, married with no children; On the night of the crime, he is listed as uncooperative and without an alibi, and interestingly, his name is in Flo's little black address book.

Other people mentioned in her book include Jay Scanlon and Anton Vanuetche. The first is listed as suspect number four. It is believed that Jay Scanlon lived with the deceased for at least some time and was her contact in some of her call girl businesses. Jay is listed as 28 years old, has worked as a taxi driver for Pitt River Taxi for three years, is single and is considered Flo's pimp.

Last on the list is Anton (Tony) Vanuetche, 27 years old, lives alone in his (late) mother's house in Port Coquitlam, drives a truck for CPX, is personable, affable and viewed as a joker by his colleagues. . He says he's met Flo a few times but nothing serious. Written in pen again, a small note indicating that he may be involved in the local drug trade. It reads advice from a fellow passenger, and Mike curses his big mouth. “These are just rumors,” he thinks.

He files the list and checks the victim's examination results. He finds it and notices a car driving slowly through the parking lot behind him. He puts the folder in his briefcase and starts the Mustang. It's time to leave here.

He leaves South Fraser Way and goes to the airport. He locks the car and runs along the path that leads to the runway. He keeps his eyes on the car and returns, out of breath. As he drives past the hangers, he thinks he needs to get out and do this more often. He finds a parking lot where a car was stolen as part of an insurance fraud case he's supposed to be working on and asks a technician in overalls if he knows the boy whose car was stolen. The employee points out that it was one of the painters and that he didn't know him. The artist is obviously a new employee.

He looks around the area and decides he needs to go there again at night to get a better idea of ​​the lighting and everything. He also surveys the area and surrounding streets where a thief might be waiting before striking. He checks the file and decides to drive from here to a gravel pit a few miles away where the burned out car was found.

He calls Marlene on his cell phone, but no one answers at home, so he takes that route. He sits in his car and studies the layout of a gravel pit. This is the perfect place to take a stolen car, dismantle it and then burn it. High walls protect them from observation and hide the reflections of the fire. He goes out and examines the black soot where he believes the car burned out. A gleam catches his eye and he picks up a small pocket knife partially buried in the gravel. Without giving it much thought, he puts it in a ziplock bag from his briefcase. Then he studies it through the plastic. Not a crime knife, that's for sure. More like a child's knife. Hmmmmm.

He walks around the area again, but nothing else catches his attention, so he climbs inHis car is back and heading home. He calls home again on his cell phone and this time Marlene answers. "Hi darling. I drive back home. Lunch is in an hour, or would you like to go out for something to eat?”

“Oh, Mike, I just came from the supermarket. I'll let us eat here. Have you been running the whole time?” She sounds sarcastic.

“No, I was walking at the airport and noticed that I had a briefcase with me from my last trip, so I started investigating an incident of insurance fraud that happened to me at the airport. I'll be right home to update you. See you soon, darling.

“By the way, they called from work and asked to bring the cargo to the Okanagan tomorrow. They said that they had already called Len and that you should call them.”

"Thank you my dear. I'll see you in a minute. I just arrived in South Fraser.” He’s on the phone at a traffic light and quickly dials CPX. He calls the local dispatcher and says, “Jerry, this is Mike. What do you have for me tomorrow? My wife told me to call.”

“Take half the load to Zellers in Kelowna, then pick up the trailer in Sicamous and come here. I don't have the numbers to hand, but the documents will be ready by nine tomorrow."

"Right. I'll be there. Is Len coming tomorrow morning?"

"This is Roger. He said he'll meet you at the pier at eight. Anything else?"

“Looks like you’re busy. I think that's it. Take care."

He pulls into the driveway and dials Trudy's number, but there is no answer. He grabs his briefcase and goes into the house. "Hello, darling. I'm going to take a shower. How long until lunch?”

“Whenever you’re ready. Am I not kissed?”

Mike grabs her, bends her back over the table and kisses her. “So!” He grins and goes to his office in the basement. He throws his briefcase on the table and goes back upstairs to the bedroom. He undresses, puts on a robe and goes into the bathroom. As he comes in, he hears water running and calls back to the kitchen, “Thanks, darling. I'll be with you."

He undresses and pushes back the shower door. Marlene waits for him with a smile on her face. "Janet is laying down and I thought I'd come with you." She reaches for him.

Enjoy later They both eat their lunch in robes while Mike talks about his insurance fraud case. “It looks like this guy organized the theft of his own car to collect insurance money and buy a new one. This shouldn't take long unless I run into something obvious. These cases are difficult to prove. I just need to do some work and see what I can come up with. Anyway, I'll be in the office this afternoon trying to figure everything out. Can you keep Janet out of my hair?”

"I'll try it. What time are you going there tomorrow?”

“We have to get up at half past five. I want to be there at half past six, so I have to leave shortly after seven. This is a turnaround only and must be picked up in Sicamous after delivery in Kelowna. At least that's all for now. Everything can change at any time, but I should be back late tomorrow evening. Then I should have Friday off. Maybe then I can take care of this insurance problem.”

Mike goes into his office and closes the door. He opens his briefcase and pulls out the file on Florence Hanson. He opens a case and looks for the victim's test results.

At the top left of the page is a recent color photo of a plain, blue-eyed, brown-haired woman, quite attractive, with neat makeup and a perky button nose. Her hair is cut short and styled in a modern way to highlight the earrings that match the necklace she is wearing. The lovely cleavage suggests a D cup under the off-the-shoulder dress she wore for the photo. Next to the photo it says her name was Florence Elaine Hanson (formerly Tremblay), ex-wife of Robert Hanson of Surrey. Her place of birth is listed as Simcoe, Ontario. According to her date of birth, she is 23 years old. Residence is listed as a small house in Port Coquitlam. She got divorced about a year ago after the marriage lasted two years. She is 1.75 meters tall and weighs 50 kilograms. She has a tattoo of a small butterfly on her left breast and a tattoo of a jungle cat near her pelvis. No other distinguishing features were identified.

It is also said that they were living in Burnaby when they married, but she received half the settlement when the Burnaby house was sold. In addition to this agreement, she sued and won a personal injury case against him and received an arbitration award that nearly ruined him. Hmmmm, reasons for murder? Mike could imagine Robert pushing her off the edge of a bridge or hitting her with the first object he could get his hands on, but planned a consensual sexual encounter with her and then strangled her. It just doesn't make sense. He moves from description to crime scene photos.

"Well, Flo, here you are." He murmurs as he studies the photos. “The clearly soft blanket and splashing of fluid suggest this was not the casebrought here after being killed somewhere else. Additionally, the random, torn clothing indicates that she was killed where she lay. He takes a magnifying glass out of his desk drawer and studies the photos carefully. The purple bruise on her neck and the dark complexion clearly indicate that she was strangled. There is also extensive bruising in the pelvic area and the tattoo is difficult to see even though the pelvic area is cleanly shaven. There's something obscene about the way her vagina is open in the photo, but in that respect the whole photo is obscene. He examines another close-up of her crotch and references the early forensic report. He studies the finds, but doesn't see what he's looking for. Perhaps a more detailed forensic report will explain what makes him puzzling. He would have to try to convince Nina to at least watch it for him.

He scans the entire shot again and notices that she is wearing an earring in one ear, but the other is missing. He consults the reports from the officers on duty and finds that the missing earring was found in the grass about two meters from her left side. This also suggests that her panties were found lying next to her as if they had been carelessly thrown away. He comes back and checks the photo. Of course they are here. He thought it was a handkerchief or tissue lying on the grass next to her, or maybe trash. He concludes that she must have taken them off herself, again showing a desire to be there.

He picks up the magnifying glass again and examines everything around the body, looking for something. The blanket is folded in places that represent a fight, and he tries to imagine her fighting her attacker. Something is wrong, but he can't understand it.

Her dress is completely open and spreads out under and around her, appears to be torn at one point near her chest, and her bra is askew and no longer covers her breasts. He looks closer and sees no signs of bruising around her breasts, except where the belt cuts its way along the edge of her breasts; fits the fight again. The butterfly tattoo in the photo is clearly visible, although it is rotated in such a way that it is difficult to see. Why weren't the breasts damaged when attacked by a sexual pervert? That bothered him. That's all! And why did she have her hands clasped behind her back? He checks the reports from the officers present again and finds that her hands were tied behind her back. Well, that explains it.

But there is something else. He feels it in all his bones, but what could it be? He starts at the top of the photo and works his way down the glass. A curse! He's missing something. He knows it. He looks at the other pictures, but whatever it is, he misses it. He eventually gives up, but knows that his mind will continue to work on the puzzle and he will wake up one morning with a clear answer in his head. He just has to be patient. But does he have time?

Mike puts the folder in his briefcase and locks it. He goes upstairs and tells Marlene that he has to go out for a while but will be back in time for dinner. He throws the briefcase into the Mustang and drives to the local gas station. "Fill up." He watches in the mirror as the gas station attendant fills the tank. He discusses what to do next. He should sneak in and see Ray. He will be in jail awaiting trial or released on bail if he has a good lawyer. He pays for the gas and decides to call Nina. If she answers, he will ask her where Ray is being held. If someone answers, he hangs up.

“Port Coquitlam RCMP Detachment, can I help you?”

“Nina, this is Mike.”

She whispers, “Not now,” and hangs up.

"A curse!" He calls the Maple Ridge detention center and asks if Ray Shoaf can visit him. They tell him that Ray can visit him. He thanks them very much and tells them his name. He asks to be added to the visitor list. The girl asks him a few questions and says that he will get permission to visit if the permission arrives by tomorrow. He thanks you very much and hangs up. Now he knows where Ray is: at the Lower Mainland Regional Remand Center, or LMRRC, as the guards who work there call it.

He leaves the gas station and goes home.

— Were there any calls while I was away? Marlene looks up from rolling out the dough and says no one is there. Mike looks over her shoulder and watches her quick movements as she places the pie plate lightly on the dough, makes a circular motion with the knife and lifts it, then removes the excess and places the shell on the pie plate.

"What are you doing?"

"What does it look like? This is apple pie. We have a lot of apples that you need to use up.”

“Did you save some for Jeff and Nina?”

“She said you would give her a box on your next trip.”

"Oh. I wish people would tell me about these things. I'll be there tomorrow so I'll grab another box then. If she doesn't want to I can sell them easily. Did you make a lot of applesauce?”

“Twenty pints. And I have lots of lunches for kids for the next week. I don't think we'll lose anything from this box. The applesauce is most likely to spoil.”

“Not only are you beautiful, you’re also thrifty.” He pats her on the shoulder and turns away. He hears her laughing as he comes out of the kitchen.

Mike spends the day in his office documenting his work expenses, both security and driving, so he can easily turn the numbers over to his accountant at the end of the year. He likes to keep things tidy. He takes another look at the insurance fraud case and decides to go to Ray's after dinner and then return to the airport after dark to check on him.

After dinner, he drives to the LMRRC near Maple Ridge and parks in the paved parking lot. He looks at the imposing five-story gray building with bars on the windows and remembers being in this restaurant before. He enters the main entrance and approaches the operating table. The young secretary asks about his business and says he wants to visit Ray Shoaf. She checks her computer and asks for his name.

“Mike Claymore, but you won’t find my name on his visitor list yet. Who's on goalkeeping duty tonight?"

“CF5 Bailey is the goalkeeper tonight.”

"That's correct. Could you call him for me? How are you doing? does it hang? I've never seen you at the age of a raccoon. What are you planning to do?"

"Mike, it's nice to hear your voice. I'm just busy queuing for the late dinner. Can you wait a bit? I'll be free in about half an hour. You'll be there in one Hour back here to reception."

"Who do you want to see?"

"Ray Shoff. Came in literally in the last day or two and will probably be released on bail later this week or early next week."

"Yes, I know who you mean. The quiet guy, the truck driver, was involved in this POCO murder. Sure, take me back to the girl on the table.”

“Thanks, see you in an hour.”

Mike hands the phone back to the girl and she speaks into it. She listens and says she will take care of everything. After she hangs up, she looks at Mike with new respect.

"Please give me a minute and I'll check if he's in his community." She plays with the computer again and says, "Do you have ID?" Sorry to ask, but we have our own safety rules and shouldn't deviate from anyone."

Mike just smiles and says he understands. He shows his private investigator license and she thanks her. She compares the photo with the real one. and makes a comment on the photo that doesn't do him justice, all the while smiling. She hands the photo back to him, holding it a little longer than necessary and batting her eyes, “You can meet him in the visitor area in about ten minutes. Visiting area... Oh, I'm sure you know where it is. I forgot!” She looks confused and Mike winks at her. She quickly returns to her computer.

Mike walks over to a comfortable looking chair and finds that it isn't as he reads a magazine from the copies available on the low coffee table. He often looks up and notices the girl watching him. He smiles and she quickly looks at her computer screen. Finally he stands up, goes back to the table and says, "That's not fair." Now you have my name, but I don't know yours. How about?

She turns abruptly to him and blurts out, “Jenny. I'm Jenny McLeod, I haven't been here long so I didn't know you when you came in. I'm so sorry, sir."

“Jenny, what did Norm tell you about me?”

She's visibly applying makeup and mumbles something about it not being important. She examines her nails as if expecting him to do something, Mike tries to think of what Norm might have said to make her act like that, then he tries to ask, "What time are you?" “finished work today, Jenny?”

Now she is visibly excited and says he can come visit. She watches him as he approaches one of the doors of the circular reception area, Mike knocks and hears the door lock click. He opens it and enters the hallway with the guard. A security guard makes sure the door is closed behind Mike before pressing a button and opening the door to a large visitor area with tables. Mike notices Ray and nods as he enters.

— Did you bring beer? Ray's slow smile greets Mike as he approaches the table and sits across from him.

“I had to come by and let you know that many of us are not sure if you had anything to do with the crime. If you answer a few questions for me, maybe I can help you get rid of this crap. How about? Do you want to be grilled?” He grins andRay shakes his head in agreement.

Mike pulls out a small notepad and a pen. “Firstly: Was it you who I saw leaving the parking lot on Thursday evening around twelve twenty?”

"Maybe. I was tired and didn't even notice which truck hit as I drove away, but come to think of it, it must have been your Kenworth. I know it was a big cabover truck, but at that moment I knew not what it was."

"OK. So what did you do on Thursday evening?”

“After dinner I went for a drink at the local pub, you know, The Gardens. I think I was there until ten; Then I felt like I should get the truck sorted out before work tomorrow. I like driving a clean truck. I drove to work and took the truck to the car wash. After washing it, I vacuumed it and put it back in the setup. Then I went home and went to bed.

"Tell me more. Did anyone see you washing the truck? Some of them could see me from the dock.

"Was anyone around when you were at the sink?"

"No, I don't think so" .

"Did you have the radio on? Did you hear the dispatcher talking to the spotter, telling him which door to put on which trailer and such?"

"No. I don't think I had it.. . and if so, he never noticed.”

“Do you know who the watchman was that night?”

“Probably Huey.”

“You don’t know for sure, do you?”

“No.”

" You were drunk ? Tell me if so, but think about it before you answer.

“I felt fine while driving, so I guess I wasn't drunk. If I had been stopped and my blood alcohol level checked I probably wouldn't have passed, but I was not incapable of driving safely."

“Besides, you’re tired. Hmmmmm. Okay, how was it when you were in the gardens earlier? Have you spoken to Florence Hanson?”

“Yeah, I remember trying to get her to go on a date with me. She rejected me.”

“Did you tell the police about this?”

"Yes. Shouldn't I?"

"You know what to do. Let me ask questions. I follow a complex question formula in my mind, and when someone asks me a question, it disrupts my concentration. Can you do it my way, Ray, and trust me?”

"Yes, okay. Just ask.”

“Did you know Flo was a prostitute?”

"I heard it, but I don't believe it?" She was always a real young lady around me. I thought she was pretty sweet and felt sorry for her after what her old man had to put her through.”

“When you tried to get her to go on a date with you, where did you want to take her?”

“ In the production of “Cats” at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver. This went on for three weeks and I wanted her to leave the next evening... Friday evening. She told me she had other plans.”

“She said what were those plans or who were they with?”

"I do not remember. I was disappointed when she said no and I don't think I paid much attention to why.

“Think about it now, Ray. Did she mention what she was going to do after work tonight? Are there any hints or hints that she might be with someone?”

"I did not notice anything. I saw her talking to Tony just before I left, but Tony left before me. When I left she was still serving drinks and waved to me as I left. I felt very bad when I heard what happened. Who would do something like that, Mike?”

“I don't know, Ray, but I'll try to find out. Now the police have found several porn videos in your house. Were they yours?

“Yes, I got them from a crew member of the ocean tug that picks them up in California when they are down there. I suppose I'll lose her?"

“Perhaps you will be put in charge of keeping her. Most of them are on the banned list in Canada. Your friend will also be responsible for the import. Although these are small things compared to murder. Another fact that the police use to put you in the murderer's shoes is that you often used the services of prostitutes. Well?”

“Yes, on weekends I often go to Davis Street and meet a prostitute. What the hell? I'm not married and no one gets hurt. I'm happy and she's happy, so who gets hurt?"

“Do you personally know any of these girls who could vouch for your peaceful and loving nature?” Mike grins.

Ray also grins and says, “No, none of them will go to court for me.” You said that seriously, didn’t you?” They both laugh.

“One last question, Ray. Did you notice what Flo wore on Thursday night? Was she covered in jewelry or was she just wearing pants?”

“She looked very pretty in a button-down dress with lots of cleavage and she had a matching earrings and necklace set.”

Boying,” this thought was completely unexpected for Mike. Necklace! Her necklace was missing from the photos, but the earrings were the same ones she was wearing in her suitcase in the photo. He could see images of crime in his mind's eye and knew that was what had previously bothered him.

“What’s wrong Mike, did I say something wrong?”

“No, you just gave it to meAnother piece of the puzzle, Ray. However, I still have a long way to go. I want you to be patient and cooperate with your attorney. I will continue to work on it and stay in touch with you. Oh, one more thing. Which way did you go home?”

“Right from the yard to my house on Diamond Boulevard. It's less than a five minute drive and I was probably in bed before you drove home to Abbotsford."

“Thanks, Ray. See you. Mike gets up and goes to the door. The guard presses the button again and the door opens. Mike opens it and goes into the hallway. The guard checks the door he came out of and says, "How can you believe anything a sexual pervert says?" He watches Mike and then presses the button for the outside door. As he walks away, Mike sets his iron gaze on the other man and says, "The man is innocent until proven guilty, and don't forget that!"

He crosses the hall and shakes Norm Bailey's hand. “God, it must have been a year since I’ve seen you. How are Charlene and the girls?” They go to a cafe and reminisce about the old days when Norm served in the federal system. He and Mike worked together and their wives socialized together.

Later, as he leaves, he says, "Wait until I tell Marlene I saw you and she'll beg me to bring her with me." Don't be surprised if we drop by one day, old friend. And thank you for your help tonight, Jenny McLeod. I will see you. He grins at Norm and they laugh together while Jenny pretends not to hear them.

He goes to the car and looks at the time. It's about half past seven now. He could be back in Abbotsford by 8:30 to check the lights in the airport parking lot.

By nine-five he was already at the mission and by nine-forty-five he was already at Abbotsford International Airport. He parks at the hangar from which the car was stolen and gets out. The parking lot is quite well lit, all cars parked there are clearly visible. He sees several employees in the café and goes to them.

"Hello guys. Is Larry Powell here? Guys, is that one of you?

A young man in overalls gets up from the table and says, “I'm Larry. What do you need?"

“I work for ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) and we are reviewing your application. Can I ask you a few questions?"

"Surely. I didn't know they sent people to verify our statements. I have never made any claims.

“It's just a routine. Could you show me where the car was parked the night it was stolen?"

"Naturally. Come on.”

He shows Mike the occupied spot near the coat rack, almost under the light on the coat rack wall. Mike says, “You said it was locked. Are you sure about that?"

He hesitates for just a moment before muttering, "I always lock it. With my new stereo, I wouldn't leave it unlocked for two minutes.

"Ah, that's another thing I had to check. Do you still have bills for the stereo?"

"No. I never remember to keep receipts. I told them this about the claim where they ask for receipts. I have provided the price of the retailer where I purchased it.”

"Oh, sorry. I must have missed it. Do you know any of the young guys who caught them?"

He looks at Mike and stutters, "Did they catch them?" You know, that wasn't my idea. They said they had done this many times and had not been caught. Oh shit! What will they do to me?

“Of course you have to give your statement to the police, but your word is against their word. You did a real deed, didn't you? You should give your opinion as soon as possible if no discussion has already taken place. What if a friend from the Matski police comes to me and takes your statement? Then they will understand that you are cooperating.”

“Yeah, that might be a good idea. Thank you very much.”

Mike dials the police number on his cell phone and asks for Ken Drydon. A moment later he joins in and summarizes his conversation with the young Larry Powell. Ken sees through the trick immediately and says he'll do it right. He knows no one has been caught stealing a car, but he will go along with the story to get a statement. This won't hold up in court, but it will stop ICBC from paying out and lead to the arrest of the young gangsters who have been stealing and setting cars on fire lately.

Mike keeps young Powell busy with conversation until Ken arrives, then bids them goodnight. He goes home very pleased that the matter was solved so easily. Just fill out the paperwork and you're all set. He won't tell Marlene. He may need an excuse to leave the house weekend.

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