Lieutenant Lisa Kalback pushed the memo off of her desk and into
her circular file. She knew the perpetrators identity; the
crime was of a pattern. Eyes widening, as the bubble she blew approached the
size of her face, Kalback moved her mouse until her screen was covered with a
colorful graph. Concurrently, she rang up Sergeant Sandy Jones; all of the
incidents had occurred in his jurisdiction.
The two conversed as Kalback opened more windows on her
computer. Her display filled with patrolmens reports and with copies of
witnesses cell phone photos. Straight away, she closed those files and
pulled up a map showing the proximity of the newest crime scene to Sooner or
Later Realtors ever expanding headquarters.
Hastily, Kalback concluded that call and then speed dialed
Detective-Specialist Mark Marys. Marys, a single father, owed her; Kalback had
taken his daughter on a kitten selecting expedition. Kalback understood kids
since she already had six teenagers and was currently knocked up with a
With less hesitation that expected, Marys agreed to the plan.
Theyd meet the following morning to debrief. Kalback reached for
That night, Kalback Castle experienced normal
bedlam. Sara needed trigonometry help, Julius lamented his dating status,
Annabelle and her twin, Stacia, cried out about a newly scheduled discus
tournament, while Jeff moaned as he pulled at his latest shaving-induced scab.
Only Stephen, nose glued to the familys PC, remained introspective;
Stephen was writing a speculative fiction novel.
Lisa smiled at each offspring as she waddled, chocolate-stained,
across the room. Although her stomach preceded her briefcase, her renewed girth
failed to reduce her mastery of all things maternal. After kissing each child,
she barked orders at them to get the washing machine going and to get the
dinner mess cleaned up. Thereafter, she calmly inquired whether or not the
childrens father, her apparently still virile stud, had called from
Stacia, who began to answer, stopped midsentence to dive for the
phone. Even Jeff unplugged his Ipod long enough to hear who was calling. Sara,
who had won the search for that invaluable implement, by finding the receiver
buried among the sofa cushions, muttered something about Detective Marys and
something else about giving his kid more of her hand-me-downs. She then took
the cordless into her room from where she would ring up pals wise about the
difference between sines and tangents.
Lisa leaned over Stephen and began to type. The boys loud
exhale temporarily silenced the room. The keyboard had been commandeered by
their mom just as his tales chimerae squadron captain was about to
vanquish an entire tribe of polar bears. Politely refusing the proffered
lollipop, Stephen scribbled a few notes on the back of a homework sheet before
yielding his seat to their parent. By dint of thus being in such close
proximity to his mentally masticating forbearer, Stephen was treated to a view
of a facsimile of a blueprint of Sooner or Laters main building. Like all
of the companys satellite offices, the companys headquarters was
located near a razed down pastry shop. Arson was suspected.
Mom then enlarged a neighborhood map. She zoomed in on a
Habitats Pet Store. Copies of announcements, from The Daily Durum,
subsequently, popped up. Mom highlighted an advertisement for cheap, spiny
mammals. Stephen brightened. His writing skills were derived from a combination
of her brilliant nature and from his pas ceaseless nurturing. Too bad Dad
was in India for a poetry reading.
The gnawing habits of select types of rodents next appeared on
the screen, followed by an article about hedgehogs dietary preferences.
While that data paraded, Julius brought Mom a sandwich and a juice. Hed
been telling his friends that he soon would have an infant brother. Julius
nudged Stephen so that he, too, could watch Mom work. Reports of other
incinerated bakeries flashed on screen.
As though choreographed, Sara appeared and handed Mom the phone.
Mom dialed Marys. Following a brief conversation with that
detective-specialist, Mom invited everyone out to help her pursue soft serve
ice cream. Except for Jeff, who remained occupied with the hall mirror, all of
the other kids climbed into the van. Dad called during the drive and sent
kisses. Twenty copies of his Love on the Ganges had sold. He had two more
readings to attend before he could fly home.
The next morning, at Kalbacks office, Mark Marys showed up
with a cage full of agitated, pregnant critters. Sandy Jones arrived with
photographic evidence. Patrolman Hitchkins came with blood and fur samples. In
Lieutenant Lisas mind, the string of malicious burnings of property had
Kalback broke off bits of Girl Scout cookies and threaded those
morsels into the cage of the captured beasts. In quick measure, she gave up the
rest of her midmorning treat; the elements of her prime exhibit were clawing
each other over piece of thin mints and of shortbreads. They were going at each
other in a fashion that could endanger her case.
Jones dispatched officers to arrest Sooner or Laters chief
financial officer. He called up a police department photographer, too, to ride
around with those patrolmen and to document the holes in that offices
walls. As for Marys, he stabbed at the stack of triplicate forms needed to
force the CFO to appear in court. Marys frowned; it would have taken less time
to take his daughter to visit pet shops and to pick out a kitten.
Kalbacks belly rumbled. After wiping her hand on a
sanitized serviette, she reached for a packet of candy corn. She snarfed down a
handful, and then, sighing, gave the rest of the sugar to the pregnant rodents.
Shrugging, she explained to her colleagues how she had constructed her crime