Havana - 1960
“Hitler had the right concept. His Fourth Reich was well thought out and ready to go. However, he was a narcissist and because of his arrogance he failed to accept the fact that Germany could lose the war. He botched the only thing that could have given him world domination.”
El Presidente՜ paused to look over the large group of young couples. All eyes were on him. They were in awe of the great man standing in his military field uniform, inside the Presidential Palace. Not a single sound could be heard as they waited for him to continue.
Looking around the room he saw the majestic windows that stood 25 feet in height. Their curved tops just added to the elegance. Through the windows he could see Havana bustling with life. The stage he was on was framed by large columns reaching from the floor to the ceiling and the platform was elevated so he looked down on his group. Everyone was happy and pleased to be in the new Cuba. He’d led the revolt and was revered by the masses.
“When my army of patriots won back our land I vowed to the people of Cuba that never again would we be ruled by puppets who danced from the strings of America.”
Moving his arm so his finger could point at all of the people in the audience he said, “You have been chosen to be my instruments to creating a new world order. Let me explain why your missions are so important. President Kennedy of the United States said, ‘At the beginning of 1959, United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands, almost all the cattle ranches, 90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions, 80 percent of the utilities, practically all the oil industry, and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports’. That is a crime. Batista didn’t want to make Cuba a great land. He only wanted to get money from the Yankee imperialists.
“I mentioned the Fourth Reich earlier. The First Reich was the Roman Empire which ran from 962 to 1806. The Second Reich was the German Empire that ran from 1871 to 1918. The Third Reich, which was the shortest, ran from 1933 to 1945.”
He’d had his younger brother look up the information. He, El Presidente՜, was the fighter and his younger brother the academic. His brother was smart, but he didn’t have the stature or the ability to stand in front of people and mesmerize them.
“The Fourth Reich was a concept where Germany would send out people to other countries to grow and become embedded into the very fabric of the country. As time went on, they would be placed into key positions throughout the countries they were sent to, taking over finance, politics, churches, and all areas that could influence and control that country.
“This is where you all come into the picture. You will attend classes on everything you need to take your place in America, and to also raise children to do our bidding. It may not happen with the first generation, and I might not live to see it implemented, but it will be my legacy.
“When you finish your classes, you will be sent to America. You will have houses and apartments furnished to you. You will have new identification documents and money provided by Cuba. You will also have people to contact if you need assistance.
“You are the tip of the sword. There will come a day when America will be brought to its knees. We will control all aspects of the country and the imperial pigs will do our bidding.”
Walking down off the stage he stood in front of the people. “You will find great Cuban pastries on the tables at the back of the room. You will also see each of your names on a roster. Beside each name is a number. The number designates which group you will be assigned to for your training.”
He smiled as he turned and walked away from the group. He was joined by his body guards as they escorted him from the room. At the door he stopped, turned back to face the people, and told the group. “Your new life starts today.”
He smiled as he walked to his Presidential Office. He was pleased. As President for Life he would be able to keep his finger on the project to ensure everything continued to go as planned. America would pay for what they did to him and his beloved Cuba.
Current Day - Dallas, Texas
The car drove slowly as the occupants observed the area. The five men in the car were totally different in appearance. They all had the darker skin tone and dark hair that’s common with people from South America, but that’s where the similarity ended.
It was just before 1:00 AM and all the lights in the homes were out. The neighborhood was a nice one. Unlike the poorer ones, these had wooden fences around the back yards. Poor neighborhoods had backyards that were open, or had chain link fences around them. The rich also had paved alleys between the houses.
El Conductor, ‘The Driver’ was slender and his face was narrow, almost pointed, with weasel-like features. The leader of the crew, Oz, or as the world knew him, El Cuco, “The Monster’, could have been a model. He had the build and looks you’d expect from an actor in a soap opera. The big guy was El Hombre Fuerte, ‘The Strongman’, and was all muscles. He had a shaved head and looked like a bodybuilder. The fourth guy, El Ayudante, ‘The Helper’, had a normal build and normal look. No one would take a second glance at him. The final occupant was El Gato, ‘The Cat’. He was small, with eyes constantly scanning left and right. Always on alert.
Oz pointed ahead. “Drive around the block one more time. I want to make sure no one is watching.”
Oz turned to El Ayudante as the drove under the darkened street light, “When did you take out the light?”
“I did it tonight, about two hours ago. I didn’t want to give anyone time to fix it before our mission.”
“Very good. Is everyone ready?”
All four men answered as one. “We are.”
Oz was pleased. “El Conductor, pull over at the side of the corner house. Since it’s vacant and has a for sale sign in the yard, no one will be there to see us. When El Ayudante shot out the light he gave us darkness. Darkness will cover us in our mission.”
When the car stopped, Oz turned to one of the men in the back seat. “El Gato, go ahead and unlock the back door for us. The house is the one on the corner lot I pointed out as we drove past it. It is the farthest house down the alley, on the left.”
“Are you sure he’s asleep?”
Oz laughed. “You’re a little old lady. Always worried about something. Yes, he’s asleep. Just pick the lock and move out of the way. Once your magic fingers grant us access, go back into the alley and serve as the lookout. El Conductor will stay in the car. That way we have both ends of the block covered.”
As The Cat was getting out of the car, Oz asked, “Everyone have on their gloves?”
El Gato stopped and Oz smiled, “I know you don’t wear gloves, your magic fingers need to be free to manipulate the lock.”
As the other three exited the car, no light came on from the interior. It had been turned off to ensure no one would be distracted by it.
They quietly made their way down the alley. As they approached the back of the house, El Gato came out of the gate into the alley.
“The door is unlocked. He only had the deadbolt engaged.”
Oz smiled and nodded. “Thanks, now keep your eyes open for anyone who doesn’t belong.”
Oz led the team through the backyard, up on the covered back porch, and silently turned the door knob. The door swung inward with no sound. All three entered. Oz pointed to his left and the other two nodded. They had memorized the layout of the house and knew exactly where to go. They exited the kitchen and moved into the hallway. Vernon’s bedroom was on the left. He had his own bathroom, with another across the hall. The house was originally a three-bedroom, one-bath house that had been remodeled. Vernon had added another bathroom in his bedroom and had changed the front bedroom into an office.
Oz held up his hand and they stopped. The door to the bedroom was open. They stood and listened, but the only sound was his steady breathing. Oz gave the signal to enter and spread out. They had gone over this numerous times and each person knew exactly what they had to do. The Cat had been inside the house and photographed everything when Vernon was out. They had studied the pictures and knew where everything was.
El Ayudante and El Hombre Fuerte moved to the sides of the bed while Oz stood at the foot of the bed.
Oz grabbed Vernon’s foot and shook it, he instantly woke and reached for the drawer in his night table to get his gun. The Helper gripped that arm while The Strongman snatched the other.
Oz told them to lift him out of the bed. As they did he told Vernon, “Good evening, I’m El Cuco, and it’s time for you to feel my wrath.”
“Drag him into the kitchen and tie him to the chair. El Ayudante, do your thing”
The Strongman picked him up like he weighed nothing. Vernon struggled but the big guy shook him like a rag doll. “Behave, or I will hurt you.”
Vernon calmed down but said, “You’re going to anyway, so what difference does it make?”
The Strongman laughed, “Doesn’t make any difference to me.”
They took him into the kitchen, closed the curtains, and turned on the lights. The Helper pulled out a chair and The Strongman sat Vernon in it. As he was held in position, The Helper strapped his body and legs to the chair with duct tape.
Once Vernon was secured, The Helper walked out to the back porch where he picked up his canvas bag of tools they had brought for the job. He sat it on the kitchen table and reached inside pulling out two six-inch steel spike nails. He then pulled out an eight pound hammer. Turning to Vernon he said, “Mr. Childs, it’s time to begin the ceremony. The first thing is to ensure you don’t try to run away.”
Vernon saw what he was trying to do, but he was tied to the chair and couldn’t move. The Helper took the nail, placed it at the top of his foot, raised the hammer and struck the nail driving it through the foot and into the wooden floor. He hit it twice more to ensure it was anchored properly. When he finished he repeated the process with the second foot.
The tape around Vernon’s mouth prevented him from screaming. Oz had watched his face and it looked like he was trying to say something. “Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to tell us everything you know.”
Oz had just finished when Vernon jerked from a spasm and his head slumped until his chin was on his chest.
Oz was disappointed. “I thought you’d be stronger than that. A few nails and you pass out. You are a little baby.”
The Helper put his finger on the side of Vernon’s neck. “I don’t think he’s alive.”
Oz lifted Vernon’s head and pried open his mouth. “What happened? Did he take a pill to kill himself?”
He looked inside his mouth, but didn’t see anything, there wasn’t any sign of a drug.
The Strongman said, “He might have had a heart attack.”
This had never happened to Oz. He turned and walked into the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out the bottles of medicine. Returning to the room he said, “He had high blood pressure, and heart problems. We should have checked on that.”
The Helper said, “It’s never happened before.”
“You’re right, but we’ve never dealt with anyone as old as him. I will add that to our list for The Cat to check when he enters the houses and businesses.”
Oz looked around the kitchen. The house was old but the kitchen looked like it had just been remodeled. The counters were polished granite; there was a farm style sink, plenty of cabinets, and a four person table.
“Since he’s dead, he can’t tell us what we need to know. Close the blinds throughout the house and search for the information. We know he has it. Find it.”
The three shut the blinds and curtains and then pulled out three LED lights that had straps that went around their heads. They turned on the lights and started searching. The office was first. They found a few files on people, but nothing dealing with them.
The remainder of the file cabinet was filled with household items. They pulled out each file, looked through it and then dropped it to the floor. They emptied the drawers of his desk on the top of the desk. They didn’t find anything.
Oz pointed down the hall. “Each of us will take a different room and check it thoroughly. Look everywhere.”
They split up and after about 15 minutes they returned to the kitchen. They’d looked everywhere. Even inside the cushions and mattresses. They’d taken knives and split them from edge to edge. There weren’t any files.
The Strongman asked, “Do you suppose he keeps them in a safe deposit box?”
Oz shook his head. “No. There wasn’t paperwork from the bank that showed he had a box. There were a few letters to his lawyer, but those dealt with his will.”
The Helper asked, “So what do we do now?”
“Nothing. We know he was a loner. The only person he had much contact with was the writer. We looked at her, but she’s not a threat. Let’s finish up.”
They went back into the kitchen where Oz said, “We have to do everything like we always do.”
The Helper nodded. He pulled out the ice pick and drove it into Vernon’s right ear. Normally after getting the information, or tying up loose ends, they would use the ice pick to scramble the person’s brain. It was El Cuco’s signature. It left the person alive, but in a vegetable state, unable to communicate or do anything else.
Oz pulled out the card and placed in on Vernon’s lap. It read, ‘Quien por su gusto padece, vaya al infierno a quejarse’. The message meant, ‘Who suffers for his taste, go to hell to complain.’ Also on the card was a black image of the monster, El Cuco.
Oz sent the others through the house to turn off the lights. They departed out the back door. The Cat was there and joined them as they headed down the alley to the waiting car.
Sean pulled his Jeep Wrangler off of McCallum Street and into the parking lot of the North Central Police Department. As he headed inside he waved at a few of the guys also going in, and a few on their way out.
He went straight to the breakroom to get some coffee. The Lieutenant had convinced the purchasing department to get them a new coffee maker. The one he got was hooked up to a water supply that allowed to water to stay hot. All they had to do was put in the coffee. However, it hadn’t worked right after the first week.
Sean hoped it was working today. He had a small four cup pot at home. In reality it made about two regular size cups of coffee. When he left his apartment he only had half a cup to drink on the way to work.
He looked at the coffee maker, and it appeared to be okay. He rinsed a cup and put it under the spout. He was just about to hit the brew button when Rob walked in.
“Don’t bother trying Sarge. I did earlier and all I got was hot water filled with coffee grounds. I used the small coffee maker we bought from donations to make some.”
Rob hesitated, “The night shift left it on and it cooked the little bit of coffee they didn’t drink. It was a mess and took me about ten minutes to clean it out. The good news is this is fresh.”
Sean walked over to the pot, lifted the carafe and poured himself a cup. It was hot and smelled good. “Thanks Rob, I really need this, I was about to go into withdrawal.”
Rob smiled. “Rough night with the ladies?”
“I wish. The neighbor got a new puppy and it whined and barked all night long.”
“You do know you own a gun.”
Sean smiled and took a sip of his coffee. “Trust me I’ve wanted to shoot the neighbors since the day they moved in.”
“I meant shoot the dog.”
“You and I both know the dog is safe, the people that live there, not so much.”
As they were leaving the room, Rob asked, “Can you ask the LT about getting the coffee maker repaired. That 12 cup pot just isn’t enough.”
Sean nodded. “I’ll run it past him, but you know him. He’ll start complaining about the budget.”
Sean sat down at his desk, signed into his office computer and was scanning the daily details when his partner walked up to his desk.
“Sarge, the Lieutenant wants to see us.”
“Morning, Megan, what’s he got?”
“Don’t know. He was out here earlier looking for you.”
“I was in the break room trying to get a cup of coffee.”
Senior Corporal Sandusky looked at his cup. “Is the machine working?”
“No, but Rob made a fresh pot with the small one. If you hurry you might be able to get some.”
Megan took her cup and headed to get some for herself. Sean sat at his desk and sipped his until she returned.
The LTs door was open so they walked in. His office was always a mess. Folders scattered everywhere, pictures on the walls of him standing with other people were all at different angles, and the blinds on his windows were bent and hanging oddly.
Lt. Ridder was near retirement, stood six foot one, was overweight, had thinning hair that he combed over to hide his bald spot on the top of his head, and had a red face due to his poor diet, and high blood pressure. He was always upset over something.
Sean asked, “Got something for us boss?”
Lieutenant Ridder looked at the cups of coffee and asked, “Is the coffee machine working?”
“No. Rob brewed a fresh pot with the little one.”
The LT snatched his cup and took off. “Take a seat, I’ll be right back.”
He had a couch at the side of the room and two chairs facing his desk. Sean hesitated trying to decide whether to sit on the couch or in one of the chairs. He finally took the chair next to Megan. “I don’t know where he got these chairs, but they are the most uncomfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in.”
Megan smiled as she looked at him. “The chairs are fine, you’re just too big to fit in them.”
Sean was six foot three, with sandy brown hair. It wasn’t blond, but it wasn’t brown either, but was a mixture of the two. He had broad shoulders, a small waist and large muscular legs. Megan was five foot seven, weighed about 140 pounds, with red hair, blue eyes, and a figure that couldn’t be hidden even by wearing loose clothing.
When the Lieutenant returned, Sean said, “Why don’t you get someone here to fix the big coffee machine?”
“We don’t have the money in the budget.”
Megan cut in. “It’s only a few months old, didn’t the Purchasing department get a warranty on it?”
The Lieutenant stopped, crinkled his forehead and looked at Megan. “I don’t know. I never thought of that. I’ll get Admin to check on it. If they did, repairing it won’t cost me anything.”
With that settled, Sean asked, “So why did you want to see us?”
The Lieutenant sorted through the papers on his desk until he found the one he was hunting for. “La Cuckoo struck again.”
Sean sat straight up in his chair. “El Cuco hit in our area?”
“Yes, the FBI has jurisdiction, but they knew you all worked other cases and called to let you know about this one.”
“We need to get there and see the scene.”
The Lieutenant nodded. “Figured you would. I got the address for you. I shifted your stuff to Sergeant Martin and Senior Corporal Walters. Head on out and try to keep me informed. I know it’s something new for you two, but others do it, so I’m sure you all can also.”
As they walked out of the building Sean said, “Let’s take my car.”
“There’s a couple of pool vehicles, we can take one of them. We can also take mine.”
“I don’t want to go through the hassle of signing out a vehicle, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before we take your car.”
Megan smiled. “What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s not just your car, it’s also your driving ability. You drive like a little old lady going to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon. Couple that with the fact that you have a black and pink Prius C and it’s just too much.”
Megan loved to get him going and she wasn’t going to let up. “Does the color threaten your masculinity?”
“If you put a bow on the top it would look like a Hello Kitty. Plus even with the seat all the way back, I have a hard time fitting in. You might want to think about removing the front right seat and letting your passengers sit in the back so they can stretch out their legs.”
Megan smiled, “You know who Hello Kitty is? Is there something you want to tell me?”
“I’ve seen advertisements for it. That’s all I know.”
“Well, I like the color.”
Sean wanted to stop this conversation. “No you don’t. Because of the color they couldn’t sell it, and you got a good deal.”
As they got into Sean’s solid black Wrangler, Megan looked around and said, “This would look good with pink trim inside and out.”
Sean ignored her as he punched in the address into his car’s navigation system.
Driving up to the house, Sean and Megan saw cars parked at the front and side. Yellow crime scene tape cordoned off the area, and a FBI forensic van sat in the alley.
Sean pulled to a stop at the side road of the house and looked around. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many large, dark colored sedans anyplace except a car lot.”
Megan reached for the door handle to get out. She hesitated, “I thought the FBI had gone to using large SUVs. At least they do on TV.”
“I think they’ve started moving in that direction, but they probably have a million sedans they have to get rid of.”
Walking toward the house Sean said, “I once read that Hoover would see a car and say, ‘That’s one of ours’. They said he’d memorized all of the FBI license plates.”
Megan turned her head to look at him. “Why would anyone do that?”
“Don’t know for sure. Guess it was a control thing.”
They walked up the front steps to the porch. Chairs, tables, and flowers were neatly arranged around the entire area.
An agent at the front door held up his hand to stop them. “Who are you?”
Sean pulled out his I.D. badge, flipped it open, and said, “Sergeant Kennedy and Senior Corporal Sandusky. We were called in to view the scene.”
“Hang on, let me check.”
He turned, walked into the house, and reappeared a few minutes later with another agent. This is Agent Patel, he’s in charge of the crime scene.”
Agent Patel reached out his hand and greeted them. “Put on some shoe covers and gloves and come on in.”
Inside, Sean could see the living room to the left had been decimated. The furniture’s cushions had been shredded and everything turned upside down. Looking to the right he could see through the open door into the office. Papers were spread all over the floor and the chairs in there had also been destroyed.
Agent Patel saw where they were looking and said, “The whole house looks like this. They were searching for something.”
Sean said, “It doesn’t look like they found what they wanted.”
Patel swiveled back to Sean. “Why would you say that?”
“If the entire house is destroyed they didn’t find what they were hunting for. If they had, they would have stopped when they got what they came for.”
“Unless they found it in the last place they looked,” said Patel.
“Could be, but you usually start in the most obvious and spread out from there.”
Patel pulled out his notebook and made a note. He then put it back in his sports coat and motioned for them to follow him. “The body’s in the back.”
As they walked into the kitchen, Sean and Megan saw a guy in white coveralls examining the body. He looked up at them when they entered. “You guys new?”
“We’re with the Dallas PD,” Sean said.
“Welcome to the party.”
Neither Sean nor Megan were surprised by the comment. They’d been around quite a few homicide investigations and understood that forensics had been to them all. They developed a thick skin and often made inappropriate remarks.
“Did you find any fingerprints?”
“The old guy kept the house pretty clean, but we found all kinds of prints. Most are the same two, however on the back door we found fingerprints on the door. They are the same as we’ve found before at crime scenes. We got them, we just don’t have a name to go with them.”
Agent Patel broke in. “The victim is Mr. Vernon Childs, he was a retired Secret Service agent. We found two sets of prints, his and those of a female named Claire Morris.”
“Don’t know, but her prints are everywhere in the house, so she might be a girlfriend or something else.”
“You sure it was El Cuco and not a copycat?”
“Yeah, 100 percent sure. The prints on the back door match, the card was left on the victim and the identical type of ice pick with the El Cuco logo was used.”
Megan asked, “Have you been able to trace the manufacturer of the ice picks or the cards?”
Patel shook his head. “We couldn’t find anyone who makes wooden handled icepicks like these, and the cards are the same used everywhere. Chances are they’re making the icepicks themselves.”
Megan still had questions. “What does the card say?”
Agent Patel picked it up. “The literal meaning is ‘Who suffers for his taste, go to hell to complain’. We sent it to a leading linguist and she said the more common use of the term is, ‘You must face the consequences for your actions’. That makes more sense than the first definition.
The forensics technician had been listening and stood up and stepped back. “Notice anything different?”
Sean and Megan moved forward to view the body. His bare feet were nailed to the floor and the same type of duct tape was used. The ice pick was inserted into the left ear. Sean turned to Patel, “This is the first time they’ve killed someone isn’t it?”
“Yes. Every prior victim had their brains scrambled by the pick, but this one died.”
Then Sean saw it. “He died before they stuck the ice pick into his ear.”
The forensic technician said, “Ding, Ding, Ding, you win the prize. If he’d been alive there would have been a large quantity of blood from his ear, and there isn’t.”
Megan was intrigued “What happened? Why’d he die?”
The technician held up a clear plastic evidence bag filled with numerous bottles of pills. He chuckled. “He had a heart problem. Most likely he was unable to get his medicine. After all, he was tied up at the moment.”
“That’s why they tore up the place,” Sean said. “They didn’t get the information from him, so they searched it looking for whatever it was.”
Turning to Agent Patel, he asked, “What cases did he work that might have crossed over with El Cuco?”
“We don’t know. He retired twenty eight years ago. Any case he would have worked wouldn’t have been of any value by now. But, we’ve requested his case files.”
“So what have you found out on his girlfriend?”
“Nothing yet, we haven’t talked to her.” Patel then hesitated and said, “Can you two go and do that? It would save me having to take some of these guys off what they’re doing.”
Sean looked at Megan. She nodded. “Can do. Do you have an address on her?”
Patel pulled out his book and rattled off an address. Sean wrote it down. “We’ll let you know what we find out from her.”
“Thanks. I’m not sure she’ll be able to tell you anything, but she might know what Childs was working on, or if he’d ever mentioned El Cuco.”
Sean put the girlfriends address in the navigator system in the car. It pulled it up instantly. “It’s not that far from here,” he said. “The GPS says it’s just over a mile.”
Following the directions he swung the Jeep around and turned right at the main street in front of Vernon’s house.
There were a few things bothering Sean. “The guy that picks the locks leaves his fingerprints at the scenes. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?”
Megan turned to look at Sean, “What do you mean?”
“The old files show that at a couple of scenes they found footprints of three or four people, yet the only fingerprints are from the guy who gains entrance for them. Breaking and entering isn’t something you just start. If the guy is able to get in all of the places, wouldn’t you expect him to have some kind of record?”
“You would, but let’s go out on the limb and say this team was handpicked to do the job. It would make sense to get someone and train them. If that’s what they did, they wouldn’t get someone who’d been arrested.”
“That’s a possibility, but who joins a group to do criminal acts?”
Megan smiled, “You’re joking, right? It appears the people are from South America. If you’re just scraping by and someone waves money in front of you, you’ll do just about anything to get out of poverty.”
She hesitated then asked, “What about the footprints? Has the FBI been able to learn anything from them?”
Sean shook his head. “No. All of the prints showed the same type of boot. They’re common and can be purchased at any sportswear store.”
He glanced at his GPS and said, “Another thing that’s bothering me is the house.”
“Do you mean why it was torn up?
“No. Childs was a retired Secret Service agent, yet the sidewalk leading to his house and his front porch was new and they didn’t skimp on material.”
“What do you mean?”
“The sidewalk was concrete with the outsides lined with brick. The porch was sturdy wood with wrought iron railings around it. The exterior of the house was all recently upgraded. Most of the houses in the area are wood, but his was all new siding, and the trim was freshly painted.
“When we went inside, the interior of the house was all new. Even the torn furniture was of a high quality. So where does a retired government worker get that kind of money?”
As the neared the address, Megan looked out her side window. “These townhouses are pretty elaborate. Looks like he wasn’t the only one with money.”
Sean glanced through the window and shrugged. “Big deal, I live in a townhouse, too.”
“I can’t even begin to describe the difference between your townhouse and these. Look at them, their landscaping is immaculate, the exterior is elegant and everything about them says money. Yours says, I’m a policeman and this is the best I can afford. Your place is a slum compared to these.”
Sean pulled to the curb in front of the townhouse. “Let’s go find out what’s happening.”
Megan knocked on the door as Sean pulled out his badge. They could hear someone opening the door. When the door opened, the lady standing in front of them was in her early thirty’s, stood about five foot seven, had light brown hair, had a striking figure and was very pretty.
As it swung open Sean saw her. He started stammering. “It’s…It’s…you.”
The woman looked at him and said, “Well if it isn’t Mr. Wonderful. I see you’re as articulate as always.”
Megan was looking back and forth between the two of them “You know each other?”
“I wouldn’t exactly use the word ‘know’ but our paths have crossed.” She then held out her hand and said, “I’m Claire Morris, and who are you?”
Megan held up her shield and said, “I’m Senior Corporal Sandusky. I’m Sean’s partner.”
Claire took her hand, looked her in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry you have to work with him.”
Sean hadn’t said a word and cut in. “We’re here on official business, may we come in?”
“Sure, why not. Did someone steal some Girl Scout cookies and the master sleuth is on their trail?”