Wow Neal look at this.” Steve exclaims as he reads the paper.


“What is it?”


“Women for Victim’s Rights are staging a rally this weekend in San Fran and Gracie Evans is going to speak! You know I think I’m going to go to that and see Gracie.”


“She has certainly done a lot of work for victim’s rights I mean she introduced all those Bills to congress and such. She is a powerhouse.” Neal replies.


“She certainly is and it will be great to see her.”


“For somebody who is happy you sound sad Steve.” Neal points out.


“Do I?”


“Yeah you do.”


“Well I guess because I know what she went thru to get to this point, what we all went thru.” Steve replies.


Neal shakes Steve by his shoulder. “That is why she is so good at what she does, she speaks from experience. Just like you and I do.”


“True but some things I wished I wasn’t an expert on. You know you can go to school and take classes on how to be a better cop and learn all the lingo and practice all the scenarios but until it hits you in the real world, you just don’t know Neal. You don’t really have a clue.”


“Looking back on her case Steve would you have done anything….different?” Neal asks.


“No, not a thing.” Steve says but then he thinks a minute. “Well maybe one thing.”


“What’s that?”


“I would have change places with her….in a heartbeat.” Steve replies.


“So let’s talk about saving….Grace.” Neal replies.


“Good idea.”


“It all started like this….” Neal replies.








For Steve it was a typical day after work. Cops are not immune from the daily, mundane chores of everyday life. Laundry, housekeeping, putting the garbage out and grocery shopping. To Steve it was the little mundane things that made life interesting and for him he enjoyed grocery shopping. He could easily get lost in all the aisles of food and cleaning products, for him, in a strange way it was relaxing. He could peruse the aisle at his leisure, comparing prices and bargain shopping; he would talk to Fred the butcher and Maria the lady who made all the pastries. Steve even talked to Maria’s son when he was going thru a rough time putting him back on the straight and narrow.


Neal absolutely positively refused to go shopping with him. Steve took forever just buying a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. But this was Steve’s neighborhood and his neighborhood grocery store and the people who’ve worked there had worked there for years but today something was different. There was a new addition to the roster.


Steve finally made all of his purchases and he pushed his cart over to one of the three check-outs that were open out of six and as he usually did he picked up a tabloid magazine from the rack to read as he stood in line eating an apple that he had picked up along the way.


The lady in front of him was slowing counting out her money to the cashier and that was when Steve noticed her. The cashier not the lady. The cashier was probably about his age and also like Steve she could easily pass for much younger. She was dressed in the traditional grocery store smock, with faded bell bottom jeans and tennis shoes, a tied-dye t-shirt peeking out from underneath her smock. Her longish light brown hair was braided in one plait down her back and when Steve finally got up to where he could read her name tag. That was when the realization hit him.




She looks at him smiling as she picks up a loaf of bread and she keys the price of it into the cash register. “Yes?”


“I know this is going to sound like an awful cliché but haven’t I seen you somewhere before?”


She shakes her head and she smiles. “I don’t think so I mean I haven’t been here for very long.”


Steve suddenly snaps his fingers. “Grace! Gracie Evans!!”


Grace looks at him. “That is my name but I haven’t been called Gracie since….oh my god!! Steve!!! Steve Perry from high school?”


“Yeah that’s right! I knew that was you!! Little Gracie Evans from high school! Who would have thought!! You know you haven’t changed a bit.” Steve replies as he leans on the counter.


Grace blushes. “Oh I don’t know about that, a few pounds here and there. But you! You’re still so skinny; your hair is a lot longer though, that is probably why I didn’t recognize you right away. Steve Perry, this is certainly a coincidence.”


“Isn’t it though? So what brings you to Oceanview?” Steve asks.


“Well you see….”


“Hey you two reminisce on your own time! My ice cream is melting!!” A man next in line says loudly.


Steve ignores him. “So what time do you get off of work? I would love to take you out to dinner and….”


“Hey Romeo!”


Steve and Grace look over at him.


“Pick Juliet up there on your own time why don’t you! If I stand here any longer my milk will sour!!”


Steve takes a deep breath as he reaches into his back pants pocket and he pulls out his badge and he flashes it at him. “If you don’t mind I’m conducting a police investigation here and looks like aisle 3 is open with no waiting!! So if you don’t mind?”


“Oh gotcha Officer.” The man says as he takes his cart and he moves over to aisle 3.


Steve looks back at her and he smiles. “Okay so where were we? Oh what time do you get off of work? I would love to show you around Oceanview and we can catch up.”


“Oh my gosh you’re a cop?” Grace replies.


Steve leans in closer to her. “Yeah and I hate doing that but you know this badge speaks volumes and I don’t have to say a word!! So what about dinner? No pressure of course.” Steve says as he laughs.


Grace laughs and her eyes light up like summer sunshine then she looks back down at the counter blushing slightly. Steve suddenly finds himself smitten.


“I get off of work at seven most days.” Grace replies.


“Great! Here’s my card and if you ever need anything you can reach me there.” Steve says as he hands it to her.


“Okay. I guess I better finish ringing up your groceries.” Grace replies as she reaches into the shopping cart.


“I can’t get over it! I mean it’s been years and all of a sudden you’re here and still looking so beautiful.”


Grace smiles and again she blushes. “And you always said the sweetest things. Do you live nearby?”


Steve nods. “It’s not far, what about you?”


“A couple of blocks away on Angelina Court.”


“Oh okay. You live at the Angelina Court apartments?” Steve asks.


“Uh huh. What’s wrong?”


“Oh nothing it’s just that at one time it was a rough neighborhood but it’s beginning to turn itself around, you live there all by yourself?”


“Oh no.” Grace replies as she continues to ring up his groceries. “That will be 65.71. What’s wrong?”


“I guess I should have asked first, I mean, it was really, really stupid for me to assume anything! I mean a great looking girl like you and it’s been a long time and all! And….and you aren’t wearing a ring so I just assumed, and you know that makes an ass out of me and you, but nowadays you don’t have to be married to live together….”






“I’m not married.” Grace replies.


“Oh you aren’t well that’s great! I mean it isn’t great for you I mean you might want to be….”






“I see you still ramble.” Grace replies.


Steve smiles at her. “Yeah some things never change.”


“I live with my step-father and I am single.”


“Yeah me too. I mean I’m single not that I live with your step-father.”


Grace laughs at this as she puts her hand out.


“What?” Steve asks.


“65.71. You know for your groceries.”


“Oh, oh yeah I have enjoyed talking to you so much I forgot what I was doing.” Steve replies as he counts out the money.


“Do you need any help out with your groceries?” Grace asks as she puts the brown paper bags in the grocery cart.

                “No I think I got it. So can I come back at seven?” Steve asks her as she stands in front of him her hand close to his on the handle of the cart.


“Can I have a rain check I mean it’s been a busy day and I’m tired…?”


Steve takes a step back. “Sure. I’m sorry Grace I don’t mean to be pushy it was just a shock to see you, a good shock that is.”


“I know me too how about next week sometime.” Grace asks.




Grace looks at the floor as she blushes then she looks back up at him. “Friday would be great.”


“Oh cool.” Steve says as he smiles at her. “Friday it is then. Grace it’s been great seeing you again.”


She crosses her arms over her chest as she hugs herself. “You too Steve see you on Friday.”


“Bye.” Steve replies back over his shoulder as he pushes the cart to the door.










“Steve where do you keep the crackers?” Neal asks.


“In the pantry.” Steve yells. “Why?”


“Because I want some crackers to put in my chili if you don’t mind.” Neal looks around the pantry until he finds the crackers and then he sees something else that he brings back with him.


“Okay who is she?”


“Who’s who?” Steve asks as he puts onions in the chili.


“The girl.”


“What girl?” Steve asks.


“The girl that works at the grocery store.”


“Neal.” Steve replies as he slings the dish towel over his shoulder. “What makes you think there is a girl and furthermore that she works at a grocery store?”


“Easy my long-haired friend. First of all you have more food in this house than Carter has pills…”


“Who?” Steve asks.




“Who’s Carter?” Steve asks.


“It doesn’t matter it’s just a saying! You have more food than Carter has pills!”


“So is that a crime? I mean I do weekly grocery shopping like everyone else.” Steve replies.


“Weekly grocery shopping huh?”


“Yeah.” Steve replies.


Neal brings the bag of cat food out from behind his back. “Steve you bought cat food and you don’t even have a cat!!”


Steve takes it away from him. “I’ve been thinking about getting a cat for quite a long time actually!”


“And look in your fridge!” Neal replies as he goes over and he opens the refrigerator.


“All I see is food.”


Neal reaches in and picks up something. “What is this?”


“That would be an artichoke.”


“An artichoke? What in the hell do you do with an artichoke?”


“A lot of things actually.” Steve replies.


“Name one.”


Steve thinks a minute. “Well you take this part….” Steve says as he points to the artichoke.




“You could also take this part right here and….” Steve replies as he points someplace else.




Steve then snatches the artichoke out of Neal’s hand. “Who told you to go thru my fridge anyway?”


“And in the bathroom I noticed you have two or three different shampoos and conditioners! Steve what are you doing?”


“What am I doing? What are you doing going thru my bathroom?” Steve asks.


“I was replacing the toilet paper roll.”




“So Steve give man.”


Steve goes over and he stirs the chili.


“You’ve been going just about every day to that grocery store haven’t you?”


“No! I don’t go everyday that would just be silly!!! It’s probably every other day or so….” Steve replies.


“So who is she?”


Steve reaches up into the cabinet and he takes down two bowls and plates and he hands them to Neal. “Sit the table and I’ll tell you all about it. You know where the place mats are.”








“See that is Grace Evans right there.” Steve replies as he points to the picture in his high school album.


“Wow she is pretty just like you said.”


“That picture does not do her justice; I mean she looks better than ever!” Steve replies.


“So what’s the story?” Neal asks.


“We went thru three years of High School together and the minute I saw her I had a major, major crush on her. We had classes together and what-not and she was pretty quiet, a lot of people back then thought she was stuck-up, she kept to herself. I didn’t see her all summer then we were juniors and the first day of class I turned around to borrow a pencil and there she was. She smiled that devastating smile at me and I was gone! Totally and absolutely gone! Oh she was smart! By the time we were juniors she seem have to made more friends and joined more social clubs at school but I didn’t really get to know her until we were seniors and that year I found out I was in trouble.”


“What kind of trouble?” Neal asks.


“I was in danger of not graduating!” Steve says.


“Go figure! Why was that?”


“Girls Neal Girls!! I mean they were a total distraction to me then!”


“Then?” Neal says surprised.


“Okay then and now but anyway I was going to flunk out if I didn’t pass Biology and Civics so I needed a tutor. My counselor recommended Grace to tutor me! I had no idea she was a tutor and she helped me to graduate high school!!! I have her to thank for that old sheep skin!”


“Did you two ever go out on a real date?” Neal asks.


“Yeah we did actually. We did the usual things, drive-ins, and the local hamburger place. She told me I was her first car date.”


“Really?” Neal replies.


“Yep.” Steve says as he nods. “That senior year we became real close, I even gave her a promise ring.”


“Steve a promise ring? Wow that was a big thing back then, it was that serious?”


“Oh yeah it was so serious the day we graduate I asked her to marry me.” Steve says slowly.


Neal is shocked. “Steve I don’t know what to say. I had no idea you ever got close to the altar. What happened? She said no right?”


“No Neal she said yes.”


Once again Neal is shocked. “She said….yes?! Well what happened then?”


“Our parents happened. They intervened, they thought we were way too young to get married and looking back now, we were. My parents just loved her to death, but her step-father, oh man he didn’t like me, not one little bit. He even stuck his finger in my face and he told me if I knocked her up he would kill me, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”


“Wow he said that to you? And you were how old?”


“Oh probably by then 17 close to 18.” Steve replies.


“Sounds like he was a very protective, maybe slightly over-protective of his daughter.” Neal replies.


“Maybe but all I know a few months after graduation they moved away and I never saw her again until now.” Steve replies.


“It’s funny about coincidences isn’t?” Neal asks.


“Neal….” Steve says quietly.


“Yeah Steve.”


“Have you ever wondered how some things may not be coincidences?” Steve asks.


“You mean Grace showing up here?”


“That is exactly what I mean.” Steve shrugs. “I don’t know maybe its god’s way of giving me another chance with her. What do you think?”


“I think you haven’t even been on one date with her yet.”


“That happens Friday.” Steve pauses. “So you’re telling me to go slow right?” Steve replies as he smiles.


“Right. I mean there’s been a lot of years between now and high school and you both have grown up considerably and changed but if her step-father is still around….”


“She lives with him.” Steve says.


“Well then he might not think any better of you now that you have grown-up. The way you talk about her just sitting here and your reactions to her tells me that she is really, really special. And when the time is right Ruby and I would love to meet her.”


“Yeah she is special. Thanks for the advice Neal.”


“Let me give you so more advice.”


“About?” Steve asks.


“Don’t do anymore grocery shopping this week!! And give me that damn artichoke thing Ruby will know what to do with it.”


Steve laughs. “Alright.”








“Neal what’s a three letter word for type of tree?” Steve asks.




“What’s a four letter word for coffee?”


“Java.” Neal says.


“What’s a six letter word for dumb?”


“Steve!” Neal replies.


“Nope that’s five letters.” Steve then looks over at Neal. “That was just rude.”


“Steve why do you do crossword puzzles?”


“Because I like them that’s why. Their interesting and challenging and they teach me new words.”


“Steve I give you the answers.” Neal points out.


“Not all the time you don’t, I did a lot of these puzzles in this book without your help.”


Neal glances over at the book. “Well okay.”


A few minutes pass in silence.


“Neal what’s a eight letter word that goes in this blank, blank license?”




“Oh yeah. What’s a six letter word meaning ass?” Steve asks.


“Steve!! Give me that book!!!” Neal says as he reaches across the car and he tosses it out of the window.


“Hey what did you do that for? What am I supposed to do now?” Steve asks.


Neal leans over the front seat and he grabs a book and he gives it to Steve. “Here read that.”


“How to Win Friends and Influence People? Does this work?”


“Yeah, you do what I want you to do, don’t you?” Neal asks.


“Well yeah.”


“There you go! So it does work.” Neal replies.


“Ah Neal!!”


“Victor 7! Come in Victor 7.” The dispatcher says.


Neal picks up the microphone. “Go ahead Ocean.”


“See the man at Warehouse 112, the Harbor District possible dead body.”


Steve reaches into the glove box and he takes out the log book and he logs the time in.


10-4 Ocean E.T.A. 15 minutes.” Neal replies.


After Steve logs it in he puts the bubble light on the roof.


“And away we go!” Steve replies.


“Everyday is an adventure.” Neal replies as they drive off.








When they rolled up a crowd was already starting to form and the two uniforms that were there were holding them back.


“Hey you guys go back to work there’s nothing here for you to see!! Go on now leave!!” Neal yells at the crowd.


Another uniform officer was trying his best to console a middle-aged man wearing suspenders, work shirt and work pants that was surrounded by two bags of trash while another officer stood by guarding the dumpster.


“Hey Mark wanna you got?” Steve asks.


Mark hesitates. “Detectives this is a bad one. That guy over there owns this warehouse and every morning he collects the trash and he throws it in this dumpster and this morning he did the same thing but….”


“But?” Neal replies.


“He opened the dumpster and he found her….” Mark replies as he gestures with his thumb behind him.


Neal and Steve move closer to the dumpster and they both have to stand on their tippy-toes to look down into it and then they both look at each other. “Mark did anybody check to make sure that she is really dead?”


“No not that I’m aware of.” Mark says.


“Okay thanks Mark, help your buddies to keep those people back okay.” Neal replies.


Mark nods as he walks off as Steve takes a pair of driving gloves out of his back pocket and he puts them on. “I’ll go and check I just need a leg up.”


Neal nods as he interlaces his fingers together to make a step then Steve places his foot in them and Neal lifts him up so Steve can get one foot on the ledge of the dumpster and from there he slowly makes his way down to her. He kneels down being very careful not to disturb anything as he reached out to check her pulse at her wrist.


She was lying partially on her side, her long dark hair covering her face, her pantyhose ripped in spots, one shoe on the other off in the dumpster, her skirt hiked up around her waist, her blouse torn open to reveal her bra. Steve moves just a strand of her hair from her face to reveal bruises.


“Is she….?” Neal asks from the outside of the dumpster.


Steve just nods his head. “We need the coroner and the crime scene guys. Neal I think she’s been raped. Help me out of here okay.” Steve replies.








“Mr. Cole I realize that this is difficult for you but I need to get some more info from you.” Steve asks as Mr. Cole holds his head in his hands as he sits at his desk in his office.


“Oh god, oh god I can’t believe it!”


“Mr. Cole did you know the young lady that you found in the dumpster?”


Mr. Cole wipes his eyes as he rocks back and forth then he nods his head. “Yes, yes it….it was Sandy….Sandy Allison….she was my secretary. Oh my god! Her fiancé and her family! Somebody will have to tell them!”


“We’re do that Mr. Cole. You said that she was your secretary? How long did she work here?”


“Five….five years next month, oh my god Detective who would want to hurt Sandy? She….she was such a sweet girl, a hard worker and she never complained about working late.”


“Did she work late last night?” Steve asks.


Mr. Cole takes a deep breath as he nods. “Yes, yes we all did. It’s inventory time.”


“What do you do here exactly?”


“We distribute plumbing parts, you know, pipes, fixtures that sort of thing.”


“What time did she leave Mr. Cole?” Steve asks.


“Hmmm let me think….”


“Mr. Cole are you alright you don’t look very well.” Steve replies.


Mr. Cole reaches in his desk and he pulls out a small viral of pills and he takes one. “Nitro, I have a heart condition. I’m sorry what was the question?”


“What time did she leave Mr. Cole?”


“Hmmm nine, nine o’clock last night.” Mr. Cole replies.


“Does she have a car here?” Steve asks.


Mr. Cole shakes his head. “No she takes the bus. When she got off last night I wanted to take her to the bus stop! She said no that it was only two blocks away and she walked it everyday when she left, I….I should have insisted!!!” Mr. Cole replies as he hits the desk with his fist. “She and the other girls take a short-cut thru the alley, I….I should have insisted to take her to the bus stop then she might….”


“Mr. Cole it isn’t your fault. Mr. Cole are you….?”


Before Steve can finish the question Mr. Cole falls out of his chair and after Steve checked him he ran to the office door and he yelled for the officer there to call an ambulance.




Once the coroner was called it didn’t take him long to get there and Neal supervised as they took her from the dumpster with Neal telling them to be careful with her every step of the way. In order to maintain some privacy for the victim and to stop the prying eyes of a larger crowd which had formed as word spread that it was a dead body the coroner and his assistants erected a tent to do a preliminary exam.


“Well Sam?” Neal asks.


“She was strangled, manually.”


“You mean whoever killed her strangled her with their bare hands?” Neal asks.


“Yes he wore gloves and he was very, very strong but she put up one hell of a fight. Defensive wounds on her hands, cuts, a few nails broken and the ones that are left have something under them. So I would say that your murderer would have scratches on his face.”


“Steve thought that she might have been raped.”


“Well by the state of her clothes I would say yes but I don’t want to say for certain until I get her back to the lab. She is a tiny thing it wouldn’t take much Detective.”


“Do you know how long she’s been dead?”


“Taking into consideration the temperature last night and she is almost in full rigor I would say somewhere between nine-thirty and ten o’clock last night.”


Neal nods his head as he takes notes.


“Do we know who she is yet?” Sam asks.


“No not yet Steve is finding that out, is there anything else?”


“No I’ll let you know what I find.” Sam says as he covers the body with a sheet. “Come on guys let’s be gentle with her it’s all we can do for her now.”


Neal turns away making his way out of the tent to find Robert. “Robert I want you and your boys to go over that dumpster with a fine tooth comb! Got it! I want this guy okay?”


“You got it Neal.” Robert replies.


“Hey Steve was that an ambulance I saw leaving?” Neal asks as Steve walks over to him.


“Yeah man Mr. Cole has a heart condition and he became so upset he collapsed. Their taking him to Harbor General but I did find out that the victim’s name is Sandy Allison and she was Mr. Cole’s secretary, he told me that she has a fiancé. The other girls that worked with her said his name is Peter Waters. What did Sam say?”


“That she has been dead since about nine-thirty or ten of last night.”


“Well that fits, Mr. Cole told me that she got off of work at about nine and she would catch the bus every night, the girls would cut thru the alley as a shortcut.” Steve replies.


“The alley huh well let’s go and check it out.”


They walk a few feet to the alley that runs the north length of the warehouse and on the other side of the fence is a vacant lot, the alley is long and dirty and it ends at one of the streets that leads out to the docks. Less than halfway down the alley was a door that read “EMPLOYEES ONLY” in red lettering and next to the door was a street light.


“Now Mr. Cole told me that the employees use this door to come in and leave, they all have a key.” Steve replies.


“Did this light work last night?” Neal asks.


“Actually no, Mr. Cole called the city to come out and look at it. Mr. Cole said the girls that take the bus walk up this alley and cut across the vacant lot right there where a couple of fence slats are broken.” Steve says as they walk over to the opening in the fence and without going into the vacant lot they look across the lot. “They walk across the vacant lot and at the opposite end is another opening and from there they cross a couple of streets and there is the bus stop.”


“Who owns this vacant lot?” Neal asks.


“Mr. Cole, it’s a recent purchase. When he gets all the paperwork in order he’s going to put a covered parking lot here so the employees will have a good place to park.”


“Steve I think I see something.” Neal replies.




“Look right over here, it looks like somebody was standing here waiting on someone. See the cigarette butts and right there are some footprints.” Neal replies.


“Neal I think I see a purse in the weeds over there. I bet it’s the victims.”


“I’ll have Robert bring a couple of his guys over here. Steve if those footprints belong to our suspect you know what that means don’t you?” Neal asks.


“Yeah it means that he was waiting here for the girls to come out, smoking, biding his time and when the victim came this way he grabbed her.”


“And by the size of that shoe print he’s a big guy and it wouldn’t take much to subdue her.” Neal replies.


Steve is silent as he looks at the footprint and the cigarette butts.


“What cha thinking?”


“I’m thinking he was comfortable to stand here smoking, he might have been watching the women here for weeks, seeing their routines, the women might have even seen him. He’s from this neighborhood or he works here. I think we have a big job ahead of us.” Steve replies.


“Alright stay here and guard the alley while I’ll go and get a couple of the crime scene guys and some crime scene tape.”


“When that is finished I’ll go back and talk to the office manager. We’re need the names of the male employees and then later we have to talk to the fiancé.” Steve replies


“This is going to be a long day.” Neal replies as he walks off.








“I’m Peter Waters.” The young man says as he comes into the room.


“Mr. Waters I’m Detective Schon and this is my partner Detective Perry we’re from the Oceanview Police department.”


“My supervisor told me that the police were here to see me. Why are you guys here did something happen?”


“Mr. Waters if you would sit down….” Steve replies.


“No I’ll stand thank you, can you just tell me what’s going on? Did something happened?”


“Mr. Waters we hate to tell you this but Sandy is dead.” Steve says slowly.


Peter stands there looking at them. “What? What did you just say?”


“Mr. Waters please….” Neal replies as he tries to take him by his arm.


“No! No! Sandy? Sandy is….dead? My Sandy?”


“Mr. Waters we’re sorry for your lost.” Steve replies.


Sandy? My Sandy? Are you sure? Maybe there’s be a mistake….” Peter replies as he holds onto Neal.


“No Mr. Waters I’m afraid that isn’t the case, her employer Mr. Cole positively identify her this morning.” Neal replies.


Steve brings a chair around and Peter sits down in it. “Oh my god! I can’t believe this! I….I just talked to her last night.”


“What time was that Mr. Waters?” Steve asks.


“It was….it was 8:45 or so. When she got home she would call me but last night she didn’t, I didn’t think much of it she has been working a lot of overtime lately. Sometimes when she got home she would go straight to bed.”


“Where were you last night?” Neal asks.


“Here.” Peter says as he runs his shaky hands thru his hair. “I’ve been working overtime too. We are….I mean we were going to get married next month. I….I was going to surprise her with a trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon….but now….” Peter then put his head in his hands and he began to cry.


Steve pulls a chair up next to him. “Peter I’m so sorry I can tell that you really love her can you tell me when you saw her last?”


Peter nods his head. “Yesterday at lunch. Since we have been working so much lately that is really the only time we got to see each other.”


“You didn’t live together?” Neal asks.


Peter shakes his head. “No we were a bit old-fashioned. She had a little apartment and I have a house that I inherited from my grandparents, we were going to live there, oh my god!! Her parents!” Peter looks over at Steve. “Oh my god! They have to be told!”


“It’s all right Mr. Waters we’re tell them.” Steve replies as he puts his hand on his shoulder.


Peter looks up at them. “What….what happened to her? Was it an accident?”


Steve looks at Neal. “No she was mu….”


“….Mugged Mr. Waters she was mugged….” Neal replies as Steve looks at Neal. “Near where she worked.”


“Mugged? She….she loved working near the docks.” Peter smiles slightly. “She….she told me that her and the other girls from the office would go to the docks to eat their lunch. They like to watch the ships come in….”


“She went to the docks to eat her lunch? Did she do that everyday?” Steve asks.


“Yes when she could.”


“Mr. Waters your supervisor is going to stay with you until you can call someone to take you home, you shouldn’t be alone. Is there anyone you can call?” Neal asks.


“I….yes. I have a close friend I can call.” Peter replies.


“Mr. Waters we are very sorry that we had to come here to tell you this….” Steve replies.


He holds Steve’s hand tight. “You didn’t know her but if you had you two would have loved her. Everybody she met just loved her, she wouldn’t harm a fly. She’s was so funny….please catch this guy….okay?”


“We will Mr. Waters.” Neal replies.


“If we need to talk to you again may we?” Steve asks.


“Yes….” Peter replies as he nods.


“Thank you for your time Mr. Waters.” Neal replies as he opens the office door.


“We’ll be in touch Mr. Waters.”


As they leave the supervisor goes into the office and he shuts the door behind him. They are silent until they get to the car and once in the car Steve looks at Neal.


“You lied to him Neal.”


“Yes Steve I lied to him. Did you want me to tell that grieving man in there that the woman that he loved and was going to marry was raped and strangled? Did you want me to tell him that?” Neal replied.


“It wasn’t right Neal you should have told him the truth!” Steve replied.


“Alright Steve if that was your fiancée that was raped and strangled would you want to know that? Would you?”


“Yes Neal I would! I would want to hear it from you before I heard it from somebody else! I just hope that it doesn’t come back and bite you in the ass!!”


Neal says nothing as they drive off.








“Uh oh Steve looks whose here! Let’s turn around and….” Neal replies to Steve as they go into the squad room but Neal stops once he sees a red-headed woman hanging around their desks but it is too late to runaway because she had spotted them and in the attempt to back-up Neal steps on Steve’s foot.


Steve let’s out a cry as he grabs his foot. “Neal what in the hell….”


“Wendy what are you doing here?” Neal asks.


“Now Detective is that a nice way to speak to a tax-paying citizen that pays your salary?” Wendy asks.


“When the tax-paying citizen also happens to be a reporter I would say yes!” Steve replies loudly.


“And my name is spelled Schon not Sean!!” Neal points out. “Besides all of that, reporters are not allowed in the squad room and you know that.”


“Well Detective S.C.H.O.N. if I didn’t wait for you two here then you two would be avoiding me and the public, whom also pay your salaries, deserves to know about the body that was found in the dumpster this morning.” Wendy pulls a notepad out of her bag. “Care to make a comment Detectives?”


“No comment.” Neal replies.


“Ditto.” Steve replies. “And you know your way out.”


“Wait! What do I tell my editor?” Wendy yells after them.


“You’re the reporter make it up!” Steve replies as he shuts the door on her.








“Alright Neal we got the background checks back on all the guys that work at the warehouse.”


“Any possible suspects?” Neal asks.


“Well there are two. Jack Perkins and Tony Castro. They were both in prison but now they are out on parole.”


“Really? Parole for what?” Neal asks.


“Jack Perkins was in prison for auto theft and Tony Castro for writing bad checks.”


“That’s it?” Neal asks.


“Yeah and according to their respective parole officers they both are doing well, it seems that Mr. Cole believes in giving people second chances and they were both at meetings with their parole officers when our vic was killed and all the other men are all accounted for.”


“Shit! I was kinda hoping for a quick resolution to this one.” Neal replies as he throws his pencil down.


Steve closes his folder. “Do you have Sam’s report?”


“Yeah.” Neal replies as he reaches for it. “It says that she was manually strangled so hard that the hiatal bone in her throat was broken and she was raped, after she was dead….”


“Jesus god almighty….” Steve replies.


“And it wasn’t skin that Sam found under her nails it was fibers.”


“Fibers?” Steve asks.


“Yeah, like from a ski mask or something similar.”


“This guy was planning ahead.” Steve replied.


“And Sam did find semen….”


“Too bad that can’t help us. Well the crime lab boys say that the boot print we found was fresh and it was a size 13 work boots, pretty generic actually, and they also said that her purse wasn’t touched. All the money she had in her purse was still there. So all in all what we have here….”


“….Adds up to a big fat nothing! At least we know who it isn’t….”


“Yeah the guys that work at the warehouse.” Steve replies. “Time to canvass the neighborhood.”


“With what Steve? We don’t have a picture, hell we don’t even have a decent description. All we have is a big guy with a size 13 shoe that smokes and wears a ski mask!”


“I know Neal buts it’s a start….”


Before Neal can answer the doors to the squad room are opened violently and Peter Waters walks-runs into the room and when he gets to Neal’s desk he throws the Oceanview newspaper down onto his desk.


“You lied to me!!!” Peter yells at Neal.


Steve and Neal both get to their feet as Neal reaches for the paper and he opens it.


“You lied to me about Sandy!!!”


Neal opens the paper and he sees the story on the front page about the body being found in the warehouse dumpster and that it was raped.


“Mr. Waters….” Neal says.


“What Detective!! What other lies are you going to tell me?!! Why didn’t you tell me yourself…?” Peter yells.


“What is all the yelling out here?!” The Captain asks as he opens his door and he looks out.


Neal looks at the floor.


“Hmmm Captain its Mr. Waters we told you about him.” Steve replies.


“Captain you’re their boss right?” Peter asks as he walks over to him.


“Yes Mr. Waters I am and I am very sorry for your lost.” The Captain replies.


“You’re sorry? What about you’re Detective there? I thought he was sorry too but he lied to me and I had to find out the truth in the paper!!”


“Mr. Waters why don’t we go into the office.” The Captain replies as he gestures for Steve and Neal to join him.

                “Now Mr. Waters what was this about one of my Detectives lying to you?” The Captain asks as he shuts the door.


“Detective Schon lied to me about Sandy and how she died; he said that she was mugged!! When I picked up the paper this morning I saw this!!!” Peter says as he hands the paper to the Captain.


“Detective Schon did you lie to Mr. Waters?” The Captain asks.


“Yes sir I did and I did it to spare him the truth.” Neal replies.


“Spare me the truth?!!! You think lying to me made me feel better when I saw this!!!”


“Mr. Waters we’re sorry and Detective Schon….” Steve tries to interject.


“Everybody is sorry!!! The only way I will accept your apologies Detectives is the day you find the bastard who killed Sandy!! Sandy was a good woman! And to have this happen to her….and after I told her family how she died and then to read this in the paper!!!!”


The Captain puts his arm around Peter. “Mr. Waters I can assure you that our Detectives will do everything in their power to find the man who did this and just as soon as they find him we will be in touch. Come on Mr. Waters I will walk you out, you two stay put.” The Captain says to them.


The Captain leaves and a few minutes later he returns. “Neal what were you thinking?”


“I’m sorry okay but I was thinking about Ruby!! I could not look that man in the eye and tell him what had happened to his fiancé!! As for that story in the newspaper we didn’t tell her anything!!!” Neal replies.


“No Captain we didn’t, honestly!! She talked to somebody else; or there might even be a leak somewhere.” Steve replies.


“I know you two would never talk to the press and give them confidential information and especially not to this rag.” The Captain replies. “Steve would you leave Neal and I alone for a minute?”


“Oh sure.” Steve replies as he leaves the office and he goes back to his desk where he tries to make himself busy. A few minutes later Neal returns.


“Is everything okay? Are you in trouble?”


“No the Captain just told me to be careful of my objectivity.” Neal rubs his eyes. “I don’t know what happened Steve I mean I have seen hundreds of dead bodies, men and women but….”


“….But the way Mr. Waters spoke about her, you could just hear the love in his voice that he has for her, and it reminded me of how you talk about Ruby, I could see that in your face Neal.”


“If we have to work day and night Steve we have to find this guy. The Captain even authorized overtime for us so I guess we go with your idea of canvassing the area, so let’s go.”


“Let’s stop by the grocery store on the way over there.” Steve says.




“I need to break my date with Gracie.” Steve replies.








“Hey Steve wake up man there’s someone here to see you.” Neal replies as he gently shakes Steve awake.


Steve rolls over as he rubs his eyes. “Who is it?”


“Why don’t you see for yourself and you better hurry before Mac gets her.”


“Her?” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.


Steve gets up and he followed Neal out to the squad room where Mac was trying to put his best moves on Grace.


“Hey hello Gracie….” Steve replies.


“You really are here to see him?” Mac replies.


“Why are you surprised by that?” Steve asks.


“Well look at her and then look at you!” Mac replies.


“Yeah, yeah go away Mac!” Steve yells as he puts his arms around her. “Hey honey what are you doing here?”


“Well I’ve noticed that you haven’t been in the store much lately so I thought I would bring you something to eat.” Gracie replies as she smiles at him. “I hope you don’t mind that I came by.”


“Oh no I’m glad that you did. Here have a seat at my desk. What did you bring?”


“I brought you and your partner submarine sandwiches.” Grace replies as she takes them out of the sack.


“Oh wow! Where are my manners? Grace Evans this is my partner Neal Schon.”


Neal nods at her. “Hi Grace, Steve has told me a lot about you.”


“Hi Neal, I hope he only told you good things about me?” Grace replies as she winks at Steve.


“Oh absolutely!” Neal replies as he smiles.


“Gracie you didn’t have to bring us food.” Steve replies.


“Oh sure she did! Thanks Grace.” Neal replies as he takes the sandwich that Grace hands to him.


“Gracie I hated breaking our first date and all….” Steve replies.


“Oh no Steve I understand I mean it would be stupid of me to be mad at you. It’s a tough case you’re working on. I just wanted to see you.” Grace says as she blushes.


Steve smiles at her. “I’m glad I wanted to see you too.” Steve holds her hands forgetting about the sandwich.


The phone rings at Steve’s desk but he ignores it as he brushes a strand of hair from her eyes.


“You know Gracie every time I see you I can’t get over how beautiful you are.”


The phone rings again. “Steve….” Neal says.


“I mean you haven’t changed at all! You have the same high cheek bones.” Steve replies as he rubs his thumbs over her cheekbones.


The phone rings again. “Steve!”


“Yeah?” Steve replies as he looks in her eyes.


“Never mind.” Neal replies as he reaches across the desk and he answers his phone. “Detective Perry’s desk….what? Okay, okay we’re be there.” Neal hangs up the phone. “Steve we have to go.”


“Hmmm what did you say something Neal?” Steve replies.


Neal grabs Steve’s jacket and he throws it at him. “Yes I did I said we have to go! Excuse us Grace.” Neal replies as he grabs Steve by his arm and he pulls him up.


“Hey man don’t crease the threads!!” Steve replies.


Neal rolls his eyes. “Say goodbye Steve we have to go.”


“Oh yeah Grace we have to go I’ll call you okay?” Steve replies as Neal walks him to the door.


“Bye Steve.” Grace replies as she waves.








“Hey Sam what you got….oh man!” Neal replies as he covers his nose from the smell.


“Oh gosh.” Steve says as he reaches in his pocket for a handkerchief.


“Boys. This one has been dead awhile.” Sam replies.


“I’ve noticed. Who found her?” Steve asks.


Sam points to a disheveled man with dirty, torn clothes standing with the uniform officer. “I think he said his name was George.”


“George huh?” Neal replies as he looks over at him.


“So Sam what’s the word?” Steve asks thru the handkerchief.


“The word detective is lab.” Sam replies as he sees the look on Steve’s face. “The only thing I can tell you about the body it’s female and that’s a guess, anything else will have to wait until I get the body back to the lab.”

                “Come on Steve let’s go over and talk to George.” Neal replies as he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder.


They walk over to George who seems agitated. “So….you’re name is George?” Neal asks.


“Yah! Who are you?”


“I’m Detective Schon and this is my partner Detective Perry. How about we go outside to talk?”


The three of them walk outside. “Alright now George so you found the body?” Steve asks as he pulls out his notepad.


“Yah! That I did!!! That I did!!! I own this warehouse!!!” George exclaims loudly.


Steve and Neal look at one another then they look back at George. “You….own this warehouse?” Steve asks as he gestures.


“I do!!” George yells.


Neal scratches his head. “Well George I have been around these parts for awhile and I didn’t know that this warehouse that had been abandoned had a new owner. How much did you pay for it?”


“I paid nothing!!!”


“Oh well George I thought you just said that you owned it? You did say that didn’t you?” Steve asks.


“Yes I did say that I own it by squatter’s rights!!!” George says proudly as he crosses his arms over his chest.


Once and again Steve and Neal look at one another. “Squatter’s rights?” Steve asks.


“Yes squatter’s rights!!! Boy for cops you two are sure dumb! What me to explain what squatter’s rights are?!!”


“No George we know what they are. So do you know who she was?” Steve asks.


“Yah! Her name was Millie, Sweet Millie they called her! I came by to pick up the rent from her….”


“Wait did you just say you came by to pick up the rent from her?” Steve asks.


“Yah! Are you deaf!!! Do I have to explain rent to you?!!”


“No George you don’t but what was she paying you rent for?” Neal asks.


“That space she had! The place where she slept! The place where you found her!! I hadn’t heard from her in days so I came by to collect the rent from her and that is how I found her.”


“How does she make her money?” Steve asks.


“Walking the streets man! Hooking!! Are you going to ask me what that is sonny?!” He asks Steve.


“No George but what I do want to know is you said that you hadn’t heard from her in days, do you remember the last time you heard from her?” Steve asks.


“Saturday or Sunday! Yah! It was Sunday! Sunday night I saw her heading down to the docks! She turned most of her tricks there!! The men on the ships you know!”


“Did she ever bring any of the tricks here?” Neal asks.


“Oh no siree Bob! No no! I don’t allow any hanky panky or funny business!! No I don’t!!”


“Alright George in the last few days have you noticed any strange people hanging around?” Steve asks.


George gives Steve a look. “Sonny everybody that hangs around here is strange!!”


Steve and Neal both smile. “Touché.” Steve replies.


“George if you remember anything else you can call us here.” Neal replies as he hands George a card.


“Hey fellows if you know anybody that need a space I got one available now!!” George says as they start to walk off.


Steve looks back over his shoulder. “Yah George we’ll keep that in mind.”


“Detectives!” The guys hear a familiar voice following after them.


“Just keep walking man.” Neal replies.


“DETECTIVES!!!” Wendy yells again as she runs to catch up to them.


“What were you some frigging track star in high school or something!!!” Steve replies as Wendy runs and then stops in front of them.


“Tennis shoes Steve they come in handy when you have to keep up with people who won’t give you the truth.” Wendy says as she points to her feet. “Care to make a statement about the dead body in the warehouse?”


“First of all Lois Lane don’t call me Steve like we’re some old friends or something because we aren’t….”

Ewww Lois Lane I like that!!” Wendy replies.


“How did you get here so fast Wendy I don’t see any other vultures circling?” Neal asks.


“You know Neal I bet if we look in that rust bucket she drives I bet we’ll find a police scanner.”


“So what if you do!! There is nothing illegal about the public or the press having a police scanner!!! The public deserves to know what’s going on in their city!!” Wendy replies.


“Even if what you print hurts somebody, like that last story you wrote? Do you have any idea what that information did to the victim’s family? Do you even care?” Steve asks.


“Who fed you that info?” Neal asks.


Wendy laughs. “I have my sources just like you do! I pay them for information just like you do and just like you Detective I don’t have to divulge my sources!! So in many ways we are working towards the same goal….”


Steve laughs. “Oh no you don’t!! Don’t even say that! Because there is no way we are on the same side!! We’re on the side of justice! Come on Neal let’s go.” Steve replies as he brushes passed her.


“So am I!!! I want justice as well!! It’s the people’s right to know how their police force operates! It’s their right to know how their tax dollars are spent! The police should be held accountable for what they do!!! I want justice in there for that woman and Detective Perry are you going to give her the same level of justice, devoted as much time to her case as Sandy Allison or just because she is a prostitute you’re going to let her killer go free!!!!!”


Steve and Neal both stop then Steve looks back over his shoulder at her then he turns around.




“You listen to me you little….” Steve replies but before he can finish Neal grabs him.


“Come on man she’s yanking your chain.” Neal says.


“Oh no let him go Detective this will make a great story, Homicide Detective Hits Female Reporter, I can just see the headline now!” Wendy replies.


“Stay away from here Wendy if I see you talking to anybody or….” Neal replies.


“….Or you’re do what Detective Schon?” Wendy replies as she comes closer. “I am sure you’ve heard of the ‘Freedom of the Press’ and if you arrest me that will make an even bigger headline, don’t you think?”


“Come on Neal we’ve got work to do.” Steve replies as he grabs Neal by his arm.








“Hey Steve.” Neal replies.


“Hey yourself.” Steve replies as he takes another drink of his beer.


“Something told me that you would be here.” Neal replies as he sits down next to him.


“Jack called you didn’t he?” Steve asks.


Neal snags a few peanuts out of the bowl. “Well yeah actually he did. He said that you have had three beers so far….”


Steve sits the empty mug back down on the bar. “Two domestic and one imported and I think I’m going to try another imported….” Steve raises his hand but Neal grabs it and he puts it back down on the bar.


“No way partner I think three is your limit.” Neal leans closer. “Steve don’t let what Wendy said upset you.”


“I can’t….I can’t help it! It does upset me!! Why in the world Neal would she say something that….that bad? That….that we wouldn’t care or do….do a good investigation just because the vic was a prostitute? Why did she have to say that!!! I mean….Oceanview is a good police department….”


“I know Steve.”


“….And….and we’re good cops! No damn it! We’re great cops!!!”


“I know we are.” Neal replies as he puts his arm around Steve.


“And….and what she said hurt! She just took my ethics and my integrity and the ethics and integrity of the department and just….just ripped them to shreds!!!! How….how come you aren’t mad? I mean she insulted you too!!!”


“Steve I have been doing this cop thing just a little longer than you and for some things I have developed a much thicker skin than you. Dealing with the press is just one of those things. You and I both know what she said isn’t true, now it might be true in some other police precinct but it isn’t true in ours.” Neal leans in even closer. “And you know that it isn’t true either. Come on buddy I’ll give you a ride home.” Neal says as he helps Steve to his feet.


“We have a lot of work to do we have to go back to the station.” Steve says.


“No the Captain thought it best that we get some rest at home, I mean his leather sofa is nice but it isn’t nice to sleep on it every night.”


Steve put his arm around Neal. “You know Neal what I….I think?”


“No Steve what do you think?”


“I think….I think I really like Gracie a lot and maybe….just maybe when these cases are solved I….I just might ask her to marry me again.” Steve says as he hiccups.


Neal smiles. “Alright man you’re fading fast let’s get you home.”


“Yeah man good….idea.” Steve says as he hiccups again.








“Steve are you alright?” Sam asks as Steve comes unsteadily into the office wearing sunglasses.


“Not especially no.” Steve replies unhappily.


Neal hands Steve a cup of coffee and two aspirins.


“I am waiting on a colleague of mine but we can start. Neal did you find out the name of our victim?” Sam asks.


“Yeah her name is Millie Cooper and she has a long arrest record mostly for prostitution. According to this it said she wanted to get off of the street and for the last six months she was helping young prostitutes to get off of the streets themselves.” Neal replies.


Steve takes off his sunglasses and he rubs his eyes. “So doc what can you tell us about her?”


“Well very simply she was manually strangled pretty much in the same manner as the first girl, her hiatal bone in her throat was broken and she was raped after she was dead.”


“Well doc how can you tell that she was raped and it wasn’t consensual since she was a….” Neal looks down at the floor. “….Sorry.”


“No Detective that is a good question actually. As you both know rape is not about sex it is about control, a lot of people don’t know that. In her case there was a lot of vaginal tearing and bruising not something you would find with consensual sex. There was also the presence of semen just like in the first case.”


“So doc in your opinion you think the same man killed these two women?” Neal asks.


“Yes Neal I would have to say so. The mode of strangling is the same, not too many people use their bare hands, and then again there is the semen.” Sam says.


“You keep saying that but it doesn’t help us!” Steve says as he grabs his head. “Oh shit that hurt!”


The doctor smiles. “Remember I mentioned my colleague just as soon as he gets here he will explain to you two how that semen might just help us.”


Neal and Steve look at each other just as there is a knock on the door.


“That will be him!” Sam says as he gets up and he answers it. When he opens the door there is a young man standing there and after Sam shows him into the office he gives him a hug. “Gentleman I would like you to met Dr. Jeremy Rice.”


Neal gets to his feet and with Neal’s help Steve also gets to his feet as they shake the Doctor’s hand.


“Nice to meet you Doctor I’m Neal Schon and my pastry faced friend over there is Steve Perry.”


“Ha-ha and ha! That isn’t funny. Nice to meet you Doc.” Steve says.


“It’s nice to see Sam has some living friends.” Neal replies.


Sam pats Jeremy on the back. “Dr. Rice has been a friend and student of mine for awhile now.”


“Student?” Neal replies.


“Yes when Dr. Rice was still a resident he was under my supervision at the Doctor’s Hospital in Los Angeles.” Sam replies.


“Yes Sam was quite a task master back in those days.” Jeremy replies.


“I was going to say you look awfully young to be a doctor.” Neal replies. “Just how long have you been a doctor, Doc?” Neal asks as they all laugh that is except for Steve.


“Almost three years now. Are you alright?” Jeremy asks Steve who had made his way back to the chair.


“No not really.” Steve replies.


“A touch of the flu perhaps?” Jeremy asks.


“More like a touch of the hair of the dog.” Neal replies.


“Oh I see well that is easy enough to fix. Sam can I have a glass of water please?”


“Certainly.” Sam goes into the bathroom and he comes back with a glass of water.


Jeremy takes it and he sits it on the desk then he takes a roll, of what looks like LifeSavers to Neal out of his pocket and he takes one out of the roll and he drops it into the glass of water and immediately it begins to fizz and after it dissolves he takes it over to Steve.


“Alka-Seltzer? Bah! That never helps me!” Steve replies.


“No it isn’t Alka-Seltzer its Berocca.” Jeremy replies.


Steve sniffs it then he looks at Jeremy.


“It’s okay I promise.”


Steve looks over at Neal and all he does is shrugs. “Can’t hurt.”


“Well it smells okay.” Steve says then he takes a tentative sip and when he sees it tastes okay he drinks more.


“Just drink it slow.” Jeremy replies. “Now Detectives, Sam has told me a lot about you and I am glad that I finally get a chance to meet you two, although I do wish it was under better circumstances.”


“What does that mean exactly?” Neal asks.


“It means Neal that Dr. Rice has being doing extensive research in blood and blood typing.” Sam replies. “I’ll let Dr. Rice explain.”


“Yes you see blood is very interesting and there is more than one way to find the blood type of a person and blood type is just not in blood.” Jeremy says.


“Well I….” Neal starts to say.


“Hey you know this stuff really works! I feel good! What is this stuff Doc?” Steve asks.


“It’s a Vitamin B supplement and it’s from Canada.” Jeremy replies.


“As I was saying….” Neal says as he looks over at Steve. “….I don’t get it.”


“They are secretors and non-secretors.” Jeremy says.


“What?” Steve says.


“I took the semen from the two victims and determined that your suspect is blood type O.”


“Universal donor.” Neal replies.


“Very good Detective and I also took the saliva from the cigarette butts and I determined from that your suspect is a diabetic, although he might not realize it.” Jeremy replies.


“Wait! So Doc what you’re telling us is that you found a way to get someone’s blood type from….semen?” Steve replies.


“And when you said that they are secretors and non-secretors that means that they either secrete thru their saliva or semen or they don’t, right?” Neal replies.


“Yes Detectives that is it in a nut-shell.”


“And the semen from the two victims….match.” Steve replies.


“Yes exactly. The same man killed those two women.” Jeremy replies.


“Wow that is just amazing Doc I mean I don’t think I have ever heard of this before.” Steve replies.


“No Detective you haven’t because I discovered it.” Jeremy replies. “Actually I have been working on this for quite awhile, years of research and trial and error. I was planning on doing a paper on it for the medical journals and with your permission I would like to make your case a test case.”


Steve and Neal look at one another as they let all the info sink in. “Okay Doc let’s have all of this again….” Neal replies.


“Except go really slow.” Steve says.


The good doctor is happy to oblige and even using the board in Sam’s office he explains it carefully from the very beginning even adding a few little points that he may have forgotten previously.


“So guys what do you think?” Jeremy asks.


“I think I like it! I say go for it!” Steve replies.


Neal stands up. “You know Steve we’re forgetting something here and it’s a very important something.”


“What’s that?”


“Court? Doc will this hold up in court? I mean this whole thing is new, brand new.” Neal replies.


“Yeah and now that Neal mentions it what about juries?” Steve asks.


“Oh yeah doc juries can very hard to convince about some things, I mean if it is too complicated or too technical they lose interest. Neal replies.


“Did you two understand it the way I explained it?” Jeremy asks.


Steve and Neal look at one another and Steve shrugs. “Yeah I mean the second time I did.”




“As for the question of holding up in court I can’t answer that detectives, any new medical testing or procedures will have to stand on its own two feet. Let this case be the litmus test.” Jeremy replies.


“I don’t know….” Neal replies.


“Just think Detectives this technique has so many applications and it could be a big boost to law enforcement all across the country. Oceanview Police Department could be in the history books as where it all began, think of all the cold cases that it could solve.” Jeremy replies.


“Neal he’s right and anybody that can cure my hangover deserves a shot. I say yes. Neal this could be the future of crime fighting and we’re on the ground floor.”


Neal nods. “Alright let’s do it.” Neal and Jeremy shake hands.


“So doc you can really get my blood type from my saliva?” Steve asks.


“Yes or your semen. Do you want a demonstration?” Jeremy asks.


“Whoa doc I need all of my semen!” Steve replies.


They all laugh. “Tell you what we’ll get it off of the glass you drank out of.”


“Hey I’m going to call the Captain I want him to be in on this too.” Neal replies as he picks up the phone.








“Who found her Mark?” Neal asks.


“That kid over there.” Mark points over to where a young boy stood being comforted by another police officer. “He was collecting cans; he thought it was a mannequin.”


“Did anybody call his parents?” Neal asks.


“Yes his father will be here soon.” Mark replies.


Neal takes a deep breath. “Alright Mark.”


Neal turns around to find Steve down on one knee close to the body silently looking at her. “Jesus god almighty Neal she is just a….kid. She can’t be more than 16.”


“Detective.” Mark replies as he hands Neal a note.


“Her name is Karen Mallory and she matches the description that her father gave to Missing Persons. She went to school yesterday morning but she never….came home.”


“Because she met the devil. I wish we could cover her up.”


“I know Steve but you know we can’t, we have to preserve the crime scene. Tell you what we can do thou I’ll get Mark to grab a few blankets and we’ll get a few of the officers to hold them up around her until Sam gets here, okay?”


Steve nods his head and by the time they had collected the blankets and were holding them up Sam arrived.


“Detectives.” Sam replies as he approaches the body and it only took Sam a few minutes. “I guess I don’t have to tell you this but she is similar to the first two, manually strangled and there are signs of rape.”


“How long Doc?” Steve asks.


“I’ll say since about nine or nine thirty last night. It looks like rain let’s get her back to the lab.”


“Robert.” Neal says. “Look for boot prints, collect any and all cigarette butts and I want you to work with Dr. Jeremy Rice on this, Sam knows who he is, alright?”


“Anything you want Neal you got it.”


Neal walks over to Steve who was helping to load the body into the Coroner’s wagon.


“Do you want to go with me to talk to the parent’s?” Neal asks.


“Of course I do we’re a team.”


“I know we’re a team but you’re also human Steve.”


“No Neal I’ll be human later right now I’m a cop, let’s go.”








“Please detectives come in.” Wallace Mallory replies as he opens the door for them. “You’re here about Karen aren’t you?”


“Yes Mr. Mallory I’m afraid that we are.” Neal replies.


“We found her this morning Mr. Mallory in the Harbor District.” Steve replies.


“The Harbor District? Why in the world would she go there?”


“We were hoping that you could tell us that sir.” Steve replies.


Mr. Mallory shakes his head. “I don’t know why she would be that far from home. Do either of you have children?”


Steve shakes his head no.


“I have a six year old boy.” Neal replies.


“You see my wife passed away when Karen was ten years old and soon after we moved here from Los Angeles, I thought it would be a better environment for a young girl. I have an older son and I had no idea how hard it would be to raise a daughter without the help of her mother.”


“When did you last see her Mr. Mallory?” Neal asks.


“Yesterday morning at breakfast, I usually drop her off at school in the morning and she rides the bus home in the afternoon.”


“Mr. Mallory did she have a boyfriend or was she dating anyone?” Steve asks.


“No I don’t believe so. I have worked some very long hours at work lately and by the time I get home she is in bed asleep.”


“What do you do Mr. Mallory?” Neal asks.


“I’m the Chief Financial Officer at the First Bank of Oceanview.”


“I see that is a very demanding job.” Steve replies.


“Yes detective it is and last night I made a point to come home early because I wanted to spend time with her and when she didn’t come home, I thought maybe she had been kidnapped. I mean in my profession it isn’t of unheard of you know.”


“No sir it isn’t.” Steve replies.


There is silence then Mr. Mallory finally says, “How did she….die?”


Neal and Steve look at one another. “Mr. Mallory I don’t think you should know….” Neal says.


“No I want to know.” Mr. Mallory insists.


Neal takes a deep breath. “Sir I afraid that she was strangled and she was also raped.”


“I’m….I’m glad that her mother isn’t alive to see this day. When can I see her? I want to bury her next to her mother.”


“Yes sir I understand. It’s an on-going police investigation and we’ll let you know when the body can be released to you.” Steve says as he puts his hand on his arm.


Mr. Mallory nods. “Karen is a good girl detectives please find the person that did this to her.”


“Yes sir we will.” Neal replies.


“Will you be alright here alone?” Steve asks.


“I’m not alone detective, my son is asleep upstairs.”


“Mr. Mallory did Karen have a purse or a book bag of some sort we didn’t find any with her.” Steve asks.


“Hmmmm yes she carried a brownish suede looking purse I think and it had those….those….”


“Tassels?” Neal asks.


“No they were more like….”


“Fringes?” Steve asks.


“Yes, yes I do believe that is what she called them, fringes. And for Christmas last year I got her a leather book bag it is very unique, it has the Bank’s logo on it.” Mr. Mallory replies.


“Mr. Mallory if you could we would like the names of her friends and if she has a best friend that would be helpful.” Steve asks.


“I can give you the names of the families I called last night when I was looking for her.”


“Thank you Mr. Mallory that would be great.” Neal replies as they follow him into the kitchen.








“According to her school records she was a good student and she was in a number of clubs.” Neal replies. “No problems with anybody….” When Steve doesn’t respond Neal looks over to see Steve staring at a picture of Karen. “Steve did you hear anything I just said?”


“What?” Steve asks as he looks up.


“I said did you hear anything I just said?”


“Yeah sure, she was a good student and she didn’t have any problems….”


“What’s wrong?” Neal asks.


Steve runs his hand thru his hair. “It’s this picture.”


“What’s wrong with it?” Neal asks.


Steve takes a deep breath. “She seems so familiar to me, like I’ve seen her somewhere before.”


“Well the other two victims also had long, dark hair.”


“No that isn’t it I just can’t put my finger on it. It’ll come to me eventually. What did her best friend say about Karen having a boyfriend?” Steve asks.


“Well according to her Karen didn’t have a boyfriend but I get the impression that there is something that she isn’t telling us.”


“Well I get the impression that there is a pattern establishing itself here, all the women had long, dark hair and they were all killed the same way.”


“A serial rapist?” Neal asks cautiously.




The phone rings at Steve’s desk and he picks up the receiver. “Detective Perry. Oh you did?” Steve looks at Neal. “Okay we’ll be right over, thanks.”


“Who was that?”


“A gas station a few blocks away from where Karen’s body was found, the attendant found a girl’s purse and some school books.”


“Let’s roll.”








“Hi Mike I’m Steve and that’s my partner Neal and that’s Robert with the crime lab. You said that you found some school books and a purse?”


“Yeah they are right over here.” Mike replies as they follow him over to the trash cans that’s located behind the building and there they find three text books, a notebook and a spiral binder. On the ground next to the trash can was a brown suede purse and also there was a pair of jeans, t-shirt and tennis shoes.


Steve, Neal and Robert all kneel down around the objects and Steve points to the spiral notebook. “Karen Mallory.”


“Robert bag all of this stuff up.” Neal replies.


“The clothes too?” Robert asks.


“Yeah those were the clothes her father reported her missing in but she was wearing different clothes when she was found.” Neal replies.


“Her father said that she had a fancy leather book bag, hey Mike did you happen to see a fancy, leather book bag with a logo on it?” Steve asks.


“Nope.” Mile replies.


“Did you see the person that threw this stuff away?” Neal asks.


“Well it was sorta busy last night but I did see a beat up green Chevy two-door pull up and drive off real quick, you know long enough to toss some stuff out.” Mike replies.


“Did you see who was driving the car?” Steve asks.


“Well yeah I think so I mean it was sorta fast but he was wearing a cap and his hair was down to his collar, it was mostly a profile view you know.”


“Okay well thanks Mike we’re be in touch.” Neal replies.


“Hey guys Sam wants you guys to come back to the lab.” Robert says.


“Thanks Robert.” Steve replies.










“What do you have for us Sam?” Neal asks.


“The latest victim was strangled and she was raped….”


“Just like the others.” Steve replies.


“No not just like the others….” Sam replies.


“No?” Neal asks surprised.


“What’s the difference?” Steve asks.


“First of all she was sodomized and there wasn’t any semen left on the body.”


Neal and Steve look at one another. “That could mean that he wore a rubber….” Steve replies.


“And also that he’s learning, adapting to his environment, this guy is no amateur at this. I’ll bet he’s done this other places.” Neal replies.


“Also there were fibers found on her clothes and I turned them over to the crime lab and there’s another reason I don’t believe the same man did this.” Sam replies. “She was strangled by a piece of jewelry, a chain; it was a heavy type of chain. A herringbone pattern.”


“We didn’t see one at the crime scene.” Steve replies.


“Maybe the rapist took it. Anything else Sam?”


“No that’s it for now I’ll call her father later and tell him I’m going to release his daughter to him.”


“Thanks Sam. This is a tough one isn’t it?” Steve asks.


“Kids are always tough Detective, always.”








“God I am so tired.” Steve exclaims.


“I know me too. Something is not jiving with this last one I mean I feel like we’re missing something.”


“Karen Mallory is a 16 year old very pretty girl but when we found her she certainly wasn’t dressed like a 16 year old girl. She had a book bag which is missing but we did find her books, purse and clothes.”


“The clothes she wore to school, the clothes she wore to school….” Neal repeats.


“She was dressed as a school girl during the day but after she dressed like she was going on a….”


“Date.” They both say together.


“She was trying to look older because she was meeting a….”


“Guy!” Once again they say together.


“Yeah but Neal everybody we asked said that she didn’t have a boyfriend….”


Neal grabs her notebook and he tosses it to Steve. “Robert released these to us I want you to look thru it.”


“Okay what am I looking for exactly?” Steve asks as he opens the notebook.


“Steve I know that’s it’s been awhile since you were in high school but when you and Grace were hot and heavy didn’t you write her initials in your notebook somewhere?” Neal asks.


“Sure I wrote them in a heart….” Steve says as he looks at Neal.


“Now you know what we’re looking for let’s see if we can find it.”


Ten minutes later.




“Did you find something?” Steve asks as he goes over and he stands by Neal.


“I think so; see where a page has been torn out of this spiral notebook?”


“Yeah.” Steve replies.


“See how crinkly this page is?” Neal points out as Steve touches it.


“Yeah, what does that mean?” Steve asks.


“It means our victim wrote very hard and whatever was on the page she threw away is also on this page, hand me that pencil.”


Steve reaches over and he grabs the pencil off of his desk then he hands it to Neal. Neal takes it then he rubs the lead across the paper revealing a faint heart and the more he rubs the pencil lead back and forth across the paper it reveals even more of the heart.


“Bingo!!” Neal replies.


“Neal you know at times like these I am glad that you aren’t the good looking one!”


“Thanks Steve. Okay look there are the initials K.M. + E.C.”


“What does it say down there?” Steve asks as he points.


“It says Karen loves Erik….”


“What about down here?” Steve asks.


“It says Karen Cox….I think we found the boyfriend Erik Cox.”


“Correction we found his name but we haven’t found him.” Steve replies.


“True but think a minute where she was found. She was found in the Harbor District and in that part of town there are no kids and no families live there so she was going to meet an adult man….not a kid.”


Steve nods. “Okay I’ll buy that theory and I think we should ask her brother, I mean what a father doesn’t know a brother might.”


“Okay we’re get him in here tomorrow….” Neal replies.










“Hello Bruce I’m Detective Schon and this is my partner Detective Perry.”


“We’re very sorry about your sister and we hate to call you down here….”


“No that is okay I want to find out who killed my sister. My father said that you wanted to ask me a question?” Bruce replies.


“Yes we want to know if you have ever heard the name Erik Cox before.” Steve asks.


By the look on Bruce’s face they knew they had hit a raw spot. “Well yeah I know Erik he’s a friend of mine….why?”


“Bruce did he know Karen?” Neal asks.


“Know? Well he came by the house all the time and we hung out and Karen was there. I mean they talked to each other but that was it.” Bruce replies.


“Did they go out together?” Steve asks.


“No! I mean Erik is 26 years old and Karen was just a kid! Wait! You can’t think that Erik….?” Bruce says surprised.


“Bruce your sister was found in different clothes that she had worn to school….” Neal replies.


“She was dressed to meet someone and we found Erik’s name in her notebook.” Steve replies.


“So what does that mean? She changed her clothes and his name was in her notebook?” Bruce asks. “Erik wouldn’t do that! I mean I think Karen had a crush on him….” Bruce looks at Steve and Neal.


“Did Erik know that?” Steve asks.


“I….I don’t know….I think so I mean it was a joke how she would follow him around and whenever she knew that he was coming over she would spend hours in the bathroom getting ready.”


“Did they ever go off together or disappear for awhile?” Neal asks.


Bruce shakes his head then suddenly he stops. “One weekend he came over to a cook-out we were having and we ran out of cokes or something and he offered to go to the store and Karen went with him.”


“Were they gone a long time?” Neal asks.


“No, no thirty minutes or less!” Bruce replies.


“Bruce does Erik have a car?” Steve asks.


“Yeah, yeah he has a crappy green Chevy with red blanket like seat covers.”


“Did Karen have a necklace, a herringbone sort of necklace?” Neal asks.


“Yeah it was our mothers but she only wore for special occasions. God I can’t believe that Erik would hurt anybody, I mean he was always nice to Karen why would he do something like that….to her?”


“Bruce we don’t know for certain that Erik was the one that killed your sister we’re still very early in our investigation….” Neal replies.


“Bruce do you know where Erik lives and works?” Steve asks.


“Yeah.” Bruce replies.


“Write it down for us okay?” Steve replies as he pushes a notepad at him.


“When my father said you wanted me to come down here I had no idea….I’m just shocked….I mean if a friend of mine, a guy I had over to dinner and cook-outs did this to my sister….I mean he was in my house!!!” Bruce shakes his head.


“Bruce it’ll be alright.” Neal replies as he puts his hand on his Bruce’s hand.


“It’s not your fault Bruce and if he did this we’re get him.” Steve replies.


Bruce nods his head as he writes the information on the notepad.








“This just makes everything so much better.” Steve replies as he tosses the newspaper down onto Neal’s desk.


“God almighty!” Neal exclaims as he reads the headline.


“HARBOR DISTRICT RAPIST STRIKES AGAIN! Latest victim is number three!”


“She….she gave this sick bastard a name!!! I can’t believe it!” Neal exclaims.


“I’m not surprised.”


“Guys you have an Erik Cox waiting in the conference room for you.” Vivian replies.


“Thanks Vivian.” Neal replies.








“First of all Erik thanks for coming down to talk to us, I’m Detective Schon and my partner Detective Perry.”


“Well when a cop is knocking on your door and tells you to come down town because a couple of Detectives want to talk to you, you feel sorta compelled if you know what I mean.” Erik replies.


“Erik do you know her?” Steve asks as he shows Erik a picture of Karen.


“Sure that’s Karen Mallory.”


“Do you know that she’s dead?” Neal asks.


“Yeah Bruce told me, it’s terrible, she was a sweet kid.” Erik replies.


“How well do you know Bruce?” Steve asks.


“We’re friends; we went thru high school together.” Erik replies.


“Erik how well did you know Karen?” Neal asks.


“Karen was a sweet kid, I mean she was pretty and funny. I would go over to visit Bruce and she would be there hanging around us, you know being the typical kid sister I guess.”


Neal leans over the desk in Erik’s direction. “So Erik….how well did you know….Karen? That is if you know what I mean?”


Erik looks shocked. “I don’t like your tone!”


“Hey Neal I don’t either! What are you doing?” Steve replies as he looks at Neal. “Erik we found your initials in her notebook, you know Karen Loves Erik kinda stuff. We know that she had a crush on you….”


“Karen had a crush on me?” Erik asks surprised.


“Oh come on man! Don’t tell us that you didn’t know! Karen may have only been 16 but she was attracted to you and she looked a lot older than 16….” Neal replies.


Erik hits the table with his hand. “I’m telling you that I didn’t know!!”


“Neal!! Stop it! Why don’t you go and get some coffee, I know I could use some and I bet Erik could to right?” Steve replies.


“Yeah sure.” Erik replies.


“Alright.” Neal reluctantly gets up from the table and he leaves the room then a few minutes later he is standing next to the Captain as they watch them thru the one way mirror.


“I’m sorry Erik for Neal’s behavior but he’s just a little high strung.”


“Look detective….”


“Call me Steve.”


“Steve I swear to you I didn’t know that Karen had a crush on me!” Erik replies. “I mean I paid attention to her and I talked to her but that was it!”


“I believe you but Erik we know she was in the Harbor District to see somebody and the way she was dressed it looked like to us that she was going to meet someone. You work out there don’t you?” Steve asks.


“Yeah I work at warehouse 217 unloading the ships when they come in.”


“She was out there to see you wasn’t she?” Steve asks.


Erik slowly nods his head. “I couldn’t believe it was Karen. I mean my shift was almost over and Randy told me that someone was there to see me….”


“Randy?” Steve asks.


“He’s the supervisor. When I saw it was Karen I was shocked! I mean it didn’t look like 16 year old Karen. She was wearing a dress I had never seen before and her hair was all fixed up! I did a double take.”


“Did she tell you why she was there?” Steve asks.


Erik covers his eyes with his hands. “God I can’t believe she took me seriously.”


“What Erik?”


“I would joke with her, you know, tell her that if I ever saw her in a dress that I would take her out to dinner. I mean she was such a tom-boy and all she ever wore was jeans. Oh my god how was I to know that she would actually do that!”


“So Karen got all dressed up and showed up where you worked so that you could take her out to dinner?”


Erik slowly nods his head.


“What did you tell her?” Steve asks.


“I told her that she was beautiful but I was just kidding with her. I told her that I was 26 and she was 16 and she had to go home. There was thirty minutes left on my shift and if she waited I would take her home but then after she left, the supervisor told me I had to work over about two hours. When I went to go look for her to tell her that I couldn’t find her anywhere.”


“What did you think happened to her?” Steve asks.


“I just thought she took the bus home.”


“What was her reaction when you told her that she had to go home?” Steve asks.


“She was upset and she cried. I felt like a shit but I didn’t know that she felt that way about me.”


“Erik do you own a car?” Steve asks.


“Yeah, yeah it’s a green Chevy its pretty beat up….”


“Erik you do realize that you are the last person to see Karen alive.” Steve replies.


“Well no I….”


Just then Neal comes back into the room and he is carrying two cups of coffee. “Sorry I had to make it.” Neal replies as he sets the cups on the table. “So Erik you were arrested before.”


“Traffic tickets and that was when I was 18. I took care of all of that a long time ago.” Erik replies.


“You didn’t answer my partner when he told you that you were the last person to see her alive.” Neal replies.


“Well I didn’t have time to answer! No I didn’t realize I was the last person to see her alive….I thought the killer would have been….” Erik stops and he looks at Steve and Neal. “Oh wait!!! You two don’t think that I….!!! But I couldn’t….I wouldn’t!!!”


“Erik calm down we’re just trying to piece together Karen’s last hours okay? Did Karen ever go to your apartment?” Steve asks.


“No not once!”


“So you wouldn’t mind if we took a look around your apartment?” Neal asks.


“You, you guys are serious!!!”


“Erik you know it would help us out a lot, we could go over there right now.” Steve replies.


“Well alright I mean I don’t have anything to hide.” Erik replies.








“No book bag and no necklace.” Steve replies.


“Yeah but there was size 13 boots and the same kind of cigarettes we found at the crime scenes and gloves and the kid at the gas station described his car.” Steve replies.


“So let’s go over there and show him Erik’s arrest photo….”








“Alright Mike just take your time.” Steve replies.


“Was this the guy you saw driving that green Chevy?”


Mike looks at the photo. “Oh man I can’t say for certain. This guy looks too young I think. Sorry guys I can’t say for sure that’s it’s him.”


“Alright thanks Mike.” Steve replies.


“Victor 7 come in Victor 7.” They hear the dispatcher say over the radio.


Neal reaches into the car and he picks up the mike. “Go ahead Ocean.”


“Robert would like to see you at the crime lab.” Dispatch replies.


10-4 Ocean we’re on our way.”








“Sam gave us the victim’s dress and we analyzed the fibers on it.” Robert replies.


“So what was it?” Neal asks.


“It’s fibers from seat covers, red colored blanket type seat covers.” Robert replies as he looks at the report.


“Are you sure?” Steve asks.


“Positive.” Robert replies. “Also we found semen stains on her dress as well.”


“Wait I thought Sam said there was no signs of semen.” Steve replies.


“Not on the victim but there were some on her dress, it will take awhile to process it though. The dress material is hard to work with.”


“How long?” Neal asks.


“A day maybe longer.” Robert replies.


“Thanks Robert.” Steve replies.


“We take all of this to the Captain and see what he says.”








“Alright Erik do you understand your rights?” Steve asks.


“Yeah man but you’re making a terrible mistake!!! I didn’t kill Karen!”


“This is how it went down Erik; Karen came out there to your job to see you. You turned her down and you sent her home and you got in your car to go home and on the way you passed her on the street. You may have felt sorry for her so you stopped….” Neal replies.


“….You told her that you would give her a ride home, she trusted you, and hell the girl had a crush on you….” Steve replies.


“No! You’re wrong!!!!” Erik protests.


“….Maybe Karen came onto you, made a proposition to you and just for a moment you forgot she was 16 so you decided to take her up on it.” Neal replies.


“….But something happened; Karen became scared and she changed her mind but you hadn’t changed your mind….” Steve replies.


“No! That never happened!” Erik protests again.


“….You was excited and you couldn’t stop, maybe you didn’t want to stop. You thought you would teach her a lesson about what happen to girls who tease guys so you took what you wanted….by force.”


Erik stands up knocking his chair over. “I DIDN’T KILL KAREN!!! I NEVER TOUCHED HER!!!”


“So Karen was never in your car Erik?” Steve asks.


“No not that night!!!” Erik replies.


“Oh so at one time she was in your car? When was that?” Neal asks.


“Oh god months ago I guess we went to the grocery store!” Erik replies.


“So you have no idea how the fibers from your red blanket seat covers got on her dress that she wore that night when she came to your job?” Steve asks.


“What? I….I….no no I don’t know! She wasn’t in my car that night!!! I already told you that I had to work over!!!” Erik replies.


“According to some of the other people there it is very easy to slip out and no one would know that you were gone.” Steve replies.


“We checked Erik and there is no record of you working over two hours or so.” Neal replies.


“What??? No that isn’t right I was there!!!” Erik yells.


“Your car was spotted that night at the Rosehill 1 gas station.” Steve replies.


“I wasn’t there I tell you!!!!” Erik yells.


“Erik where were you on Tuesday night the 15th of May between the times of nine p.m. and nine thirty?” Steve asks.


“Why?” Erik asks.


“Answer the question!!!” Neal says to him.


“Do you know this woman?” Steve asks as he shows Erik a picture of Sandy Allison.


“No. Why are you asking me about her?” Erik asks.


“Answer the question!” Neal says.


Erik looks at Neal. “I did!” Erik says as he hits the desk. “I don’t know her!”


“What about this one?” Steve asks as he shows him a picture of Millie Cooper.


“No I don’t know her either!!!” Erik’s eyes widen. “You two are sorry sons-of-bitches! I know what you’re trying to do!! I read the papers!! You think I’m that Harbor District rapist!!!”


“We found a lot of evidence in your apartment Erik!!! A pair of 13 sized boots….” Neal replies.


“Everybody at work has those same kinds of boots!!!” Erik replies.


“We also found the same kind of cigarettes that were left at the crime scenes.” Neal replies.


“So! Those cigarettes aren’t unique! A lot of people smoke those!!! You aren’t pinning those murders on me!!! I didn’t do anything!!!”


Just then the door opens and the Captain stands there. “Mr. Cox’s lawyer is here.”


Jake Parker brushes passed the Captain then he slams his briefcase down onto the table.


“Gentlemen.” Jake says to Steve and Neal. “And I use that term loosely.”


“I don’t know about Steve but my feelings are hurt.” Neal replies.


“I didn’t know that you were still practicing law I thought the State of California took your license away.” Steve replies with a smart-ass tone.


“Mr. Parker thank god you’re here!!! Do you know what they are accusing me of!!!?? They think I killed Karen and they also think that I am the Harbor District rapist….!!!”


“Erik you keep your mouth shut!!!” Jake says as he points at him. “You two keystone cops are just pathetic! The so-called evidence you have will never hold water! It’s all circumstancel evidence at best.”


“I’m being framed!!!!” Erik yells.


“I told you to be quiet; as of now my client will no longer talk to you two without me being present!”

“Let’s put him back in his cell.” The Captain replies.


The detention officer comes into the room and he takes him away.


“You two ought to be ashamed of yourselves picking on my client like that. Tsk, tsk, tsk.”


“Don’t give us your lawyer bullshit! That search was good!” Neal replies.


“Yeah man none of your tricks! We’ve done everything by the book!” Steve replies.


“My tricks? I’m not the one that has some new, fangled test that can tell blood types from bodily fluids.” Jake replies.


“Hey how do you know about that?” Steve asks.


“I see you two don’t follow yourselves in the paper.” Jake replies as he opens his briefcase and he tosses out the latest edition of the paper and immediately Neal snatches it up.


“Holy shit she did it to us again!!” Neal exclaims.


“POLICE ARREST SUSPECT IN HARBOR DISTRICT RAPIST CASE! New Controversial Blood Typing Test Will Be The Silent Witness.” Steve says as he reads it out loud.


“I must say that she can certainly turn a phrase.” The Captain replies.


“You three must be crazy if you think that the D.A. will go for this high school chemistry experiment! If I was him I certainly wouldn’t.” Jake replies.


“Let me tell you something Jake the D.A. didn’t get his diploma off the back of a Cracker Jack box!!” Steve yells.


“Look here you little, long haired piss ant!!!” Jake yells back at him.


“Alright Jake that’s enough, you don’t talk to my Detectives like that. I think I hear an ambulance that needs chasing, why don’t you go and catch it?” The Captain replies as he holds the door open wider for him. “Get out.”


“You haven’t heard the last from me!!” Jake replies.


“Lucky us!” Neal exclaims as Jake grabs his briefcase and he leaves the room.


“Good work boys. Until the blood typing comes back while don’t you guys take the evening off.” The Captain replies.


“Good idea Cap I still have a rain check I can cash in.” Steve replies.








Steve knocks on the apartment door and after a few seconds it is opened by Grace and Steve just caught a glimpse of her thru the crack in the door before it was slammed in his face.


Steve holds his nose. “Grace?”


“Steve was that you?” Grace asks from the other side of the door.


“Yeah is everything all right?”


“I….yes I just look horrible!! What are you doing here?” Grace asks.


“Well I’m here to cash in on my rain check. If this is a bad time I can come back….”


“No!!!” Grace yells from the other side of the door. “No I just need to take a shower. I’ve been cleaning the apartment and I look a mess.”


“I don’t care what you look like I still want to see you.” Steve replies.


“I care!!! Can you wait until I get cleaned up?” Grace asks.


“Sure I’ll just sit out here….”


“Great! Don’t leave okay?” Grace says.


“No I won’t I promise!” Steve replies then he goes and sits down on the top step.


Ten minutes later the door is opened.


“Grace? Wow that was fast!” Steve says as he stands up.


“Who in the hell are you?” The male voice asks.


Steve turns around to find a big guy standing in the doorway.


“I’m Steve Perry and you must be Grace’s step-father.”


“Yeah I am. What are you doing here?” He asks as he lights a cigarette.


“Oh well I guess I should have called first….” Steve replies.


“I guess so. What do you want?”


“I came by to see if Grace wanted to go out with me tonight.” Steve replies as he puts his hands in his pants pockets.


“She’s in the shower….” He points at Steve. “Have I seen you somewhere before you look awfully familiar to me.”


“Actually you have but it was a long time ago. Grace and I were in high school together back in Lemoore….”


“….And you put that crazy notion in her head about getting married.”


“Well yeah I suppose that I did.” Steve replies as he looks at the ground.


“So after all these years you just appear on my doorstep?” He asks.


“Well no sir….I mean….”


“Come on spit it out.” He says.


“I ran into her at the grocery store and I asked her out.”


“Uh huh.” He says as he crosses his arms over his chest. “Well then I guess you’re the reason that she almost ran me over on her way to the bathroom.”


“Yes sir I suppose that I am.” Steve replies.


“Well then you might as well come in and wait. No telling how long it will take her.” He says as he opens the door wider.


Steve comes into the living room. “This is a nice place.”


“Grace does a good job of keeping house. Have a seat I suppose.”


Steve sits in a chair as her step-father sits down on the sofa. Steve sits there twiddling his thumbs as he stares at Steve with a harsh look on his face smoking then he reaches over and he puts it out in the ashtray.


A million things were running through Steve’s head but all of them sounded stupid, trite or just down right….


“Well?” He says to Steve.


“Well what sir?”


He takes a deep breath. “I said isn’t your hair just a little long?”


Steve glances at his hair. “Ah well no I don’t think so I mean it’s trimmed on a regular basis….” Steve clears his throat. “I like it.”


“Oh.” He then stands up and Steve follows suit. “I hate to be rude but I work the nightshift and I should get some more sleep.”


“Oh no sir I understand.” Steve replies. “What do you do?”


“I’m a supervisor at the docks. What is it that you do?” He asks Steve.


“Me? Oh I work for the City of Oceanview I’m a….”


“Steve!!!” Grace exclaims loudly as she comes into the room and she immediately goes right into Steve’s arms.


“Gracie! That didn’t take long and you’re as beautiful as ever!!” Steve replies as he gives her a kiss.


Her step-father clears his throat. “Grace did you pack my lunch box for work?”


“Yes I did and it’s in its usual spot along with your boots.” Grace replies as she goes over and stands on her tip-toes to give him a kiss on the cheek.


“So….what are your plans for the night?” He asks as he looks hard at Steve.


“Hmmm well I thought a dinner and a movie and then a walk on a moonlit beach. How does that sound to you Gracie?” Steve asks as he pulls her closer to him.


“Oh that sounds wonderful!!! Let’s go!!” Grace says as she pulls Steve towards the front door.


“Grace be home at a decent hour.” He says.


“Don’t worry. See you later.” Grace says as she waves at him.








“Gracie are you okay I mean you’re shaking like a leaf.”


“I guess I’m a little cold.” Grace replies as she hugs herself.


“Why didn’t you say so here….” Steve takes off his jacket and he helps her into it. “Better?”


Gracie nods. “Much better.”


“I guess some things never change.” Steve replies as he takes her by her hand.


“What things?”


“Your step-father. I mean he made me feel like that 17 year old boy again when I was waiting for you to get ready and he looked at me the same way as he did all those years ago. He doesn’t like me.”


Grace shrugs. “It’s just not you. I mean he never liked anybody I ever went out with. Eventually they just stopped coming around.”


“Grace why don’t you get your own place?” Steve asks.


“I’m going to I mean I was going to but he told me why should I spend my money on rent when I can live there and here lately he hasn’t been well. And in some ways it makes sense, I’m saving money.”


“I guess I better get you home it’s probably late.” Steve says.




“Yeah Gracie.”


“I don’t want to go home.” Grace replies as she puts her arms around him.


“No? Where do you want to go then?” Steve asks.


“I want to go home with you.” Grace says then she leans closer into him and she kisses him.


The kiss last just a few minutes and when their lips separate Steve says, “Are you sure?”


“If you want me to.” Grace replies as she kisses him again.


“Oh Gracie there is nothing I want more but I have to warn you.”


“About what?” Grace asks.


“I’m not that 17 year old kid anymore.” Steve replies.


“Oh….I certainly hope not.”







Steve pulls her closer to him her bare back warm against his chest then he puts her hair behind her ear as he kisses it which causes her to smile.


“Hey sleepy head.” Steve whispers to her.


“I’m not sleepy.” She replies as she rolls over onto her back.


“You’re not?” Steve replies.


“Nope I’m too happy to be sleepy.”


“And why are you so happy?” Steve asks.


“Oh I don’t know maybe because I’m here with you.” Grace says as she kisses Steve on his neck.


“Oh don’t do that.” Steve says as he closes his eyes.




Steve grabs her rolling her on top of him as he lies flat on his back his hands resting on her rear.


“Because I want to ask you something and when you do that I can’t concentrate that’s why.” Steve replies.


“There’s nothing wrong with your….hmmm….concentration.” Grace replies as she kisses him.


Steve laughs. “That’s nice to know but seriously Gracie I do want to ask you a question.”


“You really do sound serious. What do you want to ask me?”


“Gracie will you live here with me?” Steve asks.


“What?” Gracie asks surprised.


“I said I want you to move in here with me, Gracie what’s wrong….?”


Grace sits up and she moves off of him turning her back to him her hand covering her mouth.


“It’s too soon isn’t it? Oh hell Steve you stupid idiot!!” Steve says as he hits himself on the head. “Oh honey don’t cry….I’m sorry.”


She looks back over her shoulder at him. “You big dope haven’t you heard of tears of joy?”


“Tears of….” Steve says as he looks at her.


Grace wipes her tears away. “I would love to move in here with you.”


“You would?! I mean really??” Steve says happily.


“Yes really. I mean our parents can’t stop us now can they?” Grace says.


“No.” Steve puts his hand behind her head underneath her hair drawing her closer to him their foreheads touching. “God Gracie you’re beautiful….Grace….I love you.”


“I love you too Steve.” Grace replies as they kiss. “How soon do you want me to move in?”


“Right now. Don’t even go back to your old place I’ll buy you everything you need and right now you look damn good naked!” Steve replies as he laughs.




“Oh I don’t know how long will it take you to pack your stuff up? I mean you will just need your clothes right?” Steve asks.


Grace nods. “My clothes and my books and oh my plants!! You like plants don’t you?”


“Just so long as they are the legal kind!” Steve replies.


“Yes of course they are! After work tomorrow I can get some boxes from the grocery store.”


“Oh I forgot about the grocery store! What time do you have to be there?” Steve replies as he looks at the clock.


“I work 11 until 7.” Grace replies.


“Oh shit Grace look its 2:30 in the morning you better get some sleep! Tell you what I’ll pick you up at the store tomorrow night and I’ll help you pack okay?”


Grace nods. “Steve do you really love me?”


Steve smiles at the old memory. “Yes I really love you.”


“How much do you love me?” Grace ask as she smiles.


“The love I have for you would fill up all the oceans in the world.”


“And just how long will you love me?” Grace asks.


Steve looks at her. “Until the stars die and they fall from the sky….”


“After all these years you still remember that.” Grace replies.


“I even remember when we first said it.” Steve says.


“Okay when?” Grace asks skeptically.


“The first night we spent together, remember?” Steve asks.


Grace nods. “I don’t know how we got away with it. I’m surprised our parents didn’t find out.”


“Well Marv found out.” Steve says.


“Oh no! How did he found out?” Grace asks.


Steve shrugs. “He told me that I had suddenly grown up and that I was acting like a man and a special woman had a way of doing that to you. Marv was a crafty guy.”


“You still remind me so much of that guy in high school.” Grace replies.


“I do?”


“Yeah you do.” Grace replies.


“I guess I should have brought this up before I asked you to move in with me.”


“What? You’re not changing your mind are you?” Grace asks.


“No never it’s just that I’m a cop….”


“Well Steve I know what!” Grace replies.


“What you don’t know is its hard Grace. It’s emotional and it’s scary and it can affect everybody’s life. I work some crazy hours and depending on what’s going on I may not be home at all and even though you may ask me what’s going on I may not want to tell you. We could be in the middle of something, cooking dinner, going out on a date or even in the middle of making love and I’ll have to go and….”


Grace puts two of her fingers over his lips. “….And I will always be here.”


Steve holds her hand. “I’m not that guy from High School! I mean being a cop can make you crazy and cynical and….”


“And?” Grace asks.


“Lonely. It’s hard to come home to an empty house when I need someone to tell me it’s going to be alright….”


Grace puts her arms around him and she hugs him. “It’s going to be alright.”


“I believe you Grace and I love you.”


Grace yawns. “I love you too.”


Steve laughs. “Oh that was nice.”


“I’m sorry I guess it finally caught up to me.”


Steve fluffs up the pillows. “There you go.” Steve replies as Grace lies down and Steve curls up behind her. “Grace do you have pajamas?”


Grace looks back over her shoulder at him. “Of course I do silly!”


“Forget to pack them okay?” Steve says. “I like this better.”


Grace laughs.








“Morning honey.” Grace replies as she comes into the bathroom her hair wrapped in a towel and just a towel covering her as she carries a cup of coffee to Steve who was standing at the sink shaving.


“Thanks. Wow do I have this to look forward to each morning? You look great.”


“Maybe! You never know! I’m really a morning person!”


Steve laughs as he kisses her taking the coffee mug from her leaving shaving cream on her face which he wipes off with a towel. Steve takes a sip of coffee then he sits the mug down on the sink basin so he can finish shaving.






“Is my necklace in there?” Grace asks from the bedroom.


Steve looks around the bathroom. “What necklace?”


“Oh never mind I found it.”


In the next minute Grace is back in the bathroom but this time she is wearing her bra and panties and the towel is removed from her head. “Can I use your blow dyer?”


“Yeah sure it’s in that drawer over there.”


Grace takes it from the drawer and she goes back into the bedroom with it Steve hears it start up and it runs for a few minutes then it stops.


“Steve have you seen my bag?”


“You’re bag?”


“Yeah its leather and it has a funny looking logo on it.”


At the description of the bag Steve jumps and he cuts himself. “Owww!”


“What happened? Oh you cut yourself!”


“It’s not the first time I’ll be alright.” Steve washes the rest of the shaving cream off.


“I’m bugging you too much aren’t I?” Grace asks.


“No honey you aren’t. Now what about your bag?” Steve asks as he follows her out into the bedroom.


“Nothing I remembered I left it in your car.” Grace replies as she starts to get dressed.


Steve walks over to his closet and he pulls out a pair of jeans dropping the towel to the floor.


“What are you looking at? Haven’t you ever seen a naked man before?” Steve asks.


“Not one as sexy as you.” Grace replies.


Steve hugs her from behind as they look in the dresser mirror. “Oh if only I didn’t have to go to work!”


“I know but we both have to. Can you put this necklace on for me?” Grace asks.


“Sure.” Steve takes the necklace that Grace hands him but instead of putting it on her all he does is look at it.






“Is something wrong?” Grace asks.


“What? No there’s nothing wrong.” Steve puts the necklace on over her head then she lifts her hair as Steve places it around her neck then he secures it. “Where did you get the necklace?”


“My step-father gave it to me, isn’t it pretty?”


“Yeah it’s interesting what’s it called?” Steve asks.


“Herringbone.” Grace sees the look on Steve’s face in the mirror as he suddenly turns pale. She turns around putting her hands on his face. “Are you sick?”


“No I’m fine I just noticed the time that’s all I better get dressed.”








“There you are kiddo I was just about to send a posse out to look for you.” Neal exclaims as Steve walks into the room. “What’s wrong did your rain check go bust?”


“What? No actually it was great. Neal she loves me and she’s going to move in with me.”


“Wow! Well Steve that is great news! Then why do you look like your hamster just died?” Neal asks.


“Because Neal I found something out about Grace….”


“What? Does she snore or does she have funny toes or what?” Neal asks.


“No nothing like that….”


“Guys.” The Captain yells from his office.


“Yes sir?” Neal replies.


“Could you come into the office please?”


They look at one another then they get up and go into the Captain’s office and when they get there they see Robert from the crime lab there.


“Shut the door.” The Captain says.


“Hey Robert what are you doing here?” Steve asks.


“I wanted to come here in person to give you the news.” Robert says.


“News? What news?” Neal asks.


“Yeah what news?”


“I….I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it….”


“Robert….” Neal replies.


“Erik Cox didn’t kill Karen Mallory.”


They look at the Captain. Then they look at one another.


“What!!!” Neal says loudly. “What do you mean Erik Cox didn’t kill Karen Mallory?”


“He didn’t kill the first two either.” Robert says.


“What!!!!!” Neal says loudly again as Steve goes over and he sits in a chair.


“How can that be?” The Captain asks.


“Easy his blood type isn’t a match to the semen stains we collected from the victims. The blood type we extracted from the semen was O….”


“Yeah I mean Dr. Rice told us that….” Neal replies.


“Erik Cox’s blood type is A.” Robert replies.


“Shit!” Neal exclaims as he throws a notepad across the room. “If Erik Cox didn’t kill Karen Mallory or the others for that matter that means the killer is still out there!!!”


“I’m sorry guys.” Robert replies.


“It’s not your fault.” Neal replies.


“Thanks Robert.” The Captain replies.


“There is something else.” Robert replies.


“What?” The Captain asks as they look at him.


“Remember I told you that those work boots were pretty generic and they would be hard to trace?”


“Yeah.” Neal replies.


“Well the sole of one of the boots has a notch out of it, like a v shape, and the boots you found in Erik’s closet wasn’t a match either.”


“We are back to square one.” Neal replies as he looks over at Steve who has been very quiet and lost in thought. “Steve….”


Steve doesn’t answer until Neal reaches over and he pushes Steve’s foot with his own. “Steve!”




“Son did you hear anything that just went on in this office?” The Captain asks.


“Yeah Erik Cox isn’t our guy I heard all of that.”


“So Steve we have to start over….where are you going?” Neal asks.


“I’m working on a hunch.” Steve replies as he heads towards the door and Neal follows him.


“A hunch, what sort of hunch?”


“I’ll let you know if it pans out.” Steve replies over his shoulder as he walks towards the doors that lead out to the hall.




Back in the office the Captain picks up the phone and he calls the D.A. office to tell him of the news and then he calls down to the jail. “Alright detective Erik Cox will be released soon.”


“I want to talk to him before he leaves.” Neal replies as he leaves the office.








Wendy came out to the lobby after the receptionist informed her that she had a visitor but it was the last person she ever expected to see here.


“Well Detective Perry this is certainly a surprise I must say. What in the hell are you doing here?” Wendy asks.


“I want to talk to you.” Steve replies.


“Oh really, well I still won’t reveal my source if that is why you’re here.”


“No that isn’t why I’m here; your source is the least of my worries at this moment. I need your help.”


Wendy laughs. “You need my help, oh that’s funny. What do I get out of it?”


Steve looks at the floor then he looks back up at her. “Forget your source I’ve give you an exclusive….”


“An exclusive to what exactly, your case has been busted!” Wendy exclaims.


“If you help me with what I need to do you’re find out and you are the only person that can help at this moment.”


“You really need my help?” Wendy asks.


Steve nods. “Look I’m sorry for what happened between us before but now if we can put that aside and work together it will not only benefit you but also the people that live here in Oceanview. Wendy I really need your help….please.”


Wendy thinks on this for a minute then she takes a deep breath. “Alright Detective let’s go back to my desk and you tell me what you need me to do.”


“Thanks Wendy I appreciate it.” Steve replies.








“Erik can I talk to you a minute?” Neal asks after Erik picks up his property.


“How the mighty has fallen.” Jake replies as he walks towards them smiling.


Neal takes a deep breath. “Erik I’m sorry about what happened to you but I need to ask you a question.”


“Really Detective what sort of question?” Jake asks.


“Are you still acting as his lawyer or what?” Neal asks.


“Of course Mr. Cox is still my client we are considering a lawsuit for false arrest and false imprisonment….” Jake replies as Neal looks on shocked.


“Wait I never agreed to anything and this is the first time I have ever heard this! I want to talk to the detective….alone!” Erik replies much to the shock of Jake. “Wait outside okay?”


Jake stands there a minute then clutching his briefcase tightly he turns and walks toward the doors.


“Byyeeeee!!!” Neal replies as he waves at him.


“What did you want to ask me?” Erik asks.


“There was something that bothered me in the last conversation we had when you said that you had been framed? Did you just say that or do you think that you had really been….framed?”


“Oh no I know that I was framed and furthermore I know who was doing it!!!” Erik replies.


“Why didn’t you bring this up before?” Neal asks.


“Would you have believed me? How many people do you arrest that say that they’ve been framed?”


“I’ve lost count.” Neal replies.




“Erik can you come upstairs and fill me in afterwards I’ll take you wherever you want to go.”


Erik thanks about this for a moment then he nods his head. “Okay let’s go.”








“Has anybody seen him yet?” Neal asks the officers as the ambulance drives off.


“No not yet but dispatch reports that he is on his way.” One of the uniformed officers replied.


“Hey I think that’s him.” Neal looks in the direction that the officer points and in a few minutes Steve is running towards them.


“Steve where in the hell have you been? What have you been doing all day?” Neal asks.


“I was doing research and Neal I found some interesting things out….” Steve then looks around at the crime scene. “It was the Harbor District rapist again wasn’t it?”


“It looks like it....Steve.” Neal tries to say.


“That was an ambulance not the coroner’s wagon so they must still be alive! Neal’s she a witness….” Steve says loudly.


“Steve listen to me for just a minute!”


“Come on Neal we have to go to the hospital! Neal? What’s wrong?”


Neal looks at the ground with his hands on his hips then he looks back at Steve.


“Steve it was Grace….”








































©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. I have no permission from Steve Perry or/and the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finish with them.




























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