"Brad, come in and have a seat," Chief McNeil began, rising from his overflowing desk and pointing to an orange plastic chair.
Brad sat stiffly and quickly wiped his damp palms across his lap. "You wanted to see me, Chief?"
"Relax, Brad. I'm simply looking for information. This is a small department, so everyone needs to work together. For the good of the whole unit. Don't you think?"
"Sure Chief. What can I do for you?"
"Are you familiar at all with these Memphis-Mangler killings?"
"It's been in all the papers. They're even saying that Wayne Michaels, my best friend, was the first victim of the Mangler."
"Precisely, which is why I wanted to talk to you. It seems that all five of the victims following your friend were real lowlives: pimps and wife-beaters. Then we have your friend, Wayne Michaels: honest, hard working family man -- the only victim who doesn't fit the pattern. Frankly, this case has the homicide boys chasing their tails."
Brad swiped damp palms across his knees while the Chief went on.
"I checked the reports and found that you called in the dispatch, Brad. This means you found the first in a series of Memphis-Mangler victims. You know, as well as I, that the first scene's the best place to start if you're stumped. My men have taken the Michaels place apart -- gone over it with a fine toothed comb and -- nothing. I want to discuss the details of that scene with you today, Brad. There has to be something that we're overlooking. Some tiny detail . . ."
The chief stopped talking and looked expectantly at Brad from beneath two bushy, gray eyebrows.
(Well you see, Chiefy, there's this little box in the trunk of my car . . .)
Brad rubbed his damp palms together and took a deep breath. "Well when I got off duty that night, I was supposed to meet Wayne at The Overton for a couple of cold ones. Wayne had been feeling depressed since his wife died -- tragic accident. I've known Wayne and Elizabeth since high school. Wayne was one of the finest rangers in Shelby County. Well, when he didn't show up, I . . ."