BJ VINSON GETS SOME MORE HELP FROM HIS JUNIOR PI
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken a look at THE BISTI BUSINESS and THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT. Since those posts elicited some comments, we’ll go with another scene from BISTI today. The teenage, gay kid who’s been giving our hero some assistance sleuthing around Farmington, has led BJ to Black Hole Canyon on the Navajo Rez in pursuit of a car. As we saw in an earlier post, they locate the car, and our PI’s nose tells him there is a body in the trunk. He notifies the authorities, and then they wait.
The following scene takes place at the end of Chapter 18 after the trunk has been opened and body inside, identified. BJ is talking to Jazz Penrod, the youth who’s been so helpful.
Gaines passed two Navajo cops walking up out of the canyon as he headed back down to the crime scene. Jazz moseyed over to the two policemen to exchange a few words before they got into the cruiser and pulled away.
“They don’t know anything,” Jazz said as he rejoined me. “They kinda get their noses out of joint when the FBI treats them like intruders. They say Gaines isn’t as bad as some of the agents, but they still feel froze out. But they did say the guy in the trunk had been shot.”
The EMTs beat the OMI to the site by about thirty seconds—which must have set some sort of time record. Hard on their heels, a wrecker arrived from Farmington. Another half-hour passed before they winched the Ford back up onto the rim of the canyon. Jazz and I watched as the medics lifted the body out of the trunk, laid it on a gurney, and began taking more pictures. We were a little distance removed, but I clearly heard the doctor give a preliminary opinion, which confirmed what the Navajo cops had told Jazz. The victim had been shot in the head, probably by a handgun.
Eventually, Gaines beckoned us over and lifted a wallet in his gloved hand. “Looks like you were right, Vinson. The California driver’s and PI licenses says it’s Santillanes. You’ll come in and give a statement, right? Both of you.”
I agreed and headed for my rental car before he decided to take us in for questioning that very minute. Jazz was quiet most of the way back to town, but at length, he spoke.
“Heavy, huh? I never saw a rotten dead guy before. I mean, I been to funerals, but those guys sure didn’t look like that dude.”
“No, but it didn’t bother Santillanes any more than it bothered those corpses being cleaned up for the mourners.”
“Man, you sure have weird thoughts.”
I laughed. “You’re not the first one to tell me that. Thanks for your tip, Jazz. If you hadn’t called me, the body might not have been discovered for weeks.”
“Yeah, sure. What’re you gonna do now?”
“Keep looking for Lando.”
“How come you don’t think he’s the killer? You don’t think gay guys can be killers?”
“Sure they can, but everything I’ve learned about Orlando Alfano says he’s not a murderer.”
“And you’re not ever wrong?”
“You got me there. I’m wrong a lot.”
Life is hell when you suspect everyone in the case may be the bad guy or in league with the bad guy. Hope you enjoyed the short snippet of the book.
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