Canto 5 – The Game’s Afoot
Stanley Menschen was a simple man, believing firmly in the right and wrong of many things. He believed in police procedures. He still believed in them now that he was no longer a member of the Dallas Police Department and was doing freelance investigative work instead. That’s why he didn’t participate in the initial investigation of Yesenia Montemayor’s disappearance. You needed to let the police do their jobs.
“Stan, you know she most likely ran away and threw down the underwear with the blood on it to get talked about as she hid out with friends somewhere.”
Stan leaned over the desk and looked Officer Jason Penny in the eyes. “J.C, tell me you don’t think the boy isn’t worth investigating because he’s doing the same thing?”
“He was her boyfriend. The connection is obvious.”
“So, the bloody underwear thing was a pre-planned throw-down? They plotted it out together?”
“That’s what I want to know. Any other clues that don’t indicate a simple runaway?”
“The detectives didn’t turn anything up.”
“Did you seriously investigate the store owner?”
“You mean the creepy guy? Old Eule Geist? You know he’s your stepdaughter’s alibi, don’t you?”
“Yes, but that shop has been investigated for years. What other current investigations involve that damned toy store?”
“Just a couple. The mysterious case of a woman dropping into a coma inside the store. Name of Brittany Nguyen. Currently in Parkland Hospital’s Long-Term Care Unit.”
“A prior medical condition?”
“Not that we can prove. But how would Geist have…”
“You know the toy store is owned by some guy named Mephisto? Has been for over a hundred years.”
“Same name on all the paperwork. Probably a Junior and a Third, though the documents don’t say that.”
“No way any of them poisoned the lady. Especially not the dead ones.”
Stan scribbled the name of the coma lady down in his notebook. “And the other cases?”
“Couple of runaway grade school kids. Eight years old. Shandra Johnson, age eight, and Mark Merriweather, also age eight. The boy’s bicycle was found near the toy store. But the girl’s old man is a prime suspect. He’s been on our radar for wife beating and child abuse for quite some time.”
Stan noted that down too.
“Your girl’s case.”
“Yeah. At least it is something to start with.”
“There’s nothing there, Stan. Really. It’s all coincidence and rumors about a place we all said was haunted when we were kids. Nothing there, I tell you.”
Stan nodded. Nothing on the surface. But a lot of dark and deep water to dive into. You never prejudge anything… at least, not if you’re wise.