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Thread: Murder on the Moon Chapter 14

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Very Small town in Illinois

    Murder on the Moon Chapter 14

    In the painting, Chet Garner is giving a press conference. One that he hopes will cause the Knight to make a fatal mistake.

    After a ham and eggs breakfast, Chet and Brianna walked back over to the crime scene of Lela's murder. They divided the area in half, and went over their halves with a fine tooth comb, hoping to find something that had been missed earlier. When their individuals areas had been completely searched, they switched areas, and did it again, hoping that one might might something that the other had missed. Two hours later, they gave up in disgust.
    Flagging down a coffee and soft drink vendor in the process of moving from one location to another in the park, Chet bought a couple of cups of coffee. Handing one to Brianna, he pointed to an unoccupied park bench located near a small scale replica of the Apollo spacecraft that had first brought man to the moon.
    For several minutes they sat in silence, drinking their coffee, as they each searched their own minds in regards to this investigation. As he battled to get his frustration under control, Chet saw a young couple perhaps two hundred yards away. His arm was around her shoulder, and her head was pressed against his chest as they strolled thru the park. They stopped before a small fountain, and embraced, then kissed several times. They presented the classic image of two young people in love.
    They were too far away for Chet to hear what was said, but he could clearly see that the young man was speaking, and the girl seemed to be listening intently to every word. Then suddenly she slapped him in the face, followed by what appeared to be an angry outburst of words. She struck him in the chest three times, before he grabbed her and pulled her tight to him in an apparent effort to calm her down. It was a failed effort, for the girl bit his hand, broke free, and with very determined strides, walked angrily away. Perhaps blinded by her tears, she stumbled twice and fell. She seemed to have twisted her ankle, but despite the obvious pain, she managed to limp away until a large group of runners crossed behind her, removing her from Chet's line of sight. The young man she had slapped, finally turned and walked away in the opposite direction as he made a call on his communicator.

    With the real life drama in the park finished, Chet and Brianna dropped their now empty cups in the trash can, then started walking in the direction of the office. At the edge of the park, Brianna pointed off to their left. The young man from the park was embracing an attractive young girl, but it was not the one that had left in such anger. "Guess we know now what he said that ticked her off so much," Brianna said.
    Chet nodded and answered. "Yeah, obviously he was dumping her for the new and improved version. Hope she makes it home without doing any more damage to that ankle."
    They turned and walked in the direction of the office. Less than a half a block had been covered, when Chet stopped suddenly. He grabbed Brianna by the arm and led her over to a group of trees at the end of the park. Looking intently into her eyes, he exclaimed, "That's it! Sometimes when people get angry and frustrated, they make mistakes and do things that end up hurting them. The Knight has been having things all his way thus far. He has been the one pulling the strings, forcing us to react to what he has done. Well, let's turn the table and see how he reacts."
    Brianna considered his words for a minute as she tried to anticipate where he was going with this idea. "So, exactly what did you have in mind?"
    "The Knight has taken a lot of pleasure in publicly gloating over our mistakes, and our inability to catch him. Well, he has made a mistake now. Let's call a press conference. At that conference, we will gloat and laugh over the fact that he is making stupid mistakes, and is destined to make more. Let's push his buttons and see what happens."
    Turning away, Brianna walked about fifty feet into the park, then stopped. She stared into the park for a couple of minutes, then returned to where Chet was waiting. "I like it. However, I have one big concern. We have no way of knowing exactly what his reaction will be. What if he blows his cork and murders somebody in reaction to this public humiliation?"
    "Yeah," replied Chet. "I've considered that possibilty. On the other hand, what is he going to do, if we leave things the way they are?"
    "Kill again probably," was her response.
    "Exactly. Either way, he's probably going to murder somebody soon. At least this way, maybe we can force him into making unforced errors. Then, we will publicize those also, and the avalanche of pressure starts coming down on him. Just a matter of time until he makes the big one, and we nail his butt." A bit of a smile came on his face, and he continued. "Besides, if it does go bad, I'm going to say it was all your idea."
    Brianna stared at him for a second, then with a tone of irritation in her voice, replied. "I'm pretty sure that your mother did not know who your daddy was." Then, she bit her lip a couple of times, sighed deeply, and said. "All right. We really don't have much choice do we? I'm on board."
    "Good. Now, how do we want to do this press conference? Jointly, or just one of us handling it? And, if so, which one?"
    "Personally, I think a joint conference would be a mistake," she answered. "Too much opportunity to get off track. One person can more easily keep the attention focused where we want it." She looked up at the roof for a couple of seconds, then continued. "The press is really going to push on this. What we need, is someone that's arrogant and ruthless." Then she leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "Obviously, you are our best option."
    Her statement brought out a laugh and a wink from Chet. "I suppose that is true. All right. If I'm going to be at my best arrogant and ruthless self, I'm going to need to get some sleep. Set the press conference up for three p.m. Have somebody let it slip that I'm going to grab a bite to eat at The Crater Cafe before the press conference. I'm pretty sure that as soon as Rita gets word of this conference, she will be dogging me, trying to get advance information. Unless I miss my guess, she will be waiting to ambush me at the Cafe. While she is anchored in one spot, I'll grab a bite somewhere else just before the conference."
    When his alarm went off that afternoon, Chet crawled out of bed, showered, shaved, and put on a new change of clothes for the press conference. He smiled when he checked his communicator, for it showed a dozen attempts by Rita Kerrigan to reach him. She was used to getting her way, and was undoubtedly steaming mad by this time.
    After grabbing a cheeseburger and a beer at a diner far off the beaten path from the media, he arrived at the station just fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time for the press conference.

    Note: This chapter was too long for one post, so Part B continues below.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Very Small town in Illinois
    This is Part B to the post above.

    When he walked in and stepped up to the microphones, the room was about to burst at the seams from being filled with so many representatives of the press.
    "Good afternoon. I'm impressed to see so many hard working members of the media in attendance today. We thought it would be a good idea to bring everyone, up to date on our investigation, and clear up one or two misconceptions that have apparently been passed along to the public as 'news'."
    The first hint that this was going to be an usual press conference began to grab the attention of the brighter media representatives, and a low buzz of activity began to move among the crowd.
    "Some of you people have been presenting this self proclaimed 'Knight', almost as a sort of Robin Hood character. You have depicted him as a bold adventurer, able to move at will, as he thumbs his nose at the law. I've watched and read reports from a few of you in which he was described as 'brilliant', and a 'criminal genius'."
    Chet let his eyes traverse the assembled media personnel, then deliberately adopted a pose that could not be interpreted as anything other than combative. "By now, you all know about the murder of Lela Baker. What you don't know, is that this killer, whom you have attempted to label a 'genius', actually screwed up. He killed poor Lela by mistake."
    He gave them a few seconds to let that fact settle in, then continued. "That's right. Despite having observed and followed his intended victim on many occasions, he killed Lila Baker, thinking she was someone else. This supposed 'genius' made a mistake that a two bit street punk would not have made. This Knight is about as close to being a genius, as I am to being accepted into the priesthood. That he would screw up was not unexpected to those of us in law enforcement. It's the first step to his eventual demise. His mistakes will come more often now, and each mistake will grow in it's level of stupidity. It's just a matter of time until I nail this overrated punk. I'll catch him, then I'll bitch slap him from one end of the street to the other in full view of the public. All the people that he tried to terrify will watch as he cries and blubbers, begging for his life, like a spineless wimp. Pointing to the assembled media, he said. "All right. I said what I wanted to say. Guess it's your turn. Anybody have any questions? Anything to say? Identify yourself and let's hear it."
    "Yes," came a voice just off to Chet's left. Steven Lancaster, CBSM news. What do you think the 'Knight' will think about what you have said?"
    "Mr. Lancaster, to borrow from a classic movie, "Frankly, I don't give a damn."
    "Carl Bond, editor of the Station three Monitor newspaper. Aren't you concerned that what you have said here today will anger the 'Knight', and send him out on a killing rampage?"
    "Frankly, no," Chet responded. "This insignificant twerp preys on unsuspecting and helpless people. He doesn't have the guts or the intelligence to go on a rampage."
    "Rita Kerrigan, Freedom Seven News Service. Have you considered the possibility that after being angered by your words, that the Knight might come after you personally?"
    After he took a drink from his water glass, Chet broke into a big smile. "Rita, I ducked all your attempts to try and get advance news about this press conference. I figure I'm in a lot more danger from you, than from this insignificant clown." After a round of laughter from the crowd died down, he continued. "In fact, Mr. Knight, if you are watching or listening to this, as you sit all curled up in the fetal position in a dark corner of your room, I challenge you to come after me. Are you really a historical figure, a legitimate killer, or, are you just a figment of your own imagination? Do you have the guts to take on a man? Or is your courage limited to young girls and defenseless women? The world is watching and waiting. How history thinks about you, is going to depend on whether or not you have the guts to respond to my challenge."
    He appeared to start to leave, but then turned back and again stepped before the microphones. "I'll be waiting for you junior. In the meantime, I suggest you go to your room and change your clothes, because I suspect after hearing my challenge, you probably need to change your diaper."
    As he walked toward the door, the room began to fill with applause. When he stepped into the next room, Brianna was waiting. "Well, that was the damnedest press conference I ever heard. So, what do you think he will do now?"
    "To tell you the truth," he answered. "I wish I knew."
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Rome (Italy)
    I really like this exotically set thriller, dear Burn.
    So we're going to see what happens next. The conference may at least lead to discriminate if there's either some sort of cool criminal genius behind the murders or just an idiot looking for entering in some sort of grim historical legend to feed his/ her ego.
    Anyway Chet shows to be boldly courageous although a quite extreme and unusual kind of policeman or detective and such a sort of OK Corral-like defying, arrogant approach is probably rather used by local politicians, but I guess it may work well for what we understood to be this case ...
    The illustration gives us o very good idea of what You imagine Your protagonist to look like and it's a well depicted one. I guess it's just before he starts the speech, since he seems still a little shy compared to the flaming words of contempt and challenge he's pronouncing against the Knight!
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    You make this story so easy to read and exciting too, well done Barnburner
    Sometimes...I remember better with my eyes closed

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Very Small town in Illinois
    Caesar - Many thanks. Very much appreciated.

    Katie - Can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind comments. Thank you.
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