10:09 AM, Monterey
“Hello. You have reached the San Francisco Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If this is a life-threatening emergency, hang up now and dial nine-one-one to obtain immediate assistance from your local police. To speak to an agent concerning an ongoing case or other business, call back during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. To leave a message, speak clearly after the tone. Thank you.” Beep.
“Leona? Mirriam? Gail? This is Leon. Somebody pick up.” He waited a few seconds, then, “God damn it! All right, look, this is Leon Kitfox. Whoever gets this message, have ASAC Dixon call me at the Holiday Inn in Monterey any time of the day or night. It’s urgent.”
He hung up the phone, disgusted. Probably Gail’s watch. Nobody else would put the machine on and disappear. It would be her tough luck if this blew up on her. Picking up the phone again, he dialed the desk.
“Thank you for calling Holiday Inn.”
“This is Mr. Kitfox in four-A. Would you get me information for Reno, Nevada, please?”
“Certainly, sir. One moment, please.”
The moment passed.
“Information, how may I assist you?”
“Could you connect me with the Reno Police Department, please?”
“Which station, sir?”
“The main one.”
“Reno P.D., Sergeant Ellsmore.”
“Sergeant, this is Special Agent Leon Kitfox of the San Francisco FBI. I understand you’ve arrested a suspect in the Davis murder.”
“I’m not really at liberty to discuss that, sir. You should call tomorrow and talk to Detective Sturgeon.”
“Come on, Sergeant, surely you can say something.”
“I”m sorry, but you understand the serious consequences of interfering in an ongoing investigation.”
“Sergeant . . . All right, I understand. Detective Sturgeon, you say?”
“That’s right. He’s at extension six-four-four.”
“Thank you, Sergeant. Good day.”
Damn it! Here his own people were screwing off, and some small town police department was right on the ball. Damn it! One more call to make.
“Inez, it’s Leon. Do you have any contacts on the Reno P.D.?”
“No, Leon. Never been there, don’t know anybody.”
“But you have a badge number, and a similar murder. You have every legitimate reason to call over there and compare notes.”
“Why don’t you call them?”
“I did. They told me to call back tomorrow.”
“I see. What do you want to know?”
“Anything they can tell us, the more the better. I’m more certain than ever that these killings are related. There’s something that ties them together, and we have to find it.”
“I’m being recalled, you know. They’re eventually going to make it stick.”
“All right. Are you at the motel?”
“Okay. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll call you.”
11:11 AM, Monterey
Kitfox had the crime scene photos from Reno laid out on the desk when the phone rang. He was straining to pull some heretofore unnoticed detail out of the pictures, but if anything was there, it was eluding him. The phone was a welcome break.
“Oh, great. What did you get?”
“Nothing. No, followed by thing. Look, all I could get was a desk sergeant who didn’t know anything, and wouldn’t disturb anybody who did.”
“Yeah, I think that was it. Anyway, by the time we can circumvent this guy, it’ll be tomorrow anyway, and we can go through normal channels.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“Trust me, I’m right. Care to join me for lunch? I know this beach where the pine trees march right down to the water.”