Mystery and Crime Fiction posted October 10, 2021 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 22... 


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Closing In; My Grand Jury Testimony

A chapter in the book Running Blind

Running Blind~Chapter Twenty-One

by Sally Law


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

Previously, in Chapter Twenty,

Detective Lembowsky ended the call and looked at Jean-Baptiste. "The assassin's name is Eugene Izard. He's employed at Southern Parish Prison!"

"I told you he was home grown...."

"There's much more, Miles, more than we could ever imagine. His DNA was matched to a 1990 rape kit taken from a New Orleans street performer--Millie Jean. Doctor M saw the similarities to Camille's case and ran it again. It's your sister...."

The look on the face of Jean-Baptiste said it all. "Our deceased mother's name was Millie Jean-Baptiste, and was very talented musically. I understand the name choice. Tell me, how will I confront my sister? She may not remember any of it!"

"Let's catch this monster first, Miles. Sally and Suzy can handle the delicate female stuff."

Samson stirred his master with his snout, and took off in a trot, this time headed due east. "Oooooooooooooooowhoo!"

{Chapter Twenty-One}

The search for Eugene Izard intensified in an area known for its sugar cane production since the early 1900s.

Samson didn't let up, nor did his master, Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste, and partner, Detective Mike Lembowsky. A fresh, nitrous smell in the air signaled a change in the soil. The three came to a post-and-rail fence at a plantation's boundary and halted.

"This is it," assured Detective Lembowsky. "The coordinates Doctor M sent are spot on."

A tall man approached, dressed in bib overalls and a white cowboy hat, ordering his hirelings to busy themselves.

Sensing he was a man of rank, and undoubtedly French Cajun, Jean-Baptiste addressed him in his native tongue.

"Bonjour, me suis avec la police du Canton de Lafayette. Parlez-vous anglais?"

"I speak a little English, Inspecteur."

Jean-Baptiste switched to visuals, holding up his satellite phone. "Have you seen this man? His name is Eugene Izard."

"Yes, Inspecteur...." The supervisor pointed to the log cabin at the end of the platted rows of sugar cane and winter wheat. "He is there."

The sound of a helicopter closed in, the whup-whup-whup bending the tall stalks into submission.

"How many in the house?" asked Jean-Baptiste, raising his voice above the roar.

"Only the one," the man replied.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Inspecteur. The family has gone to Samaritan's Crossing for Saturday evening mass--his father and sister.

The FBI took over the mission, the SWAT Team circling the cabin.

"We have everyone in place, and the area secured, Detective Lembowsky," radioed the head of the tactical team. "Sheriff Holt has barricaded the main road to the family's homestead. Are you and Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste in place?"

"Almost... . Give us five minutes," replied Detective Lembowsky.

"Roger that, Detective."

Remaining low, the two detectives split up. Mike Lembowsky headed to the cabin; Miles and Samson went back to the bayou opening, just in case they had been misinformed.

**********

I was the first to be seated before the Louisiana Grand Jury; Jackson and King were escorted in a few minutes afterwards and seated to my left. State Prosecutor Roy Fitzgerald Owens was to my right, busy setting up a crime board.

I could feel the afternoon sun on my face as coffee was brewing somewhere nearby. The informal setting and creature comforts put me at ease as the jury's foreman began.

"You're looking well, Detective. We are so glad to have you here today. Would you state your full name and job title for the record."

"Sally Jeanne-Marie Law, Lead Detective, Lafayette Township PD, Cold Case Division."

"And your salary, per annum?"

"I do not take a salary, Mr. Foreman. I have everything I need. As you may know, I'm the sole heiress to the Andre Dupree art and diamond fortune. I think that's what got me into this mess with Anthony Alfanzi to begin with, if I may speak freely."

"You may, Detective."

"While on vacation to the gulf shore, I had decided to take on a difficult cold case for my friend, Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste. I'd learned that he had spent his entire savings looking for his missing sister, Camille. I had this notion to sell one of my uncle's oil paintings, Calla Lillies, with the hope to buy Miles a house. On our way back to Louisiana Township, my family and I stopped in New Orleans to visit art curator, Duran Gibbons. He offered me $500,000 for the painting to be paid upon delivery. This exceeded my expectations, and I thought at the time this would be a win-win for everyone. I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams the events this painting would set in motion."

Prosecutor Owens interjected, "Sally, do you remember the date of your visit to the gallery?"

"Yes. It was my birthday, May 23rd, and the same night Duran Gibbons disappeared from his gallery office. Jackson can attest to this."

"So what makes you think this was nothing more than a series of coincidences, Detective Law?"

"Respectfully, sir, there are too many coincidences to ignore. Call it synchronicity, a series of unusual occurrences, or Providence--if you will. I know Mr. Alfanzi paid a visit to my precinct, asking for me by name. He'd obviously had his sights on me for some time."

"Thank you, Detective. This has been most helpful. Let's switch to the day you encountered Anthony Alfanzi in River Ridge. We've arranged paper cut outs of six men. Prosecutor Owens, if you will apply the cut outs to the wall over there," the foreman directed.

"King and Jackson will identify him," I offered without hesitation. "Let me know when you are ready, and I will release King on command."

"Jackson, if you will step aside behind the partition and let King go first," requested the foreman.

"Certainly," replied Jackson.

I gave my gentle shepherd a good petting, asking for his best behavior.

"Okay, detective. We are ready for your fine specimen of a dog."

"King, identify the man." I said, pulling off my neck scarf. "Who did this?"

King touched me with his paw, then let out a whine. It took him one minute to identify the photo of Anthony J. Alfanzi. My husband re-entered the session and did the same. "That's Anthony Alfanzi," he said, pointing.

**********

Tony Alfanzi made his way over the newly laid white gravel, relishing the cooling sensation of the menthol cigarette he'd pawned off the warden. The sounds of ordinary life could be heard in the distance: a faint whistle of the five o'clock train, and the town clock chiming five bells in confirmation--things the criminal never thought he would miss in his lifetime.

The old security guard was as quiet as ever, and shuffled along in front of Tony until he came to the double doors of the main lockup. Two men checking off their community service were working together to clean up an overturned meal cart, with buckets, mops, and yellow cones tossed about. "What's this?" questioned the guard.

"What does it look like? Go around to the side door," said the bossiest of the two.

The guard nodded to the men as they turned the corner, giving himself away. Alfanzi was prepared though, clever cat that he was. He'd seen this betrayal coming from the substandard security guard, no doubt hired by the murderous Eugene.

The warden appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

"Hello, Warden. I think they're planning to do me in. Bet you a pack of smokes the old man has a knife, fresh from the kitchen in his pocket!"

Sure enough, a knife was in the security guard's pants leg, but not of the kitchen variety. "An X-ACTO knife!" the warden exclaimed. "Planning on doing some Christmas crafts?"

The guard and the two orderlies remained silent until the prison police arrived and hauled them away.

The grateful warden threw a pack of menthols into the air; Alfanzi catching it with cuffed hands. "Two a day in the outside smoking area. The attending guard will light you up. Don't abuse my kindness, Tony. Understood?"

Christmas had come early for the prison snitch, or had it?

To be continued....

{Main Characters}

Detective Sally Law, that's me, also known as The Blind Girl, Lead Detective for Lafayette Township Police Department: Cold Case Division. I'm also heiress to the Andre Dupree Art Collection and fortune.

Detective Jackson Law: my husband, and a consultant to the force.

King: my guide dog, Super dog, and ace crime-solver.

Detective Lieutenant Mike Lembowsky, Homicide, Lafayette Township Police Department. He also lives next door to us on Main Street in Lafayette Township. Buddy is his German Shepherd pup.

Detective Lieutenant Janelle Harris and her German Shepherd, Vanta.

Suzy Fleming: My personal assistant.

Detective Lieutenant Miles Jean-Baptiste, Lafayette Township Police Department: Cold Case Division; his bloodhound, Samson. He's also the brother to missing person, Camille Jean-Baptiste.

Sergeant Dina Ray: Lafayette Township Police Department.

Sheriff Greyson Holt: Sheriff of Frontier Country.

Agent Fred Samuels: Louisiana FBI, deceased.

Agent Ken Washburn: Louisiana FBI.

Dr. Marie MacLavish: Doctor M is the Tri-County Medical Examiner, and a Forensic Anthropologist; married to Alan.

Roy Fitzgerald Owens: Louisiana State Prosecutor.

Mr. Duran Gibbons: Former curator and owner of The Duran Gibbons Gallery of Fine Art. Mr. Gibbons' body is in cold storage awaiting forensic examination.

Lonnie Hastings: Lafayette Township senior citizen found dead, submerged in his car, along with Duran Gibbons.

Floyd and Boyd Clarkston: Local criminals for hire, now seeking a better life.

Criminal mastermind, Tony Alfanzi, AKA Anthony Fabio, and street name: Tony the Tiger. Likes to work alone unless it suits him to do otherwise. He has recently set his sights on The Blind Girl and her fortune.

Captain Will Moran: New Orleans Police Department.

Analiese Irving: Curator of The Fountain Gallery in New Orleans.

Spencer Whitehead: Buyer of 'Calla Lillies' for three million dollars.

Dwayne Cooper: "Big D" the Texas Truck driver.

Eugene Izard: Arranges contract killings. DNA has him linked to the assault of Camille Jean-Baptiste, AKA, Olivia Henry.

{Louisiana of 1990 and now}

Olivia Smith Henry: Amnesiac and missing person, Camille Jean-Baptiste.

Pastor Lyle Henry: Formerly the Pastor of River Ridge Mission Church and the community hostel. He is currently the Sheriff of River Ridge. He lives with his wife Olivia; and their daughter, Danielle.

Albert Lee Reynolds: Owner and proprietor of Al's Barbecue and Such; his wife, Shirley.

Cameo appearance by Russ DeWoody from my book, 'Double Blind.'



Recognized


The X-ACTCO knife is typically used for crafting except when it's not. It is extremely sharp and sleek.

Translation: Hello, I am with the police of the Canton of Lafayette. Do you speak English?
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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