P.S.I.--An "Emergency!" Story

Chapter 13--Retail Murder

Home | Cast of Characters | Soundtrack | Chapter 1--"I Wanna Be With Her" | Chapter 2--As Mike Lay Dying | Chapter 3--The Three Clues | Chapter 4--A Bullet With Her Name On It | Chapter 5--"Beauty Doesn't Belong in the Ground!" | Chapter 6--Cassie Lou Remembers | Chapter 7--The Video, The Ad, and The Interview | Chapter 8 --The Perfect Wife for a Firefighter | Chapter 9--"Win It For Dixie!" | Chapter 10--Angel in Topboots | Chapter 11--"Don't Have a Stroke, Mike!" | Chapter 12--Waterloo | Chapter 13--Retail Murder | Chapter 14--The Mares | Chapter 15--Notes | Chapter 16--A Homecoming--Sort Of | Chapter 17--PSI Means What Again? | Epilogue | Author's Notes | Gemma's E! Vision in the Monastery | Guestbook

"SLIPPERY ELM TALKED ME INTO IT!" George shreiked on his way to the patrol car.  "I DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT!  HE TALKED ME INTO IT!"

Mundelein rode with George.  "You say you didn't want to do it?  What exactly is 'it'?

"Hire him to kill Sabrina.  You'd better put him in solitary; he'll incite a riot.  And he's HUGE!"

"How did you meet him?"

"He was doing electrical work in our apartment.  I was really depressed, and was writing out some lyrics, which somehow makes me feel better.  He noticed what I was doing, and in a very silky, hypnotic tone of voice, said, "She hurt you, didn't she?"  I wasn't in a very good state of mind at the time, and said, "Yes, she did."  "Well, then," he said, "She needs to be punished, doesn't she?  I can do that for you." 

The day was warm, but Mundelein caught a chill.  If he thought Welles was unbalanced, what kind of person would be a professional hitman?  There was never anything 'typical' about them, and Slippery Elm was his first encounter with the kind.  But now his curiousity was piqued: how did Ramsey get his other hits?  Through his electrical jobs?
"I'm going to plead 'No Contest,'" said George.  "It's the least I can do to make it up to Brin.  I'm totally broke.  Elm robbed me of everything to . . ."
He dissolved into tears.  "I deserve to die for this,"  he said.  "I can't believe how bad I miss her."
You and someone else, Mundelein thought.  He made a mental note to inform the jailers to put Welles on suicide watch.

Mike was at home when all this was happening.  Dr. Brackett had cleared him, chalking up his reaction to post-traumatic stress.
The phone rang.  Marco.
"There's something on TV you need to see," Marco said.  "They've caught one of the bad guys."
Mike obliged.
"The Chief Steward said he had a hunch one of the jockeys had done it," said the sports commentator.
"Certainly one of the most interesting--if not the most unique--hot pursuits ever seen," said co-anchor Marty Mays.
Mike couldn't quite comprehend what was going on, despite the helicopter footage being shown of Welles on a horse, jumping a fence, and four black-robed characters on horseback taking off after him.  For once in the past 12 hours, he could breathe more freely.  He was also exhausted.

"So it was Welles," Mike said blankly.  "Why am I not surprised?"

"The Posse caught him.  They're not showing the whole thing.  I saw it live."

"The Posse caught him?  None of this is making any sense, other than he's been caught."

"Aren't you relieved?"

"Yeah, I'm just too exhausted to enjoy it."  And too tired to notice Brin's ring burning him.

"Go get some sleep."

He did--the deepest sleep he'd had in a month.  He didn't even hear the phone when Marco called back.

The next day, as Peaches and Mundelein were preparing to track down Slippery Elm, someone outside their office screamed, "GUUUUN!"
The detectives dove under their desks and withdrew their pistols.  There was a commotion in the outer office, but no gunfire.
"How the hell did he get in here with that thing?" someone yelled.  "MUN-DE-LEIN!"
"Yeah, that's right.  It's always my fault," he said.
The two crawled out from under their desks and left their office.  In the walkway they encountered a middle-aged man nearly seven feet tall in dark blue coveralls with a "Ramsey Electrical" patch on the left breast.   His hands were behind his back, his arms held by two uniformed deputies.  Another deputy carried the man's weapon.  Ramsey had the coldest grey eyes the detectives had ever encountered.
"My wife blew my cover," the man said in a silky, hypnotic voice.  "I figured the gig was up."
After protocol was followed,  they asked him pointed questions about the Stanley-Stoker case.
"Best shot I ever made," he said.  "I know you saw how tight it was." 

"Ever hear of something called a conscience?" asked the incredulous Mundelein.
A smile broke across Ramsey's face very slowly, not unlike the Grinch.  His cold eyes took on a diabolical twinkle.  "I don't have one," he said.
Mundelein found himself wishing he had a small vial of holy water on his person.  No, make that a gallon jug.  He was also grateful that Ramsey had shackles on his neck, wrists, waist, and ankles.  Peaches opened the door to the room and asked a sentry deputy to fetch their jackets.
"How did you get your other hits?"
"Through my job.  There are many people out there who have been hurt, and many who need to be punished."
"How much did you charge?"
"Twenty thousand.  Welles still owes me two grand."
"I don't think you're going to get it."
"I don't think I will, either."
Peaches returned with the jackets.
"What did you do with the money?" Mundelein asked as he put on his jacket.
"Funded my research on chemical and biological warfare."
His statement matched the evidence found in his "lab."  One wall of the room had been dedicated to photos of his twenty victims: an oil tycoon; a newspaper editor; and several professional athletes, just to name a few.  Brin's photo was found on the floor beneath the twentieth nail.
"Did you ever set fires by messing up electrical work?"

"Of course not.  I wasn't about to blow my cover."

"I'm still not getting the connection between your electrical jobs and your hits."
Ramsey smiled his smile again.  "Fate.  I get called to a job; I notice someone is hurting; they have the money to pay for a punishment.   It's really quite simple."

Like Welles, Ramsey pled 'No Contest.'

A few hours later, the detectives were at Mike's, relating the perpetrators' testimonies.  Mike sat on the floor in front of his couch, in an upright fetal position, with right arm over his head, shaking with silent sobs.  Cap had his left arm around Mike's shoulders, his forehead on the side of Mike's head.  Cap covered his own face with his handkerchief.  Their crewmates from 51 were in varied states of shock.  Dr. Brackett was present at the detectives' request.

Back to work, then off to Kentucky. . .