Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Queen of Guilty Pleasures - Part Two


Agent Tersarius alighted into the office like a crane on a branch. He perfunctorily flashed his badge. “I’m glad to meet you, Detective Sloan, and I appreciate your contacting us.”

The LAPD detective sat back. “I hope this isn’t a false alarm.”

“We evaluated your message. That’s why I’m here.”

“You think there may be something to this?"

“Ever since the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act of 2003 was passed, we’ve had a protocol enforcement.”

The detective sat up straight. “I guess you have a serious forensics background. It must be interesting.”

“Actually, I’ve been mostly stuck in a lab, and it gets boring as crap.”

He smiled. “I enjoy getting out of the lab. There are only a handful of FBI agents who can do forensic microbiology."

The detective’s eyes began to glaze. He shrugged and pushed a sheaf of papers towards Agent Tersarius. “Here’s the full report from the attending physician who treated the subject.”

Tersarius flipped though the papers as the detective spoke. “As an assault, it’s fairly atypical,” Sloan continued. “There was no prior contact, no communication during the assault, no attempt to take any valuables, and there was no attempt on the woman’s life. For now, it’s still only an assault. The bells went off because of the comments the attending physician added.”

“Yes, I see. Wound indicates attacker used specialized tool normally used for taking tissue sample from cadavers.”

Tersarius looked up. “That’s the operative term, tissue sample.”

“When I came to where you first mentioned the victim’s name, I thought it sounded familiar,” he continued. “Googled up a storm.”

“She’s lived in LA for many years. She was pretty famous in her day — they say she had 20,000 pin-up photos made in the ‘50s.”

Tersarius looked up. “Maybe some rich old man wants to re-live a teenage fantasy?”

“Is that possible?”

“I doubt it, but someone may be running an elaborate scam. Anyhow, it’s the thought that counts," he said with a thin smile. “I’ll take the case from here.”

“No problem, I wouldn’t know where to start, if this is what you think it is,” said the detective. “Now I have the good news and the bad news.”

“Give me the good news first.”

“A few minutes before the attack, while he was stalking the victim in the store, the perp stopped to make a cell phone call, and as he held the phone, a surveillance camera could see the key pad. We got the area code and exchange.”

Detective Sloan handed him a slip of paper. “Outside Dallas,” he said. “A town called Juniper Valley.”

“Texas A&M has been in the forefront of cloning technology for years,” said Tersarius. “What’s the bad news?”

“The plate is untraceable.”

“I guess that's not surprising.”

They both knew that with the corruption in Texas law enforcement caused by the Mexican drug cartels, more and more organized crime protection rackets were being run out of the state. "Somebody in law enforcement probably procured the plate," thought Tersarius.

Detective Sloan showed him to the door. “You think someone is finally trying to clone a person?”

“You know the saying. I’m not paid to think. But if someone is trying to violate the law, it’s my deal.”

He squared the papers. “By the way, how is the victim?”

“She’s fine, but still shook up. I’m sure she would have been happier if someone asked for her autograph.”

“Ouch.” The agent dropped the papers in his briefcase. “I’ll let you know what I find.”

(to be continued)

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