“Are you sure you didn’t see any strange individuals visit Smith?” Cameron asked the hotel attendant.
“I’m sorry, nobody that isn’t on the register.”
There was nobody on the register that wasn’t accounted for, so that could only mean Smith had left for late-night meetings, considering the times he came back. It was further confirmation for Detective Cameron Short, but nothing new.
Pin for Later!
Cameron lit a cigar and took a moment to think outside the hotel. He needed to piece it all together, find the gaps and fill them in. Gut instinct was always something to turn to if you didn’t have the clues at hand because instinct often did a better job of understanding the case at hand than his conscious mind did.
Short rarely got angry, even when he felt something was slipping from his fingers. There was something he was missing and only finding these small details kept him from feeling he had already failed. He knew so much, but it did little other than underline the obvious; the Smith family was involved in some illegal trade, most likely they were the money launderers, as the father owned a business that was doing a little too well, despite the financial climate.
It explained the large amounts of money ending up in the Smiths’ hands.
The Smith’s son, Ronald, was having a relationship with a woman named Judy Glenn, who saw fit to kill him and take the money he had stolen from his father. It seemed the two were going to run away together, at least, that’s what Ronald thought. It was a situation that the mastermind behind it did not see coming, as he had to kill Judy to keep her quiet, but lost the money thanks to Short’s further investigation.
Now, with so many government eyes searching for anything out of the ordinary, it became too hot for the bigshot to carry out their business. So much so that they needed to protect themselves and kill the Smith family. There were probably many other loose ends that were tied off, more tracks covered.
The man that so simply shot the Smith family was cold, smart and wouldn’t leave even a boot print that traced back to him. Even the gun he used was most likely thrown off a fishing boat or at the bottom of the river.
Glenn’s parents were alive and well, having no clue what happened and Short is inclined to believe them. Their reactions were wholly different from the Smiths. Houses and apartments were searched and not even a small note with interesting information was left behind.
The last thing that Short was hoping he would find was phone history.
The Smiths had arranged a meeting with the boss, or at the very least, a high ranking underling. How else could they have met at just the right time?
Sure enough, when Detective Short returned to the station and entered the department he received a long piece of paper where the outlier was highlighted. The phone number, the one belonging to whoever was in charge, was listed in the Philippines. There was no point in pursuing that lead because that meant getting foreign affairs involved. By the time they would trace the number it would lead to an empty building.
“Sorry, Detective,” said the man who handed him the sheet.
“Don’t be, this will do just fine,” Cameron said.
Cameron thanked the man and without further conversation, he left for his office with a stack of newspapers that went back two weeks prior. Immediately, Cameron started writing down the list of dates and checking them with shipping arrivals and plan arrivals.
The calls turned out too close to be aligned with the shipping schedules, so it could only be the planes. Not every arrival was mentioned in the newspaper, so once more Detective Short donned his coat and climbed into his car.
The airport was always a chaotic mess in Short’s eyes. Everyone was panicking, even if they didn’t look like it. Travel was not a pleasure, it was a pain. Couples argued about this or that, children cried from all the noise. Those who flew first class were not saved the discomfort either as many foolishly dressed like they were going to a formal dinner party and had to suffer the indignity of waiting in a line of angry people who couldn’t care less about how they looked, they just wanted the experience over with.
It was easy enough for Cameron to flash a badge and be escorted to the control tower. On the way, the security guard he met asked why the detective didn’t just call and have the airports send the list of departures and arrivals to them.
“I like to go after my information and surprise it,” Cameron replied. “Information is more informative when it isn’t expecting you.”
The security guard didn’t exactly know what Cameron was on about, but he could sense that his aloof comment was directed at the trustworthiness of the staff. Immediately, the security guard’s friendliness lessened and he was glad to part with the detective at the control tower.
It was a surprise for everyone to have a detective walk into the control tower, but when they heard what they needed from him, they collected the recent departures and arrivals, giving him all the information he needed.
It was a similar sheet that Short received back at the police department, but much lengthier. It almost shocked him how many departures and arrivals were listed, there were far more private planes than Short thought they would be.
Yet, the detective was looking at specific dates and sure enough, the same plane arrived on every date. The detective smiled. It was a short trip plane, large and old. Perfect for transporting large amounts of cargo over short distances. It seems the plane received cargo from New Guinea, only another hop away from the Philippines.
The plane, according to the pattern on the schedule, would make another arrival that night.
“There’s not a second to waste,” Detective Short thought. “I have a plane to catch.”