Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 10 - Part 1

Dwayne's next call was from the Arizona Republic's crime reporter, wanting to know what the Forest Service was doing to apprehend the killer of Willie Meeks. Dwayne explained to the man that all inquiries were being referred to Sheriff Pratt because he was coordinating the investigative efforts. The reporter was curious whether the F.B.I. had been called in on the case and Dwayne told him again to call the Sheriff's Office and hung up.

The calls just kept coming. From a TV station in Tucson, the paper in Flagstaff, from a radio station in Las Vegas, another newspaper in Salt Lake City; it seemed like everybody wanted to know what the hell Dwayne Johnson was doing about the Jumpup Canyon murder.

Dwayne finally reached the limits of his patience and just left the phone off the hook. He walked out of his office and headed for the main switchboard. Peggy looked at him and rolled her eyes.

She placed her left hand over the mouthpiece of the phone and chuckled. "It's President Bush, and he wants to know whether you've found the killer yet?"

They both laughed.

"Tell him we're just gonna call it a suicide and leave it at that," whispered Dwayne.

Peggy convulsed with laughter. "No, it's really from some clown who works for the Associated Press. What do you want me to tell him?"

"Tell them ALL the same thing. I'm not here. And Sheriff Pratt's office is handling any questions. I ain't talking to anybody I don't know. Ten-Four?"

"Ten-Four, boss."

As Dwayne made his way back to his office he ran into the forest archaeologist, Jenny Hatch. Jenny was a tall, strikingly beautiful woman in her mid-thirties. She had an angular face dotted with freckles. Her straight red hair rode the middle of her back and she had piercing green eyes.

"Just the man I was looking for," exclaimed Jenny with a big smile. "How you doing, Inspector? Found any bad guys yet?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, we did," replied Dwayne as he held his office door open for Jenny. "And I sent 'em over to your house. Okay?"

Jenny laughed. "Why sure, Dwayne, I'd love to meet this character who flies around raiding ruins and shooting Indians. He sounds like a real charmer."

Jenny sat across from Dwayne's desk. She became all business as she sifted through her thick pile of papers.

"I spent all yesterday afternoon out at the murder scene and I've worked up a preliminary report."

Dwayne didn't get to work very much with Jenny, but he knew she was very good at her job. She wasn't raised in Southern Utah and wasn't a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, but she had deep roots in the area. In the late 1930's, Jenny's grandfather had homesteaded in Marble Canyon, near Lee's Ferry, the place where the float trips into the Grand Canyon began. A year ago she had become the Kaibab's archaeologist and moved back to Marble Canyon and into the circular rock house which had originally been built by her granddaddy. She was a very independent woman, obsessed by her work. Jenny probably knew more about the Anasazi Indians than any person alive, although she was far too modest to admit it, and totally disinterested in fame. But when Jenny Hatch talked, people listened.

No comments :

Post a Comment