Authors note: This is a work of fiction. It does not reflect any actual events, and all of the characters are fictional. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.There is a real city of Oceanside, California. It’s San Diego County’s third largest city with a below-average crime rate.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is fictional, but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were at least two similar resort hotels that did exist, primarily serving railroad passengers and tourists as described in this book.
— Tom Morrow
“Private First Class Harold B. Stacy, USMC, home address: 431 State Street, Kansas City, Kansas. Blood type: B. His serial number was basically unreadable. Think you can handle it from here, Danny?” said Bob Overby, head of the lab.
“Yeah, I think so,” Danny said dropping his breath. He looked over at Joe. He didn’t want to let on to Bob it would be more difficult than meets the eye.
The reason being was that asking for further information would require another contact with NCIS. They already had asked for help once; asking again was akin to asking for trouble—big trouble. This time they would demand to be included with the investigation—and nobody in the OPD wanted that to happen. The last time they had worked together, things got heated and caused a riff. To this day the relationship remains frosty. However, there was one avenue of approach that might work: Lisa Cummings. She worked under Harrison Flynn at NCIS. Joe once dated her.
When the detectives returned to office to sort things out for their weekend work, Danny approached Joe about calling her.
“Damn, Danny! Isn’t there another way we can do this?”
“I don’t know. You tell me?”
“Why don’t we just go down there and break into the damn place. I know where everything is. I can find what we need.”
“Yeah, right. They’ll be all over us like mustard on a hotdog. Then what? Hell, we’ll all be in hot water. You know that won’t work.”
“You told me you got along fine with her.”
“Well, we did get along fine up until I broke it off. She did get a little hostile with me.”
“That’s understandable. But have you spoken to her since?”
“Just a few times in passing.”
“And how did that go?”
“I guess it went all right. She wasn’t hostile.”
“Then you don’t have anything to worry about. Come on, give her a call. Use your charm.”
“Hell, the last time I used my charm, she hit me.”
“Ah, come on. The department needs you. You know we can’t let NCIS in on the deal. It would turn into chaos again. Remember last time?”
“Putting the guilt on me, are you?”
“Damn right I am!”
“Looks like I have no choice.”
“Nope. Give her a call. Meet her for lunch tomorrow.”
“I’ll see how it goes. What time you want to meet in the morning?” Joe asked.
“Around nine. We’ll have a long day.”
“Mind if I come in after lunch.”
“What, you got a long night planned? Oh yeah, that’s right! You got a date with Sara.”
“That nice quaint Italian joint near the beach, huh?”
“Anything else planned?”
“You never know.”
“Okay, all right. Go have fun. I’ll see you after lunch.”
“I’m not looking forward to seeing Lisa.”
“You’ll get through it. The department needs you in this time of crisis.”
The following afternoon around three o’clock, Joe waltzed into a quiet office. Danny was leaning back in his chair studying some papers with his reading glasses hanging halfway down his nose. His feet were propped up on his desk next to a half-eaten Big Mac. The fries were history.
“How’d it go?” asked Danny.
“Well, let’s start with Sara.”
“Great time! That place has the best veal parmesan. None better anywhere else in the world.”
“Put you in the mood, huh?”
“How did it go with Lisa?”
“Not so good. I had to eat a lot of crow.”
“Put enough ketchup on it?”
“Yeah, I had to suffer through it.”
“That bad, huh?
“She enjoyed it. Told me my breaking up with her was the best thing that ever happened to her.”
“Yeah. Said if I hadn’t broken up with her, she would’ve never found her new boyfriend, er, I mean fiancé. She really poured it on.”
“A real beating, huh?”
“Yeah, but I hung in there for God, country, and the OPD.”
“Good boy! Is she going to help us?”
“Yeah, she is. Said she would have something for us later this afternoon. She just wants to cover her ass so Harrison doesn’t find out. Makes sense. Certainly don’t want that sonuvabitch in on the deal. But the fact is, Lisa doesn’t like him too much either. Said he’s a pain in the ass to work with. So in a sense, she’s getting payback. She knows he was the one who caused all that trouble awhile back.”
“He was a jerk. No doubt about it.”
“Did you fill Lisa in on why we needed this to be kept quiet?”
“Hell, I had to. She said if I didn’t, she would tell Harrison. I had no choice. But I chose my words carefully. I didn’t tell her exactly how we found the bones. You know, with Sara and all.”
“Good move there. Anything else?”
“That’s about it,” Joe said looking at the half-eaten burger. Danny noticed.
“You still hungry?”
“That crow tasted like shit. Do you mind?”
“No, but you might want to shove it in the microwave.”