“Well, as you guys would say, ‘It’s only a flesh wound.’ A lucky shot, really. The bullet went clean through his abdomen missing all his vital organs. He should be able to go home in a couple of days. The Doc’s a pretty resilient fellow for his age. He was our family’s doctor when I was growing up. In fact, he brought me into this world.”
“Yeah, I think he brought half of Oceanside’s current population in to. Quite a man from what I hear.”
“Yes, yes he is at that.”
After this chat, Danny walked back to his car. Before getting in, he pulled out his cell phone and called his partner.
“You still at the Dobbins’ house?”
“Yeah, sure am,” Stein replied stoically.
“You find the slug that went through the doc. From the looks of it, it would either be somewhere in the floor or low on a wall in the family room where he said he was shot.”
“Yeah, one of the field techs found it. Looks like maybe a .25caliber. We didn’t find any shell casings so the speculation right now is the bullet probably came from a revolver,” Stein said.
“Think maybe the perp picked up the casing if it came from a semi?” Saenz asked.
“Who knows? He may have, but I doubt it. From what we’re seeing around here, the scene just doesn’t seem to substantiate that.”
“Okay, you know the drill. Have them check it against any previous reports involving small caliber handguns we have on file. Maybe we’ll get lucky. I’ll see you back at the station in a couple of hours. I got to drop back by the house for a few minutes.”
Detective Joe Stein was a cop with a quick grin and quip. At six-foot-nothing, broad-shouldered, and a forty-year-old-something police veteran, Stein was well liked throughout the department. Always neatly clad, complete with necktie, Stein was constantly dressed to the nines in the latest men’s sports jackets.
His partner, Danny Saenz, and most of the other detectives in the dick’s bureau, wore sports jackets if it wasn’t too hot. But a necktie?
Never—unless it was to church, a funeral, or retirement party.
Stein was the grandson of a German Holocaust survivor from World War Two. He has heard the horror stories of how the Nazis forced Jewish citizens like his grandfather into the death camps. Grandpa Joshua Stein survived only because he was a skilled diamond cutter. Nazi officers had a need for such talents after plundering the nations of Europe.
Joe Stein maintained a quirky and dry sense of humor, which everyone secretly liked, but no one really admitted it to his face.
The team of Saenz and Stein were known around the department as Murder Incorporated because of their 100 percent solve and close rate.
It was, by all means, the highest in the department.
As Danny drove towards his house, his mind was clicking away from all different angles thinking about their new case. From all the other assignments he’d worked on, he felt the details of this case just weren’t adding up. He speculated from a detective’s perspective:
“Why shoot one and beat the hell out of the other? Maybe the doc had had a belly full of crap and just lost it. And that gunshot? Well placed, maybe? The ski mask? Perfect alibi for not recognizing the perp. The entrances? All locked? Interesting….”
Danny’s wife, Yolanda, stood at the stove cooking breakfast as her husband walked through the back door. It was Saturday. Four of the kids were in the family room in front of the television set watching cartoons; however, son Daniel, Jr. was in his room studiously doing extra homework the teacher had handed out for anyone wanting extra credit. Little Danny, as he was known in the family, was a straight-A eighth-grade student, who, when at home, spent more time reading than anything else. His father and mother could no doubt see their son becoming a college scholar in less than five years because he was already on track to finish high school in three.
“Is your day getting better, dear?” Yolanda asked with a smile.
“I’m a homicide detective, what do you think?” Danny said smiling back in a jokingly manner.
The petite, raven-haired woman went back to stirring breakfast gravy on the stove. Danny walked to the oven, lightly patted her on the fanny, and then checked on the biscuits warming in the oven.
“So, I guess that means you found a body.”
“Just one,” her husband mumbled after sitting down at the kitchen table with a fresh cup of coffee and the morning paper. “Wait a couple of more hours and there’ll probably be a few more.” Yolanda shook her head side to side as she continued stirring.
“Other than that, I’m having a relatively normal day,” Danny muttered without looking up from the paper. He took a sip of coffee.
“Thank you, Jesus,” his wife mumbled in return.
“Jesus has nothing to do with it, sweetheart. It’s my keen eye, cautious nature, expert knowledge of police procedures, and a stunning personality that’s keeping me alive and solving society’s errant citizens. Oh, and my good looks help a great deal, too,” Danny whispered aloud with a grin, again without looking up.
“Don’t let your ego fall out your butt and break your heels,” Yolanda replied shaking her head with a light laugh. She continued stirring the thickening gravy.
“Sweetheart, the kids?” Danny said looking up with wide eyes and a slightly scolding expression. He made a fake smile.
“They’re in front of the TV and can’t hear a thing we’re saying. Where else would you expect them to be on a Saturday morning?”
“Where’s Danny, Jr?”
“He has his head buried in a book … as usual.” “Smart kid,” Danny said.
“Well, not to change the subject, but we…”
“But you are?” Danny said not looking up from his paper.
“We need to talk about planning for Teresa’s quinceañera,” Yolanda said. To a Latino family, the daughter turning fifteen is a right-of-passage into womanhood.
“How much is this going cost me?”
“Well, if we have it at the Elks Lodge so everyone in both families can come, I think it will be around seven to $8,000.”
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