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
Joe and Sara walked to the front of the hotel and pondered their next move. Somehow they had to report the discovery so the news media wouldn’t pick up on it. Any radio calls would certainly alert some wide-awake reporter monitoring their frequency. Even though Joe didn’t have his radio with him, the radio waves would come alive with other personnel once it was reported.
“What are you going to do, Joe?”
“I need to get Danny down here to help us. And I need to do it without telling him what we’ve found. If I do tell him, he would only be confused. He thinks you’re a nut, you know.”
“And when he gets here, he’s still going to think I’m a nut.”
“But in this case, a believable nut.”
“Well, after you call him, I’ll give Laura a call and get her over here, too. Maybe between the four of us, we can figure something out.”
“Yeah, sounds like a plan.”
By this time, it was just shy of midnight. Danny and Yolanda were already in bed but hadn’t reached the phase of deep sleep yet. Yolanda answered the phone and passed the receiver to Danny.
“Danny, I really hate to bother you, but…”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Me and Sara are over here at the GP. We’ve found something. We need your help.”
“Joe, what in the hell are you doing at the GP at this hour?”
“I can’t explain right now. You need to get over here as soon as you can. We got a situation that needs to be kept quiet. We need your help.”
“What kind of situation?”
“Danny! Listen to me. We’re okay. Don’t worry. We need you here now. And don’t call anybody at the office. You understand?”
“No! But I’m on my way. Be there in twenty.”
“No calls, Danny!”
Danny really had no idea what Joe wanted but knew his partner well enough to know that something important was in the wind. However, when Sara called Laura, she knew almost immediately what was in the wind.
Both Danny and Laura arrived at the GP within minutes of each other. Joe and Sara met them in the parking lot. Before any serious talks could take place, Officer Bob Talbert pulled into the parking lot in his patrol car. He got out and approached the group. He knew this time something was up. Joe looked over at Sara and mumbled an expletive. Danny and Laura looked at each other.
“What’s going on here, Joe? You having a party or something?”
“Or something. Bob, you know my partner Danny Saenz don’t you?”
“Yeah, sure do. But who’s the lady?”
“Laura Spahn, head of forensics. You probably haven’t been on the force long enough to’ve run into her.”
“Nope, can’t say that I have. Nice to meet you Laura. Now, you want to tell me what’s going here, Joe?”
“Bob, we got a little situation here.”
“Okay. I’m listening.”
“Did you alert dispatch before you pulled in here?” Joe asked.
“Nope. Not yet. But not far from it.”
“Good. Just hang tight for a minute and listen. We’ve found another body. It’s stuffed in the old boiler.” Danny took a sharp glance at Joe and then shook his head. Laura tightly squeezed Sara’s hand. Officer Talbert widened his eyes.
Joe explained, without going into much detail, that Sara’s intuition directed her to the boiler where they found the body. Laura could read between the lines, Danny mumbled something unintelligible under his breath, and Officer Talbert just stood there like a deer caught in oncoming headlights.
“What the hell!” Officer Talbert said emphatically.
“Bob, listen. Because of the way Sara found it…”
“Her intuition?” Officer Talbert said squinting his eyes.”
“We’re afraid the news media will pick up on it and turn this whole matter into another fiasco just like when we found the first body wrapped like a mummy. So, basically, we need to get this body out of here without the media picking up on it. You understand that?”
“Not really. All I know is I got a feeling my ass is gonna be put in a sling if I don’t make a report of this.”
“Don’t worry about that right now. We’ll take care of you.”
“But it’s my ass, not yours!”
“Not entirely. We’re playing with fire, too. If we handle this right, I don’t think the brass will get too uptight. But we’ve got to take care of this internally and keep the news media away to help protect the integrity of our investigation. It’s already tough enough. If word gets out how this body was found, it will only complicate matters. You don’t want that to happen now, do you?”
“No, no I don’t. But you’re going to have to explain this a little more better to me.”
“I’ll explain it to you later.” But time is not on our hands right now. We have to move quickly.”
“Okay. What you want me to do?”
“Stay right here by the cars and keep any prying eyes away while we go around to the boiler room. We’ll make a decision on what to do. And don’t call dispatch. We’ll be all right.”
“Okay Detective. But make it snappy. I don’t want my ass in a sling.”