Note: Knight Rider is the 1980's television series starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight. Michael Knight works alongside KITT, the talking car. They work as a team fighting crime under the leadership of Devon Milesat the Foundation for Law and Government.

The Other Candidate

By Trepverter

Devon's Office

Friday morning 9:30 am

"Devon, all I am asking for is a little R & R," Michael pleaded. "I've been on back-to-back missions for 3 weeks straight. I'll tell you what, I'll even settle for a three day weekend. I promise; you won't even know I'm gone. What do you say?" Michael rose to his feet and placed his hands on Devon's desk for support, leaning in toward Devon expectantly.

"Michael, does this sudden need for a vacation have anything to do with tomorrow night's Fundraiser?" Devon asked, knowingly.

Michael stepped back and turned away from Devon, impatiently. He slowly paced the floor, gesturing with his hands as he spoke, "You know, Devon, I really don't see the need for me to attend those things. You don't need me for this. I'm just the front-line, hands-on, muscle behind the mission."

"Precisely why we do need you for this," Devon argued. "You are the living embodiment of all that the Knight Foundation stands for. You were hand-picked by Wilton Knight himself and have fulfilled his dream, 'the one man who makes a difference'."

Michael thought a few moments. He wasn't ready to give up that easily. He was sure he could convince Devon to let him off the hook just this one time. Maybe if he was convincing enough he could forgo ALL the fundraisers. What a relief that would be! "Devon, Kitt is instrumental to our work here for the foundation, why not just have him on-hand at the fundraiser. I'm sure he would be a much more impressive attraction."

"Michael," Devon replied, fully aware of Michael's intentions, "As vital as Kitt is to our missions, it could not have been done without you."

"Devon, thank you for the compliment," Michael answered, "But I do think that I am not all that irreplaceable. Certainly Wilton Knight had a few other candidates in mind besides me."

"True, there were other candidates," Devon conceded, "Each one certainly had their strengths. Let me see. As I recall, we considered a number of accomplished police detectives for your position."

"There you go!" Michael interjected, feeling a little hurt.

Devon shook his head, "Let me finish, Michael. I am merely trying to prove my point. Though we considered several talented candidates, none had the necessary qualities that only you hold. As I recall, there were two other gentlemen that held outstanding success rates for solving especially difficult cases; Detective Jim Ellison from Cascade and former Detective Adrian Monk from San Francisco. Unfortunately, at the time, Detective Jim Ellison was on leave for unspecified medical reasons. Adrian Monk on the other hand, was highly recommended by a Captain Stottlemeyer of the San Francisco Police Department. His qualifications were so exceptional that we agreed to let him take Kitt on a case."

Devon's office

A few years earlier

9:00 am on a Monday morning

Devon rose from the seat behind his desk to greet his new employee, former detective Adrian Monk, who was accompanied by his assistant, Sharona Fleming. As he extended his hand, Devon noticed that Adrian Monk accepted Devon's hand reluctantly. Strange, thought Devon, the man appears to be a much smaller man than I expected. Was he really smaller in stature, Devon wondered, or did it just appear that way because of his nervous demeanor? Upon releasing his grip, the uneasy man quickly reached expectantly for the moist towelette that his assistant held out for him and scrubbed his hand clean.

Wilton had been vague when he warned Devon of Adrian Monk's quirky behavior'. At the time, he had no idea what Wilton could have been referring to, but obviously Wilton had great respect for Adrian's abilities, so Devon didn't pursue the subject at the time. However, meeting the man in person was very unsettling and Devon now wished he had discussed this subject in more detail to have been better prepared.

There was nothing threatening or intimidating about Adrian, in fact, he appeared rather harmless and practically helpless in a childlike sort of way. He certainly did not portray the picture of a confident successful detective. Rather, he would have made a better "hygienist" with his remarkable spotlessly clean appearance. His dark curly hair was neatly trimmed. He was clean-shaven, dressed in a crisp bright-white shirt and beige-toned suit that Devon would have sworn was actually starched free of wrinkles.

Adrian glanced nervously around the room and seemed distracted by the blinds in the windows behind Devon. "The blinds are not even," Adrian commented, "May I?" he asked, approaching the blinds and adjusting them without waiting for an answer.

Speechless, Devon watched Adrian return to Sharona's side visibly calmer, apparently having dealt with the source of his discomfort.

"Please have a seat," Devon said, politely.

Adrian and Sharona settled into the two seats facing Devon's desk. Sharona appeared relaxed and comfortable and sat poised with a pen and notepad in her hand. Adrian, on the other hand, sitting on the edge of his seat, appeared to be, once again, tense and uncomfortable.

"Mr. Knight regrets that he was called out of town and is unable to meet with you. He asked me to brief you on the first case we'd like you to handle," Devon began.

As Devon spoke, Monk began gently rearranging objects on Devon's desk.

"Stop that!" Sharona hissed at Adrian.

"I'm sorry," Adrian apologized to Devon. "This is much better. Now they are all even," he added by way of explanation.

Devon nodded, "Quite right," he acknowledged before continuing. "Let me brief you on the specifics of this case," he began, handing a packet of neatly typed papers across the desk to Adrian.

Adrian carefully removed the papers from the packet and skimmed through the pages of detailed information presented to him. The pages included the preliminary police report, 'crime scene' photographs, the coroners report and a summary of the deceased's personal information supplied by Wilton Knight.

"Mr. William Styles, the deceased, was found face-down in Lake Byron. He had gone camping and while wading out in the fishing pond, he lost his footing; slipped and drowned. The death was deemed 'accidental drowning'," Devon began.

"I take it you disagree," Adrian replied.

"Wilton Knight was a close childhood friend of Mr. Styles," Devon explained. "Although both the police report and coroner's report confirm death by drowning, Mr. Knight disagrees that it was accidental. He says that Mr. Styles had a morbid fear of water.

Apparently, when he was a young lad, a neighborhood bully chased Mr. Styles home from school one day. In his attempt to out-run the bully, Mr. Styles took a shortcut along the pond near his home. With the bully close behind, Mr. Styles panicked and lost his footing. He slipped and fell into a deep section of the pond. Mr. Styles was panicky and a weak swimmer, splashed and screamed for help as the terrified bully ran away. Mr. Knight happened to live in one of the homes along that pond and had heard the commotion. Thankfully he was a strong swimmer and jumped into the pond to rescue Mr. Styles. They became fast friends after that. Mr. Knight emphatically states that since that incident, Mr. Styles avoided all ponds, lakes, and swimming pools."

"So, what was he doing fishing in the middle of a lake?" Adrian asked himself, thinking aloud.

"Thank you Mr. Miles," Sharona interrupted, rising from her seat. "We'll get on this right away."

"Just a moment, Miss. Fleming," Devon protested. "I haven't introduced you to Kitt."

"Who's Kitt?" Adrian and Sharona asked in unison.

"Follow me, please," Devon said politely, as he stepped-out from behind his desk.

"Kitt is a car? You are giving us a car?" Sharona asked in disbelief.

"Oh, that isn't necessary," Adrian said, quickly, "We have a car."

"Adrian, 'we' don't have a car. I have a car. I have my beat-up worn-out old station-wagon!" Sharona complained. "This is a brand-new Pontiac Trans Am! Adrian, this is a sports car!" she exclaimed excitedly, circling around the Trans Am to view it from every angle. "It's gorgeous!"

Devon smiled at her obvious enthusiasm.

"Thank you Mr. Miles, but we don't need a car. We have one," Adrian repeated, nervously backing away from the Trans Am.

"Adrian, if the man wants to give us a car, let him!" Sharona argued. "It comes with the job!"

"I'm afraid Kitt is more than just a mode of transportation, Mr. Monk," Devon said, calmly. "Let me show you," he added. Devon stepped closer to the car and opened the driver's-side door.

Sharona eagerly stepped closer and bent down to get a better view of the Trans Am's interior. Oh, my gosh!" she exclaimed! "Adrian, come here; you gotta see this! This car looks like something out of a science fiction movie!"

Adrian remained stationary, maintaining a safe distance from Kitt. "Sharona, we really don't need this car," He said trying to persuade her. "We've managed fine all this time with your station-wagon. We will do just fine with your car."

Sharona ignored Adrian and slid comfortably into the driver's seat. "So, this is Kitt?" she said, not really expecting an answer."

"Sharona?" Adrian, called hoping to coax her from the car without incident.

Devon stepped around to the passenger side of the Trans Am and held the door open for Adrian. "Mr. Monk, won't you at least take a look?"

Adrian took one step closer and leaned toward the car, straining to peer into the car. "What is so special about this car?" Adrian said, as his curiosity got the better of him.

Devon pointed into the car, "May I introduce the Knight Industries Two Thousand, more affectionately referred to as 'Kitt'."

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance," announced a voice emanating from the car.

"Is that coming from the car?" Sharona asked, incredulously. "How is that possible?"

"Kitt is equipped with artificial intelligence. He is designed to perform a variety of tasks at your command," Devon explained.

"Oh, this would be like a computer? He answers questions?" Sharona asked.

"That is one of his functions, yes," Devon answered.

"Okay, Kitt, I have a question for you," Sharona challenged. "My son, Benjy, asked me this last night, 'What is dry ice, and why doesn't it melt into a puddle of liquid?'"

"That is actually two questions, Sharona," Kitt replied politely. "Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. A block of dry ice has a surface temperature of -109.3 degrees F (-78.5 degrees C). As dry ice melts, it turns directly into carbon dioxide gas rather than a liquid."

"That's amazing! My son Benjy, would LOVE this car!" Sharona responded. "Of course, he'd never do his own homework…" her voice trailed off, lost in her own thoughts.

"I have here a booklet detailing the functions that are available to you." Devon stepped closer and handed a small booklet to Adrian. "Excuse me while I get Miss Barstow, our automotive technician, to demonstrate and explain Kitt's specialized functions. She is far more qualified in this area."

Sharona jumped out of the car and ran over to Adrian. "Don't even consider turning this down, Adrian!" she scowled at him.

"It looks like a very fast car," Adrian objected.

"You control the speed of the car, Adrian," She said, annoyed. "You can drive this car the same speed as my station wagon."

"I can't drive this car," Adrian said meekly. "I can't even get into it."

"Adrian, take a deep breath," Sharona instructed, "You can do this. This is only a car. Not only that, it is a brand new car, never been used, nice and clean…. spotless. See? Can't you see how shiny the body is?"

"Bonnie takes good care of me," Kitt commented. "Even the parts of my engine are sterile. Clean enough to eat off of, but I wouldn't recommend it."

"See, Adrian? No germs. Perfectly safe," Sharona said, gently guiding Adrian closer to the black Trans Am.

"Sharona! Look how organized the dashboard is!" Adrian exclaimed in admiration.

Lake Byron

Same day 3:00 pm.

With Sharona seated in the driver's seat and Adrian in the passenger seat, Kitt slowly approached the investigation area at Lake Byron where William Styles' body had been found.

"26 traffic lights," Kitt announced.

"Are you sure? Because I counted 27," Adrian argued, uneasily. "I really think there were 27. Did you count the one in front of the Country store? because even though it was broken it still counts."

"Yes, Mr. Monk, I counted that one too," Kitt said calmly. "Perhaps you miscounted," Kitt remarked as he displayed a street map on the dashboard monitor that highlighted the exact locations of every traffic light they had passed.

"One, two, three…" Adrian began to count the red marks convinced Kitt counted wrong.

"Adrian, he is a computer he can't be wrong," she insisted.

"Computers can be wrong. …four, five, six…" Adrian continued.

"It isn't impor… What am I saying? You have to count all the red marks, don't you?" she asked, not really expecting an answer.

"…seven, eight, nine…." Adrian continued.

"I'm getting out of the car," Sharona said, as she opened the driver's side door and stepped out.

She slowly approached the two uniformed policemen who stood nearby, apparently waiting for them to arrive. As she approached them, they stopped talking and walked toward her.

"May I help you, ma'am?" The taller of the two officers asked.

"Mr. Monk and I are with F.L.A.G.," Sharona said, pointing in the general direction of the Trans Am, indicating that Adrian was still in the car. "My name is Sharona Fleming and we are here to take a look over the area."

"Hello, Miss Fleming," the first officer replied, "We were expecting you."

Just then, Adrian stepped out of the passenger side. His voice carried as he spoke directly into the empty car, "The first one was at the Foundation entrance. It doesn't matter if we left by the back entrance. It was the first one from the Foundation!" He shut the door forcefully as if to accentuate the end of this discussion.

The two policemen looked quizzically at each other and then at Sharona. She shrugged and turned her attention back to Adrian.

Once outside the car, Adrian walked confidently toward Sharona. As he neared the sectioned-off campsite he slowed his steps and looked around, taking in the surroundings with his keen eye and photographic memory.

The first thing Adrian noticed was that this particular camping area was completely hidden from the main road that circled around the lake. In fact, to reach this site they had to pass by several other more convenient sites that would have been more easily accessible. This particular site was clearly chosen for its best feature - isolation, being the only campsite completely hidden by its surrounding bushes and trees. The ground was damp indicating that it had rained recently. Patches of thick green grass dotted the cold dark black earth. Trudging through this muck was very unpleasant for Adrian who had to 'hop' from one patch of grass to another, in order to avoid stepping onto the sloppy earthen ground.

"This is very healthy dirt," Sharona commented, bending down and examining it more closely. "I bet I can grow a wonderful vegetable garden from this stuff."

"Where was the body found?" Adrian asked directly, trying to maintain his balance on a particularly lumpy and small clump of grass.

"This way, sir," responded the policeman in front. This officer was much taller than Adrian and instantly he wished he could trade his short stocky legs for the pair of long stilts this police officer had. He knew for sure he'd have an easier time hopping through this circuitous path.

The second policeman had stopped to comment on the quality of dirt that Sharona was picking through. Apparently he was something of a gardener himself and was interested in sharing his expertise. After a few helpful gardening suggestions, she scooped up a small handful of dirt and promptly deposited it into an empty Zip-lock baggie she had stored in her purse.

Adrian was already on the edge of the lake staring at a section of water that had obviously been the location the body had been found. The water was clear and still. Anyone could see that there was a gradual decline of soft smooth sand that led gently into the lake about 12 feet out. At that point it appeared much deeper and darker. Adrian recalled that the report described the first 12 feet of water as being no deeper than 3-1/2 feet, but at the 12th foot mark there was a sudden drop to a depth of 9 feet.

Adrian had seen the photographs of the deceased. He had been dressed in a white polo shirt engraved with the initials 'WS' upon the breast pocket. He had worn tan trousers with a 'Dockers' label, and thick white cotton socks. He had been dragged from the water wearing a pair of deep-green rubber waders over his clothes. His face looked bluish and there were two marks astride his nose.

Looking about the camp, he noticed that the tent was set up fairly close to the edge of the lake. Inside the tent, laid an unrolled sleeping bag, pillow, and sack of clean clothes. A battery operated lantern hung from the center of the tent. A large carton of cooking accoutrements had been placed in the front corner of the tent. A brand-new, unopened Coleman stove had been placed beside it. Two other cartons of assorted canned foods, water bottles and bags of chips had been carelessly laid upon the sleeping bag. Discretely placed behind the sack of clothes, a brand new pair of hiking boots caught his eye. Curious, he turned each boot upside down. Nothing happened. Gritting his teeth, he carefully slipped his hand deeply into the toe one of the boots. His hand touched on a stiff piece of cardboard 'insert' that was lodged firmly against the toe. He carefully returned the boots to their spot and stepped out of the tent.

"I've seen enough," Adrian said sadly, as he turned to begin his trek back to the car. "Just one question," Adrian added, "How has the weather been here the past few days?"

"Pretty miserable Thursday and Friday," responded the policeman next to Sharona. "There were continual barrages of rain on and off through Thursday and Friday, but excellent sunny weather over the weekend and through today. Should be great for the vegetable garden," he added with a smile and a wink for Sharona.

As they drew closer to the parking area, Adrian turned to the lanky police officer at his side, "Does that hunter-green sports car over there belong to Mr. Styles?" he asked.

"Yes it does, Mr. Monk," the man replied. "We haven't located the keys yet to return the car to his wife. We assume they are at the bottom of the lake. Did you want to have a look inside?" he offered.

"Yes, I would, if you don't mind," Adrian answered as he turned to go in that direction.

Sharona quickly joined Adrian, "You know something, don't you?" She asked excitedly. "What is it?"

"I need you to check the car first," he answered, not willing to jump to conclusions yet.

Sharona agreed and quickly opened the passenger door and began searching the glove compartment. "It would help if I knew what I was looking for!" she complained.

"Just tell me what you find," Adrian insisted.

Sharona began calling out the sorted items, "Car registration, pen, flashlight, small pad of paper, owners manual, comb, and some loose change."

"What is that smell?" Adrian said, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "It smells like….. chlorine," he added looking around inside the car.

"You mean like chlorine as in chlorine in a pool?" Sharona asked, sniffing closer. "Yeah, I smell it too. Just like Benjy when he comes back from swimming in the Connor's pool. What makes a car smell like a pool?"

"It's the strongest back here!" Adrian exclaimed, referring to the back seat.

"Oh my gosh, Adrian, look at this water mark on the back seat! Does this car have a roof leak?" she asked without thinking.

"Sharona, that water mark reeks of chlorinated water!" Adrian whispered.

Sharona reached Kitt before Adrian did. She slipped into the driver's seat in one easy movement, waiting for Adrian to join her.

Adrian slowly eased himself into the passenger seat of the Trans Am. He lightly tapped his chin, thoughtfully as they sat in complete silence.

"What do you think?" Sharona asked, unable to stand the suspense. "What do you make of the chlorine stains?"

"I think he was murdered," Adrian said flatly. "I can't put my finger on it, but too many things don't add up. The chlorine stains are recent, and couldn't have been more than a few days old. I believe the smell is still strong because the car was closed up for the past few days. It is odd that it is even there at all, but that isn't what concerns me."

"What it is then Adrian?" She urged.

"A man who is morbidly afraid of water decides to go camping. Aside from the fact that all his camping gear is brand-new and unused, which points to the fact that he was an inexperienced camper, he camps alone in a secluded area by the lake. Though the weather is miserable, with bouts of rain on and off he is undeterred. Remember, he was found in the lake wearing rubber waders. Though the weather is miserable, he dresses in waders to protect his pants, but doesn't wear a jacket. Beside that, he never unpacked any of his equipment. Was this man so anxious to get into the water that he didn't bother to set up camp or remove his keys and wallet from his pocket? It doesn't add up."

"Not everyone is as particular as you are Adrian," Sharona argued. "I don't know that he would have had to set up camp and clean out his pockets before going fishing. Perhaps the rain had stopped and he wanted to get some fishing in before it began again. As for his aquaphobia, maybe he had already overcome his fear and it wasn't a factor. It says here, in his file, that they found an appointment card in his wallet. The appointment was with a Dr. Leonard Cleary, Psychiatrist. It would make perfect sense that Mr. Styles was seeing this doctor for aquaphobia."

"No," Adrian answered sharply, "Even if he was no longer aquaphobic, it is unlikely he would have any desire to travel to a lake alone."

"Pardon me," interrupted Kitt, "Perhaps you can clear this up by phoning this Doctor directly. I can patch you through right now, if you wish."

"That would be very helpful, Kitt," said Sharona appreciatively.

Adrian looked doubtful, but nodded his consent.

"Hello, Dr. Leonard Cleary's office. Tina speaking," sang a cheery melodic voice.

"Hello, this is Adrian Monk from the Foundation of Law and Government speaking," Adrian began. May I please speak with Dr. Cleary? It is in regard to one of his clients."

"One moment please, I'll see if he is available," the young woman replied sweetly.

After a brief pause, Dr. Cleary picked up. "Hello, this is Dr. Cleary. I understand you're calling from the police department about one of my clients? I'm sorry, but I normally don't release confidential information."

"Uh, Dr. Cleary, I am from the Foundation of Law and Government and I am investigating the circumstances of William Styles' death. I believe you can confirm a few details for me."

"Oh, I am sorry. Yes, I had read of his passing in this morning's paper, something of a camping accident, as I recall," Dr. Cleary replied. "How tragic."

"Well, yes," agreed Adrian. "I was wondering how he was progressing under your counsel?"

"I'm sorry?" Dr. Cleary asked sounding puzzled. "I don't understand."

"His aquaphobia. You were treating him for aquaphobia, were you not?" Adrian asked.

"Aquaphobia?" Dr. Cleary repeated, sounding stunned. "Why no, I specialize in marital counseling. I had no idea he was afraid of water."

Adrian smiled, "Thank you for your help Dr. Cleary."

Kitt cut the connection.

"Okay, you're right. Something stinks," Sharona agreed.

"I beg your pardon?" Kitt interjected. "There is no offensive odor in this car. Perhaps you are referring to the slight chlorine chemicals on your fingers, Sharona?"

Adrian looked horrified, "You didn't wipe your hands?"

"Sharona rolled her eyes and pulled a moist towelette from the package she was carrying in her purse. Thanks Kitt," She grumbled. "He's just like you, Adrian," she said glaring.

Adrian brightened up.

"Okay, so Mr. Styles doesn't belong at the lake. Then how is it that he drowned here?" Sharona asked, trying to sort things out.

"He definitely didn't drive here," Adrian said with authority. "I'm sure he wouldn't even have considered driving to a lake, given he was aquaphobic."

"Well, Adrian, the fact is that he drowned here," Sharona asked.

"They found his wallet, but not his keys," Adrian said.

"Maybe they are at the bottom of the lake?" Sharona offered for consideration. "After all, didn't the police believe that?"

"I know they are not in the lake. It's a mistake the killer made," Adrian stated confidently.

"Kitt, can you scan the lake and see if there are keys in there?" Sharona asked, following a hunch.

"Yes, I will be happy to," Kitt's dashboard lights flashed as the scanner did its job. "I have completed the scan," he added. "There are other objects, but no keys in the lake."

"What's in the lake?" Adrian asked, nervously.

"There are several rusted fishing hooks, an instant camera, rusty anchor attached to a rope, broken bottle of root beer and a ladies' wedding ring."

"Oh my," Sharona wondered aloud, "I wonder if she threw it in anger?"

"No keys." Adrian said flatly. "Wait a minute, no eye glasses?"

"No eye glasses," Kitt confirmed.

"Eye glasses?" Sharona asked.

"Yes, William Styles wore eye glasses. They were not listed with the items at the campsite or recovered with the body."

"How do you know he wore eye glasses?" she asked, frowning.

"He had 'eye glass' marks near his nose," Adrian answered referring to the coroner's photos. "Mr. Styles was wearing a pair of eye glasses in his driver's license photo which states that he is required to wear corrective eye glasses. "Kitt, can you scan the area around the campsite and along the lake for eye glasses?" Adrian asked.

"Certainly," Kitt responded, lights once again flashing.

"There are no eye glasses here either. The land area around the lake and campsite are clean, except for …"

"Beneath the tent!" Adrian exclaimed, confidently.

"Correct," Kitt affirmed, "But how did YOU know?"

"Adrian, you know what happened, don't you?" she asked, with interest.

"We have one more stop to make," Adrian answered with a satisfied smile on his face.

Home of William and Charlotte Styles

Same day 5:30 pm

"Please come in, Mr. Monk," Charlotte Styles said confidently, opening the front door and stepping aside to allow Adrian and Sharona to pass.

Adrian glanced quickly around the room absorbing every detail in the room. He immediately walked over to the bookcase and began rearranging a set of mahogany-colored hard-covered books. "There! he said, with a satisfied sigh, "They are now in proper numerical order by volume."

"Don't ask," Sharona whispered to Mrs. Styles' stunned face.

"What can I do for you?" Mrs.Styles asked, taking Sharona's advice.

"I'm here about your husband's murder," Adrian said flatly. "Why did you do it?" he asked.

"Excuse me, but my husband's death was an accidental drowning!" she argued.

"Yes. That is what you'd like us to believe, isn't it?" Adrian continued. "I suppose he drove up to the lake alone to confront his fear of water only to drown."

"Well, yes…. Uh, No! Wait a minute! He was seeing a Psychiatrist for his aquaphobia and overcame his fear!" She said nervously stumbling on her words.

"Sorry. He was seeing his Psychiatrist for personal counseling alright, but not aquaphobia. I spoke with Dr. Cleary earlier," Adrian countered.

"What? No, that isn't true. He told me himself he was working on his fear of water," she said genuinely confused.

"Unfortunately, it is, Mrs. Styles," Adrian continued. "Where have you been since Thursday morning?"

"What?" Mrs. Styles reacted with alarm, "Why, I was here. I haven't left this house since I picked my car up from the mechanics on Thursday morning."

"Would that be the attractive silver-blue Toyota Camry in the drive-way, Mrs. Styles?" Adrian asked matter-of-factly.

"Why yes. My husband has his own vehicle," Mrs. Styles answered suspiciously.

Did your trip home include a stop-over at the lake Mrs. Styles?" Adrian asked, not letting up.

"Of course not!" Mrs. Styles answered sharply.

"I noticed your tires are very dirty. You have small clumps of grass and dirt on your tires," Adrian continued.

"Oh?" she responded, without thought. "You're going to arrest me because I have dirt in my tires. I hardly think that is sufficient grounds for criminal charges," she retorted, folding her arms across her chest. "I suppose that makes me guilty of murdering my husband?" she answered sarcastically, regaining her composure.

"Not exactly, but the fact that the dirt on your tires matches the terrain up at the lake, does," Adrian stated flatly.

Without missing a beat, Adrian shot out his next question, "Mrs. Styles, does you husband wear prescription eyeglasses?"

"Yes, but I fail to see how that matters," Mrs. Styles answered, nervously.

"Well, I'll tell you, Mrs. Styles. The police were unable to find his eye glasses at the campsite. His driver's license indicates he needs them for driving. Perhaps you can explain how he happened to drive up to the lake without them?"

"He couldn't," she admitted angrily. "Perhaps they fell off when he was fishing and are at the bottom of the lake," stated Mrs. Styles flatly.

"Mrs. Styles, you are probably not aware that our company is equipped with the latest technological machinery. We have the ability to scan buildings and terrain to determine what lies beneath the surface without digging. We scanned the lake and surrounding ground area. You know what we didn't find."

Mrs. Styles shifted her position glancing nervously in the direction of the backyard.

"We didn't find the glasses, because they were never there," Adrian explained confidently. "They weren't there because he didn't die up at the lake. Did he? He drowned in the pool. Your pool."

Mrs. Styles' eyes narrowed as she listened to Adrian speak.

"Here is what happened," Adrian began. "Your husband WAS seeing a Psychiatrist, not for aquaphobia, but instead for personal counseling, specifically marital advice. For whatever reason, he obviously didn't want you to know the true nature of his visits so he told you he was seeking help for his aquaphobia. That was the basis for your plan, wasn't it? Rather ironic, isn't it? The lie he told, ends up identifying his killer because it discredits your story."

Adrian paused to emphasize the point. "Banking on the cure of his aquaphobia, you got him drunk and lured him out to the pool. You pushed him into the deep end of the pool. And while he flounders about, you extend the skimming rod toward him under the pretense of offering assistance, but in truth pushing him away and into the water. In a state of panic and completely exhausted, he drowns."

The color drained from Mrs. Styles face, but Adrian continued. "At this point, you and your accomplice pull him out of the water and wrap him in a blanket to transport him to the lake. What you don't realize is that his glasses fell off in the pool. Your accomplice helps load your husband's body in the backseat of your husband's car. The 2 hour trip is enough time for the chlorinated pool water to soak through the blanket and into the car seat leaving chlorine stains. With the camping gear and supplies loaded in the trunk, you are all set to leave for the lake. Since you have to leave your husband's car at the lake, you drive your own car, which explains the dirt in your tires. The first thing you do when you arrive, is unload your husband's body from his car. It is dark and rainy, and being in a hurry to get the deed done, you fail to notice the stained seat. You inadvertently slip the keys into your pocket, which explains why the keys were never found and the car was left unlocked."

Mrs. Styles remained silent, knowing there was nothing she could say to defend herself.

Adrian tapped his fingers together, and continued, "Next, you carried him down closer to the water and unwrapped him from the blanket. Your plan was to have it appear as if he drowned while fishing in the water; so you remove his shoes and replace them with a long pair of rubber fishing waders. You deposited him into the lake at a reasonable distance from the edge and toss in 'his' fishing pole afterwards. At this point, you realized that his shoes and blanket reek of chlorine from the pool. Wishing to dispose of the evidence quickly; you wrap the shoes in the blanket and bury them both in the sand. You pitch the tent over the buried shoes in order to protect the burial spot from being noticed during the investigation. You quickly erect the tent and pile the supplies and camping gear into the tent. The hiking boots was a nice touch, but again, a little detail you failed to notice is your undoing. In burying his chlorinated shoes, you only left him with the hiking boots and the rubber waders. The laces on the hiking boots were smooth and straight, indicating they had never been tied and the bottoms were smooth, not scuffed-up; but the clincher was the presence of the cardboard inserts. Only brand-new unworn shoes have these inserts intact because they must be removed in order to wear the shoes. Since nobody in their right mind would drive 2 hours in a pair of rubber waders, the only other choice of footwear would have been the hiking boots, which he clearly did not wear."

Through the front window, Adrian caught a glimpse of the 3 policemen who had just arrived. Perfect timing, he thought. He observed that they avoided the front door and headed toward the backyard, as he had instructed.

"Obviously, you couldn't collect on your husband's life insurance without the discovery of his body. It wouldn't be enough to just have him declared 'missing'. So, you waited a few days before telephoning the police, playing the 'worried wife'. You made sure to call the police while it was still light out, ensuring that they would discover the body. When the police showed up at the lake they presumed that your husband drowned while fishing and you were free to cash in on his life insurance."

Sharona?" Adrian nodded directing Sharona to the backyard, where the pool was located."

Adrian pointed to the backyard, indicating he wished Mrs. Styles to follow Sharona.

Standing in the backyard by the filtration system, were 3 police officers. One wearing a pair of rubber gloves rose. He proudly held up a pair of men's prescriptions eye-glasses, "They were right where you said they'd be Mr. Monk."

"Did you get the blanket and shoes?" Adrian asked the senior officer.

"Yes, they were exactly where you said they'd be, buried beneath the tent," the officer replied.

Mrs. Styles stared blankly at the police officer reading her rights.

Devons Office

A few years later

"You're talking about William Styles murder, the drowning in 1980?" Michael asked with an odd look on his face.

"Yes, Michael, What is that look for?" Devon replied looking confused.

"I was there," Michael said smiling. "It was just before I made detective. I remember Lake Byron. Todd Burk was my partner at the time and we met Adrian Monk and Sharona Fleming that day. He really liked Sharona. In fact, Ted and Sharona dated a few times after that case was closed. I wonder what she's doing these days."

Devon stared at Michael with disbelief.

"So, why didn't Adrian Monk stay with the Foundation?" Michael asked, wanting to get back to the subject at hand.

"Believe it or not, Adrian Monk refused to work another case with Kitt. He said that he couldn't rely on Kitt's computations. He mentioned something about an inaccurate accounting of traffic lights," Devon replied.

"So, seeing that I am so irreplaceable," Michael piped up, with a twinkle in his eye, "I would think you would want to keep me happy."

"And I supposed keeping you happy means giving you a reprieve from this weekend's fundraiser?" Devon asked, not really expecting an answer.

"Thanks Devon!" Michael said, enthusiastically, as he headed out of Devon's office.

"Just this one time, Michael!" Devon called after him. "Just this one time!" he said chuckling.

The End

I'd like to give credit for the information in Kitt's response to Sharona dry's ice questions to the website "How Stuff Works"