Aimpoint - Chapter Ten
Rachel smiled at Tim over his computer screen. "Going for coffee this morning?" she asked sweetly.
"Wasn't planning to. Why?"
"Ballistics came back," she taunted dangling a piece of paper for him.
He reached for it and she pulled it out of his range.
"Coffee," she demanded.
He was up, one foot on his chair, one foot on his desk and over so suddenly Rachel didn't have time to react. He snatched the report out of her hand as he dropped to the floor and held it above her head, backing up as she lunged at him. He didn't see Art come out of his office behind him. Art pulled the paper out of Tim's hand as he stumbled backward, dodging Rachel and laughing.
"If you've got so much energy, go outside and play," Art grumbled at them and handed the report back to Rachel.
She smiled smugly. Tim used the distraction to snatch the paper back again and sprinted behind Art to his desk. He sat down, skimming the information, and held out his right arm to block her as she came after him. Something on the page caught his attention and he frowned in concentration. Rachel caught the change in his demeanor and stopped the horse-play.
"They got a match," he said. "There's a homicide case number from Florida." He gave the report back to her, cocked his head to one side and stared at her thoughtfully.
"What?" she asked.
He ignored the question and started rifling through some files on his desk.
"I made you a copy," she admitted, setting the report down on his keyboard.
He found what he was searching for, pulled a sheet of paper out of the pile and leaned over the copy comparing the two.
"What?" she asked again. Eventually she became impatient and turned to leave. Art waved her into his office. When she came out twenty minutes later there was a coffee waiting for her.
Tim tossed a file onto Raylan's desk, scattering his work.
"Oliver Wendell Holmes," he drawled out, looking at Raylan with a know-it-all expression, "Junior."
Raylan huffed and bent over to pick up the papers that had fluttered to the floor. He looked up at Tim impatiently, not interested in his games today.
"If he's not a person of interest in one my cases then you and Ollie can just piss-off back to your corner," said Raylan making little shooing motions with his hands.
Tim tilted his head to the side and looked cockily at Raylan then proceeded despite him.
"Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was the first person to use forensic ballistics to get a conviction in a murder case in 1902," he recited. "He's also a huge figure in the history of American jurisprudence."
"For crying out loud, Tim, I'm busy," Raylan snapped, moving Tim's file aside and continuing to type. "Maybe there's someone else interested in your history lesson."
"And that means," Tim continued, ignoring him, "he's ultimately responsible for explaining the enigma which is Carl Finley." He leaned over and tapped his finger on the file as he said the name.
Raylan stopped typing and looked up. "Okay, you've got my attention."
"Remember that handgun Finley had on him? I knew it was an H&K P7 model, but I'd never seen one like it so I looked it up. It's a P7M13-SD, manufactured by Heckler and Koch for the German Special Forces. You won't find them here often, and if you do, they're expensive."
Rachel wasn't at her desk so Tim grabbed her chair and rolled it over to sit down.
"The ballistics report came through on it and I was curious – rare gun, you know?" he said happily discussing his favorite topic. "Thing is, the ballistics markings on the casing matched another report that was in that box of old forensics shit, the one Art had me working on while I was laid up."
"You remembered one report from that stack when you were all drugged up?" Raylan asked in disbelief. "Buddy, you need to get a life."
Tim shrugged, "It stood out because it wasn't that old, not like the others. I figured someone misfiled it, so I left it out. It's been sitting on my desk while I decided what to do with it."
Art and Rachel walked through the doors into the office at that moment and Tim gave up Rachel's seat, leaning on the filing cabinet behind her. Art looked at the two men curiously.
"What are you two plotting? You're not bored, are you?" he asked.
Raylan pointed at Tim and said, "He was just explaining about Carl Finley."
"What about Finley?" Art asked.
"Why he was so hell bent on getting Raylan," Tim answered. He picked up the file that he'd tossed on Raylan's desk and opened it. He pulled out two pieces of paper from inside and handed them to Art.
"This," Tim said, pointing to one sheet, "is the ballistics on the handgun Raylan pulled from Finley last week. And this one is from that box of old reports you gave me to input." He tapped the second one. "Check out the specs on the casings."
Art pulled out his reading glasses and studied the reports for a moment. "They're identical. Same gun."
"Uh-huh. Now check where the older report was issued," Tim said, nodding to the one in Art's left hand.
"Huh," said Art, "Miami." He gave Raylan a meaningful look.
"Do you believe in coincidences?" Tim asked.
"Not for a minute," replied Art.
"Finley was sent up for assault here in Kentucky which is how he met Dickie Bennett and Daryl Strong, but he's originally from Florida," Tim explained. "His real name is Calvin Fischer."
He passed a surveillance photo of Calvin Fischer from the Miami case file to Raylan.
"Well, well," said Raylan. "Either Carl has a twin or... "
"Or he was hiding here with a new name," Tim finished for him. "I had a nice chat with Ted Alliston from the Miami/Dade Police Department. He's the investigator who ordered the other ballistics report."
"And how's old Ted?" Raylan asked, leaning back and smiling.
"Retiring next week. He says hi," Tim answered, nodding at Raylan. "According to Ted, Cal Fischer was his suspect of choice for the shooting in Miami. They had a witness putting him at the scene and they were looking for him and a gun. But the witness disappeared and Cal's wife provided an alibi. They couldn't do anything to him he was so lawyered up. Six months later, his wife filed for a divorce then Cal disappeared too."
He stopped and looked at them expectantly. "Someone better ask me who the wife was or this story is no fun at all."
"Who was the wife?" Raylan obliged.
"Cheryl Bucks – Tommy Bucks's sister."
There was silence while they digested the information.
"Tim," Art finally said. "Let's break your other arm and see what pops up. Maybe we can get something on Boyd Crowder. Find a report under a filing cabinet or something."
Raylan stared a little longer at the photo of Cal Fischer/Carl Finley. He turned to Tim and shook his head. "So Carl Finley is Tommy Bucks's brother-in-law?"
"Ex-brother-in-law, yeah," Tim confirmed.
"If this were a plot in a novel I'd complain that it sounded contrived," said Raylan. He scratched his head and frowned. "I vaguely remember Cheryl, but I don't recall a Cal Fischer."
"He's been in Kentucky since 1998. When did you start in Miami?" Tim asked.
"After that," Raylan nodded in understanding. "You know, Tommy Bucks had a gun collection. I remember one in particular he showed me – an old Colt revolver with a long barrel, shiny blue-tinged metal finish. He was proud of that one."
"If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's an early 1900s army issue but the blue finish is very unusual. Special order – not many made," said Tim. "I guess he had a nice collection?"
"He sure had the money for it," Raylan responded.
"I wonder what happened to it after you shot him," Tim said wistfully.
"Well, I guess that explains how Finley ended up with that rare H&K. But how did this report end up in Lexington?" Art asked, waving the paper at Tim.
"Ted sent it over with his file on Fischer years ago when Carl Finley was arrested here. He made the connection between the two from a photo," Tim explained. "He figured his file got lost because he never heard back about it and the prosecuting attorney he sent it to had a heart attack shortly after. Finley went to prison so Ted didn't bother following up."
"If I recall Ted wasn't all that thorough. He was already talking about retiring when I knew him," said Raylan. He looked over at Art. "I may have to pay a visit to Daryl Strong, see if he was privy to any of this."
"Maybe I'll join you," Tim said.
"Strangely enough," mused Raylan, "this makes me feel better about the whole thing."
"How so?" Art asked.
"I was beginning to worry that I'd underestimated Dickie Bennett, that maybe he had more of Mags in him than I gave him credit for. I just couldn't understand how he could garner enough loyalty from the likes of Finley and Strong to keep coming after a Federal Marshal. He's just such an idiot."
"Order is restored to the universe," Art stated.
"It's quitting time. I could use a drink," Raylan said standing and stretching.
"In my office."
Tim opened the gate and started up the porch steps, fumbling with his keys. When he got to the top he stopped. Miljana was curled up in his favorite chair, reading. She wasn't in her usual work clothes, just jeans and a t-shirt under a warm jacket.
"Making house calls again?" he asked, a grin creeping over his face.
"Actually I was hoping the bar was open this evening," she replied.
"You told me I shouldn't drink."
"I said you shouldn't drink so much. But if you prefer, just pour one for me," she shrugged. She closed her book, stood up and walked over, leaning against the house and smiling at him.
He cocked an eyebrow at her and shook his head then unlocked the door, holding it open. She brushed past him, kicked off her shoes and dumped her jacket on his couch.
He took a deep breath and followed her in.
"What'll you have?" he asked. He threw his jacket on top of hers and proceeded with the ritual of unpacking his weapons.
She watched him, curious, then finally answered, "I've always wanted to try bourbon."
"So this is serious drinking," he said motioning to the kitchen. He reached into a cupboard for two glasses and a bottle. "What's the occasion?"
"I didn't get the job."
He paused, glanced at her quickly then turned his head back to concentrate on pouring. He was working hard to suppress another grin. When he handed her the drink he had his face under control.
"So this is sympathy not celebration," he said.
"I had most of the afternoon off, so I've been walking around Lexington thinking about that," she replied.
She moved over and stood against the counter next to Tim. She was so close they were touching. Tim took another deep breath and downed his bourbon.
She smiled, leaning into him playfully. "Do you have any plans tonight? I think we're celebrating."
He let his grin escape.
Thanks all for reading.