Through the Eyes of Madness—Part Twenty
By: David K. Montoya

That evening the Captain had called for a press conference to confirm that the Jack the Ripper copycat had been captured. Grayson stood to the side and sipped his freshly brewed coffee while he watch the craftsmen assembling the stage. While he appeared unscathed from the situation earlier, his mind raced—the words replayed over and over again.

Particular the part where the killer revealed what he had done to Betty. That caused his stomach to become knotted, did that change things and if not, what if she was pregnant with the murderer's baby.

I need to go see her after the press conference, Grayson thought to himself while the builders conducted a mic check. If nothing more to show support.

"Whick wants this to be a media spectral, I see," a familiar voice said from behind. Grayson glanced over his should and shot Tidwell a half smile. The two stood and watched the finishing touches that were applied to the stage. "How are you holding up, partner?"

Grayson nodded, and replied in his cop voice, "Good. I'm good."

"Bull shit," Tidwell chuckled. "But if you wanna talk I'm here, son."

Tidwell placed a hand on Grayson's shoulder.

"Thank you, Dean," Grayson said in his more real and shaky voice. "I just wis—"

Tidwell interrupted.

"You know, if I was in that situation, Gray, I honestly don't know if I would have held my wits about me like you did," Tidwell comforted. "Good job."

"Come on," Grayson said. He turned to face his partner. "You and I know that I got lucky that I saw the blues before he did."

"If you wanna call it luck, then call it luck," Tidwell shot back. "The fact is, son, is that you knew we were waiting for him out there and you weren't trying to play hero. You could have taken him down, with all that MMA shit you know…you didn't need a fucking gun to take that piece of shit out."

Grayson, dropped his head in slight embarrassment. "Ah shucks, you're making me blush," Grayson jokingly said lined with sarcasm. Both men erupted in laughter, and Tidwell smacked his partner on the back of his shoulder.

"Hey Detectives," one of the builders called out. Both men gathered their composer and looked up at the man.

"Yeah," Tidwell said, in more of a serious manner.

"Please let Captain Whick know that everything is set for the press conference," the worker explained.

"Copy that," Tidwell said with a thumbs up and turned to Grayson. "Let's get this circus started before it starts raining again, and we all get electrocuted on that deathtrap."

"You got jokes today, Partner," Grayson laughed.

In his default, low and pissy voice, Tidwell said, "Who's joking? Look at that damn thing?"

The worker shot the two detectives an aggravated look. Grayson caught the man's expression and said, "He doesn't mean it."

"The fuck I don't," Tidwell retorted. "It's made from metal piping, in a city that is known for its electrical storms, do you know what attracts lightning, Gray?"

"Okay, you made your point," he told Tidwell, then turned and shrugged at the builders.

"I just wanna know, who's idea it was to do that." Tidwell grumbled.

"All right. All right," Grayson said while he pulled Tidwell back inside the police station. "Let's get the captain, before you invoke a riot."

#

By five o'clock Captain Whick took his place behind a microphone. To his right Tidwell stood and to his left was Grayson. There were a cluster of other people from the Department. Below them were a large group of reporters and photographers who held their voice recorders up to get a clear recording or their camera to get the best picture.

"Good evening, thank you all for coming," the Captain said while he adjust the microphone to his height. "This morning around nine in the morning, detectives received a tip that led us to the location of the Copy Cat Killer. Less than an hour later our request for a warrant was approved and, one, Patrick O'Neil Junior was taken into custody by our officers under the command of Detective Dean Tidwell.

"Upon being taken into custody the suspect confessed to five of the eight murders. We are confident that he will admit to the other three in time. But, based on the affirmation that we have the District Attorney's office will be moving forward with a charge of murders on all eight victims."

Grayson who appeared confused, leaned slightly forward to attract Tidwell's attention and raised eight finger while he mouthed, the word, "Eight?"

Tidwell who also displayed an equal display of being perplexed, shrugged his shoulders.

"Furthermore, I believe I can speak for the Mayor and the Chief of Police, when I say that with the suspect behind bars, the killings are expected to end and it is safe to walk the street of this great city at night once again."

Again, Grayson, leaned forward and mouthed, "What?"

Tidwell, gave his partner a hand signal to cool down, and ever so slightly nodded.

"I want to thank all of you for coming out on a moments notice, but I think it was worth it," Captain Whick said with a smile. Which in return the group in front of him chuckled. "Okay, we will take a few questions before we wrap things up. We still have a lot of work ahead of us tonight…Okay, who is first?"

A tall, well–dressed red head raised her hand.

Whick acknowledged her and said, "Go ahead."

"Thank you, sir…Martha Hope channel four news," she said quickly. "How was the suspect captured exactly?"

"Good question. Officers assembled a plan to lure the suspect's attention and sent Detective Grayson Copeland in first," Captain Whick explained. "While he was inside, Detective Copeland was a large enough distraction to allow oncoming officers to arrive at the location unnoticed until it was too late."

For the third time, Grayson leaned forward, but found that Tidwell was waiting for him. The younger detective raised an eyebrow and his partner grinned and winked.

He said it was all a plan to draw out the copycat, Grayson thought. Tidwell really saved my ass today.

"Yes, you," Whick pointed and said.

"Why do you think the suspect is willing to admit to killing five women and not the eight?" A Reporter asked. "And if he is in fact a Jack the Ripper Copycat how does those three women fit into the picture."

"I cannot say much on that at the moment," the Captain answered. "But it is believed to be practice before he sought out his main victims."

Another reporter yelled out, "But, Polly Nicholas was murdered after Cassandra Albert's body was found at the biker bar."

Then another asked, "Are you sure the murders of young women are over?"

"Absolutely," the Captain replied.

"Melissa Newman was found after the main murders begin," a reported in the front row shouted. Before Captain Whick could answer the press exploded into an uncontrolled barrage of inaudible questions.

"No more further questions. Thank you," Whick said and turned to exit the platform.

As Grayson walked down the steps, he glanced back at Tidwell and said in a snarky manner, "Well, that went well."

"Yeah, well…at least it didn't rain," Tidwell retorted.

Whick looked back toward the two detectives and sternly said, "Dean follow me to my office we need to talk."

"Gotcha Cap," Tidwell said and looked over at Grayson in a mixture of confused and worried expression.

The two shrugged at each other as the entered the building.

A desk clerk waited on the other side of the door and as everyone came inside, he ran up to Grayson and Tidwell, and said, "Detectives, Father O'Neil his here."

The two look at each other.

"He wants to speak with you before he meets with the, um, suspect," the Desk Clerk continued. "You want me to have him wait?"

"I'll go chat with the priest and you go find out what the Captain wants," Grayson said. "Then we'll meet back at the desks."

"Sounds good, Gray," Tidwell said with a nod.

Tidwell crossed the mass of officers until he stood in front of Captain Whick's office door. He stood there for a moment to collect his composure then delivered three hard knocks on the door. From the other side of the door the detective heard, "Come on in."

Tidwell entered Whick's office, it was cool, dark, with the street lights on the outside illuminated the small space. In front of him, the captain was already seated behind his dark cherry wood desk.

"Come on in and have a seat, Dean," Whick said as he clicked on his small brass desk lamp.

"What's the matter Cap?" Tidwell asked, his nerves evident.

"Sit down and we'll talk," the captain said, as he removed a large, over–filled folder from beside his desk. Tidwell, said no more and took a seat in a chair which faced Whick's desk. He watched as his boss slipped on a pair of reading glasses and opened the folder. "How have you been, Dean?"

"Oh, you know, same ole, same ole," Tidwell replied, while he tried to mask how uncomfortable he was.

"Hmmm," was all that came out while he examined the contents of inside the folder. "How are you feeling physically?"

"Good. Sleepy, of course, but good."

"Dean, I've known you for decades, so I am gonna cut through the bull shit," Whick abruptly said.

"Okay, Cap, hit me with it." Tidwell said.

"Doctor Vaziri faxed over the result of the recent set of tests."

"Shit," Tidwell said under his breath.

Whick took off his glasses and sat them on a stack of papers next to him, "You're quite sick, my friend. But you know that already, don't you?"

"Yes sir," Tidwell answered honestly.

"He says you only have ninety days to live," the captain croaked.

"Yeah, well, he is a freaking idiot," Tidwell retorted angrily. "It was his dumb ass who talked me into freezing the cancer. How does it go from its frozen and fine to you're gonna die in three months?"

"Perhaps you should seek a second opinion, Dean," Whick said, his words somber.

"How much time will that buy me on this case," Tidwell asked, with a bit of hope returned back into his face.

"Nothing really," Whick said and closed the large folder. "I can put you on medical leave while you look for a second opinion. At least you'll still get a paycheck at the end of the week, like normal."

Tidwell jumped forward in his chair, with rage in his eyes.

"You think I give a damn about money," Tidwell hissed. "The job needs to be finished."

"You caught O'Neil, case closed, job well done," the captain spat. "I'll tell you what, I was going to send you home now. But, I will let you wrap up things tonight and medical leave begins in the morning."

Tidwell lowered his head where his chin met his chest and said in a low tone, "What am I going to do at…at home? All I ever had was my job. Do you see me at Senior night at the Y?"

Whick cracked a smile.

"Maybe now I'll take up that one hobby I always wanted to do, but never had the time." Tidwell said.

"That's a good idea, Dean," the captain said as he watched Tidwell painfully force himself up from the chair.

"Yeah…" Tidwell said in almost a whisper.

Whick watched as Tidwell walked over to the door and asked, "So are you going to tell me?"

Tidwell had his hand on the doorknob, when he replied, "What?"

"The new hobby." He said.

"Oh," Tidwell said, and turned to face the captain with a straight face. "VR Porn."

"Huh?" Whick asked.

"Virtual Reality Porn," Tidwell answered. "Gray and Lisa got me a VR headset for Yule, I heard the porn on there is a hoot."

Captain Whick laughed out loud, which in turn caused Tidwell to grin.

"You gotta let me know how that works out for ya," he kidded.

To be continued…

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