Sara was looking at the black clouds traveling swiftly overhead. “Five more minutes,” she thought. She stared at the bridge, watching as the cars traveled over the Sacramento River. Her mind was trying to piece together everything she knew to answer the lingering questions she had. Why were there two different DNA? What was Justine leaving out? Where was Justine’s sister? Has Nick come up with anything new?
Her cell phone rang twice before it broke her thought. “Sidle.” “Name it.” Sara recognized the voice instantly, just as the butterflies in her stomach did. “C.J’s.” The brisk walk took her to her car and out of the rain that had dumped from the sky. Despite the traffic, it didn’t take long before the bright “Happy Star” glanced at her. She tilted the rear-view mirror and took a quick glance. Her face looked dull, so she whipped out her blush brush and gloss from the make up bag she kept under the front seat. Sara was always prepared. She dabbed the brush on each cheek and then rolled the gloss over her lips. “It’ll have to do,” she thought.
When she walked in, he was sitting in his usual seat. She could see his face light up as she walked closer. “You look nice Sara.” “I clean up well.” Her smile made his heart beat faster. He missed her. He was always amazed at the things she said and did. She was not like any of the women he had ever met. She was savvy and upbeat. She figured things out before most of the other deputies did. It pissed them off, even when she didn’t say much, because they knew she knew. In the beginning they thought she was a mole. Very few displayed the knowledge she had “right outta the chute,” as he would put it. She couldn’t figure out why; “all cops should be like that.” The only difference was she was city smart and they were country smart. She showed she could handle her own, which caused testosterone to flare its ugly head, “no pun intended,” as she would say.
Jonathon Snark had been with the sheriff’s office for twenty two years. His face showed the years of calloused emotion and his shaved head hid his years. When his tinted eyeglasses were removed, his light colored eyes shared the compassion deep within. His plain, dark blue suit distinguished him. Sara had been rooting for him to go to detectives for years. Now that he was finally there, he realized his wisdom would be of great use. He envisioned the two working the division together and was disappointed when she opted to go in business for herself. By her tenth year there, she was burnt out and ready for new challenges. It was difficult for her to leave him even though nothing had manifested between them. Their souls were connected and knowing that was enough. They were a great team. Neither had to say much, as they always seemed to know what the other was thinking. A look or an incomplete sentence was easily understood.
Sara sat down in her usual seat in front of him. The booth had red vinyl upholstery that made a deep squeaking noise whenever one shifted in the seat. Neither of them seemed to noticed the noise like they had the first couple of times they met there. They were comfortable with each other now.
“Sara. Nick called asking about the evidence. I wanted to tell you myself. Seems to be concern there is more, a lot more than what Justine has told us, told you.” “So I’m discovering.” “There was DNA belonging to two other people besides Justine that was recovered from the scene.” “I know.” “Do you know why?” “No, that’s among some of the answers I’ve been looking for.” “There was DNA on the towel. Saliva. One belonged to the bo and the other to her pops.” “K…but give me the punch line” “During the search, I sensed something odd.” “You?" she raised her eyebrow. Sara was sarcastic; they were both subjects of having strange things happen in their world, on their watch. He continued, “Led me to one of those big **** gun lockers in the garage. Took a lot to get the damn thing open. A skeleton was hanging in there, on an L hook, like the kind you see in science class. I sent it to CLOVIS. The remains are from three different people.” “What?” She tilted her head down and focused in on what he was saying.
Tent shaped number “45” sat on the table in front of them. A gray haired lady wearing black pants and a red polo shirt limped their way carrying a tray of food. She sat the tray down, picked up the number and walked away. “I took liberty. You never let me buy.” “That’s so I don’t have to feel like I gotta sleep with ya.” “What’s it gonna take?” “I’ll letcha know, but for the record…it wasn’t cause you bought today.” “Looked like a regular skeleton. For 's' and 'g' I sent it in.” Snark always spoke in acronyms. In this case it meant **** and giggles or in other terms- for the hell of it.
“Anyway, the bones don’t match up. They'll check it out. I checked Justine’s criminal history. She’s clean. Checked CAD through dispatch. We’ve been to her house nine times in five years for domestic disputes and six on odor.” “Odor?” “Yeah, ANT was called out to investigate for a possible cook. The Anti-Narcotics Team found diddly. No porn.” “Meaning no drugs. K. So you think the 'odor' means decomposition of the bodies?” “Yep, but the bones been hanging awhile. Ask me when the last time ANT had to go out on an 'odor' call?”
Just then her cell phone rang. It was Nick. As she answered, she handed Snark a list of names of whom she was trying to locate from Justine's file. Felicia Villanova and Evelyn Sidle were at the top. He took it, folded it in two, and placed in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.
“Can Sara come out and play?” “What’s up Nick?” “We’ll play sticks and bones if ya wanna come down to the yard-the booooaaannnneeee yyyyaard. A game of challenge for us both.” “All right. I’ll come play. What’s the ante?” “I buy you dinner.” “Think of another one. I’ll be there in a bit.”
"Did he offer to buy you dinner?” Snark chuckled. Sara rolled her eyes,“Shut up!” “You baitin?” “Yeah, but your 'my' jon.- no pun intended.”