The order of my stories to read is:
Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, Case of the Executed Evangelist series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, The Murdered Football Player series.
The Black Widow, Ch. 01-03
Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.
This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.
Part 14 – Night Of The Black Widow
Entering the apartment, I saw Tanya Perlman and the Crime Lab team at work gathering evidence, and the medical examiner “CMB” looking over the body. The body was seated in a small metal chair, his hands tied behind him with rope, his pants puddled around his ankles. The back of his head was bashed in, making the face barely recognizable, but the oily black hair and the glasses on the floor a few feet away made the identification fairly obvious. A huge black circle with four legs coming out each side was painted on the punk’s skinny chest, and the hourglass of two red triangles outlined with white were in the middle of the circle.
“Dawdle’s wallet and ID were in his pants pocket.” Tanya said. “However, his cell phone has not been found in the room, and may have been taken. This is not where he lives, and this apartment is unrented. Looks like he was brought here, but the neighbors claim to have seen nothing at all.”
“Who called it in?” I asked.
“Neighbor below.” Tanya said. “They heard some noises like people stomping on the floor for a while, but it then stopped. Then, at about 10:30, some blood came dripping through the ceiling and they called 9-1-1. We’re keeping them away from any phones, and I’ve ordered that the police radio not be used at all so that the Press doesn’t get wind of it.”
“Bless you for that one, Tanya.” I said. “I owe you a big beer for that. Aw, Jesus…”
Everyone looked at me, so I finished the thought out loud: “Whoever did this did us no favors at all; the Press will say this is a cover-up for the football PED story he was reporting on, and now the whole Black Widow story might get out.”
“That’s why they pay you the big bucks, Lieutenant.” Tanya said. Her crime team laughed. I was much less amused.
“So what happened here?” I asked as I examined the body closely. “Either the blow that killed him wasn’t enough to knock him over, or they put his body back upright.”
“We’re swabbing for DNA around his genitals.” Tanya said. “He definitely was brought off before he was killed.”
“So what was used to make the spider markings?”
“Some kind of actor’s makeup for the black stuff. The white outline of the triangles is also some kind of grease paint, but the red appears to be lipstick. Sure used a lot of it.” Tanya replied.
“CMB, any idea what made these abrasions on Dawdle’s forehead and cheeks?” I asked.
“Not sure yet.” CMB said. “Looks like they roughed him up before they whacked him.”
“We’ve taken blood samples, but don’t know yet if they drugged him.” Tanya said.
“Hmm,” I said, looking at the floor a few feet in front of where the chair and body were facing. “There are some blood smears on the carpet here. I wonder if they match the abrasions on his face and head? Guys, mark these stains on the carpet, photograph them and then sample them.”
As the crime lab members did so, I had an insight. “Has anyone tried to lift the victim out of the chair yet?” A chorus of “no”s hit me. “Can a couple of you lift him up enough that I can see what’s on the chair?”
By now Tanya and her crime teams had learned not to question the ol’ Lieutenant’s seemingly strange requests. A couple of officers raised up the body by the armpits.
“Wow, there are liquids on the chair.” Tanya said.
“Let’s get him off there.” I said. The victim was untied and his body carefully laid to the side on its side. I examined the top of the chair as Barry Oliver collected samples of the fluids.
“Semen and blood.” Tanya said. “By the way, when a victim dies, he usually loses control of his bowels. We should be finding shit there, not semen and blood.”
“Yep,” I said, “and if you look at the punk’s asshole, it’s clear that he has been raped. My guess is that the perps tied his hands behind him, put him face-down and ass-up on the floor and sodomized him… that’s where he got the face and head abrasions from as they forced his head into the carpet while raping him, and that’s why his blood is on the carpet there. Anyway, after he was raped, he was placed in the chair, tied almanbahis to it, and then he was injected with drugs and someone went to work on his genitals to make him climax before killing him.”
“None of the other Black Widow victims were sodomized.” said Tanya. “Does that mean it’s a copycat?”
“If it is, then my job just got twice as hard,” I said, “as it means there’s a huge leak in either the Police Department or the FBI.”
Just then Angela Harlan and Hugh Hewitt came to the door. “Hi guys, can we help?” Angela asked.
“Take a look, but don’t get in the lab guys’ way.” I said. “What are you two doing here, by the way?” I asked.
“Saw the police cars out front and came in to help.” Angela said.
“There’s been nothing on the police radio about this at all, by the way.” Hugh said.
“And I want it to stay that way.” I said. “I don’t want the Press here at all.”
Unfortunately, my desires were unfulfilled as Bettina Wurtzburg and her cameraman Scott Turnbull showed up just fifteen minutes later. Senior Patrolmen Rudistan and Morton held her back, but I knew I had to speak to her about it. So I went down and asked Bettina to come with me, off camera, and we went a little ways off but within the police cordon.
“Bettina, I’m going to tell you what happened, but it’s embargoed for two hours, and you’ll see why when I tell you.” I said. Bettina reluctantly agreed.
“The dead man inside there is Tim Dawdle.” I said. As the shock hit Bettina I said “I’m going to have to interview you now, as an associate of the deceased. Can you tell me the last time you talked to him?”
“To- tonight, at about 8:00.” Bettina said, her face totally blank except for the shock. “We’d just wrapped up the post-action meeting for the 6:00pm broadcast. He got a phone call while he was calling sources within the NCAA about their part in the PED cover-up- oh my god, he’s dead? Don, what happened to him? Was he murdered? Who did this to him?”
“Two hours, Bettina.” I said. “Yes, he was murdered, by a blow to the back of the head. Let my crime lab finish their work. And let me get you and your cameraman some coffee while you wait.”
Two hours later… to the exact minute… Bettina went into action. The camera filmed the body being removed, which I didn’t particularly mind. Bettina was on the phone, calling her editor and breaking the news story, then filming her segment and an interview with me. I consented to the interview in an effort to prevent details about the Black Widow from coming out, only saying that the victim had been killed by a blow to the back of the head, and that we’d know more when the Crime Lab’s report came out.
At 6:00am that morning, Thursday, there was a full meeting in Classroom J of Police Headquarters. Jack Muscone’s FBI team was present, as well as my entire MCD team and Teresa Croyle from Vice. Captain Brittany Maxwell of the University Police was also there, at my invitation.
“The liquids on the victim’s penis was saliva.” reported Tanya Perlman, who had not slept the night before, and neither had I. “And preliminary tests suggest it was a male. We are also working up DNA samples from the semen that was left on the chair and in Dawdle’s ass. Maybe two or three guys in the room with him.”
“No sign of a woman?” the Chief asked.
“There was lipstick on Dawdle’s neck right at the shoulder.” Tanya said. “It had been covered with blood from the blow to the back of the head, but some lipstick was left and I’m praying for some extra skin cells. Anyway, it might have been a woman that left the kiss mark, but she did not see fit to perform oral or vaginal sex upon him.”
“Poison?” I asked.
“Yep, he’d been injected, and it looks like the same stuff that was injected into Burleson.”
“Crowbar, any ideas?” asked the Chief.
“I’ve already left instructions for the Lab to compare any DNA to the rape of Bettina Wurtzburg, and see if it’s the same thugs.” I replied. “Not sure if it’s the same people, and we never got any samples from Ikea when he was raped there, but we might get lucky and get a match. It’s just a hunch, but this case reminds me of that one, except that Bettina lived while Dawdle died.”
“So you don’t think this was related to the Black Widow killings?” Jack Muscone asked.
“Oh yes, I very much do think it’s the Black Widow.” I said. “If the tests confirm the poison was the same as Burleson, then I’m going to work the angle that it’s the same set of killers. I don’t think these sophisticated drugs are that prevalent or easy to come by.”?
“That’s a good point.” said the Chief. “So are you saying the Black Widow was related to the Wurtzburg rape?”
“No, Chief, and let me try to explain more clearly.” I said, realizing that I had done an exceptionally poor job of expressing what I was actually thinking.
I began: “Bettina was attacked as she met her source, who was Ikea, and that was a hired hit meant to intimidate her into backing almanbahis giriş off reports that were a problem for wealthy University alumni in the Murdered Lovers case.”
I continued: “The Dawdle crime scene shows two distinct phases. The first was similar to Wurtzburg in that Dawdle was tortured and sodomized, possibly over the PED stories he reported.
“Then the second phase was tying him to the chair, making him sexually climax, and then killing him by a blow to the head along with an injection of poison drugs. That’s the Black Widow angle, her motif.
“The only reason I think this is related to the Wurtzburg attack is that some of the same perps might have been hired for both. We know my nephew Ned was involved in Bettina’s attack. Maybe he was involved in this one, also. But then again, maybe not.”
“So do you think the perps did a copycat of the Black Widow killings?” asked FBI Agent Lindy Linares.
Boy! did I fuck this up, I thought to myself as I said, “No, I think this is not a copycat killing… it’s the Black Widow, but she and her perps wanted to make it look like it was a copycat killing, hence the differences in the sexual acts upon Dawdle.”
“This might sound weird,” Angela Harlan said, “but if I recall, the other men that have been murdered were decent or even good-looking and were heterosexuals as far as we know. But Dawdle is a pretty sickening little twit to look at; maybe the Black Widow had him sodomized by other men because she didn’t want to touch him, or maybe because she knew he’s a fag.”
“But he’s not… er, wasn’t a homosexual.” Cindy Ross said, and I noted the underlying anger in her eyes at Angela’s use of the word ‘fag’ as Cindy continued: “Lainie already has worked up some data, and I asked her to look specifically into that. Dawdle was not a part of the gay scene in this Town.” No one said out loud that Cindy Ross would have more knowledge of that than she was prepared to tell out loud, though everyone knew.
“It’s likely he was raped for the same reason Ikea was.” I said. “To humiliate and punish him. To send a message- Oh! it’s nearly seven o’clock. Let’s see what Bettina has to say.”
“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News.” said the lovely reporterette, though much more somberly than normal. “Last night the body of my colleague Tim Dawdle was found here at the Pine Cone Apartments. Tim was murdered by what the medical examiner has called a blow to the back of the head with a heavy, blunt instrument. No other details have been given. We now go to a taped interview with Police Lieutenant Don-“
“Why the hell did you give her an interview, Don?” the Chief asked as everyone watched.
“I gave it so that I could keep details about the Black Widow from becoming public for as long as possible.” I said. The Chief just nodded, still frowning.
Once my taped interview was over, Bettina was back on. “Although police have not yet found any suspects or motive in the murder of reporter Tim Dawdle, it is well known that he had recently broken a huge story about PED use in the University football program, and a potential cover-up by the University, the NCAA and the Conference. I can assure you that Channel Two News will be vigorously following the investigation of the murder of Tim Dawdle, and relentlessly inquiring as to who might have committed this horrible act, and why. This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News.”
“Fun fun, we get to go interview reporters at KXTC.” I said to Cindy, Teresa, Martin Nash and Diana Torres. “I expect them to be hostile to us and to not say anything, but we will appeal to their professional association with the victim and guilt to get them to talk.”
Arriving at the KXTC headquarters, we found that Katherine Woodburn was in her office with Bettina Wurtzburg. At first, she refused to give consent for her people to be interviewed.
“Lieutenant, you know the protections of the Press prohibit us from talking about any of this.” Woodburn tried.
I tried a new tactic. I pulled a small chair up next to Ms. Woodburn’s, behind her desk, and sat down. She looked deeply offended, which is what I hoped to see.
“Ms. Woodburn,” I said, keeping my voice quiet and even, just a tiny bit too quiet and even, “your journalistic protections apply to sources, not to reporters themselves. Dawdle was your reporters’ colleague, and we need any information we can get to try to find his killers. There may even be a connection between those perps and the ones that attacked Ms. Wurtzburg here a few months ago. All I want is to bring the killers to Justice, and to bring Justice to whoever is behind those killers. Now I fail to understand why what I want is not exactly the same thing that you want for your employee.”
“You police need to be out there looking for killers and not harassing my reporters.” Ms. Woodburn said, showing some anger and dislike of the police.
“Oh for God’s sake, Katherine!” Bettina almanbahis yeni giriş said, exasperated. “Let them talk to our people and let us help them find whoever killed Tim! Don, I’ll help you no matter what Ms. Woodburn says. I imagine plenty of others will, as well.” Katherine Woodburn gaped at Bettina, but said nothing else.
“So, Ms. Woodburn, what will it be?” I asked, relaxing back into my chair, still using that quiet voice. “Subpoenas all around, and you looking bad if you fight them publicly? Or some cooperation on your part… just questions about Dawdle, not your stories.”
Katherine Woodburn looked ill-at-ease, but reluctantly consented to interviews with the reporters, but only with KXTC lawyers present.
To my great surprise, most of the reporters were actually helpful and willingly answered our questions. Unfortunately, not much was learned. Tim Dawdle was disliked by just about every one of his colleagues, most of whom considered him nearly worthless as a reporter. No one had had enough conversations with him to know much about him, and nobody really had seemed to care about his existence.
At the 4:00pm meeting in Classroom J, a lot of information was put out.
Myron Milton went first with the digital data. “As you know, Tim Dawdle was a reporter for KXTC. He has been a reporter of some kind since graduating from the University of Georgia Journalism School. Their Journalism School is one of the best: it gives out the Peabody Awards, which are just behind the Pulitzer Prize in prestige. Probably that is the only reason why Dawdle has been able to secure any jobs at all, and he bounced around from place to place, several jobs in a short amount of time, most recently coming to KXTC as a sports reporter.”
Myron continued “Dawdle had school loan debt but nothing else of significance. One credit card, not a very high limit, and only half-maxed out. No large amounts of money anywhere, no unusual deposits of money into his accounts. He liked to look at porn, heterosexual porn, and a good bit of that was found on his computer at home. Other than that, nothing of interest at all. Neither his personal nor work-related emails showed any threats against him, even though he was carrying on an investigation into the University football team that was becoming an embarrassment to them.”
More Myron: “His cellphone was not found on his person, but I traced the number given to me by the two reporters that had his number in their cellphones. His calls mostly were to other reporters, to order pizza, stuff like that. I suspect he may have had a burner phone to use with sources and contacts of that nature.
“However, one call from a burner phone came to his regular cellphone around 8:00pm, the time Bettina Wurtzburg said she last saw him. The burner phone pinged a cell tower near the apartment where he was found, and currently is not pinging at all, which suggests it has been destroyed or disposed of.”
Goth Girl Mary Mahoney picked up the thread. “We found no connection between Dawdle and Tom Burleson or any of the other ‘Black Widow’ murder victims, nor any connection between Dawdle and Mr. Ward or Ward Harvester. However, I did find one report from an undercover police officer, who obtained a surveillance photograph of Dawdle at lunch in a Downtown sandwich bistro with a woman named ‘Goth Girl Kathy’-“
“Ah, any association with the BDSM crowd?” the Chief asked, butting in. “For that matter, did Dawdle have any association with them?” The Chief was just not going to let that go, I realized as I butted in myself.
“Goth Girl Kathy has no association that we know of with the BDSM crowd, Chief.” I said firmly. “But she’s known to be a very close associate of my nephew Ned.” The Chief knew this; I was stunned at how he’d jumped at the name vis-a-vis any kind of BDSM angle.
“Yes sir, that’s right.” Mary said. “Vice was watching her in the hope of her leading us to Ned and/or his drugs… and of course, they want to beat the Iron Crowbar to capturing Ned just for the sake of doing so.” There was a murmur about that, and I nodded in acknowledgement. Then we noticed the Chief’s icy stare at us all, which shut all noise down. He bade Mary to continue.
“It never panned out.” she said. “Neither she nor Tim Dawdle had any association with BDSM that we know of, though Kathy could’ve had associations we don’t know about. Dawdle was too well known as a reporter, they would’ve shunned him. He was more in with the punk crowd, but even they didn’t like him very much.”
Tanya then gave her report. “The blow to the head killed Dawdle, a blow delivered by a solid object such as a baseball bat. Very similar injuries to Tom Burleson there. The drug he was injected with is identical, exactly identical in every respect, to that used on Tom Burleson.
“Dawdle was anally raped multiple times by at least two different men.” Tanya continued. “It was saliva that we found on his penis and genitals, and I’m certain enough that it was a male to tell you that now. The lipstick kiss on Dawdle’s shoulder was likely done by a woman wearing black lipstick, but there’s not enough to make a DNA match.”
“All right, Crowbar, wrap this up with a bow.” the Chief said wearily.