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Chapter 18:

"Ears In The Water, Eyes In The Hills"


During lunch, Thompson took a call from Lopez.

“Basically, I am still unable to re-initiate contact with Becca and Veronica Roller—the two Phoenix Bloody Rollers, the roommates I flew out and interviewed—in the wake of their girlfriend Jessica Roller's death down here in San Diego,” Lopez said. “It's better than a week now since I've had any verbal with them—since even before the nonsensical reports about their last Saturday night match with the Flagstaff team. But regardless of what some greater Phoenix metropolitan area fans say happened last Saturday, and what some fans say did not happen—the Maricopa County authorities' consensus is that both teams' full rosters are missing without a trace, for better than a week now.”

“That helps out, in terms of information, in a very left-handed, inverse way,” Thompson said. “We're up here trying to defend ourselves from these furry she-monsters, and at the same time figure out a way to hunt them down. So these things are sending backup reinforcements from sunny Arizona, and now we know it probablywasn't just a couple of stragglers or outriggers. It's fair for us to assume they're all up here, armed and freaky.”

“I don't know if I can get it authorized through our department to come up and help you guys out. We're understaffed and the chief would laugh right out loud if I asked. But if you can get any sort of funding or special request through some various contingency channels, our command chain might be convinced. I'd be willing to gather up and help you guys out up there,” Lopez thoughtfully offered. “But there aren't any standing slush funds for appropriating wars against zombie wolf ladies.”

“Well, take some time off if you want. We're going trawling off the coast in the next couple of days—did I mention that maniac out-of-water sharks had now entered the fray?” Thompson suggested. “Then, this weekend, we're booting up and doing a little urban fewolve search and destroy.”

...


After lunch, Thompson briefed the office regarding Lopez's update on the Bloody Rollers and the Flagstaff rivals, explaining that all of both teams might be at their doorstep. The Coast Guard called back, even sooner than expected, offering up the Blint Mary, staffed with Coast Guard personnel, as soon as they were ready. That very night, if applicable. OK.

“Let's get you boys out on the water tonight, just a kind of eyes-and-ears feel-of-the-sea sort of thing. Keep a low profile, don't go rattling any cages or dragging any chains,” the lieutenant said. “Just get out there, get used to the low light, get used to the motion of the ocean, get what crash course in seamanship you might need, and get to know your Coast Guard crew. Then tomorrow, get out there and spend an afternoon on the water and get a feel for the setting during the daytime. Following all that, you should have a better idea regarding what the task at hand is, and how you might go about it, since we're pretty much just making up the rules to wolflady hunting season as we go along.”

...


Thompson and Smith stopped at their respective bachelor pads, changed clothes and packed their gear bags. They headed back to Westport, where the Blint Mary was docked. The lieutenant called the Coast Guard agent back, and told them to expect his detectives in the next couple of hours.

They arrived and had a briefing and safety training session with the interim crew of the Blint Mary. Their new colleagues and confidantes during whatever seafaring portion of the challenge was to follow, from here on out. They suited up in big wool insulated rain gear (the cold, soupy sky marinade had been nonstop for days now), and they boarded the vessel and shoved off.

The bodies had been removed from the ship since the detectives had last been aboard, and the big bloody spots scrubbed clean. There were still obvious bullet holes and minor damage allover the place, from the big bloody, deadly, shark-wolf-fisherman fight during the small hours Sunday morning.

They made their way north, toward the where the ship's erstwhile crew had been heard from for the last time.
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