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Chapter Four: "Above, as Below"

He pointed the sedan south, back toward MC's Ale House, where Kitty and a number of other of the Lickers team were on staff. She and Thompson found a seat at the crowded bar. MC's was swinging in anticipation of the quickly approaching Saturday morning. Kitty fed the jukebox, and a short time later Thompson saw Lopez, Carrasco, and the visiting Rollers darken the door as well. Or maybe it is more accurate to say they lit it up. It seemed Sandy was the only one of the hunting party who was not present. Everyone except Thompson ordered whiskey highballs, and they all cued for one of the crowded tables.

Veronica kicked everyone's ass at bar-rules pool, and continued to run the table against anyone else who stepped up to challenge her. They stayed until MC's closed at 3 a.m., then all quite very carefully motored back to Kitty’s and Sandy’s flat. As they arrived, it seemed to Carrasco and Lopez that the whole Lickers squad were hanging in and around the courtyard of the apartment campus, drinking beers under the canopy, smoking and joking, and standing about those tall kind of upright, treelike outdoor space heaters.

Everybody got up about 10 the following morning from their late-autumn nap. All were up pretty late, and with the windows heavily cloaked from the inside, there was no way a thing like the sun was going to bother any sleepers in there, in the rare circumstances when there was direct sunlight or people actually sleeping at the address. Smith's funeral was set for noon, and the various sleepyheads began rushing to shower off the moss and must and musk of the previous evening. At 2 o’clock that day was the funeral service for Janice Allison, who had been killed at Kelly Sammys pub during the funeral wake of her niece Tina Santos. The Santos homicide case had been originally designated to Smith and not Thompson in light of of Thompson’s recent sexual involvement with Santos.

Because Allison was visiting from out of town at the time of her death, and because the late Santos was her only known family, there were few, if any, attendees expected at her service. But because of the already-dressed-for-a-funeral crowd attending Smith’s rites, Allison’s memorial was socially serendipitous for Kitty, Sandy, Veronica, Becca, Carrasco, Lopez, Detective Thompson and his ex-wife Coroner Thompson, and MacKinney for various reasons. And Smith’s proved to be a who’s who of the local region’s law enforcement and its periphery.

After their romp with the subtle and beautiful Rollers and Lickers the night before, Thompson thought, he wouldn’t be surprised to see Carrasco and Lopez put in a bid for the Tacoma office, if only to retain a front seat on the fantastic crisis at hand.

Smith’s rainy high noon interment was, indeed, heavily populated with public servants, in addition to the local crowd. Those present included Thurston County Coroner Ben Jones and Olympia Police Department Detective David Wallace with whom Smith had collaborated in the investigation of the Katherine Wells axe murder/rape at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal. And there had been subsequent recent activity at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal involving the dark dogs and their enslaved land-going sharks.

“Speaking of which,” Kitty, having quietly read Thompson's mind, whispered in his ear during the service, “there’s activity down there. We’re hunting dog in Olympia after our derby match tonight.”

“Who do you guys have this evening?” Thompson whispered back.

“The Plaiden Switches again,” Kitty answered.

After Smith’s rites concluded, the group walked over to Allison’s, which was occurring at graveside in its entirety. Most if not all of Santos’ hotel jazz lounge bandmates were there, and also there was the bartender from Kelly Sammy’s who was on duty when Allison was accidentally though very ghoulishly impaled by the stuffed n’ mounted swordfish that was on the wall above the tavern’s restrooms. Dutifully present also were Professor Foster and his partner Daisy Wilson, who had been Smith’s best suspects in Santos’ murder until the case had led down the garden path of the supernatural and became so squirrelly with moon dogs. The group was an exercise in the study of the incestuousness of happenstance among human acquaintances, as it related to this motley crowd of bereaved. It was also a who’s who of who is and who isn’t still alive after the recent weirdness, as well as, a pretty auspicious representation about who might be next. Never twice lightning strikes...

On the way dropping Kitty off, Thompson asked her if she sensed anything weird about Foster and Wilson.

“I don’t think they’re bad. Maybe just bad luck,” she said, adding: “You might describe them as horny and in the way. The Thurston County Coroner is a cutie, though. Anyway, generally, your friends from Olympia, San Diego, and Oakland are all on the up and up. They are good folks and you can trust them.”

“Aside from the fact that we will be actively seeking trouble after tonight’s bout, do you guys paint anything on the wind that might raise a stink at the Plaiden v. Rollers match tonight?” he asked her.

“Well, you can’t expect them to mess with us, properly speaking. And no, I don’t have them showing up, necessarily. Not as of right now. But it’s not out of the question. We'll give you a heads up if they begin to drift too close, perhaps to try to pick people off from the fringes of the crowd or something like that,” she continued. “Or, what would be far, far, far more unlikely, would be an attempt at passive surveillance. However, another out-and-out attack like their first one at the warehouse is within the realm of possibility on any given day. But as of now, for some reason, they’re all quite well south of our location.”

Thompson dropped Kitty off at about 4:30, and headed home for a nap before last night’s hound-on-hound activities resumed. Lopez and Carrasco had headed back to their hotel room to do much the same, likewise exhausted as they were. The plan for later that Saturday night seemed, on its face, pretty straightforward: A four-hour nap; a good derby match; then, a trip down to Thurston County with the Rollers and the Lickers, to scare up some seaside wolfmonsters ripe for their reaping.  

Down in Thurston County, Ben Jones and David Wallace discussed the disposition of the Katherine Wells rape/homicide investigation. They were having the same kind of moral moment that their Pierce County had recently achieved, when they realized the only real suspects were not human, and thus difficult to collar, and so it was difficult to arrive at any positive disposition of the case with the methods typically applied to achieve human containment. This is a forensic paradigm shift that shocks the conscience, pierces the veil, and drastically changes any preconceived notions about reality, not to mention said historical notions regarding the proper conduct of police work.

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