advertisement. And this story was oddball enough that the choppers would flock for exclusive at 10 photos of downed power poles.
âNot from us, sir. He can count that there are six down. Thatâs as far as we go.â Which meant that if Dayan could pry something out of the Posadas Electric Cooperative, he was free to do so. Estelle squeezed my shoulder. âAnd when youâre done with him, you need some sleep.â
âPlenty of time for that. Not that you have time to think about it, but when does the Leister contingent roll into town?â
Estelle pressed both hands to the sides of her head in mock agony. âAy. Sometime Saturday, Iâm told. Carlos has been climbing the walls.â She rested a finger on her lips, secret style. âHe knows something we donât.â
âInteresting conspiracy going on there,â I chuckled.
âYouâd be amazed,â she said. âAnd thanks for heading Frank off at the pass.â
I didnât mind the assignment, since I liked Frank Dayan, and on top of that, knew perfectly well that Sheriff Bobby Torrez wouldnât mind me taking on the PR taskâanything as long as he didnât have to do itâa great lawman in the field, a lousy bureaucrat in the office.
When Iâd been chief deputy, then undersheriff, and finally sheriff of Posadas Country, Iâd enjoyed many a refreshing moment while reading young Bobby Torrezâs reportsâmasterpieces of concise brevity. My favorite had been a report written after an intoxicated prisoner punched Deputy Torrez while being led to an upstairs cell. âPrisoner struck deputy. Prisoner fell down stairs.â Fortunately for us, the prisoner had been so intoxicated that he remembered nothing of the episode, content the next day to attribute his colorful bruises to the blind staggers.
I made my way across to where Frank Dayan stood in company with Deputy Sutherland. Frank could have blended in on a street corner anywhere in the Middle East, even though I knew that he was the first generation of many in his family to stray beyond the city limits of San Antonio. Dark, piercing eyes were mellowed by a wide streak of indecision in his nature, with fine features and whiskers that lent a dark blue, Nixonesque shadow if not shaved four times a day. This uproar had caught him unprepared, and in the glare of pulsing lights, he looked both haggard and chilled.
âBill, they even rousted you out of bed?â
âI wish I could say that it was their fault,â I said. He pulled off a glove and his grip was soft, but he held on for a moment.
âI thought I was going to need an act of Congress to get through the road block there at the village limits,â he said. âThe sheriff sent me out here.â
âBobby is turning mellow in his middle age,â I said. âBut homicides are like that. If we donât keep a tight rein, things go missing. Like evidence, for instance.â
âSomeone said it was Kenderman. Is that true?â
I wondered who the âsomeoneâ was, but didnât bother Dayan with that. His paper wouldnât be out until later, and by then, the whole world would have the identification.
âThe undersheriff asked that I be the department liaison this time around,â I said without answering his question. âThe department is spread pretty thin just now.â Even that was a bit of news for Dayan. Some police administrators would have ulcers thinking that the public might find out that the department had a weakness, but what the hell. It was true.
Dayan peered past me, trying to make sense of the tangle. âDo I see three sets of poles down?â
âYou do. Dick Whittaker will talk with you about that when he can break loose.â
âHow did they do that?â The lens of Dayanâs camera twitched as he went to the maximum zoom, trying to see through the darkness.
âA chain saw.â