There were twenty-three 1987 and twenty-nine 1988 Fleetwood Bounders registered in the state of Arizona. Out of those fifty two, eighteen were tan, the rest were all white and they all had the orange and yellow stripes. Detective Terry Date was one of Ted Wade’s best friends of the past twelve years. They were very much alike including the fact that neither one of them liked to deal with most people more than they had to. For the convenience of the department they were partners but they rarely rode together and usually did all of their work on cases separately sharing details and updates via cell phone. Detective Date’s marriage had been on the rocks the entire 12 years he had been Wade’s partner but it was now finally ending for good. He knew this because the divorce papers were making a convenient coaster for his third scotch of the day as he researched fucking Fleetwood Bounders for Wade.
The land line phone in the roach motel that Date had stayed in the night before was ringing. Had to be Wade because no one else knew anything about Date’s personal life and would have just called his cell. But calling his cell wouldn’t have woken him up if it rang. He usually didn’t answer it anyway so Wade called the hotel phone.
“What’s up Teddy?” Date choked out realizing it was the first words of the day.
“You got names and details of those Bounders for me?”
“Yeah I’m emailing them now. You need any help with those?”
“Are you in any condition to drive?”
“I can be, don’t worry about me, seventeen years of being married have set my tolerance very high my good sir.” And on queue Terry hocked up a giant wad of flem and almost threw up.
“Don’t worry about it Terry. I’ve got a black and white that’ll check the driver’s side of these Bounders first before we have to waste our time.”
“You wanna go to Dream Girls tonight?”
“Yeah, but only if you get sloppy drunk and make an ass out of yourself.”
“That’s my job as a loyal partner right?”
“Oh so that’s why you do it.”
“It’s all for you buddy.” Wade chuckled and then hung up the phone. He opened his laptop and found the email from Date and then forwarded it to the officer he had talked into helping with the leg work involved in the case. He could remember when he was a hungry beat cop waiting for his shield and the stupid mounds of shit heaped on him by the detectives back then. In the nineties there were no cameras on every block and no computers that fit in your pocket that could record video and take high definition pictures and the police department was run by a group of throwbacks to the seventies that were jaded old assholes who were as crooked as a San Francisco street. While Ted Wade would be up at the crack of dawn. Every single stinking day getting coffee and doughnuts for the residing detectives and helping to cover up the constant string of behavior that would have given internal affairs a pre Viagra four hour erection. These little shits begging for a badge in this day and time cry like a baby with shitty drawers if you ask one of them to serve a warrant or order pizza for the team. Luckily Wade had found one out of the flock that didn’t mind working for a living and even if the little shit was trying to jump over the dead bodies of his fellow officers to get to the top he was finally giving Ted the help he had needed since his partner had retired to the Motel 6. His name was Jordan Gaines and Detective Wade knew one day he would jump past him and run the whole place but for now he was his work horse and happy to be it.
“Did you get the list Gaines?” Wade asked making sure to show at least an ounce of respect to the rookie.
“Yes sir Detective Wade, which half would you like me to get started with?” The boy had respect for his superiors no matter how much of a washed up hack they may have been.
“Call me Ted boy, you’re not a criminal and you ain’t my boss yet, I’ll take the bottom half starting with Ralph Sammons and I’ll stop at Juan Mederos. You take the top half and be sure to call me if you see the Pounder or if there’s a skinny white boy with longish sandy blond hair anywhere in the vicinity.”
“Sure thing Ted” That even sounded weird to the detective but he wasn’t gonna pull an asshole move and tell the kid to go back to detective.
There was a time; it seemed like a million years ago that a serial killer on the loose of any kind would shut down whole cities. Now with the 24 hour news cycle, people tend to forget about atrocity quickly. In the days of Dahmer and Bundy it was gripping edge of your seat coverage. But now most of the sheep that inhabit the social media pasture are more interested if some ridiculous old white guy that owns a basketball team is a racist or if Kim Kardashian has gained or lost 10 pounds this week. The fact that in 2012 the FBI estimated there was more than 300 highway serial killers cruising the interstates of America didn’t seem to bother many people in 2014. He remembered the missing women in the West Mesa Bone Collector case and how it went from national headlines to local and then just faded completely off the radar within 6 months and no one was ever charged, even though more than 3 sickos had been looked at very closely. Now four years later, the world has completely changed. Every single person has a smart phone in their pocket and the constant stream of information from every direction has watered down reality as well as the collective attention span of the generation it has created. People can no longer handle such wordy news options as news casts or God forbid a newspaper. They get their information in one hundred and forty character spurts shot directly in one ear and out the other, meanwhile sociopaths roam the streets on a daily basis and as long as they don’t have enough Twitter followers no one will ever find out. Detective Wade closed his laptop, plugged his cell into the charger and headed for to meet Ralph Sammons, a 65 year old retiree from Phoenix who kept his 1987 Fleetwood Bounder parked in a storage facility in Kingman, Arizona. He was pretty sure old Ralph wasn’t his man but for the next couple of days he would have to cross every name off his list just to make sure.