The Shady Arms Recreational Vehicle Park was a throwback to the days of glory on old Route 66. Unfortunately, it as well as every RV in it currently looked as if they had not been maintained since then. The park was home to not only the occasional elderly traveler in their own vintage RV but to a group of poor white trash that the local police referred to as the Desert Pikeys. Named after the character that Brad Pitt played and the family he was a part of in the movie Snatch. Or as Wikipedia so eloquently puts it. Pikey is a pejorative slang term used mainly in Britain to refer to people who are of the Traveller Community. Pikey is also sometimes called a piker in the United States.
The majority of the Kingman police went with the English version Pikey but they all referred to them in the desert dwelling nomenclature. Detective Ted Wade referred to them simply as trailer trash. He was there to see if any of the trailer trash had anything to add to the scattered indifferent reports they had given to the patrolman that canvassed the park after the man the news was now calling the Ransom Murderer crushed and then left his burner cell phone here.
Desert Pikeys did not like the police and more than a few doors were slammed shut in the detective’s face before he finally found someone who realized that the questions were concerning the serial killer on the news. The trailer dwelling scum definitely believed in feeding off of any kind of gossip or tragedy they could wrap their filthy souls around.
“I’m just checking to see if on Monday, April 21st you happened to see an RV that was out of the ordinary in any way. If you remember anything odd at all, it’s concerning the last girl that was taken by the Ransom Murderer.”
The withered old woman with a lit Camel cigarette firmly planted in the side of her mouth was mid-way through shutting the door in the detective’s face when the last words hit her. She didn’t say a word at first; she just stopped the motion and then stared down at the dirt around Detective Wade’s feet as if to let him know he could continue.
“We found a pre-paid cellphone that he used smashed over in the area past the old shower building. He used that phone to call the parents right before he…” Ted Wade didn’t know if he should continue the sentence or if he should at least come up with a less harsh version of the rest of what he was about to say. The old woman looked directly into his eyes. She could smell the details and she wanted a taste more than anything.
“Finish the sentence boy; I ain’t afraid of the details.” Never touching the cigarette with her hands she simply took a long pull from it as it stayed firmly planted in it’s corner and then let the smoke creep forth from both nostrils slowly.
“He smashed the cell phone right after he cut the young girls tongue out and right before he spent two weeks torturing her until he finally gave her peace by slamming a rock into the back of her head.” The details were as delicious as she had suspected. She took another long drag from the planted Camel and then opened the door fully. She wandered over to a small table with seats on both sides that had turned a yellowish brown color from its life in the ancient RV with Grandma Smokestack and sat down. She then pointed a gnarled finger towards the seat on the other side of the small collapsible eating table for the detective to choose from and then took a large gulp from a light green Tupperware glass.
“There was a light tan Bounder here with the orange and yellow stripe on the side and going around the top of it too. Somebody had scratched the bottom half of the b off of it so it looked like it said Pounder.” She planted another camel in the side of her downturned mouth and lit it then took another long sip from the Tupperware glass. Ted Wade could tell that it whatever it was she was drinking it was more than half full of vodka.
“So what made this particular Bounder worth mentioning?”
“Because he didn’t stay overnight; he pulled in before noon and he left sometime before five. Also for some reason he wouldn’t piss inside it and he wouldn’t go more than a foot away from it. He wandered around to the side of it twice and pissed, always keeping one hand on it. I figured he was cooking meth or something but he didn’t stay so I stopped giving a shit. Oh and he puked too, right before he left he wandered out and yakked all over his piss spot and then he just drove off.” She stood up, pulled a Tupperware pitcher out of the small refrigerator and refilled her glass.
“Is there anything else you can remember about the RV that would have made it distinctive?” He had seen at least three similar Bounder models on the way into the park.
“I was sitting over at Mary Dungee’s camper shooting the shit when I saw it; she’s over there by the old shower buildings. Mary’s the one that pointed him out.”
“And what did he look like?”
“Tall, skinny fella with dirty blond hair and wearing a hat, so I don’t know if he had hair on the top too. Nothing special about him; wearing jeans and a t-shirt like everybody else. That’s all I got, you can go now.” She pointed to the door and Detective Wade politely made his way out.
Being trapped in a metal tube with a chain smoking old lady had made the detective feel slow and cancerous in a matter of moments. He couldn’t imagine how the old bat was still able to stand at all much less make the walk from her old RV to Mary Dungee’s which was more than a minute just to drive to where it resided directly across from the old shower house. He started this time with a different approach when the equally weathered senior citizen opened her door.
“Who’s asking?” The voice croaked through a thousand miles of broken glass and dirty ashtrays.
“Detective Ted Wade Ma’am, Connie Fry said that you might have some information about a strange man that was parked in a Bounder RV over by the shower house on April the 21st, it’ll just take a minute.”
“What the hell is Connie giving me up to the cop’s for?”
“I believe the man you saw may have been the Ransom Murderer.” Mary Dungee motioned her hand to the detective for him to move out of her way. She wore a dingy navy blue bathrobe that was pulled tightly with man’s leather belt to keep it closed and pair of gas station flip flops that exposed her weathered old feet that reminded one of a mummy’s if they also sported comfortable footwear. She took a seat in one of the worn folding lawn chairs that made a semi-circle under the stretched thin awning that hung from her RV, then pulled a generic pack of cigarettes from one of the robe’s pockets and lit it.
“The skinny jackass in the Bounder right?”
“I believe so ma’am. Is there any more that you could tell me about him or the RV? Any little thing could be a help.”
“It said Pounder on the driver’s side and it had the orange and yellow stripe on the side and it had one going around the top of it too. I’m pretty sure it was about an 87 or 88 model cause me and my husband Ed looked at those back when we bought this.” She crooked a thumb back towards her RV and then shook her head just a little. “We probably should have bought that; this piece of shit won’t get ya to the store and back half the time.”
“And can you describe him for me?”
“Skinny with long dirty blonde hair, wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a hat like every other jackass around here.”
“Did you get a look at his face, was he old, young?”
“He was right in the middle, he wasn’t a kid and he wasn’t granddad, maybe early forty’s, he kept his head down.”
“I know that this doesn’t matter” she paused as if trying to put it into words “Half way through the day his hands got real clean, he looked like he’d been working digging ditches the first couple of times but when he came out and puked everywhere his hands were washed up to the middle of his arms so there was like a clean/dirty line in the middle.” Detective Wade scribbled this fact into his small spiral bound note pad.
“Do you remember the tag at all by any chance?”
“It was Arizona and it had 6s or Gs but I wasn’t really looking,” Connie had said “then told me to forget it when he left. Hell I wasn’t paying much attention to her any way she tends to have an imagination. Crazy old bitch thinks everyone’s an alien or is cooking meth.” She then stood up and began to walk back to her RV without a word but stopped at the first step and turned. “It had an American RV Park sticker on it, that’s an uppity place off Route 66 in Albuquerque, it looked old though.” She continued up the small make shift stairs and disappeared into the faded green tin can on wheels she called home.
Detective Wade walked over to the spot where Mary Dungee had pointed during her description of the RV driver puking; there was indeed a small mountain of possible DNA evidence for some lucky crime tech to scoop up. Wade returned to his Crown Victoria, cranked the air conditioning to full blast then removed his cellphone from his pants pocket and made a call into the station. He would get the tech nerd to see how many 1987-88 Fleetwood Bounders there were registered in Arizona while he had the crime scene nerd come and scoop the puke. He also needed to make a call to his partner and get him involved in the work at hand, but right now he needed to take a quick stop at the closest gas station to take a piss and maybe get a cold six pack and bag of ice to shove in the cooler that had taken up residence in his trunk for the long drive back to the civilized world.