Detective Ted Wade pulled into the Motel 6 parking lot at two minutes to eight and immediately saw his partner Detective Terry Date crushing a cigarette butt into a small pile of butts on the sidewalk in front of his room. He wore dark aviator sunglasses on his bloated face that in the sunlight showed quite a bit more of his gin blossomed complexion. His hair was still wet and slicked back by one of the two dozen nickel combs that he had bought in bulk over ten years ago at a drug store going-out-of-business sale. He wore a thin short sleeve button up shirt with a white tank top under it and a slightly too wide paisley tie, cheap grey slacks and a pair of wingtips that had been resoled more than a few times. In his right hand he was holding a thermos of undrinkable sludge that he called coffee that he had made himself in an old plug-in electric coffee pot that was one of his only remaining belongings. He was the text book image of a washed up detective in almost every imaginable way and he was Ted Wade’s only real friend.
“Morning Terry, you ready for a drive.”
“You bet your saggy ass I am.” He opened the passenger side door and grunted loudly as he took his spot in the front seat. “What’d we got?
“Gaines found a tour company in Albuquerque that has a Breaking Bad tour that drives people around in a Bounder for three hours visiting all of the sites on the show and get this, Wade held up his cell phone to show a picture of a tan Fleetwood Bounder that had a missing bottom half to the b making it look like it said Pounder. That’s from the website and the same asshole that owns the RV owns a Jeep tours shop off the strip.”
The detectives arrived at the front door of Adventure Jeep Rentals at a quarter till nine that morning, a little bit too early for the front door to be open. Wade decided to take a five minute walk to a convenience store and get himself a drinkable cup of coffee and a fresh pack of cigarettes. Inside the store he found what was labeled an Espresso bar and poured French Vanilla espresso over a thirty-two ounce Big Gulp full of ice then walked to the front counter and asked for a pack of smokes.
“You can’t fill up the cold cups with coffee sir.” The pimple faced little shit behind the counter informed Detective Wade prompting him to take a sip of the mixture through the straw and casually open his wallet to show his shield.
“Never mind” the kid said and proceeded to only ring the officer up for his cigarettes. Wade thanked the boy for his understanding, plopped almost direct change on the counter and walked out of the store into the burgeoning heat.
“It’s 9:02 Ted, you don’t think this idiot knows we’re here do you?” Terry called out from the passenger side of the car.
“Nope, I think he’s probably just lazy and he’ll be here in a minute.” The duo sat patiently in the car with the air conditioning blowing directly in their face’s for ten minutes before a teenaged girl in a pair of cut off jean shorts and a company t-shirt arrived to unlock the door. By the time she had managed to get her keys out and turn them in the lock Wade was standing beside her and held the door open for her. He gave her a minute to flip the lights on, take the phones off voicemail and get situated behind the front counter.
“How may I help you sir?’ She mustered a bright and shiny demeanor although it was more than obvious she had had a rough night from the saddle bags under her eyes.
Wade plopped his shield onto the front counter and said in a calm calculated voice.
“I need to talk to the owner, any chance he’ll be in today?”
“He’s supposed to be here now.”
“Can you give him a call and let him know there are two detectives here waiting for him?” the girl picked up the phone punched a single button on the side of the phone and waited for an answer.
“Hey Justin, there are police detectives here waiting for you are you almost here?” she paused for a response and then simply said “K” and hung the phone back up.
“He’s across the street getting coffee he’ll be here in a second.” Two minutes later a man of maybe thirty years walked through the door holding a coffee in one hand and a bag containing the receptionist’s Red Bull and candy for the day wearing a pair of tan baggy cargo shorts, a faded company t-shirt and a pair of flip flops.
“Hey officers, how can I help you?” he motioned them into a door that resided on a hallway behind the front counter and took a seat behind an older office desk covered in clutter.
“In addition to this establishment you also own the Chrystal Ship Experience in Albuquerque, New Mexico is that right?”
“Yes sir I do”
“And is this your company’s RV?” Wade held up the cell phone picture of the Pounder.
“That looks like it.” The business owner remained eerily calm not even flinching at the questions or the fact they were being asked by two seasoned detectives.
“And can you tell me if that vehicle was in Albuquerque on Monday April 21st?”
“It was not, it was here in Lake Havasu on that Monday and then a couple of my guy’s drove it back that night.” He seemed over confidant probably thinking that the vehicle they were looking for would have been in Albuquerque that day and not Lake Havasu.
“Why was the vehicle here instead of in New Mexico on that day and are you sure of the date?”
“That was the Xandaloo Festival weekend, we had the RV parked in the parking lot and we were selling blue rock candy out of it, we made a ton of cash.”
“And the two employees that drove it back to Albuquerque, do you know what time that day they had possession of the vehicle.”
“After the festival wrapped up, Tim drove it home and then he had John follow him back to NM on Monday night, sometime late because they just slotted the keys for the guys out there in the night drop.”
“We’re gonna need a name and number for Tim, also if you have a file on him maybe with a picture I’d like to see it real quick” The owner scribbled Tim Crane on a piece of paper and his cell number, turned to a small filing cabinet behind the desk, rifled through it and removed a small manila folder which he then laid open on the desk. The detective pulled his phone from his pocket and quickly took a snap shot of Tim Crane’s original application for employment which included his social and address.
“Did Tim hit and run somebody in my RV?”
“That’s not why we want to talk to him sir; he just may have seen something.” Wade thanked the man for his time and he and Date made their way back to the Crown Vic. He reached for his radio and made a call into the precinct.
“I need you to run a name for me and I’ve got a social as well. Timothy Allen Crane age 34 last known address, 450 West Markham St., Kingman, Arizona. The officer waited for a moment and then said thanks. He opened his laptop and went to his email and opened the top one. He turned to Date and said “We’ve got our boy, he’s got 3 convictions for domestic abuse on his ex and cruelty to animals charge from California when he was twenty five, and the address matches with the DMV. Call us some back up Terry we’ve got a scumbag to catch.” The Crown Vic kicked free loose rocks from the parking lot as Wade applied his lead foot to the gas pedal.