"Jim, how's the kid?"
Jim looked up from his desk
as Simon approached, chewing his ever present cigar. "He's hurt, Simon."
Jim replied, glancing around the room at the faces there. "He was three floors
down, for God's sake. This should never have happened."
for Jim to follow him into the office. Once there he closed the door, "Take
a seat, Jim."
"Simon, I need to get over to the University."
But Jim sat anyway.
"I know, this will just take a minute. It's about
Nelson, downstairs." Simon sat behind his desk and pulled the cigar from
his mouth, twirling it around in his fingers. "Both he and Scott said they
didn't see anything, until it was over."
"And you believe them?"
"Jim, these are our own guys." Simon replied, hotly.
his head. Our own guys. "And what was Blair, Simon?"
sighed, "Okay, I know. But, the kid was under arrest for murder. Still is
as far as I'm concerned. Until you find some hard evidence to clear him."
Jim looked away for a moment, then back to Simon. "I will. He didn't do
this Simon. I can't believe you think he's capable of it."
not really. And there's still no excuse for what happened in that cell. Apparently
they thought he was a cop. And you know how it can be in there." Jim nodded.
All the more reason to keep Blair out. "Is he at your place now?"
"Yeah, he's home. I think it's safe to say he isn't going anywhere for
a while, he needs to rest." Jim stood, "But I need to get back to the
University. I spoke to several people in the building today and no one heard the
argument Ms Fisher claims took place, except one. Professor Kinyon. She's going
to be in this afternoon and I need to see her." Simon nodded and resumed
chewing his cigar as Jim left the office.
As he stepped out of Simon's office,
"Hey, Ellison. You looking for a new partner yet?"
Jim looked up and saw Officer Nelson standing there. "You son of a bitch!"
Jim must have made a lunge, he couldn't really remember, but arms wrapped around
him as Nelson fell backwards, quickly trying to get out of the larger man's way.
"Jim!" Simon was pulling Jim back, and two other men were stepping
between them. "Jim, take it easy. Calm down." he moved around from behind
Jim and faced Nelson. "Just take it easy."
Jim shrugged out of Simon's
hands and glanced around. The other Detectives had all approached, pushing Nelson
away from him. Other hands were patting him on the back, someone said something
derogatory about uniformed officers and he turned, trying to identify the source.
"I'm all right Simon. Just keep him away from me." Jim pulled on
his jacket and walked quickly out of the office, not turning back.
Ellison, hold the elevator."
"Mike. I'm sorry about that. I just..."
"Not a problem, Jim." Detective Jenkins hurried into the elevator
with Jim, nodding. "That Nelson's a dick. He's been bucking for his gold
shield and missing for the past three years. Hey, how's Sandburg?"
live. Thanks for asking."
"Don't let them get to you. I know what
happened shouldn't have, and I feel guilty just being a cop sometimes. But those
uniforms, well some of them just don't like the kid. Personally, I think he's
okay. Maybe needs a haircut, but he's been the best thing to happen to you since
"Yes. Yes he has." Jim replied. The doors opened then
on the second floor and Mike got out, slapping Jim on the arm as he did so.
his way to the parking garage, Jim passed several uniformed and plainclothes officers.
He saw these same people every day, and had for the past four years. Some of them
were friends, some just co-workers. But all of them were cops. He had never really
thought about how his friend was viewed by the others in the department. He had
just assumed since he was working with him, that he was accepted. Blair had never
said anything before about not feeling comfortable around the others. Were they
tolerating him for Jim's sake, as Blair suggested? The Detectives, at least, seemed
to like him well enough. He reached the truck and climbed in, glancing momentarily
at the empty passenger seat. Blair was his partner, cop or not. Before Jack and
after Jack's disappearance, Jim had refused partners. But Blair was different.
He wasn't a cop, therefore it was easier for Jim to accept him being there. But
to think his 'friends' were just putting up with him because of Jim. That, he
didn't want to believe.
He arrived at the University just before 4:00, when
he was told Professor Kinyon would be finished with class. Her office was right
next door to Wilson's. Chances were, if there was a fight and she was in her office,
she would have heard it. He walked down the hall, noting that the carpet had been
cleaned. Forensics hadn't been able to pull any sole marks from the few drops
of blood that had been stepped in. No blood had been found on Blair's shoes, but
they hadn't expected to, after he'd been in the rain that night. And if Blair
had stepped in blood, there would be imprints of his sneakers in the blood smeared
down the hall. Jim paused momentarily at the door to Wilson's office, checking
the seal on the yellow Police Line tape across the entrance. Professor Kinyon's
office was one door down. He knocked.
"Come in." A female voice called.
Jim opened the door and stepped in, looking around. "Professor Kinyon?"
He couldn't find anyone in the room. Just then a woman's head poked up from behind
the desk, followed by several armfuls of papers. Jim caught a fleeting glimpse
of a slim woman in her early fifties. Greying hair pulled back in a bun that had
several escapees hanging down. No less than three pencils sticking out of the
bun itself. Her glasses were threatening to fall off the end of her nose as she
glanced up, peering through them at Jim.
"Yes? Oh, pardon me, I'm not
too coordinated, I'm afraid. I just dropped the entire contents of my briefcase
all over the floor." She disappeared behind the desk again, then reappeared
with an open briefcase stuffed full of loose papers.
"Professor, I'm Detective
Ellison. I called yesterday?"
"Oh yes, come in. Have a seat. I'll
be just a moment." She ducked behind the desk again as Jim sat down. "It's
about Professor Wilson, isn't it? Poor man. I can't believe he's gone. You know,
I was just planning his congratulatory party the other day. Poor man." She
reappeared again and sat down, pulling her chair up to the desk. Jim was reminded
of his favorite grade school teacher, gently greying hair, glasses with that old
fashioned chain holding them around her neck. Everyone's favorite grandmother,
if a bit young for that.
He opened his mouth to speak, but she continued.
just can't believe Blair Sandburg has been arrested. It's just not possible. Although,
I must admit, after that argument the other day, or was it last week? Yes, that's
it, last week. I just couldn't believe it. I almost went over there myself, to
see what on earth was going on. I mean, Professor Wilson just wasn't the type
to argue like that. Well, that's not really true. You see, he was a hard man to
get along with sometimes. Not that I had any trouble, mind you. But, I'm afraid
Blair is just one of those people who, well, I can see his enthusiasm sometimes
wear on the older Professors here. But you know, that's what keeps us young. He's
just so bright, and the students love him." She sighed and Jim tried again
to speak, but he wasn't quick enough. "Did you know that Ms Fisher was his
assistant for a semester? Well, that wasn't taking her far enough, apparently.
I mean that in the scientific sense, of course." She smiled and Jim tried
to cut in but failed. "You know, if I wasn't in my forties, and married,
I'd make a play for the young man myself. He's simply adorable. But, she was more
career-minded. Some women are like that. She saw Professor Wilson, poor man, as
someone she could get farther with, scholastically. Tsk. Little did she know,
Professor Wilson just wasn't the sharing type." She adjusted her glasses
but kept on talking. "You see, he liked to have his assistants do the dirty
work, and by that I mean the boring, book work that so much research is made up
of. But then, he was famous for taking all of the credit in his papers. I guess
he wasn't famous enough, though, if she didn't realize it. Hum, there's a thought.
I suppose she was more interested in the research herself. I mean, after all,
being a part of such a grant was an honor. Whether you got credit for much of
the work is beside the point. In fact, I was stunned myself when I heard Blair
had refused Dr Stoddard's offer to accompany him to Borneo. That was after he
was passed up for his own grant, you know. The one that Professor Wilson was awarded.
Yes, I was surprised. That kind of opportunity doesn't come along often. And he
may never get another chance for such notoriety." She sighed again and Jim
made a play, but was ignored. "Well, he is so devoted to his own studies,
I suppose he just didn't want to stop for the year it would have taken to work
with Dr Stoddard. Did you know, Professor Wilson was so adamantly against Blair's
field, that rumor has it he influenced the Board against him? Well, that's just
rumor, mind you. I don't believe much of it myself. Although, that is what the
argument was about. But still, Blair Sandburg, murderer? I simply don't believe
The sudden silence startled Jim. He had just realized she was finished
when she started up again.
"But, here's the tape. I guess you would know
better if it was a real fight or not. I mean, we all have little disagreements
and verbal confrontations now and again. How bad could it be? And if Blair already
knew, in fact had known for months now, that the grant wasn't his, why on earth
would he kill someone over it? We all have skeptics in regards to our chosen fields
of study or research. Why on earth Professor Wilson's dislike of Blair's studies
would warrant murder, I'll never understand. No. I simply don't believe Blair
Sandburg is capable of murder." She stopped suddenly again and Jim was ready.
"Tape?" He had accepted the cassette she handed him during the speech
and now looked at her questioningly.
"Yes. The tape." she replied
simply. "That I was dictating into." she paused, waiting for him to
understand. "During the argument next door?" She realized he had no
idea what she meant. "You see, I dictate my notes. Then my husband types
them for me at night. He enjoys that, says it's relaxing to just listen to my
voice on tape and sit at the computer." She shook her head, smiling. "Well,
anyway, during the notes from last week's lecture--I recite them to myself--before
giving them to the students. Anyway, I was in the middle of them when I heard
raised voices from the next office. Professor Wilson's office. I walked over to
the wall, to listen, and I had the tape recorder in my hands, still recording.
I didn't realize until that evening, when my husband was listening to the tape,
that the argument was on there. Granted, it's a bit muffled, being through the
walls and all, but I understand that you people have ways of getting sounds off
of things like this?"
He was shocked. Not so much about the fortuitous
cassette tape in his hand, but at the lung capacity of Professor Kinyon. For such
a small, delicate looking woman, she was inexhaustible.
"I hope I was
able to answer all of your questions."
Jim quickly tried to review the
questions he had planned to ask, trying to see if there was anything he needed
to know that her little dissertation hadn't already covered. "Ah, yes. I
believe so. Except for just one thing, you said Professor Wilson was famous for
not sharing credit for the research? Is this a big issue?"
her eyebrows for a moment, looking surprised. "Why yes. Yes indeed. Oh, I
guess in your line of work you wouldn't understand. Well, in the scientific field,
your name is your link to success. You see, when research is done, and papers
are published, it's all in the name. Yes indeed, it's all in the name. If you
work for a year assisting someone, finding their data, correlating the findings,
and even making discoveries and observations of your own, you need to be acknowledged
in the paper that is published with the findings. You see, if you hope to go on
and fund your own research, or apply to work with someone else, you must be able
to show a...well a resume if you will, of the work you are capable of. Like Blair,
he's well known in his research and contributions, which is why Dr Stoddard thought
so highly of him. But alas, when Professor Wilson has--I mean had--when he had
his assistants doing work for him, they were inevitably left out completely when
the findings were published. Now, Professor Wilson had just been awarded a large
grant for a fantastic study. I suppose it would be worth her while to accompany
him, but I'm sure Ms Fisher knew she would be getting no credit. None whatsoever."
Jim was trying to absorb her words as quickly as they were spewing forth, but
he found himself playing catch up when she stopped. "So, this research credit,
it's a vital part of a person's career?"
"Oh my yes. Well, if that's
your chosen field. I myself, well I'm just an instructor. I leave the research
for the more adventurous souls. But indeed, if I had worked that hard, and found
out there was going to be no recognition in it, well, I certainly wouldn't have
signed on with the same Professor for another term, let alone a year on a grant.
No, all things considered, in light of what has happened, it's just too bad Blair
hadn't been awarded the grant. Yes, just too bad."
"And the grant
itself? What happens to that now?" Jim asked quickly, before she could continue.
"Well," she thought for a moment, "It would have normally gone
to the next in line, which would be Blair. But, considering the...well the trouble
he's in right now, I'm sure they've passed him up. Poor young man. Actually, I
did hear that Ms Fisher was still going ahead with the plans, so it's possible
she was able to convince the Board to let her go ahead with it. That could be.
Yes, that could very well be. If she was able to show her ability to the Board,
they would allow her to head up the research, but only with a solid base behind
her. Which, I believe Professor Wilson had already established."
"Yes, you know...support staff, research assistants, teaching fellows,
that type of base. If you have the right combination of researchers, the work
just does itself. Well, in a nutshell. Blair would have been Dr Stoddard's first
assistant, in charge of the collection of data. I still don't understand why he
turned that opportunity down." She shook her head, "Just think, if he
was in Borneo right now, none of this would have happened. Oh, not that I think
he had anything to do with it, mind you. But at least he wouldn't be a suspect,
now would he?"
Jim had entertained that same thought on the drive over.
But, he reminded himself, it had been Blair's decision not to go. He had seen
how important the trip was when Blair mentioned it. He hadn't wanted him to go,
but he had understood that passing it up could have a lasting effect on Blair's
career. It was easy to think of Blair as just his partner, and Guide. Sometimes
he forgot Blair had a life away from Jim's police work and Sentinel abilities.
There were times, like today, when he realized that being his partner was not
Blair's career path. But, Blair had decided not to go. It was his decision. And
Jim was grateful for it. He liked having the kid around, and often needed him
around. No, this was not due to that missed opportunity. Blair didn't kill anyone,
and he was going to prove it.
"Okay, well, thank you for all your help.
If I think of anything else...." Jim stood to leave.
You know where to find me. I only wish I had been of more help. That's the only
argument that I actually caught on tape." She shook her head, making a clicking
sound with her teeth as she removed her glasses. "If only he scheduled all
of his arguments when I had a tape running."
Jim stopped. "All of
"Yes, indeed. Professor Wilson had few friends. He
often engaged in heated conversations, mostly over the phone. I normally only
caught half of what was being said, and at that it was only one side of the conversation,
being on the phone as it was. But, I don't believe my husband mentioned them on
the tapes. I could check, I suppose. Would that help?"
"Yes, it would.
If you keep the tapes?"
"Oh yes. I keep them all. I'll ask my husband--if
I can remember the days--well, I'm sure I can if I give it some quiet contemplation.
Shall I call you?"
"Please." Jim reached into his back pocket.
"Here's my card. If you find anything on your tapes, or think of anything,
anything at all, please call me."
She accepted the card, putting her glasses
back on. "I certainly will, Detective. I'm just sure Blair is innocent."
"Yes ma'am, so am I." Jim slipped the cassette tape into his shirt
pocket as he left, closing the door behind him. He stepped over to Professor Wilson's
door, broke the seal on the tape, and entered the office. Once inside he walked
around the white tape still on the floor, outlining where the Professor's body
had been found. He glanced around the room, letting his eyes scan the area slowly.
The blood was still on the carpet in the office, having been closed to outsiders
the office was not allowed to be cleaned until the investigation was over. He
focused again on the blood that had been stepped in, trying to discern a sole
print in the smear. There was none. No matter how hard he tried, all he could
see was a flat print, no tread or markings of any kind. It was as if something
hard and flat had been pressed into the blood, but there were no other blood smears
found in the office other than those on the floor. He switched focus to smell,
trying to find more blood, maybe a spot or smudge that forensics had missed, but
he was unsuccessful.