the college murder case (part twenty-five)

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"If you go after her," Jan said calmly, "I will tell every newspaper and magazine in the area that you missed capturing a murderer because you were more interested in chasing after..."

He stepped toward her, and I thought he was actually going to try to strike her. I could have reached him before he made contact, and I knew how I'd break his arm, but I was really hoping he wouldn't give in to the impulse.

I thought later that there wasn't anybody there who wanted him to hit her. He didn't want to, not if he was thinking it through. Strike an internationally-known journalist, one who was also a foreign national, and a woman at that? With her lawyer present? Not a good idea, even without the fact that I would have broken his arm.

But we didn't want it either. That level of conflict with the police would have been very bad, for us and for U-town in general.

Ibarra drew in a deep breath and said, "Okay. Show me what you've got."

"Doug was a reporter," she began, "and he was killed because he saw something he shouldn't have. He didn't know what was going to happen to him while he was being held in that room, by your two 'witnesses,' but he made sure that his information would get to me, and in such a way that only Marshall and I could understand it. The note is written in a modified version of Pittman shorthand, which is nearly obsolete now. But I taught it to the staff of the U-town newspaper. He knew I was here, and that I'd be able to read it.

"The note says: 'Apparent drug shipment, 8:15pm, security guard and male student involved. Back door of dorm opened from inside by guard for man to bring in cartons. Student wearing jeans and faded blue university T-shirt, with sleeves cut off. Check truck, Active Laundry.'"

Her voice trailed off because her only remaining audience was Stu, Christy, and myself.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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