CJ held Sheriff Banks’ stare for a moment. The PI’s gaze fell to the out-pushed chair and the statement pad - beneath all his bluster, what the Sheriff was asking was fair. CJ considered that he’d likely be doing the exact same thing were he still on the other side of that desk.
“We’re on the clock, Banks. Trail’s hot, and if we don’t act now it gets real cold real fast.” The PI insisted.
“Then stop wasting all our time and present some evidence, Sheriff.” Banks said, exasperated, and tapped the pad one more time. With gritted teeth, CJ sat and took the pad and pen in hand.
CJ began to write.
Sometime early last night, the security guard at the university dig site was knocked out with her own bat, by someone strong and experienced.
The camp was ransacked, and multiple precious artifacts were stolen.
The camp’s expensive archaeological equipment was left untouched.
Witnesses at the scene saw no vehicles approaching or departing over the course of the night and into the early morning, until the private investigator showed up, and the archaeologist on scene left to take the injured security guard to the hospital. The only other vehicle seen since was the PI leaving again.
Due to complicated bureaucracy and university policy, the PI is the only party investigating the theft at this time.
If this dig is a failure, the university intends to revoke funding for this project and all other projects in the area. The people involved, including the archaeologist, security guard and project manager will lose their jobs. The local area will be left alone by the university for the foreseeable future - perhaps a win for local activist groups who are against such operations.
CJ narrated as he wrote, trying desperately to balance rushing through the process and being thorough. Banks sat uncharacteristically quietly through the process, much to CJ’s surprise. The Sheriff’s fingers were steepled in thought as CJ signed the page and gave the pad back.
“You think this is enough information to point the finger?” Banks asked pensively.
“Yes. I’m not happy about it, but I think I know who did it and why.” The PI responded. “Enough to get a court involved anyway - my suspicion is that once we get past the red tape and get law enforcement on it, in a way our thief has already lost.”
The Sheriff chuckled and shook his head. “You think it’s somehow personal to you, as always.” The big man tapped the pad decisively with the tip of his finger, then stood up. He checked his belt and everything on it, gave his badge a little shine with a cloth he clearly kept in his breast pocket for that exact purpose, then looked languidly back to CJ.
“Fine. Even if I’m not necessarily convinced by what you’re generously calling evidence, I know better than to think I’m gonna stop you from going after this guy regardless - and frankly, I know better than to think I’d be able to stop some of my more loyal deputies from following you. I may as well get on board.”
CJ’s heart skipped a beat - was it really that easy? The thought of returning those artifacts and solving this case had his blood pumping, but it turned to ice in his veins at the thought of what came next. “So where are we headed, boss?” Banks said with a smirk.
It would seem that CJ is convinced he has enough information to know who did it, and the Sheriff is as close to agreeing as he’ll be. Time to accuse our thief. Go to sunews.net and cast your vote - who do you think did it? Why’d they do it?
EMAIL TYGANT@SUNEWS.NET WITH YOUR ANSWER.