Captain Lee's lieutenants make a rare mistake ... and highlight some of Horace Fitzhugh Lee's grandfatherly wisdom ...
To get totally caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, day 10.5, day 11, day 11.5, day 12, day 12.5, day 13, day 13.5, day 14, day 15, day 16, day 16.5, day 17, day 18, day 19, day 19.5, day 20, day 20.5, day 21, day 22, day 22.5, day 23, day 23.5, day 24, day 24.5, day 25, day 25.5, day 26, day 26.5, day 27, day 27.5, day 28, day 28.5, day 29, day 29.5, day 30, day 30.5, day 31, day 31.5, day 32, day 32.5, day 33, day 33.5, day 34, day 34.5, day 35, day 35.5, day 36, day 36.5, day 37, day 37.5, day 38, day 38.5, day 39, day 39.5, day 40, day 40.5, day 41, day 41.5, day 42, day 42.5, day 43, day 44, day 44.5, day 45, day 46, day 46.33, day 46.67, day 47, day 47.5, day 48, day 48.5, day 49, and day 49.5!
Captain Lee's press conference was scheduled for 30 minutes, with 30 minutes to take questions from the press. These he fielded with perfect calm and competence, and at the hour mark thanked the press and withdrew into police headquarters, walking straight through to his office.
What disturbed Captain Lee was the problem of Lieutenant Deadwood and his car that had not blown up. Blue Hawk Gorge was steep and deep. The assumption, of course, had been that Lieutenant Deadwood was dead, somewhere between Blue Hawk Road and the bottom of Blue Hawk Gorge – there was no surviving a drop like that. It was also a mile to the bottom; no one was going to be in a hurry to pull a mangled body out of a mangled car because of the equipment necessary to do that under those conditions unless the car had ignited, in which case, under the prevailing wind conditions, greater effort would have been made to reach the flames and put them out. This nagged at the mind of Captain Lee; something was wrong.
Something else was nagging at Captain Lee's mind, something his grandfather Horace was known to say to young men getting full of themselves: “Son, you've reached the age where you're writing yourself into God's appointment book. I'll always tell you right as best I understand it, but if you want to do your own thing, don't worry: God will keep that appointment you're writing with Him, and He'll get you straight.” Lofton County's elite had written themselves in long ago … Captain Lee, too, knew he had written himself in at 18 with his wish to speed that appointment up … now, of course, he wanted nothing more than to slow it down, but, God's appointment book didn't work that way …
Lieutenants Lightfoot and Carter returned to the office as Captain Lee was mulling the question, and he questioned them closely about what they had seen, about details not in their basic report. Of course they had seen what they had reported... he wanted to know if they had seen more, and, under his questioning, they showed that indeed they had.
“Yes, there was a gray car by the side of the road on the side we were driving up.”
“Yes, there was someone who passed along the road as we were standing and looking into the gorge, but he passed on before we really noticed him. I think he was carrying a big gas jug.”
“Now that you ask … yes, the gray car did pass us on the road going the other way as we were calling the accident in.”
Captain Lee checked his watch: 12:15, 90 minutes after one of Lieutenant Deadwood's cars had gone off the road. It was a trick worthy of a Special Forces diversionary tactic … but Lieutenants Lightfoot and Carter had not had the advantage of a West Point education. So, the captain commended his lieutenants where he could, even as his heart began skipping beats in his chest – 90 minutes, 90 entire minutes behind … .
“I am delighted that you have remembered some of our fundamental and foundational rules of investigation: every detail is important. Who might that have been, walking up the road? Think hard, Lieutenant Carter; you saw him.”
Lieutenant Carter concentrated, and then slapped his hand on his thigh.
“Oh, no! It was Lieutenant Deadwood himself and we let him get right past us!”
Lieutenant Anderson put his head in his hands.
“It was in the briefings, too – he had a red Corvette and a gray Acura, and that's what that was!”
“No time to cry over busted surveillance,” Captain Lee said as he picked up the phone. “Go get all the cars for us you can lay your hands on – full division, full reserve – move! ”