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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis
last edited on Friday, July 15, 2005, 12:59 AM, CDST

The Case of The Burning Pool

Chapter One
"Day One, September 15th. The meeting"

No one could be prepared for what happened that night on September 15th, 2001, when a woman, bathing in her home was found burned to death as a result of a volatile chemical mixture in her bath water. Apparently a lighted candle fell off into the bath water and caused a violent chemical reaction. The case is open and Tony Franks was on his way to the scene.

Although he was now employed by the FBI, his two friends from the force were there to greet him and also to personally assist him in his investigation. David Swanson and Mike Dexter were so happy to see Anthony, but not so happy to witness such a gruesome sight as this tonight. "I'm so glad you two could make it. We're still a team guys, except now I'm working from the inside of the system and have greater access to records and equipment to make investigating serial killers more advantageous." Mike asked,  "Do you still like your coffee black?" Mike poured a cup of coffee and handed it as a token of reconsolidation with their partner in criminal discovery and apprehension.

In the building across the street, is the home of the first victim of spontaneous bath water combustion. "After I finnish this delicious cup of brew, I will ask that you both follow me to the death scene. There has been a mystery death, possibly accidental or homicide."

They all got out of the Van, parked across the street and went into the entrance of the home of model/actress, Victoria Velotorino. She was already in a body bag and the ambulance driver was helping the forensic team carry the body inside. "Mr. Franks, there are photos of the scene, before the clean up and there are several pages of detail I want you to go over before meeting me back at the Odd Pennies Cafe, where you and I and your two friends, officers Swanson and Dexter can go over the evidence reports. I'll meet you all there in one hour. Thanks for coming by." The man who had spoke to Franks was one of the lead Profilers and forensic research instructors of South Bay University, California, his name was Mr. Zan. Yes, the incident of the mystery death these men were working on now was taking place in Southern California, not in Texas, however, this was strictly routine for Tony Franks since his new job involved National Investigations, rather than local State investigations and moreover, it focused on bizarre and difficult cases and covered the many unsolved cases that were the sole result of homicides perpetrated by serial murders.

This case, however, was not necessarily a serial killing. It may have been a freak accident or a random homicide.

The Odd Pennies Cafe was a nice little restaurant and Tony and his buddies really liked the lay out. It was cozy, small, quiet and had a wide variety of simple foods and beverages like sub sandwiches, coke, beer, coffee, pie, salad, burgers, and chili, etc. Tony ordered chili and crackers and coke for them and they sat, and talked small talk, like the good old days in Dallas, and waited for the arrival of their new friend in profile lingo, Mr. Zan.

"Well, how's it feel to be working with the big boys?" Well, there is too much indirect communications between me and the guys at the top, unlike back in Dallas with the Precinct at Southwest, where you could call and talk to the boss one on one."

Mike asked,  "Do you think that if we had caught the guy who was stabbing those people back in the year of 001, that you would still be with the force?" Tony replied, "Hell no! I needed an edge. It was time to move out and move up. We live in a world today that needs to start looking at the big picture. If we spend too much time focusing just on local crimes, we can't get a grasp at the overall reality of crime today. The FBI has a better and bigger data base. It has references to all the records of criminals nation wide and world wide. There is no stone left unturned. I can go through archives that you could not believe, that contain hundreds of cases that are all unsolved and no longer being investigated by local law enforcement, that the FBI have to go over, one by one and try to slowly uncover new evidence. There aren't enough hours in the day to do the work we need to get done and we need you both to join us. I am proposing employment for both of you to work with my team, with access in the Dallas Offices as well as the Chicago and New York Divisions and California. If you want in, just say the word and I'll have you both in by tomorrow afternoon with all the paper work signed and new residence lease agreements filled out with the homes of your choices. You'll have your own visas for FBI exclusive air travel unlimited throughout the free air spaces around the world, and personal car rentals and access to private jets and helicopters. The whole ten yards." Mike and David were awed by what Franks just said. Moments later, Tony won their confidence and approval and tomorrow seemed brighter for the three of them now. However, The boys back at Southwest would be very disappointed in losing two such capable men.

In comes Mr. Zan. Unlike Mr. Damon, he is dressed in a suit and tie and seems ultra sophisticated, or rather subdued. He is from China and has been spending the past ten years in Hong Kong, profiling many mysterious killings in his native land. Here is where East meets West. Yin meets Yang. "Hello mister Zan! have a seat." The mysterious man from the far East hands over a disc to Tony and tells him that most of what they are looking for is on the disc. "I only have a moment gentlemen. Please, take this and review it very carefully. I will see you in a month. I have important business overseas. Thank you for your time. Good day."  Mr. Zan walked away and left our 3 investigators hanging with only one thought in mind. (What are we gonna do about all this extra beer and food we ordered?) "What thaaaaa!" Okay, lets go home. We can take the order  with us and watch this exciting video in the comfort of my luxury suite."

"This is one hellofa situation Tony", commented David. "Yea, it is. I forgot to buy a dvd player in all of the excitement!" Was is DVD? or was it CD-ROM? Back at Tony's shack, a not to shabby top floor luxury hotel suite, at the frontal lobotomy place called: the Forebrains Hotel, Tony poked the disc inside his PC CD-ROM drive and up came the logo for Real Player. Hmm. The three of them crowded around the 15" monitor. Hey. I have a patch to a bigger wall unit. There, they turned around to look and on the wall was a 55" flat screen HDTV screen. Real Player played the disc and the three of them set in comfort on a comfy sofa and watched the presentation, as they opened up their now less than warm food from their doggy bag from the Odd Pennies Cafe. "Anyone for a cold bowl of Chili?" I'd rather go for a cold one, if you don't mind Mike." replied David. Tony asked for their full attention and reminded them that they were no longer on the force and that the FBI required more focus of their team now. "Back at the precinct, we often took everything in stride. Here, with this new government program, you guys will need to show a bit more seriousness, at least as long as you're with the group, but, as for me, just take it easy, be patient and you'll adjust to the changes of protocol. But, first, let's pay very close attention to this disc. It may contain some very highly classified and graphically morbid details." The guys were taken back by Tony's comment. They began to sense that Tony was more serious than before. He was beginning to take on the personae of the Bureau.

They looked in amazement and disgust as the video presented itself. Initially it began with an introduction with none other than Mr. Zan. "Greetings gentlemen. Sorry I could not be there with you to attend. I am sure you will have some questions for me. I leave you with my e-mail address and cell phone number. I can be reached after midnight on the 21st. The following video is of several scenes where crimes or  deaths of unknown cause have taken place in various places of the world. When you finnish with viewing this, you will realize the scope of the situation we are all dealing with. I hope it is helpful with your own investigations. It merely is a cross-section of the varieties and numbers of mysteries that the FBI and the international Crimes Investigations Network has been dealing with these past several decades. Once again, thank you for your time."

Meanwhile, somewhere else in the city of Lost Angels, a party was taking place, at pool side. Several happy graduation students from West lake University were all at Jason Bartholemule's house, hanging out with the local babes and the kings of Alpha Theta Maxima and were all getting pretty loaded. Jason was, however the host of the party and remained, reluctantly, the only truly sober person at this shin dig. The patio was immaculate. Beautiful Citronella candles burned in framed pedestal holders all about the pool and many tables and chairs with delicious eats and drinks upon them beckoned the masses of this convergence to indulge to the max.

What nobody had planned for, however was the surprise that awaited everyone who dared go into the pool at midnight when the pool was to become a huge bubble bath of the lethal variety.

A month earlier, back at the Office, there on a desk, Jason's files lay open. Several pages had been removed for photocopy. His trustworthy co-worker, Betty Valdez, was  busy entering his formula for his personal soon to be patented bubble bath that he bragged would make him an instant millionaire once he sold it to the right manufacturer. Well, unknown to him, Betty already had plans of her own. What she didn't know was that the formulas were mixed up. They had not been tested yet. There was a terrible problem with some of the chemical combinations and since she had no past chemistry education, she only assumed the formula was fail safe. It had not been totally finished, nor had it been completed. The information Betty Valdez was putting in the data base to upload was incomplete and untested. She didn't figure on that. All she really wanted was to sell to the highest bidder and make a killing. Well, she wasn't that far off her mark, in a matter of speaking.

It was 11:11 PM. The gong sounded. It always sounded at eleven-eleven. It was the magic moment. Time to take a dive. The now half-way transformed graduates from West gate University began to pull off their shirts and what have you, and got into the pool. It wasn't time for the big surprise yet, though. Jason was waiting for the midnight hour to introduce operation bubble bath.

"Jason, you pulled this off all by yourself?", asked his former physics instructor, who attended the graduation party with many other professors and students alike. "If it weren't for the generous help of my Visa Gold Card." They both laughed.

Chapter Two
"Day Two, September 16th.  Discovery."

No one was killed that night. The news indicated that a citronella candle, placed high on a pedestal fell into the swimming pool. There was an immediate evacuation of the pool area and a few graduate students were taken to the Ocean side County Hospital where they were listed in fair condition.

A man named: Jason Bartholemule, host of the party and graduate from the University of West lake University, also worked in an office with the Product Engineering Firm of Marcos and Lemos. Randol Rhodes, the CEO of that company was being asked questions about Jason. He was suspect in the illegal sale of an untested and unapproved market item, that somehow He claims to have no knowledge of. Tony and his companions in Unsolved Crimes,  sat and watched, as the issues unfolded.

"My God, guys, what'll happen next? I mean,  A back yard fraternity party has a bubble bath that turns into a lobster fest that almost made soup out of everybody there." David replied, "Yea, Tony, there wasn't a follow-up on the woman in the bathtub, but there has to be a connection to both of these, since they both have this volatile chemical reaction in water." David agreed.
"There's gonna be a meeting with forensic guy in an hour. The Bureau called just a few minutes ago. Mr. Larson wants us at Marcos and Lemos, Consulting Marketing Inc. It's about ten miles south on Bay Shore Drive. We can carpool it and take the HOV to make better time." Tony replied, "Good Idea. Let's get rolling."

They reached the towering building on Bay Shore Drive. It was the home of many business and topped off at the 75th story level. Guess where the offices of Marcos and Lemos was located? You guessed it, the 75th floor. Tony was a former Architecture student at Oak Cliff Jr. College in Dallas, Texas, back in his younger days. He was always quite impressed and very fond of towers such as this. It was so perfect to him. It almost seemed a shame that any other structure had to co-exist any where near it. It would be so much more dynamic to be standing by the beach, a lone tower reflecting the sunset at dusk, and mirroring the clouds by day with only miles and miles of beach and ocean on the West Side, and Mountains and Forest on the East.

Tony Franks was a dreamer. He never realized his true potential in Architecture. He was now involved in uncovering the whys of human criminal behavior throughout the world. He and his partners were so tight. They went to the same schools together. They lived in the same neighborhood. Tony was the one who influenced David and Mike, not to do drugs, or get involved with the wrong crowd. He was the one who taught chess and showed his two life long friends and now partners in Discovery, the idea that you have to follow your dreams and not let anyone get in your way with 'GET REAL' They were real, all right. They were involved in one of the most challenging arenas of the human experience, Unsolved Mysteries.

As the three of them walked off the elevator into the lobby of floor 75, an oriental man greeted them and walked them to the open door of the suite Mr. Zan was occupying. They looked, and there before them was a large jacuzzi, and in it lay Mr. Zan. "Come on in, the water's fine." They laughed. They weren't about to set foot in that oversized bath tub. Besides, a moment later Mr. Zan got out then he dropped a lit cigarette into the tub and swish! The thing went blazing! "It's okay, gentlemen, I have an extinguisher. He pulled the drain with an extension knob, located above the tub. As the water went down the drain the fire was expelled by suffocation. "The only problem here, my friends, is that since the evidence is down the drain, nobody knows what caused the fire. Can any of you tell me what did? They all looked at each other, and paused. Tony replied, "Aslin Oil, mixed with a third of Turninc and a Turpentine-petroleum distillate base." Then, another pause followed by, "I am impressed. You have done your homework Mr. Franks."

"I was faxed the results on the way here. It wasn't my work, but rather the work of Professor Van Hoogan, from Dallas." He has been following my every move since I joined the FBI. I don't know how he does it. He's a real modern day wizard!" Mr. Zan replied, " I intend to make his acquaintance in the very near future. Well, I hope this little demonstration didn't alarm anybody. I really like flashy presentations. A helicopter is waiting for us on the roof. We have tracked down the buyer and want to pay him a surprise visit. The Bureau is not interested in the seller, since it has been proven his formula had been illegally appropriated and sold without his knowledge by a co-worker, to the man we are going to see. He is into buying unregistered and illegal proposals and formulas. He is said to have once accepted the formula for a DNA drug that would increase IQ, but the formula was owned by the CIA, and he has eluded us until now. Let's all pay him a visit, shall we? He probably has a warehouse full of very interesting information."

They left to the lobby elevator to the heliport. The winds were pretty strong up here. Tony liked towers, but not from the top, looking down. He was even more reluctant to ride a whirly-bird. One Adivan later,  followed by several quick gulps by a diet dr. pepper and in moments, Tony was much more at ease. But they were already high in the air. "You know, this is only the fifth time I've been in the air, and this is the first time in a helicopter! You guys like it?" David and Mike were terrified, and didn't say a word. Mike almost threw up, but didn't let us know until we were back on the ground. It took us over two hours to reach our destination. An Island in the South Pacific, called Hell's Island. Owned by the buyer, the CEO of you guessed it:
Marcos and Lemos, Consulting Marketing Inc.

An Island all to your self! What a wonder! Thought Tony and his friends as well. Nobody lives on an Island unless they have plenty of assets. No doubt the assets this CEO, Santana Maros, has acquired, came at a heavy price.

Nothing could help him now. Marcos was gonna do time. He was the link in a big bad chain. All the records and paraphernalia were taken by the FBI and Tony asked if he could spend the next few weeks off at the Island. "No problem Franks, my boy. You guys can play around all ya want. But in two weeks, you all will be so glad to see us take you home to the states, you'll be jumpin up and down like a bunch of monkeys anxious for a bundle of bananas!" Mr. Zan took a helicopter, carrying off the belongings of Santana Marcos. Their work today was done.

"We got a month supply of food and drink and even have a wind generator. I don't think we have cable, unfortunately." David replied,  "What the hell, we don't need television. I intend to spend the next few days just wandering all over the place, looking around." Mike just stared at the ocean and drank a half a can of warm Pepsi One. The air was breezy. For a short moment, they were all in Tropical paradise. No profiles to review. Nothing to worry about. Such a calm came over them. Unlike anything they ever felt before.

To be continued.........


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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis

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The Case of The Burning Pool


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