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Chapter 8

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On the day after the funeral, Jake traveled to the scene of the crime. Rick offered to tag along and help search for evidence. He was doing it partially to make peace with Jake for skipping the luncheon and partially because he was bored. Not that he'd said either of those things, but Jake knew his friend well.

Meticulously, Jake searched the side of the road on this unseasonable hot spring morning. Rick trailed after him, using an arm covered in tribal tattoos to wipe sweat from his brow.

"Man, it's going to be a hot one."

Jake kicked the tall grass on the side of the country road. Taking care not to belittle his profession by calling it grass cutting, Jake said, "Shouldn't landscapers be used to it working outside in the heat?"

"You never get used to it."

Except for grass, dirt, and weeds, Jake's only find so far a lone plastic water bottle was all. His feet were damp from the morning dew. They squished with each step. He hated walking in wet socks, but it would be a small price to pay if he found a key piece of evidence.

Jake continued his intense survey as he grew annoyed with Rick's half-ass assistance. "Do you see anything?"

Rick shook his head, his long hair bounced from side to side. "So what are you hoping to find?"

"Not sure. I'll know it when I see it."

Jake jogged to the other side of the road to perform a second circuit since the first one hadn't yielded results. He'd go slower this time. Some kind of evidence had to be here that would lead him to the killer. It had to.

Rick followed after him, going through the motions of searching. "Don't you think the police would have found something that day? I mean, it's been almost a week. Whatever you find could be unrelated."

"True. Or it could be the key to solving the case. Either way, I can't just sit around and do nothing."

"Hey! I'm helping. Didn't I leave my crew alone for an hour so that I could help you?"

A piece of silver metal reflected in the sunlight. Jake's pulse quickened. He pulled apart the foliage. A flattened beer can lay half-buried in the dirt. Damn! Only junk. And it was unusual to find a littered can given Michigan's high deposit. Sighing, he stood up and continued his methodical search.

Rick caught up to him, matching his stride. Sweat dribbled down Jake's face and collected at the collar of his polo shirt. He regretted the shirt and khaki pants on this warm day. However, they were necessary for the professional appearance he was going for.

Rick wore a frayed t-shirt with his company logo and a pair of brown cargo shorts. His silver wolf's head ring sat on the ring finger of his right hand. It was a three dimensional head with an open snarling mouth and big fangs. Rick had had the stupid ring since high school and never took it off. Grass-stained work boots completed his ensemble.

"So how do you think it went down?" Rick asked.

"What?"

"Tom dying. I mean. A normal family guy on the way to the office in his Cadillac gets shot and killed. That doesn't happen every day."

"I agree. It doesn't make sense. But people are stupid."

"I guess."

"They are. How many times have you heard in the news that two guys get into an argument on the road? They stop. Fight. And one shoots the other. Must happen a couple of times a year with all the concealed carry permits in this country."

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