"It all seems like just an accident, John. The man was in perfect health, he was very successful, and I can't find any enemies mean enough to sideswipe him and run him off the road."

"What did the body look like?"

"Like the body of a man thrown against a steering wheel at eight-five miles per hour and then drowned."

John could not believe his ears. Frank was good enough to find something like a cut brake line. If the he had missed it, it would seem like even an evidence technician would have noticed it. Or perhaps Frank was holding his own ace.

"That all makes sense. Why would you say he was successful?" John asked.

"That would most likely rule out suicide."

A woman came in to lay a brown folder on his desk, smiled, and then hurried out.

"Makes your job easy," John remarked.

"I need to go back over everything, but that's how things are shaping up. Accident paper work for us, but death to Michael Gallager." Frank stood and went over to his filing cabinet. He pulled open the second drawer from the top. John could see that every last file was perfectly spaced and labeled.

"It also makes our meeting here easy," John added.


"There is one thing," Frank admitted, still digging in the filing cabinet. He closed it and walked back to his desk.


"The woman you're seeing was the last person to see Michael alive."

John's lungs went empty. This was what he was trying to avoid. He wanted to give Tammy good news when he talked to her again. He wanted to tell her she was clean as far as the police were concerned. "That shouldn't matter. And I'm not dating her."

"Sure. And it would matter, but it looks too much like an accident to worry about who was with him."

There was a noticeable tone shift in Frank's voice. Something told John that the man knew what was going on. He knew about the brake line and he knew about John and Tammy. He knew Tammy had something to do with Michael's death but out of friendship for an old cop buddy, he was willing to look the other way. Or maybe he was putting in for the chief position and did not want any dirt on his impeccable professional record.

"If that's what you think," John said with apprehension.

"That's what I know," Frank followed, shuffling through the brown folder.

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