On the walk back to the police station Niles clinched his jaw tight and thought, “Gads, another possible suspect, crack shot, Jessica ‘Annie Oakley’ Webster.”
Back at the office turned on the radio and listened to a talk radio program. He tapped his pencil against a tablet on the desk.
Niles pondered, “Jessica, what could be her motive? Mildred’s job, nope. Maybe Mildred caught her stealing and was going to turn her in, but why take a shot at me? Jessica was helpful, but maybe to divert me. I’d like to get a hold of one of her slugs for a ballistics test without her knowing.”
“The article in The Beacon said she practices every Saturday morning at the Bellamy Island Gun Club. Maybe I could go out there and practice shooting my weapon, find out where her slugs are, and retrieve them later. Sounds like a plan.”
Niles called, Willie Thurmond, the president of the gun club. He asked if he could join the club and he told Niles membership was free to law enforcement.
Niles called Annie.
“Hey, Niles,” Annie said, “hot water again?”
“No,” Niles said, “do you think that’s the only reason I call you.”
“Annie, I do have a question,” Niles said. “If someone fires bullets into a target at a gun range, can I remove them without a warrant?”
“Private club, right?” Annie said.
“I would think a member might be able to do it,” Annie said, “but the bullets are the property of the shooter. You’re getting into a dicey area. I suppose you want to do all this without anyone knowing about it.”
“Yeah,” Niles said. “There’s this young girl, very sweet. She’s the new town clerk and I just came across something and want to put to rest my curiosity. I want to eliminate the possibility of her rifle being used in a murder.”
“Now you know why you shouldn’t investigate people you know,” Annie said. “It stops you from charging forward.”
“I’d turn it over,” Niles said, “but I’m certain nothing would come of it.”
“You should have taken a job where you can’t get attached to people,” Annie said.
“I don’t have a problem slapping the cuffs on anyone,” Niles said. “It’s just when I do, I don’t want to say later. I’m sorry I made a mistake and later try to have coffee with them.”
“I remember having to depose an old college friend,” Annie said. “we ended up sitting at the same table at a wedding reception, awkward.”
“I just thought of something,” Niles said.
“You weren’t paying any attention were you?” Annie said.
“Of course I was,” Niles said, “but what if I should buy the ammunition for the gun.”
“Are you a member of the club?” Annie said.
“All law enforcement are members,” Niles said.
“I don’t see a problem,” Annie said. “The targets are owned by the club and shared by the membership and the bullets are yours.”
“Thanks, Annie,” Niles said.
“Goodbye, Niles,” Annie said.
“Allison Rafferty,” Niles said.
“Allison Rafferty?” Annie said.
“The college classmate you deposed and had to sit with at the wedding reception,” Niles said.
“Yeah,” Annie said.
“It’s was good to hear your voice,” Niles said. “You’re doing well, right?”
“Yes, of course,” Annie said.