He placed the items in a couple of plastic bags. Niles stuffed the bags in his shirt and returned home.
The next day Niles walked over to the town hall.
“Mildred,” Niles said walking in, “can you give me the numbers of the two part time deputies. It’s high time we meet. I thought they might at least drop over and introduce themselves.”
“Those boys are all scared,” Mildred said, “big city cop and all.”
“Are you scared of me, Mildred?” Niles said.
“Depends,” Mildred said.
“On what?” Niles said.
“Am I a suspect?” Mildred said.
“Mildred,” Niles said. “You couldn’t get the body out in the bay on your own.”
“But I could have had help?” Mildred said.
“The murder was carried out by one person,” Niles said. “The person who killed Sam Petit also put his body out there, one person.”
“How do you know?” Mildred said.
“Two people would have just dump it,” Niles said. “Sam’s body was placed there by one person. The body was facing up and everything was positioned with some degree of care. That means there could have been as little as a foot of water, just enough to float the boat. The body was probably rolled from the boat and laid meticulously in place. The water had to be shallow to do that.”
“And how do you know this?” Mildred said.
“I’m still officially a member of the New York Police Department,” Niles said. “I made a couple calls and had crime scene photos faxed to my home.”
“Okay, smartypants,” Mildred said, “who did it.”
“Well I just eliminated you,” Niles said, “about 1,996 to go.”
“That’s about everybody!” Mildred said.
“Yeah,” Niles said, “I’ve eliminated four.”
“Whose the other three?” Mildred said.
“You got to be kidding me,” Niles joked. “I don’t give out that kind of information; I want everybody suspicious of everybody else.”
“You’re a tease,” Mildred said. “You don’t know squat.”
“Can I have the numbers of my police force, now,” Niles said.
She jotted them on a piece of paper. “Tom Potier and Sid Shulman.”
“Can I have the keys to my office,” Niles asked.
“The place is a mess,” Mildred said. “We have a cleaning gal; she hasn’t been in there in a while. Do you want her to clean it?”
“Sure,” Niles said. “I like things neat and orderly.”
Niles walked around to the side of the town hall. He unlocked the door to the office and stepped inside. A well-worn wooden desk sat to the immediate right. Behind it rested an old round back swivel chair. Against the outside wall to his right sat an antiquated police radio unit on a small table. Two metal file cabinets leaned against the wall behind the chair. Next to the file cabinets to the left hallway led to a bathroom with a commode and a sink. In the hallway next to the bathroom was a small room with a bunk. Opposite the entrance two jail cells sat with a bunk in each. Two round back wooden chairs stood in front of the desk.
Niles used the phone on the desk to call the deputies. He told them to meet at the office 7:30 the next morning.