Evening fell bringing a pleasant coolness to the sir. The stars shone brilliantly and an occasional breeze blew over the land.
Relaxing on his front porch swing, Texas Ranger Cordell Walker sat reflecting on his day. Today was no more difficult than most other days actually it was relatively quiet. He had even gotten off work at a reasonable hour. Just then the front door opened and his pretty fiancée, Alex Cahill stepped onto the porch.
This was the best part of the whole day, sitting quiet on his front porch. Also having the woman he loved there with him. Alex had surprised him with a home cooked meal. “I could get used to this” he thought.
She had cleaned the kitchen and was looking forward to spending some quality time with her handsome cowboy. She sat on the swing next to him, instinctively she slid close to him as he held his arms out for her. Once her feminine form was pressed against him he wrapped his warm strong arms around the woman who was his whole world.
She rested her head on his wide shoulder and said, “It’s always so peaceful out here.”
“Yeah, it’s as far from the city as you can get.” He said smiling.
He brushed her cheek with his rough hand, then kissed her it. He nuzzled her ear and then moved down to kiss her soft neck.
She closed her eyes and just enjoyed his attention. They had been so busy that there was little time for each other.
From inside the house they could hear the phone ringing.
“Damn” Walker said, he kissed her on the cheek and when inside to see who was calling.
“Hell-o” he snapped
“Walker sorry to call you so late man, but the dispatcher just called me.”
“What is it Trivette?” he asked impatiently.
Trivette knew he had called at the wrong time but this was important. “They found a dead body at the Desert Motel on Route 41. It looks like this death is similar to the other two we investigated last week.”
“Serial Killer?” Walker asked, looking at the porch to the lady he had left on the swing.
“Why did he have to call me now?” he thought.
“Look man can you meet me there?’
“NOW?” The older Ranger asked.
“Well, yeah, you weren’t busy were you?” his partner asked.
“I’ll be there” he said, very disappointed about having to leave his lady.
He walked back onto the porch, after hanging the phone receiver back into it’s cradle.
“You have to leave don’t you?” Alex asked. She always seemed to know when duty called.
“That’s okay I’d better go anyway, I’ve got an early day tomorrow.” The Assistant District Attorney said.
They kissed goodnight each wishing they didn’t have to go.
At the Desert Motel, Ranger James Trivette was leaving room 17 as Walker’s gray Dodge Ram pulled into the parking lot. Seeing his partners vehicle the black Ranger crossed the lot to meet him.
“Walker it’s neat as a pin in there.” Jimmy said. “Just like the other two, our killer must clean up after each murder.”
The corpse was wheeled past the Rangers on a gurney to the waiting cornier van.
When the courier came out of the room she noticed Walker and Trivette, she walked over to them and said “Walker, Trivette, As soon as I’m finished with the autopsy I’ll send down my report. Looks like he was strangled though.”
“Thank you, Kim” Walker told her. He turned to Trivette and asked “Who was the first officer on the scene?”
“Officer Coda, He’s new on the force.”
“A rookie?” Walker asked, rolling his eyes. “All we need is a rookie on this case” he thought.
Walker saw a young officer sitting on the hood of a police car, he nodded towards him and asked his partner, “Is that him?”
“Yes” was the younger Rangers answer.
Slowly the veteran Ranger made his way to the patrol car.
“First dead body?” he asked the young man.
“Yes. How could you tell?”
“You can always tell,” Walker said as he laid his hand on the rookies shoulder. “I’m Ranger Walker, can you tell me who reported this?”
“I think it was the night manager. He got a complaint from another guest about loud music and when he went to ask them to turn it down he found the body.”
“How long ago was that?” Walker asked.
“Let’s see” the officer said, leafing through a small notebook, he had taken from his shirt pocket. “I got the call at 11:45 p.m.. It took me less than 15 minutes to get here. The manager said he found the body 10 minutes before that.”
“That would mean he found the body at 11:30 p.m. then.” Walker reasoned
“Yes sir, that would be my guess” the DPD rookie said.
“Thank you son.” Walker said as he turned to leave, he then turned back around to the young man and said “finding a dead body doesn’t get any easier, believe me.”
Officer Coda sighed and said, “Yes sir.”
Walker winked and turned to rejoin his partner. Trivette met him as he crossed the parking lot.
“Kim said that the preliminary time of death is about 10:00 p.m.” Trivette said.
“Okay did you talk to the manager?” Walker asked.
“Yes, he found the body about 10:30 and called the police about 10 minutes later, it took him a few minutes to get over the shock.”
“Is he still here?” Walker asked.
“No” Trivette explained, “He has a weak heart and with the shock of finding the dead body and all, the paramedics thought he needed to be checked out.”
“Okay we’ll talk to him later then.” the older Ranger said. They left once the crime scene unit arrived and secured the scene. The traffic was unusually light for that time of the night. As they drove, the younger Ranger said “Did you like the dinner Alex fixed for you tonight?”
“Yes” he answered with a questioning look on his face.
“I was there when she asked C.D. for a recipe.” He sighed and then said, “Damn it Walker, I gotta say this man; I just don’t know why you don’t have her move out to the ranch with you.”
“Trivette” Walker snapped.
By this time they were at the building housing Ranger Headquarters. Walker parked his truck near the curb and both Rangers climbed the stairs to the main entrance of the building. Once inside they waited in silence for the elevator. The shiny doors to the elevator opened and both men stepped inside. As they rode to their floor Walker said to his partner, “Look Trivette I’m sorry I snapped at you, the dinner was great and anything else is between Alex and me Okay?”
“All right, but if you ask me.” He stopped, he could tell what Walker was thinking from the look on his face, “but then you didn’t ask me did you?”
“That’s right partner” Walker said.
The elevator came to the floor where Company B offices were. They exited the elevator and made their way to the Ranger offices. As they entered they notice the room was almost empty.
“Did you ever notice how big this place looks when there is no one here?” he did not expect and answer nor did he get one.
Walker went straight to his desk to begin the investigation. “Trivette” he said “Let’s start by doing computer background checks on the motel clerk. Then let’s check out the dead man and see what we can find on him.”
As Walker looked over his partners shoulder the young man worked his magic on the keyboard. Before long the life that used to be the man in the motel came onto the computer screen.
“Okay it says here that the dead mans name was Anthony McKay. He was a farm equipment salesman from Missouri. He lived in St. Louis, oh man, He was married and has a 6 month old twin sons.”
“This is the part of the job I hate, notifying the family.” Walker said.
The phone on Walkers desk rang. Crossing the room to reach his desk, Walker answered the phone, “Hello” then he said “Yes Kim, I see, are you sure? Thanks.” then he hung up.
For a few moments he said nothing. Finally he told Jimmy that Kim almost had the Autopsy completed and it looked like the man was drugged and then suffocated.
“The same as the others?” Jimmy asked.
“It looks like it”
Alex Cahill entered the courthouse building. On the way the way to her office she decided to stop and see her fiancée. She entered the door to Company B Ranger headquarters and crossed the room to Cordell Walkers desk.
She stood there looking at him the said. “Darling you look like you’ve been up all night.”
“I have” he said. Then he offered her a drink of his coffee. She took a sip and handed it back to him, she made a face and said “It’s cold.”
“Sorry I’m so tired I didn’t even notice.” He stood up and said “I’ll get a hot cup.”
Together they walked to the coffee maker, the pot was empty. He picked up the flask and said “Who’s turn is it to make coffee”
Every Ranger in the office yelled “YOURS” in unison.
“It figures” Walker grumbled.
Alex laughed then she said, “Go sit down, I’ll make the coffee” She turned him around and gave him a little push.
The other Rangers in the office cheered and said “Now maybe we’ll get some good coffee.”
“Ha Ha” Walker said.
Once Alex had finished making the coffee she waved at Walker and Jimmy and said “Bye”.
They had been busy looking at a folder which had been delivered to them a few moments before that.
“Bye Alex” Jimmy said.
“Wait” Walker said “I’ll walk you to your office.”
“Thanks” she said.
“Trivette check on the other two victims see if there is a connection. I’ll be right back.”
“Take your time.” Jimmy said winking at Walker.
“Trivette” he growled.
Alex looked at him with a questioned look.
“Don’t ask” he told her.
As they walked down to hall to the District Attorneys office Walker slipped his arm around the lady lawyers waist. He asked “Do you think you can meet me at C.D.’s for lunch today?”
“If you can wait ‘til 1:30 for lunch I can. I’ll have court until then.” she told him.
“1:30 is fine” he agreed.
By now they had reached her outer office door. “Meet you at C.D.’s “ he said and he turned to leave.
“uh hum” she said.
He turned and kissed her. A young law intern walked past and giggled, Walker pulled back his face turning red. Alex smiled as he left, he still got embarrassed easily.
“Women” Walker muttered as he walks off. Alex laughed quietly, that was Walker for you he could take on a whole gang of robbers single handed but he was afraid of showing even the smallest emotion.
“Walker man” Trivette said “I’ve looked at this thing four different ways and the only connection is that all the victims were found dead in motels and they were all killed the same way.”
“Humm” Walker said, rubbing his red beard. “There’s got to be something else” he said.
He sat down at his desk. Leaning back in his chair, he played with a pencil while he thought. No noise in the busy office seemed to bring Walker out of his thoughtful trance. He felt he was missing something, but what?
The phone on his desk had been ringing for awhile before he realized it. He finally answered it. “Hell-o” he said. “Yes Kim. You’re sure? I see. Well keep us informed. Goodbye”.
“What’d Kim say?” Trivette asked.
“She said....” he was interrupted
“Walker anything new on last night’s body?” A younger blonde female Ranger asked.
The Ranger doing the inquiring was Tina Boyer. She had been assigned to Waco for sometime now, but transferred to Dallas to take care of her ailing mother.
“Nothing new.” he said. The female Ranger then asked if Walker was free for lunch?
“No, I’ve got plans thank you anyway”.
“Better not let Alex find out that some other woman’s asking you out.” Trivette said joking.
“Very funny Trivette” his partner retorted.
At C.D.’s bar and grill Walker had been waiting for Alex for 30 minutes she was later and he was getting impatient.
“Relax Cordell, she’ll be here. Court probably ran longer than she expected.”
“You’re probably right C.D. but,” he stopped when he saw his love walk through the door. He was glad to see her but he was not going to let her know it right now. He acted upset.
“Walker I’m sorry dear,” she said “The judge wanted to see me in her chambers about tomorrow’s case.”
“Alex I’m tired of the excuses, anytime you’re late you come up with a stupid excuse. If you don’t want to meet me just tell me so.” he turned away.
Alex was shocked “Walker I’m not late that often and I don’t give stupid excuses” she was getting angry.
Walker turned around and said “Got ya!” he laughed.
“Oh you” she said playfully slapping him, he caught her hands and pulled her close. Taking her in his arms he kissed her.
C.D. had been watching them in amusement they always seemed to know just how to react to one another. He smiled and interrupted the moment but saying “Alex honey are you hungry?”
“Starved C.D. how about a salad?”
“Cordell” the older man asked.
“A burger and coffee.”
“Comin’ right up” the bartender said.
Walker put his arm around Alex’s middle and they walked to a booth in the back of the establishment. Alex slid into the booth and Walker joined her. She asked “Anything new on the dead body from last night?”
“Alex um, I wanted to talked to you about last night, but not about the body.”
She smiled worriedly and asked “What about last night? You’re not upset with me about surprising you with dinner?” she asked. She wondered if she should have check with him before going ahead and making dinner for him.
“No Alex, you are welcome at the ranch anytime you want, In fact...”
Alex’s cell phone rang. “Someone’s got poor timing” she thought as she answered to phone. “Hell-o. Yes he’s here” She handed the phone to Walker and said “It’s Jimmy”.
“Yes Trivette, what’s up?” he asked. The look on his handsome face showed concern. He concentrated on what his partner was telling him. Then he said “Yes that’s very interesting. Okay I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
“I know you have to leave, I’ll see you later.”
“You bet” He kissed her and left, on the way out the door he said “Cancel my order C.D.” he hurried out the door.
At the Coroners office he met his partner. The County Coroner then exited the doors of the examination room.
“Jimmy, Walker” she said.
“Kim” they both greeted her, “What do you have for us?” Walker asked.
“Well all three men were all killed the same way. Their blood test showed they had been given a sedative then they were suffocated. There’s one more thing.” She said.
“What’s that?” Jimmy said.
“All the men were well manicured, clean, well kept, they appeared to have taken good care of them selves. That’s all I found there was no other evidence on them. Everything was too clean.”
“Kim can you tell if this looks like the work of one killer?” Walker asked.
“Yes in my opinion it does.” she answered.
Driving back to the office Walker was silent, Trivette broke the silence and said “Walker do you think we have some sick-o out there just killing at random?”
“Trivette I just don’t know what to think. It seems that who ever it is has been able make sure they left no evidence.” Walker said.
They didn’t talk anymore until they were in the Ranger office.
When they entered the office they were greeted by Ranger Boyer. She smiled and said “Walker do you want some coffee?”
“Thanks Tina” he said shaking his head yes.
After she brought him a cup of hot coffee and left, Trivette sat grinning at his partner.
“What?” he asked.
“Partner I think you better watch yourself, she taken a shine to you” He said smiling.
“Don’t be ridiculous Trivette she’s just being nice” Walker said.
“I don’t know about that” he turned around in his chair and began to type on the computer keyboard.
Every lead they found seemed to be a dead end. They were frustrated by the end of the day.
They both met Alex at C.D.’s that night after work. There was not much conversation going on. Both Rangers were preoccupied with the murders. It seemed to be extra busy at the bar that night, despite the fact that C.D. had two waitresses on duty he seemed to be quite busy himself serving patrons.
Alex finally said “I’m going to the ladies room and when I get back could you two be in a friendlier mood.” she kissed Walker on the cheek and left.
As they sat alone in the booth Trivette laughed “I guess we’ve been ignoring her”.
Before his partner could answer he heard a “Hi guys can I join you?”
Without waiting for an answer Tina Boyer sat down and slid next to Walker.
“Got anything new on the case?”
“No just dead ends.” Walker said. Looking towards the back of the bar for Alex.
Alex returned she said nothing but glared at Walker, then she sat down next Jimmy.
Walker said, “Tina Boyer have you met my fiancée Alex Cahill? Alex, Tina is a Ranger who just transferred form Waco. Tina, Alex is the Assistant Attorney.”
“Oh” she said “Nice to meet you. I’ve got to go I’ll see you guys at the office tomorrow.” She stood up and left the bar.
Both Alex and Trivette sat across the booth smiling at Walker.
“What?” he asked.
“That girl had a crush on someone at this table” Alex said.
“Don’t you start on me too.” Walker said “she’s just being nice.”
Alex got up and slid next to her cowboy. “Walker you’ve got a lot to learn about women.”
He put his arms around her and growled “Why don’t you give me some lessons later.”
“I just might do that. But let’s dance right now.”
They cross the dance floor, eyes only on each other the move close together and sway in harmony with the music. They smile and talk. Walker nuzzles her soft golden hair. She lays her head on his shoulder. As the music ended Walker kissed his fiancée and they went back to the table. The mood was somewhat lighter.
After a couple of hours Alex said “I’m sorry but I’ve got to go now. I have an early day tomorrow and I need to do some work before court.” she said.
“I’ll walk you to your car.” Walker said, turning to Trivette he said “I’ll be back in a few.”
The younger Ranger nodded his head.
At her car Walker said, “Do you want me to follow you there?”
“Walker I really do need to do work for court tomorrow.” She put her arms around his neck, pulled him close and said, “If you follow me home, how am I going to get my work done?”
He kissed her passionately and said “that’s the idea.”
She smiled and said “Tempting but I do have to get ready for court tomorrow can I take a rain check?”
“Okay but don’t forget” he said.
She slid into her car and said as she pulled, “You can count on it cowboy.”
He rejoined his partner in the bar again. They ordered another drink and discussed the case. It was almost 2:00 a.m. when Walker looked at his watch. “It’s getting late, we better call it a night.”
As he stood to leave the phone in Trivette’s coat pocket rang. “Trivette” he said as he opened his cell phone. “Thanks we’ll be right there”.
“Where?” Walker asked.
“Mercy Hospital our killer struck again but this time the victim didn’t die. He’s in intensive care at Mercy. The doctors called headquarters when they ran a check on his blood and found a sedative in his blood and also due to the fact that someone had tried to suffocate him. He’s conscious but barely.”
The two lawmen rush to the hospital. In intensive care they find a nice looking man, he is connected to a heart monitor and oxygen. As they walk close to him, his heart rate rushes. The monitor at the side of the bed goes wild. The nurse tell them to leave. They accommodate her. The man calms down again. The nurses tell them they can try to talk to him again. The same thing happened when they came near. Once again they were asked to leave.
In the hallway Trivette asked “What’s going on man?”
“I don’t know he seems to be afraid of us.” Walker said.
A uniformed officer who had accompanied the victim to the hospital asked the nurse if her could see the man. She reluctantly let him go in. The officer leaves about a minute later. Once again the Ranger try to approach the man. He again became agitated and his heart began to race.
After asking them to leave the nurse joined them in the hallway. “I don’t understand it Rangers, that young officer was just here and Mr. Smyth didn’t seem to mind but the minute you go near he almost has a fit.” She then asked “Do either one of you gentlemen know him?”
“No I’ve never met him.” Jimmy remarked.
“Me either” Walker shrugged.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave and maybe come back later so he can calm down.”
“That’s a good idea” They said and left.
All the way home Walker tried to understand why the man was so upset. Once at the ranch he fixed some coffee and sat in his chair to ponder the situation. Before long sleep overtook him.
He must have needed to sleep because he didn’t wake up until Jimmy called him on the phone to ask if he wanted to meet for breakfast.
“No, I just woke up I’ll just meet you at the hospital.”
“Sure thing” Jimmy answered.
Once he had showered and dressed he drove to Mercy Hospital. It was chilly this morning so he grabbed a jacket as he left the ranch house. At the hospital he met his partner in the hallway of ICU. Walker forgetting he was wearing the jacket proceeded to see if the victim felt more like talking now, while Trivette checked with the nurses as to the progress he was making.
The man woke up to see Walkers rugged smiling face. “Hell-o Mr. Smyth I’m Cordell Walker a Tex” He was interrupted by his younger partner walking to his side.
Before Walker could continue the mans heart monitor went wild. His heart raced fast and his breathing got rapid.
Walker said “Trivette walk out to the hallway please.” Once the Ranger left the man’s heart rate and breathing went back to a normal pace. Walker stood there for a moment scratching his red beard, Finally he asked the man “Are you feeling better now?”
“Yes just don’t let a Texas Ranger near me again, They’ll kill me.” the man said very agitatedly.
“It’s okay no one will kill you.” Walker assured him. “I’ll be right back” He assured the man.
He then went to meet Trivette in the hall.
Jimmy asked “What the hell is going on Walker?”
“It seems he’s afraid that the Texas Rangers will kill him.”
“Why didn’t he act scared when he saw you? Wait a minute your jacket is covering your badge” Jimmy noticed.
“You’re right” Walker said looking down at his jacket. “But what I can’t figure is why he’s afraid.”
“Let’s go to the office and check a little on the man’s background.” Walker said.
At the office Jimmy conducted a through background check on Harry Smyth. Once he as done he said “Walker this guy is so clean that I bet he squeaks” he smiled then continued “ He is from Stockton California, he sells educational equipment for a major distributor. He is single and has no criminal record, I can’t even find a speeding ticket.”
“Call dispatch and see who handled Mr. Smyths call last night.”
Trivette called dispatch to find out the information.
Walker was studying the folder on his desk when he heard someone say “Hi Walker”
It was Tina Boyer, she smiled.
“Hi Tina” He said.
“Do you guys have any leads on the body they found last night?” Tina asked.
“No I did” he was interrupted by Trivette saying “Walker We got a call.”
“See you later” Walker said grabbing his hat and both Rangers running out the door.
They had been called to help with a prisoner who was out of control in court. It didn’t take long for them to subdue the criminal.
As they walked back to the office Walker asked Trivette “Did we get notified about a body being found last night?”
“No the only thing I heard about last night was Mr. Smyth and a domestic dispute, no dead bodies” Then Trivette asked “Why?”
“Maybe nothing” He said. “Look maybe this Mr. Smyth has an alias. Can you run his prints through NCIC and see what pops up?”
“You got it” the black Ranger replied and gathered some papers from his desk and left the office.
The phone on Walker’s desk rang. He answered “Walker”. He said nothing else but had a serious look on his face. He hung the phone up after finally saying “Thank you very much”.
He also left the office
At Mercy Hospital the ICU was quiet, two nurses were on duty at the front desk. When the dinner break came the older of the nurses told the younger woman “Look why don’t you go take your break now and I’ll go when you get back.”
As Nurse Foster entered the elevator and descended down to the lunch room, The warning bell in room 401 rang. The older Nurse Masters hurried to see the emergency in that room. Once she passed the exit the stairway a woman stepped out of the stairway door and headed for Mr. Smyth’s room. Quietly she opened the door and slipped into the room. The sleeping man lie with his back to the door. She reached down and turned off the valve which was supplying oxygen to the injured man. Quickly she picked up a pillow and began to put it over the mans head. A strong hand grabbed the pillow and pushed her back. Walker jumped out of the bed.
Quickly Trivette turned the light on to see Ranger Tina Boyer reaching for her gun, Walker kicked the gun from her hand and one punch knocked her out.
Trivette said “I didn’t think you were serious man, I was hoping you were wrong.”
“Cordell what I can’t figure is, why did she do it?” C.D. Parker asked as they all sat in a booth in his establishment
“C.D. they have her in Bellview. The doctors say that when she was in high school, her older sister was raped by three men. When it went to trial the men’s lawyer maintained the men were innocent and drug the sisters name through the mud. The men were acquitted on a technicality."
“She had suppressed the incident for years but when her mother’s health began to decline” Alex said “She blamed men in general for it. In her mind killing these men would even the score and make her mother well again.”
“Okay but how did you know it was her?” the ex-Ranger asked.
“Trivette and I was thinking that Mr. Smyth must have been wanted, to be as afraid of the Rangers as he was, we checked him out but found nothing. Then a nurse at the hospital called to tell me that the victim had said, in his sleep “She’s a Ranger I saw the badge” He had muttered it several times.”
“When she told him that he remember that Tina had asked him about the dead body we found the night Smyth was attacked. We decided to set a trap. Walker made it known that the survivor the incident was going to talk and we just waited.”
“It’s a real shame she was a good Ranger, A good record.” C.D. said.
“Yeah but I guess her mind just snapped.” Jimmy said.
C.D. noticed that he and Jimmy were the only two contributing to the conversation. Walker had put his arm around Alex and they were sitting close laughing about something.
“Jimmy” he said.
“Yeah big dog” Trivette answered.
“Help me in the kitchen please” he got up to leave. Trivette followed him asking what he needed help with.
After a moment Walker noted they were alone. “Alex” he began “I’ve been trying to ask you something all week but we’re always getting interrupted.”
“What is it?” she asked
“Well I was wondering. I mean I was thinking. If you want” he was really having trouble saying what he was thinking. So he grabbed a napkin and a pen. He wrote: Will you move out to the ranch with me? He then passed the napkin to her. Looking very shy.
She read the note. She smiled, he reminded her of a boy asking his first girlfriend to go steady. Her answer was yes and they sealed it with a kiss.