I’ve wasted enough time, he thought as he walked over and opened the door to the warehouse. The inside was cavernous and dark save for a set of portable lights in the back corner illuminating equipment, papers and two cops sifting through it all.
“Hello?” he called out. Both cops turned to look at him. John walked forward, hands slightly raised. He waved a bit. “I’m looking for Dr. Salas.”
“Who are you,” asked the bigger patrolman.
“John Taylor … I’m a reporter for The Sentinel.” He pulled a laminated card from his breast pocket and showed it to them.
“Great. The press,” said the short cop. “What are you doing here?”
John grimaced. “I had an interview with Salas. He called me a couple days ago and said he had a story for me.”
“When was the the last time you saw him?” John looked at the shorter cop’s name tag which said Cooper. The other was Monroe.
“Never, actually,” John said. “He called me. Today would have been the first time we would have met.”
“Why did he call you,” asked Monroe.
“He said it was big news. He had proof of some new physics theory. I’ve got the science and tech beat at the paper. I don’t get ‘big news’ very often.” John looked around at the equipment as he was talking. Papers were scattered around the desk, computers were still running and there was a coffee cup that was only half finished.
“What was this ‘big news’,” asked Cooper.
“He wouldn’t tell me over the phone.” The most intriguing object in the room were two metal poles about six feet tall and three feet apart with wires attached to computer bank. John walked over to it noticing a small video camera on the ground between the poles. “So is he missing?”
“You tell us,” Cooper said.
“His daughter put out a missing person report on him,” said Monroe. “She said he never came home about two nights ago. The last place she saw him was here.”
“Don’t people go missing all the time in this town,” John asked bending down to look at the camera.
“Scientists don’t,” Monroe said. “Julie said he worked late nights, but he always came home.” He and Cooper returned to looking at the scattered papers. Some looked like journal entries, others were diagrams.
John picked up the camera and took out the memory card, pocketing it quickly. He put the camera back where he found it.
Cooper glanced over at John. “Hey, don’t touch anything.”
“Don’t worry, I’m just looking.” There were a couple drops of blood on the floor. John took out his phone and turned it to silent mode. He took a picture of the blood and the two poles. “I think this is blood on floor.”
“Alright, get back,” said Cooper walking over to John. “It’s time for you to go.”
John stood up quickly and backed away. He snapped a couple pictures of the papers on his way out. “Thanks for your time.” He waved as he walked out of the warehouse.
A missing scientist story could be more interesting than whatever Dr. Salas was going to talk about. No jargon, he wouldn’t have to dumb anything down, and it sounded like a nice way to start the work week. He looked up Victor Salas’ address on his phone and plotted out directions. A few quotes from the neighbors about how he keeps to himself and an interview with the daughter Julie should round out the piece nicely. Maybe he could even figure out what the doc was working on out here.
John parked on the street next to the Salas’ house. Stepping out of the car, he looked around the neighborhood. Nice, seemingly quiet and suburban.
He knocked on several neighbors’ front doors, but only two even knew Dr. Salas’ name and had nothing much to say. Dr. Salas keeps to himself and he keeps long hours, but he seems nice enough. This story was resting solely on Julie and his ability to get her to talk to him.
He strolled up the walkway to the Salas’ front door and knocked. He heard movement inside and the door opened.
“Yes,” a young woman asked. She was older than John was expecting, probably in her mid-twenties. Her hair was pulled back and her eyes looked like she hadn’t slept.
“Hi, I’m John Taylor. I had an appointment with your father.”
“He’s not here,” she said.
“Yeah, I was supposed to meet him at his lab at the warehouse, he didn’t show up. There were a couple of cops there looking for him, they said you called.”
1,114/50,000 3,887 behind, for those keeping track. I typed all this on my iPhone as I could barely sit up today.