Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last seen in the parking lot

As soon as Constable Williams had left on his coffee mission, Leslie continued.

“I did resign from the lab and my final day was February 13th last year. We were both glad that I was gone. And to be clear, I didn’t take any prototypes, or anything else for that matter.”

“Ok”, Adams nodded that he was clear on that point.

“A couple weeks later I heard that Donna Martin had also quit the lab. We were friends at the lab and for a while she was my assistant on the fusor project. When I heard she had left, I called her up to talk.

“We decided to take a little trip up to Algonquin Park to cross-country ski with Michael, my husband, and get way from things for a while. We rented a car and left on a Thursday morning. We were driving up the 400 and decided to stop and get something to eat, so we pulled off the highway and went into a store near the Barrie ‘lev station. Michael and I went to the back of the store to get some drinks, and Donna was near the front looking for her favourite chips. Once we got our drinks, I looked back for Donna, but she was gone. I looked around the store but I couldn’t see her anywhere. I thought she had gone to the washroom, but when I glanced out the store window I saw her being shoved into a van. I have no idea how she could have been forced outside without any noise or anybody in the store noticing.

“Anyway, Michael and I ran outside. They were driving away, so Michael got in our car and tried to follow them. I went back in the store and had the manager call the police and waited. Michael came back in a few minutes. He’d lost them.

“There’s probably a record, but we told the police everything that happened."

The meeting room door opened and Constable Williams entered with a tray of coffees. Leslie rose from her chair, took off her blazer and put it on the table beside her place. Williams set the coffees in the middle of the table and returned to his chair. Leslie reached for one and sat down.

After she settled back in her chair and took a sip of coffee, “I don’t know how they got her. Maybe she went out to the parking lot to go back to the car and they grabbed her there.” 

Leslie sipped a little more coffee and continued, “Just before the police left, their lead guy came over to talk with Michael and me. He said from my description of Donna that maybe those guys were actually looking for me and had made a mistake.”

Leslie was ashen. She looked up at Adams and asked, “Do you have a cigarette?”

Adams reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a small silver box, popped open the lid and motioned Leslie to take one.

He caught me staring at him.

“You can wait outside and watch for the smoking police if you would like,” he quipped sarcastically. I didn’t budge but I did wipe the smug from my face. Adams handed me a dime from another pocket.
I got up, walked over to the light switch, popped off its cover and used the dime to twist the smoke alarm control to off. They’ve got to fix these things.

Adams offered Leslie a light from a zippo. Apparently his pockets contained all kinds of paraphernalia.  He then pulled out a parker 51, wrote something on the top page of his files, and then handed me a few papers as soon as I had finished my juvenile act of sabotage.

“Take this to the central registrar to document that Dr. Warden has responded to the warrant,” was Adams’ spoken command to me.

But his written command was decidedly different: Get Donna Martin’s missing persons report from police.

The next instalment can be found here.