Liz was less than thrilled about me breaking into crime scenes late at night. We were having morning coffee on her porch, and I knew after ten seconds there was no way I’d be telling her about my trip out to Livermore to see the suspect.
“You’re getting cuckoo over this, Snap. You’re a ballpark usher, not Sherlock Holmes. The case is closed when the guy confesses.”
“Not if he’s lying.”
“Okay, well…a bunch of newspaper clippings and library visits doesn’t make anyone a liar. Even if he didn’t call you Milton that time you saw him.”
“Actually—” I stopped myself, but a second too late.
She gave me an odd look, then convinced me I was driving myself too hard and needed a day off from both ushering and sleuthing.
“To do what?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. You can always…get lazy with me.” She followed this up with a hand on my knee and one of her famous juicy smiles.
* * *
Two hours later, we had showered and dressed and were packing lunch for another picnic in Golden Gate Park. Liz had hit page 300 of her novel and was in a rare giddy mood. As we lay under the trees with her head on my chest, I tried to get the book’s plot out of her but she kept saying it was “in progress and off limits.”
A guy on a nearby blanket had the Giants game on his transistor radio. Russ Hodges’ voice was just faint enough to miss the action, but I could tell the Pirates were winning by his muted tone. On the other hand, it was just loud enough to distract me from Liz’s dreamy ramblings on our fantasy future.
“I bet if we ever had kids they’d be talented wiseacres.”
“Ever think about what you’d name your kids?”
This dragged on for a bit. Then some mid-afternoon fog rolled across the treetops, and it got a little clammy out.
It also felt like someone was watching us. I sat up, peered around. The guy with the radio had packed up and left. I wished I had caught the damn Giants score.
“You okay?” asked Liz.
“Think so. It’s probably nothing.”
We finished off our small bottle of wine and started out of the park. Took a path through a thick grove of tall pines and the clammy feeling returned with a vengeance. I grabbed Liz by the arm, quickened our pace. Twigs snapped on all sides and Agent Brewster suddenly appeared in front of us. Flanked by his mini-FBI army. The relieved look he had on his face at Friday night’s game was completely gone.
“Uncle Snappy, I presume?”
Uh-oh. This wasn’t good.
“You tell me, Drake. How did your visit to Livermore go yesterday?”
Liz just about popped her cork. “Your what??”
“Yeah, I couldn’t help myself. Had to see if he’d call me Milton. Which he did.”
“And what about last night?” continued Brewster. “Knew your way around that place pretty good, I imagine. Like which guard was on duty at what time.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Brewster?”
He glanced around at his flunkies, who moved a step closer to me like it was in their genes.
“Xavier Lawrence Chitwood was found in his cell this morning. Drowned.”
“Drowned?? How is that possible?”
“Head forcibly held under water in his own toilet. The guard on duty was found strangled, his uniform and key ring gone.”
“Where’d you go after the game last night, Drake? Or should I say…before it was over?”
“Had some rrands to run, that’s all. We had the game in the bag.”
“Yeah. As in, cleaning my laundry.”
“And was one of them going back to that hardware store to buy yourself a stapler?”
Now I was baffled. Brewster took a small plastic bag out of his pocket, held it up in the shadowy light so I could read the scrawled note that had been tucked inside:
WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?
“It was stapled into Chitwood’s lower back. Same kind of marker you used out at Candlestick Point. And if you ask me, Drake, I’d say it appears to be your handwriting.”
I looked closer. Supposed it did. But that wasn’t the only thing.
It was written on San Francisco Giants stationery.
PIT 101 001 001 – 4 13 2
S.F. 000 001 000 – 1 4 0
W-Porterfield l-McCormick GWRBI-Clemente
Finally heard the result later, on my way to the FBI office. McCormick got smacked around again, and we couldn’t swat a mosquito off Bob Porterfield, to fall three behind Milwaukee. Hopefully Antonelli can right the ship again tomorrow before we sail out of town.
MIL 000 000 012 – 3 6 0
CHI 000 000 200 – 2 5 0
W-Spahn L-Phillips HRS: Pakfo, Banks GWRBI-Pafko
What looks like a possible upset for the Cubs turns sour late, as Andy Pafko takes Taylor Phillips into the bleachers in the top of the 9th with Adcock aboard. Spahn throws another in a string of recent gems, a Banks homer is his only pimple.
PHI 000 201 010 – 4 6 0
L.A. 000 001 010 – 2 6 1
W-Roberts L-Koufax GWRBI-Herrera
Young Sandy is no match for old Robin, and the on-base, Dodger-wrecking machine that is the Phillies prevails again. L.A. drops to 5-10 vs. the Brotherly Lovers.
STL 000 000 000 – 0 6 0
CIN 000 200 00x – 2 8 0
W-Lawrence L-Brosnan GWRBI-Hoak
Pretty sad when the Cards can’t muster anything close to an attack against the mediocre Brooks Lawrence in offense-happy Crosley Field. Brosnan may have tossed a no-hitter early on, but for the season he is now 4-10 and never seems to get any support.
K.C. 000 011 000 – 2 5 0
NYY 000 000 003 – 3 10 0
W-Trucks L-Grim HR: Ward GWRBI-Mantle
Yeah okay, the matchup is Bob Grim (3-10) vs. Whitey Ford (14-3), but the A’s still have a 2-0 lead going to the last of the 9th. And we all know that’s about as safe as a chipmunk strolling into a rattlesnake pit. McDougald walks, Kubek singles, Throneberry pinch singles, Carey singles off Bud Daley, Slaughter walks, Mantle singles and game over.
DET 010 003 000 – 4 8 0
BOS 013 100 00x – 5 9 0
W-Delock L-Hoeft HRS: Gernert, Jensen, Piersall GWRBI-Jensen
Since Ted Williams went out with an injury on July 14th, the Red Sox are outhomering the opposition 18-2. Scientists are arriving daily now to study Dick Gernert’s swing, which has produced eight homers in its last six games.
CHI 000 000 000 – 0 7 0
WAS 111 002 00x – 4 11 1
W-Clevenger L-Wynn HR: Yost GWRBI-Plews
Break up the Nats! Also, another grisly specimen from Chicago’s hideous July: Senators walk them eight times, but they ground into four double plays against a defense that can barely turn them, and leave 12 runners on base. Yeesh.
CLE 000 001 300 000 00 – 4 6 1
BAL 001 010 101 000 02 – 5 10 0
W-Wilhelm L-Ferrarese HRS: Hardy, Harshman GWRBI-Neeman
The O’s are back to their old tricks, pulling this one out with the help of a Pilarcik pinch triple in the 9th, five no-hit relief innings by Wilhelm and a bases loaded walk by Nieman in the 14th.
National League through Saturday, July 19
American League through Saturday, July 19