Friday, March 2, 2012

Winter dreams and voiceovers


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

(Ringing anvil sound)

"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups—the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

That's how my winter dreams open as of late. (Sad, isn't it?) That's what happens when you live in a log cabin ... and stay there. Everyone has his or her own life up here in the Wood River Valley—this is mine.

Tonight, I'm working an art gallery theft case in Ketchum with my partner, Detective Mike Logan who transferred here from Staten Island a couple of ski seasons ago. Our boss is Lt. Anita Van Buren, a crime squad chief for more than 20 years in New York City who moved here for the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Show a few summers ago. These folks are pros and I'm lucky to be working with them. We have to make our cases air-tight because the district attorney, Adam Schiff, of Hailey, Idaho, is no dummy, and neither is his assistant, Jack McCoy of Bellevue. They'll only go to court if they know they can win—pleading out the "perp" is no option.

<

Mike and I are about to interview Gail Severn at her gallery when suddenly we hear this strange anvil sound (Dink-ggg-Dink-ggg) and someone is talking to no one in particular: "In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In the Wood River Valley, dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Locals Unit. These are their stories."

Logan rolls his eyes and coats his lips with Chap Stick. I explode: "What the hell!" My phone rings. Van Buren wants us back at headquarters. I'm supposed to work with a new partner—some whack job named Elliot Stabler who had just been thrown out of New York for excessive force and wants to start over. Oh yeah? What about my needs?

I drop off Logan at Grumpy's and head south in my 1984 Cadillac Coupe Deville through the driving snowstorm when from out of the blue the anvil strikes and I hear: "In Blaine County's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories."

I can't wait to see what happens tonight.

Nice talking to you.

(anvil sound)




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