Boggs grappled with the ringing phone and brought it to his ear. “What can I do for you, Purvis?” Boggs wondered who or what had got Moore out of bed.
“I heard there was an incident at Eagles.” He paused as if waiting for Boggs to respond.
Hayworth hadn’t been gone but a couple of minutes. Boggs had him drive Walter home. Had Hayworth redecided and called his boss as soon as he got in his cruiser?
“Heard the kids pulled a practical joke on the Forester kid. And now the joke’s stretched to you.” Moore laughed.
“Nah,” Boggs said. “I’m heading home and looking forward to hitting the hay.”
“I hear you. I’m done in, too. I’m heading that way myself.”
Boggs glanced at the time. He didn’t need to look out to the city police lot in order to see the City Chief’s SUV gone. Boggs would have bet it hadn’t been in the lot since well after six o’clock. And he’d bet double that Purvis Moore was calling from the bed he was claiming to go home to.
“Is that why your calling, Purvis?” Boggs asked. “ Just to see if the kids pulled one over on me?”
Moore didn’t answer.
Boggs said, “Walter said Bill Cahill’s missing. I was surprised to hear it.”
Moore said, “We’ve got no missing person’s report on him.
Boggs added, “Walter also said Jake’s mom and sister are missing.”
Moore begged off the question. “Good thing school’s starting in a couple of weeks. We need to keep these kids busy and off the streets.”
“The way Walter told it,” Boggs continued, “He, Oliver Pitts and Jake Cahill went up to Eagles tonight because they found Bill Cahill badly injured in the hospital and he told Jake where he could find his missing mother and sister.”
“Are you going to Eagles to check out the story? This time of night?”
Boggs hadn’t made that decision, yet. If the two boys had played a prank on Walter, then sending out deputies to check out the story may be a waste of time. Eagles Park was huge.
“I’d get some sleep if it were me. This smells like a prank, Roger.” Moore said, “Let me know if you hear anything more.”
“You’ll be first on my list.” Boggs ended the call.
Boggs told the night dispatcher where he could be contacted if he was needed. He emphasized the word needed. Then he walked out and got in his SUV.
The rain had stopped but the air lay heavy with moisture. He glanced at his watch. Almost three a.m. and still hot. He sat with the windows down, waiting for the air conditioning to push out the oppressive heat. He replayed all Walter had told him. None of it made sense. Was it a big hoax on Walter? Had kids been out drinking and shooting at deer for the fun of it. Damn kids. No concept of death. But, a dead girl? Someone else brought in on the joke? And who did they get to play the alien?
Moore calling minutes after Hayworth left also bothered him. Hayworth probably called his boss to keep his butt clean. No doubt about that. Moore’s calling him was Moore’s letting Boggs know he was fully aware of what went on in the Sheriff’s office. His way of asserting his power in Pinkerton. Moore didn’t like the main headquarters of the Sheriff’s unit situated so close. Where those in Pinkerton got confused who was really in charge.
But, why was Purvis so sure it was a joke? Hayworth calling Purvis, risking to wake him in the middle of the night was one thing. Moore asking or accepting Hayworth’s opinion was on the “ain’t gonna happen meter.”
Boggs gave a heavy sigh. Sometimes things needed to be seen to be believed, or disbelieved, he thought. He knew he wouldn’t get a lick of sleep unless he checked out some of Walter’s story.
He flipped on the car’s turn signal, took a left instead of right toward home, and headed toward Highway 99 and Eagles Park.