Heroes, p.18
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       Heroes, p.18

           Leigh Barker

  Riley had been right, Lindsey was a blonde, but that was as right as she got. She looked like Goldie Hawn in her prime, with too much blonde hair and over-white teeth showing through a smile that would’ve broken through to Mrs. Chappell. On a good day. She checked Riley out and gave her a wink.

  Elmore spoke while Riley was still processing.

  “What you got, Lyn?”

  “Whatever you need.” She spoke without taking her eyes off Riley.

  “Hey, you called me, remember?”

  “Right.” She got back to business and patted the top of a huge piece of electronics in pride of place on her lab bench against the wall. “I love this baby.”

  “What?” Riley said, “The photocopier?”

  Lindsey gave her a long and slightly dirty look. “This,” she said slowly, patting it as if it were a puppy, “is a gas chromatography mass spectrometer.” She said it as if she expected them to know what language she was speaking.

  “If you say so,” Riley said.

  “I do.” She pointed at the attached computer monitor. “And you see that?”

  “Yup,” Elmore said. “It’s like a TV but smaller and no football.”

  She gave him the look. “That, my dear Marshal Elmore—” She turned to Riley. “You know why his momma called him Elmore?”

  “Elmore James, like the guitarist,” Elmore said, with a smile.

  “What band’s he in?” Riley said. “Can’t say I’ve heard of him.”

  “He was the king of slide guitar.” He might as well have said he was the cook on the Hoboken ferry. “So, what’s your mass spec telling you?” he said, giving up on the blues history.

  “That, my underfed firefighter, is telling me your theory as to the cause of the bank fire is incorrect.”

  “Don’t have a theory. They’re like assumptions and I don’t have them either.”

  “Whatever.” She pointed at the graphical display. “That one is PETN.” She glanced at Riley. “Like nitroglycerin. And that’s RDX.”

  “Just about the most powerful military-grade explosive,” Elmore said, his interest grabbed now.

  “That’s styrene-butadiene.” She shrugged. “Anyway, what you have here is the residue from Semtex.”

  Elmore was silent for a moment, then leaned closer to the monitor. “Not an ANFO, then?”

  Lindsey shook her head. “You didn’t really think some idiot who blows up his ride home could mix up ammonia nitrate and fuel oil in the right proportion to do that damage?”


  “Didn’t think so.” She tapped the keyboard and another display appeared. “This is the ammonia nitrate residue. Poor grade and the ratio of fertilizer to fuel is all wrong.”

  “Enough to act as an initiator for the Semtex?” Riley said.

  Lindsey gave her a long smile. And looked her over. “No. Oh, the ANFO would’ve broken a few windows and scared the tweety-birds, but no way would it have triggered the Semtex.”

  “It blew a crater in the asphalt, so it had some power.”

  She changed the display on the monitor. “See that spike there?”

  He leaned closer. Could see it. It was a spike.

  “Looks like the idiots had a drum of meth in the truck. That made up the shortfall in the ammonia and fuel mix.” She shook her head. “This guy must’ve been sampling his product. But the real blast was pretty much all down to the Semtex.”

  Elmore looked at the night sky through the high window. “No way a bank employee is going to get his hands on plastic explosive.”

  “Who, then?” Riley said.

  “That’s the question.” He turned back to Lindsey. “Did the techs id the Toyota?”

  “Found the license plates, both of them. Owner’s going to be upset when then dump the remains of his truck on his driveway.”

  “Stolen?” Riley said.

  “Pretty stupid bomber if he uses his own truck,” Lindsey said, with another smile.

  “They get an address?” Elmore said.

  “I’m your secretary now, then?”

  “Only if you sit on my knee and bring me coffee.”

  “Physically impossible.”

  “Okay, I’ll ask Bobby Vee.”

  “He’ll be home with the kids by now,” Lindsey said. She scribbled on a Post-it and handed it to him. “Owner’s in the Bronx. Bit late for a social call though, isn’t it?”

  “I’ll knock softly.”

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