I WAS STILL catching up on Detective Division reports from the Mooney case two weeks later. Unfortunately, having my paperwork done for me had lasted exactly until the task force was disbanded.
The last and most aggravating detail of the case continued to stare at me, usually from the cover of a newspaper, morning after morning. What the hell had happened to Dan Hastings, the abducted Columbia kid?
I was banging out my fourth backed-up incident report of the morning when Chief Fleming came rap-rap-rapping at my office door. In her hand was the only perk of working at One Police Plaza, authentic takeout from neighboring Chinatown.
We ate in her much larger office. Outside her window, a big yellow sun shone brightly off the honking, unmoving Brooklyn Bridge traffic.
I scanned the East River for bodies floating among the garbage beneath the bridge as I worked my chopsticks. I believe in a working lunch.
The chief pointed at the New York Post on the desk behind her as we cracked fortune cookies.
“Seen the latest?” she said.
“Let me guess. ‘Mike Bennett, slacker, still too dumb to locate missing Ivy Leaguer’?”
“It’s not about you for a change. The first victim, Jacob Dunning-his father has created a charitable foundation in his kid’s name.”
I managed to roll my eyes and shake my head at the same time.
“Wow. Exactly what Mooney wanted,” I said, chewing. “Exactly what Mooney was hoping for when he blew the poor kid’s head off.”
“I don’t know, Mike. Isn’t some good coming out of this thing better than the alternative?” she said. “What would you do with all that money?”
“I don’t know,” I said after a moment’s reflection. I lifted a napkin and wiped orange sauce off my cheek.
“With my luck, I’ll never have that kind of problem. But I’ll tell you one thing. I’d burn it before I’d do exactly what my kid’s murderer wanted me to do.”
“You’re cold, Mike, you know that?” Carol said as her phone rang. She smiled and nodded as she lifted the receiver. “I like that in a cop.
“No shit!” she suddenly said. “Okay, okay. I’ll send somebody by right away.”
She looked dumbstruck as she racked her phone.
“Your ship just came in. Troopers picked up Dan Hastings along the turnpike in South Jersey. They took him home to his father’s boat.”