Sunday: February 21, 2027
7:13 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Bo stirred a splash of creamer into his coffee and picked up the mug, carrying it into the breakfast nook. He sat down at the small, round table, opening up his laptop. He tapped the power button and leaned down to pull back the flap of his satchel. He grabbed one of his notebooks and set it on the table.
As he plugged his earphones into his phone, it vibrated with a text. Bo unlocked his screen and opened up the message.
Jamal: What’s the case like?
Bo: Are you *sure* you aren’t watching me?
Jamal: Pretty sure.
Jamal: Unless you’re a middle-aged hipster art teacher. Because *that* is who I’m watching.
Bo snorted, rolling his eyes. Tired or otherwise, Jamal Pitman never failed to amuse the blonde.
Bo: Have you ever heard of the Casanova?
Jamal: Early 2000s?
Jamal: I know the basics. They caught him.
Jamal: Although I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that they got the wrong guy.
Bo stared at his phone for a moment before setting it down and typing in the password for his laptop. In December, he had started building a laptop that would outdo his current one, a laptop that would hopefully be even better than the one he lost to the Hunter’s station bombing. That laptop, of course, was in Los Angeles and would have to wait until the girls were out of school for spring break. Until then, he’d deal with the laptop before him.
Jamal: Know anything about the guy yet?
Bo: Which one?
Jamal: Prison guy first.
Bo: He’s done everything he can to convince us he’s definitely the Casanova.
Jamal: Taking the fall for family?
Bo: I’m not sure yet. It could be that or it could be for fame. It could be because he needed health insurance. It could be because he’d rather be in prison than around whatever home life was for him. At this point, it could simply be because even *he* is convinced that he’s the Casanova.
Bo: Nearly endless possibilities at this point.
Bo opened the notebook in front of him, opening it to the first page he’d used for notes on the Casanova. The page was full of details from the New Jersey kills. Back in the day, the Casanova lived in New Jersey. His kills were spread throughout several towns, each one within sixty miles of each other.
The Casanova had already ventured past that limit in Minnesota. He’d gone all the way out to Chesterwick to hunt down Ellen Briggs. If he was so eager to kill that he had willingly stepped outside of his previous sixty-mile comfort zone, something big had to have happened to force him to take a break after only two victims in Minnesota.
It wasn’t some sick little game of cat and mouse. It wasn’t his way of toying with the Clinstone Police. Something big had come up in the killer’s life, something more important than killing.
Jamal: What about the actual killer?
Bo: I don’t have anything solid yet. Presumably, he’s a white male in his forties. Other than that, I don’t have much.
Jamal: No evidence?
Bo: He cuts their nails and scrubs their hands clean. The second victim’s hair had been washed incredibly recently. Men’s shampoo. That *could* have been on her own free will, sure, but I don’t think it was. I think it was to eliminate any risk of DNA.
Jamal: Getting caught definitely isn’t something he wants.
Bo: He wants to keep going for as long as he can.
Jamal: What do you think drives him?
Bo: I don’t know.
Bo looked back at his notebook, frowning. What had been so important that it had successfully stopped the Casanova from killing? For some killers, nothing would stop them. For others, it was illness, whether it be their own or the illness of someone they cared deeply for. Sometimes it was simply their cooldown period, but to Bo, a long cooldown immediately following an incredibly short one didn’t make sense. It wasn’t something he could wrap his mind around.
Jamal: I didn’t ask what you knew. I asked what you thought.
Bo: It could be any number of things. Ex-girlfriend pissed him off and now he takes it out on any woman he can lure out of a bar and back to his place. Women could’ve made fun of him in high school for being unattractive or weird and now he’s proving a point by seducing them and killing them afterward.
Bo: He kills women that remind him of a teacher that wronged him in school. He targets women that remind him of a life he wants but can’t have. Alternatively, he targets women that remind him of a life he doesn’t want but someone else (like a mother or father) wants him to have.
Bo: I don’t have a real answer yet. I have possibilities. I have a lot of maybes and what ifs, but that’s it.
Jamal: That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Bo sighed heavily, rolling his eyes.
Jamal: That’s what I thought. Stop being so damn difficult.
Bo: I don’t know how to control that.
Jamal: Believe me, I’m aware.
Bo snorted, reaching out to grab his coffee mug. He took a small sip, closing his eyes briefly before setting the drink back down.
Jamal: You’re all still coming back to L.A. next month?
Bo: Yes. I’ll have to check to see when the girls get out for spring break. I think it’s the second week of March, but I’m not sure.
Jamal: Let me know before tomorrow night. I have shit to arrange for you before then, and I need time to do so. Okay?
Bo: Sure. I’ll keep you updated.
Bo: What kind of things are you arranging, exactly?
Jamal: You’ll find out when you get to L.A. Until then, I have a hipster to trail. Good luck with the case. I’ll talk to you soon.
Bo: Good luck with the hipster.
Jamal: Ha. Thanks.
Bo set his phone aside, his blue eyes shifting back to his notebook. He knew it didn’t matter how long he stared at the words or numbers or dates on the page before him. He could read them over and over again for the rest of his life and it wouldn’t make sense until he had some sort of evidence in his hands.
Why the break?
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