The glow from the computer screen began to fill the office. During most of the day, sunlight provided the main light source. At that time of the evening, the soft light bathed the rows of books, forms and electronic equipment. All was quiet. All the partners and staff had gone home for the day. Tim found this time was the best time to work. His attention didn’t have to compete with the chattering office staff and the office bullshit.
The trial he was preparing for would start in four days. He would be ready. His work in these class action suites was tedious and grueling, but it saved him from having to face his empty house. It had been that way since the divorce.
Deciding to take a brief rest, he leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. He spun around in his chair and looked out over the San Diego Harbor. This view was well worth the extra few thousand dollars they paid each month. It was relaxing. It made him feel he was on top of it all. There was a lone boat cruising south. There was light tourist traffic along the Star of India. Along the walkway, several runners and walkers got their after work workout in. The waterfront was usually peaceful this time of year. The stress of the upcoming trial and next month’s mortgage seemed to disappear as he looked over toward Point Loma.
As he rocked in his office chair, the entry door eased open about three feet and closed. A stranger crawled on the floor toward him. The intruder snaked up behind the chair. Neumann was completely unaware of the dark figure rising up behind him. The first thing he felt is a hard blow against his neck. The strike stunned him speechless. The intruder pushed him to one side as the thin silver wire slipped over Tim’s hand and sliced into his jugular vein, severing the trachea. He attempted to scream, but he could only make a slight gurgling noise. The view of the harbor faded to black. In less than 30 seconds, his 47 year life span ended on a clear San Diego spring night.
The killer wiped off the garrote and holstered the murder weapon. He snaked out the office the same way he came in, sneaking quickly down the short side of the hall to the stairwell. No one was there, just as there wasn’t anyone there through the whole day. He glided out the exit door in the rear of the building, avoiding the security cameras and the patrol officer…
For nearly an hour, he made his way across Middle Town and south Hillcrest to his car. He had parked it near Balboa Park. His mind was blank. To him, the whole thing felt like a dream. The trees, cars and houses didn’t seem to exist.
When got to his brown Toyota Celica, he put on his Bluetooth and turned his cell phone on. He checked his messages. The first was from his wife, Jana. “Hi Hon. I was just wondering whether to order out tonight. I knew you were running late, so I didn’t prepare anything.” “Beep.” The next message started, “Detective White, there was a 501 on 509 West C Street. Det. Dulce had requested you as the second.” Det. White called in. He headed to the crime scene.