"Oh, fuck this noise…" he muttered to himself while waiting in line at the airline counter while the costumed ticketing agents chatted up the people in line and handed out candy from plastic jack-o-lanterns. He looked quickly over each shoulder and couldn't see any "Get-you-to-Salt-Lake-with-no-bullshit" airlines advertised in the lights above the counters, so he stayed put.
After the perky cowgirl handed him his ticket he walked quickly to his gate, only stopping in the men's room long enough to use the urinal between another Dracula and a gigantic clearly transvestite Tina Turner and then splash some water on his face. As he looked at his reflection in the mirror (and the back of Dracula's too…SNAP! as Desiree would have said) he wondered just how he was going to pull this off. If he were in the costume line-up for the airline, his would naturally scream hobo at this point; wrinkled shirt from his sleeping on the desk, and he couldn't remember the last time he'd used a razor—probably Park City—so how was he going to convince the police that a fucking guitar was the cause of all of their worries?
He settled into his seat and immediately began scanning the occupants of the plane for a stewardess with whom to place a drink order. Great. Today's flight attendants were announcing themselves as Stephan and Trevor, or as they were better known--Tina Turner and Cher. This was quickly becoming ridiculous, a fact that became evident to him by the way he started giggling like a schoolgirl when he saw that the pilot coming on board was dressed as a airline pilot. Cheater… he thought.
The entire flight was spent ignoring his seat-mate and trying to come up with a somewhat appropriate approach for the police: "Hi, I'm a crack-pot who saw on the news that people were getting killed and want to provide my assistance" didn't exactly scream credibility. He was no closer to anything but drunk by the time the plane landed. When he asked the cab driver to take him to the police station he had resigned himself to just doing what he could to get his hands on that guitar. He left a quick voice-mail with Des and Danny, and then settled back to enjoy the ride.
For all of the inherent weirdness he really did like this city. The straight roads and cleverly planned north-and-south of it all appealed to his sense of order. As they drove past a billboard announcing cheap bus rides to Nevada casinos, he remembered that he'd probably need a place to sleep tonight and fished the notepad he'd jacked from the Peery out of his satchel. He dialed the number on his cell and waited for someone to pick up. When the answer finally came it was that no sir, there were no rooms. Not tonight and probably not tomorrow either. He shrugged it off to Halloween revelers getting their freak on, and decided he'd just ask someone at the station for a good place to call.
The police station was brightly lit despite the hour, and he couldn't help but be comforted by the building. The slope and curve of the entrance seemed to embrace him as he passed through with a sort of "there-there" pat on the back, like the bricks themselves knew that the good guys lived here and every lil' thing was going to be all right. It was at that moment that he knew he was probably good and drunk, and he'd better be on his best behavior before someone got the idea to give him a breathalyzer test and throw his sorry ass in the tank for the night.
He took a deep breath and walked up to a counter where a tired looking woman in uniform sat. She looked like she was exhausted from a shift of answering phones and telling kids not to eat unwrapped candy. He'd have to be careful with this one. He grabbed a piece of gum from his pocket and began chewing thoroughly—swishing spit between his teeth trying to eradicate all traces of several teeny airline bottles of Johnny Walker Red—and smiled at the woman. She wasn't smiling back.
"Excuse me, Miss. I am looking for a…" he grabbed the Peery note pad from his satchel and scanned it. "A detective named Howell. Can you help me?"
Her eyes narrowed as she spoke. "What is this in regards to?" she asked as she picked up the receiver of the phone on the desk. When he told her that he had seen about the murder in Emigrant's Canyon that morning on the television and he had information that he could share with Detective Howell she grinned a very insincere "I knew it" grin and set the phone back in its cradle. She brusquely told him to have a seat.
There he waited….and waited….and waited…watching the officer at the reception desk and thinking of all of the delightful ways one of his movie zombies could eat her brains out. The waiting area was shared with several people who knew the killer, or saw the killer, or had missing pets that were abducted by the killer….When he couldn't stand it any longer, he went outside for a smoke.
As he stood in the plaza, smoking and pacing, a tired voice said: "Hey buddy, 25 feet from the building, please…" and Mark Arthur turned to face Detective Rulon Howell, taller and broader in the shoulder than he had appeared on TV. Arthur began to mumble an apology but the detective simply waved him off on his way into the building.
"Detective!" Arthur choked. "I've been waiting to talk to you. I think I can help…" All caution and self-preservation aside, Arthur began rambling about the guitar and how he was certain it was connected to the killing in Emigrant Canyon. The detective shook his head blearily but snapped to attention when Arthur mentioned the wire garroting.
"And just how do you know this?" asked Howell
"That's what I've been waiting to show you," replied Arthur, fumbling with papers in his satchel.
"Please sir," said Howell. "Won't you come inside with me?"
As they passed the reception desk and went through the swing double doors to the innards of the station, Mark Arthur grinned and flipped the receptionist the bird.
When they had gone into the interrogation room under the guise of a quiet place to talk, Mark Arthur felt fairly good about the reception he was getting with this Detective, but the longer he sat here the more wary he felt. He'd worked in the industry for a long time, and seen a hell of a lot of reality television, enough to know that when the detective sat him down facing the one-way mirror and started asking him about where he was during the events in question that he'd probably been better off to call his lawyer ahead of time.
"Look," he started. "I only came here to help, to tell you what I have found out…"
"And your occupation, sir?"
"I make films. Write, produce, direct, just depends on the picture……See, I first heard about this…'
The detective casually cut him off: "Anything I would have seen?"
"I dunno, Beach Blanket Bloodbath? Sorority Psycho? Anyway….this is from a reputable source in Haiti.."
"And you were in the city why, exactly?" the detective interrupted again.
"Listen, you stupid bastard…." Arthur barked. He started pulling papers out his satchel and the detective sat impassive until his gaze was captured by the notepad with the Peery hotel logo on it.
The detective's voice went cold and hard as he reached for the notepad and asked Mark Arthur "Where did you get this?"