"So what was it?" Hunt asked.
Mickey sipped at his beer. "You really ought to guess. If only to get a feeling for how far off we all were."
"She saw the limo out there," Hunt said, "after it was supposedly back at Sunset."
"Not close. Tam?"
"She heard something."
"Nope. Way more obvious."
"She saw something," Tamara said.
"From her boat?"
"Getting warm," Mickey said.
"Wait a minute," Hunt put in. "So it happened out by the boats?"
Mickey was enjoying the moment, leading them on. "I told you, think outside the box. We would never, ever, have thought of this. We're not even in the right area code. And we know it happened because she saw it with her own eyes."
For a long moment, all was silence. "Okay," Hunt said, "he actually met somebody on one of the boats. They had a fight out there . . . but, no, that's too far from the lagoon. n.o.body's carrying a dead guy three blocks. Or even from the boats out to the parking lot."
"No. No carrying involved. No boats involved either." Mickey tipped up his beer again, put it down, gave a last-chance look to his colleagues. Theatrically, he sighed. "We can call Devin Juhle and close the case as soon as I tell you guys," he said, "but I thought, obvious as it is, we might want to talk about it a little first, before we bring in the cops." One last triumphant glance around the table. "Okay, you know the blimp, the tourist blimp?"
Hunt, very slowly, nodded. "Airs.h.i.+p Ventures," he said with caution. "The Eureka."
"Right. That's the one. Well, Virginia was out on her deck Tuesday night, late dusk, just enjoying the peace and serenity out there, and she notices the Eureka coming back from out over the Golden Gate. Beautiful, if you like blimps, and who doesn't, just floating around up there. But whatever, it was a warm night and she just watched it sail pretty much straight overhead, a couple of blocks south, but really, darn close. And then, suddenly, she's looking up at it and she sees something-I'm not making this up-she sees something fall out of the thing. At first, she can't believe what she's seeing, but then she realizes it looks like a body, and it just falls and falls until it goes out of sight just over the trees, about where the lagoon would be."
"Lucky they drained it," Tamara said. "He might have killed a duck."
"But he hit the lagoon before it was drained," Mickey said, "and he didn't hit a duck anyway."
Tamara smiled brightly. "Well, that was lucky too."
"You're right," Hunt said drily, "we never would have thought of that."
"He fell into the lagoon?" Tamara asked.
"How'd he wind up at the one end, tied up in all the roots and stuff?"
"Must have been the tide," Mickey said.
"There's no tide in the lagoon."
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