Follow The Leader


Chapter 85 Colin broke his promise to the chief the next evening. He was barbecuing ribs for Mike Rollins and his ex, Joy, Amy Feingold and me. I watched Mike Rollins and Amy, who had come in together. I thought they might be a couple, but then I remembered the powerful bond they shared. Katherine. Not to mention they were still neighbors and running partners. Joy looked fabulous in her designer jeans and silk blouse. Mostly she looked relieve d. Linda told me later that Joy had been crying before she came. No surprise there. And Linda? She wore a Stanford sweatshirt and a pair of jeans and played hostess, as if nothing had happened. Perhaps it was my imagination, but she appeared to tense up when she looked at Colin and me. Clearly, the get-together was not her idea.  The idea was to eat ribs and drink beer and then listen to the Official Story, as told by Detective Colin D. Kelly. Along with Linda, I wasn’t sure that having bereaved folks over in this way was such a good


  Chapter 84 While Colin and Chief Holloway were at SF General, I was up in Petaluma, visiting with Terry. Or I should say, watching Terry.  He was sound asleep. It had been touch and go with him, since he had lost a lot of blood. Still, he had been lucky. Other than a bullet to the ribs, there was no major damage. No vital organs were affected. I had been going through his stuff at home to bring him a change of clothes when I discovered an appointment slip. He had been receiving hormone treatments to change his sex. And they were not free, of course. Thus the secret nightly trips to the Haight, where he could turn a few tricks.  I promised myself to warn him about the danger in his nocturnal cruising. Being a kid, he would probably ignore my advice. Then again, this brush with death might turn him around. Hopefully he would tell me about the treatments in his own good time. The nurse entered and said, “The doctor’s coming in, so…” “I need to leave. Got it.” “Hey.”


  Chapter 83 Downstairs in the hospital’s cafeteria, Chief Howell and Detective Colin Kelly nibbled on sweet rolls and drank coffee. Happy Donuts in Noe Valley would have been preferable, but they were now on the other end of 24 th , and the coffee was decent. “What’s the real story, Detective? After you found the bodies inside the house.” Colin took a sip of coffee, deciding how to spin his own narrative without getting his little brother in trouble. “I had just missed him when I got there. I was pretty certain there was nowhere he could go to hide except Glen Canyon Park. Sure, he could have broken into a neighbor’s house and hidden there, but that would be risky. Burglar alarms. Shouts. Other kinds of noise. On the other hand, the Park would be dark and silent except for the birds and critters.” “So this came to you out of the blue?” Colin hesitated. “Well, not exactly. Francis thought of it first.” “Ah.” “He reminded me that we used to play in the Park w


Chapter 82 It turned out that Colin’s bullet missed both the heart and lungs of Jason Powers, but it hit his spine. The attending physician said it was too early to tell if he would be able to walk unaided. Late afternoon of the next day he was fully conscious inside SF General Hospital. Chief Howell signaled the attending nurse to leave the room.  She did. He hovered over Powers. “There are a lot of people who want to hear from you,” he said. “They want to know what happened to their daughters.”  “I’m not talking without my lawyer,” Powers said. “Speaking of lawyers, the D.A. might cut you a little slack if you cooperate.” “Define slack. ” “No death penalty.” Powers said nothing. “Some guys would rather be put to death than spend long years in prison for the rest of their lives. That’s what they say . But many years later, when that final morning comes around and the con eats his final breakfast and the priest comes in, he falls apart. He’ll shit


  Chapter 81 Something changed. The coyote was growling, not barking. She had not succeeded in scaring away the intruder. Now she was in attack mode. Like me, she was waiting for her prey to emerge. Finally in place and out of Power’s sight, I crept up and hid behind one of the tall slabs of rock.  I had made it up a pile of smaller rocks so I was perched to jump if it came to that. Below me I saw that the coyote had followed me. She had heard the noises and sniffed my scent, probably wondering what the hell I was going to do. As was I. She looked up and saw me. Neither of us flinched. Somehow she knew I was not a threat. Just another big dumb guy from the city. By following me she had moved away from the cave’s mouth. Which would give Powers an opportunity to sneak away. Powers was coming out. He had to. It was one of those once-in-a lifetime moments for all three of us. I saw her two pups skitter up behind her. She quickly turned to check on them, then turned ba


Chapter 80 I continued to crawl, parting brush from my face, then stopped. Right in front of me, the grass and weeds had been tamped down. An animal could have slept here. Or Powers knelt in this exact same spot. Just ahead I saw a moccasin print, then another. Recent. I saw something move.  A female coyote led her two pups toward the larger cave, clenching a dead squirrel in her powerful jaws. She stopped suddenly, causing the pups to ram into her rump. A genuinely comic moment for a photographer. I could only smile. The mother turned my way, her nostrils flaring, and saw me hiding. City coyotes are accustomed to humans. As long as I stayed still, I was not a threat to her or her pups. Another scent. She turned back to her cave. A man was inside her home. Using her snout, she pushed her pups back and out of the way. When the smaller one started back for the cave, she nipped his flank. He rejoined his brother. I could hear the mother’s soft guttural growli


  Chapter 79 The entrance to Glen Canyon Park was so brightly lit you could see it from the sky. Surrounded by darkness, it would appear to be just another playing field or a well-lit industrial park as your plane approached SFO. The park was essentially a rectangle built around a canyon running south to north. The ball park and out buildings sat at the lighted end. I slipped into the park and hurried for the shadows behind the biggest building. To my right was a steep rocky ridge that ran the length of the park. There are several trails along the ridge that hikers used to go in and out of the park. Anyone who used one of these tonight would be a perfect target for a sniper. On the other higher side of the park a row of carefully spaced tall eucalyptus trees sat south to north. You could look up and peer past their trunks and see houses and parked cars. All very civilized. Until you ventured into the dense jungle inside the heart of Glen CanyonPark. Exactly where I was hea