We've been to this lonely road in the backwoods of North Dakota before. It's the site of the murder. The man murdered was named Raymond Delaqua and he was an okay man, as okay men go. His mother was Eugene Delaqua who was also an okay person, as okay people go.
The events of this story are true. It occurred in North Dakota in 2010. The names have been changed to protect the victims. Everything else has been told exactly as it happened.
The North Dakota state trooper who is going to be investigating this case swerves out of the way of a large pothole and gets out. Her name is Mika Gunderson, and she has always weather-protected her shoes. It's a habit that she picked up when she first joined the North Dakota state police. As she stepped into the thick snow, her socks getting uncomfortably damp, she realized that today of all days she had forgotten to do it. Bad sign. This was not a good start to her day, she figured. Of course, the damp socks were not the most pressing thing on her mind. The most pressing thing was the murder of Raymond Delaquat and his mother Eugene Delaquat.
Raymond's body had been surrounded by what appeared to be thousands of dollars of blood-covered money. "Crying shame", said John Flagstaff, who had been the first one on the scene. "Crying shame. Good woman, that Eugene, and Raymond was a good man too."
"So what do you think happened?" said Mika.
"Oh, I don't want to assume what sorts of drugs caused this," said John.
"Drugs you say?"
"Oh yeah. It's almost always drugs."
Mika looked at Raymond's body and saw that he was wearing a he-man shirt. She had a few doubts about Flagstaff's concept. She looked around the body. She noticed two distinct tracks of swerve marks.
"John, I've got some quibbles with your detective work here."
"Oh, really?" said John.
"Not to be rude or nothing, but did you notice the large pothole in the road over there?"
"Yeah," said John.
"Well, here's what I think, John. Did you also notice that there are two distinct tracks? There are two distinct set of track marks here, but over by the tree, there is only one. The minivan had not gone anywhere near the tree."
"So here's what I'm thinking, John. I'm thinking that the driver of the car, he swerves out of the way of the pothole, and hits the tree. And Raymond gets out of his car to see what the issue is."
"Hmm. That could be the thing too. I can see how all that fits together."
"So where do you think the money comes from?" said Mika.
"Not sure. Not sure."
"What's close to here?"
"Oh, nothing much. There is a bar a few miles back. Hmm," said John.
"That's Boris' place, right? The Boar's Head?" Said Mika.
"Yeah, that would be Boris. Good man, that Boris. I'm sure he'll be willing to talk."
Mika didn't say anything. She didn't say for sure what she thought of that. But as more police officers came, she handed off the reins to them while she decided to investigate Boris, to go to the Boar's Head. She took John with her. The Boar's Head. What a great little spot. Run by one Boris Califf, Russian immigrant and just lovely human being. Mika's only interaction with him was this:
"So, Boris. Do you remember anything unusual a few nights ago?"
"No," said Boris.
"Boris, we're investigating a murder," said John.
"Did you see anybody unusual?" Said Mika.
"Let me think. No."
"Well, thank you for your time," said Mika.
"You're welcome," said Boris.
"So that was a bit of a dead end," said Mika.
"I wouldn't say so. We interacted with our fellow citizens. That is always a fun time," said John.
Mika appreciated the sentiment, even though it was evidence that this murder had hit something of a drywall only two hours into the investigation. "Wonderful," she thought as she walked out of The Boar's Head feeling utterly dejected and rejected.
"Well, that couldn't have gone worse," said Mica.
"No, no, no. I think that we're really softening him up. Soon his conscience will get the better of him, and he will come running to the station and tell us exactly who did the killings," said John.
"For sure," said Mika.
John Flagstaff was the type of person who knew full well that there was a famous Shakespearean character named after him, but he had never bothered to see the play with that character in it. He was also the type of person who gets hungry, which I guess is every person, but he was so hungry he pulled over to the small roadside diner, Bev's Classic Americana, right there. It had been around since the 50s, art deco chrome surrounding the building - red, beautiful. It was a place he went to almost every night for dinner before he went home. He never had the heart to tell his wife that he didn't enjoy her cooking.
He walked up and tried to open the familiar doors, but there was something off. They were hard to open. After pushing on them several times he finally got them opened. Inside Bev's was not a normal diner situation with a fun relaxed attitude where you could sit back and not put on any airs. It was frozen, entirely frozen. It was covered in nothing but ice, and the people in it were covered in ice. Something had gone very wrong here. He took out his gun and walked slowly in.
"Officer requesting back-up," he said into his radio.
Once inside he saw that the ice was getting thicker and thicker, seemingly coming from one table, and he heard heavy breathing coming from that table. Somebody was alive! Gosh darn it, somebody was alive!
The Bear had been frozen that day, but managed to break through to use her gun-holding arm.
“Don’t get weird, Ok?" said The Bear as she shot him.