Sosa called Beth to meet them at the garage, and soon they were cruising down Columbus Ave towards Market St. Beth sat in the back and Mikey and Sosa sat in the front of their unmarked Crown Victoria.
“This guy is on your 1st degree list. He was at a couple of the Socializr events, and he’s got no priors. We’re mostly interested in him because the suspect,” Sosa referred to his notebook. they were at stop sign at Kearny and California. “Jane, right, the one who has seen both bodies. She told us he’s been calling her, asking her on dates.”
“Ah…” Beth didn’t know what to think. It all sounded pretty tenuous.
“But mainly,” Sosa said, grunting with the effort of turning the wheel and cruising onto Market, watching out for cyclists and pedestrians in the busy lunch traffic, “He told Mikey here the other day that …”
“I can tell her.” Mikey said. Sosa looked sideways at him quickly before swinging behind an F-Market trolley.
“He had a profile in Socializr, he used MySpace, he knew about it from Upcoming. He’s super digerati, lives at home, alone, wealthy. Said something about playing Doom with Norwegians.”
“Doom, yeah.” Beth said. She looked out at the passing tenderloin area of Market Street- guys sitting outside an Arab cafe drinking coffee, more guys hanging out at a hip hop record store. How many boyfriends had she lost to the abyss of Doom.
“What is it?” Sosa asked, craning his neck. He turned up Haight Street and the automatic car shifted down.
“It’s a network shoot me up game. Single man shooter. We can trace the times he logged in and out, and corroborate it with his teammates. You could fake that all, I guess. Not sure if it’s admissable and all that.” Beth now looked at the cute Victorians streaming by her car window.
“What I think,” Sosa said, “If I was completely guessing, that he is lonely, at home, goes to one of these things, sees some guy he hates, and shoots him or stabs him or whatever. Jealousy.”
“Seems kinda dramatic.” Mikey said. “I bet this Jane girl knows more. She seems kind of weird. Like, kind of a hottie to be hanging out with these nerds.”
Sosa laughed. “How come you don’t like her? She seemed sweet to me.”
Mikey ignored him.
Beth spoke up from the backseat. “Tony’s not a nerd. In fact, there’s a lot of offline folks in our suspect pool.”
Sosa double parked on Cole and they all got out. Eric met them at the door. “You can’t double park there. Oh, hello Detective McCann.”
Beth didn’t know Mikey’s last name until now!
Eric ignored the double parking thing and led them all into his living room. He cleared the couch of mail and catalogs and they all sat primly on it.
“We just had some follow-up questions.”
“Hey Beth.” Eric said.
“Hey.” She couldn’t remember him, but that had happened before. because of her ex Max, a kind of famous Internet Guy, it seemed more people knew her than she knew people. “How’s it going.”
Eric gestured around at them, “Well, as you can see…”
Beth laughed and when she noticed Sosa and Mikey weren’t, she stopped. “Ahem, yeah.”
Sosa looked at Beth, “You two know each other?”
She looked at Eric quizzically, “Burning Man?” It was always a safe bet- if you couldn’t remember someone, they would say sure, and then rack it up to being on drugs. Like Woodstock for their parents.
“Oh totally! I won’t tell these guys what we got up to, though” He leered at her menacingly. She sunk back into the couch.
Sosa cleared his throat. “I’d like to ask you about the night in question, June 12th. Can you tell me what happened in your own words?”
Eric sighed, and recited slowly. “I got dressed. I left the house, took the N downtown, walked up Columbus to Tony & Nik’s. Had a few drinks there, came home. Played Doom. Thor, Sven and Nils can corroborate my login times- I have their emails here. I knew you guys would ask me for them.” He left the room to get the list of names.
Sosa, Mikey and Beth all looked at each other. Sosa continued once Eric walked in. “So you like Opera?”
Eric stopped dead in his tracks. “Wha?… Oh no, I don’t go to those because of opera. Can’t stand the stuff. Just once in a while I like to step out of the digital world, you know, see what the offline folks are doing. Turns out it’s all just as incestuous and lame as anywhere else.”
“You’re not dating anyone?” Sosa asked.
“Uh, no. Broke up with girlfriend a year or so ago. ‘She took my heart and my… cat.’ Mike Myers, ‘My Girlfriend is an Axe Murderer.’
Mikey laughed and Sosa and Beth looked at each other again, shrugging.
“So yeah, not dating anyone, yes, going to these things to meet girls. I’m not proud of it.”
“Do you date online?”
“Nah, I don’t need to.”
Sosa looked at his notes. “We talked to a young woman, Jane, and she said that you have been calling her?”
Beth swore Eric blushed. “Yeah, I talked to her at that thing, she seemed more interesting than the other know-nothing Marina types, so i gave her a little ringle-jingle.”
Beth was feeling nauseous now.
“Anything come of it?”
“I think we have a date planned, don’t know, maybe a week out.” He switched positions in his chair. “Why did she say something? Is she dating one of those other cardboard cutout guys? God those guys are so boring. I mean, each and every one of them just wanted to talk about daddy’s trust fund or some boring investment they made. And I’m sure none of them even own a house.” He gestured around at the single family house he had that would make any singleton in SF drool with envy.
Sosa closed his notebook. “Thanks, and if you think of any other person that can corroborate your schedule that night, please don’t hesitate in calling us.”
They all piled back in the Crown Vic and Sosa drove slowly out to Stanyan.
“He killed them with his smugness.” Beth mused out loud.
Next: In For the Kill