St. Joseph's Hospital was less than a half-mile away. As they laid him flat, trying to keep his limbs together, he screamed in pain. But words came, too, through clenched teeth. He fought to get every syllable out.
"They finally got me," he gasped. Then louder: "Reid, Mafia, RaceCo! Find Mark Reid..."
Then he passed out. But even unconscious, he twitched and moaned.
Later, a veteran Phoenix detective would say he had never seen a human being who suffered so much.
They finally got me. Reid, Mafia, RaceCo! Find Mark Reid.
Those were the last words he spoke.
The weather is strange and a second lock is being installed on my office door.
"Give me an hour, at least," the maintenance guy said. "County's very picky about these doors, everything in the building, see? It's historic. Plus, there's other stuff...."
I asked him why I needed another lock. What was the "other stuff"?
"Work order." He waved a piece of paper at me, as if that explained anything. When I didn't take it, he turned to his tools, stored in a rolling rig like a suitcase.
I did feel proprietary about my space, even though the taxpayers owned it. My office in the 1929 Maricopa County Courthouse was not the expansive room I had taken over when I first came back to the Sheriff's Office. In those days, the building was largely empty, and I rather liked it that way, communing with the ghosts of old Phoenix a floor below the former jail. Among the former inmates: Ernesto Miranda.
When the county began an extensive remodeling a few years ago, the building was reclaimed and my old office became a courtroom. The replacement was decent, a fourth-floor room at the end of long mahogany hallway lit by hanging period lamps. It offered spacious ceilings and tall windows overlooking First Avenue. The door was crowned with a transom. I furnished it with a desk and swivel chair, two straight-backed chairs in front, and a six-foot-long lawyer's table, all in dark cherry wood fitting the period. I added bookshelves, file cabinets, a small refrigerator, and a Bose speaker. The furniture was aged and dinged, scrounged from county storage, but it fit and I liked it. On one wall, I had a large combination cork-board and white board. And I had brought back my photograph of Sheriff Carl Hayden from 1909, placing it squarely behind my desk. I could turn and look at him when I needed inspiration. Outside the door was a placard that read:
DEPUTY DAVID MAPSTONE
SHERIFF'S OFFICE HISTORIAN
MIKE PERALTA, SHERIFF
Now I left the workman to his work order and singing drill. The hall opened onto the atrium and I took the curving staircase down, appreciating the Spanish tile, chandeliers, and carved ceilings, polished and restored to their original grandeur. That was when Phoenix had a population of forty-eight thousand, and this was one of the most impressive results from a decade of building—a combination county courthouse and Phoenix City Hall. The staircase, like its companion on the opposite side of the tall atrium, rose against the walls like a necklace. When I reached the second floor, looking down into the ornate lobby, I saw a man with horns waiting to go through the metal detectors. Yes, horns. He was red. Red sleeveless T-shirt, reddish tint to his tan.
It wasn't supposed to be this obvious. I remembered Broadcast News. The devil would be attractive, nice, and helpful, dress well like William Hurt. Great movie, sad scene. And Baudelaire said the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist. But subtlety didn't play in Phoenix.
I studied the man. The horns protruded from beneath his shaved scalp, one on each side. Maybe they were a birth defect or perhaps they had been implanted from the same artist who had inked his muscled-up right arm. Another elaborate tat snaked up from inside the shirt onto his neck. Maybe he was the chief executive for a tech startup or maybe he was a defendant who had somehow made bail. One never knew today. I didn't think he was an over-enthusiastic Sun Devils fan.
But the sight made me stop and tense. He was third in a line of eight people, waiting to go through the metal detectors. Bouncing on the balls of his feet, he kept nervously looking around. But he didn't think to look up, so he didn't see me.