In part two, just as Pete and Constable Higgins were going to the squad car, Pete noticed something odd and called Higgins back. They then waited for Sgt. Patterson to finish talking to the M.E. and CSI, and they drove Pete home. They sat down and talked to Pete’s parents, and he was given permission to join the nearest soccer team in the City league.
Pete grabbed ins duffle bag and bike helmet, called out “Bye Mom, Dad, I’m off for soccer practice.” His Mom said “Oh, Petey!” there was a mumble from Dad, and then he called out “Bye, Pete, have a good practice.” He heard the muffled start of a discussion, and hurried out, shutting the door behind him.
Strapping his duffle to the carrier, and donning his helmet securely, he rode off, whistling. He was so happy Dad was home. At last he would be allowed to do things with his friends, go hiking, fishing, and even, right now, play soccer!
Dan Patterson and Chuck Higgins were at the soccer field, waiting for the boys to arrive, and talking about the possible murder case. “I really wish we could identify the victim” Chuck said. “Without that, finding out what happened will take forever.”
As he was speaking, Pete rode up. “Sgt. Dan,” he said “I think I know who that man I found is. There was an older guy who used to show up a couple of times a month. The men told me about him, and I saw him several times. He’d been doing it for a couple of years. He was a very sad, lonely man. Apparently his wife died a few years ago, and they had no children and no relatives so he dropped in on the hobos whenever he got too lonely. He always brought several bags of food, tea and coffee, canned milk and sugar, and deserts. They told me there was always enough to last for two or three weeks. They called him Professor Bill, because he could answer questions about almost any subject. He really was a nice old man, and if it is him, I want to know what happened. None of the hobos would have harmed him. I want to go and see him. I was too shocked by all the blood to really see his face. Please, Sgt. Dan, will you take me to the morgue after practice?”
Both Dan and Chuck stared at him, feeling stupid that they hadn’t asked Pete if he knew an older man who hung out around where he was found. They looked at each other, shook their heads, and Dan turned to Pete.
“Sure, Pete, I will if it’s ok with your Dad. If you can identify him, you will have helped us fond who killed him, or if it was an accident. I'll call your Dad now, and get his permission, and he will have to come with us. Minors are not allowed to go into the morgue without a parent or guardian. I’ll call now. You go with Chuck, the other boys are coming, and he’ll introduce you.” He got out his cell phone, got the number from Pete, and turned away, already talking.
“Whooee,” Pete said as he went to the shower room. “That was a great workout. Sorry, guys, I flubbed it several times, but I promise, I’ll do better next time.”
The team captain, Bert Norris said “Pete, you did much better than I ever expected for a tyro. Don’t worry, you’ll be a big help on the team.”
“Thanks, Bert, I sure will try.” They shook hands, and went in to shower. By the time Pete was showered and dressed, his Dad was with Sgt. Dan, ready to leave for the morgue. Pete was nervous, he’d never seen a dead body before, and when he did, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. He wasn’t sure what to expect at the morgue, but he was determined to do it. They arrived, and he followed Sgt. Dan, his father at his side. They came to a door, paused and Dad put a hind on Pete’s shoulder. “Ready, son?” Pete nodded and Dan pushed the door open.
The room was cold and very clean. There were several long tables, two with covered forms on them. The morgue attendant led them to the closest one, looked at Pete, and asked “are you sure you want to do this, son?”
Again, Pete nodded, gulping as he did. “Yes, sir, I want to see if it’s the Professor. He was a real nice man, and told us a lot of interesting stuff. He should be known, and how he died found out.”
The man lifted the cover off the face, and they all waited. Pete gasped, and looked for a long moment, his face sad. Looking at Sgt. Dan, he nodded. “Yes that’s the Professor. His name was Wolfgang Kunze, and he used to be a professor at Princeton. Will that help, Sgt. Dan?” Pete looked up at Dan, hoping it would.
“Yes, Pete, it will help a lot. With a name, we can find where he lived, and a whole lot more. And we’ll go talk to the hobos, they may know a lot about him, too.” He saw the worried look on Pete’s face, and added “Don’t worry; we won’t harass them, now or in the future, unless they get too rowdy.”
Pete sighed in relief. “Thanks, Sgt. Dan. They were awfully nice to me. The first time I ran away, they found me and took me to their camp, fed me, and tried to get me to go home. When I told them why I ran, they said ok, as long as I stayed with them, so they could look out for me. I did, every time, but I found that niche, and it was close enough, so they let me sleep there. I felt better sleeping alone.”
Dad put his hand on Pete’s shoulder. “I have an idea, son. How would you feel about you and me going say once a month and give them food and money. Sort of take over where the Professor left off.”
“Oh, Dad, could we? That would be great. I want to go see them anyway, to let them know I’m ok.” Pete relaxed for the first time since they left the soccer field, and grinned up at his father.
“Sounds good to me, too,” Dan said. “Now, it’s time we left. I have a lot to do now we know who he is. Thanks, Pete, you have been a big help. See you next week.”
They walked out together, said goodbye, and Pete and his Dad go in the car and headed home. “Are you ok, son? Your Mom was really angry when I said you could do this. It was a brave thing to do. But be prepared for some excessive babying. I’ll make her stop, but let’s let her go for a while. Ok?” Pete nodded, contentedly. “Fine with me, Dad”.