It was only as the cops rode off that Michael noticed a man of small stature gazing at him from behind a car, at the other side of the street.
Michael waved his hand. “Bull! What are you doing here?”
Bull used a cart to wheel some object, wrapped in a linen cloth, across the street to him. “I brought you a gift, my boy.”
Michael helped him push it. “A gift? You know me. I hate gifts.”
“Do you?” Bull smiled, mockingly. “I think you’re just avoiding me, is all.”
Meanwhile, Ash put on her high heels, straightened her midnight-blue dress, and pulled off her tiara. “I was just leaving.”
Bull came uncomfortably close to her. Startled, Ash stirred away from him.
His sneer was half-delighted, half-devious. “Who—may I ask—is this goddess, this heavenly goddess that you keep here all to yourself?”
“My name is Ashley.” She flushed. “But I prefer Ash, for short.”
“Charmed.” He bared his teeth in a mocking smile. “Manny Bullock.”
“Sounds like a mythological creature. Half-man, half-bull?”
“I prefer the bull part. Bull, for short.”
Puzzled at the way the conversation took on a contrary tone, Michael tried to find something soothing to say.
“My friend, Bull,” he said, in a manner of introduction, “is an extremely gifted artist.”
“Don’t you undermine me,” said Bull. “I’m much more than that—I’m a prankster.”
She said, “I hope to see your work one day.”
“My work needs a seeing eye.”
“My eye isn’t blind.”
Disregarding what she said, Bull circled around her front to back, measuring her up and down all the while. “Blue—Ash! Whoever heard of that? The color reflects wonderfully on your skin—but it doesn’t fit with your nickname.”
“Sometimes, what’s good for the body,” she countered, “is bad for the name.”
(Volume I of High-Tech Crime Solvers)
Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael re-constructs her murder in a virtual reality. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve it in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?
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