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“Y’know Sgt. Bullock.” Columbo paused and took a spoonful of chili. “This is really good chili. Where was I?” “Look Lieutenant'' Bullock's voice dripped with sarcasm, “you were explaining what we're going to do next on the case.” Bullock spoke between mouthfuls of powdered donuts. “Right… right. We are going to look through Dr. Elliot’s office. I want to look at phone records, appointment books, his calendar, everything.” Columbo emphatically gestured as he took another spoonful of chili. “Because Dr. Elliot must have been there at a specific time. He must have been meeting someone who would have known he would be there and who had planned to kill him.” “I still don’t see how you could have come to that conclusion. You going to eat that?” Bullock asked his question as he took Columbo’s donut that was waiting for him and began to shovel it into his mouth. “Well… as I see it. The party is attended by many wealthy and powerful people. People who are going to bring their own bodyguards and security. Do you burgle the manor at that time? Well, maybe, but it seems like a burglary gone wrong is unlikely. It’s not a good time to burgle the house. Whoever was let in through the window must have been expected, which means whoever killed Dr. Elliot was someone he trusted or was expecting to meet. The killer had to arrive and leave in a perfect 10 minute window to avoid the security at the party.” “But you think there will be some clue at his office? Why would he write down, meet with my murderer at the Wayne party is his dairy?” “I don’t know what we’re going to find Sergeant, but I do know, that our best bet of finding Dr. Elliot’s killer is to look at people who know him.” Columbo turned to the waiter, “Could we get the check please?” “He’s paying.” Bullock interjected. Columbo looked up at him and nodded. It was an unusual occurrence for anyone to actually let him pay for his meals on a case. “Yes, that should be everything. Thank you.” Fugate handed the clipboard with a new duty schedule to the receptionist. “At least until a replacement for Dr. Elliot can be found this should ensure every patient meets with a doctor at their scheduled time. Fugate had taken care to remove the day of Dr. Elliot’s murder from his event planner. Even now that page of his planner sat carefully folded behind Fugate’s immaculately pressed handkerchief in his suit’s breast pocket. “Mr. Fugate! Isn’t that a coincidence? What are you doing here?” Columbo came over and affably shook Fugate’s hand. “Yeah, what are you doing here?” Bullock said in his usually abrasive tone letting a little spittle fly into Fugate’s face. “I was just helping Alice rearrange the duty schedules for the doctors and nurses to cover for Dr. Elliot’s absence.” Fugate reached into his suit’s inner pocket and produced a handkerchief to wipe the spittle away before returning it to the inside of his coat. “That’s very nice of you sir.” “Not at all Lieutenant. Dr. Elliot’s practice has been a longtime customer of my firm. We’ve helped keep his practice efficient and overhead down. It’s not dissimilar to what Commissioner Gordon is having me do for the GCPD Sergeant. I’m sure I can find some… chaff that needs to be separated out.” Bullock scowled at Fugate. “That’s terrific sir. I wish I was more efficient. Listen, you knew Dr. Elliot’s work, did he ever use your consulting for his personal life? You know outside of the medical field?” “No.” “Oh, well I thought, based on the fact that your card was in Dr. Elliot’s wallet…” “No, Lieutenant. I didn’t interact with Mr. Elliot outside of a purely professional capacity. In fact, Dr. Elliot and I were due to renew our contract in about a month or so. I suppose Dr. Loeb or Dr. Lee will have to take over as head of the practice now. Alice, could you ask them to give me a call at…” Fugate produced a notebook and pocket watch, “5:23 PM. It shouldn’t take more than two minutes, and if they stick to the schedule I gave them, they will be available.” “Gee that’s terrific how you keep everything organized. I bet you know where you were at all times.” Columbo pointed to the notebook. “May I?” Fugate handed the notebook to the Lieutenant, “Remarkable. Really this is truly special.” Columbo noted that this notebook was empty except for the two pages containing today and yesterday. Nothing dating back to the date of the murder. “Is this a new habit of yours?” “No, I always keep track of where I am and what I am doing, Lieutenant. As a result, I go through many notebooks.” “I can see that. Thank you.” Columbo handed the leather bound moleskine back to Temple Fugate. “May we come by later… nothing too serious, just in case we have any questions you may be able to answer.” “Lieutenant, I am working for the GCPD already. I would be happy to help you out in anyway I can. Good day Lieutenant.” Fugate turned and eyed Bullock coldly. “Sergeant.” and he made his exit. “Four-eyed weirdo that guy is.” Bullock commented as Columbo began to ask the receptionist for lots and lots of record documents. Including Dr. Elliot’s personal finances. How could a Doctor, even one as brilliant as Dr. Elliot, casually wear a 400,000 dollar watch? There had to be more going on here, and the practice's finances indicated that Dr. Elliot must have additional sources of income. “Sergeant Bullock, you said Dr. Elliot came from a wealthy family?” “Yeah he did. He spent like crazy. Tons of investments, usually in Wayne’s competitors based on this. Some friend. You sure the butler didn’t do it?” Bullock said as he leafed through financial documents. “Well sir, Mr. Pennyworth was in the company of the party at the time, and I don’t think he had a motive to kill Dr. Elliot.” “Unless it was some way to help that fatcat sonuvabitch Wayne. Elliot was investing in his competition look at this… Lexcorp, Queen Industries, STAR Labs, these all aren’t Waynetech.” Bullock whistled, “It looks like he was paying Fugate a mint. Look at this, Fugate Consulting LLC 1.3 million dollars a year. I hope the commish isn’t paying through the nose like that.” Columbo pondered, this case sure was going to be an interesting one.
“It’s a real honor to have you visiting Gotham Lieutenant. I’m only sorry we missed you at the airport.” “You know Detective Montoya, it happens to me all the time. I had a mishap in London where my luggage, well my wife’s luggage, got mixed up with someone else’s and the police there… they thought I was trying to steal someone else’s bags. My wife says it’s because I don’t pay enough attention to the world around me.” The frumpy Columbo struggled with his lighter before asking Detective Montoya “Does the lighter in this car work?” “No lighter here Lieutenant. They find the police in Gotham have enough vices without-” Detective Montoya was cut off by an APB. “All units in the vicinity, there has been a murder at Wayne Manor. Sergeant Bullock is on scene, Commissioner Gordon is en route.” “Well I hope you don’t mind a little detour Lieutenant. It looks like you are going to get a firsthand look at policing in Gotham.” “No one’s going anywhere Jeeves. That includes you rich boy.” Sergeant Bullock had already forced all the guests into one room and was ordering the Butler and the host of the party to stay put. “Now… Mr. Wayne… the name of the deceased?” “Doctor Thomas Elliot Sergeant. Really there’s no need to…” “I don’t tell you how to sit around and waste money all day Wayne. Don’t tell me how to do my job. None of ya’s leavin’ this room till the coroner gets done in there.” Bullock produced a zippo and lit up a foul cigar. “Now then…” Before Bullock could continue badgering his captive audience Detective Montoya and Lieutenant Columbo entered the scene. “Boy Sergeant, that is a terrific smelling cigar. I smoke them myself. Do you mind?” Columbo held out his own cigar. Bullock was disarmed by the disheveled looking detective. As Bullock offered the lighter to Columbo, Detective Montoya spoke up. “Bullock, this is Lieutenant Columbo from the LAPD. I was picking him up to meet with the commissioner when the APB went out.” Columbo offered his hand to Sergeant Bullock who took it. “Very nice to meet you Sergeant. Don’t mind me. This is your crime scene. I’m just going to look around.” Columbo ambled towards the guests gathered there. “Are you… are you Bruce Wayne? The billionaire who does all that charity work? I have to tell you my wife loves to talk about you. She clips just about every Newspaper article about you she can.” Bruce Wayne took Columbo’s hand and offered him a firm shake. “It’s very nice to meet you Lieutenant, but I can’t say under the circumstances…” “Of course sir. You’ve been through a terrible shock.” Columbo raised his hands. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I’m just going to help them look over the scene. You don’t mind if I come back and ask you a few questions later?” “No, I always am at the disposal of the police.” Columbo exited. Alfred and Bruce exchanged a worried glance at one another. The murder had taken place in the study. The room in the house with the most for them to lose. Columbo entered the scene as the body was loaded onto the gurney by the coroner. “Boy this never gets easier does it?” He asked to Montaya as they began surveying the scene. “Cause of death is definitely blunt trauma to the back of the head. We will have to dust this whole place for fingerprints.” Columbo listened to the coroner giving the report to Sergeant Bullock. Columbo looked about the room for potential spots where a blunt object could have been acquired. A bust of Shakespeare jumped out to him as a possibility, a huge grandfather clock piqued his interest as well. The room held many books, a grand piano, an elegant desk, and a massive portrait of Thomas and Martha Wayne as well. He took a puff on his cigar and noted some carpet patterns by the clock. It clearly had been moved a few times by the impression on the carpet. “Perp could have come in through the window, run into Dr. Elliot and whacked him. Some whackjob looking to score a quick buck.” Bullock posited his theory to Detective Montoya. “If that’s the reason Sergeant than why is Dr. Elliot still wearing his watch?” Columbo interjected. “I’m sorry for interrupting. It just seems strange to me, that someone looking for cash would come in, commit the murder and leave a terrific watch like this behind. I mean this thing’s got to be worth a couple hundred bucks.” “That’s a Rolex GMT Master II. They can fetch up to 400,000 dollars at auction.” The spectacled figure to the left of Commissioner Gordon said as they entered the room. “Ah Lieutenant Columbo, this is Temple Fugate, an efficiency consultant for the police force. I’m Commissioner Gordon, it’s nice to finally meet you.” Columbo took the commissioner’s hand shifting his cigar to his free hand. “It’s very nice to meet you too Commissioner… Mr. Fugate you mean that? That much? For a watch?” Columbo shifted his attention to the man in the brown suit who entered with Gordon. “Oh yes, some people are willing to pay quite a lot for a quality timepiece. “Gee isn’t that something. I forget to wind the watch I have, but it gets the job done.” Columbo put his watch to his ear. “When I remember that is. You got the time?” As Fugate informed Columbo of the time, the Detective put his mind back to the scene. “You know a lot about clocks Mr. Fugate?” “Clocks and time are my passions, Lieutenant.” “Gee that’s terrific. Me, I like to go bowling. Only I never find the time. I’m always running late for something.” “Well an organized life is the only way to live, Lieutenant.” Temple Fugate clearly took a little disgust at the disorganized Detective. “Could you maybe tell me something about this clock?” "Well, it's an antique for sure. Not the sort of thing many people can afford. Phenomenal condition, for the most part..." Fugate was cut off by Commisioner Gordon “I don’t mind deputizing you on this Lieutenant. Mr. Wayne is a friend to the Gotham PD, and I would like every hand I can get moving towards solving this crime.” Commissioner Gordon had invited Lieutenant Columbo out to Gotham to help train some of his detectives, but he was going to use every resource at his disposal. “Commissioner, it would be my honor. I just have a few more questions for some of the guests.” Can Bruce Wayne keep the secrets of Wayne Manor under wraps with Lieutenant Columbo sleuthing around? As it is he is trapped in a room with his guests and Alfred while under police surveillance while the room with access to the Batcave is an active crime scene.