“There are four people I picked out that Clint communicates with regularly through social sites, and I presume also privately via e-mail or phone. These people and Clint all know more about one another than is online for the general public to read. Two of them, an Andrea and a George, both have books with the same publisher as Clint and seem pretty aboveboard.”
Griff nodded. “I know them. Andrea Sills and George Krebs. Andrea I’ve met a few times at conventions I’ve gone to with Clint. I think I met George once too. What about the other two?”
“Number three is someone named HH Mayle.”
Griff nodded again. “One of the H’s stands for Hennie. I’ve met her too. She’s… unique. Nothing she wears matches. She’s a very nice lady, though. And drinks everyone under the table.”
“Well, she seems commonly to interact only to sell something. Then there is person number four.” Candice leaned forward and tossed her notebook and pen onto the desk. “Dylan Hatchet. This guy is just made of all kinds of creepy. This is who you’re worried about.” It wasn’t a question, but Griff nodded once anyway. “How does Clint not see that this guy could become a serious problem? This Dylan person is heading into, maybe has already reached, stalking territory.”
“No, he doesn’t see it, or won’t admit it. I’m not sure.”
“How is that possible?” Candice asked. “I made a list of things to show him, in case he hasn’t noticed, which I think he most certainly has. I’ll use Facebook as an example, but these things apply to all of Clint’s online interactions with this man. Dylan uses an abundance of jumping, smiling, winking alien-fox-type emoticons when he comments to Clint in some manner. He also uses words and phrases that allude to him knowing more details about any given situation, creating the impression that he and Clint share private jokes, intimate details, things like that. To me it appears almost as if he’s trying to say ‘this man and I have a special relationship.’”
“I saw that. I spent half the night reading through Clint’s blog and Facebook. I was hit with the fact that Dylan seemed to have more information than Clint put out there for the general audience,” Griff said. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths before opening them again. “I felt like I was the stalker doing that.”
“I think in this case, I’d have to say you were justified. Dylan’s comments outnumber other people’s four to one, at least.” Candice tapped the edge of her notebook. “Then there is the wording—it’s intimate, suggesting he knows details about Clint physically, what his body looks and, more disturbing, feels like. Did you also notice Clint doesn’t really respond to those comments of Dylan’s and always mentions you in a good way, as if he feels the need to defend you?” Candice snickered. “G-man, I like that name he uses for you. So, I’m going to say Clint realizes something is off but won’t admit to you what’s going on. I know how he feels about using your job as some kind of defense. Truthfully, the more I’ve thought about this, the more I’m wondering if you getting involved would escalate the situation. From what I read of Clint’s response, I can’t say for sure he’s thinking that way. So, I’m back to square one wondering why he hasn’t mentioned any of this to you. I think Clint doesn’t want to have you deal with his problem.”
“Because Clint is nice. He sees good in everyone and said I was overreacting. The people we chase commit the sorts of crimes that make it on the news or are nonviolent blue-collar crimes. He doesn’t see that a man he thinks is a friend, albeit an odd friend, could hurt him.” Griff stopped for a minute, taking a few breaths and trying to calm down. “I tried to tell him. That’s sorta what sparked off our argument. Candice, please, would you tell him too? Point all these facts out to him? Maybe he’ll listen to you.”
“I’m not lying to him if he asks what brought all this on,” she said.
“And I’m not asking you to. I intend to tell him as soon as I’m home. Call him or e-mail him or something, please.”
“All right. I will. Now, we have some official work to do,” Candice said.
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