Kathy and Konan sat in silence until Tomas came in to take Konan to the lineup. He was given number 5 and marched in with the other four men. They faced to the right and was then told to face center.
“It’s number five,” the witness said.
“Are you sure,” Tomas asked. The witness nodded.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
Chief Janko shook the witness’s hand and thanked them for coming in. Kathy shook her head in disgust. The prosecutor, Allen Wickham, stood by the glass and smiled.
“Well, at least this murderer will not skate. Put him in lockup until a court day can be arranged.”
Kathy walked up to him and whispered, “not so fast hotshot. We will be seeking bail. Be ready to go to court.”
Konan was escorted out and handcuffed. Mayor Smith and Janko stood to the side and smirked. Tomas and Wiggins refused to meet his eyes. Kathy came up and put her hand on his chest.
“Stay safe, I will get a bail hearing as quickly as possible.” Konan forced a smile.
“No worries, Kathy. It will be fine.”
Kathy nodded, and Konan was led to a vehicle which drove him to the jail. The small jail was two large cells that was divided by an old cinder block wall. The first cell was for those who would be transported to the state prison after sentencing, the other large cell was for those who awaited sentencing. To round out the facilities, a drunk tank was on the other side of the building, and two cells with the same exact layout held women prisoners.
Between all the cells and drunk tank was a security office that had five officers who monitored the prisoners. Konan was led to Cell #2 and shoved in. The prisoners looked up like hungry wolves slobbering over a new meal. Konan met their eyes. He walked over to a corner and sat down. The eyes of the prisoners followed his every move. A feeble old man came over and extended his hand.
“I’m Earl Whittle, everybody calls me Hard Head.” Konan stared at the old man. His hair was frosty white but his beard was dirty. Earl’s eyes were red, like he had been Italy during wine season, and he forgot what sobriety felt like. He smelled of cheap hooch. Konan shook his hand.
“My name is Konan.”
“Like the barbarian,” Earl asked. Konan chuckled.
“What brings someone like you to our humble abode?”
“I have been accused of murder.” Earl grimaced as he took a seat next to Konan. Alcohol seeped from his pores.
“Did you do it?”
“Ah, you know how it is, Earl. I am here, but I am innocent.”
“Yeah,” the old man chuckled, “ain’t we all.”
Konan grinned and leaned his head back against the cool concrete blocks. Him and Earl stayed quiet for a bit. The prisoners watched them between playing cards. Earl seemed agitated, but Konan figured it was connected to his impending hangover.
“You’re not gonna ask what I did to get in here?” Konan shrugged.
“Why are you here, Hard Head?”
“Public drunkenness and Tomfoolery.”
“Yeah,” Earl said with all seriousness. “I thought I was peeing on a tree or shrub, but turned out it was the cop’s leg. How was I supposed to know? I was drunk.”
Konan laughed, Earl joined in. The other prisoners watched in silence. Earl quieted down.
“You see them boys watching you?” Konan nodded and said, ‘yeah.’ Earl lowered his voice.
“They’re with the Brotherhood. They’re going to attack you tonight in the shower. Them boys know who you are, Thermopolis.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured that.” Earl wet his lips and nodded. “How do you know who I am though, Earl?”
“We have a friend in common.” Konan looked at the old man. He’d never seen him before in his life, and could not imagine who they might have in common.
“Oh yeah? Who would that be?”
“Ashley. She’s a good girl. She came by and told me to look out for you. Ashley said to tell you that the guards have been paid off, and they won’t intervene with what happens tonight.”
“Well, it sounds like I’m not supposed to survive it.”
“You’re not. Mayor Smith himself put this out on you supposedly. Of course, there’s no evidence that he did it, but that’s the rumor.”
“Well, thanks for the heads up.”
Earl smiled and walked over to his bunk. Konan stayed in the corner. His every movement was followed by predatory eyes. “Breathe, let them make the first move.”
At 1500, a guard came in and called his name. Konan stood to his feet and walked over to him. The guard instructed him to place his hands behind his back. Konan complied. He was then led out to the visitors center.
Kathy waited for him at a table near the door. She winked at him as he drew near.
“You ready to get out of here.” Konan nodded and said, ‘yes ma’am.’ She and the officer led him across the street to the courthouse. Judge Winnie Smith, presided over his bail hearing. She finally set bail for 50,000 dollars. Kathy informed the judge that bail would be posted in an hour.
At 1545, the bail bonds man posted the bail. Konan was free.
“We need to talk, Konan. Let’s get you out of those state pajamas and into something else. Then, we will grab dinner and talk about this mess you’re in.”
“Sounds good,” Konan replied. “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” She smiled and they walked out to her car. He changed into Wrangler jeans, a Chaps button down, and Red Wing boots. They ordered dinner from Sonic. As they munched on burgers and tater-tots, Kathy asked about what led to the police holding him.
“Look, I was called in to consult on the case. I turned down Lilly’s offer but then she was murdered. Mayor Smith demanded I investigate the case. So, I did. There were no leads, every time I thought we found something it ended up being a big nothing-burger.”
“Smith demanded I frame someone for the deed. I told him I didn’t work like that, and he said I would pay.”
“Did you kill his secretary?”
Konan looked at his friend and didn’t answer. Kathy sighed. She locked eyes with him and said, “you have to tell me. I have to know so I can prepare for the worst.”
“Yeah, I killed her. After, she came to my house and tried to murder me.”
“So, you defended yourself. Why didn’t you call the cops?” Konan stared at Kathy like she was stupid. ‘Is she for real right now?’
“You’re kidding, right? I was just fired and threatened by Mayor Smith. This chick shows up and cut me here and here,” Konan lifted up his shirt and showed her the wounds. “All while telling me how Lilly died.” His voice cracked with emotion and Kathy put her hand on his knee.
“So, it wasn’t a clear cut case of self-defense was it?” Konan shook his head no.
“No, Kathy. It was a clear cut case of vengeance.”