Konan’s phone rang at 0230. He glanced at the screen. “Who is calling at this time of the morning?”It was Lilly. He hung up the phone and rolled over. His phone rang again.
“We caught another one.”
“Don’t these guys ever take a day off,” Konan grumbled. Lilly snickered.
“No rest for the wicked, bud.”
Konan sighed and struggled to put on his pants. It was entirely too early to be wearing khakis, a button-down shirt, and a blazer. “Whoever the victim is they don’t care what I wear to their body. They’re dead.”
Lilly picked him up fifteen minutes later. She appeared to be as fresh as a newborn. He nodded and fell into the passenger seat.
“You look tired,” Lilly said. Konan squirmed in the blazer. His blazer, shirt and tie were all black. He wore white athletic socks with his penny loafers. Lilly grinned and looked straight ahead to avoid commenting on his outfit.
“You look nice,” she said as they drove to the scene. Konan nodded.
“Seemed appropriate since the victim is no longer among the living.”
“Those socks seemed appropriate,” Lilly asked laughingly.
“What’s wrong with my socks?”
“You know that band The Clash?”
“Yeah. What about them?”
“That’s what your clothes are doing.”
It took Konan a moment to grasp what Lilly implied. When it finally dawned on him, he scowled at her.
“Bite me,” he said.
Lilly laughed and jerked the wheel to the left to avoid a slower driver. Konan braced for the impact that never came.
“It’s early, sweetie. Don’t poke the bear.”
“Who’s died now,” Konan asked. Lilly turned her head and glanced at him. For not the first time, Konan was struck by her beauty. Lilly was not one who needed tons of makeup to be beautiful. She was a natural beauty. ‘Quit it,” Konan thought, ‘you don’t need this to be complicated. Just focus on the case, not your partner.’
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Lilly responded. Konan shrugged and said okay. If she thought he would not believe her, there was no reason to bug her about it.
Lilly waited for Konan to say something, but he never did. She pulled up in front of Khalid’s manor. Two patrol cars with lights flashing were parked at an angle. Lilly pulled in behind one.
‘Now, he will ask,” Lilly thought. Konan said nothing to her about it. He started for the front door; Lilly rushed to catch up.
“What’s going on with you this morning,” she asked. He shrugged.
“It was a bad night.”
When they got to the door, the elderly woman known as ‘grandmother’ ushered them into the dining room. Khalid sat at the table.
“Good morning, detectives.”
“Good morning,” Lilly and Konan answered. Konan leaned over and whispered to Lilly, “he’s alive.” Khalid heard him.
“Yes, I am alive. It is my wife that was murdered.”
“Oh,” Konan said. “I am sorry for your loss.”
“Um, I’m gonna go check with forensics and see what they’ve turned up,” Lilly said. Konan nodded. Khalid motioned for Konan to join him at the table. Konan sat across from him. Khalid uttered a few words to grandmother, and she went into the kitchen. A few moments later, she returned with coffee.
Konan spooned sugar into his cup and stirred it. He blew on the hot liquid and took a sip. Nothing has ever been greater than the first sip of coffee, or at least Konan had never discovered anything that came close to topping it.
“Ask your questions,” Khalid said.
“Okay,” Konan said after he took another sip of coffee. “Did you kill your wife?”
“No,” Khalid said. “I loved her.”
“You’re aware that most murders involving a spouse is usually committed by the other partner, right? They probably all loved their spouses too, right up until they pushed them too far. Were you home when the deed was done?”
“No. I had a meeting with some fellow political figures.”
“Anybody with you that can vouch for your whereabouts?”
“No, but I can give you the name of one of the persons present at the meeting.”
“Chief of Police Tia Mathers.”
Konan looked at Khalid. His face was blank, his eyes dead to the world. He looked reptilian. ‘His wife is dead in the other room, but here he is sitting at the table drinking coffee like nothing in the world has transpired.”
“Chief Mathers was at your meeting?”
“Okay, we’ll verify it,” Konan said as he closed his notepad. Lilly walked up and shook her head no. Konan cracked his neck.
“Did your wife have any enemies?”
“She was my wife. My enemies were hers and vice versa.”
“Okay,” Konan sighed. “Did any of YOUR enemies want to kill your wife? Can I get a list of said enemies?”
“No. Ilhan was loved by all that knew her. I will have a list generated and delivered to the station at 9.”
“Well, given the mess in the other room,” Lilly said, “not everyone loved her. Because she’s dead, and someone killed her.”
“Did she keep any secrets from you?”
“Okay. One last question if you don’t mind. What time was your meeting?”
“We met at Lott’s Field at 7 p.m.”
“Alright. If we need to follow up with you, we’ll call. Sorry, again.”
Grandmother led both detectives to the door and waited for them to depart. At the car, Lilly tossed the keys to Konan.
“You drive. Every time I get behind the wheel you act like I am trying to kill you.”
“Sorry, I survived the war. I would hate to bite the big one here at home because you are in a rush.”
“Just shut up and drive.”
Konan started the car and headed into the heart of town. Lilly was quiet for a bit. Finally, she looked at Konan.
“Do you ever think we are hopelessly outgunned?”
“Sometimes,” Konan said. “Why? What happened?”
“Forensics has the murder weapon. Konan…the killer shoved railroad spikes into her eyes. She died from shock.”
“Jesus,” Konan said. “That image won’t go well with the donuts and coffee.”
Lilly punched him in the shoulder and snorted. Konan pulled into the drive-thru window and ordered a dozen donut holes, a couple of dozen mixed donuts, and two chocolate milk. He looked at Lilly.
“You want anything,” he asked. Lilly shook her head and laughed. Konan pulled around to pay. ‘I lucked out,’ Lilly thought. ‘I could have done far worse than having Konan as my partner.’
Konan drove to a park next to the river. They got out and walked to a concrete picnic table. Konan sat on the tabletop and put his feet on the bench. Lilly followed suit. He started on the donut holes and offered some to Lilly. She pulled out a handful. They ate in silence and watched the sun come up.
“It sure is pretty, ain’t it,” Konan said. Lilly nodded with a mouthful of donut holes. She washed it down with chocolate milk.
“This is where I come when my mind won’t shut up. Seeing the worst of human nature can take a toll on us, Lilly. You have to remind yourself that there are good things in the world also.”
“Good things,” Lilly scoffed, “such as…”
“Baseball, bacon, Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo, and me.”
“Tom and Jerry and Scooby are fictional characters, bacon is food, baseball is ugh, but I see your point.”
“Good. I kind of like having you around.”
“Yeah, now shut up and eat your box of donuts. We need to get back; I need to speak to Chief Mathers and check my email.”
“Why do you need to see Tia,” Lilly asked. Konan finished off his chocolate milk and looked at his partner.
“Because, Tia Mathers is Khalid’s alibi.”