When Paddy drew near, Konan noticed his black eyes. A purple bruise had developed under his right eye. He sat down with them, he and Lilly shared a bench seat across from Konan.
“How’d your visit with your dad go, Konan?”
Konan stared at Paddy. He’d never meant for Paddy to pay for his remarks. He shook his head and took a sip of water.
“It would seem you paid for my remarks today, Paddy. I’m sorry you bore the cost of my sarcasm.”
“Ah, kid. It ain’t no thing. Michael was upset how things were left between you two.”
“Oh, I’m sure.”
Paddy shook his head and threw his hands up in surrender. “This freaking kid won’t hear anything positive about his old man. Why am I trying to convince him now?” Konan sipped some more water.
“Far be it from me, Konan, to try to convince you that your father loved you. He loved your mother too,” Paddy said.
“How can you sit there and say that? You’re his brother, Paddy. He beat the crap out of you, for God only knows what reason. Does he love you to, even though he beat you like you owed him money?”
“Michael always had a temper. It kept him in trouble, now he is in prison. Life in the joint ain’t known for making you peaceable.”
“Why did he beat you?”
“I didn’t tell him your mother died. He was stunned to find out today. I should have told him when it happened.”
“I know that you don’t like your father. We all go through it. Your dad doesn’t want nothing bad to happen to you. That Blankenship character is bad news. Stay out of it, kid.”
Lilly looked at Konan, he looked at Paddy. Paddy put his hand up to block the questions he knew was coming and said, “That’s all I have to say about it.”
“Paddy,” Lilly said, “if you know something, please tell us.”
“I don’t know nothing, darling. That’s how I like it.”
Lilly started to press, but Konan shook his head. He knew too well that Paddy wouldn’t budge from his stance. Paddy stood and wished them a good evening and walked to the back. Lilly’s phone rang.
The color drained from Lilly’s face. She put the speaker phone on, in the background sirens wailed. The broken voice of Val Rankin could barely be heard over the screams.
“You and Konan set us up! Manson is down. Get down here, time now.”
“Where are you,” Konan asked. Rankin was busy shouting directions to the paramedics.
“His momma’s house. Get here!”
Konan and Lilly raced out of O’Shea’s. While Lilly drove, Konan called dispatch. They were texted the address, and Lilly sped off into the night. As they drew near, flashing lights directed them to Big B’s house. Rankin sat on the sidewalk; his hand were covered with blood. Chief Mathers stood beside him. She glared at Konan as they approached.
“What didn’t you tell them, traitor?”
“Whoa, Chief,” Lilly said. “Everything we knew was in that file we handed them.”
“You mean the one he threw at me today,” Rankin shouted. “There wasn’t anything in there about him being a mass murderer.”
“Lord Jesus, Rankin. What do you think the word ‘contract killer’ would imply? Do I need to draw it out for you in freaking crayon?”
Rankin leapt to his feet and grabbed a handful of Konan’s shirt and slammed his meaty right hand into Konan’s ribs. Tia and Lilly pulled him off Konan. Rankin sat back down. Konan shook his head.
“You know what really stinks, Rankin. If I had sat you and Manson down and gave you a detailed briefing, broke it down Barney style for both of you, you still would not have listened to me.”
“I guess we’ll never know that now, will we detective?” Tia’s remark was not unexpected. “She has hated me from the moment I showed up.” Konan shook his head and walked away. From the look of the carnage around him, Blankenship had ambushed them upon arrival.
The forensic team was going through the debris. Konan walked over to them. One of the techs, Heidi was her name according to the tag on her jumper, stood next to him. She pointed at the disturbed earth twenty yards in front of him.
“The IED was there. He’d buried it. When Manson got out of the car, he detonated it. That burning husk of a Volkswagen blocked most of the blast. She caught some shrapnel. Rankin got out of it with ringing ears.”
“Thanks, Heidi. How long before you know what kind of explosives he used.”
“I can tell you now.”
“He used a laser pointer, a shape charge of C-4, and a ‘dud’ munition that was stolen from a local pawn shop.”
“Let me guess, the munition was a mortar round?”
“Yep. It was brought back by the uncle of the pawn shop’s owner from Vietnam.”
“How do you know that?” Heidi grinned and winked at Konan.
“Because it was stolen from my dad’s shop. My uncle brought it back as a war trophy.”
Konan shook his head and grinned. “Ain’t that something,” he said. Heidi was gone back to the scene. The taking of war trophies was nothing new. It was outlawed now, but back in the day it wasn’t forbidden. Lilly and Tia walked over to him.
“Did you find something,” Lilly asked. Tia waited for him to answer.
“Yeah. Blankenship set up an IED right over there,” he said as he pointed at the turned over earth. “He stole a mortar round from a local shop, put a shape charge on it, and pressed the bang button. That burning husk saved Manson’s life.”
“An IED,” Tia said sarcastically. “This ain’t Afghanistan. Or Iraq. This is America.”
“You’re absolutely correct, Chief. I’d ask Heidi for her opinion.”
Tia’s upper lip curled back. She raised her hand and put it back down. After several deep breaths she walked over to Heidi. They conversed quietly; Tia looked back at Konan frequently. Hate radiated from her; Konan just smiled.
After she was briefed by Heidi, Tia walked away. Lilly shook her head and laughed. Konan shrugged and smirked at his success in getting Tia to hear what he had told her again.
“You’re lucky Tia hasn’t murdered you,” Lilly said. Konan grinned.
“Chief Mathers is madly in love with me,” Konan said. Lilly laughed and turned to go to her car.
“Come on, lover boy. Let’s get to the hospital to support our fellow officer.”
“Yes ma’am,” Konan said.
They walked through the flashing lights to Lilly’s car. Konan stared at the scene and nodded his head in approval. “This is a prime location for an ambush. Multiple exits, few streetlights, and no nosy neighbors. Manson is lucky she survived.”