Lilly raised her eyebrows and giggled. Konan waved it off.
“Look at you, Konan. Getting in good with the head honcho.”
“Please. I don’t buy it for a second.”
“So, I suppose we should call the police in Etheridge and have them pick him up.”
“Yep. I’ll call and see if we can’t get him transported here.”
“Awesome. I’m going to get some coffee.” Konan nodded okay and picked up the phone. He was a full-bloodied caffeine hound, Lilly only consumed it on rare occasions. She preferred tea and water to coffee.
After calling the Etheridge Police and setting up transportation from Tennessee to Mississippi, Konan leaned back. It was going to be a long night. The suspect would arrive shortly before midnight. He and Lilly needed to be sharp when Timothy Fredericks arrived.
The elevator dinged, and Lilly came in holding two cups of coffee. She handed one to him and winked at him.
“I promise, I didn’t poison it.”
“Good to know,” Konan said as he took a sip. Lilly looked around, the murder room was empty expect for her and Konan. They drank their coffee in peace. Tia walked out of her office and locked the door. She wandered over to where they were and sat down.
“What time is the transport coming in?”
“They said they would be here around midnight, Chief.”
“Y’all need to get out of here for a bit and get some rest. You need to be fresh when he shows up.”
Lilly nodded. Konan sipped his coffee. Tia noticed he hadn’t acknowledged her order. She turned to him.
“You heard me, right.”
“Yes. I heard you. We’ll leave now.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear.”
Konan stood to his feet and picked up the file from his desk. He started for the door. Lilly was already there ahead of him. She opened the door and together they made their way to the elevator. Lilly pressed the button.
“You’re taking work home with you?”
“Actually, I am taking it to O’Shea’s. Thought I would run something by Paddy. You’re welcome to tag along if you want.”
“Um, no thanks. I’ll be back at midnight.”
“Okay. See you then.”
Konan watched as she walked out toward the garage. He frowned. “Lilly loves Paddy. Why would she turn down an opportunity to see him?” He shrugged and headed for the bus stop. It wouldn’t be long before midnight arrived.
The line at O’Shea’s was out the door and stretched to the alley that ran along the building. Konan shook his head. O’Shea’s was the brainchild of Paddy, but his financial backer was Konan’s father, Mad Michael. Business at O’Shea’s was above board. They shunned illegality like porn stars shed clothes.
A tall black man stood at the door and allowed people in. “Jesus, where did Paddy dig this guy up? He looks like he could bench press a bus, and is twice the width of a barn door.” The doorman watched as Konan approached. Konan gave him a nod and flashed his badge. The guy was unimpressed.
“Hold up,” he said in a deep voice. “What’s your business here, cop?”
“It’s my own. Let me pass.”
“Paddy don’t want no problems here tonight, and you cops are nothing but problems.”
Konan smiled and nodded his head.
“You go tell Paddy that Thermopolis Konan is at the door, and you’re incapable of comprehending basic English.”
“Nah. I don’t think I’ll do that. Instead, I’ll drag you around the corner and throw you a beating with a thesaurus.”
He reached for Konan’s throat with his massive paw, but a small, wrinkled hand reached out and pushed it down. Esther came up, her cigarette hung loosely from her lips. She gave Konan a knowing look.
“Brutus, this is Thermopolis Konan. He’s the son of Mad Michael. Whenever he shows up, you let him in. He’s family.” Brutus stared at Konan. He shook his head and cleared his throat.
“I had no idea you were…”
“Don’t worry about it, Brutus. May I go in now?”
“Of course, let me get the door.”
“No need. I’ve got it. Hello, Esther.”
“Hello, Konan. What brought you here tonight?”
“I need to run something by Paddy.”
“He’s not here at this time. Maybe I could help?”
She led him to her table in the far back of the kitchen, She pulled out her chair and sat down, Konan sat across from her. Esther, ever the consummate professional, waited for Konan to ask her a question. A waiter walked over and lit her cigarette.
Esther inhaled a mouthful of smoke and exhaled.
“Do you remember when the murder of Ana Marie occurred?”
“Do you remember her brother?”
“Yes, I remember something about him. He was in trouble a lot, he tended to go straight past anger into full on rage, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Yeah. Did you ever defend him.”
“No. I had my hands full defending your father. Why the sudden interest in the boy?”
Konan shook his head and grimaced. Esther waited and took another drag from her cigarette. A trail of smoke wafted toward the ceiling.
“I shouldn’t say anything, Esther. The case is still open.”
“You think he did it.”
“Maybe. She was killed with a chef’s knife.”
“Well, that’s different.”
“Wait right here, I’ll be right back.”
Esther walked over to the landline and placed a call. The conversation was a short and to the point. She came back and sat down.
“The defending attorney of Timothy Fredericks is coming. You have time to wait before the kid shows up?”
“How did you know the kid was on his way here?”
“It’s standard procedure. Don’t worry, we have no use for the kid.”
A few moments later, a small man, no taller than five feet walked through the kitchen and sat at Esther’s table. He nodded at Konan and Esther, and pulled out his notebook.
“Everything that is about to be said is privileged. I could be barred from practicing if this gets out.”
Konan nodded and said, “I understand.”
The man nodded. “The kid, Timothy Fredericks, he is a monster. He’s got no self-control. This was years ago, mind you, but I can’t imagine he’s learned to control his temper or his urges”
“What urges are those, Councilor?’
“He’s not attracted to women.”
“What? Like he’s gay?”
“Kids,” Konan said.
The man nodded. “His parents paid an astronomical amount of money keeping it hidden. Well, his dad did anyway.”
“You don’t happen to have any proof of this, by chance.”
“I didn’t keep it.”
Konan rubbed his head. “Jesus, what a gigantic cluster.” The man rolled up his sleeve. There was a long cut that ran roughly the length of his forearm on his left arm.
“This is what he gave me as thanks for getting him sent to the juvenile facility, and not prison.”
“That’s gnarly looking.”
“He used a kitchen knife to do it. I nearly bled to death before I got help. Esther saved my life.”
“Alright. Is there anything else?”
“No, detective. Be careful when dealing with him.”
“Thanks for the information. I’ll keep it quiet.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
It was after ten before Konan left the pub. Esther would not let him leave without feeding him. He caught the last bus of the evening and got off at the town square. The night was still. Konan walked to an empty bench and sat down. From the shadows, the man that paid Tia Mather’s a visit emerged. He sat on the bench beside Konan.
“Bill, what brought you here?”
“Oh, what have I done now?”
“You got suspended, and you killed Blankenship. That got some attention.”
“Blankenship should have known better than threaten my partner. You guys should know better. I suppose I have you to thank for getting me back to work?”
“I explained things to your Chief. She seemed to have got the message.”
“You’re after Hank Fredericks now.”
“What about Hank Fredericks?”
“Nothing. I’m not here to do your job. Anyway, it’s nice seeing you. Stay out of trouble, Konan.”
Bill turned and looked at Konan with those same dead eyes he’d shown to Tia Mathers. He smiled coldly.
“Don’t try. Do better.”
Konan watched as Bill disappeared into the shadows. “What a time for my past to show up.”
Twenty minutes before midnight, Konan made his way to the police station. A van that had Etheridge Police painted on the side was parked in front of the building.
Konan walked through the doors and took the elevator to the murder room. He got off the lift. There were three police officers and Timothy Fredericks sitting at a desk. Tia Mathers stood beside them and signed the paperwork to complete the transfer.
She nodded at Konan when he entered the room.
“Take Mr. Fredericks to interview room #1, detective. I’ll be along shortly.”
Timothy Fredericks was not what Konan expected. From his records, one would think that Timothy Fredericks was a giant among men. Instead, he stood almost six feet tall and had an average build. His eyes were menacing. It took Konan no time to believe this kid had the capacity to murder his sister. Konan took the suspect by the arm and led him to interview room #1.
“So, what have I done now,” he asked Konan.
Konan shrugged. “Beats me, kid. I just work here.”
Timothy snorted. He looked at Konan. “You looked taller in the paper.”
“Yeah. You blew away that killer, what’s his name.”
Konan forced a smile and motioned for Timothy to have a seat. He sat down, and Konan handcuffed him to the table. Timothy went to say something to Konan, but he walked out before the kid spoke. Tia waited in the hallway.
“What do you think,” she asked. Konan shrugged.
“I don’t know, boss.”
“Where’s your partner?”
“No idea. She’ll be here.”
“Can you handle the interview alone?”
“Sure. You’re behind the glass?”
Konan turned and walked back into the room. Timothy watched him walk to the table. Konan sat down across from him but said nothing. Timothy said nothing. They sat in silence for a bit, and then, Konan opened his file.
“Did you ever get help with your temper,” he asked Timothy. The kid stared at him, Konan locked eyes with him. There was madness in the kid’s eyes.
“Well, lets see. You were sent to a juvenile detention facility at 13 for assaulting an elderly woman. Then, you went back at 15 for assaulting a kid. Your last trip was at 16 for groping a 9 year old. So, that temper. Did you get help?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“Okay. Well, that’s enough about your past. Let’s talk current events. Did you kill your sister?”
“I want my lawyer. Better yet, I want my phone call.”
“Well, that didn’t take long.”
Konan released Timothy’s restraints to the table. He took him by the arm, and led him to holding. The desk sergeant gave Konan a nod.
“Ah, just another suspect that lawyered up. Can I put him in holding?”
“Sure. He can use the phone in there.”
Tia Mather’s was waiting on Konan when he walked back into the murder room. She scowled at him.
“So much for the gentle approach. Did he get his phone call at least?”
“Yeah. I dropped him off in holding. The desk sergeant said he could use the phone in there.”
“Have you heard from your partner?” Konan looked at his phone and shook his head no.
“No. I don’t have any missed calls or text messages.”
“Hmm. Okay. Go home. We’ll take another crack at him in a few hours.”
Konan called a cab, and sat on the bench he and Bill shared earlier. No one else was out. Half an hour later, the cab showed up. He walked across the square and entered the cab. Bill sat in the backseat.
“We meet again, Detective Konan.”
Konan sighed. Bill handed the driver a slip of paper that had Konan’s address on it. The driver pulled out and made his way toward the outskirts of Fredericksburg.
“What are you doing here, Bill?”
“What did you get out of the kid?”
“Nothing, Bill. He lawyered up.”
“Well, that’s what the guilty usually do.”
“Why are you so interested in this case?”
“Because, one of our own is involved.”
“I’m not one of you anymore…”
“I wasn’t talking about you. There’s another involved.”
“No, the kid isn’t ours.”
Konan sighed and shook his head. “This crap is compounding. I’m entirely too young to feel this old.”
“Do you like the kid for it,” Bill asked.
“I don’t know Bill. The kid has severe anger issues. He’s attending a culinary school. I guess we will see.”
The driver pulled up to Konan’s driveway. Bill stuck out his hand, Konan ignored him. He got out and walked to his mobile home. Konan was tired. It had been a long day, all he wanted was to rest. Lilly sat on the steps when he drew near.
“Hey,” Lilly said as he walked up. “Sorry, I didn’t show up.”
“It’s alright. The kid lawyered up on the second question.”
Lilly stood and moved to the side. Konan unlocked the door and walked in, Lilly trailed behind him. She touched him on the shoulder. He turned and faced her.
“This case is going to be ugly, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s shaping up that way.”
Konan gave her a tired smile. She didn’t smile back. It was clear something was bothering her. He waited for her to decide to open up.
“I’m going to jump in the shower. Help yourself to whatever is in the fridge.”
Lilly sat out turkey, mustard, tomatoes, and made her a sandwich while Konan showered. She sat on his couch and listened to the spray of water coming from the back of the mobile home. Konan came in wearing shorts and a tank top. Lilly looked at her partner. “He looks exhausted,” Lilly thought.
“So, what happened to you tonight,” Konan asked. Lilly bit into her sandwich and shrugged.
“I ran into a man named Bill. He said you and he went way back.” Konan grimaced. His past would not stay buried.
“Yeah. I used to work for him.”
“That’s what he said. You were a contract killer for the government.”
“I was a soldier. I was not a hitman.”
“That’s not what Bill said. He claimed that you, Blankenship and a handful of others were sent in to ensure that contracts were awarded to the government. He also claimed that you didn’t just kill the person hindering the contract, but that you wiped out their families as an example.”
Konan stood and walked back to his bedroom. Under his bed was a locked chest. He pulled it out and carried it into his sitting room. Lilly watched him.
“Do you see this chest, Lilly?”
“This is my past. It’s all that remains of my time before I became a cop. If you want to know the truth, here’s the key. I’m going to bed.” He placed the key on top of the trunk and walked back to his bedroom and shut the door.
Lilly picked up the key and opened the trunk.