The Murder Business…new writing, unedited, incomplete…

The next morning, Konan met Lilly at the police station. He was dressed in a black buttoned down shirt, a pair of khaki cargo pants, black Rockport shoes, and a Looney Tunes tie. Lilly looked at him and wrinkled up her nose.

“Wow. What’s the special occasion?”

“I have a name. Ric Terrace. Let’s run it and see what we can find.”


Konan sat at their desk and punched in the name. He sipped his coffee while the computer scanned the name. A few moments later, a profile was displayed on the screen. Konan frowned and motioned Lilly over. She frowned as she read the profile.

“Well, that’s not helpful,” she said.

“No, it’s not. It’s kind of hard to be the shooter when you’re deceased. Other than that tiny tidbit, he would be our guy. I need to talk to you about something.”

“I’m all ears.”

“Not here. We’ll talk when we head out.”

Lilly stared at her partner and nodded. “This guy…he’s got more skeletons in his closet than a pharmacy has pills…”

Val Rankin and Manson walked in. They nodded to Konan and Lilly. They walked over to Konan and Lilly’s desk and pulled up a chair.

“How’s it going,” Lilly asked.

“It’s going. Have you guys learned anything,” Rankin said.

“We had a name, Ric Terrace, but he’s deceased.”

“Huh. Alderman Winston mentioned a blond-haired guy. No name. He claimed that the man told him that as long as he cooperated with him, his son would not be harmed.”

“Has Winston stepped down yet?”

“Not yet. He has a presser at noon.”

“Do not let him step down.” Konan shouted. People turned around at their desks and stared at him. Rankin and Manson’s eyes were the size of half-dollars.

“Okay,” Manson said.

“Look. Traylor’s dead, literally, but it didn’t happen until she stepped down. I suspect that as long as the person in question does not comply, their loved one or whoever remains safe. They are leverage. Once the person in question complies with the demands, they no longer need the leverage. Once the leverage is disposed of, they leave no witnesses.”

“Jesus,” Manson whispered. “That’s cold logic. What are we dealing with?”

“I don’t know,” Lilly said.

“If I were you guys, I would keep a tight grip on any information that you don’t want suppressed,” Konan said. “Don’t trust anybody.”

Rankin leaned close to Konan and met his eyes. Unlike times before it wasn’t an unspoken challenge. Genuine fear shined in Rankin’s eyes.

“Here’s the question hoss, how do we prove this crap? All we have is talk. Circumstantial evidence at best. There’s nothing tangible to present to the court.”

“I had a brass cartridge from Traylor’s shooter most likely, but Chief Mathers took it. I shouldn’t have given it up.”

“Do you think she’s involved with this plot?”

“I don’t know.”

“Have you checked with evidence to see if she turned it in?”

“Not yet. We’re heading out. We’ll stop by and see if she did.”

“If she didn’t, that would be tangible evidence.”

“Yeah. It would. Thanks, Rankin.”

Rankin nodded and stood up. Manson followed him out. Lilly had her purse in hand and was standing by the door.

“Come on, partner. We’re not going to solve it sitting on our rumps. Let’s go hunting.”

Konan followed her to the elevator. Inside the lift, she pressed the button to the sub-basement. She gazed at him but stayed silent. The doors opened and she led him to the evidence locker.

An elderly woman sat at the desk. Her glasses were perched on the tip of her nose, a chain held them in place. The older woman looked up as the detectives approached her.

“Hello,” she said softly. “How can I help?”

“Good morning,” Lilly said. “Did Chief Mathers turn in a piece of evidence yesterday.”

“I don’t know, hon. I work every other day. Let’s see.”

A large, 3-ring binder was opened and the woman scanned the entries of the day prior. She nodded.

“Yes. One .308 cartridge was turned into us for safekeeping. It’s stored on Row 218. Do you need to see it?”

“Yes, please,” Lilly said. The woman pressed a button and the metal door unlocked.

“Come on in, detectives.”

She pressed the button again and the door locked back in place. Then, she led them to Row 218. At the end of the aisle, on the top shelf, was a lone box. The older woman brought it down and opened it. Inside was a single .308 round. It had not been expended. Konan frowned.

“That’s strange,” Lilly said.

“What is, detective?”

“There’s no paperwork associated with this round. Plus, the one my partner handed to her yesterday was fired. This one isn’t.”

That is strange. What would you like me to do about this?”

“Nothing,” Konan said. “Leave it in here for the time being.”

They left the evidence locker. No words were spoken until they got to their unmarked sedan.

“She’s guilty,” Lilly said. “She changed the round out. Why would she do that?”

“I don’t know. Before we go any further. Let’s go to Paddy’s so we can talk.”


Konan started the unmarked sedan and drove them to Paddy O’Shea’s. Brutus stood on the steps that led into the pub. He nodded at Lilly.

“Morning,” he said.

“Morning. Is Paddy in?”

“Yeah. You need to talk to him?”

“No, Brutus. We’re here for breakfast,” Konan said. Brutus jerked his head in the direction of the door. Konan and Lilly walked inside. A hostess led them to a table in the far back of the restaurant. She placed two menus on the table and left.

“Okay, Konan. Talk to me.”

“Alright. You know, Billy, Blankenship, and I worked together.”


“The guy in charge of us is named Cartwright. Billy gave me the name last night. He also mentioned Cartwright. He denied that he is here, but I suspect that Cartwright and Billy is behind everything that is going on. Now, Tia has tampered with evidence. This is out of control.”

“Cartwright. Is he a desk jockey? A paper-pusher?”

“No. He is a planner, a master-manipulator. Cartwright is cold-blooded. Some of the most horrific things we did had his stamp of approval on it. There is no low, to low, for him to sink to. He will kill as many as he has to in order to achieve his goals.”

“How does he get away with it? Can’t the government stop him?”

Konan shook his head and sighed. He forced a smile at his partner.

“No. He leaves no witnesses. I handed over the only piece of evidence that could tie our shooter to the crime. Now, it’s gone.”

“That’s not your fault, Konan.”

“Oh yeah? Remind me of that when the next body shows up.”

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