The flash of blue lights reflected in the window of the mobile home. Thermopolis Konan sat in his recliner and sipped his coffee. Heavy footsteps clamored across his porch. At three in the morning, no one should be on his porch or knocking at his door. The knocking continued until Konan finally answered the door.
“Good morning,” he said grumpily. The officer nodded and backed up a bit for Konan to walk out on his porch. Konan waited for the officer to fill him in.
“Um, are you Thermopolis Konan? The former detective?”
“You’re not sure you are at the right place, officer?”
“Um, hold on a second…”
The officer pulled out his notepad and checked his notes. He stared at Konan, Konan sipped his coffee and waited. The cop closed his notebook.
“Sir, I’m at the right place. Your presence is requested at the waterway.”
“Look, it’s three in the morning. I’m tired, I want to get some sleep. So, tell whoever requested my presence to get bent.”
“Sir, a murder has occurred. You are needed.”
“Listen, Junior. I am not a cop. Okay? Do you get it? I don’t do that anymore. Go away.”
Konan walked back into his trailer and shut the door. The cop shut off the blue lights and drove back down his dirt driveway. Konan leaned back in his recliner and shut his eyes. Sleep slipped over him like a warm blanket, and in seconds he was sound asleep.
It didn’t last. Less than an hour later, another knock sounded at the door. Konan stirred in the recliner. He cracked an eye open and stared at the door.
“Thermopolis, open the freaking door.”
Konan leaped out of the recliner and stumbled to the door. He stared out the peephole. Detective David Tomas of the Fredericksburg Police Department continued to hammer the door. Konan threw the door open and stepped out on the porch.
“What in the name of Almighty God do you people want,” Konan shouted. “It’s not even five o’clock in the freaking morning. What?”
Tomas stared at Konan for several moments before he spoke. In all the time he had known Konan, he had never seen him lose his cool.
“I’m sorry, we’ve bothered you Konan. Chief Janko would like to see you at the waterway.”
Konan stepped close to Tomas and stared into his eyes. The flash of teeth reminded Tomas of a hungry shark.
“You tell Janko I said to get screwed. Okay? I was fired for arresting his friend, I don’t work for the city or him anymore. You got that? Good day.”
Konan walked back into his trailer, for the second time this morning, and fell back into his recliner. He shut off his lamp and fell asleep once again.
Tomas returned to the waterway. He had to park at the gate and walk to the crime scene. Chief Janko stood outside of the ticker tape and watched the forensic team search the scene. Janko looked like a walrus. His head was cartoonishly big, his mustache was long and bushy. So were his eyebrows.
“No luck with Konan,” he asked Tomas nonchalantly. Tomas shook his head no. Janko waited for Tomas to speak. He pulled out a beef stick and bit of one end.
“Uh, no Chief. He told me and you to get screwed. He said he doesn’t work for us any longer.”
“Well, that part is true. He was fired. Did you tell him what happened here?”
“No, sir. He didn’t let me get a word in edgewise.”
Janko nibbled at the beef stick and shook his head. He chewed loudly and wiped at the sweat dripping off his forehead with the back of his hand.
“Alright. I’ll go talk to him.” Tomas wasn’t sure what Janko thought he could do when two other people had failed, but he shrugged and said, “okay.”
Somehow during the early morning hours, Konan left his recliner and got on the couch. He tossed and turned and finally got up at 0745. He opened a crate of eggs and placed eight in his Instant Pot. After setting the timer, he brewed some coffee. A knock came at the door.
Konan shook his head and walked to the door. He peeped out and scowled when he saw it was Janko.
“What do you people want,” he said through the door.
‘I need to talk to you, Thermopolis.”
“You’ve got five minutes to make your case. Come in.”
Janko walked in and looked around the mobile home. Various pieces of art hung on the walls, along with a shadow box that held an American flag and his medals from his days in the Army.
“Nice place you have here,” Janko said. Konan glared at him.
“What do you want?”
Janko sat at the bar and watched Konan peel boiled eggs in the sink. Konan said nothing, and Janko wiped at his mustache.
“People have disappeared recently. They were kidnapped, but then they have begun to reappear.”
“So? Call the cops.”
Janko rolled his eyes and wiped his mustache again. Konan continued to peel eggs.
“They’re showing up dead, Konan. They are staged in full view of the public. We could use your help.”
Konan shook his head and muttered, “no.” Janko got up from the bar and stretched his arms to the ceiling. He could tell by the gleam in Konan’s eye that he was interested but was turning him down out of spite.
“It won’t be like last time, Konan. I promise.”
“Is Lilly involved with the case?”
“She can be, IF you return. She was recently promoted to Lieutenant, but I can put her in the field with you. Heck, you solve this, and I will give you your badge back.”
“I don’t want it back.”
Janko sighed and shook his head. Konan took out three boiled eggs and covered them with salsa.
“You’re being spiteful. Do this for us, and you can request anything you want.”
“I don’t want the badge back. I don’t want to work for you either. I’ll make a go of it as a consultant. You want my help; you pay me to help. To top it all off, I choose the cases I work.”
Janko stuck out his hand, Konan shook it.
“Deal. Set your rates and give me a copy of it. I only ask that you help with this case first.”
“Deal. Now get out of my house.”
Mary Mathieu, M&M to her friends, was your typical college student. She was a hedonist. Her great love was pleasure, and she sought it wherever she could find it. Even in the woods hiking along the waterway.
Mary attended a prestigious law school in Mississippi. Originally from the Mid-West, she had fallen in love with the people and scenery of her new home. She spent most of her weekends hiking various parts of the state.
“Hiking does the body good,” she told her friends. At 25, she was worried about clocking out before she had fully enjoyed her time on Planet Earth.
As she walked the trails along the waterway, she would stop and listen. Further up the trail she heard a branch break. She stopped and knelt. She pulled out her phone and waited. A doe walked out onto the trail with her fawn. Mary shot a photo and smiled. The deer blew at her and they bounded back into the woods.
Mary stood up and sighed. She was overcome with a sense of dread and turned around. A black clad figure waved at her, and a massive right hand crashed into her jaw. Her world went black as she fell into unconsciousness.