Konan stared at the phone. “It’s work. Something else has happened, as if there’s not enough stress generated by the murder of Wilson Figueroa.” He picked up his phone and checked the number. It was Lilly. Konan pressed the green button.
“You’re up. I was afraid I woke you.”
“No, been up since 0300.”
“You want company?”
“Good. I’m in your yard.”
He switched on his porch light and unlocked his front door. Konan stood in the doorframe and watched as Lilly made her way across his small square yard.
“Come on in.”
Lilly crossed into his house and walked over to his couch. She leaned back against the soft cushions and sighed. Konan turned on his coffee pot and put in a fresh pod. Lilly sighed contently.
“What’s got you out this early?”
“I wanted to talk to you. Things are tense between us. I know I’ve dropped several things on you lately, but I don’t mean to.”
“It’s okay. That’s what friends are for Lilly.”
“I was ashamed of what happened, Konan. A cop that went home with a suspected criminal is bad enough, but to end up raped by multiple assailants and no memory is worse. I’m surprised Internal Affairs hasn’t involved themselves into this yet.”
“They have, when I arrived home, they were here.”
“Did you know Figueroa was a snitch for IA? Or that he was IA at one time?”
“No, he never mentioned it. Of course, I went home with him one time and…”
“Yeah. Well, IA wants us to keep them informed of any and all developments with the case. If we do that, then they said they would close the books on their investigation of you.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Neither do I Lilly, but what choice do we have? We kick them an update, and they shut up about whatever they think they have on you.”
“I’m not corrupt, Konan.”
“I know. I never said anything about that.”
“Do you think the judge will give us our warrant?”
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t. All we want is to ask questions. Although, why would the Maxi-twins go through all this trouble if there’s nothing to hide?”
“That’s a good question. I wish I could remember anything about the night, but I don’t.”
“Did you meet Maxwell and Maximillian that night?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“They clearly knew you today. One on each side, Maxwell holding your hand up the stairs. Both acted as if they had fond memories of you.”
“Konan, I swear I don’t remember what happened to me. I woke up sore the following morning. You were gone, and all I knew was I screwed up. Then, I gave them 100 thousand. Things just…escalated…”
I sat beside Lilly on the couch and leaned back. I handed her a cup of coffee. She took it and blew on the hot liquid, I sipped some of mine. We sat quietly for a long while, the only sound was the beating of our hearts.
“I called my doctor today. They’ve made me an appointment to visit a psychologist that’s not linked with the department. I go Thursday at 1500, will you cover for me?”
“Sure. I’m happy you are taking care of yourself.”
Silence fell over us once again. My eyes grew heavy, and I dozed off. I woke to Lilly’s head on my chest. She snored lightly. I put a pillow under her head and went to shower.
After showering, I dressed and checked my phone. A text message relayed that the judge had signed off on our warrant, and it was on my desk. I walked out of the back room, Lilly was sitting on the couch, her arms stretched overhead.
“Let’s go ruin the Maxi-boys day,” she said. “But first, coffee and donuts.”
“Sounds like a plan. Let’s go.”
The Donut Hole was on the way to work. I guided my big red Dodge through the drive-thru, which was empty for this time of the morning, and ordered our usual coffees and box of mixed donuts. Then, we headed for the department.
Lilly rushed in and picked up the warrant, then I floored the accelerator and sped toward the warehouse district. Chuck and three other ‘guards’ stood outside the gate. Lilly didn’t wait for me to come to a complete stop before she leapt from the vehicle and walked to the four men.
“We have a warrant. Open the gate.” Chuck looked like he wanted to give my partner some static, but she shoved the warrant in his face.
“Open the gate, or I’m going to arrest you for obstruction. Do it now.”
I got out and walked over to them. The three other guards stood by while Chuck did what he was ordered to do.
“Morning, Chucky. Let’s get a move on.”
He glared at me; his upper lip pulled back into a snarl. It did nothing to improve his looks, I noticed as the gate opened.
Maximillian met us before we reached the first stack of containers, pods they had called them when we came the first time.
“May I see the warrant?”
Lilly shoved it at him, Maximillian scanned it and frowned.
“What exactly do you want, detectives?”
“You and Maxwell, along with your staff, available for questioning,” Lilly said quietly. Maximillian smiled a disingenuous smile at Lilly.
“Are you going to question us here?”
“No,” I interjected. “You and your people are going downtown to answer our questions.”
“Why would we do that, detective?”
“You know why. Get your junk and come with us.”
Maxwell, Maximillian and roughly twenty staffers were escorted to the department. We kept each of them separate from the other.
Neither Maxwell nor Maximillian seemed concerned with the proceedings. Chief Janko nodded at us when we came in.
“Are you guys certain they’re hiding something?”
Lilly shrugged. “I don’t know Chief. Figueroa’s dead, these guys are the new chain of command.”
“Find something,” Janko said. His large walrus mustache hid his frown. I sat on the corner of the desk and stared at Lilly. She had quieted down at the compound. For that reason, I had brought the suspects to the department.
“Can you do this?”
Lilly looked at me. She smiled and nodded, but her eyes said otherwise.
“Why don’t I question them, Lilly. You back me up. Let’s start with Maxwell.”
Together, we walked into Interview Room #2. Maxwell looked up at us when we walked in. His eyes moved to Lilly. When she looked at him, he licked his lips. Lilly blushed. I sat down across from him.
“Do you know why you’re here, Maxwell?”
“Because you knuckleheads have nothing better to do?”
“No, I have plenty to do. However, I get paid to put the screws to the plans of guys like yourself. Where were you on the night that Wilson Figueroa died?”
“I was with my attorney, Maximillian, at a card game.”
“Un-huh. What time did you leave this card game?”
“Shortly before midnight.”
“Did you two friends leave together?”
“Yes. I’d caught a ride with Maximillian. Where is Maximillian anyway?”
I smiled. “He’s down in Interview Room #1. I didn’t figure you were worthy of being #1.”
Maxwell smiled, but it lacked warmth. His eyes showed anger.
“Yet, you came here first.”
“Did I? I don’t think you have the guts to do the deed, Maxwell. You’re a follower. Sure, you’re in charge now, but not really.”
“I am in charge. I am the authority.”
“Un-huh. Well, sit tight Mr. Authority. I’ll circle back to see you.”
Lilly and I walked out of the room and sat at our desk. She stared at me. I looked up.
“You’re not worthy of being number one? What’s that about?”
“Did you notice the difference? He’s always the smooth talker, but he never seems to be confident in his power. I decided to prod him a bit to see what would happen.”
“Maximillian. You take lead. I’ll jump in when the time is right.”
“Okay. Where should I focus?”
“Ask him about the card game. Get details.”
Maximillian sat behind the desk, his composure was cool. Lilly walked in and sat across from him. I stood in the corner and watched.
“Where were you on the night of Figueroa’s death?”
Maximillian smiled and wrinkled his nose at Lilly.
“Come now, detective. You know that’s not how we do things. Remember? When you came over that night with Wilson, we all had a good time, right? Remember the rules of the game?”
Lilly blushed and stared at him. Maximillian’s eyes lasciviously took in Lilly’s body. I sat down next to Lilly. Maximillian looked at me. I locked eyes with him.
“Sorry, I couldn’t hear your answer. Where were you?”
“I was at a card game with Maxwell.”
“Un-huh. Until when?”
“Midnight or so.”
“Did you leave together?”
“No. Maxwell met me there. We left in separate vehicles.”
“Okay. Where was the card game held?”
“At the country club. I’m a regular member there.”
“You seem attracted to my partner. You were saying something…”
“That’s a private conversation.”
“You brought it up.”
Maximillian shut his mouth. He made a show of buttoning his lip and throwing the key behind him. I smiled.
“It’s funny. Maxwell said he’s in charge, but he doesn’t strike me as ‘in-charge.’ You do though.”
“I’m just his attorney.”
“Right, right. You’re the guy with the hook-ups. The right connections. Without you, Maxwell is done before he even gets started.” Maximillian leaned back against his chair and shrugged.
“I have nothing else to say to you, detective.”
“Well, sit back and relax. You’re gonna be here a while.”
We walked out of the room; Lilly leaned against the wall. Tears welled up in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Konan.”
“Come on,” I said. “It’s okay. Did you notice, his answers didn’t match up with Maxwell’s.”
“So, what are we going to do?”
“I’m going back to Maxwell and apply some pressure. You’re leave to go find some composure.”
Lilly nodded and walked shakily toward the elevator. I watched until she boarded the lift. Then, I started for Maxwell’s room.
It was time to turn up the heat.