Konan watched as Janko walked down the hallway. Chief Arlo Janko, AJ to his friends, was not a small man, yet, he moved with an undeniable grace that was uncommon with large men. His gracefulness did not hide the strength of the man. He was a walking, talking tower of power, and he was not happy.
Lilly nodded to her superior on her way back to the interview room. Her eyes shimmered with wetness.
“Hey, how did it go?”
“Oh, you know Lilly. He lawyered up.”
“Both of them pressed the Fifth Amendment button, eh.”
“Yup. Neither is going to make it easy on us.”
“No, but we still have the staff to interview. You take half, I’ll take the rest?”
“Are you up to it?”
Four hours later, Konan and Lilly walked to their desk. Both had heavy eyes, sore backs, and all the juicy gossip they could process. However, no new leads had come of the interviews.
“Jesus,” Lilly said as she sat down in her chair. “Who knew the environmentalists had such gossips amongst them? “I swear, if I’d heard one more assumption about the Maxes being a couple…”
“Did you learn anything useful.”
“Not really. One old man thought he might have heard something, but he didn’t know if it was voices or just the refrigerator kicking on.”
“We’ll go to the club in the morning. See if anyone noticed Maxwell and his attorney in the audience the night of the murder.”
“Let’s hope we catch a break soon, Chief looks like he might blow a gasket soon.”
Konan said good night and drove to his mobile home. Lt. Lynn Towers sat in his driveway. He sighed. “Dear God, what do I have to do to catch a break?”
He got out of his truck and started for the house. Lt. Towers was dressed in jeans and a light grey hoodie.
“May I come in, detective?”
“Are you alone?”
“Come on in. You want coffee?”
“I would love some.”
Konan unlocked the front door and switched on the lights. He walked to the coffee pot and turned it on, and then walked into his bedroom and changed into his pajamas and house shoes.
“What brought you back,” he yelled from the back room. He shoved his Springfield Hellcat into his waistband and draped his white tee over it.
“Just checking in. I thought you might want to see the files we have on Wilson Figueroa.”
“That’s mighty nice of you. Can you put the coffee on? Pods are next to the pot.”
Konan walked out and moved past the Internal Affairs agent. The coffee pot gurgled as the hot liquid poured into a yellowish cup. He sat at the bar; Lynn leaned against the counter.
“I like your trailer.”
“Thanks. It belonged to my parents.”
“Keeping it in the family, nice. The files are on the couch. I also brought his service jacket, just in case.”
“Does your partner know about all this help you’ve provided me?”
“No. I’d preferred it stayed that way.”
Lynn Towers came in and sat beside Konan. She handed him a mug, he took it and smiled.
“Thanks for making the coffee.”
Konan sipped on his coffee. Lynn blew on hers.
“How do you like IA? Is it everything people think it is?”
“I don’t like it, never have. It’s just a step up on the promotion ladder though.”
“Wilson Figueroa was not a good cop. Look here,” she said as she opened the victim’s service jacket.
“Every arrest he made over the course of his three-year career was…wrong. They brought him into IA because they figured he would know how corrupt cops think…”
“…because he was a corrupt cop. Makes sense.”
“Yeah, he was a top-notch snitch. A horrible cop. One of those you read about in the papers when ‘journalists’ actually do their job instead of shoving an agenda.”
“Yeah. They like to use a broad stroke to paint all cops as bad.”
Lynn sipped her coffee. She reached for the second file.
“Here’s a list of people Figueroa had fingered as the next ones he’d snitch on.”
Konan put on his reading glasses and scanned the list. Both Maxwell and Maximillian were on the list. He smiled.
“What is it? Why are you smiling?”
“Because now we have a motive.”
“What do you mean, Konan?
“We brought in both these names today, and some of the staff. Both names are here on this list of ‘to be snitched upon’, both these men had a reason for Figueroa’s death.”
“Now, all you have to do is prove it.”
“Yep. Thank you for all the help.”
“You bet. Do you have a printer here in your home?”
Konan took the files and walked into his spare room that he’d converted into a library. He powered up the printer and made copies of the files.
“Thanks, I try to keep a copy of books that will offend everyone.”
“Because the world is a tough place, and if you’re to survive you must be tough as well.”
“Hmm. Sounds like you don’t think there’s any room for niceness in the world.”
“No, I think there’s room for nice people. However, I think that the world will beat your brains in if you walk around constantly offended.”
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
“Let me ask you something, Lynn. When was the last time you watched the news, and felt good about the world you live in?”
“I don’t watch the news.”
“Because it’s nothing but bad news 24/7. The world is ending because of this, pandemic that, it’s a never-ending circus.”
“Exactly my point. You can’t say these words, because they make people feel bad. You can’t use this pronoun, because it offends someone. Heck, you can’t even disagree with folks without hating them because of their skin pigmentation, or their religious beliefs, or their gender preference on a freaking Thursday.”
“So, you keep books to offend everyone.”
“I keep the books because I like them. They remind me to be strong in the face of fear, to adapt to the changes in the world, to be bold in my pursuit of my goals, and to stand for truth-even if I must stand alone.”
Konan laughed and scooped up the copies. Lynn picked up her files and smiled at Konan.
“Thank you for the coffee, detective.”
“Thank you for the company, Lynn. And for all the help with this case.”
“Let me know the next time you’re coming, and I’ll whip up dinner.”
Lynn scrunched her nose up cutely and nodded.
“I’ll do that. Be careful out there.”
Konan watched as the long-legged detective walked out to her car. He waited until she started it and backed up before he closed the door.
Things were looking up for this case. Both of his suspects were on the list, both had a reason to murder Wilson Figueroa.
Konan reached for the phone and called Lilly.
Lilly arrived at twenty minutes past ten. The crunch of gravel gave her arrival away. Konan walked to the door and unlocked it. Lilly walked in without even knocking. She made her way to the coffee pot and switched it on.
“So, what discovery have you made,” she asked as she pressed a coffee pod into the machine.
“Lt. Lynn Towers brought me a copy of all her files on Wilson Figueroa. He planned to snitch out Maxwell and Maximillian.”
“Nope. They’re right here on this list. Both have a motive to kill the Great Betrayer.”
“That’s awesome, Konan. Do you want to go question them again?”
“No, let them stew. I want to hold off until the last moment. Let them think they’re getting out, and then BAM!”
Lilly chuckled. “You want to play with them.”
“I want them to pay, Lilly.”
“I’m sure they will.”
We sat in silence for some time. So far, this case had been difficult to put the pieces together. Lilly’s involvement in the case, her relationship with Figueroa, her rape, all of it had made it difficult to separate the personal baggage from the actual leads and evidence.
Things appeared to have cleared. We had a lead, our first solid one since the case had landed in our laps.
It was time to hunt.