At 1100 hours, Konan and Lilly drove from his mobile home to the Fredericksburg Country Club, or FCC as it’s known to the locals. A couple of men, one black and one Hispanic, manned the booth outside of the club. Konan pulled up and flashed his badge at them. The black man leaned over and peered into the car.
“Morning, officers. What can we do for you?”
“I need to speak to the owner, or owners, on a matter of some urgency.”
“Let me call up to the house. I’ll be right back.”
Lilly watched the men from her seat. Her attention never wavered. Konan watched her from his peripheral vision.
“What is it, Lilly?”
“The Hispanic man seems familiar to me, but I can’t place him.”
As if he knew what she’d said, the Hispanic man met her eyes. His look sent shivers down her spine. Lilly leaned back against the seat and averted her eyes. The black man motioned to the Hispanic man, and me moved to the car.
“You can go on in,” the man said in a thick Spanish accent.
“What is your name,” Konan asked.
“I am Juan.”
“Thanks, Juan. Have a good day.”
Lilly said nothing on the drive to the house. Her eyes brimmed with tears. Konan guided the car into an empty parking space at the end of row 13. He turned and looked at his partner. She wiped at her eyes.
“What is going on,” he asked her gently.
“He seemed so familiar to me, Konan, but he looked at me with such judgement.”
“Does this have to do with what happened to you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You know tomorrow is Thursday, right.”
“Yeah. I know.”
“Have you thought about what you’re going to tell the doctor?”
“Good. Lilly, if you need to take some time off, I can handle the case.”
“No, you’re my partner. We ride or die together.”
“Well, no one has asked me or anything, but I’d rather ride than die any day.”
Lilly snorted and meekly said, “me too.”
Konan handed her a handkerchief and she dabbed at her eyes. She checked her appearance in the mirror behind the visor. Lilly put on her brave face and smiled.
“Let’s go jam up these fools.”
Without another word they got out of the vehicle and headed for the house. A well-dressed woman waited for them at the foot of the steps that led into the club. She wore a white blouse that was covered partially by a black vest, black trousers, and black shoes. As all employees did, she wore a thin black bowtie as well. Her dark brown hair was cut short, her black eyes gave her a menacing appearance.
“Detectives, I assume.”
“Yep,” Konan said as he and Lilly flashed their badges at her. The woman gave them a forced grin.
“Follow me. Do not antagonize our guests, please.”
Her please sounded forced, and rehearsed, but the two detectives followed her through the main hallway, up the stairs, to a large study. It smelled expensive. An older gentleman sat on an expensive looking chair and smoked a pipe. He looked at them through the tendril of smoke that wafted toward the ceiling.
“Hello,” he muttered.
“Hi,” Lilly said back to the gentlemen.
A young woman walked in. Every aspect of her being seemed to fit into the affluence of the country club. She walked to and sat behind a mahogany desk. A large jade necklace adorned her perfect neck. Her blonde hair was immaculate, as was her dress.
“Hello, detectives. I am Yvonne Strauss, owner of the Fredericksburg Country Club. This gentleman is my attorney. I understand you have questions.”
“Yes ma’am, we do. I’m Detective Konan, this is Detective Thompson. We understand there was a spades tournament here last weekend.”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“Was it an open tournament, as in open the public, or was it members only?”
Yvonne Strauss smiled a small smile, her attorney choked on the smoke he had pulled into his lungs. He coughed for several moments.
“Detective Konan, membership into my club costs more annually than you make in three years. Every event held here is members only. People join our club to escape the public, it would be in poor taste if we invited in those our members were trying to avoid.”
Yvonne Strauss’s tone was not rude nor mean-hearted. She simply stated it as a matter of fact. Her grey eyes held no malice, or none that I could perceive. “Maybe it’s a matter of class,” I thought as I stared at her.
“I see. Well, let me get to the point. Wilson Figueroa was murdered last week. We, that is my partner and I, believe the killers were here to establish an alibi. Would you mind looking at a couple of pictures?”
“Poor Wilson. He was a mite high strung. Always going on about the environment or some such thing.”
Lilly walked over to the mahogany desk and laid two pictures upon it. Yvonne leaned over and nodded.
“Yes, I recognize both. Maxwell here is not a member of the club, but Maximillian is. Well, was. His membership has lapsed.”
“Were they here last weekend.”
Yvonne scrunched up her face like someone had given her curdled milk to drink. She shook her head no.
“No, detectives. Maximillian had not paid his dues; thus, he was not allowed on the premises.”
“How do you know, Maxwell?”
Yvonne sighed. The pipe smoking attorney leaned forward and took the pipe from his lips.
“When Maximillian was a member of our club, he was allowed to bring a guest with him. Maxwell was his guest. Maximillian had suggested it would do the chap good to be around cultured folk.”
“I see. Well, I think that is all we need. Thanks for being patient and answering our questions. We’ll be on our way.”
“Not so fast, detectives. I will have my chambermaid escort you to the door.” Yvonne picked up a small bell and rang it. The woman from earlier walked in and stood by the door.
I looked at Yvonne incredulously. She gave me a small smile.
“Pavlov had his dog; I have my maid.”
Lilly and I bid them good day and followed the maid out. We stayed silent until we got to the car.
“Can you believe that woman,” Lilly growled. “Pavlov had his dog…I swear, if I wouldn’t get jammed up by the law, I would…”
“Lilly, there are other jobs. Yvonne’s maid doesn’t have to work here.”
“You’re taking up for that snooty piece of garbage?”
“No. I am pointing out that there are other jobs, maybe the maid stays here because it pays more or has better benefits.”
“I want to go in there and bust Yvonne right in her expensive looking mouth.”
“I know, but we need to go apply some heat to our suspects.”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”