Chuck Lambrusco lived on the corner of Walnut and Cedar Street, in a small green house that was built shortly after the Civil War. Chuck was not from Fredericksburg, he’d spent several years in various prisons for burglary, bank robbery, assault and slew of other crimes. He had no friends to speak of, but a few days before his release from prison, he had a visitor.
Konan and Lilly sat at their desk and looked over Chuck’s file. Lilly wrote down the address.
“You ready to go check out Chuckie’s address, Konan?”
I was pretty certain that Chuck was smart enough to not be home when we showed up. Still, procedure insisted we investigated every lead. Maybe we would find something.
Lily drove us to Chuck’s home, she pulled into the small driveway and parked. I got out and started my investigation in the yard, Lilly started inside.
“Hey Konan, come in here please.”
“Yep. Gimmie a second.”
Underneath the window was a set of tracks. I followed them to a small shed, but the footprints did not go into it. Instead, they reversed and went back to the house.
“Crap, he is home…”
Cautiously, I moved toward the house. Every shade in the place was closed, the lights off. I pushed the door open and checked the main floor. The house was empty. I continued my search.
“I’m in the main bedroom, Konan. Come on in.”
Lilly stood in the center of the room; a shotgun pointed at her head. Chuck watched me walk in.
“Put you’re gun down, detective. I want to talk.”
“Talk? With a shotgun pointed at my partner’s head. That’s not how you start a conversation.”
“Put your weapon down, please.”
I put down my weapon. This was not the first time Lilly had a weapon pointed at her head. Still, I hated to succumb to the demands of a killer.
“I’m not who you want, detectives. The person behind this is the one you are searching for.”
“So, besides holding my partner hostage you’ve not done anything wrong?”
“I’ve done plenty of wrong things. However, I was offered an opportunity too good to pass up. When I finally realized it was a setup it was too late.”
“Who set you up, Chuck?”
“It was an old man, smoked a pipe. Said he represented certain interested parties who wanted to disassociate themselves from Figueroa and his ilk.”
“Do you have a name, Chuck?”
“No, but I know who he represented.”
“Yeah. How did you know?”
“I’m a detective, son. I remember things. When did her attorney approach you?”
“Two days before my release. It should be on the tape at the prison.”
“Fine. Did you kill Figueroa?”
Chuck eased the weapon down from Lilly’s head. He nodded.
“Yeah, I helped Maximillian kill Figueroa. He was a snitch.”
Rage contorted Lilly’s face. She turned and looked at Chuck and smashed her palm into his throat. She started to kick him, but Konan pulled her back.
“Easy, tiger. We need him to testify.”
“That piece of garbage pointed a loaded shotgun at my head!”
“I know, I was there. Stand up, Chuck. Put your hands behind your back.”
Chuck did as I ordered. Lilly, still wearing her gloves, picked up the shotgun. I led Chuck to the car and helped him into the back seat. Lilly got in the driver’s seat.
A few moments later, we were back at the police department. We booked Chuck in and went to brief Chief Janko. He was sitting in a meeting with Yvonne Strauss and her attorney. A fair-skinned man stood in front of the projection screen and pointed with a wooden pointer. Lilly and I walked in and sat at the table.
“And with this infusion of capital we can further expand our reach into these impoverished neighborhoods, which would help the police to understand the culture of those less fortunate and reasoning for crime…”
Chief Janko and the others clapped and Janko rose and stepped to the podium. He looked at us, and then smiled brilliantly.
“Thank you, Alderman. I appreciate you coming down and presenting this information to us.”
Yvonne Strauss and her attorney stood as soon as the meeting was over. I stepped in her path and nodded.
“Good afternoon, ma’am. I was hoping to ask you a question, if you don’t mind.”
Her attorney stepped in front of her and smiled. Yvonne’s smoldering beauty was on full display, so was her deep-rooted arrogance.
“Young man, I’m sure you can understand how questioning my client in such a place as this, would lead folks in making assumptions about Ms. Yvonne’s credibility. You should ask your question in a more relaxed environment.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want people to make the wrong assumption. Let’s meet at her country club, I can ask her there. Or I could ask you.”
“The club is fine, detective,” Yvonne said. “I look forward to seeing you there.”
“Thank you, ma’am. Your assistance will go far in helping us solve this murder.” She smiled and gave me a curt nod. Her attorney frowned, but then again, he always frowned.
Yvonne put her right hand on my chest and smiled. I smiled back.
“See you soon, detective.”
“Mmhmm, I can’t wait.”