At 0900, Lilly and Konan received a call to report to the Internal Affairs building. Lynn Towers met the pair of detectives in the foyer.
“Good morning, detectives. Follow me, please.” She led them into a private room on the ground floor. Two cameras hung in the corners of the room. Red lights blinked to show they worked.
Lynn Towers pointed at the table, and two chairs Konan and Lilly sat down at the table. Lynn sat across from the pair.
“Good morning, detectives.”
“Is it,” Konan asked. “Why are we being interviewed by IA?”
“I need to ask some questions about Yvonne Strauss.”
“Yvonne Strauss,” Lilly questioned. “What about her?”
“You two investigated her during your last case, yes?”
“Hold up,” Konan said as he held up his left hand. “You’re Internal Affairs. Civilians and civilian criminality are not your mission. Why are you interested?”
“I need to know if she had anything to do with Wilson Figueroa or his scams.”
“You didn’t mention why.”
“Detective Thompson, I’m IA. I don’t have to answer your questions. You answer mine.”
I cringed. The bossy-over educated-better than you-attitude might work in certain situations, but it did not have a place in this one. Lilly’s eyes widened, her eyebrows arched. She leaned over the table and glared at Lynn Towers.
“I’m not picking a fight, Detective Thompson. All I am saying…”
“I’m done talking about this,” Lilly snarled. “Let’s bounce, Konan.”
Konan shook his head and pushed his seat back from the table. He knew Lilly and knew she would not back down from anyone, especially Internal Affairs. Lilly stormed out of the office. Konan trailed behind her and shut the door.
Lilly stood beside the car. Her arms crossed, she bit on her lower lip. Konan walked up to the vehicle. Lilly glared at him.
“I don’t like that woman.”
“Yeah,” Konan said, nodding. “I noticed that in there. Perhaps you would like to go back and bust her in the head.”
“I would rather leave this place and go get breakfast.”
“Sounds good. How about Sparky’s for a loaded breakfast platter?”
“I can go for that.”
Konan drove them to Sparky’s. Unlike Lilly’s demolition derby style of driving, Konan maneuvered deftly through traffic. Whereas Lilly sped and braked like a NASCAR driver, Konan never exceeded the speed limit and braked well before known stops.
Their driving habits illuminated the nuances of the pair. Some distinctions were more pronounced than others. Still, Lilly and Konan operated like a well-oiled machine.
Sparky’s, a local favorite, served breakfast from sunup to sundown. They’d been in business for over fifty years. Konan pulled into an available parking spot. He and Lilly walked into the restaurant.
“Hi,” a cute hostess said as they walked through the foyer. “Welcome to Sparky’s.”
“Thanks,” the detectives said in unison.
The hostess led the pair to a table in the back of the dining area and handed them each a menu. Lilly studied the menu.
“What are you getting, Konan?”
“The Big Country Platter, and a cup of coffee.”
Their waitress came to the table. She was tall, rail thin, and had a pockmarked face. Heavy habitual drug use had stained her teeth black, her blonde hair was dirty. She smiled.
“What can I getcha?”
“Um, I’ll have the Big Country Platter and coffee,” Konan said. Lilly nodded.
“Make that two.”
“Sausage or bacon?”
“Bacon on both, please.”
“Okay,” she said. “I’ll be right back with your coffee, sugar.” She walked away, scratching her arms. Konan shook his head.
“Sad, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, Lilly. It is sad, but you can’t help but feel hopeful at the same time.”
“Oh? Why do you feel hopeful?”
“Because, despite her obvious habit and the effect it’s had on her body, she still showed up for work. She’s cheerful and well-mannered.”
“She could use a bath, Konan.”
“Sure, but I’m willing to bet that she is working to make a better life for herself, and maybe even a child or two.”
The waitress came back with two cups of black coffee. Konan glanced at her nametag. It listed her name as Judith.
“Have you worked long here, Judith?”
“Um, no, sir. I’ve been here about a month. Is something wrong?”
“No. Everything is fine. Thank you for bringing the coffee so quickly.”
“Oh, you’re welcome.”
She came back with the food. Lilly and Konan ate quickly. Lilly went and paid for the meal, Konan left the tip. He put a ten-dollar bill on the table and scribbled a note on a fresh napkin.
Thank you for the excellent service you provided to my partner and I. I know that you’ve had a colorful past, but none of that matters now. You’ve started your journey toward a complete recovery. I am rooting for you. Take care.
Detective Thermopolis Konan”