Hank Calder watched the news. The body of Mary was being reported as an isolated incident. He frowned. This was not what he wanted things to happen. “All my plans have gone through without a hitch. Still, my work is not recognized.”
Like most great artisans, his genius would go undervalued until he passed. He had no plans to die anytime soon. Like the greats of history, he needed his work to be the centerpiece of every conversation. Calder desired his opponents to covet his masterpieces. He deserved no less than a pedestal next to those he admired.
If people refused to notice his genius, he would carve his name in their corpses.
Konan dropped Lilly off at her apartment. He’d stopped three times in the ten-minute drive to let her vomit. He walked her to her door. She hugged his neck, Lilly felt secure in his strong arms.
“Thanks for listening, Konan. And for bringing me home.”
“Of course. Feel better, sooner rather than later.”
“I will. What are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to pay a visit to our local drug peddlers. Two of three murders involve Oxycodone. Medical professionals don’t usually jeopardize their licenses by prescribing free narcotics.”
“That’s true. Take backup, Konan. Some of these guys are habitual users of their own product, and they won’t hesitate to gun you down.”
Konan left Lilly standing in the door and drove back to O’Shea’s. Paddy watched as he pulled in.
It was time to pay a visit to Mad Michael, and for his sake, Konan hoped he had answers. Lilly’s pregnancy made his blood boil. He wanted a target for his anger.
A drug dealer that sold Oxycodone to a mass murderer would make a great target.
Paddy stood outside the pub talking to Titan when Konan walked up.
“You’re back. It’s like you never left nephew.”
“I need to see Mad Michael, but you might help me also.”
“I’ll do what I can.”
“I’m looking for someone who sells Oxy through illegal means. Someone who doesn’t care who he sold his product to. You know anyone like that, Paddy?”
Titan watched Konan. He frowned. The wrinkles on his large forehead made Konan think of a Pug-nosed dog.
“Can’t say I do. I stay busy with the operation of the pub; I don’t have time to consort with drug dealers.”
“What about you, Titan?”
“I don’t talk to cops.”
“Okay, then consider us friends. Talk to your friend.”
“You’re not my friend, pig.”
“You know, Titan, I could take you downtown for questioning. Your silence makes me think you know something.”
Paddy stepped between them. Titan glared at Konan, and Konan smiled.
“Come on, boys. There’s no need for all this. Let’s go inside and have a drink.”
“I’m not sure Titan agrees with you Paddy.”
“How about I throw you a beating, pig?”
“Come to daddy.”
Titan, the 6’8 mountain of muscle, snarled at Konan in response. His balled-up fist was the size of a sledgehammer head. Paddy stepped out of the way and gave Konan a look that said: “You’ve stepped in it now.”
“I’m gonna beat you bad, pig. Nobody talks to me like that.”
Konan said nothing. He waited for the haymaker he knew was coming. Titan took two steps toward him and unleashed his Sunday punch.
The massive fist had serious momentum behind it. Konan mistimed his sidestep, the edge of the fist clipped his chin. He grunted and took a step back. Titan smiled and followed that haymaker with another. This time, Konan stepped to the side and up. He lashed a side kick that connected with Titan’s knee. The crack of the knee breaking caused Paddy to grimace. Titan cried out. Konan gave him a soccer kick to the head that silenced him.
“Jesus,” Paddy said. “You broke him. He was the best doorman I had.”
“Get some cold water.”
Paddy shook his head and went inside. He came back with a mop bucket of cold water. Konan took it from him and threw it on the mountain of muscle.
“I’m gonna call an ambulance.”
Titan stirred and grasped his knee. Konan walked over to him and placed a knee on his throat. He pressed down. Titan began to wheeze from the pain. Konan some of the pressure off.
“Give me a name, boy. Or I’m going to hurt you.”
“Screw you, pig.”
Konan punched him in the throat. Titan gasped for air. Konan hit him again, and again. Paddy watched as his nephew rained blow after blow onto his doorman’s throat and face. Titan help up his hands in surrender, Konan cocked his right hand back and waited.
“We call him Richie Rich. He’s some rich white boy from the nice part of town. He’s got the hook up for Oxy.”
“What does he drive, and I want an accurate description. Don’t leave anything out.”
“I want an ambulance….”
“You can have one right after you give me what I want.”
Titan described Richie Rich, and Konan stood to his feet. Konan cut his eyes to Paddy.
“Who is he, Paddy?”
“You need to talk to your dad. He knows who he is, I guarantee it.”
Konan walked out to his truck. “Figures,” he snarled to himself. “If you’re a scumbag, my dad knows you. He wonders why I don’t visit more often.” Konan walked to his truck and climbed in. The big diesel engine rumbled to life. Konan drove to Parchman State Prison to interrogate his father. While he drove, Konan considered his disdain for the man that had a hand in creating him.
Mad Michael sat in the interview room when Konan walked in. Konan looked at Michael, his father returned his stared. Esther sat next to Michael.
“Well, if it’s not my long lost son. What do you want now, officer?”
“Oh. Pardon me, detective. What do you want?”
“Richie Rich, a drug peddler. I want a name and any background you can give me.”
Esther laughed, and Michael forced a smile. His smile was cold, the look in his eyes promised violence. Konan returned the stare.
“You come in here all the time barking, snarling, acting like a tough guy. Why don’t you try again, this time with more respect?”
“I don’t get paid to kiss your butt, Michael.”
“And I don’t have to help you. You’re a prissy prima-donna, a no-good, worthless, sack of human excrement. Good day.”
Michael got up from the table and banged on the door. A guard came and took him to his cell. Esther shook her head.
“You can’t help yourself, can you?”
“I don’t have time to coddle him. He doesn’t want to help; he doesn’t have to.”
“He’s right you know. You come in here demanding answers to questions like he owes you money or something. You never say hello, you never ask how he’s doing. You’ve slammed the door on any hope or redemption he may seek. Now, you’re here yelling about some junkie kid. It never ends with you.”
“That junkie kid, Esther, could be supplying a serial killer with Oxy. Now, I know that pales in comparison to the ‘family reunion’ Michael dreams of at night. I still need to catch him, before he or she decides to kill another victim.”
Esther nodded and sighed. She slid a piece of paper over to Konan. Written on the parchment was a name: Ric Villers.
“Your father wrote it down before you came in here like a lunatic. He also wanted to tell you something important. That doesn’t matter now, so I’ll tell you. He has cancer, Konan. It’s terminal. The doctor said he has about six months left to live.”
Esther waited for a response. Konan scooped up the name and stood.
“I’ve got to run this lead down, Esther. Tell him…I’ll be back, and we’ll talk. I’m sure he has some things he needs to say. It won’t take long for me to handle this.”
Esther nodded. “I’ll let him know.”