Thermopolis made his way to Wiggins and Tomas. Janko glared at him when he entered the room. Konan ignored him.
“Can you guys run these two names?”
Wiggins took the paper and typed in the names. “Well,’ he wheezed, Waterson is a two-bit wannabe. He knocked over a laundry and a couple of 7/11’s. Billy is a cat of a different stripe. Billy Crump has ties to an underground network of criminals. He is a white supremacist, and he has done time for rape. “
“Okay. Can you guys go pick him up, along with Waterson?”
“Sure thing. You want to ride along?”
“Nah, I better not. Let me know when you start back this way.”
Konan watched Tomas and Wiggins head out, then turned and gave Janko a small wave. Janko flipped him off. Thermopolis grinned and walked back down to records. He stopped by a white board and pored over the menus of different restaurants in the area. Konan chose a Korean restaurant and ordered Kimchi.
Thirty minutes later, he walked into Records munching on a Spring Roll. The telephone was ringing. Konan picked up the receiver.
“Yeah,” he said around a mouthful of spring roll.
“Both perps are in Interrogation Rooms #2 and 3, if you would like to observe.”
Konan tossed his lunch onto the dusty desk and ran to the elevator at the end of the hall. He pressed the button and ascended to the main floor.
Joe Waterson was in Room #2. He had thin greasy hair and a scraggly mustache that turned down into the corners of his mouth. His clothes were filthy, so were his fingernails. Tomas sat across from him.
“You know what happens to kiddy rapists in the joint, Waterson?”
“I didn’t rape nobody.”
Tomas put a picture in front of Waterson. “You see this kid, Waterson? We found your deposit in her. She was fifteen years old, and that my friend is rape. Even if she agreed to have sex, she wasn’t old enough to consent to it.“
“I ain’t touched her.”
“No, you did a lot more than touch. You raped her. You and your bud, Billy.”
Waterson clammed up. Tomas leaned back in his chair. “Tell me what happened, Joe.”
“Okay, kiddy rapist. Sit here until you die. I am sure your pal is smarter than you. I bet he is singing like a canary.”
“Naw, he ain’t. He hates cops.”
Waterson leaned back against his chair and smiled. Tomas resisted the urge to choke him right in front of the video cameras. In Room 3, Billy sat calmly. He uttered not a word.
Wiggins stared at him and Billy stared back. Janko stood behind the glass and watched as the two matched wills. Janko walked to room 2 and stood next to Konan.
“You have a minute, Thermopolis?”
“Ain’t got nothin’ but time, Chief.”
“Got a hard nut in Room 3. I want you to take a run at him.”
“I’m just here to consult.”
“Just do it. You know how to get through to these punks. We don’t have all day to wait for them to lawyer up.”
“Fine, but you clear the air with your detectives.”
Thermopolis walked into Room 3 and gave Wiggins a nod. Janko tapped on the glass and Wiggins got up and left. Thermopolis stood over Billy and smiled.
“How do you know the victim?”
Billy smiled. “I don’t speak English.”
Thermopolis smiled back and punched him square in the nose. Billy grunted and Konan grabbed him by the nose and twisted. Billy squealed like a wounded hog. Wiggins started for the door, but Janko stopped him.
“Listen, Billy. I asked you how you knew the victim. Don’t make me ask you again. A little girl is dead, and I think you killed her.”
“Her mom, Daisy. I knew her through her mother.”
Konan twisted the wounded snout again, and Billy cried out in pain. “See, that wasn’t hard. Let’s try this again. Did you rape the girl?”
“It ain’t rape. Daisy, Joe and I had an arrangement.”
“Oh. What kind of arrangement?”
“That little slut got pregnant at 12. Daisy made her get an abortion. She caught Joe and me tussling with her daughter at Circled T on Highway 12. She said since she had raised a whore, we could have our way with her anytime we wanted.”
“Daisy pimped out her fifteen-year-old daughter? To you two clowns? Why? Was the reflection staring back from the mirror hitting too close to home?”
“Daisy ain’t no pimp. She figured the girl had ruined her life already. Daisy cut her loose.”
“So, you and Joe saw the girl nailed to the floor and decided on one last ride?”
“No, man. We ain’t seen her since Tuesday. We had our fun and then she left. That’s it.”
“Where di you last see her?”
“We would meet up at the abandoned truck stop off Highway 11. She took care of us and left.”
Konan let go of Billy’s nose. Billy clutched it gingerly.
“What you and Joe did was rape. It is worse because her own mother allowed you two idiots to paw her own flesh and blood.“
Behind the glass, Janko sent Wiggins to fetch Tomas and sent them to bring in Daisy. Inside Room 3 Billy pressed his hand against his broken nose, and Konan thought about what he had been told.
“Alright, Billy. I am going to pay a visit to your friend, Joe. Let’s see if he tells me the same story. Be back soon.”
“You ain’t supposed to hit a suspect, pig.”
Konan stood and slapped Billy in the face with his open palm. In the tiny room, it sounded like a gunshot across open water.
“I ain’t a cop, Billy. Just a guy asking you a few questions about the murder of a fifteen-year-old girl.”
Then he walked out of room #3. Waterson was waiting for him. When Konan walked into the room, Waterson sat up straight.
“What happened to Billy?”
“He played tough. I broke his nose and tried to twist it off.”
“You have something you want to tell me?”
“Yeah. It wasn’t rape. We had an arrangement with Daisy.”
Konan sat in a chair across from Waterson and listened as he outlined what Billy had told him. It took all of five minutes for Waterson to tell it all.
“Thanks,” Konan as he stood to leave.
“Her name was Amber,” Waterson said. “I loved her.”
“You’re 36 years old, Waterson. You and Billy took advantage of her. Love had nothing to do with it.”
Daisy Louise Wainwright, 38, mother of 15-year-old Amber Wainwright, sauntered into the police station between Tomas and Wiggins. She wore Hello Kitty pajamas, and a cigarette hung out of the corner of her mouth. Daisy’s eyes were narrow slits, and she appeared to not have rested at any point in the last century. Tomas led her to a chair next to his desk. Wiggins waved Konan over.
“Konan, this is Daisy. She is in the finals for Mother of the Year,” he wheezed. Tomas nodded and sat down. Daisy scowled at Wiggins and Konan.
“Screw you pigs,” Daisy snarled.
“As Wiggins said, she is in the running for Mother of the Year. She is also a full-time street walker and goes by: Josey, Tina, and Bae-Bae.”
“Oh, y’all got jokes. All of you must be in the running for Comedian of the Year.”
Tomas glared at Daisy. Konan stepped in front of her and made eye contact. Her fierce gaze met Konan’s eyes.
“Hey, Daisy. I am Konan. Did you have a daughter named Amber?”
“What do you mean, did?”
“I mean Amber Wainwright, 15, has taken up residence in the morgue. Now, is she your daughter or not?” Tears rushed out of Daisy’s eyes and streamed down her cheeks. “I have a daughter that is 15. Her name is Amber. I want to see her.”
“Do you know two clowns named Joe Waterson and Billy Crump?”
“I WANT TO SEE MY DAUGHTER!”
“Answer my question first. Do you know them?”
“Yes! Take me to my daughter.”
Wiggins took Daisy by the arm and led her to the morgue. Tomas and Konan followed behind. “When she identifies the daughter, take her out and put her in a cell.” Tomas nodded.
Ashley Wilkinson pulled the sheet back and revealed the face. Daisy fell to her knees and sobbed. Wiggins turned to the window and shrugged.
“My baby! Oh my baby,” Daisy screamed. Wiggins helped her from the floor, Daisy pushed her face into his thin shoulders.
“Go help him, Tomas. Let me know when you get her situated.”