The flash of blue lights reflected in the window of the mobile home. Thermopolis Konan sat in his recliner and sipped his coffee. Heavy footsteps clamored across his porch. At three in the morning, no one should be on his porch or knocking at his door. The knocking continued until Konan finally answered the door.
“Good morning,” he said grumpily.
The officer nodded and backed up a bit for Konan to walk out onto his porch. Konan waited for the officer to fill him in.
“Um, are you Thermopolis Konan? The former detective?”
“You’re not sure you are at the right place, officer?”
“Um, hold on a second…”
The officer pulled out his notepad and checked his notes. He stared at Konan. Konan sipped his coffee and waited. The cop closed his notebook.
“Sir, I’m in the right place. Chief Janko sent me to bring you to the waterway.”
“It’s three in the morning. I’m tired, I want to get some sleep. So, go back and tell Janko that I said to get bent.”
“Sir, a murder has occurred. You’re needed.”
“Listen, Junior. I am not a cop. Okay? Do you get it? I don’t do that anymore. Go away.”
Konan walked back into his trailer and shut the door. The cop shut off the blue lights and drove back down his dirt driveway. Konan leaned back in his recliner and shut his eyes. Sleep slipped over him like a warm blanket, and in seconds, he was sound asleep.
It didn’t last. Less than an hour later, another knock sounded at the door. Konan stirred in the recliner. He cracked an eye open and stared at the door.
“Thermopolis, open the freaking door.”
Konan leaped out of the recliner and stumbled to the door. He stared out the peephole. Detective David Tomas of the Fredericksburg Police Department continued to hammer the door. Konan threw the door open and stepped out onto the porch.
“What in the name of Almighty God do you people want? It’s not even five o’clock in the freaking morning. What?”
Tomas stared at Konan for several moments before he spoke. In all the time he had known Konan, he had never seen him lose his cool.
“I’m sorry we bothered you, Konan. Chief Janko would like to see you at the waterway.”
Konan stepped close to Tomas and stared into his eyes. The flash of teeth reminded Tomas of a hungry shark.
“You tell Janko I said to get screwed. Okay. The city fired me for throat punching Tia Mathers. I don’t work for the city or him anymore. You got that? Good day.”
Konan walked back into his trailer for the second time this morning and fell back into his recliner. He shut off his lamp and fell asleep once again.
Tomas returned to the waterway. He had to park at the gate and walk to the crime scene. Chief Janko stood outside of the ticker tape and watched the forensic team search for evidence in the crime scene. Janko looked like a walrus. His head was cartoonishly big, his mustache was long and bushy. So were his eyebrows.
“No luck with Konan,” he asked Tomas nonchalantly. Tomas shook his head no. Janko waited for Tomas to speak. He pulled out a beef stick and bit off one end.
“Uh, no Chief. He told me and you to get screwed. He said he doesn’t work for us any longer.”
“Well, that part is true. They did fire him. Did you tell him what happened here?”
“No, sir. He threw me out before I could get a word in edge wise.”
Janko nibbled at the beef stick and shook his head. He chewed loudly and wiped at the sweat dripping off his forehead with the back of his hand.
“Alright. I’ll go talk to him.”
Tomas wasn’t sure what Janko thought he could do when two other people had failed, but he shrugged and said, “okay.”
Somehow, during the early morning hours, Konan left his recliner and got on the couch. He tossed and turned and finally got up at 0745. He opened a crate of eggs and placed eight in his Instant Pot. After setting the timer, he brewed some coffee. A knock came at the door.
Konan shook his head and walked to the door. He peeped out and scowled when he saw it was Janko.
“What do you people want?”
For a moment, Konan wondered if sleep deprivation would be a legitimate reason for carrying out the attack. He decided against it and opened the door.
‘I need to talk to you, Thermopolis.”
“You’ve got five minutes to make your case. Come in.”
Janko walked in and looked around the mobile home. Various pieces of art hung on the walls, along with a shadow box that held an American flag and his medals from his days in the Army.
“Nice place you have here,” Janko said. Konan glared at him.
“What do you want?”
Janko sat at the bar and watched Konan peel boiled eggs in the sink. Konan said nothing, and Janko wiped at his mustache.
“People have disappeared recently. They vanished and then reappeared weeks later. I think we may have a serial killer hunting in our town.”
“So? Call the cops.”
Janko rolled his eyes and wiped his mustache again. Konan continued to peel eggs.
“The killer has staged them in full view of the public. We could use your help.”
Konan shook his head and muttered, “no.” Janko got up from the bar and stretched his arms to the ceiling. He could tell by the gleam in Konan’s eye that he was interested, but was turning him down out of spite.
“It won’t be like last time, Konan. I promise.”
“You can’t promise that, Janko. You’re beholden to the decision of the council, and they fired me. There’s nothing you could do to change that decision.”
“Don’t underestimate me, Konan. Come to work, and I will deal with the council. Like I said, things won’t be the same.”
“Fine. I’ll head down after breakfast.”