The morning sunlight slipped through the cracks of Konan’s blinds. He’d fallen asleep still fully dressed across his bed Drool pooled in the right corner of his mouth, somewhere someone continued to pound on a door.
Konan groaned and sat on the side of his bed. The pounding came from his front door.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.”
He walked to the door and peeked out of his peephole. Lilly had her hand raised to knock again, but Konan opened the door before the blow landed.
“What in the name of God do you want, Lilly?”
“Molly called, she has our test results in. Are you wearing the same clothes from yesterday?”
“Yes. I need to shower.”
“Why didn’t you shower last night?”
“Lt. Davis from Internal Affairs came over. She gave me a couple of names to check out.”
Konan yawned and stretched as he headed to his bedroom. Lilly waited for him to answer, but Konan vanished into the back room.
“Um, Jackson Titus and Charles Bronowski. Both have excessive force in their jackets,” Konan said peeking his head out from the door frame. “She thought we might check ‘em out.”
“So, we’re doing her job for her now.”
“No. They can’t find solid evidence of wrongdoing, and she hoped we would find something.”
“Like I said…”
“I figured you would be down to clown, Lilly. If we find evidence that these cops are behind it, we take two racists off the department payroll. They won’t hurt anyone else.”
“Until the next racist pops up and kills someone in an equally gruesome way.”
“Then we take them down too.”
Konan turned on the water and let the steam build up. The hot water broke up the tension that built up in his back, neck, and shoulders. He sighed and lathered up a soapy rag. Moments later, he dressed and walked into the living room. Lilly nodded approvingly.
“Wow. Look at you.”
“I know. This is fifty, and this is about as good as it’s going to get.”
“I’ll take it. But only because I know that you’re a good guy. I’ve had my fill of bad boys.”
“Come on, Lilly. Let’s go see what Molly can tell us.”
Molly Ricardo sat her desk and punched the space bar of laptop with one long well-manicured finger.
“Come on you piece of crap,” she muttered. She stabbed it again.
“I have a hammer in my truck if you would prefer to use it,” Konan said from the doorway.
“I might need it, detective. I’m trying to pull up my report, so I don’t miss anything. Y’all have a seat, it’ll be just a minute.”
After a few more minutes of pressing the space bar, turning the system off and on, and more than one utterance of ‘Lord have mercy on this hunk of junk,’ Molly faced the pair of detectives.
“So, the labs came back. No illicit drugs were in Bradley Freeman’s system. Before you even ask, yes, I am certain of that. I’ve known nuns that have more illicit substances in their system than Mr. Freeman had in his. Cause of death was him being ran over. The weight of the vehicle crushed his chest cavity destroying every vital organ. The killer broke his jaws and the victim sustained heavy damage to his face. Um…”
Molly paused and Konan saw tears in the young woman’s eyes. He and Lilly waited while Molly gained composure. She took a deep breath and continued.
“Mr. Freeman’s face is um, tore up. It as if the killer or killers wanted to erase his identity. Um, he suffered to the very end of his life. The killers restrained him with metal handcuffs. Um…I’m sorry. Our victim was tortured, there’s no other word to use.”
“I hate to ask,” Konan said quietly, “but did the killer run over the victim more than once?”
“Yes. The lab approximated between six to ten times. “
“Any idea what type of vehicle the killer used?”
“Again, this is only an approximation, but we guessed it was a 1979 Ford van.”
“That’s quite specific for an educated guess,” Lilly interjected.
“We checked the tread and narrowed it down from there. Let’s say that the percentage of error on our guess is minimal,” Molly said. “I wish I could tell you more than that.”
“That’s fine. Thank you for briefing us, Molly. We will find those who did this,” Lilly said.
Konan and Lilly departed the morgue and headed to the precinct. An uncomfortable silence grew between the two. Finally, Lilly turned and looked at Konan.
“I think that’s the most horrific thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Yeah, Lilly. It’s disturbing.”
“Mr. Freeman will have a closed casket funeral. His family, his poor family. Where are we headed now?”
“To visit Jackson Titus and Charles Bronowski. The files are in the glove box. You might want to look them over.”
“Okay. You take lead, Konan. If they’re the killers I won’t have the discipline to control myself.”
“I got it.”
According to the assignments posted on the patrol board, neither Bronowski nor Titus worked until 1800.
Lilly walked up to the desk sergeant and gave the bookish woman a small smile.
“Hi. How ya doing? I’m Detective Thompson and I need to know where Bronowski or Titus hang out when they’re not a work.”
“Why? What’s it to you?”
“That’s none of your business, sergeant. Where do they hang out?”
“I’m not their keeper, detective. I don’t know where they hang out, and I wouldn’t tell you if I did.”
“You’re loyal to your comrades,” Konan said. “I can appreciate that. My partner is passionate. We just need to clear up a few things with them, that’s all.”
“Are you IA?”
“No ma’am. I am Detective Konan; this is my partner Detective Thompson. We’re from homicide.”
The desk sergeant rubbed her forehead and sighed. She looked at Konan and shrugged.
“I wanted so badly to be wrong about those two. Let me guess, they killed someone?”
“We just need to…”
“Yeah. They hang out at Jugs Quick Stop. It’s a pool hall and bar. A bunch of rednecks hang out there.”
“That’s not all that hangs out there,” Lilly said. Her eyes had a coldness in them Konan hadn’t noticed until now. She looked as if she was one step away from losing control.
“No,” the desk sergeant said. “It’s a meeting place for Klansmen. A bunch of troglodytes if you ask me.”
Konan turned to walk away, but turned back and asked, “what does Jackson Titus drive, sergeant?”
“A blue 1980 Ford van. He claims it’s his home away from home.”
“Thanks for the help.”
“You bet, detective.”