Konan leaned back in his chair and grinned at his suspect. If the surveillance cameras were on, he could have used this conversation to nail Terrace to the wall. He practically gave Konan a confession, but Konan didn’t want a confession. “I’m not interested in putting Terrace in prison for the rest of his life. Why put more weight on the backs of the taxpayers?”
“Where does your employers hang their hats, Ric?”
“I’m not telling you anything.”
“See, I have a sneaking suspicion they’re hiding out at the country club. They’re hanging with the debutantes and high-society types while you’re eating at McDonald’s and sleeping at the Super 8.”
Ric Terrace said nothing, but his eyes showed a barely contained rage. Konan smiled and raised his eyebrows.
“What’s the matter, Ric? Does it bother you that they don’t consider you a valuable team member? They’re over there eating steak and caviar; you’re eating cheeseburgers and doing all the work. I bet they don’t even buy your phone or equipment, right?”
“Shut your mouth, Konan. You bore me.”
“Only because you know it’s true. Your nothing to them, once you got pinched you lost all your value.”
Terrace glared at Konan; his lips pulled back into a snarl. Konan began to laugh, which further angered Terrace.
“Oh, I see. You thought they would spring you from jail. That you’re so valuable they would risk it to get you out. No one is coming for you, hoss. You’re done.”
Lilly walked in and sat at the table with Konan. She looked from Terrace to Konan and back again, the tension between the two men was suffocating. Lilly nudged Konan with her elbow until he looked at her.
“I’ve arranged for our suspect to use the phone. Two officers are standing by to escort him to it.”
“Well then, I suppose we should get him on his way. Have a nice conversation with your attorney.”
The two officers walked in and led Ric Terrace away. Konan let out a heavy sigh.
“He didn’t give you anything, did he?”
“No, Lilly. He didn’t. I still think Cartwright and Billy are at the country club…”
Alarms suddenly rang out before Konan could finish his sentence. Lilly rushed to the door; Konan followed quickly behind her. Officers stood in the hallway, sidearms drawn, two officers knelt next to the body. Konan closed his eyes in frustration. Ric Terrace was propped up next to the pay phone with multiple cuts in his abdomen, a pool of blood stained the green tiled floor.
“Oh, dear God,” Lilly said. She turned to Konan, but he had walked back to the interview room. She found him sitting at the table, his face in his hands. Lilly put her hands on his broad shoulders, she understood his pain.
The bodies were piling up and they were back at square one.
Since the arrest of Tia Mathers, the city council decided to promote someone to helm the department on an intermittent basis until they had time to pick a valid candidate. Wally Janko, a career police officer with a quiet but fierce reputation, was tagged for the dubious honor. He walked into the interview room and sat across from Konan and Lilly.
“What happened here?”
“Someone killed our suspect,” Lilly said.
“No crap. How did he get done up when the phone is in plain sight of the desk sergeant?”
“We don’t know,” Konan said quietly. He rubbed his forehead in frustration. “Two officers came and got him. They escorted him to the phone. It’s standard procedure.”
“Well, it’s not standard procedure for the suspect to have his guts splayed out all over the freaking floor!”
Neither Konan nor Lilly said anything. Wally Janko stood to his feet. He towered over six feet tall, weighed no less than 250 pounds, and had a bushy walrus mustache. He wiped at his mustache and took a deep breath.
“Before I take the reins of this department, for however long that may be, I want to clarify a few things. One, the cameras stay on unless I say to turn them off. Beating a suspect is forbidden-unless I say so. You do not question them without an attorney is present. The only exception to that is if they waive their right to an attorney, or if I say so. Do you understand me, detectives?”
“Get out of this room and go find the killer.”
“Do we have your permission or…”
Janko leaned close to Konan until they locked eyes. Konan refused to cower before the man, even though he was at an disadvantage in both height and weight. The new chief of police frowned at Konan.
“I know all about you, hoss. Don’t push your luck with me. I’ll railroad you quicker than you did Tia. You understand?”
“I didn’t railroad your friend, chief. She put the screws to herself. I just had the pleasure of arresting her for being a corrupt jack-”
“One more word and I’ll have your badge.”
Lilly put her hand on Konan’s chest and pushed him out the door of the interview room. She took her partner by the arm and led him out of the building. Konan took several shallow breaths to compose himself. It didn’t work.
“This is a load of crap!”
“Konan, calm down. You’re no good to me when you get riled up like this.”
Konan climbed into the passenger seat and crossed his arms; Lilly started the car. She turned and faced Konan.
“Hey. Everything is fine, Konan. Janko is the new chief until a new replacement is voted in. He’s just making his presence felt. Calm down and talk to me. What did Ric Terrace say to you?”
“Nothing, except he was going to kill us…”
The two detectives sat in the car, nothing else was said between the two of them. “He threatened to kill both of us, as if the contracts were already handed out. Cartwright and Billy are gunning for us.”
“Get out of the car, Lilly. We’ve got to be careful from this point forward.”
“Why? What’s changed?”
“Ric wasn’t speaking irrationally. Cartwright marked us for death. We’ll take a taxi to the country club.”