A Blade in the Dark…A Thermopolis Konan and Lilly Thompson mystery…unedited…

Lilly led the charge through the swarm of reporters. She pushed and shoved her way through until we made it to our vehicle. She sighed and blew a curl from her forehead.

“How can they do that?”

“Do what, Lilly?”

“They have no respect for anyone,” she groused. “The Hendricks family is like carrion for the vultures.”

“Yeah, I know. Come on, let’s blow this popsicle stand. We need to report in, and then we need to see if Tammy can put in a rush order for the tests.”

When we arrived, Chief Janko was in his office talking animatedly on the phone. His massive right hand cradled the phone, while he motioned wildly with his left. We couldn’t hear what he said, but it didn’t take a genius level intellect to know he wasn’t happy. 

Manson and Rankin walked over to our desk. Rankin followed my eyes to our chief, and he shook his head.

“He ain’t happy.”

“You don’t say, Rankin. What gave it away?”

“The wild flailing motion of his left arm. Or it could have something to do with the protruding veins in his neck and forehead.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

Lilly and Manson conversed in low tones, while Rankin and I yucked it up by trying to guess what Janko yelled into the phone. As fate would have it, we didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“Thermopolis and Thompson, get in here!”

“Uh-oh,” Rankin whispered. “Y’all have done it now.”

“What did we do wrong,” Lilly whispered to me as we made our way to the office. “We just got here.”

“No idea.”

“Shut the door,” Janko snarled at me. He didn’t seem livid at Lilly for some reason, and mighty tiffed at yours truly.

“Sit down, Thompson,” he snapped at Lilly. He pointed his finger at me and said, “You…you just can’t let things be. You’re always poking the bear.”

“Chief, I haven’t…”

“Do you realize what kind of hell you unleash on the entire department by provoking the press? Do you?! For God’s sake, Konan, tell ‘em no comment, but don’t call them classless.”

“They are classless,” I snapped. “They’re parked out on the lawn like dung beetles, waiting to feast on the pain and excrement…”

“For God’s sake, shut your mouth!”

I shook my head in disgust and walked over to the window. Janko huffed and sat down, to be honest he threw himself into the chair with enough force to break it, and he pulled a cigar from his box. He shoved it into his mouth but didn’t light it. 

“Look, this case is a crap magnet. The press is all over it, and we can’t miss a beat. You understand, right?”

“Yes, Chief Janko.”

“Oh, blow it out your butt, Konan. Don’t come in here and be prissy with me. These jackals are waiting for something to go amiss. Don’t give them any ammunition to shoot you or your partner with.”

I nodded and kept my mouth shut. Lilly cleared her throat and said, “Chief, Konan wasn’t the only person who disrespected the press.”

“I know that, Thompson. They don’t have it out for you, they do for Konan.”

Lilly sighed and nodded, Janko bit down his stogie, and I looked out over the abandoned warehouse district. 

“Where are we on the case?”

“We are waiting on test results,” Lilly said. “Ana Marie was raped and stabbed in the heart.”

“Jesus,” Janko muttered. “Do we know what kind of knife?”

“Not yet,” Lilly responded. “The forensic team is trying to sort that out.”

“You don’t have anything to add, Konan?”

I shook my head no. This day was off to a crappy start. A three-year-old girl was found raped and murdered, and I had my butt chewed for accurately labeling the press. I could go for a donut and coffee.

It might not solve the case, but it’d make me feel better.

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