A Blade in the Dark…Chapter 3…unedited…

“Hello, officers. Have a seat anywhere you would like.”

A dark haired woman who was on the wrong side of two hundred pounds greeted us as we walked in. She stood with two other women, one was a gangly black woman who’s smile lit up the entire restaurant, and the other was a malnourished mouse of a woman with black teeth, burned out eyes, and a jittery disposition. 

Lilly and I sat in a back corner booth that had an unhindered view of the doorway. Our greeter made her way to us, and she cleared her throat. 

“What can I get you started with?”

“I’ll have coffee, please.” 

Lilly shook her head, put up a hand and said, “nothing for me.” The waitress gave her a nod, as she pushed a menu toward me. I took it and gave her a smile. Lilly waited for the waitress to leave before she spoke. 

“Are you serious, Konan? Everything in here is greasy and filthy. You will get food poisoning for sure.”

“It’s not that bad, Lilly. Some of the best places I’ve ever ate at are hole in the wall restaurants. Besides, I want coffee.”

My partner shook her head again, and I put my reading glasses on. The waitress brought my cup of coffee, and I ordered a plate of pancakes with extra butter, bacon, scrambled eggs, grits, and a glass of water. The waitress wrote it down and repeated it back to me. Then, she favored me with another smile and walked to put my order in. 

“Unbelievable,” Lilly muttered.

It took only a few minutes for the cook to prepare my food, and my waitress brought it to me. “I hope everything is to your liking,” she said, as she put my food down. “I’m sure it is,” I responded cheerfully. She gave me another smile, and Lilly cringed. 

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Yes, I’m looking to speak with one the guys that works here.”

“Rich,” the waitress said, as she tore off my receipt. Lilly looked up at the waitress in a new light.

“Yeah,” Lilly said. “How did you know?”

“Because he’s a bad egg. We’re not all like him.”

“Is he in?”

“No, he hasn’t came to work in over a week now.”

“Has anyone gone to check on him?”

I let Lilly question the waitress while I cut into the fluffy pancakes. Say what you want about inmates, they know how to cook. The bacon was perfectly crisped, the eggs were as fluffy as the pancakes, and I downed my coffee and water. It was a great breakfast, and my energy was renewed. 

“No one here cares what happens to Rich. He’s a pervert, a kiddie raper, and even those of us who got into trouble with the law have no tolerance for his crap.”

I handed the waitress twenty-five dollars to cover the check and her tip, and I thanked her for the breakfast and service. Then, I walked out into the sunshine with Lilly. TWIF was a bust, but we still had his address to check out. 

Lilly drove like a madwoman to The Golden Lots. I wasn’t worried about digesting the monster meal I just ate, Lilly’s driving would most like force me to expel it as soon as she brought the vehicle to a stop. She whipped the Charger into a tight left-hand turn, and barely tapped the brakes before we raced over the speed bump. 

“Jesus,” I prayed silently, “forgive me my temper and all my other shortcomings. If I die here, please don’t let me suffer needlessly.” Lilly jammed on the brakes and skidded to a halt in front of  a rusty trailer. She kicked the driver door open and walked with purpose to the front door. Lilly banged on the door, but no one answered. 

I bent over at the waist and tried to avoid puking my guts out on the sun-beaten grass. “Go around back, Konan. I’ll take the front.”

“Okay,” I groaned. A rickety porch with even more rickety steps led to the back lot. An old woman watched from a curtain-less glass door that neighbored Tricky Rich’s. I heard Lilly kick the front door in and shout, “POLICE.” 

She flooded into the trailer, her weapon up, and I heard her shout clear. I holstered my sidearm and turned toward the sound of the neighbor’s glass door opening.

“Excuse me, officer.”

I gave the old woman a professional smile and walked toward her. “Yes ma’am,  how can I help you?” She lifted her chin toward Tricky Rich’s trailer and said, “he ain’t home. He’s in trouble again, ain’t he?”

“Well, not really. We came out here hoping that he could help us.”

“Un-huh, that’s why you kicked his door in.”

The old woman was as subtle as a sledge hammer. I laughed and nodded, and the ole gal gave me a smile back. One of her grandchildren sneaked out into the yard, and she turned and pointed back at the mobile home. The kid, a blond-haired boy with wild, blue eyes, dropped his head and slunk back toward it. 

“He likes kiddies,” she said, as she watched the boy go in and shut the door. “My grandchildren can’t even play in the yard when he’s home.”

“Why not?”

The old woman turned and looked at Lilly. I hadn’t seen her walk up behind me, but the old woman gazed deep in Lilly’s eyes and retorted, “Do you let your kid play out in the yard with a pedophile watching? You let ‘em fantasize about what they want to do to ‘em?”

“Well, no.”

“I would hope not,” the old woman snarled, “if you did, I’d hope someone would turn you in for being an unfit mother.”

Lilly backed up and kept her mouth shut. I smiled at the old lady and handed her a business card. She looked it over and then looked at me. 

“If your neighbor comes back, please give me a call. We’d appreciate your help.”

“Sure thing, detective.”

Me and Lilly walked back to the Charger, and this time I drove. I eased the car into a gentle turn and then made my way back to the precinct. Lilly shook her head and muttered to herself. 

“Must you drive like an old woman?”

Without taking my eyes from the road, I shook my head and said, “No, I figure this would give you time to go over the case. Besides, what’s got your knickers twisted?”

“Tricky Rich is missing, Konan. He’s not at work and he’s not at home.”

“Yeah, but he can’t have gone far.”

“Oh yeah? Why not? No one knows where he is, Konan.”

“Someone does. We just have to locate the ones that know his location.”

“It’s as easy as that, right?”

“And that difficult,” I responded. “We’ll find him, and when we do, you can take him to the woodshed for all I care.”

“Konan, I don’t like the fact that this case was public. The media ate it up, and those vultures dragged those poor parents through all sorts of hell. I want justice for Ana Marie.”

“I understand, Lilly.”

Published by frontporchmusings694846020

I am a good ole country boy residing in North Mississippi. I love to read, fish, hunt, hike and go to garage sales. Flea markets are a passion of mine. I read anything, but some of my favorites are: Dean Koontz, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, and I possess a fondness for the writings of William Faulkner and Mark Twain. If I am forced to choose, I prefer baseball to football. I enjoy Alabama football (Roll Tide)! My baseball teams include: The Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox. I am divorced, the father of two daughters and live by myself with Chunk and Roscoe (my dogs).

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