Fiction Saturday Returns With – “Family Matters” Part Fifteen
Detective Martindale started up the steps to my front door. I didn’t budge. I knew that he would want me to go inside with him so he could ask me some obvious questions. I played hard to get. When he got to the top step and noticed that I wasn’t behind him he stared at me and coughed to get my attention.
“You should keep an eye on that cough Detective. We’re coming into Flu Season.” I smiled up at him.
“Ellis. Come.” He called me like I was his dog. If he’d snapped his fingers I would have decked him right in front of everybody. He didn’t. Instead he gave me the crooked finger curl.
“Ellis, inside – now.”
I tossed my cigarette into the gutter and followed him into my home- AKA “The scene of the crime” if he had his way.
The Forensics Crew had photographed the very dead body of Leslie Ann Wolas from every possible angle, taken samples of blood, urine, and snipped a sample of the bloody pile from my carpeting. Now there was a hole in it as well.
The head of the team huddled with Martindale bringing him up to speed – answering all of those questions I knew that he was going to ask me when he started in on me.
I looked up at my ceiling. There were definite spots up there, some red, but more grey ones. Three dimensional spots that I was not looking forward to cleaning off the plaster and paint.
While I was waiting for my turn to make Martindale feel competent I walked around the corpse into my kitchen. I wanted to get a beer. I had my hand on the door of the fridge when Detective Wink barked at me.
“Get out of there! Everything in the kitchen is evidence.”
“What? She shot herself, Mr. Detective. She didn’t hit herself with a beer bottle.”
“I told you to get out of the kitchen.”
I got my beer and walked past Martindale dropped down on my sofa and reached for the Remote.
“Mind if I watch a little TV or is that evidence too?”
A couple of the Forensic guys who were packing up their gear were trying hard not to laugh.
I don’t know if he caught on or what, but Martindale broke off his briefing and came over to me. He didn’t sit down. He stood there looking over me. I guess that might intimidate some people, but no one over 10.
“Ask your questions Detective, I have an appointment.”
“No, yours. I want to ask him how it feels trying to defend the indefensible.”
“Ellis, let’s just get through this and then you can get back to your cartoons, OK?”
“Please. I have to pack.”
“I don’t think I want to sleep here tonight.” I was dead serious about that, what with the smells and the blood stains and the brain tissue on the ceiling.
“That’s a good idea. I don’t want you tampering any more with the Crime Scene.”
“What ‘Crime Scene’? There was no crime here. She committed suicide. I was here, remember? I called you. This is no Crime Scene.”
“Suicide is a crime. Look it up.”
“Really? Well, then, there’s your Perp over there on the floor. Are you going to arrest her?”
Martindale paused, looked down at his notes, and then in a voice that was as tight as a cheap suit in the rain, he began his interrogation.
“Mr. Ellis, when did Ms Wolas come to your home?’
Since he was finally trying to behave professionally, I did too.
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know when she got here. I was eating my lunch in here and she was outside.”
“Did you know that she was going to come here to see you?”
“No. she slipped a note under my door while I was eating.”
“A note? Where is the note?”
“It’s over there stuck to the floor.” I looked into the kitchen. The note was gone. “Or at least it was. I think your tech boys must have it.”
“What did the note say?”
“Open the door.”
“That’s what it said, ‘Open the door’.”
“What did you do?”
“I ate my lunch – most of it anyway, and then…” I gave him a dramatic pause.
“Yes? And then?”
“I opened the door, Sherlock.”
Some days, I admit, I have a mean streak in me that I let run loose. With this man, Detective Martindale, I just can’t help it. There is something about him that brings out the rattlesnake in me.
“Look, Martindale, let’s cut to the chase here. You want to know what she had to say, right? So let me tell you. You can fill in the blanks later, OK?”
He nodded, reluctantly, but knowing that I was saving him some time and work.
“When I opened the door she was standing there with that little Walther pointed at me. I thought it was going to be lights out for me, but she was thinking that I would open the door and shoot her. I was armed with a Braunschweiger and onion sandwich.
“She didn’t come here to kill me, Martindale. Not at all. She came to apologize for getting me all mixed up in this mess, the shootings and how I was their real target. All of it was a diversion put together by Nate Williams. It was to keep all of you focused on the killings so that Williams could knock over every Mom and Pop store in the city.”
“That’s stupid,” interjected Martindale. “There’s 425 of us on the force and three of them.”
“Two. Remember, I shot Timothy Collins at the Mall.”
“Well, Leslie Ann was seriously sweet on Timmy, but she blamed herself more than me for his death. He only went to the Mall for her.”
I swear, that Detective is heartless as well as brainless.
“C’mon Ellis, let’s get to this ‘chase’ you’re talking about.”
I took a long, slow sip from my beer just to get on his nerves.
“Leslie Ann couldn’t forgive herself for her Timmy and she saw no future for herself without him. So…she ate the gun and ruined my carpeting. The End. Now get out of my home.”
“The End, my ass. What about Nate Williams? Where is he? We’ve got two down now and I want to make a clean sweep of it. What did she say about him?
“Nothing, other than she had a combination fear and hatred of him. That’s something I think might be easy to feel for that man.”
Martindale closed his notebook and looked around. The body was still on the floor waiting to be transported to the Coroner.
“Then that’s it, Ellis? That’s all she had to say?”
“Pretty much. I gave you the Reader’s Digest version.”
“I want to hear it all – every word that came out of her mouth.”
“Sorry, but I can’t reveal what is said in the Confessional.”