The door gave way pretty easily and I slid into the apartment. My hunch about it being empty had played right and that made things a lot easier. Maybe my luck was changing? I didn’t bank on it, closed the door, and made my way to the bathroom to clean up.
The prescriptions in my pocket indicated that she hadn’t been completely honest with me; was this just some small revenge before she realised that she had loved her husband or was it like Madame had painted, just a show and she was after his money. Discrediting him seemed to be a pretty odd way ensuring that the money stayed in the bank – defending a charge of professional misconduct would have hit his bank balance pretty hard and whatever money she’d have got for the divorce would have been hit as a result. It didn’t make sense.
I looked out of the window to see what was happening outside; narco’ were stripping down the building next door pretty good and I hoped to be able to use that to my advantage if I got caught – point out what I did and the DE may go easy on me – but I didn’t intend to let that happen. I finished washing my face, wrapped a couple of strips around the midriff for the ribs and figured out my next move.
The prescriptions hinted that whatever was behind Richard’s death it was more than a simple marital case, few people in town had the stones to get involved in narco’ unless they really knew what they were getting themselves into. The DE had broken up a few big cases over the last few years and all the rumoured players that were left weren’t likely to get their fingers burned by a tabloid splash case like this. It didn’t seem like an insurance job either – both women said they were still in love with him – which raised the possibility that there was still someone outside of the frame who I’d not encountered yet.
Narco’ squad were going to be for a couple of more hours so I needed to stay put for a couple of hours before I could make a move – that suited me fine, I needed the rest.
I’d first found out about her addiction a month into our affair – it didn’t surprise me, it was a high pressure life and we all had our vices and it had made her look fragile for the first time since I’d met her. She was in pretty deep with a number of minor dope peddlers across town, all steadily raising their prices as she became more and more involved.
She told me she could end it any time she wanted to and I believed her.
A near miss on an operation in Manhattan was what finally persuaded her to go cold turkey and I’d tried to support her all I could but the strains of a messy divorce got in the way. Looking back that must have been one of the things that attracted her to Richard, an easy supply should she ever feel the need to stray down that path again.
I hadn’t spoken to her after that but I’d kept an eye on her from a distance just to make sure she was okay. Richard seemed to do a pretty decent job at making sure she cleaned up her act and the way I’d heard it she’d made the eye of the DE and was looking at a promotion. I’d never quite figured out why she’d stayed in this town however.
It was getting dark outside when I awoke and the lack of noise suggested that narco’ had finally moved on. I got my things together and left. Outside in the alley I bummed around in my pocket looking for some change to make a call that I hoped would answer one of my questions – a nickel on the sidewalk was all I needed to clear things up.
I dialled and waited, the phone answered.
“Rudy’ stay quiet and just answer yes or no, understand?”
“Yes or no, Rudy – yes or no.”
“Has a report been issued on Richards death yet and have you seen a copy?”
“Yes and yes…”
“Did that report mention anything about Novocaine being found at the scene or in the body?”
“But there were traces of fairy dust found.”
“Look, I’m drawing looks from the rest of the office so this will have to be quick. There were traces of fairy dust found on the body, forensics have checked it out and it belongs neither to the dame nor Madame so they reckon it was incidental.”
“Which is why I’m still in the frame – look, see if you can get a match on who it belongs to and I’ll be in touch?”
I placed the receiver back in its cradle and tried to come to terms with what was happening, I didn’t like how it looked. She was involved in all of this somehow and I was expected to take the fall. Something told me that if she was involved I’d find evidence of it at her house, I just wasn’t looking forward to going there.
She’d done well for herself with Richard, a big house out in the sticks far away from the tourists meant that she wouldn’t have to worry about tourists snooping round. Only problem was it meant that getting in would be more difficult, especially with all the interest in her at the moment. I kept my distance from the crowd of reporters out front and looked for an opening.
And then I spotted her.
Her outline was unmistakeable, stood there in the window looking out at the world – oblivious to the reporters outside – she looked nothing like the potential criminal she already was in my mind. I wanted to walk right through the reporters to her there and then, but common sense prevailed. I slipped around the back of a neighbours house to try and find another way in. There were still a couple of reporters snooping around back there – mostly looking through her garbage – but they were easy enough to avoid. A quick stretch and jump later I was over the high wall and into the garden, everything was quiet.
The back door was unlocked, obviously with all of the attention she was getting she didn’t plan on anyone being stupid enough to break in. Inside the place had become a shrine to Richard, I couldn’t decide whether it was all part of a show or if she really did still have feelings for him – no matter what the answer she’d successfully managed to get her self firmly implanted in my mind. I wouldn’t find any answers here though, I needed to make my way to her study. The door wasn’t locked so I crept inside.
From the look of it the DE and his men had given it a thorough going over as well so I resigned myself to finding nothing. I opened the bureau drawers just in case but there was nothing there. The only other place I was likely to find anything was their bedroom and I didn’t like the idea of going there. I sat down to give myself some time; a photo of Richard looked down at me from the wall – some cheesy advert for his practice no doubt – but I gave it no thought. It turned the chair round to face the bureau again, found one of his business cards and put it in my pocket telling myself to pay a visit there just in case. The door clicked open behind me. I turned back round.
“What are you doing here Nick?”
I couldn’t speak.