“I got to hand it to you Tink’, you almost got away with it.”
“Got away with what Nick?”
“Covering your tracks by killing Richard and pinning it on me, it would have worked as well if you hadn’t handed me that photograph – but I guess we all make mistakes.”
“I shot a glance at Madame Absinthe who had just returned from the stage, she tried not to make eye contact.
“Truth is Tink’ that you, Madame here and the Tooth Fairy have been looking to close down the market on Fairy Dust in this town and create a monopoly, only Richard found out about it and tried to turn two of you in. Thing was he wasn’t wise enough to realise that you were in on the deal as well Tink’.”
Madame Absinthe looked up at me and began to talk.
“I don’t know what you mean?”
“Maybe you don’t, but you know that these two are up to something.
I nodded over to the wings where the Tooth Fairy was standing, I just hoped that Rudy’ was making notes on everything.
“Truth is that Tink’ her and the Tooth Fairy have been setting themselves up quite a little business running dust into the city, and they almost got away with it. Problem was that Richard found out what she was up to and wanted to get her out of it – threatened to go to the authorities, so she looked to discredit him by making it look like he was selling prescriptions on the side.”
“Nick, I don’t know what you mean?”
“Course you do – I couldn’t figure out at first why you didn’t have Sas doctor up some fakes for you like the photo, but then I realised that they had to be legit because you couldn’t control who would get hold of them. Problem was that as soon as you’d done that Richard phoned the DE to try to make an appointment – course he didn’t realise that Tink’ was part of the deal as well.”
I looked over at Madame Absinthe who was looking increasingly confused by the explanation; both Tink’ and the Tooth Fairy now had guns pointed at me.
“How much you in debt with this place Madame? How much longer can you keep up with the payments? These two came to you with an offer – pretend to have an affair with her husband and they’d help you out of debt, only problem was that they didn’t tell you they intended to kill him.”
Tink’ smiled and nodded, I just hoped that Rudy’ had seen that.
“So when did you find out the affair was a fake Nick, before or after I gave you the photo in hospital.”
“After, like I said to Sas, you don’t forget a day like that.”
Madame Absinthe started to cry.
“Truth is, the first time Richard ever laid eyes on you was the night I saw him here – but were getting ahead of ourselves there.”
Tink’ motioned at Madame to join me, she and the Tooth Fairy were looking to pin the whole affair on us now. I looked over at the Tooth Fairy now.
“So you start blubbing about your husband and go and see Rudy, knowing full well he’ll get me to deal with it. That gives you your stool pigeon for when you kill Richard. You see, with him threatening to go to the DE you can no longer wait for him to be discredited over the prescriptions – you need him out of the way quick. The DE keeps stalling long enough for me to be involved because she’s in on the deal making sure I get seen long enough to be come suspect number one. Then you have him bumped off whilst a couple of gorillas play punch bag with me – it’s very good.”
“Of course, the one thing I couldn’t figure out was why you let me go when you had me Tink’ – that didn’t make sense, unless…”
A shot rang out – I flinched for the impact – outside in the club the crowd started to scream and bolt for the door. Why was I still standing?
Madame Absinthe looked at me and then down at her stomach, blood had begun to mark her clothing and she collapsed to the floor.
“Double suicide Nick, such a shame.”
Tink’ started to laugh and I braced myself for the inevitable. A shot rang out but its placement was all wrong – Rudy had heard enough and decided to take matters into his own hands. Tink’ ducked and ran for the exit, she knew the game was up. The Tooth Fairy ran for cover but Rudy had her dead in his sights.
“Come out with your hands up!”
Her gun clattered against the ground and she rose from behind the packing crate she’d sought protection behind.
“I got her Nick.”
But I was only looking at Madame Absinthe, watching as the life drained out of her.
Outside Rudy’ was busy pulling out all the stops find Tink’ – officers were already at the DE’s office going through the files trying to figure out her next move but we both knew she’d already be well out of the city. Forensics were there as well, dusting everything down and looking to clinch the deal. Rudy shot me a look that said everything I needed to know – I was off the hook for Richard’s murder.
“You okay Boss?”
Two young interns brought out a body bag and I turned away.
“Look, if you need to get out of the city I’ll understand. Just don’t go too far Boss, you’re our star witness.”
I laughed, twenty-four hours ago I was the defendant.
“What about her?”
I pointed over at the Tooth Fairy.
“She’s already trying to cut a deal, says she’ll tell us everything we want to know about the operation if we go easy on her.”
“And the DE’s office?”
“You’re looking at it Nick.”
I walked over to her, she’d tried the waterworks already but it wasn’t going to have any effect this time.
“Why’d you do it?”
“Don’t Nick me, you could have set up any other sap within five-hundred miles of here and no-one would have looked twice, but you had to drag me back into it didn’t you? You had to make this personnel!”
I felt Rudy’s hand on my shoulder – his way of telling me to calm down. I slammed the car door on her and turned my back.
“Look Rudy, if I went after her what sort of a head start would you give me?”
“Twenty-four hours, thirty-six at most – you not looking to do anything stupid are you boss?
“I don’t know…”
I got in the car and gunned it for the city limits, I had an idea where she’d be. The same place every screw up from this city ended up, the one place that no one ever mentioned.
Lapland – why did it have to be Lapland?