A Song of the Past: Thirteen

(Previous installment. This installment was accidentally released first.)

Wednesday, 2:40 PM
Just as Deirdre was reaching the end of the file her phone rang. It was the secretary of the Lieutenant in charge of the homicide division on the line, informing Detective O’Reilly that the boss urgently wanted to see her.

Lieutenant Bob Muller was a big, beefy, boisterous man, forceful in his opinions, skeptical of “odd” ideas, and always happy to get in an argument with someone, whether that person was above or below him in the police hierarchy. Since she had joined his unit Deirdre had been the recipient of his withering attacks on detective work in which he detected the scent of ungrounded speculation on several occasions, but nevertheless she had come to regard him as basically a fair man. If you could offer some solid evidence to back your hypothesis, he would come around to your side as quickly as he had tried to tear apart what he had regarded as a fabric spun from idle fancy just a moment earlier. When she arrived at his office he was swiveling restlessly back and forth in the chair behind his large, wooden desk. He asked her to take a seat, gesturing to one of the chairs on the other side of the desk from his. No sooner had she done so then he stood up, and began pacing the space behind his chair with his hands clasped at his lower back.

“Detective O’Reilly, what are your current thoughts on the Moore homicide?”

Deirdre hesitated, wondering if she should she risk exposing her hunch to Muller’s critical scrutiny when she still had so little with which to support it. She decided to trust her instincts and his fair-mindedness. “I don’t think this was a drug killing, Lieutenant.”

“And why is that?”

“First of all, the location is all wrong. Who wants to do a deal where you stand out like a sore thumb? The place is deserted and well lit—a bad combination.”

“That’s it?”

“No. Ben was a dealer, but low level. I can’t imagine him carrying an amount of cash or drugs worth killing for.”

“Perhaps it was a turf war. Or maybe a junkie who had no cash, and figured if he killed Moore he had free junk for a couple of weeks.”

“But it’s even less likely Moore would be down there with a junkie than it is with his dealer. You bump into the junkie on the street and make a ten-dollar transaction. You don’t 'arrange' to meet him in some out of the way spot. And, Lieutenant, now I have his best friend telling me about some rich white fellow he saw Ben with.”

Muller stared up at some fishing pictures on his office wall. They seemed to put him in a reflective mood. “All right, I think it’s worth pursuing. But try not to hassle Harrison Tyler too much, unless you have to. He was on the phone to the mayor after your meeting.”

“Christ, that was fast.”

“Yeah, well, when you’re the mayor’s biggest campaign contributor, you get some attention.”

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