Sunday 21 June 2015

Back from holidays.

Driving home from the airport, Joe was very quiet in a sulky mood. We had a terrific holiday sunshine swim daily, snorkeled and enjoyed the Spanish food and drink.

Now it was time to get back to work, things would be different. I would meet the new man who took Mike’s job, which could be very difficult for us both. His reputation was not a good one, doing everything by the book, which we never had to adhere to with Mike. A month away would not make it any easier to bear the loss of Mike. Joe had worked with him years ago.
I moved closer to Joe on the drive back asking, “Are you all right?”

“Not really, Meg let’s quit and move to Spain, we could find jobs there and live a normal life for once.”
“Are you serious?”
“I have never been more serious, Meg, lets get married and start a new life.”
“Wow! You are serious.”

The taxi pulled up in front of my place, saving me more conversation for the time. I loved Joe but I was not ready for marriage. Both my parents hated each other until the day they died in a car crash. Joe stayed inside the cab. “I will see you tomorrow at the office,” as he drove away, not giving me a wave or kiss.

First I poured a drink, then ran a bath, we would talk tomorrow I said to myself. Joe is only feeling let down from the holiday and having to go to the office and see another man sitting in Mike’s chair. After he had a good nights sleep he would be back to his old self. Slipping into my bubble bath, I could feel my body relaxing. The phone rang I ignored it as I knew if we talked tonight it would end in an argument.
Joe was sitting at his desk when I arrived, he looked so handsome with his tanned body that I knew went all the way down his body as mine did. We had spent more time without clothes at the villa than with them on.

 “Good morning Joe.”
“Hello Meg.” Was all I got in return.

Mr. Lawrence Simpson our new boss walked in the door, looked at us both, remarked on our tans, and then went straight into his office.

“Some welcome.” Joe snarled. Joe and Lawrence had a history. When Lawrence was a rookie cop, he had botched a job shooting a suspect in the back of the leg, trying to pass it off as his gun misfired. Joe had called him on it telling him to fess up and admit his mistake. Lawrence had held this against Joe for years.

We were just catching up on some files when Lawrence came out called a meeting of all of the detectives. Started off by saying he wanted to be addressed by his full name.

“Do you mean Lawrence Simpson or just Lawrence?” I asked with a laugh.
“Lawrence will be fine.” Scowling then continued to talk on for half an hour about how he likes to run his ship.

I could not resist laughing. I said, “Oh are we getting a boat in here?” Finally, a smile to Joe’s face, none on Lawrence. All I got was a dirty look and demerit points on my first day back.

“Megan just because you and Joe broke a big case is no reason for insolence.” The edge on his voice sharp, he did not like me already.
“I will call you Lawrence, my name is Meg.” I got up and left the room.

I spent time in the washroom until a loud knock came, Joe standing there with a smirk, pushing me inside the washroom grabbing me and ravishing my body with kisses. Everything was fine now, as I snuggled into his arms, my Joe was back.

Lawrence wanted to separate us as partners, “If you try I will go straight to the Chief.” I yelled. Joe told him he would have our resignation if that was what he was trying to get, but not before going to the chief and explaining he had a hard on for Meg one of the best detectives on the force. He bellowed for us to get out of his office.

While we had been away, the backlog of crimes had increased with few closed files. Methodically we started on the most serious ones, by the end of the week we had closed six of the ten most serious ones. Lawrence never acknowledged this.

Most nights Joe stayed over, we took turns cooking and cleaning up. Tom called one night welcoming us back, sorry to have to call so late but he had a double murder. He was at the house of a well-known attorney, he and his wife both stabbed viciously along with the family dog. A son at university a daughter and her husband traveling in Europe.

As we entered the gated property, flowerbeds of brilliant crimson cascaded down the rock walls along the lit driveway. Finally, the house came into view, a dark brick stately home. A large oak door stood open revealing a flurry of activity, men coming and going with white coveralls and booties to match.

Tom spotted us entering with a nod and look, we could tell Lawrence was here somewhere. News travels fast in our office. Bending to cover our feet, the bloodstains started at the bottom of a staircase. We heard him before we saw him his voice loud and obnoxious.

“You certainly took your time getting here you two,” was all he said.
‘We only got the call from Tom twenty minutes ago, maybe if you had made the call when it came in we would have been here sooner,” I chided. He was the one that should have informed us and he knew it.
“I expect this to be cleared very quickly as he is a well known respected attorney in the community,” was all he had to say before he stomped off.
Laughing, “Spain is looking better all the time, Joe.”

Tom showed us the horrific scene. The bed where they lay completely covered with blood, the wall smeared so you could hardly tell what the color had been. The dog lay on the floor beside the bed, the carpet soaked with its blood. The wife lay under the husband as if he had tried to shield her from the killer. Both throats severed. Tom looked sadden by the scene in front of him but continued to do his job. Milan beside him looked up with recognition and a nod. Both died quickly was all that Tom said. He would see us tomorrow with his report.

Joe and I went to the man’s office and started looking through files, nothing stood out, but we would go through them tomorrow and try to make some sense of all this.

A loud voice traveled through the house, their son had arrived, and we left the office to go down to meet him. He was screaming and crying he wanted to see his parents. Joe took him outside, I could see he was trying to calm him down when a woman pulled up jumping from her car running towards the boy. He fell into her arms as she soothingly whispered to him. I could see Joe standing back letting her calm him, he sobbed in her arms openly, and she had tears running down her face.

She was the sister of the man whose body lay in the bed. Joe was asking her some questions, she was trying to keep control as she answered. Her brother had no enemies that she knew of neither did his wife. She wanted to see them, Joe told her she could come down to the morgue tomorrow with her nephew.

We let the forensic team do their job, when the bodies were taken to the coroners van, Joe and I went over the bedroom again looking for something, anything at this point to help solved these brutal murders.

Arriving back to my place it was six in the morning, too charged to sleep I put on some coffee. Going through what info we had which was not a lot, we started to try to build a case. The sister had told Joe the only person that her brother did not get along with was his son-in-law. He was traveling in Europe so not a suspect at this point.
Tomorrow we would go through any of his clients that had a grudge, ex-cons, someone that he did not get off, as he was a trial attorney.

Showering and changing we headed out to the house, Joes cell went off he let it go to messaging. It was Lawrence wondering where we were. Joe messaged back when we got to the house and told him we would be there most of the day going through records. A reply came right back to keep him informed.

A few names stood out among many of his clients. This man had a history of defending many criminals, some cases won with few losses. We looked into the losses, which we could run through the database to see what they were up to now. Joe came across an email from his daughter asking if he could advance them another fifty thousand dollars as Mathew had come across a warehouse with some old antiques and wanted to ship them home. The return email just said no.

Heading back to see Tom in the basement, he was only half way through the autopsy of the pair. With not much, except that the knife was a twelve inch serrated steel blade with a bone handle, apiece found in the dog. He would call us as soon if he had anything useful. The dog was a different story he had human blood on his teeth, he had bitten the murderer and the blood would be tested and analyzed. Milan was working on it now. Our luck was with us, Lawrence was out for lunch, so we left promptly.

“Let’s go home for a shower and have some lunch while we are there.” I suggested.
 “Only if I can scrub your back, Meg.” Joe laughed.

The next morning sitting going over our notes a call came through from the victim’s daughter, she had arrived home this morning her aunt had reached her in Milan. Could we meet with her this morning at her apartment?
As we went to leave, Lawrence came out of his office wanting to know how the case was going. “I expect an update daily and for you both to answer my phone calls.” He snapped. He thought this tactic would wear us down. It would only make us harder to deal with.
“When we have something to report we will.” I snapped back. Leaving him, standing looking a fool, holding tightly to his coffee cup. I was getting to him.

Her apartment was decorated very tastefully, many antiques throughout her living room. She was a thin plain looking woman who did as much as she could to look personable. Her cloths hung loosely. Asking where her husband was she responded in a quiet voice that he had stayed to finish off some business in Milan.

Joe asked, “What business is he in.” Joe never asked a question that he did not know the answer to.
“He deals in antiques, this was a business trip.” Then breaking down, we waited until she had regained her pose.

I left Joe to ask the question, he was better at questioning people who were distraught, I just plunged in without thinking of their distress.
She could not think of anyone who would want to hurt her parents.

Then I asked, “I understand that you’re husband and father did not get along well.”
Her face showed concern, wringing her hands her fingers went to her loose wedding rings twirling then around her fingers. Had she been under stress and lost weight recently I wondered?
“They had their disagreements about money as my father borrowed us the money to start our business, but Mathew loved my father.” That was when her voice and body language changed. 

“Who told you they didn’t get along?” She asked. Not mentioning she had asked her father for more only a few weeks ago. Joe started another line of question but she had clammed up, asking us to leave her to grieve. 
I told her. “When your husband gets home tell him to get in touch with us.”

Tom called. He had a name from the blood samples on the dog along with fingerprints on the dog’s collar. They matched a known hit man who had spent time in jail because of a lost case from our dead attorney. Tom had gotten us the last address the man had used. He was working for us maybe even not communicating with Lawrence.

“Tom we owe you a dinner, thanks so much, finally something tangible to work with.” Joe said excitedly.

Barry Johnston lived above a bar, we knocked got no answer. Heading, downstairs to the bar three men sat drinking beer, two playing pool. The bartender by his look knew we were cops.

“Were looking for Barry Johnston?” I asked showing my badge.
The bartender eyes moved towards the pool table, Joe yelled “Barry.”

 A bulky man shaved head, eyes of steel with a bandaged hand looked up, and then bolted towards the back door.

“Meg you follow him, I will cut him off in the alley.”

He pushed chairs down as he ran, I banged my leg while jumping over one of them, and I pulled my gun yelling for him to stop. He was out the door slamming it behind him. I crashed through, not seeing him. Looked left, then right, Barry has chosen wrong.
Joe stood waiting with his gun pointed at him. His hands went up he knew he did not have a chance. As I slapped the cuffs on he screamed when I purposely banged his bandaged hand. 

We booked him, got a search warrant and went back to his place. It was loaded with boxes filled with appliances, suits, jewellery paintings. Guess this was his sideline besides killing people. Joe turned his mattress a red book lay hidden in a cloth, a list of names and what he had sold them and the price they paid. One name stood out.

“Well well, turning to Joe.” Mathew Sparks name circled with dollar signs, a date written in. With a balance owing of five thousand dollars.

“Joe, the date matches the night of the murder.”

My cell beeped, Lawrence, guess he thought if Joe did not answer, he would try mine. Answering, all I said was I was busy and would be in the office within the hour clicking my phone off.
The Chief sat in Lawrence’s office, Lawrence livid behind his desk.

“Hello Joe and Meg, we seem to have a breakdown in communication here. Lawrence feels you are not keeping him updated in your cases.” The Chief lips upturned with a smile.

“Chief, we do not have time every few hours when on a case to stop our investigation every time Lawrence wants to talk.” I replied.
Joe added we have the suspect in custody downstairs and are on our way to interrogate him now.

Lawrence sputtered, “Why was I not informed of this?”
I smiled at the Chief. “Because when you phoned we were running after the suspect taking him down.”
“Go finish the job you two, I need to have a talk with Lawrence now.”

Heading down to the cells, “I think Lawrence is going to get a talking to.” I chuckled.
Barry knew we had him cold and was not going down alone. He wrote a full statement explaining it all.
Heading back to Mathews place his wife opened the apartment door,looking disheveled and scared. Standing behind her, Mathew Sparks her husband, stood with a gun pointed at her.

“I was expecting you, I will kill her, you know that.” Come in and drop your guns slowly. As we did, Joe leaped ahead, pushing me out, slamming the door shut. Then two shots fired.

Had Joe got to his gun? Then Mathew appeared, pointed his gun at me, and backed up to the elevator. My only thought was if Joe was all right.

I ran inside there lay two bodies. Joe looked up, blood pumping from his chest. “I love you sweetheart.” Calling an ambulance, I lay beside him holding him in my arms until his breath stopped.
 The love of my life lay dead.
Phoning Tom I sat stunned, caressing Joes head in my lap and waited. Tom arrived pulling me away from Joe and held me tight as I sobbed uncontrollably.

All I remember in the fog of Joe’s funeral was a huge crowd and Leo standing far in the background, many condolences and Tom holding my hand.

I handed in my resignation the next day to the Chief. Lawrence called my landline and my cell but I never took his calls.

My goal was to hunt down Mathew Sparks myself and kill him.
I did not want the restraints of the police force, as this was personal, I would do whatever it took to take down Mathew Sparks.

I had to grieve first and question why I did not take Joe up on us leaving the force to have a life together in Spain.

I would live with that for the rest of my life.