Fast! Three Questions.
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| Category: || Mystery and Crime Fiction |
Posted:|| May 14, 2014 Views: 565|
Chapter 29 of the book The Bard of Bel Air
Chief Sandoval is grilled.
"Questions and More Questions"
The Bard, a mentally ill homeless man, is at the center of intrigue in a murder that isn't. Treason may be involved as is large sums of money.
Previously, the press conference went off beautifully. Chief Sandoval, true to form, tried to intervene and was promptly arrested and driven away. Christina Gonzales, a veteran reporter, managed to get Junior to fall apart for the cameras in a way sure to get him national exposure. We pick up now as Junior has stormed off and Christina attempts to get information from Lincoln.
Christina turned to Lincoln. "You are in the middle of this. Senior was your employer for years. Now his son comes traipsing in here and takes over, that has to bother you on some levels. Junior doesn't seem too reasonable." She left the statement out there. The camera was on Lincoln.
"I work here. I don't have any information to add to anything. That is all I have to say. I miss Harpster; he was one of a kind. If his death was not natural, then I would like to know what happened and I would want those responsible brought to justice. With that I have to say goodnight."
Christina didn't get the bonus she had hoped for from Lincoln. He was cooler under fire than she thought he would be. Well, Junior sure got me on the network tonight. What an idiot. How could he look any worse? I guess he could've pulled off some butterfly wings. She chuckled under her breath as the crew loaded up the gear. As a veteran journalist, she couldn't help keep certain thoughts out of her head. This guy is a jerk, no doubt about that. But, he doesn't strike me as a killer. I've interviewed many. He doesn't have the nerve.
Chief Sandoval went from pissed off to bewildered. "Where the hell are you taking me? You're on the five going north. That isn't on the way to any precinct I know of. What the hell is going on here?"
"We're taking the scenic route, Chief. We thought you might want to get some things off your chest. You know, things. Let's start with Doctor Khin's role in Harpster's murder. What drug did he use and where did he get it?"
Chief Sandoval's jaw dropped. "You're not cops, are you?"
That seemed to amuse the officers as they burst into laughter. Moments later, they pulled into an underground garage, escorted the Chief into a room with a few chairs and a table, and sat him down.
Sgt. Patel stood a good half foot above the six foot tall Chief. Imposing would be putting it mildly. "I'm part of the Bradley Commission as are my fellow officers here. We're the group that investigates the investigators. Mayor Bradley instituted this commission made up of decorated officers back when he was Mayor. We make sure that Internal Affairs is on the up and up. We investigate rotten cops like yourself that have somehow risen to positions of prominence. Unlike you, we give a damn about the integrity of the Los Angeles Police Force. A rogue asshole like yourself makes it pretty damn difficult for the good men and women on the force to get a break."
"Look, Patel, or whatever the hell your name is. I'm a police chief. Hell, I'm the police chief of one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Do you think you can just scoop me up and drive me off and no one is going to say a word? You have got to be…"
A quick slap in the face with a decent amount of force ended the Chief's little speech. Sgt. Patel continued, "You don't get it Sandoval. We've already done everything you said and no one's said a word. I don't like being a tough guy. I'm really an old softy, ask my grandkids. But, you are going to tell us what we want to know. Get that straight, right now. Save yourself some needless aggravation."
Sgt. Patel assumed a posture of menace towering over Chief Sandoval. Whatever fight the chief had in him quickly vanished. "We want to know about Winston Blackwell. We want to know who. We want to know where and we want to know what. You might come out of this in better shape than you deserve…IF…you cooperate. You could also get a needle in your arm if you want to continue to conspire in treason against the United States. We are going to get what we need one-way or the other. Your ass is in your hands right now. Give us what we want, or it will be in mine. Who is Winston dealing with?"
Sandoval went from six feet tall down to about two feet in a hurry. "I don't know anything about Winston's dealings. I'm not in on any of that and I have no idea what you're talking about. I provided some privacy to some good friends in their time of need, that's all. Their father died and they didn't want it to be a circus. Dealing with? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Dammit, this is going to get ugly if you don't get smart and I mean right now. He didn't put one hundred thousand dollars in an off shore account under your name for a little professional courtesy. Yes. You pompous ass. We know everything. We know you were a bed wetter. Names!" Patel pulled a nightstick out of his tool belt and tapped it on the table.
"Look. I don't know names. He's up there in the Angeles Forest somewhere. Mercenaries. That's all I know. I haven't been there and I'm not a part of it."
"I asked you about the Doctor and what kind of poison he used. I suppose you don't know about that?" Patel motioned to Sweeny and Roussin and they began plugging in equipment and making a lot of noise. A table with straps hanging off the side looked particularly menacing and not a place that one would expect to get any beauty sleep on.
Sandoval looked at the activity and turned the kind of pale that Al Jolson used to be known for. "I have the needle and some of the evidence from the scene. Dr. Khin claimed it was medicine for diabetes. I didn't know any different. But, I'm a cop. I threw everything in an evidence bag. I have it. If you want it, I have it. I didn't know they killed him. I thought he died of natural causes. The doctor handed me a death certificate. I was just trying to make it smooth for the family. It's hundreds of thousands of dollars for that freezing business. An autopsy would make it impossible. I swear, I was just helping out."
Patel pulled his phone out and punched in some numbers.
Harpster flipped open his phone. "Yep. Anything?"
Patel answered, "I don't think this jackass knows a damn thing. He might have the goods on the doctor though. That will help us put the heat under his ass. I'll keep grilling this idiot and find out what I can. If he coughs up a hairball I'll give you a call."
Harpster hung up the phone and turned to the Bard. "Well, not much from Sandoval. A little help to nail the doctor. Where waiting on Lucy. I don't know if any of the players here have a clue."
The Bard paced, but not as frantically as he has been known to do. "We have the signal. Drop me off. I'll find her. The Angeles Forest is enchanted compared to some of the places I've been. Drop me off. Talking bout my Gir..ir…irl my girl!
Tenaya jumped in, "I'm inclined to go along with my friend here. You're not going alone by the way. That isn't happening. My partner, my show. But, we have a general idea; at least we'd already be close. Let's get going. I can't stand sitting around."
"Lots of big game in the forest. Lions, tigers and Arbys…oh my. Ever eat a pine tree? What the hell for? Well, don't mind me, I'm thinking out loud is all. Anyone up for Arbys? He's buying." The Bard pointed to a picture of Tenaya's great grandfather that she had hanging on the wall. That proved to be hilarious to her and she laughed in that manner where you have to cover your face for fear of what you might look like.
"was it worth the price
when you wouldn't see the train reach
a ticket bought
with old dollars
cashed in future times
they say the dollars
indeed they did
the rusty tracks go unnoticed
as the counting continues
the shiny coins
So, let's go. Lucy needs me. She's nice you know."
Harpster smiled and spoke, "You don't seem to realize, I'm filthy rich, even when I'm dead. I have property there. That will be our base of operations. That puts us about an hour and a half from here. I have access to a helicopter if need be. I don't see what for. Convenience maybe. Ready?"
Everything is in motion at once. Suggestions and input always sought and given serious consideration. Your help has saved me over and over. Thank you. mikey
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