Lieutenant Johnson and Keith were back at KAKA.
“I hope you didn’t take offense about what I told the newspapers,” Case said.
Johnson ignored the statement. “Talk to me about pre-recording.”
Case smiled. “Everything on KAKA is live. That’s what has made us successful. With satellite broadcasting and syndication, many stations are partly pre-recorded, meaning, there is no live announcer when you’re listening. KAKA doesn’t do that.”
Johnson’s eyebrows knitted together in thought. “When I hear listeners playing contests or making requests, they’re on the air live?”
Case sat down behind his desk and began arranging loose items on his desk. “I didn’t know you listened.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” Johnson said evenly.
Case took a breath. “Callers aren’t aired live…they are recorded and played back to prevent profanity.”
“And a DJ couldn’t record his show?”
Case gave the inspector a condescending look. “I see where you’re going and you’re way off base. You think Fast Eddie recorded his show and killed his wife while the tape played?” Case chuckled dryly. “It’s impossible.”
Johnson reached into his pocked for a cigarette, then waited for Case to stop him. “Impossible?”
Case took a deep breath. “Under our format, the announcer opens the mike and talks after almost every song, giving the time, temperature, call letters, station promotions, live commercials and such. You can’t record that in advance. Even if one did, others would know about it.”
“Because of our union situation, it takes several people to make a show run. We have the disc jockey, who talks on the radio; his engineer, who has to open the mike, play the songs and commercials and anything else that goes on the air, and there is the producer and phone operator who helps coordinate the show and there’s another engineer who makes copies of all commercials that go on the air.”
Johnson was struggling to follow. “So?”
“So,” Case continued, “to record his show, a DJ would have to get his commercial and music logs early, then clear the session through the production department, arrange time to use the production studio to make the digital recording, get the production engineer to oversee the session, then have the on-air engineer to play the digital recording back during his show. The producer would also have to know about it and keep quiet. All highly unlikely and against regulations. Plus, the production studio is constantly in use. There’s just no way to make it happen.”
Johnson lit his cigarette. “What if an announcer did it before his show on the weekend?”
The production studio is locked on weekends and no production engineer is available.”
Johnson looked around for an ashtray, saw none and tapped his ashes on the carpet. “It sound complicated.”
“Too many people would have to be involved.”
The Lieutenant switched gears. “The other night, James had the studio door locked from the inside. Is that normal?”
Case drummed his fingers on his desk. “He doesn’t like disruptions. While he’s on the air, the door stays locked from the inside.”
“How long has your daughter been working as his request operator?”
It was Case’s turn to frown. “Two-and-a-half months. She answers his phones and produces his show. Why?”
Johnson ignored the question. “Can I get a copy of Fast Eddie’s show last Saturday night?”
Case hesitated, then answered. “Yes. I’ll have a cassette dubbed and sent to your office this afternoon. Is there anything else?”
“Yeah,” Johnson said. “Is there anyone here one the weekend while James is on the air, besides your daughter and the engineer?”
“Just those working before and after him.”
“Any way to know exactly what time these people get here?”
“They must sign in with the guard,” Case said. “They have to go through the gate to enter and leave. It’s the only way in and out on the weekend and after business hours.”
“I want to see those sign-in sheets.” The Lieutenant turned and led Keith outside. “Take a jog up to James’ apartment. Time it. I’ll meet you back at the station.”
Keith took off and Johnson got in his car and headed back to his office. As he drove up California Street, the Lieutenant let his mind wander. With so many leads to check out, it was hard not to make a decision about a particular case. Sometimes, not making decisions was more advantageous than trying to reach a specific conclusion. Keeping an open mind, letting the facts find you rather than trying to dictate an ending was hard, but important process.
This was why he wanted to treat the James murder as an individual case, rather than adding it in with the rest of the Saturday Night Specials. He was starting fresh, free from the influence of conclusions drawn from the other investigations. The same person could ultimately be responsible for all the murders, but for the present, he wanted to treat Rhonda James differently.
It was also the reason he wanted to focus the investigation on her husband, even if the facts pointed elsewhere. In most homicides, the victim knows the perpetrator. More often than not, it is a relative who does the deed. And husbands are more often responsible for killing their spouse. He wanted to follow the usual trail, if only to eliminate James completely as a suspect.
He worked throughout the day, chasing leads and forensics reports without any major breakthroughs. It was after five by the time he reached the Marina.
“Hello, Joe,” he said to the old man in the weathered captain’s hat behind the desk in the harbor master’s office.
The grizzled face barely acknowledged the Lieutenant’s presence. “Somebody was giving The Crimestopper the once-over earlier today.”
Johnson frowned. The Crimestopper was his boat.
“I let some guy look over the 50-footer that’s for sale down the dock,” Joe went on. “He paid more time to yours than the one for sale.”
“Maybe he wants to make me an offer. Did you get his name?”
“What did he look like?”
The old man stared at the Lieutenant through eyes that were slits. “Don’t exactly recall, Medium height, build, looks.”
Johnson shrugged it off and headed down the dock. “If you see him again, let me know.”
He walked down the gang plank and stepped over the rope onto his 42-foot Hunter. It was his pride and joy…his only hobby outside of work.
As he jumped into the cockpit, he saw a newspaper stuck under the hatch. Someone had forced it under the latch to make sure he would see it. He squeezed it between his fingers to make sure nothing was hidden inside the folds. Satisfied, he pulled it free and shook it open. It was a copy of that morning’s Chronicle, the one he had read earlier in his office. The article about the murder investigation was circled in red.
He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stick up. He reached into his coat and pulled out the .38 caliber revolver he kept on his hip and went through the boat carefully.
After making sure all was in order, he shook off the uneasy feeling and took the boat out into the bay. He raised the main sail, but kept the diesels running. There wasn’t enough wind to move powerless. Today he didn’t care. The water calmed him and took his mind off his job. It was all about the wind and water…nothing else mattered.
The chilly wind whipped across the bow and blew against his face. He smiled into the elements. He decided, as he often did, to spend the night on the water. There was a perfect spot behind Angel’s Island that sheltered him from the wind. He anchored there often. It took him about forty-five minutes to make it to his favorite spot. He pulled in the main sail and put the engines in neutral. But even as he worked to get the anchor set, he couldn’t quite shake the uneasy feeling that had settled around him when he first heard someone was looking at his boat. Although he was surrounded by dark water for hundreds of yards in every direction, he had the strange sensation that he was being watched.
He looked around and saw nothing…not even another boat was close. He took a deep breath and headed down into the galley to make his dinner.
High above the bay, on the roof of a small apartment building in Sausalito, the man lay flat, staring through binoculars. He had followed the progress of the boat from the time it left the marina until in anchored off the island. Usually, he used the powerful binoculars to look into the windows of other buildings that dotted the landscape. But tonight had been different.
The man looked at his watch. It was after six. Quickly, he sipped the binoculars into their case and hurried down into the night. He had to hurry or he would be late.
* * * * * *
Johnson lit his first cigarette of the morning and stared through the smoke at Keith. Captain Donovan was in the office and made a big deal of waving the smoke away.
“You know, that’s against regulations,” the Captain barked. “You’re going to get us all into a problem if you keep it up.”
“What do we have?” Johnson asked, ignoring the Captain. He felt great. There was nothing like a night on the water to make him feel totally refreshed.
“We talked to everyone at the station about Fast Eddie. Most of the people like him, but everyone thinks he’s too cocky. Also, he fancies himself a ladies’ man, always flirting with the women at work. He took out the receptionist several times until she found out he was married. Anyhow, for the past two months, he’s been seeing someone. Nobody knows who it is, but he’s told almost everyone at the stations that he was in love. He’s been quite vocal about getting a divorce. All of this was before the murder, of course.”
Johnson whistled softly. “Well, well. On one hand he’s telling us there was nothing wrong between he and his wife while he’s telling other people he’s getting a divorce. The plot thickens.”
Keith checked his notes again. “Also, I timed the run from KAKA to Fast Eddie’s apartment. Ten minutes round trip if you hustle.”
They were interrupted by the intercom. “There’s an Edward James here to see you, Lieutenant,” the voice said.
Johnson’s eyebrows jumped toward the ceiling. “Speak of the devil.” He pushed the intercom button. “By all means, show him right up.”
Less than a minute later, an obviously distraught and angry Fast Eddie was ushered into the office. He glanced quickly at the other two men, then bored in on Lieutenant Johnson.
“I’ve got to talk to you right now.”
Johnson motioned toward his superior. “Caption Donovan, this is Fast Eddie James.” He watched the men quickly shake hands. “You already know Detective Keith.”
Eddie put both of his hands on the desk and leaned forward. “Mr. Case told me you’ve been asking questions about my work habits. He said he thinks you suspect me of killing my wife.”
Johnson said nothing. He fixed Fast Eddie with a level stare.
“Well, what?” Johnson snorted.
“Do you think I killed my wife?”
Johnson twisted his lips into a comical, mocking expression of surprise. “How could you kill your wife? Weren’t you doing a radio show at the time of the murder?”
Eddie’s face was bright red. “You know the answer to that question. Of course, I was on the air. Tell me what’s going on!”
Johnson stubbed out his butt and exhaled the smoke from his last drag. “Suppose you tell me. On the one hand, you tell me you and your wife were happy, yet everyone else thinks differently. Suppose you tell me why your work habits are different on Saturdays. And suppose you tell me about Suzie Case.”
Keith’s jaw dropped. This was a twist they hadn’t discussed.
Eddie went apoplectic. He opened his mouth a couple of times to respond, but no sound came out. Finally, he managed to form a sentence. “Get off my case, Lieutenant. My wife is brutally murdered and you’re blaming me.” His voice cracked with emotion. “Losing her makes me want to die. I can’t eat…I can’t sleep.”
“You’re really choked up aren’t you,” Johnson said. “So choked up you aren’t missing any of your precious radio shows.”
Eddie stepped back. “That’s not fair,” he stammered. “I’m going back to work to keep from going crazy. I sit alone in the apartment and all I can think about is Rhonda.”
Captain Donovan stood up behind him. “I think we’ve gone far enough.”
Eddie’s face turned a brighter shade of red. “I demand some answers.”
It was Johnson’s turn to lean over the desk and get in Eddie’s face. “Then ask the right questions. Are you a suspect in your wife’s death? The answer is yes. Just about everyone in this city is a suspect, but you’re at the top of the list because you had motive and access. I’m trying to find out who killed your wife and so far, everything points to you, except you’ve got an alibi. Besides, if you’re in the clear, why are you so nervous?”
Eddie didn’t back off. “I’m not nervous, Lieutenant and I didn’t kill her. I don’t’ want an ego-maniacal cop trying to pin something on me because he’s inept at his job and can’t find the real killer. You’re questions to my friends and the people I work with are making my life more miserable, if that’s possible.”
“You’ve been watching too much TV,” Johnson laughed.
“Maybe,” Eddie snarled, “but you better find the killer because if you try to blame this on me, I’ll go on the radio and tell my audience. I’ll give you more heat than you can stand.”
“Wait a minute, young man,” Captain Donovan jumped in. “I can understand you’re upset but it isn’t wise to threaten the Police Department.”
Johnson waved him off. “Let it go, Captain. What’s Fast Eddie’s audience going to do? Picket police ineptitude at the next Nirvana show? It’s not a threat. It’s a joke.”
“We’ll see,” Eddie yelled. “I’m hiring a lawyer.” Hs spun away and slammed through the door.
The Captain watched him go, then turned back to Johnson. “What was that all about?”
Johnson shrugged. “I don’t know, Frank. There’s something about this one I can’t figure. Did Fast Eddie do it?” He shrugged again. “There’s something that isn’t right about that boy and when I find out what that is, I think we’ll find out who killed his wife.”
“Do you think it is possible that he did it?”
“Not hardly, but I think it’s possible he knows who did it and even had a part in it.”
“Where did this Suzie Case come in?”
Johnson grinned. “I just took a shot in the dark. Actually, I know he’ll tell the manager about this conversation and I want to pull his chain.”
Captain Donovan headed out. “Keep me informed,” he called over his shoulder.
* * * * * *
“Not here,” the girl said as she fell back on the bed. This really gives me the creeps.”
He smiled down on her. “You didn’t think it was so creepy when we were getting undressed.”
“That was in the living room. Now we’re in the bed.” She shivered. “Let’s go back.”
She was startled and slightly scared at the sound of his voice.
“In here,” he said, pushing her flat on the bed. “Right now.”
She struggled briefly with him, but he was too strong and her protestations were half-hearted at best. She gave it one last try. “Get off me.”
He fell on top of her and she stopped fighting.
“I wonder if this is the way it happened with her?” she whispered only to herself as she stared at the ceiling.
Fast Eddie smiled against her neck.
* * * * * *
Lt. Johnson and Keith were taking a ride. The office had them both claustrophobic.
“We interviewed the female guard on a hunch, Lieutenant and she had some interesting things to say. The first of which had to do with charging us with sexual harassment.”
Johnson gave Keith a quick glance.
“We got past that pretty quickly. But the guard and Mrs. James had a couple of intimate conversations. Mrs. James was evidently lonely and would come down to the lobby to chat from time-to-time when her husband was doing his show. The guard says Fast Eddie was on a pretty fast track, according to his wife. Mrs. James told her she suspected that Eddie was seeing other women, but she couldn’t him. About a month ago, he asked her for a divorce. Mrs. James said no and that if he pushed her on it, she would do her best to ruin his career. She told the guard Eddie had threatened her and she was scared.”
Johnson bit on his lower lip and digested the information. “Did Mrs. James say how she was threatened? Did she mean physical harm?”
“She didn’t say. The guard was more interested in Mrs. James than her husband.”
“Anything ever come of that?”
“According to the guard, after she let Mrs. James know she was interested in romance, they never spoke again. Maybe that’s why Mrs. James said the guard gave her the creeps.”
Johnson pulled his car into a space next to a park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Both men stopped to enjoy the scenery, staring across the bay, each lost in his own thoughts.
“We’re missing something,” Johnson said.
“We’re missing a lot,” Keith agreed.
“Do you have those sign-in sheets from the guard house with you?”
Keith rummaged through his beat-up briefcase and found them.
Johnson looked over the pages carefully, page by page. “There’s something strange here. Every Saturday afternoon, Eddie and his engineer, Dennis King, arrive at the station no later than 4:45. On the weekdays, James gets to the station around 6:30 and King about 6:45.” He glanced at Keith with a quizzical look on his face. “Why do the two of them get there so much earlier on Saturdays when, according to the boss, there is less to do on the weekends?”
Keith held up his hands.
Johnson went back to the papers. “Who is Joanne DeLaney?”
“She’s the switchboard operator.”
“I thought Suzie Case answered the phones.”
“She answers the request lines, Lieutenant. The station has a switchboard for business calls. It’s the number you use to call Mr. Case.”
“Why does she work on the weekends? I’ve never known a company to have a receptionist or phone operator work weekends. What kind of business does KAKA do on Saturdays?”
“I don’t know.”
Johnson picked up his cellular phone and punched out a number.
Keith slapped his leg. “I’ve got it, Lieutenant.”
Johnson held up his hand. “Mr. Case, please. Lt. Johnson calling.” He waited only a few seconds. “Mr. Case, this Mrs. Delaney, switchboard operator, exactly what does she do on Saturdays?”
He listened, the repeated what he heard so Keith could share. “Answers the business lines for any emergencies, tells people to try the request lines and takes complaints. What complaints?”
Again he listened. “Can you tell me if there were any complaints about Fast Eddie’s show this past Saturday? Sure I’ll hold.” He gave Keith the signal to go ahead.
“Eddie gets to the station early on Saturdays so he can spend time with Suzie Case. She’s the new girlfriend.”
Johnson shook his head. “Nice try, but the math doesn’t work. Miss Case doesn’t come in to work until 6:45 on Saturdays.”
Keith made a face as Johnson went back to the phone. “Only one complaint? Well, nobody’s perfect. Thanks for your help.”
He disconnected. “Fear not, detective, your theory might not be too far off. Fast Eddie got only one complaint last Saturday night. Someone was upset because at 9:15, he was telling the city that it was clear and hot outside, but at 9:15, according to the caller, it was raining.”
Keith snapped his fingers. “I remember. The sky just opened up suddenly and it poured for about 20 minutes.”
“I remember getting wet running into the apartment with you.”
“What does it mean?”
“Maybe nothing.” Johnson started the car and backed out into traffic. “Go over that tape again and pay particular attention to the weather forecasts. Check the weather service and get me rainfall and temperature readings in 10 minute increments. And I want to see Miss Case and the engineer, what’s his name?”
“In my office. On the double.”
* * * * * *
One hour later, Dennis King was slouched in a chair looking across the desk at the Lieutenant. Johnson tried to keep his face impassive as he studied the man, but it was difficult. The engineer had to be in his late 30s, tall and skinny as a rail. He had his dark, greasy hair combed back across the sides of his head into a ducktail. Long, black sideburns creased each cheek, outlining the angular face, making it seem whiter and thinner than it was. A toothpick hung between two lips that were as thin as the rest of him. It was if he was auditioning for a part in a 1950s rock musical.
Johnson hated him on sight. And the attitude that came with him. “I’m trying to solve a homicide here and I’m having a big problem. I’ve got a person with a motive, I believe a good one, but he’s got an alibi. I need your help.”
King moved the toothpick to the opposite side of his mouth and smirked. “I don’t know how I can help and even if I could, I’m not sure I would. Cops have never done nothing for me.”
Johnson nodded. “Let me put it to you in a way you can understand, Mr. King. You can either cooperate and try to help,, or I’ll begin looking at you as an accessory to murder. If you know something and aren’t forthcoming, that can make you as guilty as the person who did it.”
King chewed on that for a second. “Look, there ain’t anything I can tell you that will help you, but I’ll answer any questions you have.”
Johnson was surprised that the man had given in so quickly, given his initial attitude, but he went on. “Why does Fast Eddie record the nine o’clock hour of his show every Saturday night?”
King almost lost the toothpick. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Johnson let out a quick laugh. “Of course you know what I’m talking about. You help him do it. I want to know why.”
“Fast Eddie doesn’t record his show. It’s all done live. Recording is impossible.”
Johnson bored in. “Why do you and Fast Eddie arrive at KAKA two hours before his shift begins on Saturday?”
King painted the sneer back on his face. “We spend the time going over ideas for the next week. Sometimes we play bridge. Other times we sit around and talk. Since when is it a crime to come to work early?”
Johnson stared coldly at the skinny little man. “The reason you and Fast Eddie come in early is to record his show, or at leas the nine o’clock hour. If this isn’t what happens, then explain to me why last Saturday, between nine and ten o’clock, Eddie announced five times that the weather in San Francisco was clear and warm when, in fact, the city got almost two inches of rain in that one hour and the temperature fell from 71 to 60 in just under 45 minutes? How is it possible for a DJ to give incorrect information about the weather when the temperature and atmospheric conditions are provided from the National Weather Service on an LED right in front of him?”
King’s eyes shifted around nervously, but he didn’t crack. “This happens all the time, Lieutenant. Listen to some of the other shows. There aren’t any windows in the control room. We don’t know what the weather is like outside. Most times, the weather conditions run twenty to thirty minutes behind the actual read-outs. Generally, the announcers write the temperature down at the start of each hour and just repeat it. Just because something is in front of them doesn’t mean they see it. They’re busy with other things and often on the phone.”
Johnson leaved back in his chair and put his feet on his desk. “That’s interesting, Mr. King. When I spoke to Fast Eddie a little while ago, he told me he read the temperature of the LED that hour. He said the information must have been incorrect, but you know something? The Weather Service keeps a computer print-out of all readings. I checked the KAKA computer logs for Saturday and the gauge was showing rain with falling temperatures.”
Johnson tried to imitate King’s smirk. “Here’s how I’ve got it figured. Eddie decides two months ago to kill his wife and he figures out the perfect plan. The two of you practice taping his show until you get it perfect. Last Saturday, you digitally record the show, punch a button and it plays on the air. Eddie leaves the station, kills his wife then comes back and finishes his shift. He’s got the perfect alibi. Only he didn’t figure on a little rain. How am I doing so far?”
King didn’t answer the question.
Johnson sat up in his chair. He was working on a hunch. There was certainly no hard evidence to support his suppositions. He needed to crack the engineer because he had nothing to book anyone on. He played the bluff. “Okay, let’s try this one. You can either give me a statement right now or I’m booking you as an accomplice to murder.”
King pulled the toothpick out of his mouth and stared at the gnawed tip for a moment. “Book me. I want to talk to a lawyer.”
Johnson’s heart sunk. He thought he had King on the edge. “Have it your way.” He hit the intercom button. “Keith, come here please.”
Almost immediately, the office door opened and Keith entered with Suzie Case. When King saw the girl, he jumped up.
“Will you show Mr. King to a phone, detective?” Johnson said. “But before you do, take him downstairs and book him for murder.”
King whipped his head around. “Wait a minute.”
“Get him out of here,” Johnson snapped.
“Stop, Lieutenant.” Suzie Case interrupted. “I’ve got something to say.”
“Don’t say a word, Suzie,” King hissed. “I’ll have a lawyer here in less than ten minutes.”
“Get him out of here.” Johnson watched as Keith pulled the man down the hall, then he turned his attention to Suzie Case. And it was an easy task.
She slumped down into one of the chairs, lifted her hands to her face and began sobbing. “I can’t believe all this is happening.”
Johnson handed her a box of tissues he kept on his desk. “Suppose you tell me everything.”
She looked up at him, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s not what you think.” She dabbed one of the tissues against her eyes. “Eddie started recording his show because of me.”
Johnson just listened. It was obvious she wanted to talk. There was no need for him to ask questions, and to do so might inhibit her. He waited quietly for her to tell her story.
“When I came to work at KAKA, my father warned me about Eddie.” She managed a shaky smile. “Everyone warned me about Eddie, but I’m a grown woman. My father treats me like a child, but I’m not. I knew about Eddie’s reputation, but I didn’t care.” She stopped and stared hard at him. “My father would kill me if he thought I was going out with Eddie.” Tears rushed back into her eyes. “There isn’t any way to keep this a secret, is there?”
Johnson shook his head sadly. “No.”
She clasped her hands in her lap and looked down at the floor. “Eddie and I hit if off frm the start. He liked me, I liked him. We started seeing each other and the next thing I knew, we were in love. We were getting together after work on Saturdays, then during the days of the week. But my father and his wife started asking questions about why we were both coming in later on Saturday nights, so we would just meet in the daytime on weekdays. Eddie asked Rhonda for a divorce and she freaked. We figured we should cut back on our meetings, because she might be having him followed, and that’s when Eddie came up with the idea of taping his show so we could use that hour to be together.”
She stopped for a second to gather her thoughts. “I made copies of all my father’s keys so he and Dennis could get into the production room to make the recording. All he did was record his voice. Dennis would then just drop it in between the records and commercials. Eddie and I would spend that hour in my father’s office.”
“So I was right?” Johnson said, almost to himself.
“Yes, but last Saturday night, Eddie was with me the whole time.”
Johnson frowned. “He was with you for the entire hour?”
“Except for the time he went out to get my present.”
Johnson perked up. “About fifteen minutes. He had to go out to his car and get it. When he went outside, the guard almost caught him. He had to wait to get back inside without being seen.”
That was cutting it close, Johnson thought, but it was still enough time. Besides, the girl could be wrong about how long he was gone.
He called Keith back in. “Take Miss Case down and get a statement. And bring King back in here.”
He waited for the engineer to be brought back to his office, using the time to gather his thoughts. When the man was once again sitting across his desk, he smiled.
“Mr. King, the way I see it, you’re between the rock and the hard place. Miss Case just gave us a statement. We know about you and Fast Eddie recording his show. You can either come clean with me and help me put an end to this investigation or you can keep up your act and be a part of a conspiracy to commit murder.” He paused dramatically. “It’s your choice.”
King leaned forward in his chair. “I had nothing to do with any murder, but if I tell you what I know, I’m in trouble. If I admit I helped Fast Eddie record his show, Case will fire me and I need that job.”
“If we book you as an accomplice, you’re going to lose the job anyhow.”
King’s shoulders slumped. “I don’t guess I’ve got a choice.” He paused for several seconds, then began speaking softly. “Every Saturday night, I would help Eddie record his voice breaks for the nine o’clock hour of his show. He and Suzie would spend the hour in her father’s office. I would keep the door locked from the inside until he came back. But I had no idea he was going to kill his wife. He made a joke about it, but…”
Johnson sat up straight. “What?”
King twisted uncomfortably in his chair. “He had been seeing Suzie for a couple of months and he told me he asked Rhonda for a divorce. When she said no, he said he guessed he was going to have to kill her. He was joking…and least I thought he was. I didn’t ay any attention to what he said. Eddie was always going off.”
Johnson picked up a pencil and made a few notes. “Anything special about last Saturday night?”
King wiped at his mouth. “Eddie and I had an agreement that I would keep the coor locked from the inside until 9:50. At exactly 9:50, he would meet me at the door. And he always did, until last Saturday night. At 9:50, I went to the door and he wasn’t there. I waited until 9:55, then called him on the intercom in Case’s office. After a couple of trys, he finally answered. I asked him where he had been and he told me that he had been waiting at the door, but he wasn’t. I checked several times and he wasn’t there.”
“Why did it take you so long to talk?”
King leaned forward on his elbows. “I didn’t want to lose my job, but more than that, Eddie and I are friends. I didn’t want to see him get into any trouble. I really couldn’t believe he would do something like this…and for the record, I still don’t believe he did it. He couldn’t have unless he and Suzie Case are both guilty. He was with her.”
Johnson looked at Keith. “Type up his statement and let him sign it.”
“Should I book him?”
King’s entire body tensed.
Johnson let him sweat for a moment, then said, “No, but tell Mr. Case to meet us at the radio station at seven o’clock.” He looked at his watch. “That’s in an hour. I don’t want any problems when we get there to arrest Fast Eddie.”
* * * * * *
It was 7:30 by the time Lt. Johnson and Keith arrived at the radio station. Case was waiting for them in his office. They made no move to sit down and Case didn’t make any small talk.
“Maybe you can tell me what’s going on, Lieutenant. Dennis King didn’t show up for work tonight, then I find out from my daughter that you had both of them in for questioning. You need to tell me what’s going on.”
Johnson looked at Keith, then back to the manager. “I’m here to arrest Fast Eddie for the murder of his wife.”
Case leaned back against his desk. “What?”
“You heard me. You want to bring Fast Eddie back here or do we arrest him while he’s on the air?”
Case pulled on his lower lip for a second. He made no move to leave the office. “Why don’t you arrest him while he’s doing his show? The entire city is aware of what’s been going on with this case. We might as well let them in on the whole thing live as it’s happening.”
Johnson glared at the man. Something about the case continued to bother him. Even when he thought he had it all wrapped up, part of him was saying it wasn’t right. Case’s suggestion made the feeling worse. All of these people were crazy.
“Let me get this straight. One of your employees is suspected of murdering his wife, your daughter is involved and you want me to arrest him on the air because it was give you some publicity? Is that what you want? Publicity?”
There was a far-away look in Case’s eyes, as if he was already planning the press release. “Everyone will know about it soon enough anyhow. I don’t believe you can prove that Fast Eddie did it, so everything will work out. Besides, it would make for an exciting show.”
Johnson shook his head slowly back and forth. “You disgust me, Case. All of you. A woman was brutally murdered and all you can think about is getting better ratings for KAKA.”
Johnson glowered at Case for a full minute, but the man didn’t back down. He held the Lieutenant’s gaze. Keith watched his boss, waiting for his next move.
The beep of the Lieutenant’s mobile phone broke the tension. Johnson reached inside his coat pocket and pulled it out.
He listened for a few seconds.
“All of them?” Johnson gave Keith a wink. “We’re on our way.”
He put the phone back in his pocket and headed through the door. Keith followed right behind him. Case caught up with them in the corridor.
“What’s going on?”
“What about Fast Eddie? Aren’t you going to arrest him?”
Johnson shook his head and kept walking.
“I changed my mind.”
They were in the car and headed for the police station before Johnson shared the information he got from the phone call. “Mason’s men got a break. The caught a man trying to abduct a woman in the Financial District about an hour ago. The guy confessed to all the murders.”
“Is it our man?”
Johnson nodded. “Evidently. He says he killed four women in the past four weeks.”
Keith let out a heavy sigh. “I thought we had the DJ dead-bang.”
A frown stitched its way across Johnson’s forehead. “You know, I had a funny feeling about this thing with Eddie from the start.”
Keith turned his head. “You could have fooled me. I still can’t believe how you put this thing together with the recording and all. I thought this guy planned the perfect crime, yet you figured it out.”
Johnson smiled. “The only crime he committed was having an affair with the boss’ daughter. That’s going to cost him dearly.”
Keith scratched his head. “I was sure he did it.”
“I thought I had drawn an inside straight, too,” Johnson agreed, “but like I said, something about Eddie Killing his wife just didn’t fit. Even when I thought we had him nailed, it never felt right.”
The Lieutenant pulled the car into his parking spot and both men hurried into the Precinct. Sergeant Mason met them as they were getting out of the elevator.
“We got him, Lieutenant.”
Johnson shook his hand. “Good work, Mason. Where is he?”
“In the interrogation room. We were waiting until you got here to get an official statement.”
“How did you catch him?”
“Blind luck,” Mason snorted. “A couple of patrolmen caught him trying to grab a girl in the parking lot across from Bar None. When they cuffed him, he starting singing about our four murders.”
“Just like that?”
Mason grinned. “Just like that. He seems to be glad we caught him. He’s a convicted felon. He just got paroled from prison on a manslaughter beef a couple of months ago.”
Johnson walked into the interrogation room. Three gray walls rose from the tiled floor to the ceiling. The fourth wall was covered by a two-way mirror. Other officers watched through it from the adjacent room.
A long table took up the middle of the room. On one side sat two detectives. Sitting across from the was one of the largest men Johnson had ever seen.
The detectives got up. Johnson took one of their seats. He got a cigarette and offered the suspect the pack.
A large, meaty hand reached out and pulled on one of the filter-tips. While Johnson held out his lighter, he studied the man.
Huge was the operative word. If the man stood up, he would be seven or eight inches past six feet and would weigh in well above 250. Muscles bulged from his arms and neck. The guy was in good physical condition.
“Darnell Lewis?” Johnson asked.
The eyes looked up. “That’s me.”
“I’m Lieutenant Johnson.”
Darnell almost smiled. “Nice to know you…I guess.”
“Have the other officers read you your rights?”
This time Darnell did smile. “I’ve been read my rights. I understand my rights and I wave them. Let’s just get on with it.”
Johnson looked down at the folder Mason had given him. The suspect spoke softly and fluently. That was out of context.
“What’s the story on these murders, Darnell?”
“I did them all.” The voice was without emotion.
“Might be strange to you, Lieutenant, but I want to go back in the joint. I can’t make it on the outside.”
It wasn’t strange to Johnson. He had heard it before. A quick check of the man’s rap sheet and it was easy to see why he couldn’t make it on the outside. He’d been locked up off and on since he was 16.
“Maybe I don’t buy it, Darnell.”
The man frowned. “What?”
“Maybe you’re copping to the murders just for the publicity. It happens all the time.”
Darnell took a long drag from the cigarette and slowly shook his head. “Not this time.”
“You murdered all four of these women?”
“When was the first one?”
Darnell took another drag. “Four weeks ago Saturday. I grabbed a hooker working at the Hyatt on Union Square.”
“What color hair?” Johnson asked, going for something that wasn’t in the papers.
Darnell thought for a moment. “Blonde, but she was wearing a red wig.”
“Why did you rob her?”
“I didn’t. I left her purse right beside her. Besides, I looked in it. She didn’t have a lot of money.”
Johnson listened as the suspect described the victims. He was right on target. This was their man.
“What about last Saturday?”
Darnell leaned back in his chair. “A dark-haired Asian woman near Chinatown.”
Johnson snapped his head around and looked at Keith. Keith shrugged his shoulders.
“I left her body in a dumpster.”
“Wait a minute,” Johnson jumped in. “What about the woman in the apartment building?”
Darnell stared at the police officer for several seconds, then narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “Nope, I didn’t do anyone in an apartment building.”
“Come on, Darnell, the blonde woman on Bush Street. You killed her in her apartment.”
Again the big head shook slowly. “I didn’t do that one, Lieutenant.”
Mason leaned across Johnson’s shoulder. “You told us you killed four women on four Saturday nights in the Financial District.”
“I did,” Darnell said. “I just didn’t do the one you’re talking about.”
“Keith,” Johnson snapped, “check missing persons for the woman Darnell just described.”
Keith jumped up and left the room.
“Lieutenant,” Darnell said, “if it’ll make it easier on you, I’ll cop to this one, too. But for the record, I didn’t do it.”
“You’ve helped enough, Darnell,” Johnson said. He motioned to one of the other officers. “Book him.”
Darnell stood up and put his hands meekly behind his back, waiting for the cuffs. One of the detectives accommodated him.
“I appreciate it,” Darnell said.
“Don’t be thanking us so quickly, Darnell,” Johnson said flatly. “You killed some innocent people just because you’re spoiled bastard. If you wanted to go back inside, why didn’t you rob a store or something? No need to kill anybody.”
Darnell shrugged is big shoulders. “I wanted to make sure I was in for good. Then I got no worries for the rest of my life.”
“It might not be a long life, Darnell,” Johnson told him. “You don’t do life for multiple homicides. You’ll be getting the death penalty.”
Darnell smiled. “The biggest cause of death on death row is old age, Lieutenant.”
Johnson had no answer. The cops pulled on Darnell’s arm and escorted him out of the office.
“Sorry, Lieutenant,” Mason said.
“No need to apologize, Sergeant. It was a righteous bust and cleared four murders. It also ends the publicity about the Saturday Night Specials. Good job.”
Keith came back in. “There’s a missing person report on Sandi Louie. She’s Asian and has long, black hair. She was last seen late Saturday afternoon.”
Johnson drummed his fingers on the desk. “Damn.”
Keith waited a few moments. “Are we going back to the radio station?”
Johnson’s reply stopped him short. “Nope. I’ve got something else I want you to work on.”
* * * * * *
He left Keith with specific instructions. He also told him to get a new warrant for the arrest of Eddie James from the District Attorney, one they could serve the following day. Now he was alone in his car, alone with his thoughts.
It was a typical San Francisco night, foggy and chilly, the moisture of the low clouds tearing on his windshield, making him use the wipers to clear away the mist. He rolled down his window and listened to the click of the wipers and the sound of the tires cutting through the water on the pavement. The drive home wouldn’t take long.
He lived only 10 minutes from the office in Pacific Heights. He tried not to think about the case, his job or his life, concentrating instead on the simple task of driving. It was an elementary diversion, like concentrating on breathing. Driving was a habit. So habitual, in fact, that often he went from one place to another without ever remembering exactly how he did it. In times like these, he concentrated on the obvious things to make the usually ordinary task of driving one that encompassed his total concentration, preventing any other thought from entering his mind. It was the only way he could completely tune out. The exercise was something he had stumbled upon early in his career and now he was a master of its implementation.
The view of the bay from his high rise apartment was magnificent. The fog hung over the city, blocking out the stars to most of the inhabitants living below. From his vantage point, however, he could look over the fog to where is dissipated at the water’s edge, out onto the bay.
He threw his overcoat on the couch and walked into the bedroom, stripping his clothes off on the way. He fell heavily on the bed and stared at the ceiling, willing himself to sleep, trying to make his mind a blank.
It didn’t work.
Was it his ego? They had been so close earlier. Then, when Mason arrested the other man, he thought he had been wrong. Now it looked as if Rhonda James’ killer was still on the loose. Were his earlier feelings correct? Now that more time had passed, the original doubts he had about the cast against Fast Eddie returned. Why hadn’t he arrested him when they were in the radio station earlier? Would he have gone through with the arrest if Mason hadn’t phoned? He recalled the doubts he had while he was standing in Case’s office.
Did he really believe Fast Eddie was innocent? Although he had a nagging feeling that something was missing, was it really based on his experience or was he trying to make something more out of the case than was really there? Didn’t he have it pretty well wrapped up? Didn’t everything fit perfectly? Hadn’t he been a genius to figure it out?
If all that was true, then what was wrong? Or was anything wrong? Should he get up right now and go back and arrest Fast Eddie? By waiting longer, what did he hope to accomplish?
Johnson rolled over and slammed his fist into the pillow. He had to rid his mind of the doubts that plagued him and believe in his instincts. In the age of computers and psychographical sketches, he was still of the old school…the one that taught you to believe in your instincts. But sometimes, indeed it was seldom, but sometimes, his instincts were wrong. The acid test of a good cop was to know when and what and who to trust…facts or instincts. It was easy when everything fit. When everything didn’t, he would spend nights staring at the ceiling, attempting to find the switch that would turn off is thoughts and let his mind and body rest.
This was one of those nights. The puzzle was almost complete, but until he found the one, missing piece, it wouldn’t be right.
* * * * * *
Back at KAKA, the guard slipped silently back through the gates. He opened the door to his little house and sat down behind the small desk, warming his bones against the chill outside. His thoughts went back over the past couple of hours and he smiled. He loved his job. He loved working nights. Both gave him cover for what he called his “urges.” Nobody knew about those “urges” except him. They had almost been his undoing in Sacramento, but he had retired and moved just in time. Now, he was starting fresh in new surroundings. Nobody would ever know.
He frowned when he looked at his hands. He needed to be more careful. Quickly he took out a handkerchief and wiped away all evidence of his acts.
* * * * * *
Johnson walked through headquarters the next morning, greeting everyone with a smile on his face. Keith wiped it off when he got to his office.
“The Chief called a press conference this morning to announce the arrest of Darnell Lewis.”
“So, somebody leaked the news about us going to arrest Fast Eddie last night and reporters have been screaming for a statement from you since seven this morning.”
“I’d better talk to the Captain.”
Keith grabbed him by the arm. “No time. The press conference is going on right now. The Captain said he would see you when it was over.”
As if on cue, Captain Donovan walked in. He gave Keith a stare and the detective disappeared through the door. He switched his stare to Johnson and kept the high beams on for a considerable time.
Johnson fell in the chair behind his desk. “Come on, Captain. What’s up?”
The Captain slipped into one of the chairs in front of the desk. “Don’t dance with me, Tim. I’m not in the mood. I’ve already spent an hour in the Chief’s office and another 30 minutes with the press. You left here last night to arrest Eddie James for the murder of his wife and you didn’t. Why don’t we start with that and work forward. And while you’re explaining, you might drop in why you didn’t answer your home number, your cell or your pager last night and this morning.”
There was an uncomfortable silence between the two.
“Go ahead,” the Captain said.
“Well, I was in the middle of arresting him when I got word from Mason that he had caught someone who admitted to all of the murders,” Johnson said evenly.
“When you found out differently, why didn’t you go back and arrest the guy?”
“It was late, I was tired and didn’t want to go back.”
Johnson winced and acknowledged his attempt at humor had fallen short. He rubbed his chin with the tips of his fingers. “I’ve got a warrant for his arrest right here on my desk.”
“Why aren’t you using it?”
Johnson looked at his mentor and sighed. “I don’t know, Frank. Something just doesn’t feel right.”
There was a long silence between the two men. The Captain got out of his chair and began pacing across the small office.
“We’ve been over this Lieutenant. You’ve got a case. The guy had the motive and the opportunity. Plus you’ve got signed statements by two people that all but put him at the murder scene. Make the arrest.”
“I agree, we have that. But we don’t have anyone seeing him leave the radio station. We don’t have anyone seeing him on the way to or from his apartment. And we don’t have anyone inside the apartment building seeing him.”
“You’ve got him lying about taping his show. You have him threatening his wife. You have her statements that she was afraid of him.”
Johnson nodded. “But every married man has threatened his wife at some time or another. Besides, it’s a circumstantial case at best. He’s got motive and access, sure. But why does he share a drink with her? He doesn’t have time. And why have sex with his wife before he kills her? It makes no sense and it cuts into the time line.”
The Captain cleared his throat. “Maybe she was having a drink with someone else. Maybe she had sex with someone else before him.”
“If we had semen, we could know for sure.”
The Captain frowned. “We don’t have a semen sample?”
Johnson shook his head. “Nope. So either the killer used a condom or didn’t secrete any fluids, meaning he didn’t finish. Neither makes sense if the killer was Eddie. Why would he care?”
“Maybe he was trying to make it look like someone else did her,” Donovan said.
“Why bother if he has the perfect alibi?” Johnson paused for a few seconds. “Besides, Suzie Case swears she was with him Saturday night.”
The Captain waved him off. “The girl is in love with him. She’ll say anything.”
Johnson clasped his hands together. “I think she’s telling the truth.”
“Even so, you said he had time to leave, commit the murder and return in the time he was out of her sight.”
“Just barely,” Johnson said.
The door opened and Keith came in. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’ve got something I think is important.”
“Share with us, detective,” the Captain said sarcastically.
Keith looked at his Lieutenant. “You were right, sir. I put two men on stake-out at KAKA and the guard left twice. Both times he went down to the X-rated movie house down the block. He was gone 45 minutes the first time and just over half an hour the second.”
Johnson looked pleased.
Captain Donovan whipped his head around. “Are you telling me now that the guard did it?”
“There were a lot of people with the opportunity, Captain, but not with the motive of Fast Eddie.” He looked at Keith. “What about the other matter?”
“He’s got an exemplary record with KAKA and no police record, but I checked further. He was released from his last job. The reason wasn’t official, but a woman accused him of attacking her. No charges were pressed. I also ran a check on his background. He did time in juvenile detention while in high school. Those records, of course, are sealed. But, unofficially, it was for making aggressive passes at one of the teachers.”
Johnson smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Anything else?”
Keith matched the grin. “All KAKA employees are required to give their fingerprints when they come to work. I checked his against those in James’ apartment and got a match. The only fingerprints in the bedroom were Fast Eddie’s, his wife and…”
Keith grinned wider. “He lives in Sausalito. I’ve got the address right here.”
Johnson stood up. “Care to join us, Captain?”
* * * * * *
In another part of town, Suzie Case took a large drink from her glass, hoping the cheap bourbon would wash away some of the nervousness. She was sitting on the couch in Dennis King’s apartment feeling very ill-at-ease. He had called earlier and asked her to come over and talk. Although she had worked with the man for several months, she really didn’t know him well, In light of everything that had happened, though, she felt an obligation to meet with him as he had suggested. After all, it was her father who had fired him earlier that morning.
King was sitting on the couch with her, dressed in black, as usual. He seemed to be a perfect accessory to the tacky apartment.
She took another long sip from her glass and tried to change her feelings about him. It had been a rough week for both of them. “I can’t believe everything that has happened.”
“I can’t believe the police think Eddie killed his wife,” she continued.
“What do you think?” King asked.
The man was leering at her. She took another pull from the glass, trying to ease the knot in the pit of her stomach. So far, the liquor wasn’t helping. “I don’t have to think. Of course he didn’t to it. It’s all confusing, though, sometimes I don’t know what to believe.”
King continued to stare at her. “I know he didn’t do it.”
Her eyes widened. “Do you know something I don’t?”
“I know I got fired.”
She leaned over and patted his arm. “I’m sorry my dad did that, Dennis.” She took a deep breath. “I feel somehow I’m responsible. I wish there was something I could do.”
King cocked his head and gave her a strange look. He leaned forward, grabbed his drink from the coffee table and drained the contents in one long gulp. “Why don’t you drink up?”
His speech was a bit slurred. He had obviously been drinking for a while…and she couldn’t blame him, having been fired earlier. The drink he finished was certainly more than his first.
She took another sip and suddenly felt a bit dizzy and afraid at the same time. She suddenly realized she was alone and vulnerable, but she told herself to keep talking. She placed her drink on the scarred coffee table and said, “I’ll speak to Daddy.”
She found it hard to form the words. She usually didn’t feel the effects of a drink this quick, but it was early in the day.
King slid over on the couch and moved his arms behind her. “I was thinking of something a little more personal.”
Suzie tried to slide away from him, but he was right on her, moving with her, trapping her against the end of the couch.
“I’ve been watching you and Fast Eddie for a long time,” he hissed, his nose just inches from hers. “He’s not good enough for you, Suzie. I’m better than Fast Eddie and I want to show you just how much better.”
Suzie felt her heart pounding in her throat. “Dennis, I don’t feel well. I’m really dizzy. I need to go.” She tried to get up.
His hands grabbed her shoulders roughly and he shoved her back down on the cushions. One had moved across her face and captured her jaw. He squeezed her cheeks brutally.
“You won’t be going anywhere.”
Suzie twisted violently. She reached up with both hands and pulled at his hair. Her nails dug into his scalp.
His hand moved away from her face and for a brief second, she thought he was going to let her up. Then her heart sank. He was holding a gun.
“Dennis,” she cried, “what are you doing?”
Dennis grinned wickedly. “Whatever I want, honey.”
She tried to keep her eyes focused. “You’ll have to kill me first.”
“Whatever you want,” he said as he cocked the pistol. “I’ve already killed one of your boyfriend’s women. What’s one more wasted?”
Suzie started to cry. Deep sobs racked her body as her mind tried to decipher his words. He moved his face closer to hers. She could feel his rancid breath on her cheeks.
“That’s better,” he whispered. “You might be just a little smarter than Rhonda. Of course, the drug I put in your drink should make you easier to convince. I should have used some on Rhonda. But she wanted me. I knew she wanted me just like I know you want me. She just got scared. When she wouldn’t stop fighting, I hit her. She fell back and crashed against the sink. I didn’t mean to kill her…but after I did, I didn’t care.”
Tears trickled down Suzie’s cheeks as she fought the effects of whatever drug he had put in her drink. It was imperative that she keep her wits about her if she was going to survive. It all made sense to her. Dennis was the one. The realization hit her with a deadly force. She also faced the fact that she could quite possibly die.
“While you and Eddie were busy in your dad’s office, I ran up to Rhonda’s. I told her how you and Edie were getting it on behind her back. Then I told her that she and I should get together, like a payback to Eddie. But she said no. Too bad for her, but not for me.”
He was grinning insanely now, his eyes glazed over as he remembered the night. Suzie saw the look in his eyes and knew he was hopelessly gone. She also knew her chances of getting out were slim.
“Now it’s your turn,” he cackled. He stood up and waved the gun toward his bedroom. “Get in there.”
Suzie knew she had no choice.
“That’s it, Lieutenant,” Keith shouted.
Johnson whipped his car into the tight driveway. Two black-and-whites pulled in behind him.
“Keith, take the officers and cover the back. The Captain and I will go in the front.” He looked at Donovan. “Are you up for this?”
“I’m with you, Lieutenant,” the Captain growled.
They ran up the stairs to the apartment. Johnson beat on the door with his fist.
“Open up,” he shouted. “San Francisco Police.”
Johnson heard some muffled noises inside the apartment, then a loud noise.
The gunshot from inside made him duck and flinch, then his instincts took over. He slammed his shoulder against the door and it caved in immediately. He fell to his knees and rolled to his right inside the living room of the apartment. The room was empty.
“King?” Johnson shouted. “Give it up.”
The Captain looked down on him from just outside the door. “King?”
“Back off, cop” King yelled from the bedroom. “I’m coming out, but I’m not alone.”
Both policemen leveled their guns at the bedroom door. When it opened, they were frozen. King had Suzie Case in front of him. He held the barrel of his pistol against her ear.
“Move back or she dies.”
“Please don’t shoot,” Suzie whispered. “Please don’t kill me. I don’t want to die.”
“Hear that?” King snarled. “Move back.”
There was a shuffle of feet outside and Keith peeked around the door with two other patrolmen.
“Keep back!” King shouted.
“This won’t fly, King,” Johnson said calmly. His gun was still trained on the suspect across the room. He raised slowly from his knees. “You can’t get out of here.”
“Yes I can,” King screeched. “Clear me a way to my car. I’m taking the girl with me. When I get clear, I’ll let her go.”
Johnson sighted down the barrel of his gun, trying to get enough of King to get off a shot. The man was well hidden behind his hostage.
“Get out of my way, cop.”
“No,” Johnson said flatly. “This is where it ends. You aren’t going anywhere.”
King peeked around the girl’s head, checking out his situation. Johnson stared, trying to get a clear line of fire. Part of King’s face was visible behind the gun he held to the girls’ ear.
“Let her go, you freak,” Johnson snapped. He was trying to get a reaction and he got it.
“I said move out!” King screamed.
The tension was fierce. Johnson knew they were facing critical mass.
“Okay, back off guys,” he said to the others.
The cops kept their guns out, but began backing away from the door. Johnson continued to look for an angle. He was staring into the man’s right eye, visible now from behind the girl’s hair.
“One wrong move and the girl’s death is on your hands. If you even so much as flinch, I’ll blow her brains out.”
“Maybe,” Johnson said softly, “you won’t even flinch.”
The gun kicked in his hand and the girl screamed.
For a split second, everything moved in slow motion. Johnson watched a tiny hole appear where King’s right eye had been before. Then the man’s body slammed back against the wall from the impact of the hollow-point shell. King hit the wall and began to slide down, leaving a trail of blood and brains on the paneling.
They were sitting at Enricho’s, the Captain and the Lieutenant, chasing away the day’s labor with straight whiskey.
“What put you onto King, Tim,” The Captain asked. “I thought you had set up the guard.”
Johnson shook his head. “I just wanted to know if the guard always stayed on his post, otherwise, who could have left the station?”
He took a drink. “King? I told you I couldn’t see James doing his wife for too many reasons. If he had really set it up to kill his wife, too many people would have to have been in on it…King, Suzie. Sooner or later his cover would have been blown. Besides, the biggest problem was the sexual assault. It just didn’t fit.”
“It could have been to throw us off track.”
Johnson shook his head. “No, he would have stolen things if that was what was going on. Since something was always bothering me about Fast Eddie, I had to focus on someone…anyone else. I mean, if it wasn’t James, who was it? And it had to be someone that James wife knew, otherwise, she would never have let them in the apartment. If all of those facts were true, there was only King. When I asked Fast Eddie to give me a list of all of the people from the station who were friendly with the two of them, King’s name was at the top of the list. That’s why she let him in that night. Because she knew him. He got the keys when Fast Eddie went to hang out with Suzie, went in through the garage and did the deed. He could have gotten away clean, but he was crazy. He didn’t think.”
“It’s hard to think straight when you’re completely insane,” the Captain said.
Johnson laughed. “I don’t know about that. Somehow you and I manage.”
The Captain held up his drink. “Cheers, Lieutenant. Somehow you and I manage.”
They drank and left.
Johnson got in his car. The mist was gone. It was a beautiful San Francisco night. He started the engine and turned on the radio.
“It’s a little after eight o’clock on a Wednesday night in the city…it’s a date night…aren’t they all…and a time for love. This is your love monster, Fast Eddie, with the sounds to get you in the mood.”