Detective Eduardo Hector sat across from Gustaff Karlsson awaiting his assistant Aron’s return with the client list. One awkward silent minute dragged on into five, under the weight of Gustaff’s unwavering appraising gaze. Hector’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket and he was relieved to have an excuse to leave the room.
“Excuse me Mr . Karlsson. I need to take this call.”
He stepped into the hall and answered his phone. Officer Palin said, “You’re not going to believe this. The neighbor Nathaniel, who I interviewed for the Liam Anderson murder case, is in the hospital. Before lapsing into a coma, he told his nurse that the assault that very nearly killed him was in retaliation for the stuff he told me about the International Trading Company and their black market auctions. Get this, the assailant is the son of Liam’s maid. We’ve got him in custody and he doesn’t deny it. He actually confirmed that there’s a price on Nathaniel’s head. Did you want to question him, before we finish processing him?”
“Most definitely, thanks for the heads up man. I’m actually still at the trading company. Give me a few minutes to wrap things up here and I’ll head back to the precinct.”
Hector stepped back into Gustaff’s office smiling broadly. His host warily returned the smile, watching him sit back down.
“I have to give it to you Mr. Karlsson, you sure don’t believe in wasting time,” said Hector shaking his head.
“Excuse me? I’m at a disadvantage here Detective, given that I have no idea to what you are referring.”
“I haven’t even left the premises and you’re already attempting to hunt down my witnesses.”
“I really must apologize. I’m still in the dark here.”
“Now I know why it’s taking so long for your little assistant Aron to get that client list printed up. He’s been busy getting the word out that there’s a price on the head of my witness!”
“More baseless conspiracy theories. A less tolerant man would be offended by all of these baseless accusations. Oh good, here is Aron with the list now and not a moment too soon. You have just worn out your welcome Detective. Is there anything else you require? I’m a very busy man and this little…meeting has taken up far too much of my time.”
“No, not right now. Rest assured though, I will be back…most likely with a warrant for someone’s arrest.”
Hector made it back to the precinct in record time, eager to see if he could come up with enough evidence to return to the International Trading Company with an arrest warrant. Nathaniel’s assailant was Archer Miller. Hector took a few moments to peruse the rap sheet that Officer Palin had printed off, noting a string of charges for petty theft, armed robbery and assault. Entering the interview room, he quickly appraised the suspect. Archer was in his early twenties, long and lean with mid-length greasy hair curtaining his spaced-out eyes. He sat reared back in his seat, absentmindedly yanking on each end of the pull string of his hoodie. He declined Hector’s offer of water or coffee.
“So Mr. Miller, I understand you assaulted Nathaniel Boyce today.”
“Is that his name?”
“You mean you didn’t even know what his name was?”
“I knew his first name. We’ve had words several times before. He’s always giving my mom shit for parking in front of his house, seems to think he owns the entire damn street. When they told me about the price on his head, I jumped at the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.”
“Who is they?”
“Just some guys I vibe with, they clued me in. Hell, the word is out on the streets. I just happened to get to him first.”
“Who ordered the hit?”
“Look, I have no problem taking responsibility for what I did, but I ain’t taking nobody down with me.”
“Fair enough Mr. Miller. So, why is there a price on Mr. Boyce’s head?”
“All I was told is he’s got a big mouth. Rats like him have to be eradicated ’cause they’re a threat to the coming new world order.”
“New world order? That sounds like some illuminati bullshit. I hate to break the news to you pal, that organization hasn’t existed since the 1700s,” quipped Hector.
“That’s what you think,” Archer snapped.
“No, that’s what I know,” Hector persisted placidly.
“Oh yeah, well then explain all the chaos going on in the world right now. All the violence constantly jumping off in the streets is just one symptom of the corruption in our diseased political system. The end time is coming. More and more people are joining the resistance every day. ‘Cause they’re fed up. The eye of providence is all around you dude. Why do you think Liam had to die?”
“You tell me.”
“Because he wouldn’t sell that grimoire to the right person and it’s the key. He wanted to sell it to some private collector who didn’t even know what the hell it was, just to make a bigger profit,” said Archer.
“That grimoire is the key to what?”
“Everything man…” murmured Archer peering intently at Hector through locks of tousled hair.
“So you attacked Liam, just like you assaulted Mr. Boyce.”
“Naw dude, don’t try to lay that at my feet. I don’t do wet work. That’s a little too… intense for me.”
“People do all kinds of things they wouldn’t normally do, when there’s bad blood, like what went down between the two of you. I hear you were enraged, when he accused you of stealing from him and then called the cops. You wouldn’t be the first person to murder someone to settle a score.”
“That was just a misunderstanding. I’m telling you dude, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I had nothing to do with that.”
“So who did it?”
“I got no idea. Of course to be honest, I wouldn’t tell you even if I did know. Whoever offed that asshole did the world a favor,” Archer said with a sly smile.