Next of Kin
Otis Gorski was Velvet’s partner in security at The Kobel Warehouse Off Rockrine Road. Vince had already met the man during their investigation into Simon Sidney’s death there. Gruff and professional, Vince couldn’t say he relished the idea of waking him up to inform him of his cousin’s death.
The car ride was silent, DeMarte with his laser sharp focus fixated on the road and Vince stewing about what DeMarte might have thought about that comment from Miss Vernee Dean and how to broach the fact that he was somewhat familiar with Otis Gorski as well. There was nothing conflicting about it, as far as Vince was concerned, but DeMarte might think otherwise. He might remove him from the case.
At that thought, Vince cleared his throat.
“I think you should know, Detective, that I met Mr. Gorski previously on another case,” he said, and then he waited.
DeMarte said nothing, just stared straight ahead as he smoothly navigated Sunday afternoon traffic.
“He was a witness in the Simon Sidney murder case,” Vince went on.
“He’s also works with Mr. McKinney’s neighbor, Velvet Li.”
“Carthos, I don’t need to know your whole life.”
Vince sat there dumbfounded for a few seconds before nodding.
The rest of the ride was silent, for which Vince was both grateful and apprehensive. DeMarte’s face was unreadable.
They arrived at Otis Gorski’s house and Vince was all too happy to let DeMarte lead the charge to the front door, knocking hard. Otis Gorski wasn’t exactly pleasant when he was awake; Vince couldn’t imagine he’d be much better after being woken up.
The front door opened within a minute, and Otis Gorski stood there, fully dressed and looking wide awake, catching Vince by surprise. He thought for sure that the man would have been sleeping for his impending shift. But then, Velvet did say that Otis was a little weird.
“Mr. Gorski?” DeMarte inquired and he nodded. “My name is Detective DeAndre DeMarte. This is Detective Carthos. Is it all right if we come inside and talk for a minute?”
Mr. Gorski cast a glance past DeMarte to Vince and frowned.
“Don’t tell me they found another body out at the warehouse,” he said.
“No, sir,” DeMarte said with a smile as Vince shook his head. Seemed Mr. Gorski remembered him. “Can we talk?”
Mr. Gorski led them inside, leaving Vince to shut the front door behind him, and into a living room that featured furniture that was probably bought used twenty years ago.
“Have a seat,” Mr. Gorski instructed. He sat in a well-worn, almost broken-down recliner and Vince sat on the couch. DeMarte looked like he didn’t want to sit anywhere, but he did after a second, on the edge of the couch leaving a respectable distance between himself and Vince. “What can I do for you?”
“Are you related to a man named Lister McKinney?” DeMarte asked.
“Yeah,” Mr. Gorski said, guarded, and for the first time, the resemblance between the living man and the dead man dawned on Vince. Same thin build, same bald head, same set of the mouth. They could have easily passed for brothers. “He’s my cousin. Why? What’s he done now?”
Vince looked over at DeMarte, expecting him to exchange a look with him, but DeMarte kept his focus on Mr. Gorski.
“I regret to inform you that your cousin has been found deceased earlier this afternoon,” DeMarte said, totally professional.
Mr. Gorski stared at him for a moment, almost in disbelief, and then slumped back into his chair, a soft sadness clouding his face.
“Well, damn. That’s a shame. How did it happen?”
“We’re not sure right now, Mr. Gorski. At the moment, we’re investigating it as a suspicious death,” DeMarte said.
Mr. Gorski raised his eyebrows. “Really? Why? I figured he just drank himself to death. That’s what he’s been doing. Pretty dedicated to it, in fact.”
“Maybe so, but he was found dead in his garage with a significant head injury,” DeMarte said. “It’s important the we investigate all angles of this case. We don’t want anything overlooked.”
Now DeMarte glanced over at Vince and Vince ignored him. It was a dig at him and at Detective Carpenter, he knew it. He’d suffered through a lot of those in the last year, though as the newbie he hadn’t been subjected to as many as Carpenter. Unsurprisingly, many of those digs had been made by Detective DeMarte.
“I suppose that’s smart,” Mr. Gorski said. He sat up straighter in his recliner. “I doubt he did anything much more than get drunk and fall over, though.”
“Be that as it may, I’d appreciate it if you bear with us and answer a few questions,” DeMarte said.
“Have you heard from your cousin lately?” DeMarte asked.
“Not lately,” he said, shaking his head. “Think I might have talked to him on the phone a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t seen him since February, I think. But that’s not unusual. We were real close as kids, but we grew apart as adults. I got a job working overnight and he got to drinking. Those schedules don’t work out so well.”
“So, you hadn’t seen him lately,” DeMarte said, jotting it down in his notebook.
“Not since February.”
“But you talked to him a couple of weeks ago.”
“Anything unusual about that conversation? Did he sound upset or out of sorts?”
“Nope, just half-lit like usual.”
“Would you know of anyone who’d want to hurt your cousin or any reason someone might want to hurt your cousin?” DeMarte asked.
“No. Not since he stopped drinking bars,” Mr. Gorski said.
Can the remaining two Wyliss boys shed any light on what might have happened to Lister? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and find out what they have to say.