Back to the Neighborhood
Vince unlocked his front door, grateful to be home. He’d taken his dear sweet time eating his dinner and then gave DeMarte an extra twenty minutes, but the man still hadn’t contacted him in any way. Vince even checked his desk before he left just in case he missed him. He hadn’t.
Tossing his workbag in the nearest chair and slinging his suit jacket over the back of it, Vince made his way to the bathroom for some antacids. It wasn’t so much the fast food dinner upsetting his stomach (though he really should try to eat better), it was the not knowing. Vince knew that DeMarte had been at Revolutionary Medicines, but how long could he grill Revolution Dude about his cousin’s death without arresting him or Revolution Dude invoking a lawyer? Not long. So, what had DeMarte been doing? And where had he been doing it at?
Vince popped a couple of the fruit flavored chalk tabs and let them dissolve a second before crunching them up. He headed to the kitchen for some water.
His phone rang. Vince fished it out of his pants pocket and his stomach clinched at the name on the caller ID.
“It’s DeMarte. Where are you?”
“At home. Where are you?”
“At the station.” He sounded a little peeved. “When did you leave?”
“About ten minutes ago. I guess you just missed me.”
Vince smiled at the man’s irritation. He didn’t know if DeMarte would make a fuss about him leaving the station without him (he probably would, if only a casual complaint to another detective to give Vince’s reputation a little smear), so he decided to take his pleasure in aggravating him.
“I wish you would have let me know you were leaving.”
“You were following up with forensics. You were gone so long that I figured you’d gone home for the night.”
“Never assume, Carthos,” DeMarte said, his voice sharp. Vince winced. “As a detective, you should know better than that. Cases can be lost because of assumptions. And as a junior detective,” Vince noted the extra aggressive emphasis, “you should always check in with your senior on a case before you do anything.”
Communication goes both ways, Vince thought, but he said, “Yes, sir.”
“Now,” DeMarte said, his voice shifting from disappointed dad to superior detective, “I need you to do some research for me.”
“Okay,” Vince said, uncertain.
“I know you’re at home.” Vince heard the smirk in his voice. “But this could be an important lead. I need you to find a female private investigator here in Munsterville. She’s about early 30’s, blonde, with pink streaks in her hair.”
“Okay,” Vince said, hustling from the kitchen to the living room so he could fish his notebook out of his coat pocket and write it down.
“She was supposedly working on a cold case about a missing person. She questioned both Mr. McKinney and Virgil Clapp about it because they and their other cousin were playing in the park the day she went missing. She might be involved in Mr. McKinney’s death.”
Vince froze, notebook in hand, pen still unaccounted for, confusion slamming him to a halt.
“What? How?” Vince asked. DeMarte wasn’t just grasping at straws; he was grasping at anything that resembled a straw. What the hell had he been doing?
“It’s important to investigate all of the leads. You know that,” DeMarte said. “This came up while I was talking to Mr. Clapp. It’s possible the woman pushed Mr. McKinney a little too hard during her investigation. I’m still looking into the case that she was supposedly investigating. An anonymous tip apparently solved it, but I’m not so sure. It doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of something.”
Vince rolled his eyes. The surface of what?
“I need the name of that investigator by eight tomorrow morning. We need to jump on this.”
Vince wanted to tell him no, but instead he said okay and hung up.
He stared at his phone for a moment, attempting to get his blood pressure under control. After a few minutes of futility, he put down his phone, found his pen, and wrote down everything he could remember about the private investigator he was supposed to find. He was tired. He didn’t want to do anymore work tonight. He didn’t want to look for any private investigator. He didn’t want to indulge in DeMarte’s delusion. It was a pointless search. This wasn’t a murder. No matter how many leads DeMarte followed, it wasn’t going to be a murder.
But he was going to do it anyway.
It’s back to Hollyhock Road. What answers will they find there? If any? Become a patron for as little as $1 an episode and find out for yourself.