Cord and Carlos were back at the precinct offices.
Cord was staring at the two boards that were covered with pin on notes.
The first was about Wildcat whilst the second was about Stretch.
“Now people listen up.”
The detectives and uniform officers stopped what they were doing and turned to watch the pair of them.
“Simon Skinner was assigned to watch Amos Grant, a freelance accountant, to see if he was doing work for the Mafia Dons. But he found out nothing incriminating and yet he was beaten nearly to death. Why?” Cord said sipping his scolding hot coffee.
“The Mafia boys thought he was fiddling them?” One offered.
“Possible, but unlikely. We know he was found in an alley but forensics tell us he wasn’t beaten up there except for a few blows, as was witnessed by a couple of women of horizontal pleasure. Not enough blood splattered around apparently. That alley was not far from the gym where Amos’s son Ted was training. Oh and his watch, billfold and ring was taken. Why Lord above knows since you don’t subject a person to that type of beating just to knick a few bits and pieces.”
Corn took another sip of his coffee whilst Carlos took over.
“Ted Grant is a good friend of Simons and is a professional boxer in the heavy weight division. He’s got a fight with the Italian contender to find out who’s going up against the champion on Saturday.”
“Simon was investigating Amos to see if he was embezzling his client our well known reclusive benefactor Mr Brimstone as well as doctoring the books for the local Mafioso.”
“Could have Ted Grant and some of his boxing cronies beat Simon up?” Detective Thomas asked.
“Possible but he has an alibi. He was in the gym. No, I just can’t see it. I bumped into Ted and his Pal at Simons employer and he seemed genuinely concerned, in fact the two of them were trying to find out who had beaten up Simon themselves.” Cord told them. “No I’m sure they are not involved at least not in that way.
Which brings us to the next thing on the agenda. Whilst interviewing Simons boss, a Mr Leo Pond, he passed me two of Simons note books which I passed to Ted Grant. Apparently the note books had been altered so I got our calligraphy expert to take a look. Michael?”
A slim bespectacled youth stood up.
“The alterations were quite expertly done but if you look closely at the ‘E’s’ and ‘O’s’ you can see they are not as free flowing as they should be.” The young man said. “And it is obvious that the forgery was carried out by a right hander. Skinner is a left hander.”
“Thank you Michael” The young man sat back down.
Unseen the Captain had slipped in and perched himself on a table at the back.
“The entries were changed to show Amos is guilty. Why?”
“To make it look as if Amos found out what Simon had discovered and had him beaten to a pulp.” A pretty young female patrol woman said.
“Yes Clair, very good.” Cord beamed at her. “Anything else?”
“Well with all this going on it is hardly the perfect run in for the fight for Ted. I doubt he can concentrate enough on his training.”
“Do you know I hadn’t thought of that, well done. Does anyone know the odds on the fight.”
“The last I heard the Italians odds on to win, Ted’s a rank outsider.” One of the officers told him. “Unless the Italian thinks Ted is a real threat and wants him out of it.”
“Right children we are starting to see the wood for the trees. The attack on Simon is to take Ted’s eye off the fight. The alteration of the log books was to blame the attack on Simon on Amos for supposedly uncovering his embezzlement of Mr Brimstones money. Right now we know the why but not the who. George have a word with the Italians camp and see if there are any Mafia connections?
The other possible assailant is Mr Brimstone if he believed the forged books. Which brings us rather neatly to our Wildcat. I have several possible faces for this one.
The first is John Johnson the head keeper at the zoo. He once worked with Bruce Boxlighter of Bring Them Back Alive Fame. Though he didn’t mention it there was a big bust up between the two when Bruce found out John was taking rich tourists on shooting safaris. He has access to the only legitimate Panthers here at the zoo. Any luck with the pet shops and exotic animal dealers?”
“No boss. Do you know how many pet shops and legitimate animal importers there are in Lincoln?” A detective said.
“No but I have a funny feeling your going to tell me.” Cord said sarcastically.
“Sorry Lieutenant. None of them have had any big cats going through their hands and one proprietor gave us a tip off about two illegal animal importers. When we busted them they had crates of monkeys.
Mr Brimstone has had a large order filled by two of the importers, one is for exotic cage birds for his new aviaries and the other was for tropical fish for his brand new aquariums. That’s is I’m afraid sir.”
“I see, thank you.” He turned back to the board. “Possible Panthers are Ted Grant who has the build for it and may be involved with the radical group the Black Panthers who want equality for black people faster that the president is going. Amos Grant for no other reason that I have this nagging voice in the back of my mind. And lastly Mr Brimstone has the finance and the grounds to have a black panther kept there.
I think I’ll give Mr Brimstone a visit and gee him up a bit.”
“Now hold on there Vincent.” The Captain said. “Let’s be sure of our ground here we haven’t any proof”
Cord hated being call Vincent.
“I haven’t time to mess about with the niceties, this thing, whatever it is, has already kill at least six people maybe more! And you want me to pussy foot around Mr brighter than bright Brimstone, Sir!!”
“I don’t like this Vincent, I don’t like this at all, but be it on your own head if it explodes in your face. Just try not to upset him for all our sakes.”
The Captain got up and left the office.
Cord took a deep pull on his cigarette.
“Right. Michael contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and find out all you can on Amos and Ted Grant.
Now I want three pairs of you, a male and female, at the East, West and South exit to the park where the girl was attacked, Carlos and I will take the North one, the actual attack site. We need to be in position by twelve O’clock.”
“So you think it is still in the park, Lieutenant?”
“I hope so Leanne especially as I asked it to meet me where the girl was attacked.” He said with a broad grin enjoying the puzzled looks on their faces.
Cord wondered what they would say if they realised how nervous he was. He didn’t know which he was most frightened of. The creature turning up or it not turning up leaving him to face the humiliation.
But before then he had some visits to make, people to see.
Alexander grinned to himself. Everything was going well. He’d arranged for a hit man to visit Skinner and make sure he would never wake up. Another hoodlum had been assigned to kidnap Amos and arrange an accident which would, naturally result in his death. This had been tricky as it was difficult to tack the man, he never stayed in one place for any length of time.
Alexander had even managed to arrange a alibi when the set piece kicked off. And the cherry on top of the cake was the fact that his gullible and clumsy brother was following Ted Grant everywhere which must irritate like hell and if Ted Grant lays one finger on him he would loose his boxing licence.
Yes Alexander told himself as he bent over the pool cue and did a perfect break off shot. Yes every thing was going just right.
He lined up the one ball to pot the six ball when a hand whipped the white ball of the baize in a blur.
Standing up with a roar of profanity he met the steely glare of Cords eyes.
“Hello Alexander fancy finding you here.” Cord grinned mirthlessly.
Cord laid fifty dollars on the cushion of the pool table.
“I tell you what.” Cord continued as he put the cue ball right back where he took it from. “I’ll play one frame against you. If you win you get fifty dollars if I win you come down to the Precinct Offices and sing like a canary about the Grants and Brimstone.”
Alexander grinned cocksure of himself and his ability on the pool table. He agreed and swiftly potted the first four balls but had to play safe on the next, tucking the cue ball tight on the cushion.
Cord got down and tripled the white ball such that the target ball rolled down the cushion into the bottom left pocket.
There was a gasp of appreciation from those that were watching. Alexander stared in horror as Cord potted the next leaving the cue ball such that he could pot the last two balls at the same time.
Alexander turned and ran hell for leather for the bars exit, straight into Carlos’s arms.
“Going somewhere are we Alexander?”
Behind him he heard the distinctive click of ball on ball followed by two meaty thunk’s as the two balls dropped into the pockets.
He turned and saw with horror Cord picking up the dollars he had laid on the rail.
“Didn’t he tell you he was the Inter-forces pool champion for three years. Oh how remiss of him.” Carlos told him with a tight grin.
At Freedom park four box vans pulled up and parked each of them at the cardinal points of the compass.
Back in the precinct house Cord and Carlos were interviewing Alexander.
Cord put a writing pad on the table and another of his scolding hot coffees.
“Now Alexander where were you on the night of the 6th? From lets say six o’clock to midnight?” Cord smiled at him like a wolf smiles at its prey. He was watch out for the tiny signs that told him Alexander was lying.
“What’s this all about Lieutenant?” Alexander replied.
“Just answer the question please?”
“I was at home.” Alexander said smugly.
“Nope, try again. The truth please?”
Alexander was taken aback and lent back to give himself a moment to think of a plausible reply.
“Okay so I went out to a private gambling club.” He said.
“Wrong again. Your not doing very well are you?”
Cords calmness was unnerving him. He couldn’t know could he?
“Do you know I think we will skip the preliminary bit where you lie between your teeth.
You were at Mr Brimstones town house. His men drove you back to where you could be picked up by your own little gang of petty thieves. You threw up now I wonder why?”
“I don’t know what your talking about.”
“Don’t muck us about, you were seen.” Carlos raged thumping the desk top hard with his fist.
“I don’t know who told you that but they were lying. I was nowhere near the Brimstones pad.”
“Strange, I could have sworn I saw someone so like you as to be twins being bundled out of Brimstones Rolls Royce and then throwing up in the curb.” Cord grinned. “I trust your not going to call me a liar.”
It took a couple of seconds for the penny to drop in his deep well.
“It’s was you who saw me?”
“Yes. It quite put me off my jelly donut.” Cord took a sip of his coffee relishing its hot bitter taste. “Why were you sick Alexander?”
“Oh that. It’s my own fault I had a doggy hot dog.” Beads of sweat dotted his brow.
“Really? And there was I thinking you were terrified. You just tell me who sold it to you and I promise I will get the vendor shut down.”
“No. No, I cooked it myself. I didn’t cook it long enough that’s all.”
“Where did you cook it?”
“A simple question where did you cook the hotdog it was certainly not at home and I can’t imagine Brimstone allowing you to use his kitchen.”
“Why were you at Brimstones?” Carlos said angrily.
“I wasn’t there so can I go now?” Alexander got up to leave only to be slammed back into his chair by Carlos.
“Yes of course you can.” Cord paused momentarily before continuing. “As soon as you start telling the truth. You see the tape-recorder of Simons was still going when he answered the door and got knocked out. The forensic team are over their now dusting for finger prints. If you touched any surface say like the elevator button they will find it.
We’ll suspend the interview and arrange for your fingerprints to be taken.”
Leaving a silent uniformed officer in charge the two detectives left the room.
“Forensics aren’t at Skinners apartment as far as I know, nor have they been.” Carlos informed his colleague.
“Dammed.” Cord spied one of his team. “George take our guests fingerprints please and while you are doing it say how efficient it had become. Able to get convictions on even partial prints, something like that. Then get Forensics over to Skinners Apartment and I want them to check out the elevators.”
He paced back and forth for a few moments.
“Go and bring Pond in and if he asks what fore tell him its for accessory to attempted murder and keep him away from Alexander.”
A women police officer from Cords section was carrying a cup of coffee on a tray along with a cheese and ham bagel as she passed Cord. Cord quickly lifted the cup off the tray.
“Thank you Sallyanne most thoughtful.”
Sallyanne glared at him but just muttered.
“That’s okay sir.”
“Good quickly finish the rest of your meal and join me in my car.” Cord grinned. “The chase is a foot my dear Watson.”
Card paraphrased Sherlock Holmes famous saying be for turning round and making his way out of the precinct house toward his car.