Simon ‘Stretch’ Skinners apartment was in total darkness.
The sound of a key in the lock broke the heavy silence.
The door opened and a gloved hand reached in at flicked the light switch.
“This can’t be legal Ted. We’re braking and entering at the very least.” Alan said worriedly.
“How can it be breaking and entering if we have got a key and its not as if we were going to steal anything.” Ted explained.
“I still don’t like it.” Alan moaned.
Both were suited and booted ready for the press conference and the weigh in.
Ted stayed at the door drinking it all in.
For such a clumsy man the room was neat and tidied. The bed had been folded up against the wall, its base and sides making it look like a wardrobe to the untrained eye. A Persian rug was on the floor and a heavy looking swivelling fireside chair stood by the fireside. Off to the side of the room was a small bath room with a shower cubical and toilet and further up a doorway to a small galley kitchen. In the middle of the room was a desk and a barstool. It was the only messy place in the whole of the apartment. Its surface was covered with document folders and paper work scattered to the four winds, even trailing onto the floor.
Ted crossed over to the desk and took a look at the papers when he noticed a folder marked with the legend, Amos Grant. He picked it up and glanced through it before sighing in relief.
He went to pick up the microphone but decided against it.
“Stretch was sitting at the desk dictating his report when someone came to the door. He forgets to turn off the tape.” Ted walked to the door. “He opens it and has a low conversation before collapsing from a blow to the head.”
“How do you know it was a blow to the head.” Alan said pedantically.
“Alright, will overpower suit you better?” Ted snorted.
“No I’m the one who should be apologising. All this is getting to me.” Ted turned to the tape machine. “If Stretch was overpowered at the door who stopped the tape machine and sent the tape to Mary the only one he trusted to do the right thing.”
“We’ve been through this before Ted.”
“Yes I know but I know now who did it, it was the same man who was here when Stretch was attacked! The same man who is on most of these papers. My father!”
“Are you being serious?!!”
“Yes totally. The tape would have recorded whoever had come in. We didn’t play it long enough.!!” Ted explained. “Stretch found nothing on my father and knowing Stretch he called him over and talked to him about it before doing his final taped report. Stretch is too honest, too trusting.”
Ted strode over toward the kitchenette.
“My father was probably already here. He was either in here or in the bathroom when Stretch was attacked.”
“Then why didn’t he call the police?” Alan asked.
“Because he was the subject of Stretch’s investigation and it would look as if he was the guilty party especially when the doctored reports were found.” Ted crossed to the window and peered out. “All he could do was send it to Mary knowing she too was too honest and would get the police in.”
“It’s all speculation Ted with no hard evidence to back it up.”
“Don’t you think I know that, but its all we’ve got. By the way we’ve been tailed again. What did Jim say his name was?”
Alan joined Ted at the window and peered out.
“Duncan, Duncan Lent.” Alan informed him. “Can we go now?”
Ted looked around the room for the last time.
“Yes. We’ll pop in to see how Stretch is doing.”
“Okay lets go and I’ll see if I can’t shake Lent off this time.”
At the door Ted looked back into the room and sighed.
“You’ve got to get through this old friend, you just have got to.” He turned out the light and left.
It wasn’t till the ping of the elevator and the whir of its decent that two people let out a sigh.
“Are you alright Clair?” The fireside chair rotated to reveal Cord.
He got up and crossed to the window to watch the two men get into their car and drive away. Duncan folded the paper he was reading, got into his car and drove off after them.
“Curious.” Cord muttered to himself.
“I’m fine sir but that was a close run thing. I was certain he was going to come in but I couldn’t think of one reason for being there.”
“I would have interrupt him before then but I couldn’t think what to say either, if that’s any conciliation.” He crossed over to the telephone and dialled the precinct house and had an intense conversation with Carlos for a few moments.
There was a clatter and a thump before the door open to reveal the forensic team.
Moffitt the leader fare jumped in stunned surprised as the door opened to reveal Cord.
As the light was switched on.
“You fare gave me a turn lieutenant.” He said once he had recovered his voice.
“Sorry Mike. Try and get some finger prints from the jam of the door so I can check them against a suspect who say’s he has never been to this building and therefore never been to this apartment. And try the Elevator too.
Clair come with me.”
With that they left.
Downstairs he headed for their car with a lot going round his head.
Within moments they had gone.
In the precinct house Carlos was supervising the arrival of a loudly protesting Leo Pond when Cord and Clair returned.
Cord swiftly took over.
“Carlos arrange for Alexander’s brother Duncan to come and join us. You can’t miss him he has Ted Grant under surveillance, very badly. He sticks out like a sore thumb.” He guided Leo to the door to the interview room Alexander was in.
“Cord?” Carlos asked.
“In you go!” He pushed the door open and thrust Leo through and watched intently for any signs of recognition between the two of them.
In that moment Cord saw the tiny involuntary movement. Their faces gave them away.
“Oops sir. I forgot that you were still in here.” He led Leo across to the one opposite.
“What are you going charge them with?” Carlos asked.
“Accessory to murder, stopping an officer in the act of his investigation’s, stuff like that.
And now to find my passport and make sure its up do date.”
“Where are you going Cord.”
“Paris ,London, Amsterdam, before they are destroyed. I’ve got a couple of weeks holiday left so I thought I better visit before the war starts up.”
“You sure that there will be a war?” Cord asked.
“Inevitable I think.”
With his pad under his arm he re-entered the interview room that held Alexander.
“Well that was interesting.” He said as a preamble. “I’ll tell you what I think happened shall I.
Mr Brimstone hates the Grants with a passion and you could point out their weak points. That and the few friends that could be used against him. It must have been a shock to see what a thorough job they did on Skinner. Their intention was to kill him but they just fell short.
And then there is your visit to Brimstones. He put on a show for you to frighten you didn’t he. It must have been a hell of a sight or whatever to make you throw up. Am I getting close? As you’ve seen we have arrested Leo Ponds. So anything you say can be checked out against his statement. He was most forthcoming.”
Cord lied with out a blink out of place.
Alexander sighed his shoulders slumped.
“Mr Brimstone hates Blacks and Jews. He couldn’t face the thought of having a black world champion boxer so he hired me to disrupt Ted Grants training.
We decided to attack his friends and family whilst my young brothers attempt at keeping Ted under surveillance, being so bad, would put the pressure on him. If we could make him hit out he would be instantly disqualified and his boxing licence revoked.
They were supposed to frighten Skinner a bit and make it look like Grants father, Amos had done it, but they went too far. I pleaded with them to stop. ”
“Does your brother know why he has Ted Grant under observation?” Carlos asked.
“God no! He’s as straight as a die. He thinks Grant was having an affair with a married woman.” Alexander looked down at his watch and flinched.
“Don’t worry Alexander we have all the time in the world.” Carlos said.
“I bet they are sweating on the line for fear of Skinner waking up. Stop looking at your watch it’s irritating?!” Cords face became a mask of horror. “Except he isn’t going to wake up is he you’ve put a hit out on him!!”
Cord crashed through the door out into the corridor.
“Mike babysit our suspect.” The officer outside nodded and quickly entered.
“Where are we going?” Carlos yelled following his partner down the corridor at a run.
“The ‘Free’ to stop them killing Skinner.”
“Oh hell!” Carlos stretched his stride to catch up.
Inside the interview room the detective looked at Alexander with hooded eyes. From his pocket he took out a flick knife opened it and threw it on to the table in front of Alexander. Working on reflex Alexander picked it up and look up at the officer with a puzzled frown.
The officer grinned pulled out his revolver and fired twice straight into Alexander’s head while pressing the alarm bell with his other hand.
Mr Brimstone will be pleased, the officer thought, as other police personnel came crashing into the room in answer to the alarm bell.
Outside the two detectives commandeered a Green and White patrol car with them both hoping they would be in time.