Chapter 42 (JUDGEMENT day)
Jim took the last sip of coffee before he looked up. Jim and Monty listened to Deric’s recount of Rita le Roux’s rather enlightening tale, and both had to admit, this case was getting more weird and intriguing by the minute.
‘So where do we go from here?’ Jim wanted to know.
‘Okay, here’s what I’ve been thinking, and feel free to jump in at any time if you have a better suggestion or idea…’ Deric gave Monty and Jim each an encouraging look, ’First we’ve to establish what the Judge are going to do on his birthday, which is on the 30th of January – tomorrow.’
‘Let’s see,’ Monty chipped in, ‘Maybe this is something Danny can help us with. I mean they are on stake-out since six this morning.’
‘Six?’ Deric said surprised.
Monty gave a grin, ‘Remember, Cappie, he’s new and he wants to make his mark. He doesn’t want to muck-up the first task he volunteered for. They’re in two teams and he’s there, with one of the other guys – I think Constable Van Wyk - since six this morning. He phoned me very early this morning to let me now they’re in position.’
Jim rolled his eyes, ‘O, the exuberance of the youth…six!’ He looked tongue in cheek towards Deric, ‘I think you have an admirer in that one.’
‘I wish some of the older, long-in-the-tooth inspectors, will realize my potential as a leader.’ Deric said with a little air and then, ‘Good man, Danny!’
‘Or, maybe he wants your job, pay-raise and everything.’ Jim lashed back with a smile.
Monty grinned at the banter as he picked up his phone.
‘They must be very discreet, let sleeping dogs lie and all that.’ Deric said to Monty.
Monty nodded at Deric as he talked into the phone, ‘Hi, Danny, bored yet?’ Danny’s answer made him laugh, ‘Listen Danny, we found out that it is the Judge’s birthday tomorrow…huh…oh, you do, do you?’ Monty listened intently for a few moments before he said, ‘Good work! I think you should talk to the boss.’ He handed the phone to Deric.
Deric listened as Danny repeated what he just told Monty.
‘How do you know, I mean about the party?’ Deric asked surprised, ‘and you say it’s tonight?’ He listened some more and praised Danny, ‘Well, well, well, you may just turn out to be a fine detective. Danny don’t you worry, you’ll have a very attractive nerd with you tonight to cater and waiter,’ Deric looked at Monty, ‘Hi, Monty how’s your waiter-skills? You always complain that you don’t do enough field-work.’
Monty gave a thumb’s up.
‘Apparently he’ good at that, too, Danny,’ Deric smirked, ‘I think you should leave only one of the guys there and get yourself home. It’s Van Wyk, is it? He can contact you if anything out of the ordinary happens. I rather prefer you on duty tonight. You’ll have some good help tonight.’
Jim gave Monty a broad smile as Deric finished his conversation with Danny.
‘Jim, come on, you and I have to go and pursued the lady in charge that she needs more help in the kitchen, like maybe two waiters and a waitress.’
‘Latisha?’ he asked inquisitively.
‘No, I’m going to let her be this evening; I’ve got someone else in mind whose yearning to do something, just like Monty.’ He turned to Monty, ‘Tim, please phone Mae, fill her in on all the details and asked my wife nicely if she’s willing to be kitchen-staff tonight,’ He smiled, ‘That way she can help keep an eye on the Judge’s wine-ing and dining.’
‘You think it will be tonight? You think they’re going to kill him at his own party?’ Jim thought out loud. Then to Deric, ’but it’s only the 29th today.’
‘I don’t know, but I have a gut feeling that is going down tonight, and this gut is growing by the minute…’ his voice dwindled.
‘What’s growing?’ Jim asked with a piercing look.
‘Nothing,’ Deric said as he felt his neck turned scarlet, ‘I just think I need some exercise. You know, drinking too much beer – I want to get rid of this beer-belly.’ Deric patted his belly.
Jim kept looking at him for some time as Deric gathered his notebook and coat. If there’s a beer-belly in there somewhere, he’s hiding it very, very well!
‘I don’t know what they’ve planned, but I’m sure it will not be a knife-or gunfight. They’re far more subtle than that up to now.’ Deric tried to change the subject.
‘Yeah, Captain String-bean,’ Jim sneered, ’you want to get rid of a beer-belly! I hope at least the feeling is larger than that gut, for if we had to go by that gut’s size, we’re in trouble!’
Jim gathered his coat and mumbled, ‘Something is amiss in the land of Denmark.’
‘If you have to quote Shakespeare, you ought to do it right, at least.’ Deric tried to safe face.
‘Well, I may not be Shakespeare, but I can smell the rotten fish in Denmark just as well.’ Jim winked at Monty as he followed Deric downstairs.
‘Okay, honey, I’m on my way.’ Mirna knocked and opened the door at the same time, ‘still got some last minute things to make sure off at the restaurant. Kimmie will drop me off, but I’ll wait for you outside.’
She looked nice. She had her “I-don’t-care” grey-streaked hair dyed and the usual loose bun gave way to a long bob. She made an effort with her make-up and the high cheekbones stood out. The green dress complimented her skin-tone. She even wore shoes with slight heels. She always wear flats because of her length – always felt six feet is too tall for a woman.
‘My, my, who are you young lady, and what did you do with my wife?’ He joked stiffly and kissed her on the cheek.
She smiled up at him.
Her smile turned into a frown.
‘Are you okay?’ she put a hand to his forehead, ‘you look a little pale.’
‘No, I’m okay, just tired, don’t worry about me. I’ll see you in an hour then. Nothing can cure tiredness better than an evening with my lovely wife and good friends. And tomorrow we’ll have a sleep-in!’ He kissed her again.
‘Don’t be late. I do not want to welcome the guests on my own like the previous time.’
She gave him one last probing look.
‘You sure you’re okay.’
He nodded, ‘Right as rain.’