The drive to the police station is long and hot. It feels like it is over ninety degrees out. It’s a good thing I decided to put the top down before I left the Urbans’ home. It seems as if everyone and their mama is on their way into the city today. Traffic is backed up for miles at the Holland Tunnel. The cars are slowly inching forward, so I begin to daydream.
And I daydream about Mitchell. Mitchell was such a patient and passionate lover. After sharing my bed with him for two and a half years, it was so hard for me to find anyone who could fill his shoes. He always knew just the right spot to get me in the mood, even when I really didn’t want to be bothered. My ears and neck have always been my sensitive spots and he knew it. He would use his tongue in ways that I knew were against the law. The man showed me things that even after we broke up no other man has ever been able to compare.
Mitchell could always put a smile on my face. He was so charming and smooth, it was no wonder it took me so long to get over him. No one could really blame me for letting him back in my life. But, now he’s gone and though he did things that hurt me to the core of my being, I guess I will always love him.
I could never forget his smile, the serious lines around his eyes, the way his lips would twitch whenever he was deep in thought, and even the way he talked to me as if I were his child. Even though I was only five years younger, he always felt he had to watch over me and protect me. Which pissed me off to no end, because I was always the one watching his back and taking care of his business. But, I understood that being the eldest of six, he had what psychologists call the “big brother” syndrome.
Another thing that would always piss me off about Mitchell was that he was just so damn cocky. He would always make it quite clear that he felt I couldn’t live without him. Where he got that thought from was beyond me. I never gave him any indication that I needed him. I’ve always carried myself like a strong, independent (almost too independent) black man, who could take care of himself. The problem, I assumed, was he (like quite a few people) felt that he was “the man” in the relationship, which baffles my mind. Because, if he was “the man” that would mean that I was, what, “the woman”, I don’t think so. Try again. I could never understand, why two men who love each other couldn’t respect that they were just that, two men. Why all the role playing? I tried to explain this point to him, but of course he couldn’t understand it. That chemical, testosterone must have clouded his brain.
As I finally reach the toll booth, my cellular phone rings. “Hello?” I answer.
“Trevor, it’s John. Where are you?”
“I’m on my way into the city. Why, what’s up?” “Well buddy, we’ve got a problem.” John answers.
“When you say ‘we’, who exactly do you mean?” I quickly ask. “Well, you are on your way into the station aren’t you?” he asks. “Yeah, you wanted this authorization right?”
“That’s right, but we do need to talk.”
“About what? C’mon John don’t fuck with me. What’s going on?” “Well, we’ve found som....” The phone fades out as I enter the Tunnel. “Hello! John, what did you find? Shit!!” I slam the phone down.
As usual, it takes me forever to find a parking space. I finally find one; three blocks away from the station.
The phone in my car rings again. “Hello John?”
“No Trevor, it’s your father. Who’s John, your new boyfriend?” Oh shit, I haven’t spoken with this man for almost a month.
“Very funny dad. What do you want?”
“I just called to find out if you were going to be free for dinner two Sundays from now, the twenty-third. I’m having some contributors over and I would like to have my one and only son at my side.”
Hm-mm, you really only want me there so you can perpetrate the perfect father image. I don’t want to be any part of this.
“Uh, Dad, I don’t know, I think I have some plans.” I try to sound convincing.
“Trevor, it’s not like I ask you for much. You know how important this is to me and your mother. Why can’t you just do this for me?”
“Fine.” I give in. “I’ll call you later to find out the time.” “Great, thanks son.” He says and the line goes dead.
I sit in my jeep for about five minutes. He would have to bring mom into this. He knows I would do anything for her. But, that’s my father, the manipulator, he always knows what buttons to push.
I get out of my jeep carrying my phone and car stereo. It’s a damn shame when you live in a time when you have to take all your vehicular appliances with you when you leave your car. This city is really horrible.
As I walk through the double doors of the station where I spent seven years of my life, I suddenly get this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and I smile. Boy, this place sure hasn’t changed. Everything seems to be just as I remembered when I left two years ago.
I approach the front desk.
“What up girl?” I say to Fran, the Desk Sergeant.
“Oh my God. Why if it isn’t Trevor Morrows. I haven’t seen you in ages. How the hell are you.”
“I ain’t makin’ no noise. How about you?”
“Well, I’m still here aren’t I. So, I guess I’m still insane.” She laughs. “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” I say laughing.
“So, Trevor what have you been doing with yourself?”
“Well, I just opened up my own detective agency.” I answer. Which reminds me I still haven’t been to the office yet.
“Well good for you. I guess anything’s better than here huh?” “You know it.”
“So what brings you back down to the slave trap?” she smiles.
“Actually, I’m supposed to meet with John. Is he here?”
“Oh yeah, he did say you would be coming by. Just go on in to the back.” “Thanks a lot Fran, it was good seeing you again.”
“Same here Trevor. Hey, maybe we could have lunch some time and catch up.”
“Sounds good. I’ll give you my number before I leave and we can hook up some time.” I walk pass the front desk looking for John. I can see Matthew sitting at his desk talking to someone on the phone. As he notices me; he immediately hangs up. He gets up and walks towards me.
“Mr. Morrows, Detective Langston is expecting you.” He says.
“I know, I just spoke with him about twenty minutes ago.” I reply. “Where is he?”
“He just stepped out for a couple of seconds. Is that the authorization for the autopsy?” He asks.
“Yes, it is.”
“I could take it for you and run it down to Forensic.”
I hesitate a little; thinking maybe I should hand deliver it to John. “I guess it won’t matter if I gave it to you.”
“Here, while I take this down, you can have a seat at my desk until Detective Langston arrives.” He offers.
“Thank s.” I say.
I’m flipping through a copy of GQ from Matthew’s desk, when John finally arrives. I jump up with my phone and stereo in hand and approach him.
“So, what’s the big problem John?” I ask.
He looks around the station, lowers his head and says quietly, “Trevor, let’s go into the Captain’s office.”
I follow him into Captain Jamesway’s office.
“Have a seat.” John says as he sits behind the desk.
“OK John, what’s going on? What’s with the cloak and dagger routine?
John sits back and starts slowly. “Trevor let’s start off by saying that I was not aware that the Mitchell we picked up earlier today was the same guy that you were involved with during that drug raid in Queens a couple of years back.” He pauses.
“OK, I’m listening.” I said patiently.
“Well, when he plea bargained with the DA, part of that bargain was that he would give them names of his contacts. There was also talk that after the raid, some of the money and drugs were missing. Now, we don’t want to believe that this was an inside job, but some of the names that Mitchell gave the DA were cops and even some higher up.”
“I see. So, what does all of this mean.”
“Well, it means that this case has become more complicated than we first thought. Since Forensic has to wait on the family’s authorization for an autopsy, they were only able to do blood work on Mitchell. And from what the lab is saying, and this is totally off the record, the amount of crack found in Mitchell’s blood stream was enough to kill a horse. It was as if someone pumped it in his system.”
“So, what are you saying?” I ask.
“What I’m saying is that there is a possibility that someone killed him.” He looks at me carefully.
“What? How is that possible?” It took me a couple of seconds to register this bit of information. I try to put the facts together, if Mitchell was truly murdered.
“John, let me just understand this. You think if Mitchell was murdered, which you have no solid proof behind it, it could have had something to do with the money and drugs that were missing during that raid in Queens?”
“Damn you’re good. Yes that’s exactly what I think. It’s just too much of a coincidence. The problem is we don’t know how this was done without you knowing about it, if you were with him last night. Now Trevor, don’t get upset but as much as I hate saying it, there is also talk that you may have been involved in it since you were romantically involved with Mitchell at the time of his arrest and his death.”
“Calm down Trevor, just calm down.” I tried telling myself, because I was just about to blow. Something in the back of my mind told me that’s what they were thinking.
I say slowly and deliberately, “John, all I want to know is am I a suspect?”
“No, Trevor. At least not now. I know you couldn’t have done this, but there are other powers that are going to be looking for someone and though it hasn’t gone up that far, you may be number one on that someone’s list.”
Just then there is a knock at the door. “Come on in.” John says.
Matthew comes in with a folder. He nods at me and hands John the folder. “Would you excuse me for a minute Trevor?” John asks
“Sure.” I say.
As John walks out the door with Matthew behind him, my mind is running a mile minute. It looks like these fellas are going to try and pin this one on me. Well, I’ll be damn if I’m going to let this happen.
John comes back into the office and looks as if someone has just slapped the hell out of him.
“Trevor, I don’t know what to tell you, but somehow the DA found out that the main suspect involved in the missing evidence from the Queens raid has just turned up dead. They are going crazy over there. I shouldn’t be telling you this but now they want an investigation.”
“Wait a minute.” I interrupt. “You mean to tell me that it’s been over two years that this case has been open and you guys still don’t know who’s responsible?”
“Well, the DA thinks it was you. Since you left so abruptly after Mitchell was let off so easily.” Matthew argues.
I look at Matthew squarely, “First off, if you knew what the hell you were talking about you would know I didn’t just abruptly leave the force, secondly I had absolutely nothing to do with the money or the drugs, thirdly I do not like the way you are insinuating that I did. And unless you are planning on arresting me right here and now, I’ll just be on my way.”
I get up with phone and stereo in hand. “You know what John, if this is what you call one of your best,” I say nodding my head towards Matthew. “You could do a helluva lot better.”
John grabs my arm and stops me before I can get a foot outside the door. “Trevor sit down for a minute will ya.” He says, exasperated. I look at him as if he just bit me and then he lets go of my arm quickly.
“Fine.” I say as I retreat back to my chair.
“Matthew, leave me with Trevor for a minute. We need to talk.” “Whatever you say sir.” Matthew says on his way out the door. “What’s with that guy?” I ask John.
“Oh, you know. He’s new and he’s trying to make a good impression. You know he’s Judge Lirday’s boy.”
“Oh, that’s why he looks so familiar.” I say. “He looks just like him. He acts like an asshole just like his father too.”
“I know, I know, but he’s a good cop.” He then looks at me and says, “Alright, looks like we’re gonna have to work together yet again.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well, since the DA suspects that there could have been foul play associated with Mitchell’s death and since this corruption charge may be connected with it, they’re gonna want somebody’s head. We both know how the DA thinks. It’s possible that Mitchell could have been in deeper shit than we both realized. If that’s the case then it’s possible that Mitchell was ready to pinpoint someone here and that someone, feeling nervous, could have taken Mitchell out.”
“Do you really think that the DA suspects me? I don’t believe this. You know Mitchell has been more trouble than he was worth. So what do we do?”
“I know as soon as Forensic files the report, the DA is gonna wanna know what the results were and since you were the last one with Mitchell they’re gonna want to talk to you. I have your report here so all you have to do is stick to it. When they ask you why you contacted me first, just tell them the truth, that I was the first person you thought of.”
“Well you know no matter what the results of the report, I’m gonna want to know who killed him. So you’re going help me?” I ask.
“Of course I’m gonna help you Trevor. Now, whether you want to believe it or not, we already have a few leads on that.”
“Really? Who are they?”
John pushes over a piece of paper over towards me. “Remember I told you that Mitchell gave the DA names of his contacts, well, two of them happen to be on the force. Now, because the DA couldn’t prove that these guys were involved, they got off without even a slap on the wrist.”
“Wait a minute.” I say pointing to one of the names. “I know this guy. I thought he was put away around the time Mitchell was let off.”
“I know just who you’re talking about.” John replies. “Raymond Johnson, yeah he was locked up when Mitchell ratted him out, but of course his time was shortened. You know our judicial system as well as I do.”
“Well, you know what?” I ask. “I think I’ll pay Mr. Johnson a visit, what do you think?
“I think two things; one be careful and two, just remember, whatever you do or say it’s got to be hush-hush, because no one must know that you are involved in the investigation or it’s my head and we both wouldn’t want that now would we?
“You’re right John.” I say. “Whew, I was beginning to think that you’d switched on me buddy.”
“Hey, c’mon Trevor, if I’m gonna help you with this I have to have it look as if I’m playing it by the book, especially with “Gung-ho” Matt around.”
“I can just imagine. Well listen, I need to go to the office. Here’s the number, you let me know as soon as you find out the results of the autopsy.” I hand him one of my newly made business cards.
“Great. How is that going anyway”
“Well, I really wouldn’t know. I was supposed to go in today to start on my first case, but it looks as if I may have to put it on hold for a bit.”
As I get up and face the glass wall, I notice that Matthew is staring intently at the office. It’s a good thing that the glass is one-way. “Let me just see something.” I say to myself. I walk towards the door and quickly yank it open. Just as I thought; he quickly turns his head down towards his desk.
“Doesn’t your boy have anything else better to do than worry about what we’re doing?” I ask John.
It’s five-fifteen and I’m on my way into my office. I suddenly realize that I haven’t eaten anything all day. No wonder I’ve been so irritable today. After emptying my stomach earlier and not putting anything in it all day I guess my body is telling me I’d better do something about it.
I stop in McDonald’s knowing full well I usually don’t eat fast-food. But, that’s exactly what I need right now, food that I could get fast. I was already behind.... I stop myself. Then it hits me. My ex-lover just died, this morning, in my bed. And what do I do? I rush to work.
“Damn Trevor, get a grip on yourself.” I say to myself
I didn’t know what to do with myself. This shit has never happened to me personally. No one I know has actually died before, let alone in my bed. I didn’t know what else to do, but go to work.
I changed my mind about McDonald’s. I really need to just go home and cook a balanced meal. But, I put that thought aside too, because the last thing I need to do was to be home by myself; after the day I had.
“I know. I’ll call Marcus and maybe we’ll go to dinner or something.” I think to myself. Since I was only a few blocks away from my office, I figured I would run up and call Marcus from there.
Again it takes me longer to find a parking space than it does to actually get to my location. I enter the revolving doors to the high-rise office building and am stopped by the security guard.
“Excuse me sir, do you have a pass?” he asks.
“Sure, I have it right here.” I say trying to juggle my organizer, stereo and car phone. I then put the stereo and phone down on the reception desk and start looking through my organizer for the security pass the building manager gave me a few days before.
“Oh, here it is.” I say showing him the pass.
“Do you need any help carrying this stuff.” The guard asks with a smile.
“No thanks, I think I can handle it.” I answer putting the pass back into the organizer and picking up the stereo and phone.
“Are you sure, I mean it wouldn’t be any problem.” He says still smiling at me.
This man is trying to flirt with me.
I give him one of my sexy half smiles, and say, “Nah, but uh, thanks for asking.” I pick up my stuff and walk towards the elevator.
“Here, at least let me get the button for you.” He say as he pushes the “up” button.
I give him a quick look over. He is kinda cute, but very young looking. He stood, I guess, about 6’2 and pretty solid.
“Thanks. Uh, my name is Trevor Morrows, I just moved in on Wednesday. I would offer my hand to shake, but as you can see they’re both pretty full.” I tried to make conversation. Since he wasn’t doing anything but looking at me, it was beginning to make me feel awkward. The elevator was taking forever to come down.
“Arnold.” He says. “So, you just moved in huh? I knew I hadn’t seen you before. What do you do?” He asks as he leaned against the wall.
I was saved from having to answer him. The elevator finally reached the first floor.
“Well, if you need anything just call the main desk. Don’t forget, my name’s Arnold.” He says as I enter the elevator.
I push number thirty-six and let the elevator doors shut. “Damn, I still got it!” I laugh out loud.
I finally reach the thirty-six floor and as I leave the elevator, I can hear voices coming from one of the offices. From what the building manager informed me, I will be sharing not only the floor but also a central receptionist with a dentist and an attorney.
I made a mental note to find out what this attorney specialized in and whether she could use my services.
I punched in my security code for the door to my three-room office suite. Since all the blinds were shut, it was pretty dark. I turned on all the lights and walked through the waiting area to my office. I walked around the cherry oak desk my father gave me as a peace-offering and sat down in the black leather chair. I lean back with my hands behind my head and just take it all in. I can’t help but smile. I feel so proud. I mean, I finally have something that’s mine. I cando what I choose, how I choose and when I choose.
No boss looking over my shoulder. No one to critique my work. I can run my show the way I want to.
The doorbell to the office rings.
“Who the hell could that be?” I wonder. “Oh no, it’s probably the kid from downstairs.” I get up from the chair and run to the door. It wasn’t the security guard. Instead it was this very beautiful young black woman wearing a gray jogging suit. She had her hair in a pony tail and had on very little make-up. But, by no means did this lady need any make• up. I would have to describe her complexion to be that of almonds and she had a very beautiful smile.
“Hi, can I help you?” I ask as I open the door.
“Hi, I heard the elevator and was just wondering who, besides me, would be crazy enough to come to work on a Saturday evening. I saw your lights on and I figured I would come by and see if you were our new neighbor.” She offers her hand.
“Well, it just so happens that I am your new neighbor. Hi, I’m Trevor Morrows and you are...”
“Minna Townsend and welcome.” She says smiling; showing all her pearly whites. “Well thank you Minna. Won’t you come in for a second?”
She looks at her watch and replies, “Actually I need to get back to work. But maybe we cando lunch later on next week.”
“That sounds fantastic.” I said. “And uh, what exactly do you do that you have to run off so quickly?” I ask visually flirting.
Why I’m playing with this woman is beyond me. But a little flirting never hurt anyone. “That’s my law office across the way.” She says pointing towards the suite directly across from mine.
“Well then, I guess depending on the type of law you practice maybe we could be more than just neighbors.”
“Excuse me?” She asks with reserve.
“No, no!” I laugh. “I only meant that I’m a private detective and that maybe we could be working neighbors.”
“Oh!” Minna laughs. “Well, you know I am looking for a very good detective to help me with a couple of new cases that I’m working on. We definitely should sit down and talk. Some time next week should be fine. Well listen, I need to get back to work; my break is about up. It was great meeting you and I look forward to lunch next week.”
“Yes, it was great meeting you also.”
As she turns to leave; I catch myself looking at her behind. I actually surprised myself, knowing full well that I haven’t looked at a woman in that way for over ten years. But she did have a great looking ass.
I let the door close and walk back into my office. I sit back down in the chair and pick up the telephone. I really needed to talk to someone about this horrific day, and Marcus would be the one to bare my soul to.
“House of pleasure, where your money goes places you never thought possible.” Marcus announces over the phone.
“Boy, stop acting so silly.” I say laughing.
“Trevor, what’s up baby? I’ve been trying to reach you all day. You know you had me scared this morning. What happened?”
“We can talk about that over dinner. Are you free?” I ask.
“If you’re buying, then of course I’m free.”
“You know, you ought to be buying me dinner, since you got that all too fabulous job.” I said.
“Well baby, you failed to mention that I just got this all fabulous job. And as fantabulous as it is, I haven’t got my first check yet. But I will still treat your tired ass anyway, but you got the next one.”
“Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave a message that you were getting a car? What’s up with that?”
“Well,” he says. “Remember when ‘Health Guidance’ fired me?” “Yeah.”
“Well, I was advised to sue those assholes for discrimination, defamation of character, false accusation and other shit?”
“Yeah, yeah, what happened.”
“Let’s put it this way their first installment came in today and I’ve already spent half of it on a red Ford Mustang Convertible. With this car I’ll be more than even I can stand.”
“Damn, how much did you actually wind up getting anyway?”
“Well let’s just say I’ve got more O’s behind this dollar sign than a bowl of Cheerios.” “Holy shit.”
“It’s holy something, but it ain’t shit. So if you need anything and I do mean anything you let me know.”
“No baby, I’m cool. No wonder your ass didn’t argue about picking up the tab. Usually we can’t get you to pay for your own tokens.”
“Kiss my ass Trevor.”
“But listen Marcus, on a serious tip, I really need to talk so can you meet me at Café America in about half an hour?”
“Are you driving? “Yeah.”
“Well, I want you to see the new love of life. This car is just wonderful. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten one before.”
“Probably ’cause your black ass was always broke.”
“Well guess what T., not no mo’, not no mo’.” Marcus laughs
“Alright dammit, just have your ass there in thirty minutes and don’t be late.” “C’mon T., if I ain’t late, then I ain’t me.”
“Just be there.”