The Nefarious Mr. X

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Chapter 15

15

“You’re a moron.” Catherine bellowed from her desk chair, her hands spread wide, her face exhibiting total incredulity. “And you still plan to meet with the nut?”

Her view of the former detective was obviously tainted by the end of the call as opposed to the capture of the Pretty Pink Rapist which he felt was the point.

“I do.” Corigan shrugged nonchalantly. “He seemed harmless enough.”

Catherine gasped. She slapped her two palms on her desk with authority. “Harmless? Did you forget to mention someone else who called last night and you’re confusing them with the crazy ex-cop?”

Corigan had his laptop open and keying an email to scheduling to state he was going out for two hours at 11:00. Work related.

“Hello?” Catherine added, trying to interrupt his train of thought. “Did you even check up on this Detective? Call the RCMP? How do you know he wasn’t discharged for being… How shall I put it…” She paused for dramatic effect and declared, “Insane?”

Corigan’s eyes rolled up to look at her, his fingers still keying. He grinned. “Yes. I called and yes, I checked.” He actually did. “He’s the real deal, retired with honours and two commendations.”

“No forced retirement?”

Corigan tried to find objectivity in her negativity. “Nope. He wanted to do some good after he was mandated out of fieldwork due to age. He now runs a Private Investigative Agency on Church off of King. Mostly divorce and family law stuff. The occasional consult. Nothing crazy.”

A loud snort. “’I’ll kill you before you make it to the table!’ strikes me as a huge BLIP-BLIP-BLIP!” Catherine made the sound effects while tapping her desk triumphantly at the same time to ensure Corigan felt the vibrations while he typed.

“He only said he’d do that if I wasn’t Corigan McAllistor.”

“And what pray tell will be used to validate it? A 44 or a double barreled shotgun?”

Corigan sighed. “You worry too much.”

“You worry too little.”

“Trust me then.”

“Make me the beneficiary of your pension before you go. Then I’ll feel comfortable.”

Corigan smiled. “Thanks.”

“At least let me come with you.”

Corigan looked up. “Can’t. He never said alone, but I got the clear impression, if I came with someone he didn’t recognize, it could be trouble.”

“Why? Does he think he might not have enough bullets for two people?”

“Melodrama.” Corigan wagged his finger. “We talked about that.”

Catherine sat up straight, letting her feet drop to the floor and stared at Corigan across the desk. “I don’t like it.”

Catherine was just being protective. He was happy for her concern, but he had to do this alone. Some witnesses, contacts or people needed one on one before getting involved.

To some, too many was too much.

This felt like one of those.

“You know I trust you right?” Corigan stated, with fairness and conviction. “I trust everything about you.”

“Except my opinion.”

“I do.” Corigan squirmed a little bit. It was hard to convince her of that when he wasn’t taking her suggestions or letting her come. “But Patrick called me. Me. Out of the blue. And he accurately described my fear in this case.”

“It’s every cop’s fear, convicting the wrong person.”

“Yes. But he seems to know about this situation. He alluded to specific concerns, and all without the full history. He has something. I know it.”

Catherine looked at Corigan with sympathy. “That’s how they catch fish. They bait them with something they want and BANG, they’re on a plate, coated in batter and surrounded by fries.”

“You have a flair for fiction.”

Catherine shook her head. “He could have called the station and found out about your little theory.” She surmised. “After your bet with Lakos, it’s all over the place.”

“Really?” Corigan smirked. “I’m flattered.”

“Don’t be. They think you’re crazy too. They think you’re looking for evil clones like those Frankenstein novels.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, in every one of those books, there was one.”

Catherine mocked. ”Not funny. Plus I’m more worried about my reputation. I have to work with you and all.”

Corigan knew she was more worried about him. “Look. He didn’t give me a lot of detail, but he gave me a glimpse of something that’s in my gut. And I have to see if he sees it as I see it. If I’m wrong, I lose a few dollars for lunch and an hour or two.”

Catherine shrugged. “Or a lung, a liver or a heart..” She ticked off using her fingers. “Depending where the bullet lands.”

Corigan loved her ability to see the dark, humorous side. He interrupted her. “Or he could give me a lead. And right now, I need it.”

That Catherine had to admit, they were stalemated. But then again, when they have everything they needed to win, a stalemate was a hard thing to play for.”

Captain Vertigo entered the office.

Catherine looked at his tie, a cream coloured leather tie with a wolf stitched into it with glass spinning eyes that moved in counterclockwise circles. She turned back to Corigan, back to the tie, shook her head and grimaced. Catherine declared, “Corigan has a meeting with a crazy person today.”

Vertigo shrugged, “I usually have a minimum of two such meetings a day… usually when I greet the two of you.”

Catherine scowled. She ignored him now.

Vertigo looked to Corigan. His eyes seemed to lock on him like a cobra on a snake charmer. He gently asked, “Does this have anything to do with the Beckham case?”

Corigan replied, “I believe that it does.”

Vertigo looked skeptical. “How long do I have to hold this open?”

Corigan was genuinely insulted, “As long as I need?”

Vertigo looked at Corigan. He trusted his man and he trusted his instincts, but he also knew there were other cases which needed investigating. “I’ll give you 24 hours. Then off it goes.”

Corigan did not like it, but the Captain had a job to do.

Corigan reluctantly replied. “You got it Cap.”

“Don’t call me Cap.” Vertigo turned to leave. He paused. “And when I say 24 hours, don’t make me regret it.”

“I won’t.”

With that, Vertigo was gone.

Corigan got up from his chair. He turned to Catherine. “So what are you going to do?”

She replied. “I’m looking into the mysterious second Albom and his presence at the condo. I already know it wasn’t him, but I want to know who the other him was.”

Corigan loved that the two of them could work together, even if they did not always see eye to eye.

Corigan was almost out of the office when Catherine yelled. “Wait.”

He stopped and looked in her direction, waiting for her to say, Good luck.

She handed him a twenty. “Get me a ham on rye with a salad. And something for yourself.”

Corigan should have known. “Anything else?”

“Yeah.” She looked him dead in the eye. “If Patrick does shoot you… Don’t get any blood on my sandwich.”

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