Stan had heard that kind of knock before. A heavy-handed cop’s knock.
They had arrived as expected, and prepared he was. Alcohol from beer fortified his blood. Their questioning would never be without some alcohol in his system.
“What do you want? Are you cops? You look like you are.”
The smell of beer emanating from the apartment and his slight sway, as he stood in the doorway, was ample warning to his possible inebriation.
“We’re here to talk about Bruno Novak. Do you know him?” Detective Perez asked.
“Sure, I know him. I’m his uncle.”
“What’s your last name?”
“Bobek. Why? Is he okay?”
“He’s fine. Can we come in? We won’t take up much of your time.” Detective Perez, not waiting for an answer, nudged him aside and entered the apartment.
“Did you go to his apartment on Friday?”
“Yeah, but what’s this about?”
“What time did you go there?”
“I don’t know. It was late.”
“Can you be more precise?” Detective Perez wanted a more definitive answer.
“It means … can you be more exact with the time?”
“Oh! I finish at about two, so it was after that. Probably six.” He tried to recollect the details of his about to be alibi.
“What was he doing when you went to see him?”
“I think he got out of bed. He said he felt sick after coming home from work.”
“Did he leave his room after you saw him?” Detective Perez tried to find flaws with his answers.
“He came here for dinner on Saturday night. We had pasta.” Stan then changed his tone, to one with more aggression. “I’m not answering anymore questions until you tell me what this is about.”
“Thanks for your help so far, but we have a description of someone who resembles Bruno being at the scene of a crime. When we spoke to him, he gave you as an alibi. That’s why we’re here.”
“Okay! I have a right to ask. You come here, asking questions about him and you don’t tell me why? Are we finished?” He was becoming agitated.
“Just a couple more, if you don’t mind. What time did Bruno leave here on Saturday?”
“I’m not sure, but I think it was about seven. He wasn’t here long.”
“What did you watch on television when you were having dinner?”
“We didn’t watch TV, and that’s the last question. I think it’s time you left,” he said, as he opened the door. “If you have any more questions, we’ll do it in front of a lawyer.”
As soon as they vacated the apartment, he slammed the door shut in protest.
As they stood inside the entrance of the building, Detective Andretta said, “I’m not sure about the alibi.”
“I agree, but it’ll be hard to disprove. When we told him about his nephew or someone fitting his description being near the scene of a crime, did you notice he didn’t ask what the crime was? It’s as if he already knew. He’s been around, and knows the ropes. He’ll be a hard nut to crack. Maybe someone saw Bruno, or his truck, near the Harris building? We’ll keep at it. That’s all we can do. Let’s go back to the station and we’ll call it a night.”