Once the cameras stopped rolling and the television news vans departed, Agent Dictator pounced.
“What the hell was that? I guess you think you’re so clever withholding key evidence. I could have your badge for that, Crash.”
“I did not, under any circumstances, withhold evidence, information, or anything else pertaining to this case. You never bother to ask.” Bill’s tone was calm, almost serene. “Instead of taking a moment to converse with those of us who have already been working these murders, you jumped in front of the camera like the glory-seeking hound you are. I fail to see how that could possibly be construed as my fault, seeing as how protocol dictates the proper way to proceed with an investigation. You did not follow protocol.”
Agent Dictator’s face turned same shade as the glob of ketchup clinging to his tie. Fellow agents and local law enforcement alike stopped what they were doing, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Most expected him to explode, the agent’s face certainly looked as if it would; instead Videla stormed off, barking orders into his cell phone.
“Something tells me, Agent Dictator doesn’t like me very much,” Bill quipped as he joined Seth, Angela, and Kim.
“Why ever would you think such a thing?”
“The Captain won’t be happy. He’ll get an earful from the FBI director but inside he’ll be laughing too. Listen, I hate to do this but better me than the Fibbies…Kim, Angela, I need you two to come give statements.”
“Really?” Seth asked. “They have to give statements because he said you withheld evidence? Heck, sign me up! I’ll give a statement too.”
“No, Seth, that’s not why,” Kim replied. “We need to give statements because we knew her. Bill’s right. It’s better if we get it on record now and offer to recuse ourselves from the investigation than have to put up with Dick Dictator.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, Seth. Agent Dictator’s first name is Richard.”
Unable to hold it back, Seth’s laughter sounded more like a snort, stirring the others laugh uncontrollably.
The sky was dark by the time Seth drove home alone. As Detective Crash requested, Kim and Angela went to the station to provide statements. The drive felt lonely and, only then, did he wonder what kind of reception he’d find at home. Crap! I didn’t even think to call Mel. She’s going to be pissed. Maybe I should stop and pick up something special for her. It’s not too late to still have a nice, quiet evening together. He picked up a bottle wine, some long stemmed roses, and a box of chocolate covered strawberries before cruising home. The house was dark, leaving Seth to assume she had gone to bed angry. Instead, he found a note on the kitchen counter.
I went out with my friends. They, unlike you, have time for me. Dinner is in the fridge if you want it. Don’t wait up!
Seth raked his fingers through his hair and slammed his fist down on the counter. Roused from his sleep, Malachi trotted into the kitchen to investigate.
“Mommy went out, huh? Guess she’s pissed off at me. Well, Kai, I guess she’s entitled but…”
He stooped down to give Malachi a scratch behind the ears and that’s when the dog’s wide tongue slurped across Seth’s face.
“Thanks, buddy. I needed that. C’mon, let’s go for a ride and we’ll go pick up some treats for you. Now, don’t you dare tell Mommy She would not approve.”
His car felt as though it was on auto pilot; he’d driven that same route so many times he could have done it with his eyes closed. Just then, a shiny red Beemer cut in front of him and blew through the light. Instinctively, his hands pounded the center of the steering wheel sending an angry blast from his horn. The driver rolled down her window and flipped him off with her perfectly manicured, French tipped, artificial-nailed finger. Blood-boiling, seething rage welled up from the inner recesses that he tried to keep at bay. He followed the vanity plate YOU WISH for several miles until the BMW pulled up to a glitzy club. The redhead behind the wheel tossed her keys to the valet as four other girls hopped out of the car.
“The victims I’ve researched will have to wait. There’s someone who needs to learn some manners.”
He cracked his knuckles and pulled around back to the parking garage. A quick scan revealed no cameras. Perfect!