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Authors: Victor Methos

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BOOK: Run Away
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31

 

 

 

 

Interrogation Room Five was Stanton’s favorite. It was farthest away from everyone else. It was bare, nothing but a gray table and two chairs. Even the carpet was simple gray and clean. He stared into the one-way glass and watched Sticks, whose real name was Thomas Nathan Cooper, though he had about a dozen aliases.

Sticks
fidgeted and played with his fingers. He would twitch and run his fingers through his hair. He was obviously going through withdrawal.

Stanton glanced
at Laka, who was standing behind him with her arms folded. “You should stay out here.”

“Why?”

“He’s weak. He’ll try and impress you by fighting me on everything.”

“If you say so. I think I can get the fucker to confess.”

“How?”

“Womanly charms.”

Stanton grinned. “Have at it.”

Laka
sauntered into the room and shut the door behind her. Sticks instantly perked up. Laka sat across from him. Stanton imagined what her pleasant smell must’ve been like for someone who possibly hadn’t showered in a week—probably arousing and soothing at once.

She flipped her hair and leaned back in the seat.

“How are you, Sticks?”

He grunted. “Where’s that bitch
-ass detective that almost broke my arm? I’m gonna sue his ass.”


Almost
is the word. You just overextended your elbow. They didn’t even put a cast on it. Where’s your sling, by the way?”

“Don’t need
no fucking sling. What you want?”

She leaned forward,
maintaining eye contact. “I’m interested in Sharon Miller. I just don’t get how you’re involved in this. The thing is, I know prison doesn’t scare you. Nothing I can do can scare you, so I’m just going to be honest with you. I don’t know why you would want to protect Tate. He doesn’t care about you, from what I’ve heard.”

“Heard from who?”

“His wife. She told us that he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.”

Stanton ran to the room and opened the door. “Detective, can I see you a minute
?”

Laka
rose and followed him out of the room. Stanton shut the door. He pulled her far enough away to ensure Sticks couldn’t hear them.

“What’s wrong?” she
asked.

“You can’t do that.”

“What?”

“Blame Tate’s
wife. That makes her look like a snitch. They’ll kill her for what you just said.”

She looked
at Sticks through the glass. “Shit. I got excited. It just came out. I’ve never done that before.”

Stanton turned to the glass and stared in. “We can’t break him anyway. He’s past the point of our reach. If prison
really doesn’t scare him, we don’t have anything. But I bet I know who does.”

 

 

The Red Buckle was
busier near midnight. Unlike his previous trip, Stanton took along two uniformed officers, and his badge dangled from a chain around his neck. The atmosphere had changed. Conversations stopped. People stared at him as he walked by. One guy said, “You smell bacon, Jake?”

Stanton
walked up to the bartender and said, “I need to see Sticks’s uncle.”

The bartender shouted, “Bridge, cops are here.”

A door opened in the back, and a tall man in a white T-shirt stepped out. He stepped up behind the bar and placed both hands on it. “I help you, officers?”

The man was covered in prison tattoos that were only moderately hidden
beneath his clothing. The most prominent was a swastika on his chest that thrust out of his low-neck shirt.

“Can we talk in private
, please?”

Bridge nodded and led Stanton
to a room in the back. Stanton told the officers to wait for him near the bar, followed Bridge inside, and shut the door. Bridge sat down in an executive chair and put his boots up on the desk. Stanton remained on his feet.

“All the permits
are in order, officer.”

“It’s
detective
, actually. Jon Stanton, with the Honolulu PD homicide detail.”

“So what can I do for you,
Detective
?”

“I know about the meth being sold out of this place.
I spoke with the Narcs unit about it.” He took a slip of paper out of his pocket and laid it on the desk in front of Bridge. “I have a warrant to search the premises, and I have six other officers waiting for me to call them so we can turn this place inside out.”

Bridge’s eyes slowly drifted up from the warrant to Stanton’s
eyes. “So? Why haven’t you?”

“Because I was hoping we could help each other.”

“And why would I want to help you?”

“Because you don’t hide things as well as you think you do.” Stanton leaned against the wall, placing one foot up on it. “The pool table, the first one, is slanted slightly to the right. I noticed it when I came to talk to Sticks
earlier tonight. Almost like the table is filled with something that’s making it uneven.”

Bridge’s face changed. He
’d been in and out of prison his whole life, but he’d aged. Stanton guessed the man was pushing sixty. If he went back on a distribution charge, he would die in prison.

“What do you want?” Bridge
asked softly.

“I want you to tell Sticks t
o give me the information I asked him for. I want Tate Reynolds. I think he killed a young boy, and I want to see him rotting in a cell for it. And I want the mother and daughter he kidnapped.”

Bridge snorted. “What makes you think I can get Sticks to talk? That boy’s more stubborn than a mule.”

“You’re his uncle. You can be persuasive when you need to be.”

Bridge thought a moment then rose. “
Lemme grab my jacket.”

 

 

No one was near
Interrogation Five when Stanton arrived. He and Bridge stared through the glass at Sticks, who was sweating so profusely he had soaked his collar. His fingers trembled, and the slight twitch he’d had when Stanton had left had turned into a full spasm.

“Turn the camera off,” Bridge said.

Stanton watched him for a second then reached over to a set of controls and switched off the camera. Bridge stepped into the room.

“Uncle Bridge
,” Sticks said, standing up, “I knew you’d get me out.”

“We
ain’t goin’ nowheres just yet, boy.”

Sticks’
s face was priceless. Shock and confusion. Sticks was not used to fear, and Stanton knew he’d found the one man who could induce it in Sticks.

“Why
ain’t we leavin’?”

“’Cause I want you to tell that detective whatever he want
s to know about Tate.”

“What? Fuck that pig. I
ain’t tellin’ him shit.”

Bridge
struck like a snake, grabbing the man’s hair and slamming his head into the table. Sticks flew back, out of his chair. Every fiber in Stanton’s body told him to go in there and end it. But then he remembered Adam Cummings lying in the bushes. And he saw Sharon and Eliza Miller the same way—bullets in their brains, lying alongside the road. He folded his arms and stepped away from the glass.

“What the fuck you
doin’?” Sticks shouted.

“You stupid shit
, you brought the whole fuckin’ police force down on us. They got a warrant to search my place.”

“I didn’t know.”

Bridge kicked Sticks in the gut, rolling him over. “You think I’m gonna die in the can ’cause of you? You gonna tell that detective what he wants to know, you hear me? Or I swear it, boy, I will cut your balls off and feed ’em to you. We clear?”

Another kick, this time in the chest, knock
ed the wind out of Sticks. He spat blood on the floor.

Stanton ran in. “That’s enough.”

“We clear?” Bridge asked.

Sticks sat up, wiping
away the blood, his eyes wide. “We’re clear.”

Bridge nodded and looked
at Stanton. “All yours.”

32

 

 

 

 

Richard was tired of being around people at the bar, so he left the bar and went home to an empty, dark house. He ate a frozen pizza for dinner and watched a sitcom in the unlit movie room in the basement, nibbling on cheese the entire time. Then he drank a glass of wine on his porch, hoping to run into a neighbor to speak with. But no one was out. No one ever came out.

So he went
to bed at eleven and had been lying there ever since, staring at his ceiling. He reached over and grabbed his phone on the nightstand. He looked at the photo one more time. The blood looked real enough. And the pose Sharon was in looked like something someone might fall into after being shot, but ultimately, he knew it was all fake. The man on the phone had been telling the truth. Tate was playing him.

Anger and frustration coursed through him. Tomorrow morning, he
would have to hit the safe deposit box and take out a hundred thousand dollars. That was his money, his and Sharon’s. They had been saving it to buy a beach house in the Keys. That was a plan from a different lifetime. Truthfully, it was probably divorce money, half a million dollars of it. That, along with the house and cars, was what he would have had to pay her to make the divorce as quick and easy as possible. She had no job, so Richard wouldn’t be entitled to any alimony. He would lose his job at the firm. In exchange, he would get custody of Eliza—and not a dime to take care of her.

The past few hours had brought nothing but anguish, but he decided
he’d done the only thing he could have. He’d made the only decision that made sense. He wouldn’t live a life in a studio apartment with a daughter who would end up hating him. Getting rid of Sharon was the only way. He just wished he’d taken more time to select the people to do it.

He sat up on the edge of the bed, his face in his hands, and exhaled. Sleep
wasn’t going to come. He went back down to the movie room and turned on a movie. He stared blankly at the screen, not following or listening to what was going on. His guts were a rumbling mess of nerves.

33

 

 

 

Stanton slept on a couch in the precinct’s break room. From one until five in the morning, he was alone. But at five, during the patrol shift change, people started coming in for coffee. Each one
made noise that woke him. He turned into the cushions and hoped they would dampen the sound, but they didn’t. By six, he figured he’d let Sticks stew long enough. Stanton guessed Sticks was high on meth, maybe even PCP, when he’d brought him in. The withdrawals would get worse as the hours ticked away and the high wore off. The worse Sticks felt, the more his body would turn against him, and the more supple he would be during their discussion.

Stanton retrieved his gun and badge
from his locker then stumbled to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. He stared at himself in the mirror. Everyone always told him he appeared much younger than his years, and he could see it. Other than the dark circles that had been a permanent fixture over the past few years, he looked no more than twenty-nine or thirty.

Stanton walked slowly
down the corridor toward Interrogation Five. He peered through the glass and saw Sticks huddled against the wall, shivering and sweating. His shirt was soaked. Methamphetamine withdrawals started quick, but not that quick. Sticks was addicted to PCP, the most dangerous drug on the street. That meant he was unpredictable, possibly even psychotic. Stanton didn’t want his firearm in there with a crazy man, so he walked back to his locker and secured it before heading back to the interrogation room.

He
shut the door behind him and sat at the table, then he waited until Sticks spoke first.

“Don’t—
don’t you want to talk to me?”

“Are you ready to talk?” Stanton
asked.

“I
ain’t feelin’ too good, man. May need a hospital.”

“They won’t give you any drugs. They’ll pick up on your PCP addiction as fast as I did. They’ll want you to detox before they do anything.”

He put his head down, rocking slightly back and forth. “Ain’t that a bitch,” he said, through chattering teeth.

“Tell me about Tate.”

“What about him?”

“Why did he kill that boy?”

Sticks glanced up at him then back down. “What boy?”

Stanton rose. “I’m not playing games. I can hold you for seventy-two hours without charging you
, and this is where you’re going to be while I go arrest your uncle.”

Stanton turned to leave
, and Sticks shouted, “Wait. Wait, man. Sit down. Sit down.”

He sat.

“I didn’t see it. I was comin’ outta the house when he shot that kid.”

“What were you doing at the house?”

Sticks swore under his breath. “I want some fuckin’—what’dya call it? Where I don’t get this shit on me.”

“You want immunity. Tell me what you know
, and we’ll talk to the prosecutor.”

He chewed his lip. “We
was there for the wife. Fuckin’ what’s her name? Sharon. We was supposed to kill her, and then this girl was there in the house, and I guess Hiapo grabbed her.”


Hiapo who?”

“I don’t know his last name.
Friend of Tate’s. They met in the can.”

“Why were you there for Sharon?”

“Her husband paid us to kill her. A hundred Gs, man. You believe that shit? A hundred Gs for one bullet.”

Stanton’s guts were tight with anger. He felt it rising in his throat and had to push it back down. “Richard Miller hired you to kill his wife? You heard him say that?”

“Nah, man. He set it all up with Tate. I didn’t do shit. I ran into the house and grabbed some jewelry outta her room. That was it. That’s all I done.”

Stanton was quiet
for a moment. “Where is Tate?”

“He in an RV. With some dude named Lee.”

“Lee what?”

“I
dunno his last name. But I got his number in my phone. But y’all took my phone away.”

“I’ll find it.
Is there anything else I should know?”

“That
ain’t enough?”

Stanton rose and stood over
Sticks. He bent down to look him in the eyes. “If you’re lying to me, I’ll make sure your uncle knows you sold him out.” He turned and left the interrogation room.

 

 

Sticks’
s phone had been held for transport to the evidence locker as part of the potential kidnapping of Sharon and Eliza Miller. Stanton showed his police department ID to the evidence clerk, and she opened the door for him.

The evidence was arranged by date and case number
. A small box contained Sticks’s phone. Wearing latex gloves, Stanton took it out and turned it on. He found Lee’s contact information. No last name. Stanton dialed from his own cell to avoid Sticks’s name appearing on the ID.


Yo,” a young man’s voice answered.

“Yes,” Stanton said
in the best upbeat, innocent voice he could muster, “I’m looking for Lee?”

“Who dis?”

“Well, it’s a private matter concerning a possible false checking account being opened in your name. I’m just calling to verify if you’ve opened an account recently. Oh, I guess we should verify your information first. Sorry. I have you as Lee Roberts. Is that correct?”

“Nah, man. It’s Lee Philips.
What about a checking account?”

“Philips,
hm… you may not be the Lee I need. Are you over there at 1597 Coconut Parrish?”

“No, that
ain’t me.”

“What was your address?”

“I’m up on Ashgrove.”


Ashgrove. Yeah, that’s definitely not you. Just a mix-up with the names in the computer, I bet. I’m sorry to have wasted your time.”


A’ight.”

Stanton
turned off Sticks’s phone, placed it back in the evidence bag, and headed for his Jeep.

BOOK: Run Away
11.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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