Read the first Chapter of Frank's new book Inherited Fortunes
The doorbell rang in the middle of his morning workout. Bob Evans ignored it the first time. Then it rang again with someone pounding on the door to accompany it, Bob stopped his workout to answer it. On the way to the door, the pounding started again with someone hollering, “This is the police. Open up “Hold on! I’m on the way,” Bob yelled back.
Bob opened his door to four patrol officers, two on each side of his door. Two detectives were standing just off the six foot long, four foot wide poured slab of concrete he had for a front stoop. Bob knew both of the detectives. “John, Tom. I see the Oakland Police Department has assigned you an entourage. Lucky you,” Bob said. “I’m fairly sure this isn’t a social call, so am I under arrest. John smiled and replied, “Not right at this moment. We need to ask some questions first, and sorry about the crowd. The new lieutenant is following standing orders regarding questioning you.”
Bob smiled at his old partner in return. “I was not aware I had been questioned before. It is nice to know there are standing orders regarding it, though. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.” Bob’s smile faded “Why don’t all of you come in? What’s this all about?” Tom stepped inside “You are not aware of the article in the newspapers and haven’t listened to the news on television or the radio?” he asked suspiciously. Bob shook his head “It’s too early in the morning to listen to the unhappy news,” he said. “Why? What’s going on?” “Someone killed Police Chief Sam Wells,” Tom said. Bob looked right into Tom’s serious eyes, his smile returning. “Some good news for a change. Sorry I missed that. First good news in decades, and I missed it!”
The officers filed into Bob’s house, and he went about his morning routine of fixing a protein shake. No one was saying anything, just observing him, so Bob continued to hold up the conversation. “Seeing as how I’m officially being questioned, the first one I guess should be where I was when it happened, right?” “That seems like a good place to start,” said one of the officers whose name Bob didn’t know. “Then first you have to give me a time frame so I can think up some bald face lie. It will take you at least two or three days to figure out it’s a lie and I wasn’t really there. While you are checking it out, I will have time to hire a professional to lie for me.”
Tom laughed this time. “Well, why don’t we start with the bald face lie first, like to get them out of the way. Where were you between the hours of 8 p.m. and 12am last night?” “This is really hard for me, Tom,” Bob said, sitting at the counter to finish his shake. “It goes along with a gentleman should never kiss and tell. Then again, you and I both know I’m no gentleman.”
Tom just smiled at him, but John had to chuckle at that one. “Yep, sounds about right,” John said with a grin. “Therefore, it makes it possible for me to tell you,” Bob said. “I was with our lovely district attorney yesterday from six in the evening till six this morning. I should make you contact her. It always takes forever, but seeing as how I’m just dying to get the details on Sam’s demise, let me get her on the phone and she can verify I was with her.”
Bob dialed and put the phone on speaker. The phone rang for a short time and a woman answered the phone. “District attorney’s office, how may I direct your call?” “Yeah, Bernice, is Joan available? This is Bob.” “Well, well, Casanova himself. She was grinning ear to ear this morning. You need to put that smile on her face along with a great mood at least twice a week, three times would be better!” Bernice said with a laugh.“I’m taking up a collection for you that you can have if you do that for me.”
“You don’t have to do that, Bernice. The job comes with built in perks, and the French benefits alone are worth it.” Bernice laughed. “Well, alright, but the collection is up to five grand. Guess I could abscond with the money and go shopping.” “Whoa wait!” he said with surprise in his voice. “I didn’t realize we were talking real money here. Tell you what, let me talk it over with her, if she is in agreement, she and I will split it. It is, after all ,depending on her smile and her mood. If for some reason I can’t achieve radiance, which would never, ever happen, then she would have to fake it. Oh hell, what’s wrong with me? No problem, she’s a lawyer and good at faking tons of stuff.”
Suddenly a more assertive female tone came on the line. “Calm down, boy. You’re on speaker phone on this end! Let me get it off that. There, now, talk dirty to me.” Bob laughed. “Sorry, Joan, you’re on speaker phone, also. The police are here, and they’re starting to look pretty impatient, so I’ll get to the point. I know you already know about someone killing Sam Wells. The police are here now to question me, and you need to alibi me to John. I’ll take you off speaker phone on this end. You were awful pushy last night.”
“I promise to do better in the future. I would not want to lose a good job like that,” Joan said, laughing. “No, that’s alright. Leave it on. I’m sure Detective Wilson would not talk dirty to me. Might be nice, though.” John blushed.
“Hi, John. How can I help in your investigation?” Joan asked, a little more serious. “Sorry about this Joa---ah, Ms. Beavers. But Bob tells us that he was with you last night between the hours of six this last evening till six this morning. Is that correct?” “I thought gentlemen never kissed and told? Oh, I forgot. He’s not a gentleman,” she said. “Okay then. Yes, Detective Wilson. Bob was with me between those hours.” “Thank you, Ms. Beavers. That’s all I needed to know and he hung up the phone. “Sorry about all this, Bob. I thought myself you might have done it. Not that I would have blamed you, but the rest of the world probably would have.” “No problem, John. The son of a bitch is dead, that’s all that matters. I’ll have Joan keep me updated on your progress. I got a feeling the list of suspects is long.”
Turning to the four uniformed policemen who stood quietly by the front door, Bob said, “I’m usually not so cooperative with the police when they come to question me. Darn! I keep forgetting I‘ve never been questioned before, but if I had been, I wouldn’t have cooperated. You guys just showed up too early in the morning,” he said. “Oh yeah John, when you catch whoever did this service for humanity, let me know. I know a real good defense attorney. Hell, I’ll even pay if the perpetrator isn’t stone cold crazy.” Tom and John both laughed. The uniforms just stared at them like they were all crazy. “Yeah, you know that lawyer who got Morales off on that murder charge last spring?” Bob asked. They all nodded. “Played golf with him last week. He is not as slimy as most of those snake oil lawyers. They are all just one step up from P.I.s. You guys can get in on the fee, if you like. You know me. If I can save a dime, I will.” “If we catch the perp, I know a lot of detectives would be pissed if you didn’t let us in on that,
John said with a sly smile. The other detectives laughed while the cops looked uneasy. They all left after that. Tom and John were laughing with Bob as he showed them to the door, but when they got outside the impatient, uniformed Sergeant just looked at John. “What’s the deal with this guy? He’s glad the Chief is dead, and you two are laughing with him,” the cop said incredulously. “Well, yeah, Sergeant Baxter, he’s glad Sam is dead! And all of the detectives on the force are rejoicing with him. Don’t ask me to explain because I won’t, and you really don’t want to know. But Bob Evans is the most stand-up guy I have ever run into,” John said. “If he’s such a good man, what’s he got against the best boss I ever had?” Baxter asked.
“For some reason he never discussed or told anyone, why he broke Chief Wells’ jaw a few years back and then retired. Chief Wells never filed a report, so those of us who really knew him knew he had it coming. You don’t have to believe me because we were partners. Ask any detective that knew him.” Sergeant Baxter was unsatisfied with this explanation, but the group wandered back to their cars to continue their investigation. Back inside the house, Bob called Joan back.
“Bernice, Bob again. Please don’t put me on speakerphone. Is Joan busy?” “No, here she is,” Bernice said respectfully, transferring the call. “You did call back to talk dirty to me,” Joan said. Bob laughed at her insatiability. “No, I called to get all the details about former Chief of Police Sam Wells’ demise. John said he was shot,” “Yeah, nine millimeter. Once between the eyes. He was found out on the old ferry road, washed up by those old pilings. The mayor is all upset. Guess I would be to if someone shot my lover.”
“Not near as upset as your lover would be. I wonder if the has someone in mind to take both places, lover and Chief. I also wonder if the detectives will check out the old lover quarrel thing. Probably not, ‘cause how could you check out the mayor? He wouldn’t shoot someone if they were beating him to death and everyone knows it.” “Well at least you’re in the clear. If I hadn’t known where you were last night, I’m afraid I would have thought you did it. You’ve got the nine millimeter and you hated his guts,” Joan said matter-of-factly.
“But if I had done it, he would have been beaten to death. He wasn’t worth a bullet. It’s too quick, too easy,” Bob said as his fist clenched. “Baby, you never told me why you hit him,” she said with curiosity creeping in. Bob contemplated just telling her what she obviously wanted to know, but he smiled and thought an ultimatum would be more fun. “I’ll give you a choice: I’ll tell you why I hit him, or I can kiss you goodbye in the morning.”
“If you’re in doubt which one I’ll choose, just watch your phone. Oh, yeah, Bernice watched it over my shoulder and offered me a hundred dollars for a copy of this e-mail. I think I should hold out for two, but what do you think?” Joan asked with a laugh. “Ask her what she would pay for an original home demonstration. I can be had for the right price. The police would never haul you in as a pimp, pretty lady,” he said. They both laughed into the phone at the thought of it. “Hey, we may be onto something here…” Bob began as Joan hung up the phone, not wanting to hear another word of his delusional plans at exhibitionism.
Bob finished his protein shake and went back to his workout, trying to ignore the events of the last hour. He wasn’t in as good of shape as when he was a Navy Seal, but he wasn’t in bad shape either. He quit being a Seal at twenty-six. He was thirty now, and would never be in that shape again. He was too rich to work that hard, but he still liked the rush he got from a morning training session. He finished on the weight bench and got on the treadmill. Ten miles and he could take a shower and see if he had any work to do.
Since he punched Sam Wells out three years ago, he had become a private eye. Exclusively rich divorces. He was always on the woman’s side. The pay was good and someone had to do it. If the husband didn’t want to be caught, he shouldn’t have been fooling around. Bob had been doing this kind of work for almost three years and made about $175,000, this year, almost three times what he made as a detective in Oakland, California. It didn’t quite pay for his lifestyle, but it helped and gave him something worthwhile to do in his spare time.