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Chapter 5
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▣ Slice     John Culjak의 지식창고 2018.04.22. 14:18 (2018.04.21. 17:45)

Chapter 5

John Culjak' Novel 'Slice' - Chap 5
Detective Redmond sat at his desk. He scooped his eyes with his fingertips several times and rubbed his face; then realized that he hadn’t shaved this morning. Redmond often went to work unshaven. He often felt being unshaven added to his mystique, his manliness, much like it did for celebrities. He transferred his notes to a murder book, which he titled, simply, Geoff. He wrote a note to himself to contact Philip Nickerson, and added,
 
relationship? What was he doing at the Jenkins’ for two hours or more? Is Nickerson Lisa’s friend or was he Geoff’s friend, or both? Where they in business together? Was there any type of money exchange or loan? Was Lisa having an affair with Nickerson? Check on other friends and relatives. Who wanted Jenkins dead, and why? Who had motive? Who had opportunity?
 
Rick looked up from his desk to find Stenson standing there. “Hey, Rick. How goes the battle?” He smiled. He never saw Stenson when he wasn’t smiling. He believed that Stenson had a perpetual smile that appeared to be cosmetically affixed to his mouth. He looked up at him and wondered if he ever frowned at home or in private, to offset his permanent grin that displayed his even, almost perfect teeth.
 
“The battle is just starting, but I’ll soon have to turn up the juice.” “You okay?” “Of course I‘m okay, Stenson. Why wouldn’t I be okay? Why do you ask?” Stenson shrugged. “What the hell do you want anyway?” Stenson hovered above him, smiling, gloating, as though he knew something that Rick did not. Stenson stood straight, his shoulders back, but he gave the appearance of being totally relaxed; there was no rigidity in his demeanor. He always dressed in casual sport clothes. Today he wore a colorful but discreet shirt, tan slacks and a pair of Clark’s brown, burnished leather loafers. Some people who knew him, and did not call him by his last name, referred to him as the “big easy” because of his resemblance to Ernie Ells, the professional golfer. Most people did not know that his first name was Edwin, nor did he make an effort to tell anyone. He carried his six-foot-three, 200-pound plus frame effortlessly, with a grace that was admired and often emulated. Because of his ease, he gave the impression that he was soft but, on the contrary, his body was hard and toned and, interestingly enough, non-threatening. In fact, his strength was often underestimated, and in some situations, people tried to take advantage of him because of that misconception, much to their chagrin. His fitness was closer to that of a 20-some year old man, although he had just turned 39. Stenson worked out with weights for strength, Pilates for balance and core strength, and Yoga for flexibility. “Well, Rick, to tell you the truth, I heard that you were working a murder case.” “News travels fast. So?” “So I thought you might want some help.” Redmond just looked at him. “Are you kidding me?” ”The truth of the matter is, Barnes assigned me to the case. He’s under the impression that it’s high profile, a priority and one that will be difficult and time-consuming.”
 
”Sweet. I can use all the help I can get. You can start by going over my notes.” He shoved the murder book in Stenson’s direction. Stenson looked at the book on the desk, smiled, and then picked it up. “Anything you want to tell me about it?”
 
“Read it first and then we’ll talk about it.” “Sweet.” He said mocking him in a good-natured way. Stenson picked up the book and went to his desk. He went through the book from the first page, reading every word. He was so engrossed in the murder book that he didn’t notice that Copp was standing at his desk. “I hear you’re going to be working on the case with us,” she interrupted, swinging her hip and sliding onto the front corner of his desk. “News travels fast, as Rick says.” He said, smiling as usual, without looking up. “I am glad you’ll be working with us, Stenson,” she said shifting her weight off his desk, with a glint in her eye. She always seemed to perk up when she was around Stenson. His gentle, unassuming, but gregarious personality drew people to him like a magnet. “Same here,” he said without enthusiasm, continuing to go through the book without looking up at her.
 
.. .. .
 
Jean Jenkins walked briskly from her house on Chestnut Street to the police station. The walk took her more than twenty minutes due largely to her stature. She usually walked whenever the distance was within forty-five minutes. Even rain did not deter her ambulatory activity; it afforded her the opportunity to appreciate the city’s forest-like amenities. Although at this time, Jean could only reflect on her brother’s death, and ventured directly ahead, staring into space, seemingly, without seeing anything but the direction in which she was heading. When she reached the station, she climbed the concrete stairs to the entrance doors, her heart pounding, but not from the physical exertion of the walk. She wanted revenge; she wanted to know who killed Geoff and she wanted to know what she could do about it. She felt hatred, anger and emptiness at the same time; could not fathom why anyone would want to kill her brother. But mostly, because of her loss, she felt empty ... a void. Jean walked through the front door to the police station. “Detective Redmond, please,” she said to the overweight officer on duty, sitting in a small reception room behind a sliding glass window. His face was ruddy and tiny veins were visible on his cheeks and bulbous nose, obviously from drinking too much, too often.
 
“Your name, please? And what is the nature of your visit?” he asked. “My name is Jean Jenkins and my brother was murdered earlier today,” she stated with a lack of emotion. The officer looked up at her and then said with as much sensitivity as he could muster, “I’m sorry. I’ll get him right away. Has this...murder been reported, Ms Jenkins?”
 
“It has.” She responded. “Please have a seat.” Jean turned her back to the window, looked at the chairs arranged against the wall across from the duty officer, but did not sit. She stood, stiffly, waiting for Detective Redmond to arrive, looking at the unadorned walls above the chairs. Although the wait seemed interminable, only a few minutes passed before Redmond opened the door, went to her, and introduced himself. He led Jean to a small room off the corridor. Inside the carpeted room was a small inexpensive conference table with four chairs. The ceiling light was dim, but it was complimented somewhat by the light coming off the corridor through a small smoke-tinted picture- styled window. Redmond gestured for her to take a seat, which she did, and he sat down in a chair opposite her. He didn’t offer condolences to her, but instead waited to hear what she had to say. Jean wasted no time and got right to the point. “You know why I am here, don’t you?” He nodded. “Do you have any leads? Do you have any ideas who may have killed my brother?”
 
“We just started our investigation, Ms Jenkins. We are still in the process of looking for evidence and doing an autopsy. So in answer to your question we have no leads at this time, but you can be assured that we are doing everything possible to catch this person as quickly as we can.” When she did not respond, Redmond added, “I am so sorry for your loss, Ms Jenkins.”
 
“Yeah, sure. Sure you are.” She barked at him. And when can I expect some results? Tomorrow? Next week? Next Year?” Redmond replied patiently, “These things take time. I know you are frustrated, Ms Jenkins and I understand your need to have results as quickly as possible, but we have to examine everything we’ve found, so that when we apprehend whoever did this, he won’t slip through the cracks. We’re just starting to look at what we have. We have to build a solid case based on hard evidence. I’m sure you can appreciate that.” “And I can assure you that if I find out who murdered Geoff, you will not have to worry about him going to trial, Detective. That is one thing you can be sure of.” She threatened.
 
“Do you know someone who might have wanted Geoff dead? If you know anyone who might have had a grudge against Geoff, or any kind of disagreement, it would be helpful if you told us.” Richmond said, ignoring her threatening remark.
 
“I don’t know anyone who would do this to Geoff. Everyone loved him.” She said adjusting her hat, and patting the back of her hair. “Let me ask you something, Detective.” “Sure. Go ahead.”
 
“Do you think I should get a gun?” “What?” “I said...” “I know what you said,” Redmond interrupted. “I have to warn you, Ms Jenkins, getting a gun would be the worst thing you can do. There’s no reason for you to have one. Carrying a weapon can be very dangerous. And under the circumstances, you wouldn’t be eligible to get a license anyway, so don’t even think about it.”
 
“What about getting one for my protection. Suppose whoever killed Geoff wants to kill me too. What am I supposed to do?” “Did someone threaten you?” She turned away and did not respond. Redmond read her silence as a negative.
 
“There’s no indication that you or anyone else is a target, Ms Jenkins. Until we have evidence to the contrary, you have nothing to worry about. We believe that your brother’s death might just be an isolated incident. However, if you know something that will lead us to a different conclusion, then tell me now and we’ll look into it.” Jean again adjusted her hat, cocked her head, and just stared at him. “If I knew something, I’d certainly tell you, Detective. It would be despicable and disrespectful to Geoff to hold back any knowledge of his...” Jean bowed her head in an attempt to control her emotions. “Thank you Ms Jenkins, I appreciate that. Is there anything more that you need?” “Do you know if he experienced any pain before he died, Detective? Was it a quick death?” “I’m not sure, but we believe that it was very quick, and that he experienced surprise only, but certainly no pain.” Jean shook her head without looking at Redmond. “I’m sorry that you had to come here, and that I didn’t inform you beforehand.” She looked at him without saying anything. “Then if there is anything I can do... if you think of anything that would help us, please contact me,” Redmond said, handing her his card. She took the card and looked at him as if to challenge his ability to make good on his promise to apprehend Geoff’s killer.
 
Redmond knew the look having seen it many times before. “And remember what I said about the gun. Let us do our job. Believe me, we know what we’re doing.” Redmond got up to help Jean to her feet; she pulled back, refusing his assistance. Redmond led her out of the room and to the front doors without saying another word to her. Jean left uncertain if she had accomplished anything by her visit other than making her presence and feelings known. There was nothing new in the way of information that eased her pain. As she walked down the stairs outside the police station, she drifted in and out of the reality that Geoff was dead, that he was murdered, still unable to come to terms that he was no longer alive. Although the afternoon sun was warm, Jean felt cold and shivered. She started her return walk in a daze. On the way to her house, she considered the possibilities of the killer being caught and the efficacy of Redmond’s investigation. She had no faith that the police would accomplish anything, at least, not quickly enough for her. Then she dwelled on where she might obtain a gun.
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