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The Dead Bin

by Gary Clifton

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Chapter 33: Squeezing the Witness

Remember: cops don’t talk, they confer. They don’t go, they proceed.

We dropped by the Sterrett Center. Wendel Penski had been unable to post bond, and we interviewed him in a first-floor interrogation room.

“Wendi, tell me about your visit to Kuznov’s office,” I asked.

“Uh... yeah, but we didn’t do no sex or nothing.”

“That’s crap. You originally told me he loved your boobs and you did make it with him. Now, tell me where he keeps his dope stashed, and I’ll ask the judge to lower your bond.”

“Floor safe beneath a file cabinet in the corner of his office. Combination lock. He opened it, and we did a couple of lines. First two digits of the combination are left 21, right seven or eight...”

“He kill the girls?” I asked. “And there was another victim: your brother.”

Wendel looked as if he might puke. “My God, my brother. Y’all think he done that?”

I nodded. “Did he kill them?” I repeated

“Kuznov woulda had one of his stooges shoot their asses. Tied to a bed ain’t his style, far as I know.” His expression showed confusion.

“Who beat Martha’s brains in?” Harper asked.

“You know, that mighta been a burglary or some sucker she had up there screwin’. Always the chance that pimp Stick did it, though.”

“Who does the Russian hire to make bombs and kill people?” Harper rolled his cigar.

“Far as I know, any bombs made would be Stick’s doin’. Dunno who mighta set ’em off.”

“Any bombs?”

“All, man.”

As we walked to the elevator, I said, “I smell search warrant. They’ve used two of their servos. We gotta another bombing to go.”

“We need an hour or so to draw up the affidavit,” Harper said, looking at his watch. “Catch a judge this afternoon and Kuznov’s in the Sterrett Center for dinner.” He grinned.

We didn’t discuss the part where he’d be out on bail by the time dessert was served.

* * *

Tuesday evening was baseball practice. Janet had played softball at the University of Texas. I called and begged her to cover for me at practice. She agreed and seemed rather excited, even though her ears were still on injured reserve.

Proceed to Chapter 34...

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton

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