Rene’s SUV was still sitting across the street from the bar when I arrived. I pushed the door buzzer chanting a mantra in my head, ‘Don’t look, don’t look!’ Lian answered the door looking more than rumpled. He had no jacket or vest on, his sleeves were pushed up to his elbows, his dark hair stuck up at odd angles like he’d been running his hands through it all night. He hadn’t shaved, the stubble looked like he was a quarter of the way to a full beard. Even his girly eyelashes couldn’t dent the masculinity of the morning’s look.
Before I could stop my mouth, I delivered a saucy, “Hellooo Dr. Cairn.”
The look he gave me said he got my meaning and that I was crazy for thinking it. “He hasn’t moved all night as far as I can tell.” Lian inclined his head in the direction of Rene’s grandson.
“That would be bad.” I chewed on my bottom lip for a minute. “Maybe we should ignore it,” I suggested. “Let someone else call it in.”
“We need to check it out.”
“We?” I asked. “When did I become your partner in checking if he’s dead or just has a really big pee bottle in the car?”
“Since you agreed to work for me.” Lian took my stubby hand in his criminally long and graceful one, pulling me outside with him.
I could hear the witness statements… a disheveled bar owner was seen dragging a woman wearing a Ramones T-shirt, the world’s oldest most comfortable Levis and fabulous Gucci pumps across the street to find a dead wanna-be pimp in the Bishop Arts District.
Lian rapped on the SUV’s dark-tinted driver side window. “He looks dead to me,” I said, straining to see in through the front windshield. That was a feat in itself considering my height. “Maybe he’s playing opossum,” I said, adding, “I hope.” under my breath.
“He might need medical attention.” Lian reached for the door handle, as I gripped his arm and tried to pull it away.
“Think before you open that door,” I said. “Imagine how Rene is going to feel about you, the man she sent him to watch, finding her grandson dead.”
“What if he’s not dead? What if he is in need of medical attention and we just stand here. How will Rene react to that?”
The door latch clicked open and one or both of us let out a shriek of alarm as the body started to fall out of the car. By the time it settled, I was clinging to Lian for dear life, my arms clutching his biceps, face buried in his back. If Rene’s grandson had moved, I probably would have climbed up Lian’s back in an attempt to perch on his shoulders.
Clearly there was no need for medical attention. His skin was ashen and blank eyes stared at nothing. Rene’s grandson was dead.
A black and white arrived fifteen minutes later along with a CSI van and a wrecker. One of Dallas’ finest led Lian and I aside and took our statement. Honesty seemed the best path, so we both sang like Ella Fitzgerald, telling Detective Childs everything from Rene’s visit the previous day, to her grandson watching the bar and the two of us finding him dead.
“Do you think it was murder?” I asked the Detective.
“He’s a Homicide Detective Figg,” Lian said. “I’d imagine…”
The detective cut Lian off with a world class stink eye and lit a cigarette. The smoke streamed out of his nostrils. “That’ll be up to the Medical Examiner to determine.” He took an extra-long drag on his smoke. “Looks like he was poisoned to me. You folks have a nice day.”
The detective ambled over to the guys who were collecting the body with a little John Wayne in his walk.
“If he thinks it’s murder, we’re going to be suspects.” I said.
“We did nothing wrong, Figg.”
“Yea and nobody in the history of the world has ever been thrown in the pokey for something they didn’t do.” I glared at my boss. “We need to find out who killed him.”
Lian glared back at me. “We need to go back inside and leave the police to their task.” I growled at him and stomped across the street. “Trust me Figg,” Lian said, following me. “No good ever came from sticking your nose into something like this.” He held the door open for me. “Detective Childs knows what he’s doing.”
“What if the cops don’t find the killer?”
Lian avoided my gaze. “A woman like Rene would never let that happen. You don’t kill a Mambo’s Grandson and get away with it.”
“What’s a Mambo?” Something in me snapped, either my curiosity had reached critical mass or the dead guy outside was wearing on me. Whatever the reason, I slammed the door with a force that rattled the inset glass, the heavy ‘open’ sign banged against it. “If you don’t tell me what’s going on around here, I’m leaving!” I turned the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’ and crossed my arms over my chest.
Lian looked at his shoes, then walked over and began polishing the bar. “That may be for the best.”
Okay, so he shocked me, but only for a second. “I’m not leaving your side until you tell me what’s going on here.” He gave me a look that said he thought I was being childish and went to his office. I followed him and sat on the desk. Childish or not I was damn well going to get the truth out of my tight-lipped boss.
After an hour of my sitting on the desk staring at him and following him everywhere he tried to go, he sighed in defeat. I almost did a happy dance right there. “I’m going to take a shower and change out of these clothes.” He rose and headed for the door. “You might as well come upstairs with me.”
This is a Chapter Three partial. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could give you any more without revealing too much of the story. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, please find Voodoo Dues on Amazon or Smashwords and give it a read!
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