(New day, new post, new chapter…if this is your first time here, you can start this crime novel in progress by clicking Archives for the July 16th post, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1)…each posting only takes a couple of minutes to read, and they’re sequentially numbered so you can’t lose your place…If you’ve been following already, thank you, and let’s continue.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxv )
     BECKER KNOCKED ON THE MANAGER’S OFFICE DOOR and opened it to find the young day- clerk seated, as he told Terrance about the check- in on Wednesday. Terrance entered notes to his reporter’s pad and looked up to see Becker.
     “We’ve got a woman involved, Mase. An ‘E. Genver’, from California. She left an envelope at the desk for our vic,” Terrance reported.
     Becker introduced himself to the clerk. “What was the woman’s first name?” Becker asked. This drew a blank stare from the clerk.
     “How do you know she was from California?” Becker continued.
     The clerk replied, “I saw the driver’s license, but only for a second.”
     The manager stood up from his desk, “You didn’t make a copy?”
     The clerk looked at his shoes, “I saw all those Franklins, let her sign the register, and gave her the keycard.”
     Becker motioned to the manager to sit back down.
     He turned back to the witness, “Let’s try something else. Any idea what was in the envelope?” he asked.
     The clerk chewed on his fingernail, “The extra keycard to the room, and she wanted some paper to write a message. I let her use a hotel notepad. She tipped me ten bucks!” he stated, “That’s all I remember her putting into it.”
     “What was the name on the envelope?” Becker queried.
     “Huh?” the clerk replied.
     “The name of the guy picking it up,” Becker’s said, “it was on the envelope, right? What was it?”
     The clerk gave him a glazed-over stare.
      This kid’s weekend has already begun. He’s half in the bag, Becker concluded starting to pace.
     “It started with an ‘O’, maybe Omar?” the clerk replied halfheartedly.
     Terrance broke in, noticing Becker’s dark circles under the eyes and pasty coloring from lack of sleep.
     “How about the second name on the envelope?”
     The clerk looked forward in strained thought, “Wasn’t any,” he finally blurted.
     “All right,” Terrance continued, “are you sure about the first name, being ‘Omar’?”
     The clerk shook his head, “could have been Oliver. I can’t really remember right now.”
     Impatience and fatigue got the better of Becker.
     “Did you drive here?” he asked.
     “Uh-huh,” the clerk replied.
     Becker put his hand on the young man’s shoulder, “Well, one of the officers will be taking you home,” he said, “but I’ll be there at noon tomorrow to pick you up. We’re going to have a chat about envelopes and we’ll see if you can describe the woman to one of our artists, understand?” he asked. The clerk shook his head vigorously, and started to think he might get busted for being under the influence. Becker went to the lobby and called in a uniformed officer to get the incapacitated man home safely.
     The manager told Terrance that the clerk was training at the desk, and due to sickness and call-outs from experienced staff on Wednesday, the man was left alone at times during his shift.
     Becker reentered the office, rubbing his eyes.
     Terrance reasoned, “We’ve got copies made of the surveillance, and can look into forensics in the morning, Mase,” It’s time to get some shuteye, buddy.”
     Becker countered, “Right after garbage patrol.”
     They went out the front door and found Becker’s car sitting cockeyed in the middle of the street, strobes still flashing, the other official vehicles gone, save CSU. They walked past Captain Berry, who was being interviewed by the local TV stations and print reporters, then got into Becker’s car. The Captain gave a quick ‘we need to talk’ glance their way, as Becker maneuvered around a double- parked green Chevy, eased up to the curb, then shut off the dashboard strobe lights. Becker picked up the plastic- topped paper cup leaning against the stick shift, and took a swallow from his four- hour old coffee.
     “This is going to hit the fan,” he sighed.
     Terrance turned to his partner, “make no mistake.”
     They sat and waited.
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