(the investigation goes on in this crime novel first draft, and to know what’s being investigated, please click in the Archives section to the July 16th post, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1).  Thanks for stopping…those up to speed, here we go.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxix ) continues…
     Pam set the easel against the front of her desk. She picked up a small pile of loose- leaf papers from her countertop.
     “Here are the notes I took on other details,” she said, handing them to Terrance, “height, weight, clothing, body type…that sort of thing.”
     “You are thorough Pam, make no mistake.” Terrance said, then passed them on to Becker.
     Becker held up the papers, “Thanks for going the extra mile, Pam.”
     “Anytime, Mason,” she said.
     They stood looking at each other; neither knew what to say next, in the uncomfortable presence of Terrance and Pete, but tried to savor the moment.
     Terrance broke in, “Well, Pete, let’s get you back downstairs to go over a few more details.”
     Terrance put a hand on Pete’s shoulder and led him out of the office, while the Detective glanced back at the couple.
     “Thanks again, Pam,” Becker said.
      “Drinks again, sometime?”
     “Yeah, OK. We’ll probably be twenty- four seven on this case, though.”
     “You’re married to the job, I know. And you are legend for being the pit bull of the department. But you need a break once in a while, Mason.”
     “We’ll talk.”
     “You have my number.”
      Becker started to leave. She lightly touched his arm.
     “And I have yours.”
     “I’ll call.”
     Becker entered the squad room, which now included other detectives at their desks. They were on their phones or laptops, and played catchup from the prior weekdays’ work. The aromatic whiff of freshly brewed coffee floated in from the break room. Becker’s body reacted to the scent like a junkie about to score a fix. He heard soda can tops snapped simultaneously and turned to see Terrance and Pete were the source.
     “Everything OK?” Terrance called to Becker.
     Becker recognized that grin from before.
     “Drop it, T,” he said, “I’ll be right there.”
     Terrance swiveled towards Pete.
     “All right, you said this woman had on a lot of makeup?”
     “Sort of…I mean, her eyes were OK, and from a short distance she was fine. But up close, her whole face, you know, what some women start with, what do they call it?”
     “A base foundation,” Terrance suggested.
     “The base,” Pete said, and tapped his index finger on Terrance’s desktop for emphasis, “that was enough to cover all the pores smooth.”
     “Anything else?”
     “I noticed her hands. The nails were short, but polished. It was the hands themselves. They looked like they did manual labor, kind of rough on the palm side. She hid them whenever she could.”
     Becker entered the room, mug in hand, then sat on his desktop, and faced Pete. Terrance continued.
     “Did she bring any luggage?”
     “Just one pull- along.  She didn’t want assistance with it. I mentioned it seemed small for three days. She said she intended on doing some clothes shopping while in town.”
     “She showed you a license from California. You sure?”
     “It was more like flash than show, I barely saw the state, but it was California. It was busy and I was all alone at the desk. I’m sorry.”
     “Water under the bridge, Pete. You’re doing fine. What else?” Becker said.
     “I asked if she came to New York often. She said it was the first time, on business. Computers. That’s why her rough hands didn’t make sense.
     “And first- timers usually ask directions, places to eat, you know. Not her.”
     “Now, she gave you the envelope for Owen and went upstairs. Did she call the desk for anything?” Terrance continued.
     “Not that I know of. She even ordered the champagne and dinner right then. I suggested calling room service, but she was adamant. And with the champagne, she wanted it immediately, but have it left at the door. Then she handed me five dollars to give the server. ‘Just knock and leave’, were her instructions.”
     “Didn’t that seem odd to you?” Becker asked.
     “We get eccentric types, Detective,” Pete said, “there was an artist who stayed here while opening a show at one of the galleries. He wanted a fresh bowl of jelly beans daily. Guess who got the honor of picking out all the red ones, before sending it to his room! We cater to a lot of weird requests. What can I say? Money gets what money wants,” Pete said with a shrug.
     “How about the dinner?” Terrance followed.
     “The order was to be there at seven that evening. Just knock and drop. Another five bucks for the tip. The meal was quirky too.”
     “How so?”
     “It was off the menu. She placed fifty dollars on the desk and asked to be accommodated. I checked with the chef and that was that.”
     “What was the order?”
     “Steak Tartar.”
     Becker’s phone rang. Captain Berry had arrived and was on the way up.
     “Pete,” Terrance said, “you’ve been really helpful. Here’s my card. Anything else comes to mind, don’t hesitate.”
     Becker shook Pete’s hand, but didn’t release it.
     “One other thing we need to ask of you,” Becker said, “there are some papers running stories already on almost nothing but speculation. We work on facts. Understood?”
     Pete’s eyes widened and he nodded.
     Becker continued, “Bits and pieces to the press make our job harder to nail down those facts. No Comment always works for me. What do you think?”
     “No Comment,” Pete echoed.
     Becker shook the hand once more and finally let go.
     “See the Sergeant at the desk on the first floor. He’ll set you up with a ride back to the car you left at the hotel last night. Thanks again.”
     As he left the squad room Pete kept opening and closing his right hand, letting the blood flow return. He opened the door and Captain Berry walked through.
     “Thanks,” Berry said, and headed straight toward the two detectives.

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