There was nothing to keep Brendan in his apartment. He tossed and turned, had a dream that he was suffocating, and ended up bleary-eyed back at police headquarters by 6 in the morning. He’d stopped on the way for a bag of donuts.
A good lawyer had turned up during the night. She, it was a she, took Des and Al in front of a Judge at the crack of dawn and had them released on bail twenty minutes later. Des and Al couldn’t afford the lady’s services. The question for Brendan was who paid. If he knew the answer to that, he might get somewhere with the case.
“Yo, lieutenant” said the duty detective. Brendan had once shared a desk with him. “Telephone company got its finger out. Des got a call five minutes before they stopped for coffee.”
“And?” Brendan’s face sagged like a torn punching bag. His hair was mussed and it looked like he hadn’t shaved in a week.
“You look like shit. Did you sleep in those clothes?” said the duty detective.
Brendan looked down. He wore the same loose tie and rolled up shirt as yesterday. “I did sleep in them. Saves time. What did the phone company say?”
“The other cell was a newbie. Straight from the box. Connected a few minutes before the call. We tracked the owner though.”
“Deceased. Three years ago. Natural causes. A pen-pusher at Niemann Marcus.”
“Dead man, dead end,” said Brendan.
“What tree you want us to climb next, brother?”
“Tell me what you think.” Brendan examined his nails like he was seeing them for the first time. They weren’t any cleaner than yesterday.
“The deceased had a daughter.” The officer pawed through the mess on his desk. “I found a picture of the funeral. A dynamite blonde. Thought I’d look her up. See where her old dad’s cell went.”
“After three years?”
“Really good looking.”
Brendan looked askance.
“I mean really.”
“Get back here by noon.”
The duty officer found an empty desk, snagged the telephone, and put his feet up. He dialed the operator and made notes, tried a number and another and a third. With the fourth, he mouthed the word Bingo. Soon after he left the station, humming softly to himself.
A burly detective stopped beside Brendan’s desk. Brendan was examining his nails. “You’ve got to clean them now and then. Haven’t you heard?” the detective cleared his throat. “Des and Al are dead ends. They’re ordinary working joes. That’s why they were picked.”
“I agree. They’re a waste of time.”
“Drop the charges?”
“Where do we go from here?”
Brendan ran his hand through his non-existent hair. “I don’t have a clue.”
His comment was reported to the press. Cops Clueless was the headline next day.