Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 November 2013
They’d been cooped up in the interview room for the last three hours, and Pete Walker had not cracked. He wasn’t admitting to knowing missing woman, Nora Aitcheson, and was saying nothing in relation to the subpoena of his phone records showing that she had contacted him, and that he had made calls to her on a number of occasions. Officer Max Deacon was playing partner to Detective Amy Griffin in the interview, while their partners had teamed up to investigate the phone numbers linked to Nora Aitcheson, and Sean and Leigh Gaynor. Deacon was trying to contain his anger, and Walker’s silence was not helping. He slammed his hand down on the table, and although it was minute, Deacon saw Walker flinch.
‘So, you’re going to sit there and pretend like you don’t know what any of this is about?’ asked Deacon. Walker refused to respond.
‘Sergeant Walker, I’ll say this to you one more time . . . we’ve got your phone records, we know you’ve been in contact with Nora Aitcheson, and a man calling himself Sean Gaynor –’
Walker interrupted Griffin. ‘You can say it as many times as you want, Detective Griffin, but it’s not going to be of any use to you.’
She smiled and nodded, and Walker took it as a sign of defeat, smugly returning her smile. Griffin, however, wasn’t done.
‘That’s fine, Walker. Deacon, you take the files, and we’ll get out of here. Leave him to I.A.’
Her comment caught Walker unaware, and wiped the smile from his face.
‘What do you mean?’ he asked.
‘If you have nothing to say to Deacon and I, then Internal Affairs have some questions they’d like you to answer. So, Deacon and I will be on our way, and I’m sure that some I.A. guy will be in with you shortly.’
Griffin stood up, tapped Deacon’s shoulder, and the two of them headed for the door with files in hand. She had agitated Walker enough, she hoped, that he would decide that she and Deacon were a better proposition than Internal Affairs. She was a good judge of character.
‘Wait, wait. Hold up,’ Walker pleaded. ‘Sit back down. I’ll, uh, I’ll answer your questions.’
Griffin, hand on the door handle, waited for a few seconds before turning and ushering Deacon back to the table. She arranged the files on the table, opened her notepad, and readied herself to write down every word that would come out of Walker’s mouth.
‘Fine, you win, Detective Griffin,’ Walker said. ‘I do know Nora Aitcheson. I met her years ago when I ran the taskforce. It was before I recruited you, Max. She was a witness in a case we were running, and in a round about way, she was involved in perpetration of the crime. She only played a small part, but it was enough to put her away for years. The short version of the story is that I looked the other way, she got off, and years later when she needed a favour, she called me.’
Deacon shook his head. He was now taking on a key role in the downfall of a man he admired.
‘Are you admitting to assisting Nora Aitcheson in faking her own disappearance?’ Deacon asked him.
‘I had no choice. She was blackmailing me. She threatened to tell Internal Affairs that I’d overlooked her role in a crime. She made a leap, assumed that because I helped her out that I must have been . . . doing favours for people for quite a while.’
‘You were paying her as well?’ asked Deacon.
‘No, no, hadn’t got to that stage. She just used the fact I let her go as her leverage.’
‘And what about this Sean Gaynor?’
Walker looked at Deacon, and remembered the promising young officer he’d recruited. He understood why Griffin had chosen to work with Deacon during this interview. With Deacon sitting in on the interview, Walker was expected to either lie about everything in order to maintain the view of himself that Deacon held, or he’d tell the truth and disappoint the officer.
Walker looked at Griffin with rising contempt at the position she’d put him in, but whatever he felt towards Griffin, he knew Deacon deserved the truth.
‘You probably already figured out that Sean Gaynor isn’t his real name. And before you ask, no, I don’t know what his real name was. She only ever referred to him as Sean when she spoke to me. Nora was using Leigh Gaynor. They were playing husband and wife. She’d decided that she didn’t want to be around her real husband any longer. Wanted to teach him a lesson in the process. Said he had been sleeping with the female artists that he was buying artworks from.’
‘And so you fed her information about cases we’d worked on? Pettit, Hamilton, Fisher, Lawley? Any that I’ve left out?’ asked Deacon.
‘That’s about it,’ came the reply.
Griffin finished writing in her note pad, collected the files they had brought into the interview room, and indicated to Deacon that it was time for them to get the information to Scott and O’Brien.
‘Let’s go, Max,’ she said. He was over at the door before Walker had time to speak.
‘Well, what about me, Griffin?’
‘Oh, Internal Affairs have requested some alone time with you, Sergeant Walker. Although, I’d suggest that you won’t be a sergeant for much longer by the time they’re done with you.’
‘But you said if I helped you –’
‘I made no such remark, Walker. I never said that I.A. wouldn’t have their turn with you after we were done. You made that assumption all by yourself,’ Griffin replied, and ushered Deacon out of the room ahead of her.
* * * * *
Paradise Found – A Yacht In International Waters
The sea was surprisingly calm. Nora had studied the weather reports for the last two weeks, and was hoping that she and Lance would be close enough to the Mexican coast before the predicted storm front arrived. Once safely in Mexico, they would arrange flights, and all things being equal, successfully evade the authorities and live happily ever after in some nice little Swiss village or town. They were taking the long way around, by sailing the vessel into international waters, but Nora was determined to take every precaution to avoid getting caught by U.S. authorities.
‘Not much longer, Lance, and we’ll be free.’
Lance, suffering the effects of chronic seasickness, had dragged himself on deck to get some sun. He leaned on the starboard railing, hung his head over the side of the boat, and promptly vomited what little breakfast he’d been able to consume.
‘Sorry. So sorry. Really not doing well with this whole sailing thing,’ he mumbled in between retching.
‘It’s okay,’ Nora replied, ‘but just make sure that you get it all in the water and not on deck.’
With his head hanging over the railing, Lance feebly giggled at her comment, unaware that Nora had moved directly behind him. As he retched once more, she used his own heaving momentum and threw him overboard.
‘Bye, honey. Just another reason we’re so far off the coast.’ Nora waved as the yacht drew away from Lance. It didn’t take long for his screams for help to be lost in the sound of the waves. Likewise, it didn’t take long for Lance to be lost in the water.
* * * * *
Police Incident Room
Frank O’Brien let the phone on his desk ring four times before he picked up the receiver.
‘O’Brien . . . yep.’ The sergeant paused, and listened to the caller. ‘Okay. Thanks for letting me know. We’ll get there as soon as we can. Thanks. Bye.’
Max Deacon waited for his partner to fill him in, but O’Brien simply replaced the receiver, and continued filling out the report he’d been working on before the phone call. Deacon drummed his fingers on his desk. It was his passive aggressive way of getting O’Brien’s attention.
It took O’Brien a full six minutes before Deacon’s finger drumming got the better of him.
‘Oh, for Christ’s sake, Deacon. Will you please STOP DRUMMING YOUR FINGERS ON THE DAMN DESK?’
Deacon stopped immediately. He’d achieved part of his objective.
‘Where are we going as soon as we can?’
‘Must you know everything as soon as it occurs, Deacon? A little patience never hurt anyone,’ replied O’Brien. The sergeant looked up from the report, and sighed.
‘Our Marvin Turner case has gone belly up in some respect.’
‘Why?’ Deacon asked. O’Brien tossed his pen on the desk, and put his hands behind his head. It was a small loss that the case had just suffered.
‘Marvin Turner’s been found dead in Quartermaine Park.’
. . . To be continued . . .