Death by Parking - Chapter 1 - The Lieutenant
Chapter One: The Lieutenant
We investigated the hell out of it and everyone was convinced it was an accident. Case closed.
My office was in an Egyptian-themed building on Hollywood Boulevard just up from Hollywood and Vine. It was on the third floor, had two rooms, a window, and a rubber plant. I got the plant after my first case when such a piece of vegetation played a role in a murder.
My outer office had a couple of chairs, a table, and a picture on the wall. It was a travel poster for Hawaii. Colorful and cheap. I usually let people wait there for a few minutes to get them settled down before I brought them through to my office.
It had a desk and chair with two chairs in front of it. I had a filing cabinet, a sink, and a low bookcase with a coffee maker on top. The walls had a few pictures I liked, plus a clock with Mickey Mouse. His eyes moved with the pendulum which, of course, was his tail. I know it was silly, but it took the edge off some of the serious conversations we had in that room.
I was just finishing my second cup of coffee that morning when Bill Vose walked through the door. Since he was my boss at the LAPD and literally saved my skin, he didn’t think he had to knock. And he didn’t.
He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat his six-foot-two-inch frame on one of the chairs in front of my desk. I waited for him to tell me why he took time off from his duties in the Hollywood Division of the department to visit me this fine, sunny day.
He sipped his coffee and looked at me over the cup. It was like he was trying to make up his mind. Finally, he set the cup on my desk and began his story.
“You know that new building that’s going up on Wilshire and LaBrea?” I nodded. “It’s going to be a big one. They are building a huge parking garage next door.” With every word, I was getting more and more confused. What the hell did any of this have to do with the LAPD, or with me? I kept my mouth shut. He would eventually get to the point.
“They have already hired a company to run the garage. It’s a little unusual to hire one so early, but not completely out of the question. One of my investigators, Larry Whemes, you know him, he worked on that parking case with you a couple of years ago, was curious and he went to the job site to just look around and see what’s what. Nothing official.
“While he was there, I guess he asked a few questions. As he was leaving, a piece of steel weighing five tons dropped off a crane and hit him. He was killed instantly. We investigated the hell out of it and everyone was convinced it was an accident. Case closed.
“Maybe it’s just a cop’s instinct, but I can’t let it go. Larry was a fiend, married, one kid. It just was too cut and dried. We can’t continue to look into it. Case closed. I was wondering if you…” I stopped him there.
“Come on, Bill. This is how I make my living. How can I just drop everything and look into this? Who is paying my fee? I’m sure it’s not the LAPD.”
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “The owner of the project told me during our investigation, that he had some concerns about the connection between the builder and the new parking operator he hired. Nothing definitive, but his instinct was firing, too. He asked if there was anyone who I knew that could quietly investigate the situation. It may be nothing. But who knows? He is willing to hire you. All you need to do is pick up the phone and make an appointment. Here’s the name and number.”
He slid a 3x5 card across the table. I left it lying there. I knew there was something more coming.
“There’s one more thing you should know, the name of the parking company is ‘C-Park.’ The CEO is some guy named Cosner.”
After Bill left, I began to wonder. Was it possible that this was the same guy who was my Lieutenant in Korea? If so, would he remember me? I was just some grunt and never had any interaction with him. And if it was him, was this an opportunity to even the score for that night, over a decade ago? It could be dangerous. Hell, a cop was killed just for asking a few questions. But no matter what I told Bill, it was a little slow right now and the owner of a major building wouldn’t try to negotiate my fee.
As I thought about I, I couldn’t get the moment when the girl’s scream abruptly stopped that night ten years ago.
I picked up the phone and dialed the number.
To be continued.
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