“What the hell are you doing bringing the kid here?”
Camen looked up from the body that was laying in the entryway of the house, dropping the sheet back over her. He turned to face the detective who was coming over to them, a tired looking man in a disheveled looking suit.
“Sonny, you know he’s with me,” Camen said. “I can’t very well show up on the job without my assistant.”
“You’re not here on the job, Ben.”
“Detective Nolan,” Hiroki spoke up, “are you saying that Ben is a suspect?”
The detective rocked on his heels, thinking for a moment before he spoke. “Not seriously, no. But we found your card on her body, and so we had to make the call. It’s not like you just hand those out to everyone.”
“Well, I do hand them out to everyone, considering that it’s a good way to drum up business,” Camen said, “but in this case you’re right. We were here earlier this afternoon, when I assure you she was very much alive.”
"What were you doing here?”
“Investigating,” Camen said as he motioned towards the body. “I needed to question her on a case I’ve got, tracking down a guy stepping out on his wife. She was the other woman.”
Sonny’s eyes lit up. “Then we have a suspect!”
“Maybe,” Camen said. “Let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to. You mind if Sugoi here takes some crime scene photos?”
Sonny looked around the apartment. Most of the cops were already gone, just a few left milling around outside to keep the neighbors at bay and wait for the coroner to show up. “Yeah, I suppose he can. Don’t touch the body, kid, or I’ll make sure you never step foot on one of my crime scenes again.”
Hiroki hesitated, waiting until the two of them walked away, Benjamin talking rapidly while Sonny listened. Ben didn’t have any choice but to cooperate with the police, but Hiroki didn’t like it. The police were decidedly unadventurous about these sorts of things.
Hiroki lifted the sheet and pulled a small digital camera out of his bag. He had photographed bodies before for Ben, though never in an official capacity in front of the police. He felt decidedly unprofessional as he went about taking all the pictures he could of what used to be Victoria Falchi. It was decidedly messy for such a neat kill. Two round holes were stamped in the skin above her low-cut neckline, and another set right between her eyes.
He took his pictures and then returned to Ben, still talking to Sonny. When he approached, Camen gestured to Hiroki. “Sugoi has our conversation with Miss Falchi recorded, if you need to further substantiate our proof.”
“No,” Sonny said. “You’ve told me enough to work with for now. If I need it, I’ll give you a call. But you’re free to go.”
The two of them walked out of the townhome and into Ben’s car. Once they were inside, Ben held out his hand for the camera. Hiroki gave it to him, watching as he flipped through the images. “I can’t believe he didn’t take my recording of our interview,” Hiroki said, as a way to make conversation. He was still unnerved whenever he was confronted with a body like that.
Camen pulled out a cigarette and lit it, one-handed, as he rolled down the window and continued to flip through the pictures. “The thing you gotta remember about the cops, at least the good ones, is they know that if they push too hard I’ll stop volunteering information. So I volunteer, and they go easy. We’re in the same business, and if you do your job right when you’re negotiating your fees you’ll get paid whether the police do the work for you or not.”
“So … what now? Detective Nolan seemed to think that our missing man was the killer.”
“It certainly could be construed that way,” Ben said. He handed the camera back to Hiroki. “What do you see?”
“Two gunshots to the chest, one to the head. Looks like whoever it was shot her as she opened the door. Neighbors didn’t report gunshots, so there was some kind of suppressor being used.”
“Yes. There’s one problem with that, though.”
“If someone shot her from the doorway where she was, there’d be some sort of burn left on the skin, even with a suppressor. She couldn’t have been shot point blank.”
“Are you saying she wasn’t shot there?”
“No, I’m pretty sure she was shot there. Too much blood for that to not be where she was standing,” Camen said as he started up the car. The engine wheezed to life and they took off. “But it means that the shooter was standing somewhere else. I don’t suppose you thought to look for where the bullets hit after they exited the body.”
Hiroki gaped for a moment, feeling incredibly shortsighted, before he shook his head.
“Don’t worry, I already did. The two bullets that hit her in the chest struck the back of the front door. You didn’t notice because it was covered until the forensics guy could get there. The third one is embedded in the floor under the body, probably.”
“A double tap to the chest and one between the eyes sounds a lot like a mob hit,” Hiroki said, trying to recover. “We’re looking for a mob guy, remember.”
“Yeah, but he’s a lawyer, not a hit man. So far as my research pulled up, he didn’t even own a gun, let alone know how to use it enough to do something like that.”
“So … what then?”
“I don’t know,” Camen answered. “We just continue the investigation. Though the odds of it being a coincidence that she was killed shortly after we asked her about our missing man seem pretty high.”
“So someone’s killing the people related to this case?”
“If' that’s true,” Camen said, “then we need to be careful, meddling around and asking questions. And we need to talk to our client. The last thing we need is to wake up tomorrow and find that our employer ate a bullet.”
“We’re going to be out late, then?”
"Camen looked over at Hiroki and shrugged. “If you need me to take you home, let me know now. I can always come get you next time you’re free.”
“There’s a job to do,” Hiroki answered, reaching for his phone. “I’m not going to miss this.”
Camen nodded and floored the accelerator. Hiroki dialed his mother’s number, a ready lie as to what he would be doing forming in his mind.