That evening I had a couple more glasses of wine than usual. I’m not an alcoholic, in fact I go weeks sometimes without the stuff, but given the events of the past week I deemed it all right to indulge in a little self-medication. I had a light dinner and listened to some music as I enjoyed a fine bottle of New Zealand pinot noir.
At last I felt relaxed enough and went to bed to read myself to sleep. I had no more than drifted off when I was brought back by a siren that got louder with each passing second. I tried to ignore it but as it died down it was clear something was happening in my street. I could see the reflected red light of a whirling police car beacon on my ceiling.
I got up and looked out the window but all I could see was the police car and no one in it. I fretted for a moment and then decided to go back to bed. I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Whatever it was, I would find out about it in the morning.
I slept in late and by the time I got up and had breakfast and showered it was close to eleven. I had forgotten about the event that had woken me up but remembered it when I went out to get the mail. Nothing seemed amiss on the street and none of the neighbours were out and about so I put it out of my mind and started thinking about my appointment with Detective Olson.
I couldn’t really blame the police for thinking I might be a suspect given that two of my friends had died in such close proximity time wise and in a similar manner, but I had to be careful how I presented myself in speaking to them. I made some notes about what I wanted to say and how I might respond to any questions they might ask and then took care of some correspondence that needed tending too. By the time I was finished it was time to go.
When I arrived Detective Olson was waiting for me in the lobby. His arms were crossed over his chest and he was holding a piece of paper. He had a serious look on his face and motioned for me to follow him after a curt greeting. He took me to the room we had been in the day before and fixed me with a look after I sat down.
“Mr. Cox, I’m glad you showed today.”
“Well, we had an appointment, why would I not?”
“Are you aware of the event in your street last night?”
“Ah, yes. I had just gone to sleep when I heard a siren. I looked out the window and saw a police car but I couldn’t see any activity. Was it a domestic dispute or something? We get those from time to time.”
“No, Mr. Cox, it wasn’t. There’s been another murder, I’m afraid.”
I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. I was afraid to ask who it might have been.
“Oh my. That’s shocking. I didn’t notice any activity today, I…”
I trailed off, not knowing what more I could add.
“Mr. Cox, did you know Allen Randall?”
I could feel the blood drain from my face. Allen Randall had moved into the neighbourhood only six months before. He lived just three doors down from me and was a member of my golf club. We had played together many times and were friends, albeit casual ones. I hadn’t spoken to him for a couple of weeks.
“Yes I knew him. He was a member of the golf club I belong to. We played together often. This is terrible. Might I ask how he died?”
Detective Olson’s mouth set in a grim line.
“The same way your friends Michael Anderson and Nigel Ellison did, Mr. Cox.”
As I was trying to get my mind around what he had said he put the piece of paper he had been holding in front of me.
“And we found this in his house.”
I stared at the death certificate on the table in front of me and for a moment I thought I might pass out.
Tomorrow – Part 6