“Yes. I’m sorry, who is this?”
“Detective William Albright mister Morrison. 11th precinct.”
“Sorry detective, I thought you were someone else. What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if you could come down to the station. Normally I would have sent a squad car around but I thought you might not appreciate it. Could you possibly come down now?”
“May I ask what this is about?”
“Did you read the paper or see the morning news mister Morrison?”
“Desmond. Yes I did. I’ll be right down.”
“Good. Just ask for me at the desk.”
So he hadn’t needed to call them anyway. Someone had tipped them off that the murder was an exact copy of his story. That it may well have been the murderer sent his mind reeling. He grabbed his windbreaker and headed downtown.
He walked up to the desk and the sergeant looked up at him as he approached.
“Detective Albright will be right out, please take a seat.”
Well that was quick he thought. How did they know it was he? He sat down on the varnished wood bench along the wall and waited. A few minutes later Albright made an appearance. He was a tall lanky man with a lopsided smile and pronounced widow’s peak. He extended his hand as he approached.
“Good of you to come down right away Desmond. This way please.”
Albright led him past cubicles occupied by cops with handcuffs and other police devices on their belts. Some were wearing holstered guns. He opened the frosted glass door of an office and let Desmond precede him inside.
Seated on opposite sides of a utilitarian wooden desk that had seen heavy usage they sized each other up for a moment and then Albright folded his hands on the desk and began.
“Desmond, you’re the author of a collection of short stories that was recently published, is that correct?”
“Yes detective. I read about the murder. I can’t believe this is happening. Someone must have read the story and decided…it’s all a bit much.”
“I can imagine. How did you become aware?”
“The morning paper yesterday. Then again today. The detail about the abdomen that was when I knew for certain the murderer had read my story. Too much of a coincidence to be any other way. I’m still in shock.”
“I see. Why didn’t you call us right away Desmond?”
“Well, I was just about to do that very thing when you called.”
Albright had been writing on a pad of paper as they spoke. He put down his pencil and looked Desmond in the eye.
“Where were you on the night of the 13th Desmond?”
“Night before last? At home.”
“Anyone there with you?”
“No, I live alone. Wait, you think I did this? I can’t believe –“
“It’s just a routine question Desmond. You’re not a suspect at the moment. We don’t have any suspects. Can anyone verify that you were at home? Did anyone call you?”
“No. I spent a quiet evening at home as I usually do. I did some writing and watched some television and then went to bed.”
Detective Albright asked him a few more questions then told him he was free to go. He reassured him he was not considered a suspect but asked him to not leave town and to available for further questioning should it become necessary. He walked him to the front door and watched him leave.
Desmond walked to his car, his head swimming.
Part 4 Tomorrow