They’re after me, I told myself. They missed the other night, the night they got Mr. Mosley and the Tillmans, but they’re still coming.
“Who are these guys?” I said aloud.
I came out of hiding and walked back to my Jeep Cherokee. My door was still open. Danny’s Browning was lying on the asphalt beneath it. I left both as they were.
I heard a noise that sounded like laughter but wasn’t. I spun around. Two women dressed in business suits were standing on the other side of the parking lot. One had covered her mouth with her hand. The other had turned sideways as if she were preparing to run. Both were staring at me.
I used my own cell phone to call 911.
Lieutenant Brian Dyke seemed slight for a law enforcement officer, and I had no doubt he had barely met the minimum height and weight requirements. Yet he moved and spoke like he was twenty feet tall. A giant among men.
“The witnesses”—he jerked his head toward where the two businesswomen had been standing—“confirm your account of the incident.”
Danny’s gun was still lying on the asphalt beneath my car door. Dyke looked at it as if he were seeing it for the first time, even though I had shown it to him an hour earlier. He shut the door and picked up the gun by the butt.
“I guess you don’t worry about things like fingerprints in the Carver County Sheriff’s Department,” I told him.
“You think you’re funny?”
“Odd. That’s exactly what Danny asked me.”
“Danny, who you claim pulled the gun on you.”
“Danny, who can no longer be identified by his fingerprints.”
Dyke sniffed at me like there were forces at work in the Criminal Investigation Division that I was just too dim to grasp and stuck the gun in his belt. Behind him a young deputy was chatting with a teenaged girl wearing a revealing halter and jean shorts hanging low on her hips. The girl kept her ten-speed bike between them. All the other deputies had departed shortly after Lieutenant Dyke arrived. I began to think Sergeant Brehmer was right.
“I’m this close to running you in.” Dyke held his thumb and index finger about a half inch apart.
“Obstructing justice. What do you think you’re doing, conducting your own personal investigation?”
“You don’t seem to be doing it.”
“I don’t care for your attitude.”
“Maybe I’ll lose sleep over that. Whaddaya think the chances are?”
“All I can say is you had better stop sticking your nose into business that doesn’t concern you.”
“Doesn’t concern me? My friend was killed. Another was raped.”
“No complaint was filed on that.”
“I was shot at, and you’re doing jack about it.”
“Yeah, get all indignant on me. Go ’head, see where that’ll get you.”
“Let me guess. Bullies stole your lunch money when you were a kid, and now you’re using your badge to prove how tough you are.”
“You want to see how tough I am?”
“Did you at least run the license plate?”
“It was a partial.”
“First three letters—F as in Francis, A as in Albert, S as in Sinatra. How many Chevy Blazers can there be in Minnesota with those initials?”
Lieutenant Dyke didn’t say.
“There’s a security camera in the foyer of the motel. It might have caught something. Did you secure the videotape? Janel in the bar saw two men who were friends of Crosetti. Do her descriptions match the ones I gave you? Did you canvass for witnesses? The one called Danny was hurt. Are you contacting local hospital ERs and outpatient clinics to see if his partner brought him in?”
It was like conversing with an empty parking lot for all the attention Dyke paid me. He said, “You’re too smart for your own good, you know that, McKenzie?”
“Do your job, for God’s sake.”
“That’s enough. No more from you. You’re done. No more investigation. You don’t go anywhere. You don’t talk to anyone. Not in my county. Better yet, get out of my county. Hear?”
I didn’t say if I did or didn’t. He moved close. His nose was inches from mine.
Dyke backed off and smiled triumphantly. “I don’t want to arrest you, McKenzie.”
I didn’t believe him.
I drove. An amazing thing. I accelerated, I braked, I turned corners, I even signaled my lane changes. It was amazing because I was so upset my hands trembled on the steering wheel.