Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Episode 5

Billy Adams' Window

The body was sprawled in a pool of blood on the stone terrace. Forensics was processing the scene, which Donati could see at a glance would be one helluva mess to clean up. Despite the circumstances, he recognized the vic. Even lying on his side with his head cracked open like an egg, Frankie Lassiter still looked like the nasty piece of work every cop in town knew. Donati didn't wish death on anyone, particularly a violent death, but Lassiter was bad news and his demise meant one less bad guy on the streets.

It probably hadn't been more than six weeks since the last time Lassiter had been busted. Possession of alcohol and driving on a suspended license. Before that, he'd been nabbed for speeding while smoking a pipe-full of K-2. He'd weaseled out of the drug charges, since K-2 wasn't yet on the books as an illegal substance, and he'd simply ignore the license suspension.  Before that circus, Donati had spent the better part of a year trying to connect Lassiter to the drug supply at the high school, but the guy was too slippery. Lassiter was young, not even twenty-one. He was a drifter with records in Florida, New York, and Michigan, and Donati wanted him gone, but not like this.

"Hey, Chief, we got something." Sgt. Connell handed over a slim wallet that had been in the dead man's pocket. Donati didn't need to open it to know that Lassiter's current address was 630 Kincaid, a rundown rental property in the unincorporated area three miles south of Pine Lake. The house was nicknamed "The Roach." Toss-up as to whether that was for the critters or the smoking materials.

That area south of Pine Lake, known to the old-timers as "Fish Town," was a magnet for trouble. In addition to the underpaid busboys, landscapers, and maids who worked in Pine Lake but couldn't afford to live there, Fish Town was the kind of no man's land that attracted an unsavory element.

"We also found this," Connell said, handing his boss a plastic evidence bag encasing a blood-stained business card.

There was a lot of blood. Donati looked down at the corpse. Lassiter was on his left side, left arm bent out underneath his torso, right leg hooked up at a forty-five degree angle. The one eye that was visible was open. Judging by the state of the left side of the skull, he must have landed head first. The blood splatter was impressive: it had strafed the French doors and run heavy enough from the wounds to form a dark pool under the body and cascade down three of the flagstone steps.

Glancing up, Donati saw there was a shallow balcony just above. Obviously, Lassiter had taken a nose dive from there. Less obvious was if the guy had jumped, fallen, or been pushed. And least obvious of all--what the hell was a low-life like Frankie Lassiter doing at the Adam's mansion? With Biff Monroe's business card?

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