Here is the long-awaited Part Four of the Short Story Thursday series:
(Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
There was a knock on the door, and Samuel Bennett turned in his chair. He leaned forward to unlock the door, and his hired help, two thick men built for brawn instead of brain, entered the small security office. A row of monitors lit up the room, each one showing a different section of the storage lot. On one of the monitors was the image of Adam Marshall, both hands gripped tightly on the steering wheel of his classic Mustang.
“All done, boss,” one of the men said. “We dumped the body in the compactor like you said. Bastard bled all over me.” He held open the front of his jacket to expose his shirt, stained with dark blood.
“Well, Silas, people who have been shot in the heart tend to do that,” Bennett said. “And what of the gun, Peter?”
“I wiped it down good and clean, and chucked it into the river,” Peter said. He shifted, nervous, and shoved his hands deep into his pockets.
“Good job, both of you.” Samuel Bennett turned back to face the monitors. He typed a command on the keyboard in front of him, and the footage of Adam Marshal switched to a larger monitor. After studying the grim-faced witness to the murder of Danny Joiner for a few moments, he entered another command on the keyboard, and somewhere in the small office a printer came to life. It spat out three pages, bearing the grainy but strangely familiar face.
“This guy looks familiar, doesn’t he?” Bennett asked.
“I think I’ve seen him on TV before,” Silas said. “Some commercial or something.”
“He’s the guy on those commercials for that construction company across town,” Peter said. “You know, for Marshall Construction. The one with that stupid slogan, building your dreams from the ground up.”
Bennett nodded, finally recognizing the man. He entered another command on the keyboard, and the video footage of the murder and their witness disappeared. “Does one of you have my phone?”
“Right here, boss,” Peter said, reaching into his jacket pocket. He retrieved the phone and handed it to Bennett. He dialed a number, and held the phone up to his ear.
“Maine State Police, Troop B.”
“Officer Philips, please,” said Bennett.
“Jim, it’s Sam,” Bennett said, his voice quiet.
“Jesus, Sam! What are you doing calling me here? I thought I told you I couldn’t talk here at the desk.”
“This won’t take long, Jim, I promise. You’ve been on my payroll long enough to know that I only call when your services are needed.”
In the State Troopers office, Jim sighed and tapped his fingers on the desk. “What is it this time?”
“We had a little problem here tonight, and I need you to track someone down. I’ve got a name and a plate number. I’ll need you to bring him in.” Silas handed a scrap of paper to Bennett, with the plate number to the Mustang scribbled on it.
“Who’s the guy?”
To be continued...