The Dead Bin
by Gary Clifton
Chapter 15: Those Without Hope
Yeah, fallen doves have mothers, too.
Early in the day, Harper and I found the sewing shop off Stemmons Freeway. We could talk with pimp Isaac “Stick” Terrell, Jr. later. With any luck, Harper would find an excuse to kill him.
Through a small window at the back of the entryway, rows of women bent over sewing machines filled a large work area. A manager, 30’s, with an ugly tattoo on his right forearm and in dire need of a haircut and some shampoo, studied our badges.
“She in some kinda trouble?” He asked the usual question.
“Her daughter was murdered a year ago,” Harper said. “The Blue Frog Murders.”
His whole countenance changed. “Oh hell, yeah, that was bad news around here. Y’all can use this conference room.” He pointed down the hall.
The room was so small, you’d need to step outside to change your mind. The bent, worn old lady, Rosa, was terrified of two big, burly cops. “I have papers, officers,” she stammered in a thick, European accent, blue eyes wide. She’d been a real looker earlier in life, probably like her daughter.
“Please don’t be afraid of us, ma’am,” I said. “We have a few more questions about your daughter, Zophie.”
She dissolved in tears. “Slaughtered and burned my baby. Tell me you’ve caught the man. The Blue Frog monster?” She used the news media name for the murderer.
“Sorry, no,” I said, “but we haven’t given up. Her friends and associates... the file shows you knew a suspect, but you were afraid to name him.”
She leaned across the small table. “In my country, a visit from the police is a very bad thing. I was afraid then, but I am not frightened of you two, now.” From a battered purse, she pulled a worn envelope. “I have three hundred dollars. It is all I have. Please officers, find who butchered my Zophie.” She thrust the envelope across the table.
“Mrs. Petrovic,” I said, “we can’t take your money. But we promise to do everything we can,”
“Kuznov,” she spat. “Zophie was a prisoner of that Russian pig. He need dead.”
I couldn’t argue with that but wasn’t about to say so. “Prisoner?”
“He pay their way to America. Make them slave to drugs. Then he make her do the sex on that Harry Hines Boulevard.”
Harper tossed onto the table an old mug photo of Elgard, the murder victim from the night before and a shot of the red boots. “That is Elgard, Sophie’s roommate and friend.” She stared at the photos, transfixed. “The boots...”
She dug in the purse and handed over a photo of a pert, cute blonde in a short skirt and tall, red, knee-length boots, clones of those in the morgue photo. Or the same ones.
“The file shows she was connected to a man called ‘Stick’. Know him?” I held up his mug shot.
“Yes, another animal. He is what they called ‘peemp’. He worked for Kuznoz, also. A very evil man. You find and keel him too, Officer?”
She had good ideas about crime and punishment.
* * *
We drove by the Police Department and copied the file on Isaac Terrell, also known as Stick. His file was an inch-thick with arrests for murder, promotion of prostitution, and the case Washington and I had clapped on him for sale and delivery.
“I feel the urge to speak a little Russian.” Harper grinned.
“And I’d like to bounce a pimp named Stick as soon as possible,” I said. “And find a better handle on a hooker named Lola Blue. Some way, she lured Zophie from The Blue Frog. Then somebody killed her, probably this Lola, maybe with a helper. Points to a logical conclusion.”
“She’s also a good suspect to question about the Blue Frog murders. Very similar M.O.” He rolled his cigar stub. “First I want to see what this Kuznov is made of.”
Harper drove, threading through traffic in a Ford with a barely functioning air conditioner. He was about to get the chance to prove his reputation was well deserved for quelling small riots.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton