The Uninvited Guests
“So, writer, why don’t we start with you telling me where you were last night.”
Las Vegas Metro police detective Paul Acerno was in no mood for small talk. For that matter, neither was I. Not answering his questions would just mean I’d be staying in Interrogation Room 2 a lot longer than was comfortable and I already wasn’t comfortable. But if I told him where I had been, how I got there, and what happened while I was there, I was sure that I would find myself being transferred to a padded cell.
“I went out for a walk, detective.”
“Don’t get cute with me, writer. My bite is a lot worse than my bark.”
“Seriously, I did. I took a walk around the apartment complex. It’s good exercise.”
“Did anyone see you who can back up your story?”
“I imagine a lot of people saw me, but it’s a big complex and I don’t really know my neighbors.”
I could tell that Acerno really didn’t believe me, but it was a logical explanation and that was all he cared about. We were just dancing around the real reason I was being questioned by a homicide detective in front of a one-way mirror in a sparsely furnished room.
“Let’s talk about Alvin Heskett. How did you two meet?”
“I’ve already told you that, detective.”
“There’s not much to say. He sat down next to me in a seminar and we started talking. We decided to go grab some lunch and ended up at the Rí Rá Irish Pub.”
“What happened after you got to the pub?”
“He was filling me in on whatever I didn’t understand about the seminar. Some guy bumped into him and a few minutes later, he started to perspire, said he couldn’t breathe, and fell down.”
“The guy who bumped into him, had you seen him before?”
“Nope. He was just some guy. He was probably drunk.”
“Did he have any physical contact with Mr. Heskett?”
“No. Except…,” I paused as the movie of that moment played in my head.
“Except what?” Acerno asked as he leaned closer.
“Now that I think about it, he grabbed Heskett’s wrist as if to steady himself. He approached us from my right, so it was his left wrist.”
“And Heskett told you he couldn’t breathe after that happened?”
“What happened after he fell to the floor?”
“I dove out of my chair to see if I could help him.”
“Did he say anything to you?”
We spent the next 30 minutes going over everything that happened after Heskett died. When he had asked all his questions, Acerno told me I was free to go. Another detective opened the door. I turned back to Acerno.
“Am I a suspect, detective?”
“Let’s just say that you’re a person of interest. Don’t leave town.”
“I had a feeling you were going to say that,” I said with a slight hint of sarcasm in my voice.
The detective closed the door behind me.
Detective Acerno walked over to the phone on the wall and picked up the receiver. He turned to the other detective.
“He knows more than he’s saying. Keep an eye on him.”
Turning back to the phone, he punched in a three-digit extension.
“Doc, it’s Paul. Come to my office as soon as you get in tomorrow morning. I may have some information about a couple of your patients.”
It was getting dark as I entered my apartment. I was tired of answering questions and all I wanted was a quick shower and something to eat. Victoria might enjoy going to Siena Trattoria for authentic Italian food and a lot of friendly faces. After my interrogation, I had a real need to be around friendly faces. One of them met me at the door.
“Two men have come here to see you,” she whispered.
Walking into the living room, I saw men in dark suits seated on my couch. They were definitely not friendly faces. They stood as I approached.
“Gentlemen, what can I do for you?”
One of the men reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small wallet. He flipped it open to his identification card.
“Agents Richardson and Grant with the United States Secret Service. We need you to come with us, sir.”