Alexander Palmer Ch. 02

Ass

II.

I’m not sure how my night got to this point.

But there I was, standing outside of 52 Sterling Street, Arlington, Virginia, having heart palpations and possibly ready to vomit if the police arrived. Or worse — Sebastian Oberlin decided to leave work early and come home. He wasn’t due home for another two hours so I had a window of opportunity to clear his name as Kale’s murderer. And so, there I was, Alexander Palmer will be playing the role of Dick Tracy tonight.

When I was younger, I learned how to pick a lock pretty quickly. It came in handy, well, never, but I thought it might be fun to learn, anyway. And wouldn’t you know it — twenty plus years later that know-how of mine was coming in handy once and for all. I was also fortunate that Oberlin lived in an old house. Old house generally meant an old lock and, therefore, easier to open.

The moment I stepped into his dark, warm house I paused and listened for an alarm. If it was one of those damned silent ones that sent a message to the police, then this was going to be one quick visit.

Five, ten, fifteen minutes later and no one arrived.

So I snooped, crept, and only jumped out of fright once when his black cat brushed by my legs in the dark.

Other than his feline friend, it was clear Oberlin lived alone. No wife or girlfriend would tolerate his mess and the porno magazines lying out in the open, dog-eared. I picked up a copy of Slut Puppies in his upstairs bathroom and flipped through it. Straight porn did little for me. I mean, it did something, because a male was involved, but it still did little. Oberlin had marked the pages with female couples and that, for sure, I didn’t understand. But I didn’t feel like I was missing out, either.

I put the magazine down and decided Oberlin may be a pervert of sorts, but he wouldn’t kill somebody. Turning to go, I took one step forward and collided into a solid mass. It felt like a brick or stone wall, but that wall, it spoke to me.

“Doing some light reading?”

“Jesus-H-Christ, Diggs,” I breathed. And tried to regain my nerves. If I had a full bladder, I probably would have wet my jeans.

“How long were you standing there?”

“Long enough,” he replied.

Diggs was a man of very few words. He’s my six foot Colombian shadow that scared me most of the times and aroused me the other times he wasn’t scaring me. But I’ve never seen him naked or even shirtless. For the past two years, we’ve had this amazing ability to keep things illegal bahis professional. And I guess that’s a good thing, considering the last guy I slept with wound up dead. Murdered.

“Were you following me?” I asked, going back downstairs.

“Great minds think alike.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning, we both wanted to check on Oberlin tonight.”

“Well, I’m done. The verdict is in. He’s not the killer.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

“You were supposed to call me,” I reminded him. “For dinner, remember? I never heard from you. I figured you and that Brazilian were busy so I logged onto the MPPD database, looked up the first name on the list you gave me and here I am.”

“You have access to the MPPD database?”

“My cousin, Arnie, works for them. Said he owes me a few favors, so I called on him tonight.”

Perhaps Diggs had more to say, but before he could say it a third car arrived and we both froze on the spot. Oberlin’s car? I tiptoed to the living room window and peered out. It wasn’t Oberlin getting out of the car. It was worse.

“Detective Harrison,” I breathed. “What’s he doing here?”

He stood amidst the falling snow for a few seconds with his hands on his hips, looking up at the house. Had he noticed my car? It was parked across the street. Diggs’s car was not in sight. I presumed he flew over Superman style.

“Out the back,” Diggs said in my ears.

And we made our move for the kitchen in the rear of the house.

The winter wind blasted us as emerged out of the back door and into the fenced-in backyard. The chain-link fence was taller than my head. That didn’t slow Diggs. He went up and over gracefully like he had a lot of practice at some boot camp. I climbed to the top and fell over the other side with a thud and a groan. Into the snow I went, wet and cold and suddenly very aware that Diggs was standing over me.

“So do you always top? Because I always bottom,” I cracked the wry joke amidst my pain.

Diggs stretched out his hand to help me up. “Maybe you’ll find out one day,” was all he said.

Oh, boy.

***

Diggs had parked his Range Rover on the street behind Oberlin’s house. I took a mental note from the master of craftiness and sunk into his passenger seat, allowing the vents to blast full heat on me. And because Diggs owed me dinner, we drove through McDonald’s before circling back to get my car. I was the only one who ordered food. The last time Diggs had fast food was probably, well, never. illegal bahis siteleri And while I do love staying fit and working out and eating organic, sometimes you need a cheeseburger after breaking and entering into a stranger’s home.

“If you need to take your wet clothes off, you can,” Diggs offered.

I gave him a stern look that went unnoticed. “Thanks, but I’m not that wet. Maybe if you went first.”

And at a red light, he began to unbutton his pants. And undid his zipper. And…

“Whoa,” I said blushing and turned away. “I was only joking.”

At the next red light he re-did his zipper and button and smiled ever so slyly.

When we were a block away from Oberlin’s home, Diggs parked the car and killed the lights. Harrison was still there and Diggs explained that I should wait until he leaves before hopping in my car. Or maybe he just wanted to spend time with me. The thought occurred to me as I was on my last few french fries. I got chills all over again.

“This isn’t like a date or anything? Is it?”

Diggs slid me a look. “Babe.”

“I mean — I realize it’s completely fucking weird, but I’ve had weirder dates.”

“Do you want this to be a date?” he asked, looking ahead.

I blinked a few times, unsure how to answer. “I don’t know. I mean. Do you even date? Even Batman dates occasionally,” I added, to which Diggs only slid me a look again. “Unless you and the Brazilian are, you know, a couple.”

“His name is Marcelo,” Diggs said in his usual cool, calm voice.

“Ah, so you and he are…sorry. Didn’t realize.”

Diggs turned his head fully this time to look at me. “He’s my new recruit.”

“You said he was into threesomes.”

“It was a guess,” Diggs shrugged.

And lo and behold there was one of Diggs’s fantasies. Despite working with Diggs on and off for the past couple of years, I knew surprisingly little about him. Diggs may not even be his real name. And this whole homosexual thing could be a front for all I know. He could have been a Colombian drug lord, trying to evade the feds. But Baby, my Alaskan Husky, liked him and she generally was good at sniffing out the bad guys, a lot better than I was, at least.

So in the limited conversations that we have, I try to pick up more keys and clues to what type of guy Diggs is and, as of now, I knew he was interested in a threesome. So why didn’t I just reach over and kiss him now? Well, for starters I had cheeseburger breath and another thing, Diggs canlı bahis siteleri wasn’t even in the car anymore.

Suddenly aware that I was alone, I perked up in my seat, craning my neck every which way looking for him. How the goddamn hell was he so quiet? After sixty seconds of searching, I finally saw him in the reflection of the rearview mirror. There was an identical Range Rover parked behind us. Diggs was leaning against the driver’s side, talking.

“A subordinate of yours?” I asked as Diggs slid into the car minutes later.

“Steele. He was looking into Jonathan Roberts.”

I didn’t need the list in front of me to know Roberts was the second pimp. “And he had to come all the way out here to tell you? There is such a thing as a cell phone.”

“Roberts lives four blocks away.”

I thought about that for a second. “Coincidence?”

“Maybe.”

“Do you think Oberlin and Roberts know each other from the business?”

“It’s possible.”

“Did he get anything on Roberts?”

“No.”

We waited another fifteen minutes, in silence, I might add. Not a hostile silence or anything, just the typical silence that accompanies Diggs’s presence. Humble, yet intimidating.

Detective Harrison left shortly after nine at night. And as he passed under the street lamp, I was struck by his sharp Italian looks. He was quite handsome. Not to mention his butt really filled out his jeans. I wondered what his story was: single, taken, married, married with children. He definitely seemed to be the fathering type.

“I guess it’s time to go,” I said, as the tail lights of Harrison’s Honda became two red pinpoints in the distance. “Thanks for the burger. You really know how to treat a guy.”

“You have no idea,” Diggs said smoothly.

And that aroused me.

***

Because I am too lazy to shovel my driveway, I was forced to park on the curb tonight. My first appointment tomorrow wasn’t until late. I made a mental note to wake up, go for a jog, then finish off my exercise routine with a good-ol’ shoveling. Baby liked to play in the snow, so I felt certain that she would enjoy the time shoveling more than I would.

I could hear her barking as I climbed the front porch stairs. And I could feel the day starting to weigh heavily on me. As a last mental reminder, I turned at the front door and beeped my car lock. Only, the moment I hit the “lock” button, that’s not what my car did.

Like a Bruce Willis movie or something, there was a gigantic KA-BOOM that knocked me off my feet. A rush of intense, oven-like heat spread through the night air. Dazed, confused, and surprisingly uninjured, I sat up on the spot and stared at what was once my Toyota, but was now a harrowing ball of flame.

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