Mathew Easton, private investigator for the rich and powerful, was summoned to the grizzly scene moments after the news broke. He stood calmly in the doorway, surveying the murder as police collected evidence and took pictures.
This is incredibly sloppy, Easton thought as he sipped his coffee.
The police were doing their job. The problem was that had the right people been doing their job, the story would not have broke until, perhaps, a couple of days, so that he could do his work.
Mathew Easton worked in the shadows. He was the best in his field and took on cases from the wealthiest of clientele. One of his biggest clients used an intermediary to contact him. This intermediary was Crouse.
“Hey that’s you!” Kurt smiled.
“Carry on,” said Crouse.
It was unclear who Crouse worked for. Still unclear, but Easton wasn’t concerned as long as the money was good. He was taking care of a wife and child and those are expensive.
Crouse, walked up behind Easton and cleared his throat. It was a familiar sound to Easton. Though his detective skills were top notch, he rarely spotted Crouse before he spotted him.
“Are you going to clear them out?” Crouse asked.
Easton sensed a clear gruffness in his speech, as if it should have been obvious for him to clear the room.
He took another sip from his cooling coffee. “Under what authority am I supposed to do that. I’m as shadowy as you. Or perhaps…”
Easton raised an eyebrow at Crouse. Perhaps this man could clear the room. It would give Easton a better idea of who the client really was. He could only surmise it was someone who 1. could afford him; 2. knew who the three individuals dead on the floor, two of which had already been plastered on the television for months, the other nameless of course after the fiasco with the press, his name was everywhere.
And 3. could interrupt a police investigation.
Crouse, again, cleared his throat. Every officer turned in his direction as he lifted a sort of card eye level. As if hypnotized, everyone left.
“Did you not receive yours?” Crouse turned and looked at Easton, annoyance in his cold eyes.
Easton flinched, for the first time in a long time. No words, just the flash of a card.
“What is that?” Easton said. “Obviously not a typical business card.”
“Detective, we are way behind schedule. You should have received one by courier months ago. Now get to work.”
“Would be faster if you’d let be talk to the police you just pushed out of here… Or whatever that was.”
“Our people are collecting that as we speak. I want you to deduce on your own what happened. That way we can determine who we can take from the police.”
Easton wasn’t sure what that meant. He worked alone. That was how his clients wanted it. One person keeping their secrets was much safer than a crew of unvetted mouths.
He got to work. The police had done their best to keep outside elements from the seen. Easton had noticed that they had all left in plastic booties and coveralls, gloved hands and facemasks, preventing any contrary DNA contamination. They were getting better.
Burr was closest to the door, head shot, close range, no casing that he could see. Hopefully the police had it. If he had to guess it was a high caliber weapon.
Easton, himself, was dressed just as cautious as the police before him. It was customary; was a shadow as much as his employers. He lightly stepped around Burr and to the next one in the suite, Senator Andrew Garvin.
Easton was very aware of Garvin’s infidelities. It was interesting being a private investigator who routinely dug up dirt on politicians for either party. He was facedown into the carpet in a pool of his own blood. Shot in the back of the head, same caliber. Curious, he looked to the window, the wind blew in ballooning the curtains, a hole visible in one of them.
Easton looked to Davis, whose face frozen in shock or fear, head shot, blood soaking the chair he sat in. Easton took at the door. No hole. The floor had no hole. The wall behind Davis had no hole. The window was an exit hole? But only one?
He walked out to the balcony. They were on the tenth floor. He looked at the balcony floor. Broken glass. He reached his gloved hand and closed the door as gently as possible. The broken glass was on the inside. The door went right over it and it didn’t look like it had been pushed in any way.
He started to take pictures of every spot in the room. He would compare with forensics later.
So odd. One exit hole, appearing to be an entrance hole, knocking out the glass piercing the curtain, and striking Senator Garvin’s head from behind. Entering from the balcony was impossible. Helicopter perhaps? The assassin repelled down? Plausible. But how could no one have noticed?
Well, he would have to investigate further. Someone must have seen something.
“Well?” said Crouse, looking at his watch, “What do you conclude?”
“An assassin enter from the balcony. Perhaps a helicopter, perhaps repelling. Repelling makes the most sense. I will need to delve further. Someone on staff or even a guest must have seen something.”
“We don’t have time for that.”
Easton calmed himself. “So you expect to close this tonight?”
“We need to find this person now.”
Easton paused. “Does your employer have a short list of possible perps?”
“You’re the detective.”
Easton sighed. “Mr. Crouse, we either do this my way or your employer can find someone else. This is the first time you have acted this way during a case… Perhaps your employer is worried about further assassinations?”
Crouse said nothing.
“I will continue my investigation as I see fit then. But if you do have more information I can use, the faster this will go. Can we agree on that? I can’t promise anything quickly with so many inconsistencies.”
“Such as?” Crouse’s irritation subsided a bit.
“No casings. No exit holes in the walls or anywhere. The killer began from outside the balcony. Came inside. Executed as least Burr close range. Davis looks like he probably saw the intruder, but I need more information. The balcony railing does look like repelled downward, hell it doesn’t look like he even entered the room by the lack of prints. Maybe the police found something…
This isn’t going to wrap up tonight. I think a good place to start is to look that the camera footage in the hallways of this floor to see if anyone entered or exited. Aside from that I will start questioning the neighboring rooms and floors and learn what other’s have seen. It’s my expert opinion.”
Crouse shifted uncomfortably. He pressed on pin on his suit lapel. “Did you get all of that?”
Easton narrowed his eyes.
A voice sounded from the pin. “So be it.”