by Joan Summers
First few pages of a mock-memoir. A journalist tells the tale of her greatest story.
|I never wanted to work in newspapers. I always imagined myself doing something with a fuzzier name. Something where my response to someone’s, ‘what do you do?’ would invoke a follow-up, ‘and what does that entail?’. Something where’d I’d get to live in a little secluded cabin somewhere. Perhaps I’d write about flowers or the river. Not about police chiefs and robberies.
Alas, I work in newspapers. No need to explain what a reporter does. Not only do people know the ins and outs of my job, they tend to have feelings attached to the latter as well.
As it turns out, being hassled by someone from the Daily eight years ago (they were an eyewitness, for God’s sake) means that every other reporter who phones their dying paper company is automatically scum scraped from the bottom of the same barrel.
No matter. I stopped keeping track of people’s opinions towards me a number of years ago. Not since I was in high school did I store a rude comment or passive-aggressive tone in my mind. Now, they’re strained away like water from pasta. Only the yellowed, al dente quotes remain in my head. The annoyed head shake, the too-obvious eye roll, drip into the drain. Sometimes I turn on the garbage disposal for fun.
A Tuesday in the newsroom is where I’ll start this. I suppose I could go back to the month (5 weeks, to be exact) when I first covered this case, but I think you can keep up from here.
A high-pitched squeal came from the phone to my right, and startled me out of my daydreaming. I’m fairly certain I was thinking about Jim, who across the newsroom was reading my latest piece, red pen in hand. It hadn’t touched the page yet, but Jim was brutal. Jim sucked.
My eyes narrowed on the buzzing phone, and I pensively set down my comically large cup of coffee on the stained wooden desk in front of me, cursed to a life sans coasters. Sometimes the phone would ring once or twice and then stop; someone deciding they’d better not bring that up after all, or an angry patron feeling their hot rage melt away when faced with the prospect of speaking sternly to real-life stranger.
A third ring. No such luck.
My hand reached for the phone. A timid click. “Newsroom, Audie Harper.” The words rolled off my tongue like butter; a well-rehearsed rhyme I’d had stapled to my mind since I was 16.
A pause, and some gentle fuzz from the other line, followed. A twinge of hope: ‘Well, I’d better not,’ the other line was thinking. I begged for the ceremonial click of the other line going dead.
I suppose I’d used all my luck getting my coffee to the perfect drinking temperature. I scowled at my mug as it mocked me from across my desk.
“Yes, uh, Ow-Dee, you said?” The voice was young and male, providing no reason for it to shake and stutter so heavily.
I didn’t feel compelled to repeat my name correctly. Why my parents had cursed me to a life of ‘hi, I’m Odd-ie’ I'll never know.
“My name is Liam Wethers.” Liam. I found it so easy to develop instant disapproval of someone if they had a classic, white-bread name. My best friend is named Aura. If I was ever going to murder someone, it would be Sarah or John.
“You wrote an article a few weeks ago,” a short pause, and then a steady, “‘Somerville slayings: Three dead, two missing, one wide-open case.”
He repeated the headline like a 4th grader pronounces their well-rehearsed lines from a play.
I expected him to continue, but I could feel him waiting for confirmation. “I did,” I said finally.
Quickly, he asked, “Well, I was wondering if you were still reporting on the incident?”
On the murders, I wanted to scream into the phone. Euphemisms were for public relations.
“That case was a number of months ago, Liam,” I started cooly, leaning back in my chair and grabbing a paperclip off my desk to roll in between my fingers. “There’s been no new developments, far as I’m concerned.”
I hated how syrupy my voice sounded. I’ve always prided myself on speaking short and stout, like a barber who cuts hair off of guys in their 60s might. Somehow, I get on the phone with a reader and I might as well finish every line with, ‘and there’s sweet tea in the foyer if you’re parched, darling!’
“I know, I know,” Liam trailed off, like he was looking for the right way to say something. Like something he’d planned to say now seemed too blunt.
A sick though only gross enough to appear in the mind of a journalist popped into my head. Headline: Sommerville killer phones Post reporter, Headline: Pulitzer to be awarded to crime-solving Post reporter. I wiggled in my seat.
“But you’re still reporting on it, right?” I could smell a filler question from a mile away.
I was glad that newsroom of the Post was hyper enough that no one could hear my conversation. They always tell you, ‘pick up the phone, take down their number, and have a secretary call them in a few days with your regrets. You’ve got better things to do than listen to the whines of the public’ I could hear the words coming from Reed, our noble editor.
“Yes, although if you’d just--”
He stopped me before I could finish my own sphele.
“Well, then I think I have some information you might appreciate.”
Unlikely. Then I’d have to write another goddam story about the Sommerville murders. Those kids had been dead for months, and the word had moved on.
“Alright,” I began, my hands instinctively finding a pen and notepad on my desk. “What can you tell me, Liam?”
Silence. Then an uneasy, “Uh, I’d prefer not to talk over the phone, if that’s quite alright with you.”
It certainly wasn’t.
Reed’s voice was swallowed by that of my mother. ‘Don’t you let anyone lure you into something fishy in pursuit of a story, Audie. You’re a woman. It’s not safe out there.’
“Okay. Do you have a place in mind?” I blurted.
I should mention, my mother is dead.
More hesitance. I suppose a sudden, ‘53 Church St. I’ll be in the basement. Come alone.’ would have been worse.
“Well, perhaps coffee? Is that alright?” My dingy-reporter brain sulked. If this guy was a serial killer, he was a real bore about it. His voice was a coated in honey as mine. I could tell phrasing everything as a question was meant to make him come across as less threatening. Would have worked on someone who didn’t use the same trick that morning.
“Did you have a place in mind? I’ll be around tomorrow afternoon.” That was kind of a lie. I was supposed to punch out a story about some missing zoo animal.
“The Post… 144th, right?” Another question. I made a tally mark on my notepad.
“Common Ground? That near you?”
“Yes, that’ll do.” I scribbled the name on my notepad to look busy. That cafe was a block away. It was cheap, and make a sub-par cup of coffee, but it was close, and the Starbucks downstairs only fills so many voids.
“Good then. Thank you, Audie.” He said my name correctly that time, and then hung up before I could toss him a heavy handed, “Thank you, Lie-am.”
I hung up my line and circled ‘common ground coffee, 2pm’ on my notepad, finishing with a heavy dot, like some accomplished reporter. No one noticed.
Later that day I made myself known standing in the doorframe of Reed’s office by tapping three times with my knuckles on the wood. I always tapped three times. Reed always tapped twice on my desk.
“What do you have for me?” Reed asked, barely looking up from a story he was editing at his desk. I’d been his reporter for eight years, and thus the niceties had gone extinct. He sometimes didn’t even bother hiding his booze. Once on an overnight he’d taken a swig in front of me. Twice.
I still hovered at the door. The page in front of him had been murdered with red, inky slashes. It made me think he was in an ‘editor-y’ mood. He’d likely start (or pick up) drinking soon.
“Talked to Meredith today,” I said easily, crossing my arms. “Jim’s got it now, but I think that story is good.”
Meredith is 17. In May she was caught having sex with her gym teacher, Marcus Harris. I wasn’t a great crime reporter (nor did I like the cut-and-dry business of it), so Reed gave me features to bedazzle after the fact. The teacher was awaiting trial now. Reed wanted a longform on how his ‘lover’ was doing in his absence. Lucky for me, Meredith’s soft-baked parents were pliable enough to allow me to interview their daughter under the grounds of ‘clearing her name.’
“She sing for you?” Reed unclicked his pen, leaned back in his chair. I had his attention, at least.
At the coffee house where we met, Meredith had went on and on about how she had made a mistake, but that Harris didn’t deserve to go to prison. “He was a good man…” she must have repeated a hundred times.
Two hours and three cups of coffee later (Her latte with extra caramel, I noted to our waitress when Meredith wasn’t looking, as sugar makes people talkative) and Meredith was crying, wailing about how she still loved the man. All of it was on tape, and now on paper.
“Oh boy did I hear it,” I said to Reed. He grinned. If I was a gross reporter, Reed was a disgusting editor. I suppose I learned from the best.
“What did she--, oh, never mind,” Reed said. “I want to read it first. Get the full experience. That thing better read smooth, Audie. I’ve had it with lousy writing tonight,” he waved towards the papers in front of him, bleeding with his red ink. I vaguely remembered the feeling of getting stories back that bloody. It’d been a long time.
“I got other bits, if you’re interested,” I said, welcoming myself into Reed’s familiar office on account of his Meredith-induced glee.
The place was huge, neater than the newsroom. Reed’s wife curated art, or something to that degree, and would bring in huge frames carrying hand-made pictures I didn’t understand. “This one’s a Charles LeBlanc…” she’d beam, her eyes widening over the bizarre brush strokes. Reed and I had exchanged a number of confused glances over the years. We both agreed art was dumb, but we both loved his wife.
I helped myself to one of the loveseats in front of his desk (Ann, Reed’s wife, had picked them out too). Reed was in fact, as his stare announced, interested.
“West Bridgewater police chief’s been kicking puppies, according to Who Cares McLaughlin…” I started. “remember how you wanted a profile for his retirement?”
Reed scoffed. “Sure. This Who Cares got any credibility?” The guy might be swampy, but he was nothing if not careful.
“No,” I said. Reed’s eyes dropped, “but her neighbor does. Thank God for William J. Elmer's vigilance.”
“Hah!” Reed smirked. Giddy, like a fucking schoolboy, at the thought of someone’s reputation getting destroyed. “You gonna get him to talk, Audie?” He knew the answer. So did I.
I fed Reed some more snips from my day, not even interesting enough to make it on these pages let alone pages of The Post people were going to read. “Stick it inside”, “Give it to Ray to squeeze in with the ads” or, my favorite, “Jesus fucking Christ Audie, you’re wasting my time with that?” followed.
Somewhere between a Mormon family’s gripes with a new fire hydrant and some softball player’s protest for new school bleachers, Jim came in to drop off my Meredith story to Reed. I was about to leave him to enjoy my 90-inch college-acceptance-fucker when I remembered my conversation with Liam.
“Oh, one more thing,” I said, hovering in the center of Reed’s office, hoping he’d give me a pass on digging up the Sommerville story. “Guy named Liam called today about those Sommerville murders.” Reed looked up from reading my story. Crap. Shitty lead or was Reed really interested in a 4-month (8 years in reporter time) old story?
“Sommerville what?” he asked. Shitty lead.
I sighed, not wanting to get into the story again. “Those kids who were murdered? That lacrosse player… that dancer girl…” I kept hoping Reed would cut in. “That old flower-shop lady?”
Reed furrowed his eyebrows. He was clearly not interested. To be honest, neither was I.
“Anyways,” I started, “Some guy called and said he’s got some good info on it. Good stuff. No one’s seen before. He wants to meet in person. Sounded a little frazzled, like he wanted to get something off his chest.”
I’ll be the first to admit that was some grade-A exaggeration on my part. Phone-guy sounded fine after a second, and he said nothing about his info being any kind of good. I just didn’t want Reed to squash my coffee-date. I loved any excuse to get out of the newsroom during the day. The place smelled of cigarettes and rotting ink, and after a while it soaked into your clothes.
Reed made some sound of disapproval and rubbed his beard. I could tell he didn’t want me to go. Follow-up meetings about dead stories were almost always a waste of time. ‘Did you know Charlotte was seen three days before her death talking with a man in the park with a green jacket?’ ‘Why yes, yes I did know that because it was in all of the fucking police reports.’ ‘Oh… never mind!’
“Ah, what the hell,” was all he gave me before returning to my story. His way of dismissing myself and the other reporters was often a grunt or a wave. Never a ‘Thanks, Audie!’ which I was kind of glad about. I never had to toss back a ‘No problem, thank you, Reed!’
I watched him read for a second. Before I left I caught the corner of Reed’s mouth perk up, and his eyes flicked to me as I was at the door. An evil and gleeful glance. Poor Meredith. Poor Mr and Mrs Albert. Nevertheless, my lead wasn’t shit.
Before bed that night I made a miniscule effort to look up Liam (I had to really rack my brain to remember his last name) Wethers. Wasn’t in the New Boston phone book. A call to the police station showed no records (but did show that my favorite receptionist Amie Richards was engaged, how wonderful!).
I considered asking Willy from down the hall if he’d heard the name. Since I’d moved into my studio on West 34th a little over a year ago, Willy had been my number one source for all things New Boston. I knew the city fairly well: grew up on the outskirts, a ritzy town by the name of Bedford, and later studied English at the city’s finest university. I suppose I had my dead mum to thank for that acceptance letter (she died right before I turned 18, meaning I had one hell of an essay to submit).
But Willy had me beat in age by close to 60 years. “I ain’t neva stepped foot out New Bahston, and I don’t plahn tuh anytime soon,” is what he’d say. The guy had lived everywhere in this city, and knew it, and the people it housed, like the back of his… well… smoke.
I should say, with Willy it usually went “I ain’t neva… HUHH AHGHH… stepped foot out New Ba--AHHGAHH--ston and I don’t plan t-AUGHH anytime soon.”
Just as long as Willy’d lived in this city, he’d been smoking up it’s cheapest tobacco.
I checked the time, 11:30 meant Willy had likely just turned in for the night. He could now be found drooling on his back terrace ‘watching over his city.’ Cigarette, still smoking, in hand. Head tilted back on the lawn chair he’s had since they were brought to the new world. I know cause he told me.
I decided I’d give his door a knock the next morning. For the time being, I took a swig of some 80-ounce bottle of bourbon Reed had left on my desk, complete with an orange bow, last December. Likely 60 ounces left. Downside of being as wafey as I was, a swig of bourbon was about all it took to lull me to sleep.
I find it intensely boring to drone on with, ‘the next morning…’ but the chip who’s offered me this book deal said I’d better fill 5,000 words. It’s either this or I go straight into a picturesque description of my shitty apartment. I’ll give you a hint: one room, mattress on the floor, no food in the fridge, decorations including AP Style books, dictionaries, and more fucking newspapers than I’m comfortable admitting.
Woke up early on the day of my meeting with Liam. Laced up some crunchy sneakers and ran around the city like I always did. Came home and brewed coffee in the world’s rustiest french press-- Reed insisted they make the best coffee, but I think he was referring to presses made in the last century.
I guess now is as good as a time as ever to mention: I didn’t eat much back then. Not in a ‘wispy reporter always forgets to eat’ kind of way. I had spent a good lot of my teenage years engulfed in some pretty heavy anorexia. (No pun intended.)
Not worth scribbling on about, but let’s just say the boxy lady in shoulder pads who used to make me sprew my feelings to her every Monday and Thursday didn’t exactly cure me, though I was pretty good at acting as if she did, if I do say so myself.
Before my mom died I had put on some 30 pounds to prove to my parents I was alright. After she’d gone the weight melted off again, though this time no one really bothered to nag me about it.
See, I wasn’t attempting to wither away to nothing at the point you’re finding me. I ate 1,000 calories a day, no more, no less. I ran for 30 minutes each morning, no more, no less. That was the extent to which I thought about my diet, and the extent to which it affected my daily life.
I wasn’t even losing weight anymore, and that that fact didn’t bother me was enough to convince me that I was nowhere near having a problem worth addressing. I didn’t have some warped image of my body, as I knew I was thin. Small clothing was more of an added benefit than an end goal. Food made me uneasy; sick and nervous. Why put myself through something so awful when not necessary?
A few minutes before 10am I slid on some baggy slacks and drew my tangled hair (still damp, blow dryers be damned) into a mediocre braid. It was a good thing I was skinny and pretty, because boy did I lack the energy for curling and lip-lining.
I decided not to bother Willy that morning, just in case you were wondering.
Work was slow that Wednesday. Middle of the week meant Reed had stories carried over from the weekend papers to fill pages. Jim felt the need to let me know that morning that he had removed three graphs from my story, and that he thought “it just reads so much cleaner now…” I think he expected me to thank him. Instead, I made some insensitive quip about how I was glad to have a non-reporter give the story a look over before it went to print.
Jim was in his late 40s. I started working at the paper just as he started being fazed out as Reed’s best reporter. He had won a Pulitzer by the time he was 28 for some dazzling coverage of a small-town election that ended up having some front-page worthy curves in it (Mostly sex stuff. If anyone ever tells you sex doesn’t sell, they’re a fucking idiot.) Ask me and the award should have gone to Reed for being able to pluck that election out as fit for Post coverage. Jim got lucky he was handed the wheel.
Anyways, Reed ‘promoted’ him to assistant editor when I was 18. Reed made some big commotion about how great Jim was at ‘pulling the best facets of a story forward, and scrapping the rest.’ I knew (and Reed did too) that Jim was just not that great of a reporter. Like I said, lucky bastard. Lost his edge by his 35th birthday. But you can’t fire a Pulitzer-winning journalist, so hovering over my desk Jim remained.
I’ll skip to the afternoon meeting. I got to Common Ground a few minutes early and ordered a coffee, black, at the counter. In my head I penciled in 2 calories.
I chose a seat away from the window. It was sunny outside, and squinting made people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable people are less likely to drone on. I situated myself in a darkened corner of the shop, set my mug down (one of those places where they ask you if your coffee is ‘for here or to go’ instead of just giving you a normal cardboard cup… a black coffee meant no foam art for me. Foam art would have added 45 calories, and I planned on having rice for dinner) and waited. I didn’t yet pull out my notebook, or God forbid my tape recorder. I’d wait until I could read Liam as I did it.
He was late. Of course he was late, his name was Liam, he could get away with anything. He came in 10 past 2. He was also white, tall, broad shouldered, and fairly handsome. He could have afforded to come in 15 past 2.
He immediately spotted me in the corner and our eyes met. I gave him my fruitiest smile and he reciprocated with an awkward head nod.
“Audie?” he said as he approached my little corner circle table. I stood and outstretched my hand, gawking slightly at the ridiculous size difference between us. Squeeze too hard and he could have crushed every bone from my fingers to my wrist. He had a young face, but boy was he huge.
We exchanged dull greetings. He sat, we exchanged pleasantries, and roughly 35 seconds in I decided to drop my fluffy facade. Liam clearly wasn’t having any of it, and I was a little tired of bringing all of the glitter to the conversation. Liam was as flat and distant as he was on the phone. His stutter came back periodically, ‘th-thank you for meeting me,’ and ‘n-no I’m good.’
He also sucked at eye contact, something they drill into your brain 5 minutes into journalism school. I assume. I majored in English.
“Thank you for meeting me,” he said after I encouraged him to order something from the counter, sprinkling in something about their Americano’s being delightful. He declined.
I took a sip of my coffee. Common Ground, with its unwashed windows and sticky tables, didn’t seem like the place to kick people out for not ordering, but I was paranoid by design. “You said something about the Sommerville murders over the telephone?” I eyed him carefully. The word ‘murders’ evoked a twitch in his throat.
“I uhhh, I know I’m a little late to the party,” he trailed off, suddenly meeting my gaze as if to test whether I had picked up on his unfortunate use of the word ‘party.’ The guy was odd. I decided then that I’d better fish out whatever he wanted to tell me and get back to the newsroom. I had a deadline for my missing piglet story that Reed had insisted I tackle. ‘You’re the only one who’s gonna bring that one to life, Aud.’ Curse my exuberant use of adjectives.
He continued, “But I… I guess I should start by saying that I live in Sommerville. I knew Brady. Simpson. One of the--”
“I know who he is,” I finished. Brady was the slain lacrosse player. An image of the boy, just 16, dirty blonde hair, face still holding on to its last shred of baby fat. He’d been found buried in a field behind the Sommerville high school with his pretty blue eyes plucked out. Pitty.
Liam cleared his throat. “Well, he was a real stand-up guy. A good person. He didn’t deserve that, you know?”
“Ohh, I know,” I said distantly. A gentle head tilt for emphasis. Two eye bats.
Liam nodded. “Anyways, they’re not making a big deal of this now back in Sommerville, but,” he leaned in closer. My reporter’s notebook burned in my jacket pocket. “They’ve brought on a new detective for the case. The police have.”
I paused. A new detective? I’d heard nothing of the sorts. Sommerville didn’t have a local paper, which is why Reed was so intent on having someone from the city cover the murders. He’d hoped something funny would come of the case. Aside from some headline-worthy removed body parts (eyes for Brady, tung for Charlotte, finger and toenails for Rose) the entire ordeal was dead within a month.
But new detectives are only brought on to live cases.
“Something new come up?” I asked, sliding my rectangular notebook out of the inside pocket of my jacket. Liam didn’t seem bothered, like he was expecting the move. I pulled a pen from the same pocket.
Liam just shook his head. His eye contact was improving. Was I a good reporter, or what?
“No one really knows,” he started, shifting in his chair. “All anyone’s heard it some new guy flies in from the West coast, apparently Richards paid him quite a bit, and he’s going around knocking people’s doors off. Asking em’ all sortsa questions they’ve already answered to Richards himself. People are thinking something new’s come up, that er’ Sommerville suddenly got a few thousand more to spend on a decorative detective.”
I scribbled on my notepad. As Liam spoke, his words become progressively faster. I hadn’t noticed his city drawl before. A little like Willy, I noted.
“How long’s this new detective been in town?” I asked.
“Three, four weeks... I kept waiting to see it in The Post. It never printed, nothing new about the case did, and so I thought I’d give you a ring.” Liam looked at me sheepishly. If he knew Brady he must be younger than I was, but everything about him seemed aged. Save for his voice, I suppose.
“How old are you, Liam?” His eyes went to my pen, hovering above my notepad, ready to strike.
He retracted. “Oh, I d-don’t want nothing about me printed. I just wanted to see to it that someone from the paper--”
“No no, nothing like that,” I assured. I did want to print his name, but at the suggestion that I wouldn’t I could feel his heart rate slow. Perhaps I’d get him later. “It’s just that you mentioned you knew Brady, is all. You in his class or something?”
Liam nodded. “Yeah, I moved to town a few months ago. Brady and I… we were in the same classes. Some of em’.”
“You from the city?”
“Heh. How’d you guess?” It was the first time I’d seen him crack a smile.
“I dunno,” I lied. His accent made sense now. What didn’t was why he cared if the paper knew about some fancy new detective. I dropped my notebook and pen, filling my empty hands with my mug. Liam didn’t want his stupid name in the paper, fine. Might as well pull something else out of him for background.
“So, you just a fan of print media?” I asked. Liam looked a little startled. “That why you care so much about me knowing about this new guy?”
Liam looked as if the question was unheard of. “No, I just think the press has been a little distant on this one.”
“I covered the story back when it was--”
“News,” Liam finished. I could tell the word left a sour taste in his mouth. I took a loud sip of my coffee.
“You know Liam,” I found I liked the way his name felt coming out of my mouth. Smooth. Plus, it made him squirm a bit. I knew the feeling, though mine was justifiable. “Usually people don’t like reporters sleuthing around their towns after something tragic like what happened in Sommerville. They like their peace.”
Liam’s expression remained steady, but his voice revealed a twinge of anger. “I just think this is important, is all. People just pulled out, moved on so…” He stopped, hovering just over the edge of a breakdown, I could tell. Bummer. A breakdown was what I needed.
“People back in Sommerville? They moved on, you think?” Now I was using his questions tactic. I wondered if he could pick up on it. If he could, he wasn’t letting on.
Liam shrugged, looking around the cafe vaguely, eyes never focusing. “I guess.” Then, more forcefully, “You can’t print that I said that.”
I raised my eyebrows and shook my head, as if I would never do such a thing.
“Sommerville is a small town,” he said. His voice carried an edge of warning. I wondered if it was purposeful or leftover city intonation.
“Twenty-five thousand people isn’t too small,” I said lightly.
“Feels like it,” he said quietly.
It suddenly occurred to me that Liam likely wasn’t older than 17, and yet he had made his way 45 minutes south into the city in order to have coffee with a reporter he didn’t know to pass along information about the case of three dead kids.
“You’re parents know you’re in the city?” I tried to make it sound casual, not like a schoolteacher or camp counselor. Liam’s disgruntled glance made me think I failed.
“Eh, I come down here a lot,” he said.
“Miss the city?”
He smiled, again, genuinely. “You could say that.”
The remainder of our conversation lasted three-fourths of my coffee. We talked about city life for a while, sharing gripes about the subway and rent prices. I let myself be casual with him for a bit, hoping he’d loosen up a bit on the no-name stance.
He didn’t. Said he didn’t want the town knowing he’d brought a reporter back to Sommerville. I wasn’t too heartbroken. I didn’t even have close to enough for a story at this point. If I wanted to print something of the news of the new detective I had to visit the station and at least try to get a quote from the guy. Liam didn’t even know his name.
Liam left and I stayed to finish the last fourth of my now-cooled coffee. I decided, flipping through the pen-scratches I called notes, that Liam was nothing more than a bored ex-city current suburbanite kid who wanted a) an excuse to come into the city b) something pretty written about his beloved Brady and c) to feel like he’d done something useful in the wake of this tragedy.
If I had to put money on it I would have said he didn’t attend the funeral. Too distraught, too angry, felt like he didn’t know the family well enough. Now he’s lugging around all this guilt and shame. Feels like he can make it up to his deceased pal by bringing some glory to Brady’s name. He doesn’t have anything useful for the police (though I’d bet he’s called the tip line once or twice to offer some expired information) and so he turns to the next best thing: me.
I’ve always been pretty good at reading people. Let me tell you, I’m going to be right about everyone else in this case. Just not Liam Wethers. Jesus, how could I not see that was a fake name?