Episode I: Part III - The Case of the Mystery Phone Call
My assistant picked-up on the second ring as I called the office the following morning en route to Homicide at MPD, her desk phone and monitor confirming it was my iPhone.
"Morning Delia, I'm on my way to MPD to....,"
"Matt, I need you here now," she replied abruptly, cutting me off before I could provide an update regarding the prior evening's events, a sense of urgency clearly perceptible in her voice.
I was befuddled for a moment. "What's going on, Delia?" I asked, the tone of my voice confirming she understood I was aware she was in trouble, a male's voice now responding to my question.
"You need to do what the little lady just told you," he retorted. I immediately recognized it to be the same unidentified caller I spoke with the previous morning. "Oh, and don't call the cops," he added menacingly. "I'd hate to do anything to her pretty face because you did something stupid."
"I'm on my way," I compliantly replied, making a U-turn and putting the pedal to the metal as I raced to the agency. Ten minutes later I pulled into my parking space, rushing toward the office before cautiously opening the front door.
Delia was sitting at her desk, an apprehensive look on her face as we made eye contact, the unidentified man standing behind her, his right hand holding what appeared to be a short barrel .38 revolver, resting the gun on her shoulder.
"Alright, I'm here," I announced calmly, trying not to rattle the unknown visitor. "Now ....., what's this all about?" I asked while continuing eye contact with Delia.
Before he could answer, Delia blinked twice followed by a very loud 'BOOM' as exterior window shutters throughout the office closed in unison, slamming down on the metal window sills like a flash bang grenade, startling the mysterious visitor to the extent he dropped his gun.
Delia bounced out of her chair and pushed the man in my direction.
I grabbed the lapels of his suit jacket, yanking and pivoting him away from Delia. I hit him with a glancing blow to the head, spinning him around as he fell forward against a row of metal shelves. He reached for and grabbed a three hole punch, turning and wildly swinging the metal punch in my direction. I kicked the punch out of his hand, followed by a left hook and straight right to the jaw, connecting solidly with both, slamming him backwards and against the wall before sliding butt first to the floor. Delia tossed a set of handcuffs she kept in her drawer as I positioned our unconscious visitor face down and cuffed him.
"Great timing," I complimented Delia, grinning as she returned the smile.
"Great idea installing those spring loaded shutters with the release button under my desk," she responded. "Our wink code worked perfectly."
"Absolutely did," I replied, pleased at how well our distraction ploy worked.
"Dial 911, Delia. Let's get a squad car down here so they can book this yo-yo. I'll move our guest to the sofa and see if I can get him to talk before he goes on his joy ride to the big house."
"He's out cold, Matt. Can you check his jacket for a cell phone and ID before you move him?," Delia asked while she tapped 911 on her desk phone.
"Thanks for reminding me. I told the Chief Detective I'd get this guy's cell phone; it could be a treasure trove. Ah, yes, here we go," reaching into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and removing a smartphone, his wallet in the opposite inside pocket.
"MPD is on the way," Delia said after providing information in response to the canned 911 prompt, state your emergency,
and making clear her disapproval regarding my decision to meet our guest without back-up after briefing her on the previous evening's sequence of events.
"Travis Moore," I voiced out loud after removing a driver's license from a disheveled billfold, carefully reviewing the information on the laminated wallet sized document. He had two hundred dollars and a few credit cards, several phone numbers written on folded pieces of paper stuffed in the wallet, but nothing else of significance, and no photos.
I dragged him by the shoulders and lifted him up and onto the sofa as he started to come around. I swapped the driver's license, wallet, and cell phone for a damp washcloth Delia handed me while she photocopied the license. I patted his red and swollen face with the damp cloth, finally jerking his head away as he regained consciousness.
"I'll run his license and complete the usual background checks on ......, Mr. Moore," Delia said slowly as she carefully reviewed his driving permit.
He finally appeared alert enough for questioning. "Okay, Travis, I'll ask you again -- what's this all about?'' Before he had a chance to respond, the sound of tires squealing resonated throughout the office.
Delia turned her attention in the direction of the front door. "Sounds like the calvary has arrived." She was correct; seconds later the door flew open -- three uniformed officers raced inside, guns drawn and followed by Detective Chief Sullivan.
I was surprised by the appearance of the Chief. "What are you doing here?"
"You were late for your appointment -- then I got wind of the 911 call," he replied, "thought they might be related. What did this joker tell you?"
"Nothing," I responded. "I just started to question him when you and your officers came barreling through the door."
"Well, he's under arrest and coming with us," Chief Sullivan dictated, using his authority to override my preference to question him before he was booked. "By the way, your new appointment is 4 pm today -- be there," the Chief ordered before his Officers snatched Travis off the sofa, escorting him to one of several cruisers, lights still flashing as a crowd gathered.
The Chief stooped down to pick up the revolver Travis had earlier dropped before adding, "and you can pick-up your cuffs when you get there," a wry smile appearing on his face.
"Yeah, thanks, Chief," I replied in a cynical tone.
"Forgetting something, Duggan?" the Chief detective asked, walking slowly around the office before stopping and knowingly staring at me.
"Like what?" I replied, aware of what he was referring to.
"Wallet -- cell phone," pausing as he added, "ID if you removed it from his wallet."
I reluctantly nodded to Delia as she handed the items to the Chief.
"Oh, I forgot to ask ....., you and Delia okay? Either of you hurt?"
Delia and I looked at one another, half disgusted with the manner in which the Chief Detective appeared to be soft pedaling the entire episode, beginning with Delia being held hostage.
"No Chief, we're just ducky."
Click to read Part IV "Matt Duggan - Detective Series"