A Job in the Museum 4

23. july 2013 at 11:56 | Thalia Contostavlos
FOURTH CHAPTER
Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters
Warnings: none

.
......When I woke up the following morning, I had a cramp in my left calf. Don't ask me how I got it but I wouldn't put it past Rowcliffe to actually put it there. I took a long shower to get rid of it, put on my favorite beige suit and went downstairs to enjoy some of Fritz's breakfast. I had just started on my fourth pancake, when Fritz brought down the tray he uses to serve Wolfe's breakfast every morning. There was a note on it.
......"AG: Report at 9:00
.......in the plant rooms.
...... NW"
......I grinned at Fritz. "Looks like I've got summoned by the king. How many of these do you think I'll manage to gobble before I have to go?"
......Fritz gave me a disbelieving look. "At least twenty at the pace you're going, Mr. Goodwin."
......I acknowledged his estimation with a nod and took a sip of my coffee. If I was right, and I often was, Wolfe wanted to hear my report on what exactly happened yesterday night. In fact, I was a bit surprised that he didn't ask to see me sooner but I guess not even a murder was more important than his breakfast.
......I entered the plant rooms at the same time Wolfe did, the doors of our house lift just closing. I bade him good morning and sat down on the cleanest wooden stool I could find.
......"Let me tell you everything I know first and then you can ask me questions, alright?"
......Wolfe sat down next to violet Dendrobium kingianum and scowled. "I would prefer not to have to ask any questions, Archie."
......I shrugged. "I know, but you always ask questions to show me that there is always something I failed to mention. You'd probably even ask me, what were the first words Rowcliffe said to me, just to ask a question."
......Wolfe's left cheek twitched in amusement. "Tell me, Archie, what were the first words Mr. Rowcliffe said to you?"
......I laughed out loud both at the absurdity of the question and at the memory of the lieutenant. "You really should've seen him. He strode in like a man on a mission, took a look around and when he saw me he shouted: "Oh shoot me!"
......"Remarkable."
......"Yes, I thought so and I said so. I even volunteered but Rowcliffe got agitated and started questioning me right away. He somehow got the idea in his head that I had killed the poor man."
......"The police always seem to think so."
......I nodded. "Yes, the only time they didn't suspect me was when I actually killed the guy."
......Wolfe cut a leaf off his orchid and looked at me disapprovingly. "That's not true, Archie. You shouldn't tell lies just to sound witty. I am sure you are perfectly capable of it even without lying."
......I sighed. "I don't lie. I just sometimes don't tell the truth. Now, do you want to hear my report or not?"
......Wolfe acknowledged me with a slight nod and I started. It took me about an hour to give him the whole deal because I didn't bother to repeat everything. It was pretty obvious the police didn't have a single clue the murder could have something to do with a certain necklace and I was very careful not to give it to them.
......I went back to the office to do my morning set of chores. I emptied the trashcan, changed water in the vase on Wolfe's desk, opened our mail and dusted the bookshelves. It was only two minutes before the time Wolfe usually comes down from the roof, when the doorbell rang. I went to open the door and ended up face to face with a red-faced inspector Cramer.
......"Good morning, inspector. Did you sleep well?"
......He scowled. "I did. The waking up was worse."
......I smiled in false sympathy and offered to take his coat. He gave it to me and didn't wait for invitation before he made his way in our office.
......"Where's Wolfe?"
......"Probably stepping into the lift, why? I thought I was the one who killed the guard."
......The inspector shrugged and folded himself in his favorite red leather chair. "As far as I know he could've ordered you to do it."
......I sat down on the corner of my desk and decided to wait for Wolfe. We didn't have to wait long because only seconds after my behind met the wood of my desktop, we heard the sound of lift arriving and its door opening.
......"Good morning, inspector. Did you sleep well?"
......Cramer looked disbelievingly at him and then glared at me. "Did you set this up?"
......I grinned at him but didn't say anything. I had a feeling I'd be talking a lot in the next few minutes and I wanted to save my breath.
......"Is there a reason for your visit, Mr. Cramer?" asked Wolfe.
......Cramer pulled out a cigar. "The hell there is. Goodwin here got knees deep in a murder case by finding the victim and not being able to believably explain why he was even at the crime scene in the first place."
......Wolfe nodded. "I admit his story is lacking a bit of credibility and creativity but from what I was told, I believe there's no inclination to suggest Mr. Goodwin is guilty of more than just having unreliable friends."
......Cramer bit down on his cigar and looked at me. "I'm not buying the friend-story, Goodwin, just so you know."
......I leaned back in my chair comfortably to show him I had nothing to hide. "Look, as I've already told Rowcliffe, I've never seen the guard before, I didn't kill him and as much as you lot don't like it, I don't know who did. Friend or not."
......He didn't seem to believe me, and I couldn't really blame him with my track record, but I wasn't lying this time. I really didn't know the guard nor did I know his killer. "Come on, would I lie to you?" I asked after a minute of watching the inspector chew on his ever-present cigar.
......"Yeah, you would. In fact, you can ask Purley about how many times you've actually lied to me in the past."
......"I doubt his record will be any good. As you've just proven, you policemen have no idea when I lie and when I don't."
......Cramer sighed, tired of our banter. "I can see that I'm not going to get anything out of you today, am I right?"
......I nodded vehemently "Very. I have nothing to tell after all."
......He leaned forward to look more intimidating but it didn't affect me since I've seen him do it so many times before. "Listen up, Goodwin, if I find out you've been withholding evidence in a murder case, I'll have your license, this time for good, understood?"
......My eyebrows rose at their own accord. Contrary to popular belief, me and Wolfe almost never withhold evidence, what we don't share are our theories and observations, and that's not illegal. I answered anyway: "Understood."
......He opened his mouth to say something else but got interrupted when the doorbell rang once again. I went to open the door only to find our client, Mr. Everson, behind it. Before he could tell me why he'd came, I told him in a hushed voice: "Whatever you came here to say, I bet you don't want inspector Cramer of Homicide to hear. Why don't you wait here in the front room for a while until I come to get you?"
......He nodded and I shoved him in the room, closing the double door behind him. I looked around the hallway to make sure there was nothing to suggest Mr. Everson ever set a foot in this place and went back to the office only to hear Cramer say: "Listen Wolfe, I know you're cooking something. I recognize the signs. So I ask you again, who's your client?"
......My employer shook his head patiently. "I told you Mr. Cramer, I don't have anything to say to you. Even if I had a client, I wouldn't tell you."
......Cramer stood up. "I just know you're lying to me, god knows what you'll pull out of your hat once you're ready."
......Wolfe smiled. "I'm no magician, inspector."
......Cramer growled something unprintable and went for the door. Right before stepping out of the office, however, he decided to leave in a civilized manner: "Good day to you, Mr. Wolfe. I hope we'll meet under some more pleasant conditions next time."
......I felt like saying it was him who'd brought the unpleasant conditions with him but didn't want to spoil his exit so I only nodded to him. I waited for the door to close behind him before telling Wolfe: "Mr. Everson is stocked in the front room, sir. Shall I show him in?"
......My employer didn't look too happy about it but nodded.
......To say Mr. Everson was impatient is an understatement, he was practically bouncing in his chair by the time I went to fetch him and when he saw me enter the front room, he literally leaped to his feet. "Is the policeman gone?"
......I nodded. "Yes, the air is clear. You can come right in."
......He did and I motioned for him to sit down in the red leather chair in front of Wolfe's desk. Wolfe nodded politely in order to welcome him and went straight to the point: "Why are you here, Mr. Everson?"
......Our client sighed. "I came to inquire about the progress you have made in my case. It's been a whole day and I honestly hope you've been more successful with your investigation than the police was."
......Wolfe nodded. "Yes, I have. I still need a few more hours to conclude the case but I have certainly made a progression."
......"What kind of progression?"
......"A significant one."
......Mr. Everson suddenly looked a bit peaked. "Mr. Wolfe, I assure you I don't have time for any games. I demand you tell me what you've found out so far. I am your client after all."
......Wolfe's left forefinger twitched in irritation. "And I assure you, Mr. Everson, that my time can certainly be spent more efficiently than by talking to you, for example by looking for a murderer."
......"A murderer?"
......Wolfe nodded but looked as if he was not going to elaborate, so I explained: "The man who'd stolen the necklace from your museum also most probably killed a night guard last night."
......Mr. Everson now looked positively sick. "Oh dear, I had no idea. Mr. Wolfe, please do forgive me. I truly had no idea."
......"Believe me, I would be very concerned had you had an idea. As it is right now, I promise you, your case will be successfully concluded by today's midnight."
......I stared. Not only had Wolfe outright promised something, he had promised he'd solve the case within such a ridiculous deadline. If I hadn't known it by then, I would've certainly realized now that Wolfe had the case already all sorted out in his head and was only waiting for the final piece of puzzle to fall in place. As inspector Cramer would say, the rabbits were all in the hat, waiting to be pulled out.
......After Mr. Everson left, I finally decided to confront Wolfe.
......"Sir?"
......Wolfe lifted his eyes from the book he already managed to start reading in the time it took me to show our client out.
......"I don't mean to pray and I certainly don't mean to disturb your usual way of solving a murder case - meaning not telling me anything unnecessary - but I couldn't help but notice you already know, who'd pinched the necklace. My question is, what are you waiting for?"
......"You are not correct in your assumption that I know the identity of the thief. I am now however sure of the identity of their accomplice."
......"Accomplice? There was an accomplice?"
......Wolfe frowned. "Do you need me to repeat myself?"
......"Of course not, I guess I just never realized there might be more than just one culprit. It makes sense though."
......"Does it?"
......"Well, it would take a lot of confidence to plan a theft like that, in broad daylight, in a room full of people, with night guard right behind the corner. You would need a reliable companion to pull all that off."
......Wolfe inclined his head thoughtfully. "Maybe. We now, however, stand before the challenge of finding out who the murderer is."
......"How do you plan to do that?"
......"You and Saul will do it for me. " I could've sworn I saw Wolfe raise his eyebrow teasingly but I couldn't be entirely sure, so I didn't comment on it.
......"Will you tell me what was Saul working on?"
......"Of course, sit down and listen carefully."
......I did as I was told and not even five minutes after I had an almost complete picture. Yesterday, Wolfe invited Saul over to our brownstone, offered him beer, which he didn't accept, a seat, which he did, and told him everything he thought Saul needed to know about our case. I refused to get offended, when it turned out Saul needed to know more than I did, as Wolfe admitted he told him the name of the person he suspected stole the necklace. He made Saul write a short note on my typewriter saying:
......"Meet me at the same place
.......at the same time tomorrow."
.......He then anonymously sent it to said suspect and went to stand in front of the museum to wait for the night shift to end. It wasn't hard to guess what he did next, he followed the suspect, who Wolfe conveniently called "X". X went someplace in western Central Park, waited for half an hour, got flustered and then went to a motel on E 53rd Street. Saul took a look around but came up with nothing since Wolfe instructed him not to be seen or heard snooping. He then went back and reported to Wolfe only an hour before I returned home from the police station. Wolfe described the whole thing in a surprising detail, the only thing he didn't share was X's name.
......"So you want us to have a look at that motel?" I asked after Wolfe finished his tale.
......His only response was a barely noticeable nod.
 


Comments

1 Lady Beth | 23. july 2013 at 12:09 | React

Fuuuuj! HNUSNEJ blog! proč píšeš anglicky??!!??

2 es ef | Web | 23. july 2013 at 12:30 | React

Great!

New comment

Log in
  Don't you have your own web yet? Create it for free on Blog.cz.