Part IV: The Impeccable Solve Rate of Dick and Bitch



(Click to read from the beginning of part I)


Refresher from last month:

Benson slid an evidence bag across the table at us. “Found this on Will’s desk. At the brewery. It felt important.” He trailed off as Dick picked up the bag and held it out for us both to read.

He kept it suspended in the air long enough for a full minute. I read the scribble a few times through. My brain began to catch up. I swiped open the picture I had taken earlier in Will and Steph’s office. I studied the handwriting, glancing from my phone to the scribbled scrap of paper in front of me. My mouth was open and a drop of drool slid over my lip before I snapped back to attention. This was in Will’s office. No one had access to Will’s office except Will. The handwriting matched Will’s.

I wiped my mouth and looked up at Dick who had clearly realized all this because he was looking back at me with his eyebrows raised.

“What the fuck?” He let the words slowly.

“Holy shit.” I said, and let out a little involuntary laugh. I took the bag from Dick’s limp grasp and flipped it over, but the back was blank. I looked back up at Dick whose eyebrows had disappeared even higher up his forehead.

“Arthur’ll have to give us more time for this.” I said.

“What the fuck.” Was all he could manage.



Part IV: The Final Chapter



“What is this?” Dick looked at me.

“Can we -” I flicked my eyes to Benson, who was leaning in trying to gain entrance into our pow-wow then jerked my head toward the door.

Dick slapped the table and stood up. I grabbed the evidence bag with the scrawled note and followed him out.

“Gimme that.” Dick said, snatching the bag from me and examining the note again.

I leaned in too. The note read:


meet thurs 10

twine-ankle

Protests

Ditch clothes

Do not forget c knife


“What the fuck.” Dick said.

“What is this?” I said.

Dick rubbed the bridge of his nose and squinted at me. “Did this bastard plan his own murder.”

“He didn’t plan his own murder.” I snapped.

“I fucking know, what is this then?”

I shook my head and took a step back.

Dick looked up at me. “Blackmail?”

“Maybe.” I shrugged. “Doesn’t make much sense if it is.”

“Yea,” Dick said, wagging his head, “Don’t forget to bring the knife I’m being threatened with. No. Makes no sense.”

“Suicide note?” I suggested, knowing it wasn’t.

“No way. Those stab wounds.”

“Yea, I know.”

ditch clothes. What is that?”

I stared blankly at the paper. “Dunno.”

“What the fuck is this?” Dick said again.

“It’s definitely his writing? Couldn’t be Benson? Couldn’t be Kevin?”

“We’ll need Sandy to take a look.” Dick said, Sandy is the handwriting specialist for the force.

I snapped a picture and texted it to Sandy with the picture I took from Will’s office.

“How..” Dick started then paused. “Something happened here.”

I snorted but kept the ‘no shit’ to myself. I pulled out a cigarette and extended the pack. Dick took one.

We both stood in silence for a moment, fogging up the hallway.

“Dude.” He said, looking me right in the eye.

“You sound like a douche when you say that.” I said, releasing some smoke.

“Dude, our victim is now our lead suspect.” His eyes were wide open and he was doing everything he could not to crack up and I could tell.

I looked at him for a long second, trying to be disgusted with him, but instead I choked into my cigarette. Smoke gushed out my nose and I coughed in a cloud of ash. Dick was snorting too and we stood there choking and laughing our asses off til we heard our names down the hall.

I won’t tell you the exact words he used, but I can tell you that Arthur did not offer up compliments.

To answer his beratement, Dick coughed smoke into his face, and slapped the bag on his chest. “Check this out, buddy.”

Arthur held the bag out and read the note. He was silent for a moment. “What is this?”

“This,” I said tapping the bag with my free hand, “Is a description of Will’s murder. Found on Will’s desk. And get this, in Will’s handwriting.”

“So you said it.” Dick cut in. “The million dollar question, What...the fuck...is this?”

Arthur stared at us blankly. He turned to me then back to Dick, maybe for a more comprehensive explanation.

Dick tapped the bag, “It’s a description of our dead guy’s murder, on our dead guy’s desk, in our dead guy’s handwriting.”

Arthur held up his hand to let us know he got the point. “Blackmail?” He said.

‘Don’t forget knife.’” Dick pointed to the sheet again. “He’s bringing the knife to his own blackmailer?”

“Yea, but -” Arthur trailed off. He looked between us and swallowed, then screwed up his face. “What?”

Dick and I snorted again, nodding. I offered the chief a cigarette which he took.

“You’re sure the vic wrote this?”

“We sent it to Sandy to be sure.”

“Good. Ok. Good.” He mumbled.

We stared at him smiling stupidly.

He stared back, unamused. “Yea, fine, you can have more time.”



Thirty minutes later, Dick, Emma and I were bundled up, heads bent and kicking pebbles on our way down the street for a beer.

We had thanked Benson and let him go. He didn’t know anything of use and was just getting nosy.

We had invited the Chief who told us we were wasting time and then we invited Dylan who quickly refused when he saw the look on the Chief’s face. So we shrugged, told them it was their loss and didn’t hold the door on our way out.

“What are you guys thinking?” Emma asked, breathless from the cold. Emma was a great sounding board. She generally kept her distance from us at the start of cases, having a lot of her own work to get done. But by this time - a couple days into a case - she has already gleaned what she can from the body, and most corpse related evidence worth anyone’s time has been processed. At which point she releases herself from her dungeon and drinks with us. I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that her presence really boosts Dick’s mood.

“Not sure.” Dick said. “I have about a million thoughts.”

“That’s good.” I said, “Because I have none.”

“Let’s hear ‘em.” Emma said, nudging Dick’s arm.

I caught him smiling a bit behind his mask but he kept his face forward. “Let’s wait til we’re there,” he said. “My lips are numb.”


Emma wasn’t the biggest fan of the dive by the station so we continued walking in silence for a few more blocks until we got to a little café with indoor seating. The pandemic was taking its toll on Portland, as it was everywhere, but a few places swallowed the fines and kept a few spaced out tables in the warmth available.

We took the last open table in the back and ordered our beers. Emma took out her deck of cards and dealt for rummy. I took out my notebook and pen then looked at my cards. We only did this when Emma was around, she liked rummy. She said it kept the waiter from pestering us and gently told them that the table would likely be taken for a while.

Dick glanced at his hand and discarded, then slapped his notebook on the table.

I nodded at Dick and picked up my pen.

Emma looked at Dick too.

“Ok,” he said, taking a large gulp from his glass, “Kevin was still at the scene. Whether coincidence or not, he was there. It can’t be a complete coincidence.”

I began writing.

“Kevin was running where and when he and Will always run. Will knew this. Steph knew this and I’m assuming Caren knew this. Benson knew this. Perhaps many people knew this routine. I want to sideline Steph as a main suspect for now. She was seeing Kevin. According to her, no one knew about them and it doesn’t sound like she had any intention of ending this relationship. Why then would she kill Will and stir things up. The twine was hers, but the note implies Will tied the twine to his own ankle. No fucking clue why.” He paused. “And I also want to sideline Caren. As far as we know, she seems legitimately sad about Will, as any friend would be sad when your friend is murdered, but we don’t know if she knows she’s tied to the case any more than that. But I think we should sit down with her anyway. Steph seemed unsure if Kevin was guilty. Caren may be able to shed more light as well.”

I nodded. “I think we call her back in later. Get that going.”

Dick nodded. Emma picked a card and discarded another.

Dick continued. “Kevin is the obvious suspect, even if our gut says otherwise….I mean, until Will’s note. That confuses things. Kevin just doesn’t seem to have any fucking clue what went on and unless he’s the best liar I’ve ever seen, I believe him. He’s got blood on his shoes and the knife was his and Caren’s, but again, he and Will were friends and the note don’t forget c knife, I mean Will could’ve taken the knife from their place at any point.”

“What’s a c knife?” Emma asked.

“Don’t know.” I said.

Dick shrugged and took a sip of his beer.

Emma and I took a sip.

“So what I’m hearing is Will planned and executed his own murder.” Emma said slowly.

We both looked at her.

“I mean, I’m not saying it makes sense. But that’s basically what you’re saying. No one else was involved and Will is dead.”

Dick closed his eyes and sighed.

I put down my pen.

He gestured for me to raise it again.

“Then we have blackmail. Someone blackmailing Will and Will decides he’s going on the offensive, but ends up getting killed by his own knife. Kevin runs by later on, never the wiser and implicates the hell out of himself.”

“I mean, he couldn’t have implicated himself more without actually being the killer.” I said, still scribbling.

I paused, took the card Emma discarded and put a different one down in its place.

Dick was on a role so I let him keep going. Sometimes it just helps to say it all out loud.

“Ok let’s back up.” Dick said. “Unless there is someone we’ve not even considered, only Steph and Kevin had a solid motive. We don’t know what role Benson played in this. He could’ve had motive if there is some business related thing we haven’t caught, but Dylan doesn’t seem to think so. And we can’t forget, this wasn’t a surprise attack. Will played an active role in his own death by being there even when he told Kevin and Steph he wasn’t going to be there, and he brought the knife and he brought the twine.”

“What if Will wasn’t the target.” Emma said. She waved for the waiter who walked over. “Three more of the same.”

Dick nodded in appreciation at the waiter.

“Obviously Will wasn’t his own target.” I said.

“But he had a knife.” Emma said. “Someone was the target.”

I took out some photo-copied pictures from the evidence box. I slid the copy of Will’s note onto the table.

“Sandy have anything?” Dick asked.

I checked my phone and Sandy had texted back, I read it aloud. “Yea, she said, ‘Hey B, same handwriting. Without having the hard copies in front of me I can’t be 100% sure, but I’m 99%. Will be in tomorrow if you need another look, but I would be shocked if it’s not the same. The Ds are very specific and match perfectly and the zeros on both pictures start from the bottom. That’s rare.

“Right.” Dick nodded. The waiter came back with the beers.

Emma and I nodded.

“Meet.” I said. “He was meeting someone. He didn’t write, get there at 10, or arrive at 10, or jump out and stab at 10. He was meeting someone.”

Dick stared at me blankly.

“Meaning the other person knew he was coming? And if that other person was Kevin…”

“But then he texted Kevin that he wasn’t coming, so Kevin didn’t know he was coming.”

I shook my head like a wet dog, trying to clear it. “What the fuck.”

Emma had slid the photo-copies over to her side of the table, and she was flipping through the pages.

Dick drank half of his new beer in one breath.

We played a few hands in silence.

“What’s this?” Emma said suddenly.

It was the picture from Steph's fridge.

“That was on Steph’s fridge.” Dick said. “They ran their own marathon after the Portland one was cancelled from Covid. Those are the kind of fucking people we’re dealing with.”

Emma rolled her eyes.

I leaned over towards Emma. “That’s Steph, Will, Kevin, and Caren.” I said, pointing them out in turn.

“Yea I know.” Emma said. “But look.” She was pointing at Kevin.

I didn’t get it. I looked at Dick. He was searching the picture for whatever Emma had seen. Then he smacked the table.

“Ohhhhh.” I said.

“A shot for the lady!” Dick yelled at the waiter.

“That’s it right?” Emma said smiling.

I was still processing. “Holy shit. C knife.”

Dick’s grin got wider.

“It was an accident.” I said slowly.

“Well...that’s a loose use of that word.” Emma said.



We weaved and splashed our way back to the station, kicking water at each other and breaking into a jog every few steps.


Dylan was sitting in the lobby, and popped off the wooden bench when we cracked through the doors.

“Caren’s here. I sent her to 3. I didn’t - .”

“Thanks buddy, we just called her in for a chat.” Dick said, smacking him on the back as we passed. “Let’s get the show on the roady road.”



We trotted down the hall, Emma jogging behind us.


“Caren,” I said in the most cordial and light-hearted tone I could muster, as Dick and I pushed through the door. “Thank you for coming in. Sorry for taking up so much of your time. We’re hoping this will be quick. We’re really trying to just get a few more details before wrapping this thing up.”

“Speak for yourself,” Dick said, sitting down heavily with a wide smile. “I enjoy speaking with the sane ones around here. Rather speak with you than that boyfriend of yours.”

“Dicky, let’s keep those details to ourself for now.”

Dick put up his hands in mock surrender and Caren sat forward, “So you think it’s Kevin?”

I looked at Dick and shook my head in warning. “We’re not really at liberty.”

“But if we were,” Dick said, still speaking to Caren, but eyeing me cautiously, “What would you have to say about that? Would that surprise you? If we told you, for example, we recently came across enough evidence for an arrest.”

“Oh Jesus.” Caren said, sitting back, “You’re going to arrest him? Oh Jesus.” He voice came out tense, but her shoulders were relaxing. “I mean. I don’t know. I would’ve never. I mean, I’ve been with him for years.”

“Wouldn’t have thought him capable?” I eased her along.

“Never.”

“But sometimes people do things you wouldn’t have thought possible.” Dick offered.

“Yea. I guess.” She said.

“Like sleep with your best friend?”

Caren tensed again and looked up.

“I mean just as an example.” Dick said. “That stuff happens.”

“Happened to me.” I said with a grin, “Many times, never saw it coming.”

“Unlucky buddy.” Dick said.

I shrugged and smiled.

“But that stuff happens to all of us.” Dick continued looking back at Caren. “Murder, well that’s rare, but everyone makes one mistake or another.”

“I guess.” Caren said slowly.

“You still don’t think Kevin could’ve done something like that.” I said looking at her closely.

“Well, murder, no.” She was looking at the table, “But he’s cheated before.”

“Oh, Caren.” I said, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to make it a joke.”

“No, it’s ok.” She said, “Just...that was shocking too.”

“I bet.” Dick said softly, leaving her space to continue.

She nodded. “Just...it’s like you said,” she looked at Dick. “With my best friend.”

“Steph?” I asked.

Caren nodded.

“Shit.” Dick said, “That’s brutal.”

I put sympathy in my eyes but inside I was reeling. So she knew Kevin was cheating with Steph. Fucking B-I-N-G-O.

“Well, don’t worry.” I said softly. “I shouldn’t disclose this, but since it’s likely happening as we’re speaking you’ll find out soon enough. We’ve got enough to put Kevin away for a while. He’ll have to reconcile what he did to Will, but also what he did to you.”

Caren nodded.

“Kind of makes sense too,” Dick said. “Kevin getting Will out of the way so he could be with Steph. Makes sense. I mean, there are easier ways, but at least it makes sense.”

We kept our eyes on Caren. She twisted her fingers around each other on the table.

I spoke up. “Kevin wasn’t thinking about you at all, though. Was just going to ditch you to the curb I guess. Nothing you could do. Kind of helpless.”

“Powerless.” Dick added.

Caren didn’t look up. “I could’ve left him too. I knew he was cheating. I was going to leave him.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I am.”

Dick snorted in condescension. “Now that he’s about to be arrested? Brave of you, Caren. Real brave. You know if you never stand up for yourself, you’ll just get walked over again and again.”

“Take it easy buddy.” I said, lighting a cigarette and passing one to Caren. She took it and I lit it for her.

“I’m just saying.” Dick continued. “Kevin did something about his situation. Steph acted how she wanted to act. Caren’s just sitting here letting the world fu-”

There was a knock at the door, Emma poked her head in. “Dick,” She whispered and beckoned him out.

Dick slid his chair back, making a screeching against the floor. “Be right back, I guess.” he said.

I let the door shut before focusing back on Caren. “Sorry about him.” I said. “He has a history. A long one. Ya know. Been cheated on and stuff. Not fair to take this out on you. After what’s been going on in your life.”

Caren exhaled her smoke and looked away. “What a dick. He doesn’t know shit.” She whispered.

“No.” I shrugged. “And how could he? He’s not a bad guy. Just what happens after years of resentment. Mostly toward himself. But yea, he’s acting like an asshole”

Caren sat back crossing one leg over the other and said nothing, looking off at the wall on her left.

“I’m happy to finish up the last details with you without my partner here if that makes you a bit more comfortable.”

Caren didn’t respond in any visual or audible way.

“We just need to confirm a few things is all. Before the official arrest can be made. Can you help us with that? Help us take Kevin down?”

Caren slid back around in her chair and raised her eyebrows. She looked pissed. “What do you need?”

“Thank you, thank you, you’re crucial in all this. Let me go grab it.” I walked out quickly and bumped into Dylan in the hall. “Dude!” I whispered. “The fuck are you doing?”

“Chief kicked me out of observation, told me to go do my own work but I wanted to watch you guys do this.”

“Come on.” I beckoned him to follow me and peeked my head into observation. The chief, Emma, Dick and Jessie were all standing by the glass. Dick was rubbing his hands together, sweating through his shirt, pacing and mumbling. Emma was watching him wide-eyed and flushed. Jessie was whispering to Chief about god knows what and Chief was ignoring him, standing at the glass watching Caren.

They swung around when we peeked through the door.

Dick took a step toward me. “Don’t let her cool off. Not too long, we need her right where she is. Mad as hell and ready to fuck Kevin up.”

“I’m letting her boil.” I stuck my hand out and Dick shook it, “Good start buddy, you pissed her off.”

Dick rubbed his hands together, “We got her.”

Jessie stepped forward but Dick threw up his hand to silence him before he started.

“Chief, Dylan was crucial in cracking this open. We need him in here.”

The chief huffed, not taking his eyes off Caren.

I patted Dylan on the shoulder, tousled Dicks hair, gave Emma a few soft taps on the cheek, cracked my neck and strolled back out with the evidence bag.

I took a breath.

“Sorry, sorry, someone put the bag down in the basement.” I said, hurrying back to my chair and sliding the bag toward her. “We’re really hoping you can help us with this. Last thing we need before we can make the arrest and put that asshole away.” The bag contained a yellow and orange bundle, the clothes Will was wearing at the time of the murder. I took out the picture of the clothes spread out on the table in Emma’s basement. “Can you tell me whose clothes these are?”

She had a cold stare and pulled the bag and the picture toward her.

I watched her eyes flick back and forth, her mind working furiously. Check mate.

“Umm.” Caren said slowly, she was making a game time decision. “These are Kevin’s clothes.”

“Hm.” I said, “Why would Will be wearing them?”

“What?” She looked up distracted.

“Will was found floating in the river in these clothes. Why would Will have Kevin’s clothes?”

“I..I don’t know. I don’t know why. Maybe Kevin put them on him after he killed him.”

“Unlikely,” I said. “He’d not waste that time. Or implicate himself so obviously.”

“Oh.” Caren said.

“You seem confused.” I said leaning forward, keeping my eyes on her eyes.

“I’m not. I just don’t know why Will would wear Kevin’s clothes.”

I knew everyone watching was holding their breath.

My heart started beating faster.

Careful now.

Nice and easy.

“You thought he was Kevin, didn’t you Caren.”

Caren didn’t move.

“That night. Will came running at you in these clothes. You thought it was Kevin.”

“What? I don’t - .”

“We both know Kevin didn’t do anything but run through a puddle of blood.”

“I didn’t. I thought you’re arresting - .”

“You didn’t roll over after all. Didn’t let Kevin walk all over you like Dick said. You set up a trap. You weren’t going to break up with Kevin. You were going to kill him. You and Will together.” I spoke calmly and clearly. I wasn’t going to let her find a crack to squeeze through. “You brought the knife. Your fingerprints are all over it. You both knew Kevin was out running. Will cancelled on him. Not an alibi, but a believable story. Protests were crazy that week.”

I was gaining steam. Caren was staring at the wall, legs crossed again, but listening.

“Will came running at you, at the place you planned to meet, right at 10pm. You recognized the clothes in the dark as Kevin's and panicked. You thought Kevin was ahead of schedule. You don’t know how fast they run. He came earlier than expected so you had to act or else miss your chance. You stabbed Kevin. Only it wasn’t Kevin. It was Will. You stabbed Will. He was so shocked he didn’t struggle. He fell to his knees. You thought quick after you realized what you had done. You stabbed him again.” I paused. “And then again.”

Caren didn’t move.

“You had to act fast. You knew the real Kevin would be running by here soon. You could frame him. The next best thing to killing him. The twine was already in place around Will’s ankle. You tied Will to the dock. I’m guessing you were hoping Kevin would find him, cover the body in his own prints. I’m assuming that was the reason behind the twine to begin with, wash away the prints. Kevin didn’t find the body that night but he did run straight through the crime scene, making him an obvious suspect. Except for one thing.”

I pulled out Will’s checklist.

Caren twitched.

“Will had a loose end you didn’t consider.” I pushed the bag toward her. “He left a couple little reminders on his desk. Placing him and this mysterious ‘c’ at the dock at 10pm. Only the identity of ‘c’ is not so mysterious when you consider your motive, your means, your opportunity and a shit ton of evidence against you.”



We were back at the bar. All of us. Pitchers deep, shots on the way. Even the chief came to celebrate, buying the first round, then the second and third. “We can expense shit like this if you give me confessions like that!” He blabbed after his fourth or fifth whiskey.

The night carried on in a general mood of joyful celebration and relief until only Dick, Emma and I remained, seated around a high top table with a fresh pitcher and the cards dealt. We settled back in our chairs and no one spoke of the case for a long time.

The night got darker and fuzzier, Emma and Dick scooched their chairs closer and closer. I felt that deep happiness flowing inside me, the one that gushes around your bloodstream when you’re drunk with your friends, neon lights and cold drinks, with no responsibilities tugging you down.


My phone rang.


“You on your way back Arthur?” I said, nudging Dick to listen up. “Dick, Em and I are still here.”

Dick looked up grinning, his eyebrows raised.

Emma shuffled the cards, needlessly. We were too drunk to play anything.

“Oh hey Jessie.” I said. Dick shook his head violently, I snorted and pushed him off his chair. “Where’s Arthur?”

I choked again, “Arthur’s passed out in his office.” I said to the eager faces watching me.

Emma keeled over laughing and Dick shook his head with a wide smile. “Good for him.”

Jessie was trying to get my attention through the phone but I wanted to hang up on his annoying high-pitched voice so I did.

He called right back so I put him on speaker. If I had to listen, so did Dick.

“Bitch listen listen. Don’t hang up.”

Emma got up to pee and we sat there, smacking each other, faces bent toward the phone.

“A case came in. Chief put you guys on it before he fell asleep.”

Dick hung up on him again and we laughed and laughed and drank our beer.


I opened a text and shot Jessie a note. Put an Advil and water by chief’s couch.

And then a second message:

We’re on it Jess, we’ll see ya in the am.



The End.



- Emily Menges



Part I

Part II

Part III