Detective Liu is on the Case
Bryant pulled up to the Motel 6 in his unmarked police cruiser with his very bored partner, Detective Jimmy Brar dozing beside him in the passenger seat. He stubbed out his cigarillo and downed the last of his tepid Timmy Ho’s coffee.
“Hey, Rabbit, wake up! We’re here!” he loudly exclaimed to startle Jimmy awake. Jimmy jumped in his seat then rubbed his eyes wearily and glared at Detective Liu.
“Seriously, buddy, do you have to do that every time? It’s friggin’ 4 in the morning, show a little sympathy.” Jimmy huffed as he looked in the rear-view mirror and slicked back his jet-black hair before straightening his deep purple silk tie and made sure his tailored suit wasn’t rumpled too much from his impromptu nap. The big twenty-four carat pinkie ring he gifted himself upon graduation from the Justice Institute two years ago shining in the dimness of the dome light as Bryant unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the door.
Detective Bryant Liu was 53-years old and a twenty year veteran of the VPD. Vancouver was a good city to work as a cop. You had crime sure, but with the rare exception police were still looked up to in this community. It was a good job when people weren’t being drunken idiots individually or in large groups. If he had his way they would legalize all the drugs and make booze illegal. No one strung out on heroin was going to drive a car or get in a fist fight after all (well they could try but it never got beyond thinking about it). He especially liked working weeknights because it was usually pretty quiet, except for the regular problems around Welfare Wednesdays of course. But not on this Tuesday night, he gets a call that there was a violent disturbance and he and Jimmy have to go check it out, just a couple hours before the end of the shift. Bryant sighed to himself knowing that Lily would be pissed off that he wasn’t home to brew the coffee for her nursing shift before he headed to bed. Then he smiled to himself knowing that her aggravation would only last until she realized how much overtime pay he was going to get for this case.
Bryant went to the back of the car and unlocked the trunk. He pulled out a reflective vest which he slipped on, and his service pistol which he firmly holstered and secured. Then he slammed the trunk shut and noticed Rabbit smiling snidely and shaking his head.
“Buddy, after three years and..” Jimmy quickly checked his smartphone.
“Fifteen days! I will never understand why you keep your piece in the trunk like that. What happens if we have a violent perp running at us? You going to just shout STOP?” He said as he held his hand up in front of him with the palm outwards.
“Nope. I have a better plan.”
“Oh, what’s that?”
“I’ll just order you to shoot him for me”, Bryant’s face an expressionless mask as he spoke.
“Ha Ha, very funny buddy.”
“Sorry, was I joking?” and after a brief pause as Jimmy began to scowl Bryant finally cracked a small smile.
“Oooo, good one buddy. Remind me to hire you a joke writer sometime”, Jimmy laughed and wagged his finger at Bryant before he walked towards the uniformed officers standing outside of one of the motel rooms.
All this witty banter was Bryant’s most effective deflection tactic for ever answering that question. No one now on the force needed to know why he kept his gun in the trunk. He thought back to the ‘94 Cup riot when he was pushing down Robson with the other Members and that brick came sailing out of the crowd. He rubbed his head at the memory of it hitting his helmet so damn hard, he must have blacked out for a moment because the next thing he knew he was standing in an alley with a couple hundred feet of rioters between him and the police line. As he was looking out at the chaos on the street he felt a hand on his shoulder, he pulled his gun and spun. His barrel was an inch from the face of a fearful young mother with a newborn in a baby-sling. He recovered and before he could apologize she ran crying in the opposite direction down the alley and disappeared into the crowd on Pender Street.
He couldn’t understand why she had never reported the incident but he vowed from that day forward to never rely on his sidearm. He only holstered the thing because it was a requirement of his job, not that it mattered since the clip was always empty.
Detective Liu followed his partner across the parking lot and nodded to Officers Wilson and Fellowes as he approached the shattered remains of the door into one of the suites.
“Morning Bill, morning Fred, so much for a quiet evening eh?” Bryant smiled ruefully as he knelt down to examine the pool of blood just inside the door and the smear of it leading out to the ice machine set against the building. Jimmy was at the next unit talking to a sleepy middle-aged man that stared blearily out into the distance as if watching some imaginary podcast only he could see.
“Yeah, Bry, tell me about it. We had 911 calls from a few of the other tenants in the building all around the same time…” As Officer Wilson trailed off he consulted his notepad but Fellowes piped up.
“At 3:20 AM or so. Reports of at least one shot fired and then a series of screams, at which point a few of the witnesses looked out their windows to see a woman dragging something out of the unit in the dark and then her and another man walked across the parking lot to the front office. A few minutes later they both exit and get in a car and drive off.” Officer Fellowes smirked in triumph as he finished Wilson’s summary for him. Bryant wasn’t going to get in the middle of their little pissing match so he nodded noncommittally and got up and walked over to the ice machine.
“Have Forensics and the Coroner been called?” He said as he tried to lift the lid, careful not to touch the obvious smeared condensation on the front edge only to find it stuck. He flicked on his Mag-lite and aimed it at the lock, he noted the broken key jamming the lock.
“Well we called Forensics, they should be here in the next twenty minutes or so, but why the Coroner?” Wilson asked in confusion.
Bryant sighed and shook his head as he arched an eyebrow at the two officers before turning in Jimmy’s direction and shouted to him,” Hey Jimmy, think you could lend me a hand for a minute?”
Jimmy nodded and walked over, “Whatcha need Bry?”
“First thing, could you take a few photos of the machine and the ground around it on that wonder of tech of yours?”
“No problems Bry.” Jimmy pulled out his smartphone, set it to telephoto and aimed it all around the ice machine as the flash went off like a spastic strobe light.
“That’s great now could you help me push the far end of this big bastard out from the wall a few feet?” Bryant said as he squatted down and braced himself against the wall.
“See it was this kind of stuff that persuaded me to get out of patrol work buddy. The dry-cleaning bill for this suit is all yours if it gets stained.” Jimmy huffed as he straightened his lapel and winked at Bryant.
“Yeah, yeah you can send me the bill, but trust me it will be worth it.” Bryant grinned as Jimmy got in position standing above him.
“On three, 1…2…3!” And with that they grunted in unison and pushed hard on the now completely filled machine. There was a loud scraping and slowly the machine slid three feet forward at an angle.
Detective Bryant stepped behind it and unplugged the power and turned off the water valve as well. Then scanning the back with his flashlight he found the two bolts along the bottom edge. Taking out his deluxe Swiss Army Knife he open the pliers and slowly, painstakingly unscrewed them. When they dropped to the ground the force of gravity did the rest and an avalanche of darkly stained ice poured onto the ground as well as three disturbing silhouettes. He turned his flashlight on them and heard a whispered “Oh shit” from the tenant that Jimmy had been interviewing as he had slowly strolled up while they had worked.
“See that’s why I asked if you called the Coroner, Officers. You should go ahead and do that now ok?” He spoke plaintively as the two patrollers looked on with a mixture of disgust and fascination at the foot and two forearms lying on the bloody pile of ice.
As Wilson fumbled for his radio to call it in, Bryant scanned the area and smiled grimly to himself as he noticed the trio of security cameras mounted outside the front office.
“Hey Jimmy, in your opinion do you think we’ll need a search warrant for that video or would you consider this probable cause?” Bryant chuckled at his own gallows humour as he pointed at the cameras and began to head across the lot without waiting for a reply.
“Yeah, I’ll leave that up to you buddy. Want me to come along?” Jimmy smiled in the dark.
“No you stay here and get more statements. I’ll give you a shout if I need you.” Bryant patted his radio on his belt as he spoke.
As he approached the office he realized the door wasn’t propped wide open as he had thought but was lying on the floor of the office, split in half. He panned the room with his flashlight and also noticed a section of the front desk lying on the ground. It was if someone had taken a circular saw to both the door and the desk. This just keeps getting stranger and stranger, he thought to himself.
“Hello? Anyone home?” He called into the silence.
“Wow, what happened in here?” Bryant jumped as Fellowes spoke up suddenly from behind him.
“Good question, no idea yet. What is it Fred?” Bryant glared at the officer as he reached around the doorjamb and flipped on the light switch with the butt-end of his flashlight.
“Oh, just wanted to let you know that Forensics is on their way. So are we dealing with someone that has a fetish for Home Hardware? They sure love to cut things up.” Fellowes looked at the door and desk in bemusement as he spoke.
“I don’t think so Fred. For one thing, where is all the saw dust?” Bryant and Fred looked at each other in confusion.
“Could you take over the interviews for Detective Brar and send him over? I think this is going to be a two-person job.” He smiled inwardly to himself, the fewer subordinates traipsing through here messing up the crime scene the easier the paperwork on this one will be. He stepped gingerly through the doorway as Fellowes headed back across the parking lot. Bryant leaned over the counter and with trepidation touched the edge where it had been cut. It felt perfectly smooth. If it wasn’t for the fact the desk looked incomplete without that corner he would have sworn that the desk was built that way. There was no pattern along the edge that implied it was cut or sawed, Forensics would have to put it under a microscope, but even so this innocently separated desktop was the weirdest thing he had seen in his career.
“Wow, Extreme Makeover Motel Edition, eh buddy?” Jimmy looked around the room in amazement from the doorway.
“Come on in, the doors open. Though as interesting as the work of a crazed handyman is, we better check the security video to see if we can make any sense of all this.” Bryant spread his arms to encompass the Motel 6.
“What happened to the clerk anyway? Has anyone seen him around?” Bryant questioned as he led Jimmy into the back office area.
“Yeah, a couple of guests said they saw him beat feet down the street a couple minutes after the couple left. It looked like he was scared to death. And after seeing this place I can sort of understand why.” Jimmy explained as Bryant sat down at the desk and examined the old VHS set up.
“Geez, don’t these people realize the 21st century has arrived?” Bryant complained as he adjusted his seat and picked up a couple video cases and shook them at Jimmy in frustration.