Rhode Island Red

Free Rhode Island Red by Charlotte Carter

Book: Rhode Island Red by Charlotte Carter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charlotte Carter
scene of the crime,” he said when I’d slammed the door closed.
    I had deliberately placed the sax case between us on the front seat. I kept my eyes fixed on the busy streets, on the people walking free, living, happy—not trapped like me, not hurtling toward some dark unknown, like me.
    â€œStart talking,” Sweet commanded.
    â€œWhat do you want me to say?”
    â€œHow did you know Inge Carlson?”
    â€œI didn’t know her. I found her.”
    â€œHow?”
    â€œI asked around the street. Sig—I mean Conlin—had told me about her.”
    â€œAnd where did you get the bright idea to give away twenty grand of New York City Police money to a blind whore?”
    â€œI didn’t know it was your money, Mr. Sweet. I figured Conlin got it from someplace pretty bad, that he’d done whatever he had to do to get it, but it was his. If she was his lady, then some of it should go to her. Any kind of a man would want that.”
    Sweet’s mouth pulled back unattractively from his big teeth. “I wonder,” he said, “if you learned your line of bullshit in school or whether you’re just a born liar.”
    â€œI’m not lying.”
    â€œYeah, sure. And that blind girl ain’t dead.”
    One good thing had happened: Sweet’s power over me—his ability to terrify me—was dwindling rapidly. His contempt and scorn were fast becoming a bore.
    â€œOkay,” I said quietly. “I’m the world’s biggest liar. Let’s move on to something else. Why are you taking me to her apartment?”
    â€œI want you to show me exactly what happened when you gave that money away.”
    â€œNothing ‘happened.’ I just gave it to her.”
    â€œThere’s a potential witness been turned up too. I want him to take a look at you. A good look.”
    â€œJust in case I gave her the money and then came back and stole it from her—and then killed her—right?”
    â€œYou irritate the shit outta me, you know that?”
    â€œI’d gathered.”
    â€œWe gonna see how smart you are later, when I take your ass to the station … little miss genius.”
    I sat back and sighed heavily, wondering whether Leman had washed out of junior college somewhere.
    Inge’s place looked almost the same. Almost. Except now it had that low-level, greasy glare a room takes on when something awful has happened there. Like my place the night Charlie Conlin was killed. And, like my home that night, her place had become utterly unprivate. Strange people—cops—coming and going at will. Poking at things, being careless with their cigarettes, talking too loud.
    A policewoman looked over at Sweet. “Ready?” she asked.
    â€œYeah. Send him in.”
    She hurried off. A slight young man no more than twenty with dark hair walked in a minute later. Eyes downcast, he stood next to the half-opened door, reluctant to enter the room. He might have been Latino, or Hawaiian, or Filipino. I couldn’t get a clear look at his face. The boy’s hair was cut very short and on one side of his scalp a pair of initials were incised. His big shirt and ballooning, low riding jeans completed the pathetic picture of a kid lamely trying to carry off the b-boy thing. Somebody should break it to him, I thought, that the happening look is now running to button down shirts and Hush Puppies.
    â€œHey!”
    Leman Sweet’s ogre-like baritone snapped the kid to attention. He looked at Sweet and seemed to shiver.
    â€œYour name’s Diego, right?” Sweet demanded.
    He nodded.
    â€œTake a look at her.” He meant me. “Take a good look.”
    Diego stared at me, uncomprehending. I looked back into his dark, frightened eyes.
    â€œYou ever see her before?”
    â€œNo.”
    I didn’t bother to glance Sweet’s way. I merely took a seat at the kitchen table while he began to question the boy who, he

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