âWe got half an hour before the press conference,â she said. âIâve promised everybody that youâll drag the killer in and hurl him to the floor in front of the microphones.â
âOr her,â Lucas said.
The chief turned to her window, squinted out at the empty sidewalk, then shook her head. âNope. Itâs a man. A woman didnât kill Alieâe Maison.â
âYup. And seriously, Lucas . . .â
âWeâd look really good if we caught this guy quick.â
The chiefâs secretary stuck her head in. âLucas, Sloan says a Mr. Plain is here.â
âGotta go,â Lucas said. âGood luck with the movie people.â
SLOAN WAS WAITING in the back of the Homicide office, talking with a tall dark-haired man with black eyes, who might have been called slender except that he had a square-shouldered heft that made him too tough for the word; he could have played a dissolute biker in a rock ânâ roll movie. He was wearing a black leather jacket, black slacks, and a plain black T-shirt. Another man, fleshy, brown-haired, freckled, wearing a Star Wars Crew baseball hat and a single silver earring, sat sideways in a hard-back chair a few feet away.
Sloan saw Lucas coming and said, âChief Davenport, this is Amnon Plain. He was at the party last night and agreed to come to talk with us.â
The dark-haired man nodded at Lucas and the brown-haired man said, âGet a lawyer, dude.â
Plain asked Lucas, âDo I need one? A lawyer?â
Lucas shrugged. âI donât know. Did you kill Alieâe?â
âNo.â Nothing more; no explanation of why he wouldnât have, or couldnât have, or a protest at the question.
Lucas said, âIf youâve got a simple and convincing story, then there shouldnât be a problem. If there are ambiguities to your statement . . . then maybe you ought to get a lawyer.â
Plain looked at the brown-haired man, who said, âDo what the dude says. Get a lawyer.â
Plain looked back at Lucas, then at Sloan, then back to Lucas, and said, âFuck a lawyer. But I want to make my own tape of the statement. I brought a recorder.â
âNo problem,â Lucas said.
Plain asked if the brown-haired man could come along, and Lucas, looked at Sloan, who shrugged. âIâd rather not . . .â
âGet a lawyer,â said the brown-haired man.
â. . . but if he doesnât get involved . . .â Sloan continued.
âCome on along,â Lucas said.
THEY TOOK THE statement in an interview room, with three tape recorders on the table: two police recorders, backing each other up, and Plainâs hand-sized Sony.
Sloan had gone into good-cop mode, and said, pleasantly, âIf youâll just tell us where you were and what you did, and who you saw last night.â
Plain dipped into a jacket pocket and took out an orange-covered notebook and flipped it open. âI got to the party a little after ten oâclockâas close as I can put it, about ten minutes after ten. Before that, starting at about eight oâclock, Iâd been at the New French CafÃ© with friends. The friends were . . .â
He listed the friends. In the next five minutes, he gave a nearly minute-by-minute account of his evening, with each friend he encountered along the way.
What about Sandy Lansing?
Plain shook his head. âI donât know. If I saw a picture of her, maybe Iâd recognize her, but I donât recognize the name. The party was open . . . to a particular crowd.â
âThe art-money hip crowd,â Plain said.
âAny dope around?â
âAll over the goddamn place.â
âYou use drugs?â Sloan asked it mildly enough, but there was a snake in the question, which everyone could
Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George