|Mystery and Crime Fiction posted November 23, 2018||Chapters:||...20 20 -20- 21...|
Murder and Money
A chapter in the book Loophole
a crooked bank manager hires his wife and a friend to rob the bank he manages.
The senior detective spoke into his phone, “Brennan speaking.” He listened for a few seconds, then said, “Be right there. Come on Amanda. It's back to Mercy hospital. Seems like Trudy has taken a turn for the worse.”
< < ^ > >
Amanda drove carefully through the afternoon drizzle. “Use the siren, if you like,” Brennan said and cleared his throat. “I've been meaning to tell you what I did while you were drawing up the floor plan of the bank.”
“You found the money on the bank roof?”
“Not exactly. I called Ronald and he gave me some new info about himself and the Heffernan brothers. Seems they don't want a commensurate portion of the robbery money. They told Ronald they'd be happy if they were given enough to cover their expenses.”
“What expenses, S.B.?”
“The rented ambulance, the paramedic's uniforms and a tank of gas. Oh, plus the money Sterling and Ronald cheated them out of in that card game we keep hearing about.”
“Assuming the money isn't on the roof, then where is it?"
“It's safely in the black bag the brothers kept after dropping off Ronald at the emergency room. Now they're claiming it was two thousand apiece they were cheated out of and I'm inclined to give it to them.”
“Very generous of you, Sir, but wouldn't that be stealing?” Amanda said. “The money is earning more interest, now, than when it was in the bank.”
“That's an Interesting observation, Amanda. Getting back to the topic at hand, I don't think anyone knows how much money was in that bag.”
“Hey,” Amanda said, “I just realized that 'stealing' and 'Sterling' are synonyms for each other.
< < ^ > >
When the detectives arrived at Trudy's room, they were surprised to see her without any life support tubes or drips, but, instead, she was seated in a wing back, Naugahyde chair next to her bed. She looked fine, except for her eyes. It was easy to see she'd been doing a lot of crying.
Brennan looked down at Trudy's shoes and noticed they were wet. Realizing Brennan had put two and two together, Trudy decided to tell the detectives everything.
“Yes. I snuck out of here to go see Ronald,” she said. “That's one reason I wanted you to come here. I'm hoping Ronald and I can meet with the Heffernan brothers and convince them to give themselves up and turn in the money. All except four thousand of it, the amount they were cheated out of.
“I told Ronald how I was afraid of him at first, then gradually started liking him. I figured he probably was blackmailed into his role, as I was.
“I rambled on about the surprised look on Ronald's face when he pulled the gun out of the bag of money. It was as if he could tell it had real bullets and not blanks by how heavy it felt. He looked to his right toward Sterling's office. I thought he might shoot him, instead.
“That meant he figured Sterling had switched the blanks for real bullets. I was certain he was aiming at my left arm. The terrific pain there, soon proved it.
“During the time I was talking, Ronald died. I heard him say, 'Jamal.' The only Jamal I knew was the custodian at the bank. I witnessed Ronald's dying word: 'Jamal' and it meant nothing to me. There must be some significance to it, but I have no idea what that something could possibly be.
"I bent down to Ronald's ear and said, 'wake up' loud enough to be heard in the corridor. No response.
“I was afraid to tell anyone, afraid they'd think I killed him. Am I in trouble?”
“We'll see to it that you're not,” Brennan promised.
Artwork by avmurray at FanArtReview.com
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