Page 93 of Mystic River


"You ran it through the national database?"

Connolly said, "And Interpol. Zip. There's one real flawless latent we pulled off the door. It's a thumb. If it's the doer, he's short."

"Short," Sean said.

"Yup. Short. Could be anyone's, though. We pulled six clean ones, not a match on any of 'em."

"You listen to the 911?"

"No. Should I?"

"Connolly, you should familiarize yourself with everything and anything that has to do with the case, man."

Connolly nodded. "You gonna listen to it?"

Sean said, "That's what we got you for." He turned back to Brendan Harris. "About your father's gun."

Brendan said, "My father didn't have a gun."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"Oh," Sean said, "then I guess we were misinformed. By the way, Brendan, you talk to your father much?"

Brendan shook his head. "Never. He said he was going out for a drink, and he took off, left my mother and me behind, and her pregnant, too."

Sean nodded as if he could feel his pain. "But your mother never filed a missing persons report."

"That's 'cause he wasn't missing," Brendan said, some fight coming into his eyes. "He told my mother he didn't love her. He told her she was always harping on him. Two days later, he leaves."

"She never tried to find him? Nothing like that?"

"No. He sends money, so fuck it."

Sean took his pencil away from the keyboard and laid it flat on his desk. He looked at Brendan Harris, trying to read the kid, getting nothing back but a whiff of depression and residual anger.

"He sends money?"

Brendan nodded. "Once a month like clockwork."

"From where?"

"Huh?"

"The envelopes the money comes in. Where are they sent from?"

"New York."

"Always?"

"Yeah."

"Is it cash?"

"Yeah. Five hundred a month mostly. More at Christmas."

Sean said, "Does he ever write a note?"

"No."

"So how do you know it's him?"

"Who else would send us money every month? He's guilty. My ma says he was always that way? he'd do shitty things, think that just because he felt bad about them it absolved him. You know?"

Sean said, "I want to see one of the envelopes the money came in."

"My mother throws 'em away."

Sean said, "Shit," and swiveled the computer screen out of his line of vision. Everything about the case was bugging him? Dave Boyle as a suspect, Jimmy Marcus's being the father of the victim, the victim herself having been killed with her boyfriend's father's gun. And then he thought of something else that bugged him, though not in any way pertinent to the case.

"Brendan," he said, "if your father abandoned the family while your mother was pregnant, why'd she name the baby after him?"

Brendan's gaze drifted off into the squad room. "My mom ain't entirely there. You know? She tries and all, but?"

"Okay?"

"She says she named him Ray to remind herself."

"Of what?"

"Men." He shrugged. "How if you give 'em half a chance, they'll fuck you over just to prove they can."

"But when your brother turned out mute, how'd that make her feel?"

"Pissed," Brendan said, and a tiny smile played on his lips. "Kinda proved her point, though. Least in her mind." He touched the paperclip tray on the edge of Sean's desk, and the tiny smile vanished.

"Why you asking me if my father had a gun?"

Sean was suddenly tired of games and being polite and cautious. "You know why, kid."

"No," Brendan said. "I don't."

Sean leaned across the desk, barely resisting an inexplicable desire to keep going, to lunge at Brendan Harris and squeeze his throat in his hand. "The gun that killed your girlfriend, Brendan, was the same gun your father used in a robbery eighteen years ago. You want to tell me about that?"

"My father didn't have a gun," he said, but Sean could see something beginning to go to work in the kid's brain.

"No? Bullshit." He slapped the desk hard enough to jerk the kid in his chair. "You say you loved Katie Marcus? Let me tell you what I love, Brendan. I love my clearance rate. I love my ability to put down cases in seventy-two hours. Now you are fucking lying to me."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are, kid. You know your father was a thief?"

"He was a subway? "

"He was a fucking thief. He worked with Jimmy Marcus. Who was also a fucking thief. And now Jimmy's daughter is killed with your father's gun?"

"My father didn't have a gun."

"Fuck you!" Sean bellowed, and Connolly shot up in his chair, looked over at them. "You want to bullshit someone, kid? Bullshit your cell."

Sean took his keys from his belt and tossed them over his head at Connolly.

"Lock this maggot up."

Brendan stood. "I didn't do anything."

Sean watched Connolly step up behind the kid, tensing on the balls of his feet.

"You got no alibi, Brendan, and you had a prior relationship with the victim, and she was shot with your father's gun. Until I got better, I'll take you. Have a rest, think about the statements you just made to me."

"You can't lock me up." Brendan looked behind him at Connolly. "You can't."

Connolly looked back at Sean, wide-eyed, because the kid was right. Technically, they couldn't lock him up unless they charged him. And they had nothing to charge him with, really. It was against the law in this state to charge anyone with suspicion.

But Brendan didn't know any of that, and Sean gave Connolly a look that said: Welcome to Homicide, new boy.

Sean said, "You don't tell me something right now, kid, I'm doing it."

Brendan opened his mouth, and Sean saw a dark knowledge pass through him like an electric eel. Then his mouth closed, and he shook his head.

"Suspicion of capital murder," Sean said to Connolly. "Jail his ass."

* * *

DAVE GOT BACK to his empty apartment in the midafternoon and went straight to the fridge for a beer. He hadn't eaten anything and his stomach felt hollow and bubbling with air. Not the best conditions under which to throw back a beer, but Dave needed one. He needed to soften the edge in his head and take the crimps out of his neck, ease the wild-rat banging of his heart.

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