The passing years had been kind to Steven. He was as fit and trim as ever, though his hair revealed a lot of silver threading through the brown. He was on the phone with Rosemaria in the squad room when Lyle came in and slapped a copy of the LA Times on his desk. “Remember her?”
Steven glanced at the front-page picture and held up his forefinger. “Gotta go, kiddo. Do well on the exam. See you on Saturday.” He hung up and studied the picture of Helen Sandusky, just as beautiful as she had been eight years ago.
Lyle, his red hair almost gone and carrying a few extra pounds around his midriff, hung his coat on the back of his chair. “How’s UCLA treating your daughter? Still all work and no play as always?”
Steven answered absently, “Yeah, nose to the grindstone.” He read the article that accompanied the picture of Helen Sandusky. “She’s come up in the world. Marrying a state senator. I wonder if she’d still be too scared to testify against her ex-husband?”
“Anything she knows or ever knew is hidden deeper than Jimmy Hoffa’s cement covered corpse. Her new husband may be able to protect her, but she’s not digging up that dirt again. It’s not good politics.” Lyle paused, then said, “Speaking of politics—Farber’s being promoted to captain, and the word is one of us is in line for his job.”
Steven shook his head. “You’re welcome to it. I’m not getting tied to a desk issuing orders. If I can’t be out on the streets investigating, I’m not a cop anymore—I’m a den mother.”
“Just askin’ in case they come to me and beg.”
“I’ll celebrate mightily if you want it and get it. No hard feelings, believe me.”
“Good to know.”
Steven went back to the newspaper article. “Sandusky got away with murder and we all know it. It pisses me off that we couldn’t touch that sleazeball. Now he’s richer than God and acts like he’s citizen of the year.”
“Somebody talking about Sandusky?” Farber was walking in their direction. The lines in his face had deepened and his formerly thick hair had thinned to the point that he was now paying a lot of attention to hair-transplant commercials.
Steven held up the paper. “We were just reading about his ex-wife marrying Senator Worthington.”
“Ah yes, the woman of many secrets.” Farber held up the paper and scowled. “She could have helped solve that case for us. She’ll never talk now.”
He laid the paper back down on the desk. “I got a call from on high that I’m supposed to send somebody to check out the old Camden office building on 3rd Street that’s just been sold to a developer. The owner is worried that people are breaking in and stealing fixtures before he gets bids on the contract to turn the place into lofts or condos or whatever they call crappy apartments in depressed areas. He wants somebody to check it out.”
“Why are you telling us this?” Lyle asked. “That’s for patrol.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not sending the two of you. I know you’ve got more important things on your plate. The thing is Sandusky is one of the people putting in a bid on the remodel contract.”
“I’m sure everything he does now is on the up and up, especially when it comes to a rinky-dink job like this,” Steven offered.
“Crooks sometimes just can’t help themselves, ya know.” Farber gave a backward wave on his way to his office.
“Why would Sandusky be willing to do a small-time job like that?” Lyle mused. “Doesn’t make sense.” He shrugged. “Let’s go to lunch. I didn’t have any breakfast.”
Steven grabbed his jacket. “Now that Rosemaria is living in the dorms, I never bother with breakfast anymore.”
“There’s a stack of pancakes in our future.”
“Let’s do it.”
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