DRINKING LAM

Foreword: On Feb 1st 2013 Elisa Lam (21) went missing from the Cecil Hotel, 19 days later her dead body was found in the hotel’s rooftop water cistern. To date the authorities have offered no answers, the story that follows, is what downtownster believes may have happened to Elisa Lam.

It was the kind of morning that most do not care for in the city known for its good weather. Overcast, no, more than overcast, dark with a chill in the air, the type of morning that one would expect to hear that something horrible had happened…

A storyteller am I, however it has been a long while since I have taken to the keypad, not because the world has, suddenly in our lifetime, become mundane, rather with my own personal aging has come the understanding that there truly is nothing new under the sun. To write now, is to not slice into the essence of humanity as it once was, this frontier has been thoroughly explored, yet context does change and with it, perception. And it is within the realm of new context that a storyteller can possibly offer some insightful or entertaining new perception. So why not tell a story? I did not venture to find something to tell of, it ventured to find me.

And so it goes:

I awake early, though I am not a morning person, to begin my routine before others, for lack of a more polite way of saying it, get in my way. This is a short story of the terrible variety, which does not concern me directly, so I see no need for my own personal dimensions to unfold slowly or in great detail—I’ve had an interesting life, most of which has taken place in and around Downtown Los Angeles.

The coffee I raised to my lips was a blonde roast, which is better than the house blend Starbucks always has to offer. It’s strange that a chain of coffee houses, synonymous with the over corporatization of an entire country should be mentioned in a story one would hope might last for the ages, but it too plays a role in establishing new context. In the past a story such as this would begin in an establishment owned by a character of some-sort, who surely would be part of a community, but there is little sense of community in 21st Century America.

And while many desperately seek privacy from friends and family, they live out a personal reality show in the realm of social media—much of it filled with lies and delusions of grandiosity. The anonymity offered by a city as large as Los Angeles, attracts the most extreme of this type—their end is often financial, moral or physical demise…

“Do you mind if I join you?” asked the attractive, twenty-something-year-old.

I glanced around the space and beheld an abundance of empty tables, which leads one to an obvious conclusion of specific intent. I gestured to the empty chair and she sat.

“You start early.” She smiled.

I wanted to not like her. It’s a funny thing about men of my age, after a lifetime of living ruled by feelings toward women; we break our chains and move on. Not that we come to hate the opposite sex, in fact I would say quite the opposite, we come to see them as a being, for better or worse. And it this very naked state, when a woman stands before a man not blinded by sensuality, that can be perceived so incorrectly. In my youth many a woman asked to be desired for who they really were, but knowing that I was hopelessly unable to see as such, the true nature of this statement was simply one of having power over another. “You can’t know me, because you are weak.” So why not like this attractive girl who sat in front of me? Without knowing her true nature what was there to like? And because of her appearance, as with all women of her type, I asked of myself to not be fair. I moved the line back, to be sure that she would have to prove herself as a person, something more than the causation of a chemical reaction within my body.

I didn’t return the smile, but answered, “I don’t sleep well, when I have things to do.” I paused to contemplate for a moment what an attractive, young, well dressed, woman would want with me so randomly. And concluded that this was not random. “Do I know you?”

She shook her head. “You don’t, but I know you.” She smiled the smile of the self-assured. “Your book “Criminal”, it’s required reading for anyone who wants to take the detective’s exam.”

I nodded. “Did you pass?”

“Yes, I passed…I’m Detective Patrick, I work for the Los Angeles Police Department.”

A slight smile crossed my face. “Really?”

“So you’re a chef now-a-days?” She stated more than asked.

“True story,” I answered.

“I hear you’re very good, my captain eats at your place—garlic chicken I think.”

“Another true story,” I confirmed. “But it’s not my place anymore, you would know that, I imagine.”

Detective Patrick leaned forward, her face feigning some concern. “I heard something to that effect, what happened?”

“Bad partners, of the vile to be around type, so I ended our arrangement.” I paused. “By that I meant, that I ended it nicely, not with them in the deep fryer or anything…”

“Why don’t you write anymore?” She asked.

“I wouldn’t say that I don’t write anymore. I think I’ll write again, I mean I plan to, I’ve just been taking some time off…More than I thought I would actually, but I have a lot of new ideas.”

“Are you going to write another crime story?” she asked, seemingly genuinely pleased that I intended to write again.

I shook my head. “I don’t think so. The world has enough ugliness for everyone to see, it doesn’t need me to tell its story…I want to write something that raises people up, there’s plenty of beauty out there, I’ve seen it, that’s what I want to write about…”

“When we were told to read your book, I was skeptical, slash, young and arrogant. I couldn’t imagine a bad guy that’s smarter than a good guy. But I get it now…Can I ask you a personal question that I have no business asking?”

“Are you going to ask me if I’ve really changed?” I asked, preemptively.

She nodded with a smile. “You’ve heard this one before?”

“Once or twice,” I quipped.

“Have you?” she asked, returning to a tone of propriety.

“I’ve changed. And I haven’t.”

The detective’s face sagged a bit at being confronted with this truth. “That’s not exactly reassuring.”

“As it shouldn’t be.” I shrugged. “I mind my own business, I’m not out there hurting anybody. I try to stay busy doing good things.”

“And if someone were to run into you in a dark alley?” She noticed my face lighted up.

I laughed. “The trick is to avoid dark alleys, detective.”

She sighed. “Well that’s not going to be possible today, I need your help.”

Detective Patrick at this point had caught my fancy. “What could you and the LAPD need help with, from me?”

The detective took a moment to think about what she was going to say and how to say it and then with no back-story, she simply said, “There’s been a murder.”

The 600 – room Cecil Hotel, in downtown Los Angeles, strikes a large presence on Main Street and it has done so for close to a hundred years. Called Hotel Hell or The Murder  Hotel by some, the Cecil has been home to a rape murder, a woman jumping to her death and killing another woman, unfortunate enough to be walking below and two very infamous serial killers. But the well known criminal history of the Cecil is truly dust in the wind, when compared to what is known only in certain circles—drugs, gambling, prostitution and murder are daily routine in this gateway to hell and it is only on rare occasions that these goings-on ejaculate out into the public awareness.

I followed Detective Patrick into the, too small of an elevator, for such a large hotel—a bad suffocating space. The Cecil’s one and only elevator has vertically transported the likes of the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez and Happy Jack Unterweger. The Night Stalker would break into a home, shoot a man in his bed, rape the man’s wife next to his dead body and then shoot her as well. Happy Jack’s, happy-ending was to have sex with a prostitute while strangling her and then posing the corpse in a public place. And so we ascended to the roof slowly and in uncomfortable silence. As the doors parted I glanced up at the surveillance camera.

“So she didn’t take the elevator to the roof,” I observed and stated in a tone that betrayed my enjoyment of not being given any information by the detective.

“Why do you say that?” asked Detective Patrick.

“I heard a story on the news that a girl had gone missing six days ago, there’s a surveillance camera in the elevator, so if she had taken the elevator up to the roof or been taken in the elevator up to the roof, it wouldn’t have taken six days for you to find her.”

“We have video of her getting into the elevator, I’ll show it to you later.” The detective looked down, the real dance between us had begun.

“But she got back out,” I added.

“Yes, she pushed every button…”

“Including the Stop Elevator button, no doubt,” I interrupted. “So she panicked and tried to get away using the stairwell. No cameras in the hallway or stairwell in a place like this.”

The roof was crowded with police and fire rescue personnel. I took in the scene and my eyes came to rest on a second level of the roof, which was secured by a chain link fence. There was a lot of activity in this area around one of three very large cylinders.

I pointed. “You found her in the water cistern?”

The detective nodded, her composure unsettled.

“What’s this girls name?” I asked.

“Elisa Lam,” answered the detective, quite gravely.

“So the guests of the Cecil Hotel have been drinking Elisa Lam for the last six days.” She looked horrified by my thought or that I had voiced it, but I continued, “Until she plugged up the drain and someone complained about the water pressure.”

“There were several complaints about the water pressure,” she said, confirming the scenario that was unfolding in my mind.

Walking up the stairs, past the chain link fence and gate, I carefully navigated my way to the side of the water cistern, the presence of Detective Patrick always carefully positioned behind me seemed to not only silence any questions as to my presence at the crime scene, it actually caused eyes to turn away—the detective had apparently not exaggerated when stating that my book was required reading.

I stared down at the decomposing body of a twenty-one-year-old Chinese girl—I imagined her to be quite attractive in life. I pointed at the girl’s skirt. “See how that’s ripped.”

The Detective nodded. “We’re thinking that she was raped and murdered, then hidden up here in the tank. Probably an employee…”

“Well you know that’s not what happened or you wouldn’t have troubled yourself to find me—you’d be questioning whoever has the key to the gate.” I turned from the tank to face Detective Patrick. “Are you testing me or are you guys that stupid?”

“I said that we were thinking…”

“It’s a loose skirt, you wouldn’t need to tear it to rape her. Her panties are still on. Why would someone rip her skirt and then pull her panties to the side? If you rip off the skirt you tear off the panties also. And you know how strong you would have to be to lug a dead body up to this cistern and stuff it in? No, she tore the skirt climbing the fence and she climbed down into the cistern and drowned.”

“But you said yourself she was trying to get away from somebody,” stated Detective Patrick, questioning, but not disagreeing.

“Definitely, can you imagine how terrified you’d have to be to climb down into this thing?” I paused to imagine what the cold water must have felt like as she lowered her legs into it. “And then feeling the cold water swirling around she, closed the lid—you’d have to be scared out of your mind.”

The detective’s pallor had drained to a shade of white at the thought. “Her behavior on the video wasn’t just frightened, it’s bizarre. Do you think maybe an acid trip gone bad?”

I shook my head. “Not an acid trip gone bad, she was running from something real…And I think the drug of choice for a college kid these days is ecstasy, which would explain her inability to figure out the right button to push in the elevator, but it wouldn’t cause her to see something that didn’t exist.”

Detective Patrick thought about what I had said for a few moments. “She wouldn’t be hanging out in LA and doing ecstasy on her own…Why are you looking at me like that?”

I stared into the detective’s eyes, they were very blue and I looked closely at the bone structure of her face. “You’re very pretty, you know. Beautiful eyes and high cheek bones.”

An ever so slight smile crossed her lips. “And you think that’s appropriate to say, why?”

“I don’t know, I just noticed,” I answered. “Sometimes I just start wondering about people and their lives. What were you like as a little girl? What were your parents like? Did you like boys? Did you like boys too much? Do you care about money? Do you keep a clean house? My mind just goes on that way sometimes…Anyway, I’m sorry. I need to see Miss Lam’s room and we need to walk the hallways of every floor she might have been on.”

“Why do you think she was on more than one floor?” asked the detective, her tone betraying the fact, which I had just speculated on.

I stared into her eyes again as she tried to hold this information back. “I didn’t for sure, but I do now. And you need to stop this examination thing with me; it’s immature and a little boring. And don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about.”

Her demeanor turned momentarily indignant, but she recovered herself. “Don’t talk to me like I’m some school girl. I, we, appreciate your help, but I’m sure you can appreciate that asking you for your help is out of the ordinary, so there’s no protocol to follow.”

“Well apparently it’s protocol to know exactly where to find me, if and when you needed my help.”

She let out a nervous laugh. “It’s not like you make a secret of it. I mean you post it on facebook, I’m guessing you like everyone to know where you’re at all times?”

This assertion was a good one; Detective Patrick had a little extra spark. “I do, and it’s usually in very public places with 24/7 surveillance, I’d hate to ever be wrongly accused of something, I mean given my past, I need to live a life that’s beyond reproach or suspicion of any kind…So if Elisa Lam did some E with someone, it was most likely in her room or their room, which may or may not have been on the same floor. And then as I see it, the next stop was the roof.”

Detective Patrick motioned for me to follow her and continued. “She was staying on the 4th floor, but the elevator video took place when the elevator stopped on the 14th floor, which is problematic because the 14th floor is not in use.”

As we descended down the dreadful elevator, previously described, I asked, “I am correct in assuming the police have searched every inch of this building?”

She nodded in the affirmative. “Of course we have. We even used K-9’s.”

I sensed a hesitance in her answer and inquired further, “You said we, as in we plural, have searched the building. I really meant have you searched every inch of the building? Because, I’m thinking not…And how would a K-9 miss the scent of a decomposing body?”

She pondered my words as we exited the elevator and headed for the room the deceased had occupied on the 4th Floor. “What are you getting at?”

I stopped at the doorway to the room and took in the drab little space. “I’m getting at, this is one of the largest hotels in the city, which I doubt has been properly searched, certainly not by you and there’s a dead Chinese girl in a water cistern that somehow wasn’t detected by a K-9 specifically trained to find a dead body. And by the looks of the body, it’d been there for six days, so the dog did actually miss it…Was the K-9 accompanied by an officer or just turned loose on the 14th floor?”

Detective Patrick looked down and thought for a moment. “They let the dog run the floor, but the dogs always follow a scent.”

I laughed. “Not always…Not this time…I wonder why…I need to meet this dynamic duo, can you invite the dog and its partner to join us?”

She began to text. “You can meet them, but I have to ask you to…”

“Not question the officer and be polite,” I interrupted again, which is admittedly a bad habit of mine. “ I get it. I’m actually more interested in the dog.”

Upon entering the room I noticed several used condoms in the trash receptacle. “Well she had company—cheap brand, made in China.” I bent down and looked closer. “All broken, there would have been plenty of DNA in her, if she hadn’t been soaking in all that chlorinated water for six days… Sex, drugs and alcohol usually seem to figure into these things. Girls just want to have fun, I suppose. Did she have a journal or anything other than facebook, for us to look at?”

“A dating site,” she said handing me her iPad with the young girl’s profile already pulled up. “But we couldn’t find any activity that would be relevant to this.”

I read the girls information, with great interest and handed the tablet back to the detective. “How did she get to the fourteenth floor?”

“I can’t say for sure, definitely not in the elevator. The footage begins on fourteen.”

I looked out the window at the impressive Downtown skyline. “So she didn’t necessarily drop some E and have sex here or on fourteen, she was using the stairwell to go up and down rather than wait for the one and only elevator from hell. What other floors are out of service in this place?”

“The top five floors are all out of service,” said an unattractive woman of about forty, as she peered through the doorway.

“You would be the manager of this fine establishment I presume?” I’d seen her around Downtown and for no reason that I could recall; she had left a bad impression.

“I am.” She began to move forward, but the uniformed officer at the door extended his hand blocking her way. “They were closed so that we could do a remodel, but then the city wouldn’t allow the remodel…Look, I need to know when we can start letting guests back into their rooms.”

Detective Patrick looked at me and I shook my head. She took a step toward the less than pleasant manager and delivered the bad news. “The hotel is going to be closed for a while, we’ll keep you updated.”

And before the manager could turn and walk away, I did feel compelled to ask one more question, “I’m sorry, but does the hotel allow pets.”

She paused. “No, there are no pets allowed, unless they’re for work purposes, of course.”

“Of course,” I repeated as she turned and left us. A memory from many years earlier crossed my mind. I had visited with more than one criminal that had called the Cecil Hotel home.

“Why would a criminal leave a perfectly good, unoccupied floor?” I speculated aloud, “I wouldn’t.”  I looked from the window to the detective and continued my thought, “An empty floor would be a great place to hold up and deal some E. Of course you might have to pay some of the folks who work here some cash, but they don’t strike me as the type to say no…We need to walk every floor, but I’m guessing what we’re looking for is going to be on one that’s been closed for a while.”

Detective Patrick nodded her agreement. “I’m going to call in the S.W.A.T team to join us.”

I pointed at the doorway, where an officer and K-9 now stood. “Why would we need a S.W.A.T. team when we have them?” I approached the officer and German shepherd, the later of which began to emit a low sustained growl as I bent down to get a closer look.

“He’s not a pet. He will bite you,” warned the dog’s handler, as I extended my hand palm forward to the dog’s chest.  And the shepherd did go right for my forearm, only to be utterly stunned when my hand rolled over snatching his powerful lower jaw shut to his snout. He tried to pull away and back, but the hands of an old chef are just shy of vice-grip strength and the growl turned to a whimper as I brought the beast’s head to the floor.

“Hey, what are you doing?” shouted the K-9 officer, himself too thrown off to react.

I held up my left hand. “It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt him, I just need to get a good look.” And feeling that my left hand wasn’t going to be needed to ward off blows from the irate officer, I began to gently run my fingers through the dogs long hair, which having acted much like a dust mop, had picked up several hairs not of its own—some of which were clearly human and some of which were definitely not.

I released the K-9, which in turn, scrambled to its feet and immediately contemplated how it would once again attempt to bite me. However, before another lunge could take place, the officer leashed its collar and an uncomfortable truce was imposed. However, not without the obvious heated question, “What the hell is going on detective and who the hell is this guy?”

Detective Patrick, who seemed more bemused, at that very moment, than upset looked at her agitated co-worker and asked, “Why was the K-9 not on a leash?”

“In this neighborhood? There’s no time to let him off a leash, he has to be ready to go,” answered the officer, very defensively.

“So this is your neighborhood?” I asked, even though I had agreed not to pose any questions.

“Yes, it’s my neighborhood.” He turned to the detective. “Who is this guy?”

Detective Patrick looked at me and then at the others around the room. “Why don’t the three of us go somewhere we can talk privately.”

“You mean the four of us,” I said, looking down at the shepherd.

“He’ll stay at the door, if I tell him to,” said the officer, with a truly great amount of confidence and superiority.

“Of course, at your command,” I added.

“Stop it,” demanded the detective. “You have nothing to say to anyone here but me, do you understand?”

The interior room across the hall was, although it hadn’t seemed possible just moments before, worse than the room we had just been standing in.

Detective Patrick looked at the K-9 officer and instructed the following, “I don’t want you to say a word.” She turned to me. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“You mean what am I implying?” I offered.

“You asked me not to play games and now I’m asking you not to.”

I pointed at the officer. “I think he was in the hotel when Miss Lam went missing…”

“Really, why would I be in the hotel? This is crazy!” interrupted the officer.

“Shut up!” yelled the detective. “I told you not to say a word.”

I continued to speak to the officer, but faced the detective. “I doubt that you’re in on the drug action around here, which is a good thing I suppose, but that means you were hold up with some hooker. You parked Rover at the door and he got a whiff of the semen filled, high on ecstasy Chinese girl and swung into action—not on your command.”

The officer wanted to say something, but Detective Patrick stared him down. “Don’t…He’s not here in any official capacity…I’m sure you walk in and out of the hotel all of the time on police business, so save it for Internal Affairs.” She looked back at me. “What else?”

“Her dating profile, said she was afraid of dogs, so while a normal person would have just been cornered by the K-9, someone high on E and terrified of dogs, that person would have run.”

The detective turned to the officer. “If what my friend here is describing sounds like something I’m going to be able to verify, you should take the day off and contact your union rep.”

The bewildered officer left us without saying a word and I found myself enjoying the uncomfortable silence.

The detective took a deep breath then exhaled before speaking. “I should probably start looking for the prostitute he was with.” She examined my face for a moment and then drew the corners of her mouth back in frustration. “What? Now what?”

I nodded toward the door. “We still need to walk all of the floors.”

Detective Patrick looked deeply into my eyes as I had hers earlier. “Okay, let’s do this, I’ll call in S.W.A.T…”

“I wouldn’t do that,” I said, instinctively reaching out to stop her hand from dialing.

We both looked awkwardly down at our hands, hers in mine. “Are you serious? Let go of me,” she demanded.

“The K-9 officer, who’s career you’re about to ruin, probably has friends on the S.W.A.T. team and I’d hate for us to have an unfortunate incident before you have the time to write a report.” I let go of her hand. “We know what we know, Detective Patrick. But don’t forget, we don’t know what we don’t know.”

I started for the door. “Are you coming or should I head home?”

She walked after me. “You’re a very strange man.”

I looked over my shoulder at her. “You think?”

As Detective Patrick automatically walked toward the elevator, I motioned for her to walk down the hallway in the opposite direction. “Let’s take the stairs, just in case.”

“Just in case of what?” Her question began with a note of arrogant sarcasm, but ended with a twinge of nervous fright.

“Just in case whatever Elisa Lam was so terrified of, happens to still be roaming around…”

“You’re losing me,” she interrupted.

“The elevator rings every time the door opens, I’d rather not be announced on each floor.”

The detective’s voice was filled with frustration. “I get that. But she was running from a K-9, according to you, which is now in the back seat of a squad car.”

The stairwell was as unpleasant as one might imagine and although silence would have been better, the detective could not simply follow along.

“Right, there’s no question in my mind that while Officer Hooker Patron was fornicating, the unattended K-9 gave chase to Miss Lam but there’s a problem…See the gate to the cistern area was locked, that’s why she climbed the fence, but why would she then hide in the cistern, a German Shepherd can’t jump a ten foot fence? She could of just sat on the steps and laughed, until someone came and retrieved the dog, which never happened because Officer Hooker Patron found the dog at the door where he had commanded it to stay, presumably unaware of any chase involving Miss Lam. Also, that very same K-9 was let loose to find Miss Lam, once she was reported missing, so what went wrong? I mean it’s the third smartest breed on the planet, so it could have not signaled because it had a sense of having done something wrong or it never actually searched all five out of service floors—it could have turned back.”

She walked closer and in step with me. “K-9’s never turn back…”

I motioned for her to keep it to a whisper as I opened the door to fourteen. The lack of light was enveloping and the air malodorous in the most unusual way.

“K-9’s don’t turn back because dogs are generally quite fearless. So imagine what it would take to make one give up a pursuit and run back to its master.”

“What’s that smell?” asked the detective.

“Pull your gun, Detective Patrick.”

“Why?” She asked, her hand already moving toward her Glock.

“Well, I can only think of one thing that can jump a ten-foot fence and not be able to open the lid of a cistern?” I answered, the full vision then completed in my mind.

The roar was deafening, as were the shots fired and I really only saw the yellow eyes for a second before the full weight of the five hundred pound tiger seemed to be crashing down upon my person. Of course this was not exactly the case, because the weight of the giant cat alone, would have been my end, however, it was a solid glancing blow that sent me to the wall and then floor and violently so.

THE NEXT MORNING

The sun had yet to rise and I sat at my usual table sipping my coffee, thinking about where my next restaurant might be. I tried to imagine a peaceful place. I looked down at my left arm, the bruise was incredible and I decided that I should put on a long sleeve shirt, so as to avoid questions that I simply could not answer.

“Do you mind if I join you?” asked the detective.

I looked up and then motioned for her to sit as I had the previous morning.

“How’s the arm?” she asked, genuinely concerned.

I held it out and showed it to her. “My whole left side looks pretty much the same shade of purple, but the doctor said nothing is broken or eaten as the case could have been.”

“I don’t really know what to say, other than thank you, but I have to ask, off the record, did you know the whole time and if so how?”

“Unusual conclusions derive from unusual circumstances.” I took a sip of my coffee and then continued, “So yes, I suspected something not of the ordinary, bad variety, had caused Miss Lam to take a dip in that cistern…When I ran my hand through the K-9’s fur, I noticed non-canine hairs of the long orange type, which I had only ever seen once before—on a trip to the Smithsonian Institute, when I gave close examination to what had been the world’s largest tiger. This one had been stuffed, thankfully. Anyway, in the late eighties and early nineties, drug dealers took to buying tiger cubs to raise as pets, besides being cool and scary, the theory being that they could guard your stash. And there have always been plenty of drug dealers working out of the Cecil.”

Detective Patrick stared, but did not say anything.

“So I asked myself, what could jump a ten-foot fence? A tiger. What could terrify a K-9 to break off a pursuit and then give pursuit? A tiger. What could still be lurking on an out of service floor that would be so fearful that a K-9 would not follow a scent? A tiger. And let’s not forget, what has long orange hair that could wind up in the fur of the K-9? A tiger. Finally, I asked myself, could some crazy drug dealer be keeping a full-grown tiger on the abandoned floors of a filthy, crime-infested hotel? While not probable, certainly possible. So, while I wasn’t sure in the beginning, I was sure by the time we headed for the not so unoccupied floors.”

“Why would you do that? You could have been, we could have been killed?”

“But how alive did you feel Detective, at the very moment that you realized that the impossible was actually possible? Ask yourself that…”

She shook her head in disbelief. “You did it for my benefit? For the thrill? You really are out of your mind. I mean you’re bat…”

I interrupted, “Did you find the idiot whose tiger almost ate me, by-the-way?”

She nodded. “After they took you to the hospital we found him in his room on the fourteenth floor.” She paused. “Off the record?”

I nodded my agreement.

“And you wouldn’t have been the first to have been, I don’t even know how to say it, but uh, eaten. Apparently, people had been the animal’s primary food source, there’s a lot evidence, but…but…”

I said what she couldn’t, “But, you guys are going to bury this and Elisa Lam is going to remain, cause of death undetermined.”

Detective Patrick raised from her seat. “Will you call me sometime?” She looked down at my damaged arm. “When you’re physically up to it, I mean.”

I smiled as she turned and walked out of the generic coffee house and then said aloud to myself, “I like you Detective Patrick, I like you.”

To sample or purchase “Stan Lerner’s Criminal” please visit:

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