Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Rubato, Chapter 20


 Chapter 20

“My mind and fingers have worked like the damned. Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber are all around me. I story them. I devour them with fury.”
Franz Liszt 

She would trust Linda. Linda would allow her time to navigate the confrontation with the others. All of them needed to leave her home and go back to Prague. She would surround herself with music and weather the storm on her own.

    Reggie observed Adrián through the two way mirror. He was slumped back in the plastic chair, hands loosely in his lap. His eyes were closed. Here was a man who clearly knew he had nothing more to lose. He wasn’t leaving here today. That was actually a problem. Adrián would not fight to have his name cleared so he might not be inclined to rat on his colleagues. Suddenly Adrián’s eyes opened and looked right at Reggie. A smirk drifted across his face and he slowly nodded his head. Reggie’s hands contracted and closed tightly as he stared back at the window not wanting to break eye contact. Where was Stevie? He walked out of the room and started upstairs. He pulled out his phone and checked to see if she had left a message. 

   As Stevie left Jay with the surveillance picture in hand, she took the stairs two at a time to get back to her desk. Hopefully Reggie wasn’t frustrated and she hoped he hadn’t started the interrogations without her. The three, Yolanda, Adrián, and Dominik would be isolated from each other. It was obvious that Dominik was the linch pin in their trio. But which one of them had committed the murder?
   “Stevie!” Reggie called to her down the hall. “Where have you been and what have you got?”
    “It’s really important, Reggie. Look!” she said.
   She laid the picture of Dominik driving off the boat, on his desk. A feeling of satisfaction settled on her face. There was the date and time in the corner of the video, clearly showing that he came from Seattle early Wednesday morning. She raised her hand to ‘high five’ Reggie and he immediately met her gesture. He was pleased and that made her happy. She wasn’t sure why it made her so happy. Pleasing her work colleagues wasn’t really high on her priority list. 
      She told him why she stayed behind and how Patchett had taken her along the waterfront from his house to a place where Dominik possibly parked his car during the night. Goosebumps rose on her arms as she told Reggie about how he walked the beach in the darkness to break into his own home and murder his wife. Ideally, they needed a confession. How should they interrogate each suspect to ensure the truth surfaced? Reggie was quiet. He didn’t immediately tell Stevie what he was thinking. That was just his way. Eventually he would be ready to lay out the plan. Stevie knew that they would work the suspects against each other but she didn’t know who they should talk to first. Finally Reggie spoke. “Good work, Dangerfield. There goes Dominik’s alibi.” 

   Stevie and Reggie decided to meet with Yolanda Valenta first. They had questions about her narrative which changed every time she was questioned. Her story had as many holes as Swiss cheese. How much did she know before she arrived in the United States and who exactly was calling the shots? 
    Yolanda was sitting elbows on the table with her head propped in her hands, looking down. The room was empty except for the table and chairs. She looked up when they entered the room and Stevie saw her eyes narrow. She crossed her arms tightly around her body. Stevie remembered the first time they met. Yolanda was desperate to get into Judith Whitesides’s house. She most likely was not really desperate to get her cleaning tools that day. 
   “Ms. Valenta,” Stevie began. “Why is Interpol looking for you?”
    “What are you talking about?” Her voice was low and snarly. 
    “Were you involved in criminal activity in Hungary?”
    “I don’t have to answer your questions.” She turned away from them. 
    “It would go better for you if you did. We have evidence that connects you to Dominik Horak and you could be arrested for conspiracy to commit murder.” 
    “I did not kill Judith. I was her housekeeper.” Her eyes defiantly met Stevie’s gaze.
     Reggie interjected. “Yes, you were her housekeeper, which gave you access to Judith’s home and you were hired by Dominik Horak to steal the autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt that Judith kept hidden.”
   “You don’t have any proof of that!” Yolanda spat the words out at Reggie.
   “Don’t you want to tell your side of the story before Adrián and Dominik point the finger of guilt at you?” Both Reggie and Stevie watched her intently. Stevie hoped that the prospect of being out in front of the narrative against her cohorts would encourage her to speak openly.
   Yolanda remained silent.
   Stevie changed the subject and asked her about Hungary. “Where did you meet Dominik Horak?”
   More silence. Reggie tried another tact. “Look Yolanda, we have probable cause to keep you. Even if you were not involved in this murder you will still be sent back to Hungary to face the charges against you there. Do yourself a favor and help us arrest Judith’s killer. It could be to your advantage later if you cooperate.”
   Her arms came together and she clasped her hands in front of her forehead. She started to talk. “Adrián and I were involved in a theft from a pharmaceutical company in Hungary. We left Budapest and ended up in Prague with a friend. He told us about a business man who could help us sell our stolen goods. 
    “What kind of drugs did you have to sell?” Reggie asked.
    “Mostly opiods. The man had a network of black market connections and was very helpful in finding us buyers for the drugs. After getting paid he offered us a small job in his business. That was Dominik. He bought and sold whatever the market had to offer. At times he was very successful.”
   “Why did he send you to the United States?” Reggie said.
   “Recently things were difficult financially and he needed to get some big money quickly. At first he said he was just picking up something of great value from his wife. It was to be a quick three week visit. He arranged with his wife to have us come and he told her he was paying us for our occasional work around their house. She assumed that we were working other jobs for him.”
   “What other jobs did Dominik hire you to do?” Reggie asked.
    Stevie interjected quickly. “Did he hire you to steal the Liszt autograph manuscript?” She wanted to know if Yolanda clearly understood what she was looking for.
    Yolanda looked at Stevie and recoiled from the word ‘autograph manuscript’.
    “He told us that if his wife didn't give him the music we would be taking it. We didn’t really know what it would look like but he gave us a picture and told us to search for something similar. Adrián was to keep an eye on Judith’s activities and I was to search her house. But, Judith never let me clean in her music room. She did the cleaning there herself. I was only allowed into her house when she was home.”
   “So she mistrusted your intentions?” Stevie wondered if Judith suspected that Dominik hired them to spy on her.
   “Judith was cold to me. No matter what I tried to do or say, she stayed cold and aloof.”
   “Did you break into the house when she wasn’t there?” Reggie asked.
   “She was not gone from home for any length of time on the days I worked. Most of the week we stayed in Seattle in Dominik’s apartment. The stupid ferry made it inconvenient to do quick trips here.”
    Reggie asked the next question very slowly. “Did you intend to break into the house Thursday morning  when you came running down the driveway to talk to us?”
    Yolanda squirmed in her chair. She nervously smoothed her hair away from her face.“I thought the house would be empty and I could search through the music room.”
   “Did you come again Friday morning?” Reggie turned his chair towards Yolanda and crossed his leg over the other knee. It looked to Stevie like he was purposefully showing a calm demeanor. She was surprised that he wasn’t right up in Yolanda’s face.
   “Look, Dominik was desperate to find the music manuscript. He told us to mess up his house so that it would look like a break-in. He wanted to stay out of sight. We searched again in every possible place but found nothing.”
    Stevie asked innocently. “Really? You found nothing?”
    “You know we didn’t! And you can’t charge me with breaking and entering since we had permission.”
    “Did Adrián kill Judith?” Reggie straightened out his body and folded his arms on the table in front of him. Stevie detected some irritation. 
     Yolanda said nothing. 
     Reggie tried another question. “Where were you Tuesday night?”
     “I told you. I did not kill Judith. When Judith sent me away with cash Tuesday I took it and came back to Seattle. I wanted to go shopping.”
    “So Tuesday night you were back in the apartment in Seattle?” Reggie asked.
     “Did Adrián and Dominik stay there all night with you?”
     “They went to a bar in the evening and I went to bed.”
      Reggie stood up and paced in front of the table. “You went to bed while they went out drinking? Did they come home during the night?”
      “I don’t know. They were not there the next morning.” Yolanda seemed to get tired at this point. She dropped her hands in her lap, her shoulders sagging.
      “When did you see Dominik next?” Reggie asked. He was standing right in front of the table and across from Yolanda.
      “I went out Wednesday morning and when I came back in the early afternoon he was there and we discussed going back the next day to get the music. He told me where to search and described the music more carefully.” Yolanda looked up into Reggie’s face. “He said that time was running out and if I wanted to see my part of the money I needed to be successful. I really needed that money he promised us. Do you understand that?”
      “How did you get around from Seattle to the island?” Reggie asked.
      “Dominik rented a car for us when we first arrived in Washington. It was paid for when we picked it up.”
      “Did you see Adrián at the apartment Wednesday?”
      “Yes, he had our car. Earlier I went to the city by bus.”
       Stevie felt it was time to push the interrogation towards a more pointed conclusion and she took a turn questioning Yolanda. “Did Dominik kill Judith?”
      “Why would he? He didn’t have the music manuscript and that is why we came.”
       “Why, indeed?” Stevie looked at Reggie. She was not going to give them a clear indication of who actually murdered Judith. She stood up to step outside.
       “Can we get you anything?” Stevie asked
       “You can get me out of here! I told you all I know.” Yolanda put her head down on her folded arms. Her eyes closed.
       “Excuse us for a few minutes.” Reggie followed her outside into the hall.

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