Adam sighed and mopped his brow as Candy left his office. Candy was a hooker, the eighth he had talked to that morning. Several others were waiting to be interrogated and if they were anything like the first eight, he was in for a great waste of time. He would have done all these the night before but after he found the note, he had gone home – after swearing Faruk to secrecy. He eventually fell asleep after midnight after a heavy intake of alcohol. Of course he had always had his problems but the note had given him extra reason for his alcohol indulgence. He had no plan to tell anybody about it. One thing was sure though, he was going to catch the sick bastard.
“Send in the next one.” He said into the intercom.
He looked up from the screen of his computer as the lady came in. She was beautiful and gorgeous, refined, even looked a little blue-blooded.
“I can see you are impressed, surprised, a little intrigued.” She said with a beatific smile, revealing her sparkling teeth. “Hi.”
“Hello.” He replied, with a shy smile. “Please sit down.”
“There’s no need to be embarrassed, I get that reaction from people all the time, even some of my clients.” She said, crossing her legs. It did not make sense; surely she was not a hooker.
“Alright, thanks for the comforting words, Miss…?”
“Tara, okay. You’ve got to tell me though, how did you become a prostitute? I’ve talked to eight before you and none of them could say a full sentence in correct English. You don’t look like…”
“A hooker? That’s because I’m not one, I’m an escort.”
“I escort people to parties, business functions, lend my sexy presence. Of course, this also involves sleeping with them but that is not bad, is it?” She waited for him to respond, he did not. “I’m like every other girl, we all sleep with men, I sleep with men and make some money while doing it. You understand? Your girlfriend sleeps with you, doesn’t she?”
Adam shifted in his chair, a little uneasy.
“I understand you knew the victim, how well did you know her?”
“Why did you change the subject so suddenly? Your girlfriend doesn’t sleep with you? Wait, should I have asked about your boyfriend?” She asked with mock disgust.
“No Tara, I’m not gay.” She was really getting him uneasy. “Just answer my question, okay?”
“Hmm, you don’t like to talk. Alright, so I knew her. Not very well though. She was new, been around for just a few months. She was really struggling, you know…”
“Struggling? How do mean?”
“She didn’t really have the assets for this business, you know what I mean? She was quiet, kept to herself most of the time. Well, until a couple of weeks ago when she got more cheerful, that’s when we started talking actually.”
She started seeing the yet-to-be-known client a couple of weeks before she was murdered.
“Do you know what caused the change?”
“I don’t know, like I said earlier she didn’t talk much. I did notice some things though. She bought some expensive clothes, even came home – you see, we live in the same building- one day with a new pair of shoes, expensive shoes. I know, because I have them. She didn’t work every day, sometimes she would even turn down clients. My opinion, she came into some money.”
“Okay. Do you know if she met someone, a rich client maybe?”
“It’s quite possible, I never saw anybody pick her up though. I’ve heard a busy couple of weeks myself, you know with the management conference going on at Kwara Hotels.” She said with a wink.
“I see. Got a last question for you.”
“Is it my number? Of course I’ll give you, you’re a fine boy.” She said batting her eyelashes.
“As tempting as that is, I have a different question.” He said with a chuckle. “Is there anybody who you think can do this? Any client who likes to play out murderous fantasies perhaps?”
“Ooh Detective, you know I can’t break client-escort privilege.” She smiled, again batting her eyelashes. “What I can tell you is this; there are several people who like these fantasies you talk about, but most of them you can’t touch. None of them would have gone for Celestina, like I said earlier, she doesn’t really have the assets for this business.”
“Thank you Miss Tara for your time. We might need to talk to you yet, we will be in touch.”
“By we, do you mean you? Remember, you can use the CIB as an excuse to call me, my line is open to you always.” She said as she stood to leave.
Adam bowed his head as she left his office, looking at her walk out would have broken all the resolve he had not to lust.
Tola watched Adam walk out of his office, she knew something was up with him. They had not worked together for long but she knew him too well, well enough to know he was troubled by something he was not going to talk about. She had learnt what to do in such situations – don’t talk about it and he will talk at his own time. She needed him to solve the murder, it might get him interested in the job.
“Why are you looking me like that?” Adam asked, standing in front of her. She had not realised she had been staring at him. “Are you doing one of your psychoanalysis of me?”
“Am I? You tell me. How did it go with the hookers?”
“Why ask me? You left me alone with those girls, what if one of them raped me?” He asked squeezing his face in mock indignation.
“I would be there with my phone to record it all and sell it to your reporter girlfriend.” She answered laughing hard. “What did you learn? Do we have a suspect?”
“Do we have a suspect? Yes, several suspects – we don’t have their names though due to client-escort privilege.”
“Due to what?”
“Do you believe that crap? Hookers have privilege now? Anyway, how did it go at the hotel?”
“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news – the manager of the hotel left us the records, videos from their security cameras, everything we asked for.”
“That’s good, if we can identify the person she visits, we have a solid suspect and I can get finally have some head way in this case.”
“Remember I mentioned a bad news, right? The tapes, the records – they are all empty. Everything!”
“What?!” Adam exclaimed. She had been shocked to find the tapes empty too. “Who could have done that? Who had access to them?”
“Well, according to the receptionist, only the manager has that kind of access. Of course any other person could have sneaked into his office to erase them.”
“What are you telling me Dosumu? We have no suspect?” He was not reacting well to the dashed hope of a quick resolution.
“Well, the manager should still be a suspect, he had access to the tapes and the records.”
“Maybe he was the one seeing the victim, I’ll call Tara, maybe she knows something about this.”
“First excuse you have and you’re calling her already? She’s barely left your office.” Tola said with a laugh.
Adam smiled and went into his office to get his phone. He came out with the phone, dialed the number and put it on speaker.
“Hello Tara, this is Detective Ademola, I need to ask you a question.”
“Detactive, I knew you wouldn’t stay away for long. The answer is still yes, and you don’t have to pay a dime.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind but I have a different question for you. Do you know the manager of Clear Springs Hotel?”
“Of course, I do. Why?”
“Is he one of the guys who love to experiment? Do you think he had anything to do with Celestina?”
“Ooh, this is so cool, is he a suspect? Do you think I might end up as a witness?” She was having way too much fun.
“Would you answer the question please” Tola said, cutting into the conversation.
“That must be your fiesty deputy, alright I’ll answer your question. Did he experiment? I don’t know. I’ve never worked with him. I don’t know if he had anything to do with Celestina that way. But I remember he once came to see her but he didn’t meet her.”
“That’s interesting, maybe he’s our unsub” Adam said, talking to Tola.
“Your friend is still on the phone, remember?” The girl must be enjoying the attention she was getting.
“So what are you going to do Detective? Are you going to turn the screws to him? How about you turn the screws to me instead?” Tara’s husky voice said over the phone.
“That is just disgusting.” Tola said, taking the phone from Adam and disconnecting the call. “Forget the girl’s looks, she is as terrible as the other prostitutes.”
“Tola, are you jealous?” Adam said with a wide grin. “You’re married, okay? You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
“Let’s just go see the sleazebag”
“You know this doesn’t look good for you right?” Ese asked the bewildered manager.
“I said I didn’t erase the video. Why would I do that?” He stood from his chair and started pacing.
She had gotten information that the CIB had gotten access to the tapes and had found nothing on them. The manager sounded genuinely confused when she had called to confirm as he was the only one who had access to the records, especially has they covered two weeks. She had taken advantage of his panic to get an interview with him. He obviously did not know he was being interviewed.
“Why would you do that? So we won’t see you on tape with the victim.”
“Even if you saw me on the tape with her, it doesn’t mean I had anything to do with the murder.”
“Are you saying we would have seen you on that tape with her? You knew her personally?”
“I didn’t know her personally.” He replied, wiping sweat off his brow.
She was not sure what to make of the manager but she was sure he did not commit the murder. Well, except he was smart enough to put up this front. He was guilty of something though even if he was not the murderer. He could know who the murderer was.
“Mr. Nicholas, did you ever meet the girl?”
“Well…you know, I don’t think so.” He stopped pacing and sat on the edge of his table. He was lying.
“Mr. Nicholas, it’s better you tell me the truth now before the police get here. They won’t listen to you patiently like I am.”
“Well, I met her once. It was just for a few minutes.” He got up and started pacing again.
“Mr. Nicholas, did you sleep with her?”
“What? Listen, I did not kill that lady. I did not even know her name until I read it on the papers.”
“You didn’t answer my question, did you sleep with her?”
“Oh my God! I knew I would get in trouble the day that girl came to my room. It was only one time, and she came to my room herself, I didn’t even pay her.” The chair squeaked as he sat heavily on it. He held his head between his hands. “I promise you I did not kill her. Do you believe me?”
She did believe him, but the police would not. He slept with the victim, he was in charge of the now erased evidence of whom she was meeting the night she was killed. He looked really good for the crime.
“The police won’t believe you, and that’s all that matters. Do you know who she was supposed to be meeting before coming to your room?”
“No, we did not do much talking. She was all over me before I knew what was happening.”
“Alright then. One last question, where were you the night of the murder?”
“I was at Kwara Hotel, for the management conference going on there. The director wanted me to hustle for customers.”
“You have anybody who can prove that?”
“Yeah, I went with the secretary. Some of the men I met that night are still here.”
“Where can I find these…”
A lady bust into th office, cutting her off.
“Mr. Nicholas, the police are here.”
“They are? What am i supposed to tell them?” He looked at Ese, eyes pleading.
“Just tell them you have an alibi for the night.” She said picking her bag as she stood to leave. “If you are innocent, you have nothing to fear.”
She left him in his office still looking dejected. He looked like a boy who had been caught in his first attempt at stealing. He was not the murderer but she had not ruled out the possibility that he knew who the killer was, maybe without even knowing he did.
“What are you doing here?” A voice called from behind her as she entered the lobby, it was Adam.
“Hello Detective. Hello Ma’am” She said, greeting him and his no nonsense assistant.
“Ese, what are you doing here?”
“I told you i would investigate this case on my own. You can go in and do your own thing, i won’t get in your way.”
“I’m sure you won’t.” Adam replied and turned away.
“Hey Detective, he didn’t do it. No easy end to this for you, i’m sorry.”
“Who? I don’t know what you’re talking about. We would like to do our own investiagtion too. Thank you.”
Ese smiled and left the building.
He woke up with a start. His bedsheet was wet again, he had been sweating. He removed his soaked underwear and threw it on the floor. He had woken up sweating for the third consecutive night. He did not have any nightmares but he would wake up with a start covered in sweat.
He rose up from the bed and walked out of his room. All the lights were off, the darkness suited him. He dragged his feet as he walked to the refrigerator. He knew why he could not sleep. Diana. She had taken over his mind. He could barely wait to get back into his house, back to her anytime he went out. She loved his sacrifice, but it was not perfect.
He opened the refrigerator and brought out a bottle of water. He opened the cap and poured the water on his head. It felt good.
He knew what he had to do. Diana deserved another sacrifice, a pure sacrifice and she would get it. Soon.