Cicero's Dead

Cicero's Dead by Patrick H. Moore Read Free Book Online

Book: Cicero's Dead by Patrick H. Moore Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick H. Moore
things are
not always what they seem. I still had very little to go on, though the death certificate
could change that dramatically and in the interim, I kept coming back to the
same question: ‘ Why had James Halladay
contacted Jade with the news of Cicero’s death, and why had he waited three days?’ In this era of modern communication,
Jade could surely have been found more quickly, and it shouldn’t have taken
more than 24 hours to locate her. It would not be so suspicious if the cause of
death had really been hit-and-run. But if Cicero had been killed by other
means, it could signal that the killers had been buying time to get their ducks
in order.
    I slapped myself gently. James Halladay was a
giant, and a legend in the legal field. He would never risk his career and
freedom to cover up a murder, so I was barking up the wrong tree.   Still, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
    I called Tony who was in no mood to talk. “Make it
quick. I’m tailing a banger in Sun Valley. A six pound deal is about to go
down.”
    “Good work. I need you to run a check on two LAPD
officers out of Mission Hills. I think they might be dirty.”
    “What if I were to tell you I don’t give a fuck?”
    “I happen to know you do give a fuck.”
    “Damn. The perp just walked out of a liquor store
carrying a monster energy drink. This guy’s gonna be caffeinated from here to
Venice Beach.”
    “Wonderful. Listen, their names are Jim Fishburne
and Stanley Koncak.”
    “You’re an idiot. I know both those guys. They
happen to play in our Saturday afternoon football league. I’ve even ridden dirt
bikes with them a few times. They’re good people.”
    “Lots of guys seem like good people. Doesn’t mean
a thing.”
    “I’m getting pissed, the Perp is heading toward
Pocoima. Fucker’s leading me in circles. I’ve been made.”
    “What do Jim and Stanley look like?”
    “Jim’s a tall black guy who has never gotten over
the fact the Raiders moved back to Oakland. He thinks Tim Brown was the most
underrated receiver of all time. Stanley is stocky, has one of those lame spiky
haircuts white guys have these days. I always tell him to put his hat on.”
    “Do me a favor, ask Jim and Stanley if they were
the officers who informed Jade Lamont that her father had been creamed in that
hit-and-run.”
    “I guarantee you they weren’t for the simple fact
he wasn’t killed in a hit-and-run.”
    “That’s why I want you to verify it for me.”
    “Buddy, you got way too much time on your hands.
Get a real job.”
    “Like yours?”
    “Yo’ momma.”
    I still had an hour before my meeting with Jade,
so I ran a Merlin check on Arnold Clipper. Bingo! Two Arnold Clippers came up
in southern California, both in the Los Angeles area. One was 60 and lived in
Orange County, but the other was 35 and lived in the Hollywood Hills. I copied
down both addresses and phone numbers on separate sheets of paper and attached
them to the whiteboard.
    I left the office, drove downtown and parked under
the library. Five minutes later I met Jade in front of Rubio’s. She was wearing
some kind of dress-for-success business suit with a lavender blouse and some
sexy high heels. She was still stunning, even with no visible butterflies.
    “Let’s talk outside in the library garden. I think
it’s a bit more discreet.”
    She gave just the slightest shrug. The downtown
branch of the Los Angeles Public Library is surrounded on three sides by
idyllic gardens where stately oaks and wrought iron benches afford a resting
place to both the homeless and the literary. We found a secluded area and as we
sat down, I tried to ignore her knees and the three inches of fishnet encased
thigh displayed above them. Problem is, she kept crossing and uncrossing her
legs, which only made it worse.
    I decided against the oblique approach, as I was
increasingly convinced that both she and Richie were in danger. I described my
meetings with Ron Cera, naturally omitting any

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