Night Watchman (The Tubby Dubonnet Series Book 8)
“You might want to review this brochure first, and then I’ll be happy to explain the process further.”
    She plucked a blue and silver pamphlet from a stack and handed it to her customer with a tight smile. It took Tubby only a few seconds to figure out that he had to put in a “public records request,” that it would take some unspecified period of time before the Custodian of Records determined which of the records he sought were public and which were protected by a Constitutional right of individual privacy, or were “police work product,” and most importantly, what the appropriate fee was. Helpfully, there was a comprehensive and not inexpensive schedule of fees for procuring copies of everything.
    “I guess you don’t give out much for free,” he said.
    “I’m sorry? What did you say?”
    Tubby pocketed the brochure. “I meant to say, is Officer Rick Sandoval here?”
    “Yes, he is,” she said, with misgivings she wanted him to know about. “Your name, sir?”
    He told her and stared absently at the walls of file cabinets while she made a call.
    A few minutes passed before a brown-haired policeman with straight shoulders, the chest of a weight lifter, and a crisp blue uniform, came out of the stacks. He took his sweet time walking up to the desk.
    “How can I help you?” he asked, as if he didn’t think he could. He was erect and good-looking, but not young.
    “I got your name from Ireanous…”
    Sandoval coughed loudly. “Come on, over here.” He moved further down the counter out of the receptionist’s earshot. “Let’s not block Missus Mogilles’ desk.”
    They shifted fifteen feet away. Sandoval leaned in with his elbows on the dented counter-top.
    “Let’s try that again,” he said.
    Tubby also bent over, a co-conspirator. Their foreheads almost touched.
    “Ireanous Babineaux. I asked him how I could locate some old police records, and he gave me your name.”
    “What’s he to you?”
    “I’m a lawyer. He might or might not end up being a client of mine. But this has nothing to do with his situation. This inquiry is personal.”
    “By situation, you mean him busting up that crud Alonzo’s pretty smile?” Sandoval’s voice came out of lips that were barely parted and a whiskery square jaw that didn’t move.
    Tubby shrugged.
    “How old is the case? I mean, if it’s historical a lot of those records are online at the Public Library.”
    “Nineteen seventies.”
    “That ain’t old. That’s when I was a kid.”
    Tubby gave him a smile. “I’m about the same age as you, and it’s still a long time ago to me. I saw a kid get shot. I tried to save him, but I couldn’t. I’ve always wanted to know what really happened.”
    “What was it? Some kind of a robbery?”
    “An anti-war protest.”
    Sandoval grunted. “I did my part in Grenada on Operation Urgent Fury.”
    “I was in the Army. Military Police,” Tubby said.
    Sandoval thought it over. “Tell you what. Give me what you’ve got on the incident, and I’ll see what I can find. Give me a number where I can reach you.”
    “Thanks. I don’t want to cause you any trouble.”
    That got a laugh.
    “They already got me working in in a file room where nobody gets any files. I get to take the bus to work. I’ll be passed over for promotion this year. What more can they do to me?”
    * * *
    After leaving Sandoval, Tubby hung out in the reception area of the police building where it was air-conditioned. He checked his phone. Nothing from Jane Smith, the quality of life officer, so he called her one more time. This time she answered. Her voice was clipped and official. He explained that he represented Janie Caragliano, the owner of the Monkey Business Club.
    “You’re an attorney?”
    He admitted that he was.
    “We don’t usually talk to attorneys.”
    “Well, I’m really just a concerned citizen, and Janie is an old friend of mine. I’m only trying to find out what the problem is. We want to get it

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