Post Pattern (Burnside Mystery 1)
possible he
was murdered?"
    "I don't know. I guess if he pissed somebody off
they might."
    "Who might?"
    A look of concern came over him and he clammed up. I
asked a few more questions but all I got was a succinct shake of the head.
Finally, I handed him one of my business cards and told him to call me if he
thought of anything. Or if he wanted to do a term paper on police assumptions
gone wrong. I was living proof their success rate would never be one hundred
    Walking out, I shut the door harder than I meant to and
a loud bang could be heard down the hall. Oh well, I thought. Mom should
probably be up by now anyway.
    My next stop was at Max Brewer's home. In stark contrast
to the dim and musty surroundings of Lenny's apartment, Max lived in his
parents' spacious house in the foothills above Encino. Theirs was a split level
home that was set back from the street. A curved driveway led to a three car
garage facing the side of the house. This was the type of home Ward Cleaver
would move the family to when he got that big promotion at the office.
    The doorbell chimed rather than rang, and Max's mother,
a pleasant faced woman in her early fifties, answered the door. She had an
apron on and invited me inside when I asked to speak to her son. I was led
through an impressive foyer with high beamed ceilings into a bright, sunny
kitchen. The happy suburban family of four was eating a nourishing breakfast
together consisting of bran flakes, strawberries and skim milk. Strong father,
proud mother, athletic son, nubile daughter. There was even a golden retriever
thumping its tail in the corner. Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted it any
    "Good morning," I said. "I'm sorry to
bother you folks so early, but I was wondering if I could talk to Max for a
    Max had very light blond hair that almost matched his
sister's in color, if not in length. He wore an orange golf shirt and dark blue
shorts, and looked like he could easily have been a cover boy for GQ .
His sister could have made the cover of Cosmo too. Max wiped his mouth
with a napkin and placed it delicately on the table. Such good manners.
    "Sure," he said. "Didn't we meet
the other night? At Norman's party?"
    "You work with Norman, don’t you?" he asked,
trying to remember.
    "Actually, I'm a private investigator. Norman had
hired me to look into a situation involving his brother."
    The family took a collective breath together. The
father, a powerful looking man with a large bald spot, asked to see some
identification. After I presented it, he offered me a cup of coffee which I
gladly accepted. Very smooth. Probably Mocha Java.
    "I'm not sure what more I can tell you that I
haven't already told the police," Max said.
    "I'm actually more interested in learning about
Robbie himself. What kind of a guy was he, what type of people he palled around
with. That sort of thing."
    "I don't honestly know much. Robbie was into a much
different lifestyle than I am."
    "Lifestyle?" I asked with raised eyebrows.
    "We've tried," his father interrupted,
"to instill in our children the idea that your friends are a reflection of
yourself. We're pleased they have chosen to associate with more of a wholesome
crowd than the one Robbie associates... I mean, associated with."
    "Just what kind of crowd was Robbie in?"
    "Oh, you know," Max said, "People into
doing a lot of partying."
    "Not to mention lewd women," his sister added,
poking Max playfully in the ribs and giggling. I suddenly remembered a vision
of her brother reaching out and copping a feel of one of the stripper's
    "Don't kid about that, Bridget," Max pointed
out in a tone I thought was a bit too serious. "Robbie used to date some
pretty flashy girls. I heard he actually knew those...dancers that were at the
    "How did he know them?"
    Max shrugged. "I think it was through someone who
worked for the coaches."
    "Who were his friends?"
    "Oh, guys like Scotty and Lenny and Evan."

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