Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
The sailor looked between the two detectives and with a huff explained, “No matter what you two might be thinking about some elicit affair, there were plenty of other reasons that people wanted Danny dead. Chief among them was his role as a government contractor and his family’s business dealings with the military.”
Lord Reginald Smith’s interest in the case was becoming clearer by the moment. It was nice to know British Military Intelligence was still everywhere and watching all of the time. In that slightly creepy way that made Winslow wonder if Reggie had placed any microphones in his shower - it wouldn’t have been the first time for that man.
“Alright Lieutenant,” Winslow started while fishing the handcuff key out of pocket. “I’m going to take the cuffs off, then we’ll go inside and take your statement. And then I’ll fulfill my part of the bargain.”
He stepped out of the car before Billy could roll his eyes and lightly banged against the rear passenger door to help the lock work. When the detectives had previously asked the motor pool mechanics to fix it, the response had been a series of explicit phrases, none of which were relevant to the case. So rather than ask their captain to do anything, as it was with nearly everything in the precinct, Winslow and Billy found ways to get around their hurdles.
Once the elder detective took the cuffs off of James, the sailor turned about and tried to kiss Winslow on the lips. He moved away too quickly and the warm lips simply touched against his cheek. Winslow gently ran his fingers down James’ face as his back room friend softly commented, “I’m looking forward to the end of our bargain, Winslow. And I want to see what kind of magical place that you must live in.”
Their lips were coming close to touching again when another one of the doors on the car slammed shut.
“Hey! Love birds!” Norton shouted. “If you two plan on taking this further, can you maybe do it once you’re somewhere private? Preferably somewhere that is not a police precinct where we could all get murdered as a hate crime at any given second.”
James pulled away from Winslow, flashing a glare to Billy as the three of them walked in a triangle formation to the back door of the police station. There were plenty of off the wall, dirty comments that Winslow could have made in this period of time but he kept his lips sealed. There would be plenty of time for awkward innuendo once Winslow had to drive the sailor back to his apartment across town.
It Winslow a minute more before he could detach himself from the very tempting situation standing in front of him. He stuttered as he answered Billy, saying, “Of course, Detective Norton. You’re absolutely right about my conduct at this time.”
He looped his arm under the sailor’s and led him inside while Billy held the door open. As they walked in, Winslow felt the eyes upon him from the squad room. This momentary bit of contact with the squeak of all the chairs rolling back up to their desks.
It was a uniform action that usually only happened when big busts happened, so Winslow felt very self conscious about his situation. He began worrying that a hair was out of place or that perhaps there was a stain on one of his pant legs.
“Earth to Winslow!” Norton called as he snapped his fingers in front of Winslow’s face. “Are you interested in interviewing this witness or shall I take the statement by myself?”
Winslow came back to the present, sitting James down on the chair beside his desk and sinking into his own swivel chair. He opened up his bottom desk drawer and looked at the shreds of paper. The detective briefly remembered the rats that he had placed in the trunk of their car, wondering what the little rascals had been up to during the entire day.
“Uh…oh of course. Let me just get this new sheet of paper into the typewriter and we’re good to go.”
He pulled out a stack of paper, clearing a bit of space on his desk and pushing the drawer closed with his foot. The rats would be dealt with on his way home, they would most likely end up in some mobster’s car from his petty mood. When he finished his set up twirling the paper around in the machine, Winslow motioned to Norton to begin the interview process.
Billy offered a fresh cup of coffee to the sailor, who graciously took it from him. The elder detective smirked with the thought of how the sailor would soon be regretting it.
Winslow waited at his machine for the questions and answers to come his way.
“Alright, James, what is your name? What is your address, what is your employer’s name and what is your employer’s address?”
James laughed as he picked up his cup of coffee, quickly grimacing at the taste and then continuing to drink the sludge.
“My name is James Conner Morton and I live on North Lane at house 5300. I’m assuming that if you found me at the Cabaret, then you’ve already had words with at least two of my roommates.”
Billy took their shared sugar bowl out of the file cabinet in his desk, adding a scoop of sugar to the cup, and continuing with his interview. His voice wavered as he stated, “Just the facts, sir. I’m sure that you have more commentary to add on the situation, but we’re trying to keep your on record interview as to the point as possible.”
Winslow noticed the look from his partner that distinctly said “you owe me” and “please never flirt in front of me again”. He could agree with the first point but he couldn’t guarantee the second.
The sailor took a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his breast pocket, lighting one up while slicking back his hair. While exhaling the first cloud of smoke he asked, “Am I allowed to continue with my answers or do you have more restrictions on what my answers are allowed to be?”
Both detectives gave a vague gesture to continue and so James did.
“My employer’s name is the United States Navy and you can find them locally at Pensacola NAS,” the sailor paused with a laugh. “Or would you like me to give you the address of the home office in Washington DC? And shall I look through my contacts to find you the appropriate phone numbers?”
Billy sighed as his pencil scratched against his notebook. Winslow spoke before his partner could get snarky and answered, “I think that we can move onto the main part of your statement, Lieutenant. Where were you on the evening of crime and what did you see upon arriving at the scene of the crime?”
The sailor reached over to Winslow, intertwining their fingers, asking, “Do we really need to go through this again, Winslow? I already told you all of this in the back room and I’d rather like to get to the end of this bargain.”
Winslow held the position as typist while Billy conducted the interview he had already had in the back room. The sailor was telling them nothing new, but Winslow had doubted that any more details would be given. James believed that Queenie was innocent and clearly thought that it was some amount of government involvement. However in Winslow’s experience their own domestic government would have been more secretive. And if it had been a foreign government, they most likely would have made more of a protest.
So the detective hummed to himself as he listened to the conversation happening between his two partners - just of different types. Winslow’s money was still on the wife for being the murderer but he didn’t have anything to support that theory.
The droning finally stopped as James coughed and the cigarette smoke blew into Winslow’s face. Billy looked up from his notebook as Winslow reached the end of his second piece of paper.
“I think we’re just about done here, Lieutenant. We just need you to sign your statement. But while we have you here, could you tell us more about the government involvement?”
James stood up suddenly at this question. He straightened his coat and looked down at the seated detectives.
“The only reasons I know of to kill Mr. Johnson are his government ties, the enemies he made overseas, and the issues in his domestic household. For the true specifics of that, perhaps you should be true investigators and go investigate that household.” The sailor paused and turned to Winslow to sign the papers he was holding out. James stuck the cigarette back between his lips, quickly signing the forms while saying, “Winslow, when you’re done with your reports for the night I’ll be waiting just outside the door smoking.”