Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
Leo sat completely still in the chair across from Jud, as he continued to study the expressions of the young mobster. Maybe he did know something about the Andersons and their mysterious gem smuggling ring. Or maybe he didn’t and was just trying to find a way out of his situation that wasn’t going out in a pine box. No matter the reasoning for the presentation behaviors, Jud was put off by the dishonesty he felt from this child.
“I uh recognize her as a big leader but I don’t think that someone like her would exactly be the…” He trailed off for a moment, stared up at the ceiling and drew in a shallow breath before continuing. “She’s too much of a hostile type to be the mastermind because some of their clients are not from around here. I’m sure that when she came to your office building under the guise of the cat thing, you got a small dose of her personality.”
Leo looked back down into his lap and fumbled with his hands. The silence continued to hang over the room, but Jud could read the temptation on the others’ faces. They wanted to speak and question the details of the case, or press Leo for more information, or possibly even relate something about what “they know”. Any element of this temptation did not outwardly show, and it was left to Jud to keep things rolling, as it always was.
The file laid open on his desk, filled with assorted surveillance shots obtained by a police messenger at the back door. Jud started hanging the pictures up on the board with pushpins and soon realized one wall would not be enough space for all the dots they needed to connect. He looked out the sitting room and kitchen area, before turning back with another question to Leo and Glenn.
“Do you think that you two can move those sofas and desks into the storage room?”
Glenn had been silent since the comment about Harry’s innocence but a prompt to move furniture was enough to draw him out of his drink.
“Are we allowed to ask why?”
“Because we’re going to need a bigger display board.”
Jud saw the fear come across Leo’s eyes, again, and there was more to question about him. Glenn slid off his jacket and threw it over one of the hunting trophies on the wall, looked up the ceiling towards the roof and silently screamed.
Cati’s existence was made known.
“Any trouble, Glenn?”
“No, I just – I heard a thought that I really didn’t need to know about.”
“Some of the actions happening upstairs?”
Cati slid out of the way onto another lounge chair in the corner of the room, keeping a steady hold on Jud’s arm the entire time. He tried to move to help the others, but the pressure remained firm, and his arm remained down.
“Maybe I should go help them.”
“There is no need for us to help them.”
“Cati, you’re blind. And I wouldn’t have even trusted you in the old days to move a sofa.”
They shifted slightly in their chair, before turning the blank face back to Jud. He didn’t like to look at Cati. Not because she – they – weren’t beautiful anymore, just out of the guilt of thinking about what the tell signs meant.
“Why not before?”
“Like you could lift a sofa.”
“That’s awful judgmental of you to assume that I cannot.”
He thought about answering but there was no nice way to get out this conversation. Someone like them would drag him down to the bottom of Hell and never let him go, and that would just be for the lightest use of sarcasm. Any statement that Jud made would likely not be worth it but there were so many things to be considering here.
“Well, maybe you should go out there and prove it to me. Because the longer you sit in here on your fragile ass and gripping onto that cane, the more I’m going to assume that you cannot.”
Well, that was a mistake.
A voice jumped into his head for a moment, only whispering, “Lies.”
He started to accuse Cati of entering into his head again but then a shout and screech came from the main room. Cati shot up quickly towards the door, leaving the grip on his arm but failing to leave a grip on their cane. They stumbled for a moment into the desk.
“Are you okay?”
“Perfectly alright, Shudea. There is no need to worry about me, dearie.”
Jud shivered again at the name. They hadn’t of even recognized the mistake this time, but it shouldn’t have bothered him as much as it did. It wasn’t the same way that it was for other people. The name “Jud” was just a humanized, shorter version of his given name.
That was all.
They walked together into the main room, where Glenn was still sweeping out one corner. Every so often a wave of dust would run over the room while another cobweb was banished from its home. Jud glanced down at the spider sitting calmly on his shoulder, and went over to the window to sweep it off.
“Leo, get the masking tape from the kitchen drawer. Let’s start making this diagram.”
Leo started taping out sections on the floor while Jud sorted the folder of pictures into stacks. Some of the faces were recognizable as known family members. Other clear shots held no recollection of faces for any of the party members. And then some pictures were of such poor quality, they had Jud questioning the need for the film to be developed fully.
“At the center put the Andersons.”
“That’s actually not their name, just by the way.”
Jud thought it was Cati speaking but he turned to the stair case to see who was presenting the new piece of information.
“Harry! How nice of you to finally join us, once the hard work was done of course.”
She jumped down past the bottom three steps and glided across the slick floor.
“Who said the work I was doing wasn’t hard?”
Glenn stepped out of his corner again with a look of disgust.
“I really didn’t need to hear that comment.”
Harry waved him away and brought a chair back to the center of the floor.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that, Jud. It’s for your bad knees, not mine. And besides you might want to sit down when you hear their names.”
Jud eyed the lounge chair and was certainly tempted, but it would be a struggle to get back out of it.
“I think I’ll just stand for now.”
“So, guess who it is?”
“I’d really rather not.”
He watched as she pulled a folder out from under the chair and handed it to him while saying, “It’s the Lucreskis.”
“But they’re dead. For war crimes?”
“I know. That’s what makes it so much fun.”