Kevin could tell this morning was not the time to tease her for her excessive drinking so he got right to the point. "We need your help on a case. A young model, Carmen Donovan killed her husband two days ago. We know she did it. She had a motive and the opportunity. It's perfect, except we don't have any proof. However she killed him, she did a good clean job. Well... evidence-wise."
"What do you mean 'however she killed him'? Don't you have the body?" Monica asked.
"Yes, we have the body, but the thing is disgusting. No autopsy yet, but a wound to the head where he was bludgeoned was found and a potential stab wound in the stomach, not to mention that he was pushed off the twelfth story of The Mark Hopkins. Now we're assuming one or more of these things are what killed him. Although the corpse is a rather messy ordeal, the murder was clean—no evidence, no weapons, no fingerprints, no videos, nothing."
"Does Carmen have an alibi?" asked Monica.
"She was out shopping with her friends at the time the body fell from the building," Kevin responded. "We've interrogated all her friends. The alibi seems airtight. They all have the same story but it's not too exact like a rehearsed story. I just can't figure it out."
"Well, you always did have a problem with difficult cases. I guess that's why I've always been a better detective than you," Monica pointed out spitefully. Unfortunately for Kevin, it was true. He was a decent detective, but Monica was brilliant. He chose to ignore the comment.
"So, are you in or out?" he asked her.
"I don't know," she hesitated. She hated working with the police; they were arrogant and incompetent, a terrible combination. However, her conscience and current boredom got the better of her. "Fine, I'll help you," she sighed, "but I won't like it."
Kevin chuckled. "You don't have to. I'll see you at headquarters in thirty minutes."
"So now the idiots need my help," Monica concluded in telling an overview of her knowledge of the case so far to Charles. "Wait! Stop here."
"But, madam, we are not at the there yet," Charles objected, but he slowed the car down. They were next to the Mark. The police had cleaned up the body remnants nicely; there was no trace of Harold Donovan's fall. Charles pulled over and helped Monica out of the car. She glanced around, apparently looking for something, and then started wheeling her wheelchair over to an alley. Charles followed her.
"Good to see you, Al," she said. Charles rounded the corner to find her talking to a homeless man. He was dressed in a strange assortment of dirty discarded clothing. There were dark circles under his eyes, his unhealthy, yellowish skin was broken by numerous sores, and his smile revealed a disgusting row of rotting teeth. A drug addict, no doubt, thought Charles.
"Monica! What are you doing here?" asked the man.
"I'm on a case, the one about the man who fell from the Mark a couple
days ago. What do you know about it?"
"Who, me?" he asked, feigning innocence.
"Don't sass me," she snapped. "I know you know something. You monitor that hotel as if you owned it."
"Fine, I might have something for ya," he confessed. Then he glared at her. "But why should I tell you anything?"
"Oh, that's not nice. I've always provided generous compensation for information. You'll be able to afford a week's worth of hits with the money I give you," she bargained. "How about two hundred bucks for all the information you can give me." Al looked pleased at that. He reached under his blanket and pulled out a stack of scrap paper with writing on it.
"Here are my notes on people going in and out of the hotel. It's yours," he handed Monica the papers. "Look at three days ago," he winked at her.
"Ah, perfect. Thanks Al," She handed him two Ben Franklins and wheeled around. Charles stared at her in amazement as he followed her back to the car.
"He used to be a doorman for the Mark, until his drug problem caught up with him," Monica explained to Charles. "Now he sits there on the corner, stoned, and watches the activity around the hotel. He knows everything and everybody. Very useful."
"I see, madam," Charles said crisply.
"It's 'miss', Charlie," Monica impatiently reminded him. She studied the papers
from the homeless man, Al; the list of people that had entered and exited the hotel was in
chronological order and there were detailed descriptions of every person.
They arrived at the police headquarters and greeted Kevin. He took them to his office where the beautiful Carmen was standing there, looking like the ultimate of cool all decked out in Gucci, pouting and glaring, obviously disgruntled at being held there. Kevin handed Monica the police report of the crime.
"This is for you. All the information on the case is in that file. Call me if you have any breakthroughs," he told her.
"Look, obviously, the reason you can't solve the case is because you overlooked something, probably many things. You called me. You want my help, you have to do things my way. Now, I refuse to get my information from a written description. We are going to make a trip to the hotel room. I may be crippled, but I'm not bedridden, damn it!" she said angrily. "Let's go."
Kevin shot her an exasperated look and beckoned Carmen to follow him out the door. A little while later the four of them entered the expensive hotel lobby filled with modern art and crossed to the elevators. They went up to the twelfth floor and walked to suite 1214. The suite was in a classy beige and blue color scheme with lush carpeting, and plush furniture. The fridge and bar were fully stocked, and, of course, there was a great view of San Francisco from the infamous window that Mr. Donovan fell, or was pushed, from.
Monica wheeled herself over to the window and inspected it. It had been closed for security reasons, but judging by its prime condition, she assumed it had been open when Donovan had met his end. It was a luxurious window, stretching from about a foot off the floor to the same distance from the ceiling and, for safety, the bottom foot of the window was unopenable. Just outside the window, there was a decorative mock balcony that stuck out half a foot and to go with it, a decorative railing of wrought iron, with
grisly spires guarding the window ominously. She carefully inspected this little deck and the bottom of the one above it as well.
"Where's the screen?" she asked Kevin.
"It's on the bed," he answered. She immediately led the group to the bedroom. This room, like the other, was well furnished but had that cold hotel feeling. The screen was lying completely intact on the bed.
"So the killer bothered to take off the screen before she or he push Donovan out the window, huh?" Monica commented ironically. Without waiting for a response, she wheeled herself into the adjacent bathroom. This was where the luxury of the hotel really made itself evident. There was a whirlpool tub next to the shower, a huge vanity, and a telephone next to the toilet, which Monica smirked at. She meandered around the bathroom, looked in all the cabinets, in the shower, the hot tub and the toilet.
"There's something in the toilet," she called. Kevin came over.
"Where?" he asked.
"Right there," she pointed inside the toilet bowl where a smidgeon of something white was just barely visible. Kevin reached in and pulled out a medicine bottle. He stared at Monica incredulously. How had she seen that? They had had a whole swarm of police detectives in the room the day before and none of them had caught that. She grinned at him, looking smug.
"May I see the bottle," she held out her hand. He handed it to her. "Unisom, sleeping pills. Hmm." She turned around to face Carmen, who had quietly been talking to Charles, batting her eyelashes in Kevin's direction occasionally.
"Mrs. Donovan did you or your husband have troubles sleeping often?" she inquired, waving the empty bottle at Carmen. The model frowned.
"Yes, Harry had troubles occasionally, but those aren't his pills. I hold his pills for
him in my purse." She dug around in her large Gucci purse and withdrew a similar white
medicine bottle. "I don't know what those are," she insisted.
Kevin slipped the bottle into an evidence bag and put it in his coat pocket. Monica gave the entire suite one more visual sweep and decided that she was ready to leave. The group went back to headquarters and Monica thanked Kevin for allowing her to inspect the crime scene for herself. Then she and Charles left Kevin to deal with Carmen and the other menial concerns that being a policeman entails.