Chapter 2

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Becky Li was the name on her badge, identifying her as a federal agent. Stan had been getting to know her pretty well this evening, although he preferred the Becky Li who served him drinks over the Becky Li who had been interrogating him about a murdered colleague. He was even disappointed to see her Mandarin wrist tattoo fading into the purplish color magic marker becomes after a few hand washes. 

This interview room he’d been in for unknown hours wasn’t anything like the ones he saw on TV cop shows. It wasn’t dark or dramatically lit with shadows casting angles on the walls. As a matter of fact, it was too bright. Too many fluorescent lights overhead, the kind that give you a headache with the constant low grade buzzing and all that washed out white. Maybe this was the updated version of the Chinese water torture: death by white noise. 

“How about some coffee?” Stan asked. 

“This isn’t Starbucks,” Becky Li snapped. “I’m not here to make you a venti cappuccino, I’m here to find out what you know.” 

“I’ve told you everything.” 

“Why were you at the restaurant?” 

“I told you, to have dinner with my girlfriend.” 

“It’s safe to say she’s your ex-girlfriend?” 

Stan nodded. 

“We’ll bring her in, you know. For questioning.” 

Stan rubbed his face. “You don’t really need to do that.” 

“Tonight,” Becky Li continued. “Perch Vardanian and his bodyguard were in two locations: the Swag restaurant and the Steel Bridge. You were also in both locations. I need to know why.” 

“Bad luck,” Stan said. “Can I leave now?” 

Becky stood up in a way that showed off the holstered .357 she seemed fond of flashing. 

“You want me to believe that your girlfriend dumped you, you took a little walk and ended up on the bridge?” 

“Right, exactly what I’ve been telling you.” 

“Then what?” 

“Then the car drives up, two guys get out and shoot another guy.” 

“Another guy? Do you know who that other guy was?” 

“From what I can tell, he was a federal agent.” 

“He’d spent the past two years in deep cover infiltrating the Vardanian crime syndicate.” 

Stan shrugged. 

“Are you aware of the Vardanian crime syndicate?” 

“How am I supposed to know about that kind of stuff?” 

“Don’t you read the papers?” 

“I read the comics.” 

“Vardanian isn’t in the comics.” 

Becky Li stared at Stan in a way that would have been sexy if she wasn’t filled with such contempt for him. Or maybe it was sexy because of it. 

“Could you identify the shooter?” 

“Not if I have to testify or anything like that.” 

“Testifying? You’re just trying to keep your own ass out of jail right now.” 

“But I’m innocent.” 

“Then point out the shooter.” 

Becky reached into a manila folder on the table and pulled out sheets of photograph paper with nine mug shots per page. Stan flipped through the mug shots, looking for the shooter but none of the pictures looked like the gray haired man from the restaurant. 

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