Chapter Sixty-two

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The Public Safety Building hadn't changed a bit from the last time I'd been there, Monday. Neither had the interview rooms. Greenberg met me at the elevators and walked me into the nearest room. Karlson sat at the table. Greenberg pulled out the chair across the table for me, then left.

I looked at Karlson. "So?"

The lieutenant was going for a loden on khaki look today, combining his tasteful loden plaid jacket with a tan shirt, pants, and tie. His blond hair was slicked back with some kind of sticky gel that left spikes where his bangs should have been.

"So how come you didn't tell me you were playing hide the baloney with the boss?" he asked.

I'd been dragged downtown for this bullshit? "Hmmm," I said. "Must be because he offered and I declined. Who the hell is lying to you, Lieutenant?"

Karlson jumped up and walked across the room. He wasn't pacing yet, but he seemed agitated. Apparently, he liked talking to my back.

"That's what I'm trying to find out, Ms. Goddard."

He stayed across the room. Oh great, we were back to the forceful and formal stage of our relationship. Two could play at this.

"Okay," I said, "since I'm supposed to be sleeping with Barney, why do I call you with information that incriminates him?"

No answer. Karl had to think about that one.

Eventually, he said, "There's jealousy."

"Right. I pick up with a guy known as the one-night-stand-man, and I become jealous when true to form he dips the wick elsewhere. What the hell do you take me for, Lieutenant?"

"It's a crime of passion," he said. He still stood behind me.

"Oh, shit, we're back to Deborah's murder again?"

I got up. I was tired of talking to the empty chair across the table from me, but pivoting to talk to Karlson face to face would only tempt me to pop him one. I stood still and squeezed the back of my chair as hard as I could. Anger wasn't likely to get me out of this room. I needed to use reason.

"Okay," I said, "you won't take my word for it. What does Barney say?"

I heard Karlson take a step to the side, then stop.

"He says there was no relationship beyond the job. But there's evidence that he kissed you."

I faced Karlson. "What, you swabbed his mouth for spit? Jesus, Karl, he offered me a great job; I accepted. He gave me a quick kiss. I liked it. Last time I checked, that was the American dream."

I took a step in Karlson's direction. His face was impassive.

"He's never been to my apartment or in my car or even in my office at work," I said. "And you will not find one credible witness to say that he has."

Karlson didn't say a word. I took another step toward him.

"Goddammit, Karl," I said, "get me a lie detector. When I pass the test, I'm planning to kick your ass."

Once I threatened bodily harm, Karlson grinned. "You and what army?" he said.

I stopped. "You believe me?"

Karlson nodded. "Pretty much from the beginning," he said. "But I had to make certain."

I took one more step that put my mouth approximately at Karlson's chin. "If you could stop making me jump through these ridiculous hoops, Lieutenant," I said, "you might have time to solve this case."

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