Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 6)

     Bruce got the finished sketch from the police department sketch artist on Monday morning.

     Saturday morning Bruce went to the apartment building where Kevin lived eight years ago.  He sat in his car in the parking lot and observed any activity in or out of any of the apartments.  When he saw a young woman coming out of the apartment right next door to Kevin’s, Bruce got out of his car and approached her.

     “Excuse me, Miss.  My name is Bruce Rivers.  I’m a detective with the police department.  Would you mind answering a few questions?”

     The young girl stuck her right hand in her jacket pocket, and said, “I guess so.”

     “Is the apartment next to yours occupied?”

     “Which side, A or C?”

     “Apartment C.”

     “Yeah.  Some creepy guy lives there.  Moved in about three months ago.  Guess nobody but a creepy guy would want to live there.”

     “What do you mean?”

     “Everyone in this apartment complex knows the story of that apartment.  I’m not thrilled about living right beside it, and I avoid the guy that lives there at all costs.”

     “What makes you think he’s creepy?”

     “First of all, he seemed eager to rent that apartment, and he leers at me.  You know, almost like he’s looking right through my clothes?  That’s why I carry this.”  She pulled her right hand out of her jacket.  In it, she was holding a taser.”

     “You carry a taser?”

     “You bet.  No creep’s gonna get the chance to kidnap, rape and murder me.”

     Bruce took the artist’s sketch out and showed it to the young lady.  “Have you ever seen this young man?”

     “No and that’s not the guy that lives next door.  The guy next door has dark hair and dark brown eyes.  He goes to the college down the street, and someone said he works at the coffee shop on campus.”

     “Thank you, Miss, uh . . .”

     “Sabrina.  Sabrina Duncan.”

     “Do you go to the college, Miss Duncan?”

     “No.  I graduated last year.  I’m working for Delmar Technologies down on Orange Street.”

     “One last question, Miss Duncan.  Do you know your neighbor’s name?”

     “All I know is his first name is Kurt or Keith, something like that.  Like I said, I try to avoid him.  Is he in trouble?”

     “Maybe.  Thank you again, Miss Duncan, you’ve been very helpful.”

     Bruce’s next stop was Grater College.  He went to admissions, showed the artist’s sketch and was told the young man’s name was Mitch Wakefield.  The lady checked his schedule and told Bruce that Mitch was currently in chemistry class and the class would be over in forty minutes.  Bruce asked for directions to the classroom as well as to the campus coffee shop.

     Bruce headed to the coffee shop.  He ordered a cup of coffee and noticed the young man’s name tag said “Keith”, but he had red hair and freckles.  He asked if there was a Kurt or another Keith that worked at the coffee shop.

     “I’m the only Keith, but there are two Kurts, Kurt Rathman and Kurt Bigler.”

     “Do either of them have dark hair and dark brown eyes?”  Bruce asked.

     “They both have dark hair.  I couldn’t tell you the color of their eyes.  I don’t pay that close attention to a guy’s appearance.”

     “Right.  Well, thanks, Keith.  Can you tell me when either of the Kurts are scheduled to work?”

     “Sure.  I’ll go check the schedule.”

     Keith went into the back and returned in a few minutes.  “Kurt Rathman works from 2 til 6 this afternoon, and Kurt Bigler works tomorrow morning from 7 til 11.”

     “Thanks, Keith.  Have a good day.”

     “No problem.”

     Bruce got to the chemistry classroom just as class was leaving out.  Mitch came out with a couple of girls.  “Excuse me, Mitch Wakefield?  May I speak with you for a few minutes?”

     Mitch looked at Bruce.  “Who are you?”  

     The girls kept walking and called “see ya later” to Mitch.  Mitch wasn’t happy about staying behind.

     “I’m Detective Bruce Rivers and I have a couple of questions for you.”

     “About what?”

     “You made a purchase at Pretty Posies Flower Shop last week, but the flowers weren’t from you, were they?”

     “Is it a crime to run an errand for someone now, Detective?”

     Bruce didn’t like this kid’s cocky attitude.  “That all depends.  Who did you run the errand for?”

     “Some guy.  He approached me in the cafeteria and asked me if I’d like to make some easy money, and of course, I was all ears.”

     “What’s the guy’s name?”

     “I never asked, and he never said.”

     “Didn’t you think it was odd that he wouldn’t make the purchase himself?”

     “Naw, he said he was doing a secret admirer thing, and he didn’t want to take a chance on the lady finding out who he was before he was ready to reveal his identity.  He gave me cash to make the purchase, plus fifty bucks cash for doing him the favor, so I wasn’t going to pry.”

     “Thank you, Mr. Wakefield.”  Bruce turned to go.

     “So, what’s the problem, Detective?”

     “Maybe nothing.  Just a routine investigation.”

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