Nearly 18 hours later, the police were no closer to finding out why someone attacked Casey Morgan. Attempts to track the wire transfer of the money into the assailant’s account proved impossible. The money came from a mysterious Cayman Island account. That made Tim suspicious. He decided it was time to have a serious talk with his next door neighbor.
A knock at Casey’s door didn’t worry her when her dog Gunther failed to bark. She suspected her visitor was Tim and she was correct.
“Is there any news on my burglar?” The question popped from Casey’s mouth the moment she opened the door.
“Well, hello to you too,” Tim said. He noticed that Casey appeared more nervous than usual. That, to his fine-tuned detective sense, told him something was awry.
“Let’s sit down over some coffee and I’ll tell you,” Tim answered. He was already headed to the kitchen where Casey always kept a fresh pot of coffee brewing. He poured them both a cup and watched as Casey took a chair. Then he spoke.
“He wasn’t here to rob you, Case. He was hired to kill you.” Tim watched for a shocked expression on his friend’s face. When he didn’t get one, he made a mental note.
“Why would anyone want to kill me?” Casey tried to make the question sound authentic. Unfortunately, Tim knew her well enough to realize it didn’t ring true.
“Cut the crap, Casey, and tell me why you think someone would want to kill you. I can tell from your body language that you know something. I’m surprised I didn’t pick up on it last night. I guess I was just too busy being worried to notice.”
Casey squirmed in her chair. Then she took a swig of her coffee before answering.
“Honestly, last night I thought it was just a break-in. It wasn’t until this morning that I began to wonder if it could be more.”
“Why would you think that, Case? There must be a reason.”
“A few days ago, I went to Chez Louis with Kelsey MacLamore. She’s an old friend from college. We sat next to two men who were obviously trying to keep their conversation in hushed tones. Unfortunately, my ears are highly tuned these days so I picked up bits and pieces of their conversation even though I didn’t mean to do so.”
“Go on,” Tim encouraged. “What were they talking about?”
“Honestly, I thought it was a plot to a book or a movie. That’s what it seemed like so it didn’t really register with me until all of this happened. I quite frankly, dismissed it. It was too wild to believe it could be real.”
“Explain what they were saying, Casey. This could be important,” Tim implored.
“The one man told the other one that the congressman ‘was in the bag’. He said he could make the guy vote anyway they wanted him too. It sounded so preposterous that I assumed they were just working out some kind of plot line. I mean the dialogue sounded like something you would expect from a book.”
“Exactly what does that mean?” Tim looked confused even though Casey couldn’t see his facial expression.
“You know. They talked about ‘rubbing him out’ if he didn’t do what they said; all that weird kind of stuff. Consequently, I didn’t think much about it. But now I wonder if one of the men noticed that I was listening.”
“Honestly, Casey, you didn’t think of telling me all of this before now?” Tim stood and began pacing the floor. “Can you give any more specifics?”
“No I can’t. I only picked up bits and pieces of their conversation,” Casey moaned. “I don’t even know what congressman they were talking about or what they wanted from him. I’m sorry.”
“We need more information,” Tim countered. “Is there any chance that Kelsey got a good look at the men?”
“I don’t know. I suppose it is possible. However, I didn’t mention any of this to her. She obviously didn’t hear the conversation herself or she would have said something. She probably didn’t pay any attention to the men. They were like everyone else in the restaurant – complete strangers. I mean, who pays attention to the people sitting around them in a restaurant?”
“You better hope she did,” Tim said seriously. “Your life could depend on it. Now tell me how to get in touch with your friend.”
Casey rose from the table and went to her desk. She reached in and removed a business card. “Kelsey gave this to me that night. It’s the address to her new art gallery. She wanted me to visit there in spite of my visual disability.”
Tim took the card. “Thanks, Case. I’m leaving an officer posted at your door until we get to the bottom of all of this. In the meantime, I need you to try and remember if you heard anything else that might be helpful. If you do, call me right away. Do you understand?”
Casey nodded, tears forming in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Tim. Honestly, I didn’t think it was anything.”
Tim rushed to embrace the young woman. “Everything is going to be fine, Case. Just stay here and keep Gunther close. Do you understand?”
Casey nodded again and stood listening as her friend left the house. She heard him give orders to the young officer outside as she began cleaning the table.
Meanwhile, Tim rushed across town to the art gallery. He hurried inside after parking his police cruiser.
“Is there anything I can do to help you, officer?” The question came from an attractive strawberry blonde coming down the stairs as Tim entered the gallery. He hesitated for a moment, taken aback by her beauty.
“Yes. I need to find Kelsey MacLamore,” he said as he glanced down at the business card.
“I’m Kelsey,” the blonde purred. “How can I help you?”
“I understand you had dinner with a mutual friend of ours a few nights ago. Her name is Casey Morgan.”
“Yes, I know Casey,” the blonde offered. “We went to school together. May I ask what this is all about?”
“Someone tried to break into her house last night. His intent was to kill her.”
The look of utter shock on Kelsey’s face told Tim she most likely wasn’t in on the crime. She sputtered as she tried to speak again.
“Is Casey all right?” Kelsey moved forward until she was within inches of Tim. He found her presence intoxicating but dismissed it as best he could.
“She’s fine for now but someone took out a hit on her. She thinks it might have something to do with something she overhead while you two were dining.”
“What?” Kelsey scanned Tim’s face. “I don’t remember overhearing anything.”
“You probably wouldn’t. Casey’s hearing is more acute because of her lack of sight. However, she said the two of you sat next to two men. It was them she overhead. Can you remember anything about them?”
“I . . .,” Kelsey hesitated as her legs began to buckle beneath her. Tim reached out to grab her, helping her to a nearby chair.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured. “This is a lot to take in. Let me think,” she said. “One was about our age,” she began. “I always notice handsome young men, I’m afraid. Single women sometimes do that,” she admitted. Tim could tell she was embarrassed by the admission.
“He was dark skinned with dark hair and eyes. I would have thought him a foreigner – Asian perhaps — but he spoke perfect English.”
“And the other man?”
“He was older with gray hair. I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention to him, plus his back was facing me. However, he also had dark skin I believe.”
“What else can you tell me,” Tim encouraged.
“They were both well dressed. Their suits were expensive,” Kelsey blushed, having to admit she noticed that as well.
“Is there anything else you can tell me, Kelsey? It’s important. It could help save Casey’s life.”
“No, I’m sorry,” Kelsey admitted, turning white. “That’s all I remember. I just noticed them and then turned my attentions to Casey. Honestly.”
“If I put you with a police artist, do you think you could describe the one man?” Tim looked hopeful.
“I can try,” Kelsey stated.
“Good, someone will be in touch with you soon,” Tim returned. “Thanks for your help. If you remember anything else, give me a call.” Tim handed her his card and then he turned to leave.
“Wait!” Kelsey cried just as he moved out the door. “There was one thing,” she said, rushing forward.
“The older man carried a briefcase with one of those locks on it.”
“Locks?” Tim looked confused.
“The kind that attaches to the wrist so that the briefcase can’t be lost. He fidgeted with the thing while he ate. The chain was too short. It kept getting in his way when he tried to cut his meat. Something just made me remember that.”
“That’s great, Kelsey. Thank you. Let me know if you remember anything more.” With that Tim jumped in his vehicle and headed back to the station. He knew of at least one type of man that would carry that kind of briefcase – a diplomatic attaché.