Eviction by David Macfie

 “Fletcher, Fletcher!”

The call came from behind and on the other side of the street. Fletcher swiveled to see who was calling him so anxiously. He saw McGiver, the corpulent manager of the motel that was on the southbound road out of town. The fat man was bustling over the road and sweating profusely as he tried to catch the homicide detective. Fletcher’s nose wrinkled a little at the rank smell coming from the man, who stopped with his hands on his knees, as he tried to catch his breath.

“Fletcher, have you got a minute?” asked the motel manager, huffing and puffing for air.

“Of course, McGiver,” replied the detective. “What’s on your mind?”

“Thanks, Fletcher. It’s this guy, who checked into the motel on a one month spell. He said he’d been evicted from his previous place so I asked for a two week deposit while I checked him out.”

“So, what’s the problem? That sounds normal, or at least not very unusual. And getting the deposit was a smart move.”

The fat man allowed himself a smile at the compliment.

“It’s not the situation that bothers me, it’s the guy himself. He’s real creepy. Wears all black, all the time. Even wears black gloves, has a huge black buckle on the big belt he uses to hold up his black jeans, wears a black Stetson, even his cowboy boots are black. His skin is pasty white, like he’s never been in the light, never mind the sun. Doesn’t talk either. Wrote everything down on a page from a little notebook he carries. The cover of the book and the pen and the ink were all black too. Spooked me out, it did!”

This whole description had come out in a rush and now McGiver had to stop to draw breath.

“Did you check him out?” asked Fletcher, his instincts kicking in. It did sound weird.

“Yeah, I did. His story checks out. His previous landlady confirmed he’d been with her for two and a half years, no problems, then he seemed to get in trouble and missed a couple of rent payments. His job references also checked out. He’d been fired from his last job for fighting with his supervisor. Paid cash for the deposit though.”

“Any other visitors to your motel at the moment?”

“Two others occupied, but on short stays, one for the next two days the other five from today.”

“OK. I’ll check him out. Phone me when you get back and I’ll take all the details.”

The fat man said thanks and bustled off, while Fletcher took a couple of deep breaths of fresh air. An hour later, in his office, the detective took notes as McGiver passed over all the details off his three guests. Fetcher spent the rest of the day looking into all three to see if he could find anything suspicious. Nothing seemed out of order so now the detective checked into the alleged fight between the man, whose name was Bart Milligan, and his supervisor. Now some revealing information came out. There was a history of disagreements between the two, going back several months. Bart had received several verbal warnings and two written warnings for this, and was fired after he took a swing at his boss. He’d sworn to get even and left in a foul temper. One other interesting fact was that Bart had never worn black to his job, so the new attire was a change of behavior.

Fletcher now checked on the supervisor’s details. His name was Brian Simpson and he’d been with the company for ten years and was rated an above average supervisor. The most interesting fact was that Milligan had applied for the position and been turned down. The problems between the two had started immediately afterwards. Fletcher checked into Simpson a little deeper. He found out that the man had never been married, was a bit of a recluse out of working hours and didn’t go out much. But he did have a regular routine. He patronized an escort service and, once a month, he hired a girl for the night, took her to dinner and wined and dined her. Then he took her to a motel and had sex. He didn’t use the same motel each time, but he was a creature of habit. He had a roster of motels and he cycled through them in a consistent order. Fletcher wasn’t surprised to find that McGiver’s motel was on the roster but it was interesting that it was the next one on the list. Now Fletcher was sure that McGiver’s sense of wrongness was justified. He called the motel.

“McGiver, do you have a phone reservation, during the month, for a Mister Brian Simpson?”

He listened to the sound of pages turning.

“Yes, I got him booked for the night of the nineteenth.”

“Right. I suspect that Mr. Milligan is planning something unpleasant for Mr. Simpson, who is the supervisor who got him fired. I will need to be there on the night to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

Fletcher and McGiver kept in close touch until the day arrived. Fletcher got to the motel early in the afternoon and booked into a room located between the two that would contain Milligan and Simpson. He prepared carefully and settled down to wait. As agreed, McGiver accompanied Simpson and his partner to their room, talking the whole time to warn Fletcher.

Now the detective came up to high alert. He heard the sounds of the couple moving in the room and the faint click of a door closing and he saw the shadow pass his window. He crept out behind the black-clad figure. It silently approached Simpson’s door and a silenced gun appeared in the right hand. Fletcher stayed in the shadows and waited tensely. The black shadow reached the door and burst through. Fletcher heard the sounds of the silenced pistol firing four shots.

By now the detective was behind the figure.

“Milligan, this is the police. You are under arrest. Put your hands in the air and drop your weapon.”

The black clad figure spun, took rapid aim then fired. Fletcher felt the bullet slam into his body armor and didn’t hesitate. He’d been ready for this. He returned fire and Milligan dropped like a stone. He was dead by the time the detective reached him. As Fletcher entered the room to look around, he heard McGiver behind him.

“You see, Mr. Simpson. I told you Fletcher was good. It’s just as well he told me to get you and your date, out the bathroom window quickly. He knew what was going to happen. Look at those pillows. I reckon he just saved your life.”