Until that day, I’d made an art out of avoiding Alexander Colton.
All my work would be for nothing, all because of Angie.
Poor, sweet, stupid, dead Angie.
Martin Fink and Christopher Renicki were the first two uniforms that responded to my call. I’d known Marty and Chris for ages. It was good they were partners. Chris was smart; Marty, not so much.
We were out in the alley, Chris doing crime scene stuff, Marty standing by me. A couple of squad cars with their lights silently flashing had pulled in on either side of the dumpster, other uniforms had been dispatched to hold back the growing crowd and the crime scene tape was secured by the time Alec showed up.
He’d parked elsewhere and didn’t come through the bar like I expected him to. He had keys to the bar for one. For another, he knew the bar nearly as well as I did and not only because he spent a good deal of time sitting at the end of it, my brother standing inside the bar in front of him, both of them drinking beer and talking about shit I couldn’t hear because I stayed well away.
Another surprise was he also didn’t have his partner Sully with him.
I watched him as he walked up to Marty and me.
The detectives in town, not that there were many of them, wore ill-fitting, inexpensive suits or nice trousers and shirts with ties.
Jeans, boots, wide leather belt, sports jacket that looked tailored for him (probably a present from Susie Shepherd) and a nice shirt.
Alec was a big guy even when he was a kid, just kept growing and growing. Dad used to say if he didn’t stop his head would touch the clouds. Mom thought Alec and my brother Morrie were best friends because they were both the biggest kids in the class and it just grew from that. Morrie grew out as well as up, however. Alec just grew tall and broad but stayed lean. Alec was tight end to Morrie’s offensive lineman, during high school and in all things life. Morrie did the grunt work and never got the glory. Alec knew how to block and was really good at it but every once in awhile he got the chance to shine.
Alec’s dark hair was too long but he’d always worn it too long, even as a kid, but he’d done it then because his mother was such a shit mother, she never remembered to get it cut. My Mom finally ended up taking Alec to the barber when she took Morrie. Later he kept it long just because he was Alec. It curled around his ears and neck now and, as with everything Alec, it looked a little wild.
I stood there and watched silently as he made it to me and Marty, his eyes never leaving me. He didn’t even look at Angie.
“Feb,” he said on a short nod.
“Alec,” I replied.
His eyes were a weird color, light brown with a hint of gold. His Dad had the same eyes but his Dad’s eyes weren’t exactly like Alec’s. Alec’s Dad’s eyes were mean.
Those eyes got hard as did his mouth when I called him Alec. They always did. Everyone called him Colt. Everyone. Even my Mom and Dad started calling him Colt years ago after what happened.
Only his folks and me called him Alec anymore, not that he talked to his folks since his Dad was in prison for the second time and his Mom was never sober and he never spoke to her. Not that I talked much to him either.
He hated it when I called him Alec but I didn’t call him Alec to be a bitch or anything, just that he was Alec to me, he always had been.
“Colt,” Chris said, calling his attention and Alec looked his way.
That was when he caught sight of Angie.
I looked at her too and wished I hadn’t. I’d already seen enough, too much, so much I’d never forget.