Choices. Should I flash my badge and force my way into seeing Blair and risk losing my lead with Miss Prim and Proper? Or should I wait him out?
I chose the latter and set to staking out that rear entrance. That's the one thing I hate about this job, the waiting. I ordered a cup of Black Cat House Special and a box of those English shortbread cookies with the red tartan wrapper they always have on the counter. Overpriced but they did taste good, especially when you dipped them in some coffee.
I re-parked the Ford so that I had a a good view of the back door. Some silly meter maid chalked my tires. Two hour parking. I prayed I wouldn't be that long or I could kiss my Dutch apple pie good-bye. Well, that meter maid ended up writing that ticket and I figured my badge would stop her. It didn't. She got paid by the ticket and she had bills to pay. "Thanks, Selma," I said.
"You're welcome, Lieutenant. Be sure to tell my boss that you didn't want your ticket." As she left, she chalked my rear tire one more time.
I suppose it was rather stupid to play a hunch like this, but I had to believe that Miss D. was partially telling the truth. Blair was leaving town, he just hadn't left yet. And not long after Selma had puttered off on her scooter, out the back door comes Mr. Blair, suitcase in one hand, a briefcase in the other. He looked in a bit of a hustle, tossing his luggage into the back seat of his blue Kaiser. He took off, heading toward the airport and I was close behind. He pulled into the parking lot and I raced in, pulling up beside him on his driver's side.
Jumping out, I caught Blair before he was able to get out of his car. "Mr. Blair. Remember me. Lieutenant MacKenzie. BPD.'
Looking out his window, "Well, Officer, What can I do for you? I wasn't speeding was I?" trying to make a joke of this rude, un-welcomed intrusion into his plans.
"In fact, Mr. Blair, you did exactly that a couple of times, but what I really need is to see if you could help me with some questions I have."
"Sir, I have a plane to catch. You should have called me earlier at the office."
"Well, Mr. Blair, I did just that but they said you were out of town. And lo and behold, you were there all the time."
I could see him getting a little steamed but having him pinned in his car gave me the upper hand. So he gave a surrendering sigh and said, "Alright. What d'ya need to know so d*mn bad that it can't wait?"
"Thank you, Mr. Blair. I'll be quick."
He gave another sigh and I could almost hear him cursing me in his thoughts.
"A Mr. Patrick Flanagan, known as Paddy. Of the Checker Cab Company. He worked for you, didn't he?"
"Yea, he worked for the firm. He delivered clients and papers for us."
"Well, sir. Did he show up for work today/?"
"Officer, I don't know.'
"Mr. Blair, I can assure you he didn't. He was murdered last night."
The regularly slick and glib Mr. Blair seemed to be starting to unravel a bit around the edges of his cold demeanor. "Really. That's sad to hear. You really need to take this up with the firm. My flight's leaving soon."
"Sir, I plan to but my question is, why did Mr. Flanagan, the deceased, have a card from you in his pocket?"
Blair was trying to regain his cool. "Officer,I mean Lieutenant, I am sure it was simply work related."
"Could be, Mr. Blair. Where were to meet Mr. Flanagan at two o'clock on Friday?""
"I don't know. Probably the office."
"The note had you asking Mr. Flanagan to tail me, Mr. Blair. Now that's sounds like rather strange business for the fine firm of Brown and Keller to be doing."
"Look, Lieutenant MacKenzie. My job is to provide for the security of the firm. Mr. Brown wanted me to protect our interests. I was to report to him.'
"Mr. Blair, before I let you catch your flight. Where were you late last night?"
He stopped. I could see him calculating. "I was home."
"Anybody to verify that."
He looked down at his steering wheel. "If need be."
Translated that meant he was with someone he shouldn't have been with. I opened his door. "By the way, Mr. Blair, do you like your Kaiser? I was thinking about getting one myself." He didn't answer. He grabbed his bags, locked his car. And he started to break into a run but quickly settled into a hurried walk, ironically almost getting hit by a Checker Cab.
I called out, "Where you off to, Mr. Blair?"
He didn't answer. But a trip to the airport counter gave me the word. Cape Cod.