Serial Saturday #5: Whodunit?

It's Saturday and that means it's time for another installment of my ongoing serial, Murder In Kinmen... please enjoy: Whodunit?


"Wait." Pei-Shan paused at the foot of the main stairs. "Let's-" she turned on her heel. "Let's make a stop real quick."

"Where?"

"Dispatch."

She led Wei-Ting down the longh allway where an imposing metal door greeted them. Next to it was a keypad and a buzzer, which Pei-Shan pressed.

"Yes?" The voice sounded old and gravelly, as if smoking a pack a dayof cigarettes and gargling with kaoliang every morning was a healthy thing to do.

"It's me," Pei-Shan said.

There was a long pause before the metal door gave a distinct thunk and Pei_Shan opened the door. Wei-Ting stepped in behind her. Four of the five dispatchers were busy at work, but the dispatcher at the main console turned to greet them.

"Detective," she said.

"Huijun! Have I ever told you you're my favorite dispatcher?"

"What do you want?"

Pei-Shan pulled the scrap of paper out of her pocket. "Got a partial boat registration." She handed it to Huijun. 

"What am I supposed to do with it?"

"The voodoo that you do so well?" Pei-Shan said.

Huijun scowled. "It might take awhile and it'll cost you."

"You're the best Huijun!" Pei-Shan said. "Hey, have you met our newest officer, Wei-Ting?"

"Good morning, ma'am," Wei-Ting said, respectfully. Huijun fixed him with an icy stare and he felt as if he was being evaluated somehow. "You mumble too much on the radio," she said.

Pei-Shan laughed. "Come on, kid," she said. "Let's go see the Chief."

"Pleasure to meet you, ma'am," Wei-Ting said, before following Pei-Shan out into the hallway again. Pei-Shan walked back down the hallway to the stairs and took them two at a time, Wei-Ting following in her wake. They emerged into the hustle and bustle of the second floor bullpen where the Detectives worked.

As Pei-Shan made her way across the wide room to the glass enclosed office a series of whistles and jeers followed in her wake. "Someone's in trouble," one of the detectives laughed. 

"He'll get you my pretty," another mocked. "And your little dog too." He barked loudly at Wei-Ting who jumped and was rewarded with howls of laughter from all sides.

Pei-Shan favored both men with a withering glance. "Hwang, Tan. I see your comedy routine is improving. Pity about your detective work."

"Hey now," the first detective, Hwang said. "Low blow."

"Actually," Pei-Shan corrected. "No blow. It slipped through your fingers and Penghu County got the bust."

"Hey, screw you Pei-Shan," Tan shot back. "At least narcotics do real police work. How many murders have you solved lately?"

"More than you have, Tan," Pei-Shan replied as she reached the door to the Chief's office. She knocked twice. 

"Come in," came the voice inside. Pei-Shan opened the door.

"Oh, it's you," The Chief said. "Get in here. Bring the rookie."

Pei-Shan stepped inside and stood to one side to allow Wei-Ting to enter and then closed the door. The Chief was in his late 40s, but looked much older. He was one of those people who looked perpetually annoyed. 

"Hey there, handsome," Pei-shan grinned. Their divorces had been fairly amicable, but she still enjoyed needling him whenever she could.

"So, whodunit?" The Chief asked, ignoring her.

"Who did what?" Pei-Shan replied, a picture of innocence.

The Chief glowered at her. "Dont' get flirty with me, Pei-Shan, you know damn well what I mean."

"We know a couple of things," Pei-Shan admitted. "She was texting with someone outside of China and we have footage of her coming ashore via a fishing dhow the night before she was killed."

"You talked to the military?"

"Yep."

"They stonewell you?"

"Yep," Pei-Shan said. "But our inquiries are ongoing."

"Not anymore." The Chief enunciated slowly. He pushed back from his chair and, reaching out, picked up a manilla folder up off his desk. "Now, I've got a meeting."

"Wait," Pei-Shan said. "You're taking us off the investigation?"

"No," the Chief replied. He walked around the desk and placed the manilla folder on the side of the desk closest to Pei-Shan. "I'm saying your inquiries are going to have to stop."

"But someone was murdered!" Wei-Ting burst out, angrily.

"It's okay, kid," Pei-Shan said. She exchanged a long glance with the Chief and then looked over to the manilla folder on the desk. "Tell the wife hello for me."

The Chief rolled his eyes. "Oh sure. She'll love that." Then he opened the office door and was gone. Pei-Shan leaned forward and grabbed the manilla folder. 

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