Serial Saturday #19: Two Phone Calls in Jinsha
"Start at the beginning," Wei-Ting said. "What do we know?"
They had been sitting the workroom of the Jinsha Precinct for hours now. They had reviewed the footage from the interview in Penghu and they were hitting a dead end.
"He said it was a Detective," Pei-Shan said. "The question is which one?"
"You've got an alibi, right?" Wei-Ting asked.
Pei-Shan shook her head, grinning. "I must be rubbing off on you, kid. But yes, I do. I was at a bar in Jincheng. They'll vouch for me. I'm a regular."
"So, who's left?"
"Vice, Narcotics and Investigations," Pei-Shan said. "Chen and Lee were on a stakeout in Jinhu," she ticked off two of her fingers. "Chiang was liaising with the Xiamen Water Police on the drowning on Tuyu, which leaves us with-"
"Narcotics," Wei-Ting said. "Hwang and Tan."
"All right," Pei-Shan said, picking up a nearby phone. "Let me make a call." She dialled a number and there was a pause before: "Huijun! How's my favourite dispatcher?" Pei-Shan laughed at her reply. "Listen, I need you to check the schedule for me. Where were Hwang and Tan the night of our murder?" Another pause. "Really? Thanks." She hung up the phone and turned to Wei-Ting.
"They were both on vacation. Tan had his annual mah-jong tournament."
"So how are we going to-" Wei-Ting paused. "Wait, it's not at-"
"And you want me to-"
"He'll want something in return."
"It's just a phone call," Pei-shan said.
Wei-Ting sighed and turned to the computer. A quick search of the internet revealed the number and he gripped the receiver of the phone, took a deep breath, picked it up and dialled. The phone rang three times and then-
"Golden Lotus, how may I help you?"
"Yes, my name is Officer Wei-Ting with the Kinmen County Police Bureau. I need to speak to the owner."
"Sir, I'm afraid that's-"
"I'm his grandson."
"Just a moment."
There was a long pause and then-
"Yes?" The voice wasn't what he expected. It was firm yet gravelly with age.
"Do you know who this is?"
"I do," his grandfather replied. "I am... surprised to hear from you."
"I need a favor."
His grandfather chuckled. "Of course you do. Name it."
"There was mah-jong tournament there about a month ago now. I need to see if someone was there."
"We take the privacy of our guests very seriously here at the Golden Lotus," his grandfather said. "I couldn't possibly-"
"It's for a murder case. A narcotics detective is our prime suspect." Wei-Ting said. "And I assume you'd keep a close eye on every cop that comes into your establishment.
There was a long pause at the other end of the phone.
"If I do this for you, I'll expect something in return," his grandfather said.
Wei-Ting grimaced. "Name it."
"A visit," he replied. "If I'm going to do you this favor, it's only right that I get to meet my grandson in person."
Wei-Ting took a deep breath and thought about it. There was bound to be more to this request than met the eye but... he closed his eyes, remembering the body on that beach, remembering turning her over with Pei-Shan and her eyes staring up at nothing, the gaping wound in her belly-
It was just a visit. If the old bastard came through, then what could it hurt? "Deal," Wei-Ting said. "But only if you come through with this."
His grandfather chuckled. "I think, grandson, you'll find that I always come through. For family. Now," he said, his voice suddenly businesslike. "What's your email?"
Wei-Ting told him.
"Stay by your computer," his grandfather said. Then, he hung up the phone.
"Well?" Pei-Shan demanded as Wei-Ting sat down at the computer.
"He said he'd do it," Wei-Ting said. He logged into his email. "Now, we wait."
Wei-Ting folded his hands and slipped his phone into his pocket and tried not to look at the clock. Pei-Shan for her part paced the room. The minutes stretched out until the computer chimed once to indicate the arrival of an email. Wei-Ting turned back around and Pei-Shan was at his shoulder. There was a simple note from his grandfather:
I believe this is who you're looking for.
Wei-Ting clocked on the attached video file and waited as it opened and- there it was. The last piece of evidence that they needed.
"Okay," Pei-Shan said. "Now, we can go to the Chief."