“What?” Monroe raged. Buck had just arrived to give him an update early on Tuesday morning.
“Sir, we found a dead man outside the girl’s apartment. I don’t know who he was.” Buck repeated softly, knowing what his boss’ anger was like.
“You idiot! Why didn’t you watch what Victor was doing? What’s he thinking? He’s supposed to be gunning for Johnson.” A grin spread across his broad face, “Well, we’ll have to do something about this. Go pick up the girl. Victor is going to have to realize what it means to be in my employ. I’m going to enjoy this. The girl’s gonna be nice.”
“Mr. Monroe, the girl is gone too.”
Monroe exploded grabbing a stack of magazines, and throwing them at Buck; his face turned an angry dark red. He glared at the man quietly standing on the other side of his desk
“What are you doing here still?” he demanded.
“Sir, there was another guy who was shot. I saw him in his car.”
“Who was it?”
“I don’t know, but he looked dead too. We didn’t wait to find out. We heard sirens coming toward us, so we left.”
“Hmmm. Curious. Let me think about this.” Monroe leaned back in his chair. He pulled out his switchblade and flicked it open.
“What was the name of that church Victor went to?” he asked leaning forward.
“Prairie Oak Baptist.” Buck replied wondering where Monroe was headed.
“Is it a big church?”
“No, not really, it’s a small building but a lot of people go there.”
“What’s the preacher-man’s name?”
“I don’t know. I think its Jim, something.”
“Get me the name of that preacher. Does he have a wife? Kids? I want everything you can find out about him.”
“Do you want me to pick them up?”
“No, not yet. This will be good, for now.” Monroe sat back in his chair and laughed softly.
Buck left Monroe’s office, got into his red sports car and left Derrick for Prairie Oak. His eyebrows furrowed, his face grim and without realizing it he ground his teeth and clenched the wheel.
He arrived at the church around 10:00, but found it empty and locked. Mumbling something about bankers’ hours to himself, he noticed the church phone number listed on the sign. He dialed and waited as the phone rang. A message machine picked up and a pleasant female recording played, “This is Prairie Oak Baptist church. On Sunday we have first morning worship at 9:00 to 10:00, Sunday school from 10:10 a.m. to 10:55 and our second worship service from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. If you need assistance, call Pastor Jim Foster at 712-3473. Please come and share our joy.” Buck hung up without leaving a message. He wrote Pastor Jim’s phone number in a small notebook and drove to the nearest convenience store where he acquired the use of a phone book. After writing the address down in his notebook, he drove slowly up and down the street, checking for observation points. It was just like any other street in town, but for Buck, an added feature was the small apartment complex about four houses down. He drove in the parking lot and chose a spot in full view of the Pastor’s house.
Soon he saw a burnt orange metallic Mustang pull into the driveway. Two men got out. One was Pastor Jim, the other was Victor. He watched them shake hands. Victor got in the black car and drove away.
Buck dialed Monroe on his cell, “Mr. Monroe, Victor just left the Pastor’s house.”
“Victor just left? Was the girl with him?”
“Wonder where she is and what he was doing there? Why did he leave? Do you know the preacher’s name?”
“Yeah, it’s Jim Foster.”
“Is he married, does he have kids?”
“I think he’s married, but I haven’t seen any kids yet. It’s still early, they could be at school.”
“Keep your eye on them, and let me know if Victor shows up again.”
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