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Gag Order – Installment 4 – Even an Accused has a Name

Tatyana’s face dropped long and, as she glared at the door closing behind Krasten, her cell phone rang.

‘ASP Lee!’ Tatyana recognized the voice and, fighting to control her abrasive tone, she said, ‘Yes, Mrs. Lim, I know my son… Yes, I received the school’s email. Yes, I understand… I would appreciate it if… Okay. I’ll be there right away!’

She killed the call and grabbed her bag. It rang again. Seeing the caller’s identity, she rolled her eyes and muttered. ‘Oh, shit!’ Then, she drew several deep breaths and putting on a fake smile, spoke in an agreeable voice,

‘Sorry sir, yes sir, I’ll be right up.’ She dashed out of her office and hurried down the corridor.

Peter, who was walking down the corridor towards her office, hurried and fell in step. ‘Ana, I think we should—’

Tatyana increased her pace and talked fast, ‘Bad timing Peter. Sup wants to see me. Whatever it is—later!’

‘What’s the rush,’ said the inspector, ‘the dickhead just wants another report, so he can pass it on and take credit for it.’

Tatyana wheeled on Peter but caught herself as a couple of detectives walked past them. Then, she said through gritted teeth,

‘It’s talk like that which is keeping you down. And don’t you dare get me involved.’  She pulled open the fire exit door and rushed up the staircase.

‘Don’t you want to use the lift?’ Peter pointed to the lift landing. Tatyana’s running steps echoed in the stairwell and quickly grew faint. ‘I guess she’s also a vertical marathoner,’ muttered Peter.

Sgt. Wahab came up behind Peter and said, ‘That’s her idea of working out. Multi-tasking. You know she eats breakfast while driving to work. There was this morning, I rode up and stopped beside her at the traffic lights and -’

‘What have you there?’ Peter turned back towards his work station.

‘Forensic came through,’ said Wahab, eagerly keeping up. ‘The suspect’s hard disk, clean. Same thing goes for his cell phone.’

‘Suspect?’ Peter stopped and frowned at the sergeant. ‘How many times have I told you to speak English?’

‘I meant, Bastien Tee.’

‘Even an accused has a name,’ said Peter and, for emphasis, jabbed a finger on Wahab’s chest, ‘and don’t you forget that.’ He started off, with his partner again keeping pace. ‘I suppose Ms. Ying’s hard disk is also clean as well?’

‘Yes, how did you know?’

‘Take a guess,’ said Peter. He stopped at his desk and grabbed a pair of sunglasses. ‘I’ll wear my shades, so you can dazzle me.’

‘Because she’s an IT person,’ said Wahab, cautiously, half in question and half as a statement.

‘There’s hope for you yet, kid. You’re not going to crack this one by staring at a computer screen.’ Peter leaned close and whispered into Wahab’s ear, ‘This is a case that requires some old-fashioned sleuth work.’

‘You mean, magnifying glass?’

‘Jeez! I meant, getting off your butt, away from air-con comfort and doing some real leg work. When was the last time you sweated?’

‘Well, two days ago I went to the gym -‘

‘Jeez!’ Peter took a few steps and asked, ‘Coming?’

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

*** Join me on Saturday for the continuation ***