By Pete Moss
Maybe another day goes by in the holding cell.
I'm almost looking forward to getting into the General Population.
But since I have time to think, I think maybe I won't be put in the GP. Murder 1. That's serious.
I still haven't seen a lawyer or gotten a phone call. I'm pretty sure I've been held at least 48 hours by now.
I haven't been interrogated but the once, and that barely lasted 10 minutes.
I guess they don't care about Dennis Donnelly all that much, if he got murdered or whatever. He was a convicted felon.
Maybe the judge figures I did society a favor. Even if she doesn't exactly condone murder. She'd be just as happy to lock me up forever and forget the whole mess.
I wonder if there will be enhancements? Maybe Lying in Wait? Financial Gain?
Could I even be up for the death penalty?
Like I said I have plenty of time to think about stuff. The cell is not noisy. Mostly just the buzzing of the light in the ceiling, when it's on. And occasional scream or yell in the distance.
Am I being held downtown Oakland? Or at Santa Rita? Must be downtown Oakland. I think I'd recall if I'd been transferred to Santa Rita, that's a good 45 minute ride away.
Then the door opens and there's a deputy.
"Roll it up," he says.
I don't react for a minute. "Roll it up?"
"You are being released."
"Unless you like it here, wanna hang for a bit."
"No No," I say. There's nothing to roll up. I'm still wearing the clothes I was busted in.
The deputy marches me down to the property desk. No handcuffs. I sign for a manila envelope, got my cheapo, dead battery phone, wallet, $6.46, belt and hat, keys. I was wearing loafers so didn't have to remove my shoelaces.
Then I'm walking out the front door into the bright light of downtown Oakland.
And there's that elfin female, black hair, pale skin.
"Spela Byliak?! What are you doing in Oakland?"
"My phone said you were in trouble. I'm your PI. I never quit a case before it's closed. This is my uncle Dragen Swoboda, he's a criminal defense attorney."
Dragen Swoboda is about 85, maybe 6 foot 2, weighs probably 140. He's wearing a canary yellow suit on his scarecrow frame. The suit is double breasted, has wide lapels, pleats. Probably caused a commotion when Dragen showed up, wearing it, at the Avalon Ballroom, to see the Glenn Miller Orchestra, back in Septemeber, 1949.
"When Spela showed me the video on her phone I immedietly filed a writ and got you released. However, the DA is probably going to say the video is fake."
"Are you hungry?" says Spela.
"Not so hungry but a decent cup of coffe would really hit the spot," I say.
We pile into Uncle Dragen's '53 Packard and drive over to Grand Avenue to an artisanal coffee shop Spela's phone recomends.
It does have good strong black coffee.
I sip gratefully and fill in Dragen on the goins on.
"So you did not kill this Donnelly?"
"Of course not, why would I, anyway I was in Ireland."
"Well, you might have had someone do it, like a contract hit."
"Do I look like the kind of guy that could hire a hitman? I live in my fucking van."
"Not anymore you don't. And this is Oakland, you can have somebody capped for $100."
"Oh right, I forgot, I'm a homeowner now." I roll my eyes.
"It's no joke. I reviewed the will. It will certainly stand up in Probate."
"You gotta be kidding me?"
"Not at all, holographic, duly witnessed and notarized."
"Why in the world would Donnelly leave that house to me? I mean....why did he even write out a will..."
"Yes those are good questions. But there's another important one need you need to consider." says Dragen, and he hands the interview over to Spela with a glance.
"If you didn't kill Donnelly....who did?" says Spela.
"Obviously," continues Spela, exhibiting her deductive powers, "Whoever killed Donnelly, killed him cause they thought they would be inheriting the house with Donnelly out of the way." Spela stops and looks at me, waiting for the dime to drop.
"You've lost me," I say.
""With Donnelly out of the way who was the next of kin?"
"Yes, him, and now he will be coming after you, presumably."
"Oh shit indeed," says Spela. "You need a place to hide out, I think."