When the police arrive at Mrs. Berman’s house, they find her in a coma. They also find evidence that this was the place where Wendy was raped and killed.
While the men were gone to investigate Gertrude Berman’s house, Vanessa prepared to interview Jim “Butch” Butcher. She knew the man peripherally, only vaguely aware of him. Since she rarely had computer problems, she had no occasion to meet him. She hadn’t even known his full name, or recognized him in old photographs. To be fair, he looked very different from the teen three years ago. He’d put on weight and his hair had thinned. He now wore glasses, where he’d worn contacts in high school.
He was still cooling his heels in the interrogation room. Taking another officer in with her, she took her place across from him. He wore too much cologne, and was already sweating. She asked the officer to adjust the air, and did her best to keep her lunch down. Holding a handkerchief over her nose, she was able to stand his odor until the fan helped clear the air.
“I smell that bad?” he sniffed himself. “Oh, I forget, you’re knocked up.” An ugly leer flitted across his face. “Got yourself that good looking husband. The Cuban guy.”
Vanessa didn’t bother to correct his assumption. She was half Cuban, Dario was full blooded Peruvian. She did wonder how Jim knew, but she wasn’t going to ask him.
“How long have you been helping Sue cover up Troy’s crimes?”
“I like that. Right to the point. No beating around the bush.”
“You, on the other hand…. I figure it’s been more than just the last two years. You were pretty handy with computers, even in school. Of course, your short, unimpressive career in the Marines, set you back a little. Feeling up an officer? Wow.”
“She wanted it. She just pretended she didn’t.”
“She broke your arm, Jim.”
“Butch. I go by Butch now.”
“So…Jim. I guess she didn’t want it after all.”
He shrugged. “Women say one thing, mean another.”
“What did Wendy mean when she told you to take your hands off her. When she screamed for help as you and your friends raped her. Did she really mean that she liked it? Wanted it? What did you mean when you strangled her?” She tossed a picture of Wendy in front of him. It showed the damage the vultures had done. “Did you mean to kill her? I’m not sure you did. I think you killed her, because you got off on her pain. Her suffering. It’s alike an aphrodisiac for sick f**ks like you.” She leaned forward, tapping the picture. “Isn’t it?”
“You got nothing….”
“Lieutenant Scott and Sergeant Waters are paying a visit to your old friend, Gertrude Berman.”
Butcher paled, flop sweat caused huge rings to appear under his arms and across his chest.
“Yeah, whatever you gave her, killed her. She’s dead, too. Two deaths on your hands, Jim. Not good.”
“I didn’t do anything to Gertrude! That was Bullock! He drugged the old lady, so she couldn’t talk. She couldn’t tell….” He clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Couldn’t tell what? That you and your twisted friends raped Wendy and murdered her? She had marks on her throat. They’re too small for Bullock’s hand, too big for Troy’s. But I think, just by looking at you, they’re going to find that your hands are just right. The Goldilocks of Murder. That’s you. Did you mean to kill her? Or was it an accident? Getting off on the torture, the near death. See, I think you can’t get it up with a woman, unless you’re hurting her. I think you and Troy, you have to hurt a woman to get hard. I think Bullock just likes to beat women. And I bet if it weren’t for rape, none of you would get laid.”
She didn’t even look at him when she said that. He said nothing.
“You don’t have to answer. I’m pretty sure I’ve got my facts right. But any time you wanna hop in and set me straight….”
“Bullock said we had to shut her up. He said we’d rough her up and make her leave.”
“But you killed her. Why?”
Jim Butcher burst into tears. “It was an accident. I was trying to do that thing—you know…. That thing!” He held his hands up, as if grasping his throat.
“Erotic asphyxiation. Yeah, didn’t go as planned, huh?”
“She wouldn’t hold still, so I kept…I kept— And then she stopped struggling and she wasn’t there anymore. Just that quick.”
“You killed her, Jim.”
“It was an accident.”
“You murdered her.”
“I didn’t mean to!”
“James Butcher, I’m arresting you for the rape and murder of Wendy Hamilton.”
He burst into tears, wailing incoherently. Vanessa had him taken back to his cell.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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