He didn’t know.
That’s when I suggested that he get a warrant to access Navarre’s accounts at Lake Minnetonka Community Bank since it was clear Brodin wasn’t going to give them up willingly.
“That might give us an idea where he is,” I said.
“What will I tell the judge?” Pelzer said.
“That you’re acting on the personal observations of a credible confidential informant who has provided reliable information in the past.”
“What observations are those?”
“Whatever observations you need, LT.”
“Did you play fast and loose with the law when you were in harness, too, McKenzie?”
“I’ll think about it. In the meantime, this should make you happy. We found blood at the crime scene this morning. Apparently you hit your target.”
“How much blood?” I asked.
“Enough that we’re checking every hospital and health-care clinic in the Cities.”
“You’re right, that does make me happy.”
We promised each other to keep in touch, and I ended the call.
Now what? It was my inner voice speaking, yet I heard Anita Pollack.
When I slipped the cell back into my jacket pocket, my fingers found the card Mary Pat Mulally had given me. Looking at it made me smile. The woman was a true optimist, and of all the people I had met in the past week, I liked her best.
Think it through.
Think what through? I asked my former partner as I stared at the photograph of the burnt-out restaurant.
What about the fire?
When was it set?
According to the South Lake Minnetonka PD, at approximately 4:30 A.M. Thursday. Dammit!
You see it now, don’t you?
Mrs. R’s killer had her for twelve hours—9:00 P.M. to 9:00 A.M. He couldn’t have set the fire. It certainly wasn’t Navarre. He had been with Anne Rehmann at the time. Besides, he had no motive.
So who did it?
Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska was new. From the intersection of Highways 212 and 41 just south of Lake Minnetonka, it resembled one of those business motels that promised travelers a clean room, continental breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. The wide-open lobby, complete with a Subway sandwich shop, gave off the same vibe. It wasn’t until you noticed the sick and injured waiting God knows how long for assistance from people who seemed too busy to help them that you knew it for what it was.
A nurse gave me the room number for Arnaldo Nunez without asking why I wanted it, and I took the elevator to the fourth floor. I didn’t trouble the medical personnel at the nurse’s station. I simply hung a left and followed the carpeted corridor until I found the room. The door was open, so I didn’t bother to knock. Nunez was lying fully clothed on top of the bed, his hands behind his head, and staring at the ceiling. His left pant leg had been scissored off six inches above the knee to accommodate the cast he was wearing. A pair of crutches was leaning against the bed.
He turned his head and looked expectant when I entered, and it occurred to me that he was waiting to be discharged. When he saw I wasn’t a doctor, his face clouded and his eyes became fierce.
“What are you doing here?” he wanted to know.
“Just checking up on you. How’s the leg?”
“Broken in four places. They had to put in a steel rod.”
I whistled low as if I were impressed, but I really wasn’t. I stepped closer to the bed and gave his head the once-over.
“I was told you had a concussion, too. Doesn’t look like there’s any permanent damage, though,” I said.
“Fuck you,” Nunez said. “I got headaches. I’ve been nauseous for two days.”
“Whose fault is that?”
“How is it my fault?”
“You wrecked my car.”
“I had nothing to do with that.”
“You did. You must have.”
“Why would you say … you don’t remember what happened, do you?”
He didn’t answer, yet for a moment his eyes seemed to reach for a memory that was just beyond his grasp.
“Amnesia about the events that cause a head injury is pretty common,” I said. “I’ve had a couple of concussions myself, so I know.”
“You don’t know nuthin’.”
“I know you tried to burn down the Casa del Lago the other night.”
“I already told the cops. I ain’t had nothing to do with that.”
“No, not you personally. I meant your playmates in the New! Improved! Nine-Thirty-Seven Mexican Mafia. The guy in the red Sentra or the one who was driving the black Cadillac DTS, probably. Nice T-shirts, by the way. Does your mother know you’re wearing those T-shirts? How ’bout your brother?”
“I’m sure the boys and girls in West St. Paul are very impressed.”
“You just an asshole. You don’t know nuthin’ about it.”
“I know this much, Arnaldo—what do your friends call you? Arnie? I know this much, Arnie. I know you’re looking for someone. You set fire to the restaurant to draw him out.”