“Let me guess, one of my former clients implicated me in a crime they committed,” Aidan regarded me sardonically. “Whatever they said I did, they’re lying! I’m not that type of guy!”
“Oh really?” I responded in a tone of disbelief. “And just why would one of your clients implicate you in a crime?”
He explained, “Spite. Most of my clients are satisfied with our transaction, but you can’t please everyone. All of my sales are final, so if a client isn’t happy, then they might resort to drastic measures.”
I asked him, “What is it exactly that you sell?” I was dying of curiosity to know the answer to that question!
“Anything I can get my hands on,” he claimed. Obviously, I grew skeptical of that one, and it must have shown on my face because he then clarified, “Anything I can sell legally, I mean. Furniture, used cars, clothes… You’d be amazed how many people can’t use free selling apps! Or some people try to use them and can’t figure out how to do it properly. My staff and I sell it for them and make a living off of the commission.”
“I see…” I didn’t actually completely see what he meant, I just needed a moment to mail this information over. His explanation made sense, but it felt like something was missing still. I remembered the details of his website, and then it hit me. “Why doesn’t your company’s site give any examples of what you sell? Not even any success stories?”
Aidan replied, “I’ve found that an air of mysteriousness draws more people in. They ask us questions, which forces them to talk to a sales rep. Plus, I have the website for people I’m trying to recruit. I want to make my business seem as prestigious as possible, and selling old lamps and trading cards doesn’t seem very lucrative. Most of our clients are obtained through face to face interactions, so I don’t really need to use the website to describe what we sell.”
He appeared to have an answer for everything, which made me think he must have frequently dealt with law enforcement prior to this. He had a clean record, but that didn’t mean he never had any interactions with the police. It doesn’t go on a citizen’s record when we just have a conversation with them. His quick replies led me to believe that he talked to several officers in the past, which meant he got reported for suspicious behavior a lot. He may have had a smug expression, but his body language indicated to me that he was hiding something, and I felt bound and determined to unearth what he wanted to keep secret! “So, tell me, Mister Maddox…”
“You can call me Aidan,” he smoothly offered to me.
“Mister Maddox…” I didn’t take his bait. “…tell me why I would find your card tucked inside the wallet of a prostitute.”
He frowned slightly as he spoke, “Sometimes I try to recruit prostitutes and drug dealers to convince them to make a living in a more honest way. A lot of them think they have no other option, especially the Fay Folks. So many Fays died after leading a life of crime, and when they return, they continue in the same pattern. I try to be a good influence so that they can get into Heaven no matter what they did in the past!” I didn’t buy that drivel, but evidently my colleagues did. Aidan and I both heard an audible sigh from behind the two way mirror! I shook my head in disapproval, but Aidan chose to ignore it. “Is that why I’m here? You found my card in a dead hooker’s purse?”
I reacted listlessly, “No. Now, do you happen to recruit other sales people to your business? Besides drug dealers, people who sell things legally.”
“Of course!” he responded. “I worked in sales long enough to know a good sales person when I see one! I always wanna work with people who have the same skills and passion for the industry as I do!”
“So, you got into sales just ’cause you love to sell things?” I questioned. “There’s no other explanation for doing what you do?” I didn’t really believe he sold other people’s random junk, especially for the pure joy of selling things. I had an inkling that whatever he actually sold, he did it for another motivation.
He differed with my premise, “That’s not the only reason. I’ve already mentioned that I like to help people. But there’s other reasons too! Like, I get to travel all over the state and sell in amazing places that I never would have thought about going to if my work didn’t take me there. You must know what that’s like, right? Haven’t you had to work on a case that made you go to a small town in the middle of nowhere that was so charming that you stayed and just hung out at the shops and cute little restaurants and stuff?”
After the incident that occurred right before my father tried to take us to the seashore, the subject of travel made me feel uncomfortable. “I only work in Slygow County. It’s very rare if I have to go anywhere outside of our district.”
“What about your husband?” He glanced over to my left hand. “Do you ever do any traveling with him?”
“My husband…” I had gotten so used to wearing my wedding ring that I forgot that I was still wearing it. I twisted it around a bit, and a pang of sadness swept over me. I had mostly accepted my fate of becoming a divorced woman, but this felt so final to me! Just like the graduation ceremonies I participated in, this signified the end of a chapter and showed the whole world what happened. Taking it off would make it official- I was single again! There was no going back for me, there was no way I’d ever take Ben back after everything he did, but it still seemed sad to say goodbye to my old life! I took it off at that moment both because I wanted to let go of the notion of ever returning to the past and because I didn’t want to recount to anyone else what was happening. “My personal life is none of your business!” I noticed that he raised an eyebrow as I pocketed the ring, so I changed the subject by bluntly querying, “How did you know Reed Radley?”
He had to think about the answer to my question. “Reed Radley… Reed Radley… It rings a bell… Was he a drug dealer?”
I snapped, “He didn’t sell drugs, he sold mattresses!”
“Oh, him!” He recalled, and I paid full attention to this crucial detail. “I’ve seen him at different charity events in the area. Real nice guy! Why, did something happen to him?”
“Uh, yeah! Do you think a detective would bring someone into the station for questioning for kicks and giggles?” I pointed out. “And did I mention something about a murder?”
His expression grew dejected upon this revelation. “He’s dead? That’s too bad! He seemed like such a good dude!”
I probed, “A good dude who was quite the womanizer! What happened between you two? Did he steal your girlfriend?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend!” Aidan denied that allegation. “And none of my exes were worth fighting over!”
“Did you and Reed ever argue over anything?” I inquired.
He denied that he had. I continued to press him for hours, and he stuck to the same story of knowing nothing about Reed outside of charity events. The logic of his statements didn’t deter me from figuring out what he wanted to hide from me! I kept trying different tactics to squeeze it out of him, and no matter how many times he thwarted my efforts, I refused to give up on this! At first, anyways. After a while, I started to grow frustrated and needed a break. When I requested that another detective take over for a while, I had numerous volunteers. Chief Mazarine handed the reins over to someone who didn’t find men attractive, which disappointed a lot of people! Apparently, he got tired of everyone not working and kicked them out of the observation room, but some of my colleagues still tried to sneak over there, including Sandra. She came over to my cubicle and argued with Chief Mazarine, “It’s my case too though!”
Chief Mazarine shot back, “The only note you took was the words ‘He’s single!’ And you underlined single several times! Maintenant, arrête d’agir comme une fille prébubère et retourne au travail!”
“Yes, sir!” she reacted cordially. After she complied, Chief Mazarine stormed back to his office.
“You speak French?” I conversed with her.
She sat down next to me as she replied, “No, but I know he says the word ‘travail’ when he wants people to get back to work, so I do.” Before I could ask why he burst into French when he got upset, Sandra informed me, “I’m assuming his parents came from a French speaking country and he learned that language first. I’ve never asked him though. He doesn’t talk about his personal life much.”
I remarked, “I don’t blame him! I wish my personal life was still private!”
“Oh, don’t worry about that! Everyone’s too busy talking about Aidan Maddox right now, so I’m sure they all forgot about that!” she assured me. Or at least she tried to. I felt sure that once the excitement of a studly suspect wore off, they would resume gossiping about Ben’s sordid affair! Sandra leaned over my shoulder and observed me researching a page on social media. “Ooh, is that Aidan Maddox’s profile? I already checked it out… for case research, of course… I didn’t see much there.”
“It’s actually Reed Radley’s profile,” I let her know. “I wanted to see if he had any connections to my current person of interest. I don’t see any mutual friends between the two of them. I see that they have some mutual interests in charity groups, but no other links. He must have covered his tracks and got rid of any connections that tied him to Reed Radley!”
Sandra countered with, “Or maybe he’s innocent.”
I differed with her on that, “He’s hiding something! I can tell! I’m gonna figure out what he doesn’t want us to know!”
She obviously didn’t want to believe that her crush did anything impure, but before she could argue, Chief Mazarine suddenly burst in! A part of me thought that the detective currently questioning Aidan had found something, which would make me happy to get a break in the case but would also make me jealous since I wasn’t the one who brought him down. Chief Mazarine’s expression seemed too alarmed for that, and our attention peaked when we realized that! Chief Mazarine directed us, “Go to Town Square right now! There’s something you should see…”