“Travis Franks. You remember him?”
“Um, no. I remember Yvonne,” Konan said. Lilly rolled her eyes.
“How could you forget her? You panted after like a dog in heat.”
Ashley laughed, while Konan blushed red. He shook his head no but kept his mouth shut.
“Okay, I guess we should go let Yvonne know that one of her club members are dead.”
I nodded and walked ahead of Lilly. She loved to give me a hard time, and every once in a while, I ribbed her back. Lilly rushed to catch up.
“Come on, Thermopolis. You can’t get upset that I mentioned that how you acted around Yvonne. You were so cute.”
“Lilly, don’t. Yvonne was reptilian.”
“But she’s beautiful…”
Yvonne was beautiful. She reeked of money and affluence, but along with the beauty was the snooty arrogance that seemed to come with wealth.
We walked out to the vehicle, and I drove us to the country club. An old black man stood at the gate. He nodded at us when I pulled up.
“Afternoon, detectives. Long time, no see.”
“Good afternoon, sir.”
“What brings y’all by today?”
“We need to speak to the owners.”
“Well, that might be a problem son. The owners aren’t in. Ms. Yvonne hasn’t been here in six months. The other two disappeared before her.”
“So, who’s running the club?”
“Ms. Yvonne had it set up that in the Trinity’s absence a chain of command so to speak runs it. They ain’t here either.”
“So, there’s no one to speak to in the building.”
“There’s a manager. She’s in.”
“That’ll work fine.”
“Okay. Go on up to the lot detective. The doormen can fetch you to her.”
“Thank you, sir. We appreciate the help.”
I drove the car up to the lot. Lilly stepped out and started for the door. I trailed behind her. One of the doormen put his hands up.
“Members only. Show me your ID.”
“Mines bigger than yours,” Lilly said as she flipped open her badge. “Go get the manager.”
An elderly woman stepped out and fixed us with an ugly look. She gave the doormen a small wave of her hand, and they stepped back.
“Where are the owners,” Lilly demanded. “We need to speak to someone concerning a murder.”
“I am in charge here.”
“For how long?”
“Until one of the owners returns and takes back the power to run the club.”
Lilly turned and looked at me. The manager shook her head and glared at me.
“She’s not returned, and I do not know where she is. You two need to leave her alone.”
“If you’re lying, you’re guilty of obstruction.”
The manager shrugged and turned to walk away, but Lilly stepped in front of her.
“Travis Franks was found dead. You remember him, don’t you?”
“I remember him. You say he is dead.”
“Yeah. He was either suicidal and leapt in front of a train, or someone killed him and then threw him in front of it.”
“I’m sorry he is dead.”
“Was Travis Franks married, ma’am?”
“Who gives you your orders?”
“The board members. The Trinity was the face of the club, the owners per se, but the board is the muscle behind the Trinity.”
“Where can we find them,” Lilly demanded.
My partner was in rare form today. It took something drastic to make Lilly irate, but the arrogance seemed to infect everyone that worked here. From the janitor and housekeeper to the manager, they all acted as if it put them out to cooperate with us.
They all acted like mini-Trinity members.
“They are located in the Fredericks Building downtown. You’ll need an appointment to get in.”
“No, we won’t,” Lilly growled. “I’ve about had all I’m going to take of you pricks. All of you are subject to the law. Give me a reason to drag your butts downtown.”
I nodded toward the door, and Lilly stepped from in front of the manager. She stepped toward me, and the old woman turned and looked at us.
“Next time you have questions, you can take it up with the Trinity’s lawyers. Here is their card.”
I took the card, and Lilly and I walked back to our car. She was muttering when I caught up with her.
“These freaking people,” she muttered. “They think they’re above the law…”
“Are you okay, Lilly?”
“Yeah. Every time we come out here it’s the same ole story. Even the employees are infected with this attitude that we can’t do anything to them. Tia’s gone, Yvonne’s gone, the Trinity may well be dead. And we have zilch to go on.”
I wrapped my arm around her and gave her a friendly squeeze. She plopped her head on my shoulder for a brief second, then pulled away.
“I need coffee.”
“Me too. My brain is frazzled.”
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