“I said put your hands up and don’t move!” As Elaine’s eyes adjusted to the light she could see Officer Jose Ramos standing with his gun raised at someone in her kitchen. His body was rigid so Elaine crept up behind him to get a look at who was in her kitchen. “I’m not going to ask you again. Put your hands up!” Jose steadied himself while he aimed his gun. Elaine heard movement as she tried to get a peek around Jose’s broad shoulders. Jose shifted his stance and she was finally able to see an older man with thinning grey hair, a scruffy grey beard with bald spots and a flannel with stained faded jeans.
“Mr. Murphy?” she said incredulously causing Jose to falter in his stance. He cast his eyes sideways at Elaine.
“You know him?” he mumbled.
“Yes, he is my landlord. Mr. Murphy what are you doing here?” she skirted around Jose into the narrow kitchen and starred quizzically at the gangly man in front of her. Mr. Murphy slightly lowered his arms as heat rose into his cheeks. He looked crossly at Jose.
“Well…umm…I heard on the news that you had been in a shooting or something and I figured you’d be at the police station all night so I came by to keep an eye on your place.” He fumbled as he shifted from foot to foot refusing to look either Elaine or Jose in the face. Elaine’s mouth was open in exasperation. She kept mostly to herself and usually avoided his nosey antics into the other tenants’ lives. He always inserted himself into everyone’s business in the building but this was definitely not the time for him to be in hers.
Jose lowered his gun and sensing Elaine’s frustration stepped in front of her. She whirled away to sit in her living room seething to herself Jose say “Well, sir, it is not lawful for the landlord to enter the premise of a tenants home without prior consent or in the case of an emergency and as this is neither I suggest you leave. Thank you for your concern but it is no longer needed at this time. I will see you out.” Elaine shot Jose a grateful look as he followed out a shuffling Mr. Murphy who cast his eyes about trying to soak in as much information as he could before Jose unceremoniously shut the door in his face.
“Pretty nosey landlord to accompany this debacle of a night.” Elaine looked up to see Jose smiling down at her. She smiled gratefully.
“Thank you so much for getting him out of here. He is the last person I wanted to see tonight…besides Nick Palatnokiv of course.” She smirked then gestured for Jose to take a seat next to her. Jose sat and looked appreciatively around at the apartment Elaine stayed in. Elaine’s office may have been a mess, like her career, but her home was usually spotless. Then again she was rarely there.
“Don’t worry about Nick. The whole police force is on alert. They know his track record and they are just waiting for him to make a mistake so they can finally get him. It’s only a matter of time.” Jose reached over and patted Elaine’s hand that rested on her knee.
“How much time? A day? A week? Two months? Two years? I can’t expect the police to keep me on 24/7 watch two years from now. Nick is an experienced criminal. He has the resources and knowledge to lay low for as long as he needs before he will strike. We won’t be hearing from him any time soon. I won’t be hearing from him any time soon.” Elaine’s troubled eyes searched Jose’s hazel ones. She could see by his solemn face and the way he averted her eyes that she was right. “I’m on my own on this one.” She looked down at her hands as she folded them in her lap clutching for a glimmer of escape from this situation.
Jose reached over again and placed his hand on her closed ones. He took her face in his other hand and moved it until she looked in his eyes. “Elaine I promise I won’t let anything happen to you. I will do whatever I can to help.” The sincerity in his voice made Elaine smile but she shook her head.
“I don’t know how….” Elaine paused and pulled away from Jose. A thought had struck her. She looked excitedly at Jose. “Wait. I think I know how you can help me.”
To Be Continued…