Chapter XVIII – Adrian Terrence
Adrian watched Eddie take a seat. He sent a glance in Ginger’s direction and then tugged at his carrot hair.
It’s a wonder that he hasn’t pulled every strand out by now!
The moment Eddie sat down, he sighed. “I didn’t kill the guy. I didn’t even know him.”
‘Neither of us accused you,” Xavier said.
“But she did. Several times now. And she doesn’t care about protestations of innocence.”
The cousins didn’t try to argue.
“How long have you been working at Café Chocolaté, Eddie?” Adrian turned to a new page in his notebook. “What was your surname again?”
“Very Irish. I named a book character McIntyre once.” Adrian looked up in time to catch Xavier’s half-smile and shook his head.
“Oh.” Eddie seemed to remember the first question. “I’ve been working here for three years.”
“That’s a good length of time. Do you ever plan to go anywhere else?”
Eddie shrugged. “I want to be a nurse, but it takes time to save up for college. I can’t get a loan.”
Adrian nodded. “How old are you, Eddie?”
“Twenty-five.” He sat on the extreme edge of his seat, as still as could be, one hand on each of his legs. He looked up to speak, but otherwise stared at the dark tabletop as if it mesmerized him.
“Are you well acquainted with anyone in the café?” Adrian closed the notebook and pushed it aside.
Maybe it will help to relax him.
“I know Ginger.” Eddie glanced around the room and shrugged. “I recognize most of you, but I’ve never been friends or even enemies with anyone. Ginger usually talks to people and I get the orders ready.”
“Why is that?” Xavier asked. Monique seemed to have fallen quite asleep again. “Is that what you were hired for?”
Eddie tugged on his pant leg. “Yes and no.”
“We were both trained to do everything, but Ginger hates getting orders ready. So, we… worked it out.”
“Your boss doesn’t mind?”
“As long as we get the work done and the customers are happy, no. He doesn’t mind. She helps with cleanup and all in the evenings too.”
“How long has Ginger worked here, Eddie?” Adrian rolled his pencil between his fingers.
“Did you help her get the job?”
Eddie shook his head. “Of course not.”
“Tell us about finding the ice pick.” Xavier seemed to be watching the young man’s face closely.
Eddie jumped. “What about it?”
“Describe it for us.”
Eddie opened his eyes wider, then cleared his throat. “I was just fixing Mary Dill’s coffee. When I went to hand it to her, something rolled off the shelf under the counter, I think, and hit my foot. I looked down and saw the ice pick, and some… red on the floor.”
“Did you know what the red was?”
“It looked like blood to me. It… It wasn’t right to be anything else.”
“Mary started yelling at me and Ginger didn’t look down where the ice pick was. I don’t know why, except I kinda kicked it under the bottom edge of the counter. And why would she. Anyway, I didn’t really think – I didn’t know why the ice pick would have blood on it in the first place, so I picked it up. That’s all. You saw the rest.”
“Why did you pick up the ice pick, if you recognized blood on the blade?”
Eddie shrugged with another tug on his pants. “I don’t know. I didn’t know there had been a murder. I didn’t know what was going on!”
The men sat in silence for a moment or two. Adrian opened his notebook, marked a few things down, then closed it again. Eddie sat, his eyes focused on the tabletop again. Xavier looked thoughtful.
“Eddie, you said that you saw Gary Bradshaw last week, correct?” Adrian asked.
Eddie raised his head. “Yeah, I saw him. He sat in the same seat for most of the afternoon, I think.”
“You think?” Xavier interjected.
Eddie started to raise a hand toward his hair, but tugged on his pant leg again instead. “I can’t pay attention to everyone in the café. I’m too busy making orders. I saw him when he sat down and noticed him once or twice after that. There were a lot of people in that day and Mary Dill wanted her order changed half a dozen times.”
“You can remember Mary being here on the same day?” Adrian asked.
“She’s here on most days.” Eddie shook his head. “That day, she was more needy than usual and nearly spilled her coffee on – Gary Bradshaw? – when he took his order from me.”
“I see.” Adrian had reopened his notebook. “Can you recall who else might have been here on that specific day?”
“No. Not besides myself.”
“And Ginger Thomas?” Xavier asked.
“Of course. Ginger too.”
“Coming to today,” Adrian rolled his pencil between his fingers again, “why don’t you tell us everything that you know about Gary Bradshaw’s visit. Did you see him come in?”
“No.” Eddie moved further toward the edge of his seat, but nearly fell off altogether. “I was busy.”
“Did Ginger take his order?”
“No, actually. I did. Ginger hadn’t come in yet. She had a flat tire this morning and got in late.”
Adrian frowned, but Eddie kept talking.
“He ordered a coffee and a sandwich, I think, if it makes any difference. I took his order, he walked away. I gave him his food a few minutes later.”
“Had Ginger arrived yet?” Xavier asked.
“I don’t know. What difference would that make?”
“You were doing what when the first explosion occurred, Eddie?” Adrian decided not to allow a rabbit trail.
“Fixing Mary Dill’s coffee. Again. She said it was too hot.”
“And you saw nothing? The service area is right beside that booth.”
“I was busy. When the explosion happened, I nearly dropped the container of ice I’d brought out. I turned to see if Ginger was okay, then I saw that the lady over there,” he gestured toward Kimberly, “had fallen and I went to help her up. I didn’t even notice Gary Bradshaw.”
“You had a container of ice on the counter when the explosion occurred, Eddie?” Xavier spoke very quiet, very clear.
Eddie tugged at his pants. “Yes.”
“Were you using the ice pick?”
Eddie stared hard at Xavier, one hand going into a fist just barely in Adrian’s line of sight. “No.” He swallowed visibly. “I didn’t need it.”
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