Murder on the Reunification Express
by C .
Editors Note: This is a continuation to a serial fiction piece written anonymously by Docket committee members. Each month, The Docket will feature a new installment by a different committee member.
Logan sat dejectedly at his computer after reading Mickey’s e-mail. He hoped this trip would be an in-and-out affair, all to be written off as a business expense. For the next hour, Logan stared at his computer screen and nursed a scotch while aimlessly clicking about the Internet. In either a state of sleep deprivation or mild intoxication (he was unsure as to which), Logan inadvertently ran Mickey Thornton’s name through a Google search. Shocked by the results, Logan tried closing one eye to help him focus on the computer screen. Unfortunately, things still looked the same and very confusing. There, on the first few hits, were articles naming Mickey as a Chief Jail Administrator in Crittenden County, Arkansas.
Logan sat back and rubbed his eyebrows in confusion. He’d remembered that Mickey had a connection to Arkansas somehow, but a jail? That didn’t sound right. Logan was about to dismiss the similarity until he remembered Mickey’s stern warning about "keeping the police out of it." Was there something Mickey was covering up? Nah, couldn’t be, Logan thought. Why would Mickey have a double life as an Arkansas jail administrator? Must be coincidence, he concluded. Still, it bothered Logan.
After a fitful night’s sleep, Logan contacted Thanh and Vinh for a second interview. Fortunately for Logan, he spoke the native tongue, so the added burden of interpreters was unnecessary. After much persuasion, Thanh and Vinh
The trio agreed to meet at a secluded park, and the
"I have been instructed to find Tran’s killer," Logan explained. Then, apparently suffering from the effects of having gone without a meal in 24 hours, Logan spoke without thinking and in violation of Mickey’s instructions asked, "Do you think we can reopen the file with the assistance of the local police?"
"No. Police involvement is not an option in this country. Useless unless money is involved," Vinh gruffly responded. At this, Logan breathed a gentle sigh of relief, and
Backing away from the investigators so as not to offend them with his odor, Logan asked, "The mother, perhaps she can be found and can shed some light on why Tran was headed to Hanoi."
Vinh and Thanh looked at each other, puzzled. Logan repeated his request and, after further discussion, Logan
"No, no. No wife for me," Logan clarified, visibly
"Phuong … " Vinh absentmindedly muttered to no one in particular.
"What?" Logan cocked his head in confusion.
Thanh, clearly irritated at Vinh, scowled and quickly spoke up. "Oh, nothing. Vinh’s still upset about the bar fight last night. Disregard him." Vinh looked down and shuffled his feet uncomfortably.
In a sudden rush of inspiration, Logan remembered that "Phuong" translated into "Phoenix" in English. He was also reminded of a ring that Mickey habitually wore on his left pinkie finger. There was a tiny bird etched into a silver ring. When Logan asked Mickey about it, he claimed to have picked up the ring in Phoenix after a particularly lucrative closing on a real estate transaction.
Stay tuned. …