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The Butterfly Locket
Detective Jack North had just walked into his office at the San Francisco Police Department when the Captain rang and requested for Jack to come to his office and hear the details of a new case the Detective was to investigate.
The office of the much respected SFPD Captain Grosvenor Wright reflected very much upon the Captain’s own mind: filled with a diverse assortment of objects of artistic and entertaining value - each one dissimilar to the others - that both confuse and ignite inspiration in those who contemplate them. Captain Grosvenor Wright is probably the most interesting and unique character you will ever have the pleasure of knowing.
As Detective Jack North entered the Captain’s office, a tiny golden bell jingled above the Detective’s head; this bell was one of the Captain’s many creative touches added to his office, hoping that the cheerful sound of a small bell would make those entering feel as though they were a child entering a candy shop and not an adult entering his boss’s office.
At this moment, Grosvenor Wright was sitting in his leather swivel chair, which was turned around with the Captain’s back facing the door. After hearing the bell ring he swiveled around to face Detective North, but not before the Detective noticed a slight bald spot among the tangle of graying black on the back of the Captain’s head.
“Good morning, Detective,” said the Captain, smiling and interlocking his fingers, “Please sit down. We must discuss your new case.”
Detective North sat down in a chair placed in front of the Captain’s desk, directly facing the Captain himself. “What’ve we got?” asked the Detective.
Captain Grosvenor Wright opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a thin yellow file with the word HOMICIDE in big red letters stamped across the front. The Captain laid the file on his desk and opened it. It was one page only, with a few photos and paragraphs covering both sides of the page.
“Pawn broker was found dead early this morning. Apparently he’d been stabbed to death with a small sharp object. Banner reckons it was a small knife, but he hasn’t thoroughly inspected the body yet. He wants you to take a look at it first, so you should get down there and check out the scene. The address is 18 Felix Blvd. in southeast San Fran. Maxwell should already be down there, along with Banner and Bravery. You’ll find all the information you need in this file.”
“Yes sir,” said Detective North, “I’ll get right to it.”
“Good man, Jack. Good man. I wish the other Homicide detectives were as enthusiastic about their jobs as you are.”
“Now who said I was enthusiastic about murder?”
Grosvenor chuckled. “We all have our hobbies, Detective. Take a look around you and you’ll se a few of mine.” The Captain gestured with open arms as if to add a dramatic ‘behold’ to his vast collection of colorful items.
Detective North returned the chuckle and smiled as he said,
“Just a few? Man, I’d hate to see how big the room filled with the rest of your hobbies is,”
“What can I say, Jack? I’m a man of many interests.”
After leaving the Captain’s office and the SFPD station Detective North made straight for the pawn shop at 18 Felix Blvd. The Detective’s black Mustang completed the journey in under ten minutes, driving like the reliable and well-taken-care-of vehicle that it was.
Johnson’s Pawn was a small, one-room building located at the intersection of Felix Blvd. and Atkinson St. The sign hanging above the door of the pawn shop was worn and rugged, and some of the letters in JOHNSON’S PAWN were gone altogether. This was clearly an old building, for its dark green paint was chipping away at places and a few shingles were missing from the roof.
The streets and sidewalks outside of the shop were crowded with uniformed police officers, detectives, and reporters, all wondering the same thing: what exactly went down at Johnson’s Pawn? It was obvious that someone had died; a perimeter had been established at both ends of Felix Blvd. to keep vehicles and citizens out, and police ‘Do Not Cross’ tape was surrounding the front of the pawn shop. The local coroner was also on the scene: Dr. Simon Banner, M.D., in his white coroner’s coat and gloves. He was having a conversation now with Homicide Detective J. T. Maxwell, an investigator who often worked alongside Detective North. As North drove up to the police barricade and got out of his car, Maxwell and Banner ceased their conversation and Detective Maxwell went to meet with Detective North, who was now crossing the police tape and entering the scene of the crime. At once North’s detective instincts kicked in, and in his mind there was no one else but him, the victim, and the perpetrator - no family, no friends, no other matters except the case at hand. This is what made Jack North a great detective - his inability to let anything or anyone stand between himself and solving the case. Detective North - and others - considers this trait a blessing … but also a curse. The Detective’s ex-wife is proof of this.
Detective North’s crime scene trance was interrupted by Detective Maxwell, who placed his hand on North’s shoulder and said,
“How ya doin’, Jack? You ready for this?”
“I’m always ready, J. T. You oughta know that by now.”
“Right, of course. Jack North, the unflappable detective. You wanna check out the stiff before Banner carts him off?”
“Body, J. T., not stiff. Have a little more respect for the deceased. And yes, I do.”
J. T. rolled his brown eyes and followed Detective North inside the pawn shop.
The interior of the pawn shop was a mess - various objects strewn on the carpeted floor, glass display cases smashed open and the jewelry and small items that were once contained inside were scattered everywhere amongst the broken glass shards on the floor. Pictures and paintings were either hanging crookedly on the walls or pulled away from the walls altogether. It wouldn’t take a detective to see that a struggle undoubtedly took place here.
Police officers and detectives were already searching for clues, but besides a few drops of blood - which will be tested for DNA later in forensics - no revealing evidence was found yet.
Detectives North and Maxwell crossed the room - glass and other fragile items crunching under their every step - and approached the main attraction of the crime scene: the victim’s body, a big, bald-headed man appearing to be in his late forties. The man had a bushy black mustache on his upper lip, and a single silver ear stud glistened on the man’s right earlobe. A white sheet covered the man’s body from the neck down, concealing the knife wound in his chest from view, although a small bloodstain could be seen through the sheet where the wound was located. The body was laying sprawled out on the floor behind the front counter. The only person to have touched the body was Dr. Banner, to take the body’s current temperature and to examine the surface wound.
As Detective North started to lean down over the body for inspection, Dr. Banner opened the front door and entered the pawn shop, and was soon shaking North’s hand and standing over the body.
“Details on the victim, Dr. Banner?” asked Detective North, reaching into his suit pocket and pulling out a small, leather-bound black notebook, in which he recorded all the useful information the Detective gathered on every case. This particular notebook was his third, his past two notebooks being filled to overflowing with case notes.
“Victim’s name is Arthur MacBeckett, age 48 and works at this fine establishment every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Dr. Banner, “Since today is Thursday, and judging from the temp, I’d say Mr. MacBeckett died sometime around six-thirty or seven p.m. yesterday.”
Detective North thought for a few seconds, then said,
“The sign in the front window says that Johnson’s Pawn closes at seven every day. Hmm. Clever.”
“What’s clever?” asked Detective Maxwell.
“The perp waited until closing time to do MacBeckett in, ensuring that the chance of someone walking in and discovering the body then was slim. At least until this morning, that is, leaving the perp enough time to high-tail it out of the city, maybe even the state.”
“Then the guy could already be halfway across the country by now,’ declared Maxwell, “That makes catching the guy really difficult for us.”
“Indeed it does, J. T.”
Upon inspecting the body, Detective North discovered nothing out-side of what Dr. Banner had deduced: Mr. MacBeckett was stabbed to death, multiple times with a small, sharp object directly into the heart. North agreed with Banner that a pocket knife could have been used. Other than that, the body gave no more information about the crime committed.
“What about the owner?” asked Detective North, standing back up, “And the other employees? What do they have to say?”
“Carol Johnson was out of town at the time, visiting relatives in Los Angeles. We called the relatives and confirmed his alibi,” explained Maxwell, “as for the other employees, there are none. Mr. Johnson works Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.”
“So it was an outside job,” said Detective North.
“It would appear so.”
Detective North pulled out his notebook and scribbled down a few notes, then asked,
“And what about the person who discovered the body?” Dr. Banner turned around and gestured outside as he said,
“Outside. Sergeant Bravery’s talking to her now, trying to calm her down. She’s still a bit in shock of what she found this morning. Go see Bravery, maybe he’s got her ready for you by now.”
And with that, Detectives North and Maxwell exited the pawn shop and approached Police Sergeant Alex Bravery, who was speaking calmly to an elderly woman with gray curly hair and deep blue eyes that seemed to stare deep within your very soul.
“She’s all yours, Detectives,” said Sergeant Bravery, whose name is curiously a dead giveaway for his attitude in the field. “Try to go easy on her, she’s still a bit shaken up,” Bravery said in a hushed tone as he walked past the two detectives.
Detective North pulled out his notebook yet again and began the interrogation process.
“Detectives North and Maxwell,” started North, “Do you mind if we ask you a few questions regarding the murder, missus…”
“Cutter. Edna Cutter,” replied the woman in a voice that resembled her appearance: frail and weak.
“Mrs. Cutter. You were the one that found the body?”
“Yes, Detective,” she replied in a hushed tone, “I saw the mess and thought he’d been robbed, and he’d fainted - Mr. MacBeckett always did get scared so easily - but then I saw the blood and called the police.”
Detective North wrote this information down in his notebook and continued the interrogation,
“You’re implying that you knew the victim, Arthur MacBeckett, Mrs. Cutter?”
“Yes, we’re old friends,” said Mrs. Cutter, managing a slight smile, “I used to baby sit him when he was just a little boy, way back when.”
“Do you visit Johnson’s Pawn frequently, ma’am?”
“Every day Arthur worked. We like to catch up on happy times. Plus, I enjoy a little bargain hunting every now and then, and Arthur was always so kind as to sell me items at fractions of their regular prices.”
North scribbled more information down in his notebook, then asked,
“Ma’am, do you have any idea who would want to cause Mr. MacBeck-ett harm?”
“Why, of course not! Arthur was always such a kind man, and anyone who would want to cause him harm is either driven insane with devils or is a devil himself!” More writing. Then,
“Mrs. Cutter, did you happen to visit Johnson’s Pawn yesterday afternoon sometime between six-thirty and seven?” Mrs. Cutter’s eyes grew wide and her back straightened as much as her frail body would allow, and answered, in a much firmer voice,
“Why, yes, I was, at about a quarter after six, but Detective, you can’t honestly suspect that I-”
“Not at all, ma’am, we’re just trying to get all the facts.” Edna Cutter relaxed a little, but her piercing blue eyes never left Detective North’s green ones. Continuing, Detective North asked,
“Do you remember seeing anything or anyone suspicious during your visit?” Mrs. Cutter thought for a moment, and then said,
“As a matter of fact, I do remember seeing someone enter the shop just as I was leaving. And believe me, he was not the kind of man you’d soon forget.”
“Can you describe the man for me, please, ma’am?” Detective North readying his pencil and notebook - a full description could help wonders with solving the case.
“Certainly, Detective. Let’s see: he was tall, that’s for sure - maybe six feet one or two. He was also extremely thin - as if he hadn’t eaten for days.”
“What about his face, anything significant there?”
“Yes. First of all, he wore a black eye patch over his left eye, that’s pretty significant. He also had a thin black mustache. He reminded me of a pirate. Oh and his eyes - or, should I say, his eye - was red and glassy, as I he’d been crying or had allergies. He walked right past me and into the shop - didn’t say anything or even look at me. That’s the last I saw of him.”
This was valuable evidence - this one-eyed man could possibly be the killer. Detective North hastily wrote all this information down in his notebook, filling up two entire pages. The Detective was excited, now, as he always was after learning vital information. North then asked,
“Was this man alone?”
“Going into the shop, yes. But once I was outside I noticed a car sitting right outside the shop, with the engine running. I assumed that the man had been dropped off by the car. I glanced over to the driver’s side and saw another man sitting behind the wheel.”
“Did you get a good look at him?”
“Just a snippet - he looked to be about my age - mid-sixties - with gray hair, almost white, with a beard and mustache of the same color. That’s all I can remember.”
“What about the car? Model? Color? License plate number?”
“It was a white Toyota Camry - recently washed and waxed by the look of it - the license plate number I remember because it spelled out something: K-8-4-E-V-R - Kate Forever. I imagine the owner of the car must be named Kate, or know a Kate, but I didn’t think about it too long - I’m not one to pry in other peoples’ business.”
This was too good to be true. A full license plate number isn’t always easy to obtain in other cases, and are very helpful. All that had to be done was trace the license plate number and find the owner, who could either have had something to do with the murder or know some vital information about it.
Detective North decided he had all the information he needed. He said,
“Thank you very much for you help, Mrs. Cutter. Here’s my card,” he handed her a small piece of paper with his name and number on it. “Call us if you have any more information, or we’ll call you.”
“Of course, Detective. And, by the way, its Miss Cutter, not Mrs. I’m not married,”
“My mistake, Miss Cutter. Please forgive me,” Detective North tipped his fedora to Miss Cutter, who then said,
“Not at all, Detective, not at all. And might I say, you’re such a polite young man, Detective North, and so handsome, too.”
Detective North was flattered and thanked Miss Cutter, and then turned around to face Sergeant Bravery, standing a few feet away. The Sergeant waited until Miss Cutter was out of earshot to say,
“Well, looks like someone’s got a crush on you, Jack.”
“Very funny, Bravery,” said North, secretly thinking that it was sort of funny.
“Well, If you’re done questioning people, I think we may have found something of interest … if you’re interested.”
“Indeed I am, Sergeant,” said the Detective, excited again, “Lead the way.”
Sergeant Bravery lead Detectives North and Maxwell back into the pawn shop and over to the front counter. The body of Arthur MacBeckett was no longer present, as Dr. Banner had already taken the body away to the morgue for examination.
Laying on the counter was a rectangular ledger - a book in which all items bought, sold and pawned here at Johnson’s Pawn were recorded. The ledger was already open to a page somewhere in the middle of the ledger. The page had only one entry, which said:
Sold - M. Byre
122 Woods worth St.
San Francisco, Ca.
What’s curious about this particular entry is that it was circled entirely in red ink, with the numbers 4/4/12 written next to the circle, also in red.
Detective North wrote these details down in his notebook and said,
“A sterling silver butterfly locket was sold from here, to an M. Byer - ironic name.”
“But why is it circled, and what’s with the numbers?” asked Detective Maxwell.
“The numbers are a date - April the fourth, 2012 - two days from now. The buyer had probably already bought this particular piece of jewelry and planned to come and pick it up on the fourth. As for why it’s circled, I’m not sure. Could be just because Mr. Johnson didn’t want to forget about the purchase, so he circled it in red.” Sergeant Bravery reached out and picked the ledger up off the counter and bagged it, handing it to a nearby officer, and said,
“Well, whoever this M. Byer is, he must’ve picked up his order a couple days early,” Detective North stared at the Sergeant curiously before asking,
“What do you mean, Sergeant?”
“Detective, my men and I have searched this building high and low,” said the Sergeant, “and we never came across a silver butterfly locket.”
“Are you absolutely sure?” asked Detective North.
Instead of immediately answering the Detective, Sergeant Bravery turned and called for an officer Rhodes, a tall, lanky, dark-haired police officer. Rhodes came, holding a clipboard in his hands. Sergeant Bravery spoke to Detective North:
“”I had Rhodes here write down all the items for sale here in this shop, in case we needed the information later,” The Sergeant then turned and spoke to Rhodes,
“Rhodes, have we found a sterling silver locket, shaped like a butterfly?” Officer Rhodes went over the entries in the clipboard, then shook his head, saying,
“No, sir. At least not yet. We’re almost done. But if we find it, I’ll inform you straight away.”
“Thank you, Rhodes,” said the Sergeant, sending the young officer back to work.
Detective North contemplated this new information, then said a single word:
“What is?” asked Maxwell.
“The butterfly locket could have more to do with this case than I thought,” declared North.
“Well, from the information we’ve gathered, we have three possible solutions,” the Detective stuck up the first three fingers of his right hand to form a ‘W’ shape and started naming the possible solutions, ticking each of them off with each finger as he said them: “One - the man with the eye patch described by Ms. Cutter was indeed M. Byer coming to pick up his purchase early, and for some reason ended up murdering Arthur MacBeckett. Two” -
“Wait, wait,” interrupted Sergeant Bravery, “how do we know if Byer, if he or she even came early at all, would kill MacBeckett, and if so, why?”
“That’s what I want you to find out, Sergeant,” said Detective North, his mouth stretching into a grin.
“Yes, you. And bring Officer Rhodes with you, you might need the help.”
“I think I can handle myself.”
“Oh, I’m sure you could, Sergeant, but if Byer is our guy, he could be armed and dangerous…”
Sergeant Bravery’s mouth tightened and he looked away, thinking about something for a few brief seconds, then said, in a much quieter tone of voice,
“Yes, I suppose so…” he then looked back at the Detective and straightened, saying, his voice much louder now,
“Yes sir, Detective. I’ll get Rhodes and we’ll head over to Byer’s address right now.”
“Good. Best of luck, Sergeant.” Detective North saluted and watched as Sergeant Bravery turned and walked towards the exit, calling for Rhodes to put down the clipboard and follow the Sergeant. The Detectives would hear from the Sergeant later.
“Now, as I was saying,” continued Detective North, speaking to Maxwell, “possible solution number two is that M. Byer has nothing to do with this case, but the eye patch guy is still our prime suspect.” Detective North had one finger left sticking up. “And solution number three, which I highly doubt myself, both the eye patch guy and M. Byer have nothing to do with this case, and that the real solution is something else entirely.” Detective North looked at the room around him and said, “Take a look around you, J. T.,” Detective Maxwell did so, taking in every detail that he could. “Originally, the police most likely presumed that the reason for the murder of Mr. MacBeckett is that the man walked in on a burglary attempt, considering all the valuable items here, and the perpetrator panicked and killed Mr. MacBeckett. What do you see in this room that strikes you as strange in a so-called burglary scene?” Detective Maxwell answered almost immediately,
“Nothing’s been stolen.”
“Correct, young Maxwell. At least, nothing except…”
“…The butterfly locket.”
“But that might not necessarily mean anything,” said Maxwell, “maybe the guy had to kill MacBeckett before he could nab anything, but after the body hit the ground the guy was probably scared - this was presumably a burglary attempt, after all, not murder - and just grabbed the nearest item before high-tailing it out of here.”
“An excellent theory, J. T.,” said North, “but I sincerely doubt that that’s what happened.”
“And what makes you say that?” asked Detective Maxwell, somewhat offended.
“The display cases are shattered and the drawers behind the counter were thrown open, the contents rummaged through and strewn on the floor. Our killer was obviously looking for something.”
Detective Maxwell was impressed; he would never have thought of that himself. But he didn’t say so out loud. Instead he asked,
“Something of specific value?”
“I’m not sure,” declared Detective North, writing something down in his notebook, scowling. “Look at all these antiques and jewels. Old clocks, paintings, rubies, diamonds, etc. These could all be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the streets. Why ignore it all just to make off with a sterling silver locket? It cant be as valuable as most of the items in here.”
“I don’t know, Jack,” said Maxwell, “sterling silver can be pretty valuable. Ninety-two-and-a-half percent pure silver? If it’s a good sized locket, it could fetch a pretty good price on the streets, if you find the right buyer.”
“Maybe,” mumbled North, who had ceased his writing in order to concentrate on his thoughts. “But it looks to me like our guy went through a lot of trouble just to grab a locket,” North put his notebook away and crossed his arms over his chest, still thinking, still scowl-ing. “I don’t know, J. T., I just don’t know.” Detective Maxwell then made a suggestion.
“Well, why don’t we follow up on that license plate? It could give us more info.” Detective North looked up at his partner and friend, smiled, and said,
“Good idea, Maxwell. Let’s roll.” The two detectives marched out of the pawn shop and onto Felix Blvd. where North’s black Mustang was parked.
“You drive, Maxwell,” said North, throwing his partner the car keys, “I need to go over the case notes.”
Maxwell felt like he had just been handed the Holy Grail; Jack North never let anyone drive his precious Mustang, least of all Maxwell, who wasn’t exactly the world’s greatest driver. Allowing Maxwell to drive was a sign of trust between the two detectives, and Maxwell felt honored and grateful at the thought.
“Don’t scratch the paint,” ordered North as the two detectives opened the doors and got in the car, North riding shotgun and Maxwell behind the wheel.
“I’ve always admired this car,” said Maxell, easing back in the leather seat and gripping the steering wheel with both hands, his eyes closed as if he was basking in the glory that was Detective Jack North’s back Mustang.
“It’s the love of my life,” joked North, fastening his seatbelt. Maxwell turned the key in the ignition and drove down Felix Blvd. away from the crime scene.
Detective North reached into his suit pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He flipped it open, dialed a number and held it up to his ear. He heard one ring, then two, and then he heard a familiar female voice answer the call.
“San Francisco Police Department, how may we help you?”
“Good morning, Sandra,” said the Detective, “This is Detective North. I have a license plate number I’d like for you to trace.”
“Certainly, Detective,” answered the SFPD secretary, “I’m ready.”
“The number is Kim-8-4-Edward-Victor-Richard, make, model and color is Toyota Camry, white.”
“One moment, please, Detective…” Detective North heard various clicks and taps as Sandra Rogers searched the license plate number in the SFPD database. A few seconds passed and then Ms. Rogers said,
“White Toyota Camry, license plate K-8-4-E-V-R, registered to a Mr. Oswald Parr, 515 Mason St.” Detective North wrote this information in his notebook and said,
“Thank you, Ms. Rogers. That will be all.”
“Of course, Detective.” said Sandra, and then she hung up. Detective North closed his cell phone and returned it to his suit pocket. He then said to Detective Maxwell,
“Oswald Parr, 515 Mason St.”
“That’s just a few blocks away,” said Maxwell, who knew San Francisco like the back of his hand. He turned right onto Gold St. and headed southeast towards Mason St.
Fifteen minutes later, Detective J. T. Maxwell eased the black Mustang into the driveway at 515 Mason St. The house before them was a single-story, brick-laid building with a recently-painted white wooden door and a small chimney sticking out from the right end of the roof. Petunias were growing in small handmade flower boxes under the two front windows as well as in a small flower garden at the side of the house. The lawn was recently mowed and watered, as tiny drops of shimmering liquid were dangling from the short blades of grass. Not wishing to get there black polished shoes wet, Detectives Maxwell and North approached the front door using a small walkway composed entirely of bricks that led from the driveway to the front door.
Detective North thought, An ironically cozy place for a cold-blooded murderer, as he rang the doorbell. A cheerful tune that resem-bled An Ode to Joy chimed, and half a minute later the door opened to reveal a small, gray-haired man standing in the threshold.
“Can I help you?” asked the man in a deep voice that was in contrast to his weak appearance. He was nearly a head shorter than Detective North, who was only five-foot-ten.
“Detectives North and Maxwell, sir, SFPD. We’d like to ask you a few questions regarding a murder that took place recently.” The man app-eared surprised, and then said,
“Oh, alright, I suppose. Please, do come in.” The man stepped to the side and gestured for the two detectives to enter his home.
The interior of the house looked just as cozy as the exterior. The living room was small but quaint, with a black leather couch dominating the center, facing a small television sitting on a small table. A recliner that matched the couch was sitting at the end of the couch, turned to the side, forming a right angle with the couch. The walls were bare except for two pictures, hanging side-by-side, one of a dark-haired man with a thin mustache, the other of a dark-haired woman with stunning blue eyes and flashy white teeth. A picture of beauty.
The elderly man signaled for the two detectives to take a seat on the leather couch while the man himself sat in the chair, turning his head to face the detectives.
“We’re sorry to intrude, sir, but as we said, a murder has taken place, and we’d like to ask you a few questions,” said North, taking out his notebook.
“I’ll do my best, Detective,” said the man. “My name is Everett Parr, by the way. But you can call me Rett, if you want. Everyone does.”
“If it’s all right with you we’ll just stick to Everett,” said North, and he began his interrogation.
“Mr. Parr, do you know an Arthur MacBeckett?”
Everett closed his eyes in thought as he said, “The name sounds familiar…” and then he opened his eyes and said “Doesn’t he work at that pawn shop at the corner of Atkinson and Felix?”
“Yes, that’s him. Well, Mr. MacBeckett was found murdered this morning. Do you know anything about that?”
Mr. Parr looked genuinely surprised as he said, “No, I didn’t! That poor man!”
“Were you acquainted in any way with Mr. MacBeckett, Mr. Parr?”
“Not personally,” answered Everett, “we chatted a few times when I went into his shop, nothing more.”
“Were you a frequent customer at Johnson’s Pawn?”
“I only went once or twice since I arrived.”
“I live in Sacramento. I’m visiting my brother, Oswald, for a while. This is his house.”
Detective North hastily scribbled this information down in his notebook. He realized that he’d have to get a new one soon if this information kept coming up. He glanced at Maxwell, who said with his eyes, Yeah, I know. Oswald. The guy who owns that car. Detective North then asked,
“Mr. Parr, does your brother own a white Toyota Camry, license plate K-8-4-E-V-R?”
Again, Everett Parr appeared surprised at the information put forth by Detective North. “How did you know that? It’s parked out back. What’s that got to do with anything?”
“A witness reports that she saw a white Toyota Camry arrive at the pawn shop near the time of the murder, and that she also saw a gray-haired man at the steering wheel. You have gray hair, Mr. Parr. Why were you at Johnson’s Pawn yesterday?”
Everett closed his eyes again, thinking, and then opened them quickly, a grin stretching across his face. “Ah, yes. I remember seeing her. She certainly looked like the kind of person who spends all day staring at people.”
“Please answer my question, Mr. Parr.” said Detective North, his voice a little firmer than before. Everett Parr sighed and said,
“My brother asked me to drive him there. He said he needed some fresh air and some time to think. You see, Detective, these have been terrible times for my brother. He’d been drinking quite a lot recently, and said he wasn’t sober enough to drive. We arrived at the pawn shop at about six forty-five and left around seven. He went in while I stayed in the car.” Everett Parr’s eyes suddenly grew wide and he exclaimed, “But you can’t pin this on my brother! He wouldn’t hurt a fly!”
“Well then explain the eye patch, Mr. Parr. Our witness states that the man who entered the shop - who was described to us and resembles that picture hanging up on the wall over there - was wearing an eye patch over his left eye. If your brother isn’t a violent man, then how did he lose his eye?”
Mr. Parr answered matter-of-factly, “He didn’t lose his eye. Ozzy has a lazy eye, and he has to wear an eye patch over his left eye every day for an hour. Ozzy was a little late yesterday, as he almost forgot. Like I said, times have been bad for Ozzy, and he tends to forget the simplest of things.”
Detective North scribbled down more information in his notebook and asked,
“Mr. Parr, do you have any idea if your brother would want to do Arthur MacBeckett harm, and if so, why?”
Two emotions flickered across Everett Parr’s face: shock and fear. He didn’t speak, and his breathing came out in short and rapid breaths. Detective North said,
“Mr. Parr, if you know something, you must tell us. I understand that you want to protect your brother; I have a brother, and I would want to protect him, too. But if Oswald broke the law, then me must take him in.” Mr. Parr closed his eyes and his breathing became normal. After a few seconds he sighed and said,
“Okay. I guess I’ll have to start at the beginning,” he breathed in a long, shuddering breath and began his story.
“It was thirty years ago today when he met her. I had thought she was pretty, but Oswald thought she was the most beautiful woman God ever created.”
“Who is ‘she’?” asked Detective North.
“Her name was Katherine. Kate, for short.”
“Kate Forever,” whispered Detective Maxwell.
“Yes. Ozzy and Kate soon fell in love and were married, afterwards spending every waking moment with each other. They had the same job, so they always saw each other. It was true, flawless love, Detective. You couldn’t help but feel the love whenever you were around them.
“But then, two weeks ago, something tragic happened. Katherine had been very sick, and eventually died. Ozzy was devastated at first, but soon realized that Katherine lived a long, happy life, and that she was no longer suffering from her illness and was in a better place. In a way, Ozzy was content. And even though Kate was gone, he had something of hers to remind him of all the good times they had.
“Several years ago, Ozzy bought his lovely wife a present for their anniversary -”
“Let me guess,” said Maxwell, “He bought her a sterling silver butterfly locket.”
Mr. Parr looked curiously at Maxwell and said, “Why, yes, that’s it! Do you know where it is? Do you have it?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out, Mr. Parr,” said Detective North, suddenly very excited about the way this case was turning. “Please continue your story.”
Mr. Parr calmed down and resumed: “Katherine loved the locket more than any other piece of jewelry she owned, and wore it everywhere she went. It soon became a sort of bond between Ozzy and Kate, a symbol of their love for one another. When Kate passed away, Ozzy took the locket and kept it safe from harm.
“But Ozzy wasn’t the only one interested in the locket. Arthur MacBeckett somehow heard about the locket and learned of its value. He knew that a locket like that could be worth a lot, and pressed Ozzy to sell it to him. Ozzy refused, harshly, several times, eventually causing an argument and then a near fistfight to break out. It was only because I intervened that the two didn’t knock each other out. MacBeckett left, but not before he said something that I hadn’t really though about until just recently: he said ‘I’ll get that locket, even if I have to steal it!’. That was the last we saw of MacBeckett for a while.
“But then, about three days ago, Ozzy woke up one morning to find that the locket was gone. We searched high and low for it, in every nook and cranny this house had to offer. Losing his wife’s most prized possession slowly drove Ozzy slightly insane - he wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t do anything except look for the locket. I eventually convinced him that it wasn’t in this house. The idea of theft entered my mind, but I didn’t want to say anything about it to Ozzy, for fear of what measures he might resort to in order to get the locket back.
“It was just yesterday when Ozzy came out of his room and asked me to take him for a drive. He had been drinking heavily lately and wasn’t it any condition to drive, or so he told me. I agreed, and we took his car - mine was at the garage getting a flat fixed. We eventually arrived at the pawn shop, where Ozzy asked me to stop and wait while he went in. He said he wanted to apologize to Mr. Macbeckett for the harsh words and actions that were exchanged between the two the other day. He was in there about fifteen minutes and then came out, telling me that MacBeckett had accepted his apology and that all feelings of hate towards each other were resolved. At the moment I was proud of my brother for being the bigger man, and we returned here. Ozzy went immediately into his room - I suspected it was because he was tired from all the searching he did for the locket.”
“Wait a minute,” interrupted Detective Maxwell, “You allowed a heavily intoxicated man to go into a pawn shop on his own?”
“Well, when we arrived, he looked fine to me. He appeared focused, not drowsy or dizzy at all, and he walked straight, not wavering. He looked like he could handle himself.”
“When Oswald came out, did you notice him carrying anything?” asked Detective North.
“I wasn’t really paying attention, but I think I remember his hands were empty.”
So much information. Detective North had already filled five pages of his notebook with notes, and was in danger of running out of pages to write on. He would have to save the writing for only the crucial information. He then asked,
“Mr. Parr, where is your brother now?”
Everett Parr gazed at Detective North for what seemed like a minute before saying,
“You know, a week ago I would not have thought my brother to be capable of hurting anybody, much less murdering anyone. But now, after seeing what losing the locket did to his mind, I fear I can’t say that anymore.”
Detective North again asked, more fiercely, “Mr. Parr, where is your brother?”
Without turning his head, Everett raised his arm and pointed a long, bony finger behind him, towards a plain door set in the right wall of a hallway. Immediately the two detectives rose from there seats and hurriedly approached the door, there hands reaching for there concealed handguns. Detective North shouted,
“Oswald Parr, SFPD! Open the door immediately or we will break it down!” No answer. “Oswald Parr, you are under arrest for the murder of Arthur MacBeckett! Open this door!” Again, no answer. Detective North counted to three, and then both detectives kicked the door in. The door was kicked off its hinges and landed with a thud on the carpeted floor, revealing the small room within.
The sight before them was a terrible one.
On a small desk in one corner of the room sat two items of interest: a small, bloodstained pocketknife, and the infamous sterling silver butterfly locket. And in the middle of the ceiling was a ceiling fan, not spinning, with one end of a thick rope tide to one of the blades, which was bending under the weight of the thing that was tied to the other end of the rope: the limp, pale body of Oswald Parr.
Thirty minutes later, the Parr residence was crawling with reporters, police officers and detectives, Oswald Parr’s room being the main attraction. The bloodstained pocketknife was tested for DNA and a match was found: Arthur MacBeckett’s DNA matched the DNA on the knife. Oswald Parr’s body was sent to the morgue, and Everett Parr, mentally damaged by his brother’s death, was immediately moved to a retirement institute in Sacramento. He would never speak again.
Detective North soon received a call from Sergeant Alex Bravery, who reported that Marlon Byer had indeed put the locket on hold - it was a present for his wife. North thanked the Sergeant for his help and sent the butterfly locket to the SFPD station, where it would soon be sold at an evidence auction to none other than Marlon Byer, who was pleased that he had a present for his lovely wife.
The theories as to why Oswald Parr committed suicide were numerous, but the two that were suggested by Detective North were the most probable: that Oswald, a non-violent man, was guilty about what he did and couldn’t live with it. Or, Ozzy missed his dear wife so much that he killed himself, thinking that he would be with her.
As Detectives North and Maxwell sat in North’s black Mustang, North realized something and shared his thoughts with Maxwell.
“Maxwell, you remember when we were trying to guess why the murderer only took the locket, and you guessed that he was searching for something of a specific value?”
“Well, it turns out you were right. Parr was looking for something of great value, but not in terms of cold hard cash. Instead, Parr was looking for something he held closer to his heart than money: the bond between himself and his wife. In a way, Parr was looking for the love for his wife which was stolen from him.”
Maxwell chuckled and said, “The things people do for love. It’s crazy,”
“Indeed it is, young Maxwell. But - in most cases - it’s always worth it.”
And so ends the case of the Butterfly Locket, another exciting case from the Homicide Desk of Detective Jack North. But a detective’s work is never finished, as Detective North will soon find out…