“What’s this?” Wally asked innocently as he pulled up a chair from a vacant desk.
“Jeez, kid. You ain’t never gonna make it as a detective if you can’t deduce that the item on that paper plate is a chocolate doughnut,” Bruno replied without looking up from his paperwork.
Wally smiled like he totally deserved that, and gave it another shot.
“Why is this doughnut waiting for me?”
Bruno looked up with a smirk. “My Mom was very strict, extremely frugal, and impossible to impress. If I ever did something that amazed her, I was rewarded with something delicious. That doughnut is your ‘Atta boy!‘ for the job you did getting that info outta ADA Ambrose.”
Wally allowed himself the slightest grin.
“Let’s make this a teachable moment while you stuff your face,” Bruno continued before Wally could dare to revel in his praise. “A key to great detective work is asking the right question. You never know when a person’s gonna clam up, ask for a lawyer, notice his friends are listening, or die during an interrogation. Assume you got one question, and make it count.”
Wally shook his head. “That makes sense.”
Bruno furrowed his brow and shot him a look. “Of course it makes sense. I wouldn’t have said it otherwise. Now eat your reward while I tell you about the encounter I had last night where you lost the corpse…”
Wally rolled his eyes at the mention of the lost corpse, but wisely remained silent. He waited to be addressed by Bruno after he was done with the story of his meeting with Karen.
“So having heard, what question you gonna ask?” Bruno challenged.
Wally’s face got all serious as he switched over to deep thought mode. Bruno watched him with a grin on his face, waiting for the smoke to come out of the rookie’s ears.
“Who’s the rich guy paying the homeless to sleep in the schoolyard?” Wally finally blurted. “He’s clearly doing it in hopes of dropping property values, so he can buy that land from the Church on the cheap. He’s probably a real estate guy.”
Wally looked hopeful, like he expected another doughnut to magically materialize on his plate for such a perfect answer.
Bruno, though, wasn’t impressed.
“You answered your own question with knowledge anyone with half a brain woulda figured out,” Bruno scolded. “Of course the suit’s some real estate prick looking to swindle the Church. Good luck explaining that one to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Come on. What’s the question we wanna ask?”
Bruno crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow, adding even more pressure to Wally’s brain, which was already working on all cylinders as it was.
“How is the presence of the homeless people in the very place that Charlie White died related to our case?” Wally finally answered.
Bruno smiled. “That’s good, kid. We’ll make a detective outta you yet.”
“Don’t I get another doughnut?” Wally asked,only half joking.
“How bout I just inject the diabetes directly into your blood?” was Bruno’s counter offer as he stood up and gathered his things.
Wally seemed caught off guard by Bruno’s sudden decision to leave. He hastily gobbled down the remainder of his doughnut.
“Ain’t anyone feeding you at home?” Bruno asked with a chuckle.
Wally shrugged, chewed, and wiped crumbs from his chin.
“We going to find the real estate guy? Or maybe track down the homeless guy with the busted nose?” Wally asked hopefully.
“Nah,” Bruno replied. “We’re gonna ask some Heathens how they lost their way.”
“I’m confused,” Wally confessed without thinking about the insults that might earn him. “You seemed all focused on what the woman with the dog told you.”
“As Sister Mary Catherine will tell you, The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
“Are you comparing yourself to God?” Wally asked in amazement.
Bruno smirked. “Is that really the question you wanna ask in this situation?”
Before Wally could reply, Bruno was on the move, and the young officer had to scamper to keep up with the man on a mission…
TO BE CONTINUED…