Okay folks, here's part 2 of the story I posted a couple of days ago.
The Cell Phone, Continued...
“I had just got home when my phone rings. It’s Mrs. Lamia. She’s going nuts—where’s my phone? You said you’d send it! She goes on and on… I tell her I just left the warehouse and I have her phone, but I can’t send it until morning—everything’s closed. She says she wants me to drive to California right then and give it to her at the border. I say no way—I’ve got to go to work in the morning. I tell her she needs to send me the title of the car—signed over to me—and once I get that, I’ll send the phone.”
Soudeer looked at Fox hoping he believed him. “I know I should have probably just sent the phone, but I had put a lot on the line for this…I went to a building I didn’t own, drove a car from that building that I couldn’t prove I owned. The deal was she pay me for my services so I was just making sure that happened.”
Fox considered any potential crime Soudeer may have committed by not sending the phone immediately, but dismissed the thought. “So, what’d she say that that?”
“Oh, she hit the roof, man! She screamed at me for like 10 minutes, but in the end, she realized if I don’t get my title, she don’t get her phone. She said I’d get the title the next day.”
“So you get the title?”
“Not yet… But if you’d just let me make a call on my phone, I can prove the car’s mine.”
A gentle knock was heard at the room’s only door. Both men turned and looked in the direction of the knock.
“Come,” Fox said a little relieved at the distraction. A uniformed officer, thin, tall opened the door. “Detective,” the man said. “We’ve got that information you asked for—thought you’d want to know about it.”
Fox stood and said, “Absolutely. Hector…I’ll be right back.”
“Hey, when you come back, can you bring me that water?” Fox closed the door on the thirsty man.
The fellow officer took Fox down hall where both stopped. “We’ve checked the cell phone—there’s nothing on it…no numbers, no history…nothing. It’s like it’s been wiped clean. The guys at Tech say they’ve never seen anything like it,” the cop said as he handed Fox the phone.
Fox mulled over the new information as he looked at the phone. “Thanks,” he said beginning back. Remembering, Fox detoured to the kitchen and fetched a glass of water.
“Thanks,” Soudeer said as Fox set down the plastic cup before him. “Look, if you’d please just give me my phone—one call and we’re done here.”
“You mean, Mrs. Lamia’s phone, don’t you?” Fox said as he retrieved the phone from his pocket.
Soudeer looked at it, then away. “Yeah, it’s hers. I thought about returning it even without the title and I would have, too, but I got a call on that phone. I thought it was Mrs. Lamia but it was another guy—a new guy. He said his name was Turris. I’d never heard of him either.”
“Turris?” Fox asked as he grabbed a pencil from his shirt pocket and scribbled the name on the outside of the file.
“And what did Mr. Turris want with you?”
“Mr. Turris said he was in contact with Mrs. Lamia. He said she had authorized him to deliver the title to me. I thought maybe she’d mail it to me. Now another guy I don’t know is going to deliver it…”
The headache somewhat hiding in the recesses of Fox’s mind chose at that moment to hide no longer. Soudeer’s story, though implausible, at least was consistent. This new character, Turris…he complicated things.
“That’s all he said. I know it don’t make no sense. I asked Turris how he was going to get me the title. He said he could have it to me in an hour. I asked if I needed to send back the phone first. He said no; the arrangement with Mrs. Lamia was still being honored. I even asked this Turris guy why he didn’t just get the phone for Mrs. Lamia in the first place and left me alone. He said this was not how Mrs. Lamia wanted things done.”
Fox considered that very question himself. “So what happened next?”
“Well, we agree to meet yesterday and I hang up the phone. The next thing I know you guys come busting into my house, dragging me down here, and after spending the night in jail, here I am. Look, I know this whole thing sounds crazy, but if you give me one call on that cell, I’ll call Mr. Turris and he’ll deliver the paperwork.”
“That sounds convenient, Hector, but my people can’t find anything on that phone…no call history, nothing. I’d sure like to see how you can contact him with it.”
“Tell you what—you give me the phone and I’ll show you.”
Fox considered his options. Nothing was making sense now. A phone that didn’t work, a two-bit car salesmen being given a car worth almost a hundred thousand dollars… Frustrated, Fox handed Soudeer the phone.
“Here you go. Now, prove it.”
Fox watched carefully as Soudeer picked up the phone and dialed three numbers. As it rang Soudeer said, “Turris said it’s a weird phone—he told me how to use it.” Fox, after hearing what he’d heard this morning, would probably now believe anything Soudeer said.”
“Uh…is this Mr. Turris? It’s Hector and I need you to deliver my title to the Salt Lake Police Department at 123…oh, you know the address?” Soudeer turned to Fox. “How can he get it to me?”
“Tell him to bring it to Detective Fox…tell him I want to talk to him.”
“When you get here, tell the desk you want to see Detective Fox. They’ll take care of it. Okay…see you then.” Soudeer clicked off the phone and placed it on the table. “Now what do we do?”
“We wait,” Fox said.
It took 20 minutes for Mr. Turris to arrive and another hour for Fox to check the title to make sure the car did indeed belong to Hector Soudeer. “Hector—looks like everything’s in order and you’re fee to go. But stay in the area just in case.” Fox handed the title to the car’s owner.
“Sure thing, boss,” Soudeer replied.
“But I’m going to have to keep this. We’ll make sure it gets back to Mrs. Lamia.” Fox pocketed Mrs. Lamia’s cell phone. Soudeer showed Fox the first genuine smile of the day, took his ownership papers in his hand and left.
“Detective Fox,” Mr. Turris said with a thick Mediterranean accent. “I assure you Mr. Soudeer story is completely true.”
“And you know this how?” Fox asked, his eyebrow raised.
“Because I am Antonio Lamia’s personal attorney. Here’s my card. Feel free to check my credentials,” Turris said handing Fox his card.
“You can count on it,” Fox said.
“I spoke with Mrs. Lamia the moment she got off the phone with Mr. Soudeer Tuesday night. It is all true.”
Turris turned to leave when he stopped. “You know, they found Mr. Lamia’s body this morning and they arrested Mrs. Lamia for murder about two hours ago.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Very sad, very sad.”
“Mr. Turris,” Fox stopped the immaculately dressed gentleman. “Why did Mrs. Lamia want this phone so badly?” Fox asked holding up the phone.
“I have no idea,” Turris said. “It’s not even hers.” The recently unemployed lawyer left Detective Fox alone with only his headache to accompany him.