Rick had managed to dose off for about an hour when he looked up at his clock and saw that it was 6:00 AM. He made himself a coffee and smoked his first cigarette of the day. He next had a shower and cleaned himself up. It was time to back to work and see what was happening.
When Rick got back to the facility he was greeted by Holly. “How you doing Rick?”
“Not great. I was hardly able to sleep at all last night,” replied Rick.
“That’s to be expected. Oh, Detective Barnes called about five minutes ago. He wants you to call hm back.”
“Thanks Holly. How are the residents doing?” asked Rick.
“Some of them are up already and have started on their chores. They are very quiet today. I think most of them are still in shock,” answered Holly.
“I think we all are. Well I guess I’ll go to my office and see what Detective Barnes found out.”
Rick picked up the phone and called Winnipeg Police Services. He asked if Detective Barnes was available.
“ Hi, Detective Barnes. It’s Rick Jennings from The House of Hope returning your call.”
“Good morning Rick. I’ll get right to the point. I talked to the medical examiner earlier this morning and she had some interesting findings to report. First off, Bret Harkness died from a cardiac arrest.”
“What! Bret was in better shape than anyone at The House of Hope including the staff!” Rick exclaimed.
I believe you, but it wasn’t being out of shape that caused Bret’s demise. He had a substantial amount of methamphetamine in his system. There were also traces of cocaine and marijuana found in his blood. “ stated Detective Barnes matter of factually.
“Wow, I saw Bret that night and I didn’t see any indication that he was impaired,” said Rick running his hand through his hair. “What else did the ME find out?”
“She said there were large welts on Bret’s back and they looked like they were from a recent incident. She also said that it was impossible to tell if Brett had fallen down the stars or had been pushed or shoved causing his fall.”
“So, in other words, we could be looking at a homicide,” noted Rick.
“You’re starting to sound like a cop now, Rick,” joked Detective Barnes.
“Well, it sounds to me like there a few possible explanations here.”
“Such as?” asked the detective.
“Look, Detective I’m not a cop but it seems that one possibility is that Bret had a sudden fatal heart attack just as he entered the stairwell. He could have collapsed and fallen down the stairs. This might even account for the marks on his back.”
“A very plausible theory,” added Barnes. “What are the other options?”
“Well, another possibility is that the cardiac arrest was caused by the ingestion of methamphetamine and cocaine,” Rick stated.
“Very good. What else?”
“Bret was murdered. He was assaulted by someone entering the stairwell and this may have contributed to his heart attack. The attacker may have used a heavy object such as a lead pipe as a weapon.”
“Bravo, Rick. All your explanations have some merit to them. The problem is going to be to prove which one is correct. Or, who knows? We could be missing something yet. Who on your staff knew Bret the best?
“ That would be Drake Stephens otherwise known as Slash,” answered Rick.
“Why is Drake known as Slash?” asked Detective Barnes.
“Because he wears so many hats around here. He works as a counselor, teacher, residential care worker and is also the chief shop steward for the whole building.”
“He must be quite an asset to your program,” stated Barnes.
“Yeah, he definitely is, but he’s also a hand full,” added Rick.
“How do you mean?” asked the detective.
“Let’s just say that he’s an interesting character and let you find out the rest for yourself. Would you like to meet him?” asked Rick.
“Yes, I would. Do you have his home phone number?”
As soon as Rick gave Drake’s home phone number to Barnes, the detective called Drake . Barnes made arrangements to drop by Drake’s home within the hour.
Shortly after Detective Barnes left the House of Hope, Rick’s phone rang.