Zack Martinez knew it was going to be bad the minute he pulled up to the little stucco house.
Neat lawn: check; trees: check; carefully pruned roses: check.
He'd seen places like this before. Hell, he'd grown up in one. He could still hear his parents arguing over what pan to use for the rice.
He looked around the living room. Overstuffed couches, soft beige carpeting, massive bloodstain from the crushed skull of the man. He didn't need to look closely at the overturned table and scattered wooden pieces to get a pretty good idea of what had happened.
He could see their old house, his brother Vic hoarding the money because he ran the bank, duking it out with Vic and Charlie over who got to have the little pewter car. Mom chainsmoking while keeping little Lucy from flinging the cards everywhere. And Dad, shouting that if he said the gaddamned top hat was a hotel, then the goddamned top hat was a hotel.
Inhaling deeply, trying to chase the memories of his childhood away, Zack knew two things, who murdered the father and that if he hurried he could pick up some take out from Wan Ho Red Dragon, for his wife and maybe, just maybe, get lucky that night. He said with a slight drawl, “Pick up the family member that had the dog. He’s the murderer. Lean on him a bit and he’ll spill his guts.”
“How do you know?” the still-wet-behind-the-ears officer asked.
“Everyone wants the damn pewter dog. It’s the only piece in the game worth fighting over except for Boardwalk and that other blue property. What's it called? Nevermind, I don't care. The game just got started, so it had to be about the dog. The collar probably still has it clutched in his hand.”
Opening: Khazar-khum.....Continuation: Vivian Whetman