Every Secret Isn’t a Secret 

Richardson hadn’t interviewed one person who knew who Smooth really was in life. To the men he was just a “cool brother man” and to the women he showed Smooth’s picture too, he was “That’s that fine Smooth baby.” They all said they didn’t know he was the judge’s son until they read it in the Call & Post newspaper and saw his picture and his face on the local news stations.

The last lead Richardson had was from the bartender at the Colony Club on Long Street. She said that she had seen Smooth on the day of his death and that Smooth called a cab about one-thirty pm to pick him up at two pm. She knew this because he asked her to use the bar's phone to call it for him, so he didn’t have to pay a dime in the phone booth. She didn’t know where the cab was taking Smooth because he said he would tell them when they picked him up. She also remembered that Smooth had eaten lunch with a sister named Sheila that day around noon but that she was gone before the cab picked Smooth up at the bar. She said they often had lunch together there, at least once a week. 

“You can come in now, Detective.” Richardson’s thoughts were interrupted by Sissy who stood with the door to Jimmy’s office opened wide for him to enter. Richardson thanked Sissy checked out the room as he walked inside and Sissy closed the door behind him.

“Hello Mr. James, I’m Detective Richardson.”

“Please, call me Jimmy. That’s my actual name on my birth certificate. Jimmy. How can I help you, Detective?”

Jimmy stood to shake Richardson’s hand and then held his hand out towards the chair in front of his desk. Richardson sat on the edge of the seat.

“I’m here to ask you about Booker T. Washington.”

“Yeah, I heard. Smooth is dead.”

“You know Booker T. as Smooth, sir?”

“Yeah, I know who he is.”

“Are you aware that most people didn’t know him as Booker T. Washington, only as Smooth?”


“How do you know him so well?”

“Is that why you came here? To ask me if I knew Smooth as Booker T?”

“Actually, I came to ask you to look up his last ride with your cab company. I believe it was on October second, around two pm.”

“Let me look that up in my logbook. Sissy! Bring in my logbook please!”

Jimmy and Richardson eyed each other waiting for Sissy who came in within seconds, as if she had been listening at the door.

“Here you go Mr. Jimmy. Can I do anything else for you?”

“No thank you. That’s it.”

Sissy left the room, closing the door slowly behind her, leaving it cracked a little so she could hear more clearly what was being said in the office.

“Now let’s see, October you say, well, here’s the month and it looks like, yes, we picked up Smooth two times that day.”

“Two times. What are the times?”

“Let’s see, first pick-up was from the corner of East Broad Street and Nelson Road at eleven am to the Colony Club and then again that day at two pm from the club to IGA on Mt. Vernon Ave.”

“You picked him up from a corner? Not a house or apartment somewhere?”

“That’s what it says. The corner of Broad and Nelson. In front of the Shell station.”

“Was anybody with him?”

“We don’t generally make note of that unless there’s a reason, none made that day.”

“What about when you dropped him off at IGA, did he make plans to be picked up from there?”

“Don’t have it in the records.” 

“Were you and Smooth friends?”


“How do you know him as Booker T?”

“We’re back to that are we?”

“Is there a reason you don’t want to tell me?” 

“Just that it’s not relevant to your case. That’s all.” 

“Let me be the judge of what’s relevant or not.”

“Let’s just say that every secret isn't a secret. Anything else Detective?” 

Jimmy stood to end the conversation and Richardson also stood, flipping his notebook shut from the notes he was writing. Taking his time, he put his pencil in his left breast suit pocket, put the notebook in his right suit pocket, and looked Jimmy in his eyes for a few seconds. Neither man waivered, finally Richardson took his leave. 

“Here’s my card if you think of anything else that might help us with finding Booker T's killer, or anything else you may want to tell me later, after thinking about it.”

“I’ll let you know if anything comes to mind.” 

“That’s all I can ask for, thanks.”

Richardson left the room, nodding his head good-bye to Sissy on his way out the exit door. He gave her his card too. Now, to Miss Sheila again he thought.