Annie who?

Detective Richardson rubbed his hand over his face in a weary gesture. He looked over his notes again. Suspects were many, but determining the murderer was going to be difficult. Shelia was on the list. Right under suspect unknown because the case was never solved until you actually found the correct suspect who committed the crime. There was the unknown woman who pulled a knife on Smooth. There were the many unknown men of the women that Smooth fooled around with that were married or otherwise engaged. It could be any number of people that he did wrong in a bad business transition. But the suspect that caused Richardson the most concern was a young girl named Annie.

He came upon Annie accidentally when he was questioning more people from Smooth’s black book. Richardson was questioning Virgina Howard. Virgina was willing to tell him everything that she could to help bring “the bastard that killed my Smoothie to death roll.” Richardson didn’t have to really ask her any questions as she began to spill the beans without any hesitation.

“Smoothie didn’t hurt nobody that didn’t try to hurt him first. I know because we been friends for over ten years, and I know that the bastard that killed him tricked him somehow to go into that alleyway.”

“Who tried to hurt Booker T.” Richardson probed.

“Who?” Virgina looked at Richardson like he had two heads.

“Smooth. Who did he hurt first?”

“Lots of people, you know. Somebody always trying to rip you off when you got your own enterprise making money like he was. The brother was doing it man.”

“Doing what?”

“Making money. And when you make money you make enemies along the way. Even kids, Smooth didn’t care how old his customers were, money matters not age on the streets.” Virgina laughed and called the bartender over to bring her another drink.

“You want a drink Dick, on me?” 

“It’s Detective Richardson and I’m on duty. But thanks. Got a name for one of those kids that you think was his enemy?” 

Virgina took the drink from the bartender and gestured to put it on her tab. She took a sip.

“You don’t think a kid did it do you?”

“Children have killed before.”

“I don’t know. I don’t think this girl has it in her to kill somebody. She’s only about fourteen, maybe sixteen. Little old thing no more than five feet. I only saw her with him once.”

“Where and what’s her name?”

“I think it was Anna or Annie, something like that, yeah, it was Annie. Don’t know the last name. The only reason I know her name is Annie is because Smooth called, well, yelled it out at her. Saw them standing together at the bus stop over on Ohio Ave, across the street from JP’s BBQ. I was sitting in my car on the parking lot waiting for my man to come out with my slab of ribs. It was around five in the afternoon, and they were arguing about something. I couldn’t hear all of it, just bits and pieces. Something about staying out of her business and leaving her alone, and don’t tell anybody. The bus pulled up and Smooth tried to keep her from getting on it, you know, pulling her arm when the door opened. That’s when I heard him yell her name.”

“Then what happened?”

“The girl pulled away and got on the bus.”

“Her name is Annie, right?”

“That’s what he called her.”

“When did you see them together?”

“Cuple of weeks before Smoothie was killed.”

“You ever see her again?

“Not around here.”

“Where else did you see her?”

“Coming out of East High when I was picking up my son after school.” 

“Anything else you can tell me about the girl?" 

“That’s all I know. You really think that a kid killed Smoothie? I think you wasting your time.”

Richardson closed his notebook and laid it on his desk. He was scheduled to meet with Judge Washington in two days and really didn’t have anything solid to tell her about the case. Now that was going to be a waste of time. Shelia. Unknown woman with knife.  Unhappy men and women. And now Annie. Who the heck is Annie? Well, one thing that he knew for sure was that he had better find out more information about the suspects before he met with the judge and wasted her time.