CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THREE
“Why is this a problem of yours?” Ava asked, again.
“That’s a harder question,” Seth said. “Big Daddy was really good to me. Kind. His father taught me how to play jazz piano, but more than that they … Bud was an amazing performer. He’d spent most of his life on the road. He taught me how to survive a life in music. I was just a little kid. Between Claire’s mom and them, they practically raised me. Believed in me. Set me on the road to being who I am today. I haven’t seen either Big Daddy or Bernice for a few years, but we talked on the phone at least every other month. They talked to Maresol more than that.”
“And Maresol is?” Ava asked.
“My housekeeper,” Seth said, quickly.
“I guess the question is why are you so close to this,” Ava asked.
“Because I am,” Seth said. “There’s no explaining the human heart. My friend Big Daddy died. His widow needed help with his complicated estate. I knew some of the players on the Federal and local level. I’m known by reputation by most of the criminal element so I was able to ease the transition there. I was able to find a resolution that satisfied most of the people involved, although someone grabbed me last night, no yesterday.”
“Grabbed you?” Ava asked.
“I was held captive for a while after I dropped you at the airport,” Seth said.
“By whom?” Ava asked.
“No idea,” Seth said.
“Good,” Ava said. “Let’s go back to waking up with R.J.”
“Okay, I woke up with R.J.,” Seth said. “We went to see Claire. Bernice is staying with Claire until her apartment is done. We were talking about who might have held me captive and all of that.”
“How long were you held captive?” Ava asked.
“I’m actually not sure,” Seth said. “I woke up there about one or two in the afternoon and I was there until that evening sometime.”
“How did you get out?” Ava asked.
“When I was able to get out of the restraints, I turned off the surveillance camera,” Seth said. “I figured that would bring someone but no one came. I went to the toilet and looked around a little.”
“Where was this?” Ava asked.
“I was held in the interview rooms under the Worth Street Station,” Seth said. “I figured that someone went to a lot of trouble to collect me. I figured that they would be back. I waited for someone to come. I haven’t had much sleep since Big Daddy died, just too much to do, so I fell asleep. I woke up and got home. It’s not that far from my apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen.”
Seth let the conversation lag. He felt incensed that they were using his precious Ava to interrogate him. From what he knew of Ava, she must be furious.
“So you were held hostage yesterday,” Ava said, picking up the thread. “Woke up with R.J., your old driver. Does R.J. have a name?”
“James,” Seth said. “That’s the ‘J.’”
“I see,” Ava said. “And the ‘R’?”
“Reginald,” Seth said. “He’s gone by R.J. all of his life. It’s on his driver’s license. His tax forms.”
“Got it,” Ava said. “Now, you left a message for me?”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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