Tuesday, April 12
Levis Hopkins nicknamed Colombo began his investigation at 1am. He ordered 911 tape clips, listened to them, summoned the cops who went to the scene in the park, interviewed them and took notes. He located the paramedics who attended Ryan and transported him to hospital in their ambulance; luckily they were still on the job. He ordered the police officers to bring the clothes along-with all the contents in their pockets, of both Ryan and Rishi from the hospitals because both were supposed to be in the hospital gowns.
At 5am he went to sleep in his car, setting up alarm for 9am.
Levis Hopkins reached in the park area to inspect the working of crime investigation team. They had collected many things like drink bottles, lids, a perfume bottle containing some spray with a sticker of the vendor over it, they also took the samples of the place where Rishi vomited twice, Ryan’s blood from the grass and picnic table, and also a small insulin syringe filled with red liquid.
He took some pictures with his digital camera and hit the road to Russet Frazier’s mansion.
Cynthia woke up at 9am, she was not in the condition to take bath or go to her job. She faced the wall, had no strength or motive to leave the bed. Her father gave her a cup of coffee and creased her head. He informed that a detective will be arriving to speak with her. He made her take a bath. She took an antidepressant pill and waited for the detective.
Levis Hopkins arrived at 10.30pm. He had a laptop. He was very polite and asked her many questions. He showed her the pictures of the park and made her recreate her version of the events. She told him everything that she knew. He asked her how she met Rishi in India.
He took some notes drew the scene on a notebook with a pencil and marked many things.
Russet Frazier said, “This Rishi – technically he is still staying in our home, last night he slept in the room down stairs.”
“I consider it as you are giving me permission to search your home.”
Russet Frazier walked him downstairs and opened a door but he was dazed, he was stunned. Only a cell-phone in an opened box was lying on next to TV. Rishi never stayed in that room, was not staying there, had to plan to return, to stay there. May be there was a mistake, he opened all doors, there was no symptom if Rishi every stayed in the home. Not even a foot impression on the carpets. Detective took many pictures. Where did Rishi stay, that was a mystery?
He interviewed Cynthia and Filipino maid, both said Rishi was around, dressed up early in the morning. He walked and Cynthia picked him up from the road but his belongings were missing.
At the end Levis Hopkins requested Cynthia for her finger prints to isolate her prints from the suspected crime scene from the other, Russet Frazier had no objection. He sprayed her palms with a black ink and took an impression of both her hands on a special paper.
Levis Hopkins left Russet Frazier’s home with a great puzzle. Now he loved his job. He hated to jump to conclusion but a picture was forming in his head.
He said to himself, “This Rishi - he knows what he is doing. Rishi ran the show. Arranged and manipulated the things. He set up each and everything; the picnic, those drinks and all – planned by Rishi. He wanted to involve the police and Dr. Ryan wanted to avoid it.”
Levis Hopkins started whistling.
His next stop was Rishi’s room in the hospital. Patient was sitting, reading the newspaper, greeted him with a smile. Levis Hopkins considered it a genuine smile. Levis Hopkins showed him his badge and they shook hands.
“How are you feeling now?”
“Good, I am ready to leave this hospital if police has no problem with it.”
Coming straight to the point, Levis Hopkins asked, “Sir I have interviewed Cynthia and now it is your turn to answer few questions. You are not under arrest, you can refuse to answer my one or all questions, but I suggest you to cooperate with us.”
“Let’s start,” Levis said, “From the morning, where did you wake up in the morning.”
“Exactly at the same place where I slept at the night, I woke up under the deck of the Cynthia’s home.”
“You were given a full suite, why you slept there?”
“Detective, I guess you have a very busy day, stop asking questions and but I will give you the answers.”
“I am listening.”
Rishi told him why he slept under the deck; he told him that his belongings are in Cynthia’s car. He told him everything from the start of the day till the end, except the poison part.
“Did you poison Dr. Ryan?”
“Do you volunteer to take a polygraph test?”
Detective got on his feet, “Mr. Rishi, is there anything else you want to tell me, that may help us to investigate this matter.”
“No. I want to know what made me and Dr. Ryan sick, all medical reports.”
Levis Hopkins was beginning to turn but he froze.
“I am sure you wanted to know that,” he replied with a smile.
“When is the polygraph test, I am excited about it.”
Smile went away from Detective’s face.
“Can you elude it, everybody thinks they can.”
“I need not to.”
Detective looked at his watch and then dialed on his cell-phone and spoke with his headquarter.
He said to Rishi, “How about in two hours.”
“OK. And I have no place to stay.”
“That is your problem.”
Detective left thinking and smiling. One puzzle was solved another was sowed by this Rishi. He is too eager for medical tests reports and polygraph test. Let’s see what comes next.
Like Colombo, Levis reentered in the room, notebooks under his arms, a freaky sized mug with its handle hanging on an unlit cigar in his one hand and a matchbox, to play his best trick to obtain the fingerprints.
“I have to ask you another thing, Sir.”
Putting his cigar in his mouth, he said, “Sir please holds this mug for me.”
Rishi held the mug and rolled it in his fingers to make sure it had his all his finger prints.
Detective said taking the mug back in a handkerchief, “I guess you beat me up here. I like you, damn it, I like you.”
“Do you permit me to take your picture?”
“So you accidentally stepped in the mud and then fell down in the water.”
“About stepping in the mud, I remember; and about felling down in the water, I have vivid unclear memories because I was sick at that time.”
“Of-course after you had conversation with Doctor Ryan; you had vivid but unclear memories.”
Levis never smoked; he put the cigar and matchbox back to his pocket and left the room.
His next and final stop was Dr. Ryan.
He talked to his headquarter again. They arranged a room for Rishi in an economic motel near Police Head Quarter, he had no choice, Rishi was not under arrest he was free to walk away. There was no concrete proof to convince a judge for any warrant or convince a grand jury. Levis Hopkins knew that Rishi was still controlling the investigation.
As the Detective left, Russet Frazier took his daughter to the hospital to see Ryan. Doctors told them that he was completely out of danger, his symptoms were acute and he would recover from the ordeal in just few days. They may keep him in the hospital for another day.
Ryan woke up in ICU, he was feeling insects were crawling under his skin, he badly needed cocaine. He knew his game was over, almost. Hospital took his blood and urine sample and they will check him for HIV. He had a girlfriend working in the hospital lab, may be she could temper the blood sample. He did not know that emergency medicine doctor checked his whole body to see if any insect bit him in the park and discovered needle marks on his body. To deterring to cause of his sickness he had ordered his complete blood tests including for HIV, drugs, poisons and many other tests. What Ryan did not know that police too requested his blood and urine sample to be sent to forensic laboratory; his destruction was complete and total.
At noon he was declared out of danger, was transferred to a private room, and was scheduled for discharge at the next day.
Cynthia and Russet Frazier came to see him. He welcomed them with his famous smile. Since damage was already done, without hesitation he told them that Rishi himself whispered in his ears that he has poisoned him. Cynthia was still devastated; she did not talk with any doctor or looked at his records. She was sure that Rishi faked his sickness but she knew Rishi would be exposed because police took him to hospital.
“I will take care of that bastard Rishi,” Russet Frazier assured him.
Russet Frazier took his daughter to Buddhist center assuming that she would be find some peace there with her ascetic friends.
Dr. Ryan needed to go to hospital laboratory to talk with his girlfriend; he wondered about his cell-phone and clothes those he was wearing. He was called emergency room, was waiting for the reply, a stocky man appeared at the door showing his police badge. Ryan disconnected the call and welcomed the cop with his famous smile.
Detective went to a restaurant and had lunch in a restaurant; he studied, corrected and wrote more notes on the notepad. Rishi was eagerly waiting for the medical reports and was pointing an indirect finger towards Dr. Ryan. His next stop, he wanted to visit Dr. Ryan; he was still in the hospital, transferred to a private room from ICU but he changed his mind. He wanted to watch Rihsi taking a polygraph test. Then he remembered about Rishi’s clothes, he was in the paper hospital apron, his belongings were in Cynthia’s car. He was sure that Rishi intently fell off in the water to wash off any residue of poison. He called his headquarter, they found 2000 dollars, a valet congaing about hundred dollars, and his passport wrapped in a waterproof polythene bag, in a sock stapled to the inside of his pants, . He instructed them to send his clothes to a dryer and return him; there was no sense in sending those clothes to forensic lab.
He returned to his office, at 2pm it was already a very long day for him. Rishi arrived on a squad car, looking pale anemic week, wearing his clothes, gave him a mischievous smile. He was taken to the polygraph room. Wires were attached to him to read his impulse. Levis Hopkins dragged his seat to the farthest place of the large area so Rishi won’t be distracted.
Test started, for half hour technician asked several preliminary questions to Rishi like his name, country of residence etc. Then shaking his head side to side he discharged Rishi, pulled the printout sheet from the machine, went to Levis and handed it to him.
Test was inconclusive and there was no sense in continuing the test. Rishi was not showing any reaction to any question. Either he lacked the necessary reaction that all human possessed or was cheating the machine. Levis Hopkins had no idea. He wanted to talk with Cynthia again.
A squad car took Rishi to his motel. He was not under arrest or being watched, but was cautioned against escaping away till he was required for questioning.
Before leaving the police head quarter, Levis Hopkins went through the contents found in Dr. Ryan’s pockets - his cell-phone, another bottle of some perfume like liquid that was found in the park, his valet containing only twenty dollars, two insulin syringes, a medical grade vial containing cocaine worth at least three hundred dollars and particles of marijuana. Enough to put him in jail but he was the future in-law of Russet Frazier, but Detective was going to file those things in his report.
No wonder why Rishi called 911.
Detective Levis Hopkins never saw such a smile, but since now he already had a character picture of Dr. Ryan so smile did not work.
He said showing his badge, “Detective Levis Hopkins.”
“Have a seat Detective,” Ryan said pointing to a chair.
Levis sat down and looked again at Ryan’s handsome face. One such handsome man had ruined his daughter’s life. He sighed.
Ryan again gave him his famous phone smile but effect less on the detective.
Levis Hopkins abruptly said, “Sir, your clothes, cell-phone and all other contents in your pocket are in our possession.”
Smile was transferred from Ryan’s face to the detective’s face.
“But I didn’t do anything; it was Rishi who poisoned me.”
“Dr. Ryan, we are looking into this matter. I have interviewed Rishi.”
“Before the ambulance arrived, he told me himself that he poisoned me.”
“I am sure he told you himself,” detective said with a grin.
“Yes actually he whispered it in my ears, he added poison in my V8, and I knew it from the beginning. It was sweet but I was fool to drink it.”
“Tell me all.”
Ryan told him his version of the story omitting the syringe part.
“Do you have anything to add to your story?”
“I told you everything.”
Detective bade him goodbye and left but he returned with a freaky large ugly cup hanging on his cigar, his notebooks under his arms and a matchbox.
“Sir there is another think I have to ask you.”
“Grab this cup for me please so I can light my cigar.”
Ryan said, taking the cup from the cigar in his right hand, “Smoking is not permitted in the hospital.”
“I am sorry sir,” he took back the cup but again on his cigar, now it has Dr. Ryan’s right hand finger prints, enough for to begin the work.
“There was another thing you were asking me.”
“Oh yes, we have found a syringe filled with some red liquid under the picnic bench, I though you may tell us something about it.”
“Detective I have zero idea about it.”
“Do you permit me to take a picture of you?”
“Why, I am not criminal, Rishi is.”
“Sir,” Detective said, taking his time, “so far we have nothing against him, but we have enough to put you in jail for ten year.”
Ryan screamed, “He poisoned me.”
“Who knows who poisoned whom; Rishi was also equally sick,” he said, taking his picture in his digital camera, “Good bye doctor.”
Ryan knew his gave was over. Then he remembered Rishi also said: They are taking you to the hospital; they will test your blood for drugs, diseases and HIV etc. Remember Won Chin.
Words started reverberating in his ears.
Remember Won Chin - Remember-Won Chin - Remember Won Chin - Remember Won Chin - Remember Won Chin.
It was Rishi from the beginning. Not Nancy, not Bill but Rishi, he sowed the confusion and deception.
Now Rishi was reverberating in his ears.
Rishi – Rishi - Rishi – Rishi - Rishi – Rishi - Rishi – Rishi.
Dr. Ryan called Bill and gave him the news but he refused to help him and disconnected the call.
He called Nancy, she was in the operation theater, and she called him back after half hour. She refused to help him, mentioning that his game was over and she has nothing to do with it.
Finally he called his newest girlfriend in the supermarket. She had just arrived at her home from her work at supermarket. She agreed to bring him some clothes of his own size and also agreed to lend him five hundred dollars.
He waited for her in desperation, his home keys and car keys too were in the possession of Police, all duplicates keys were in his homes. He badly needed a dose of cocaine. Intolerable feeling of insects crawling under his skin was tormenting him.
When his girlfriend arrived with clothes, he dressed up and went out with her without catching any serious attention because most nurses and doctors were busy in their work. He promised her that he loves her and her only, asked her if she will marry him and she agreed with joy. He dropped her at her home but borrowed her car and drove to downtown to purchase cocaine.
Cynthia was sitting in the Mitsuki’s office; her tears were rolling on her face and felling on her tunic. Her cup of tea went cold, Mitusuki asked a monk to bring more hot tea. When tea arrived, he made her drink it with his own hands and wiped his tears.
She only told him that Rishi has betrayed her, he was not what she thought, he was not a Buddha but a desire driven multiple personality maniac. Mitusuki was not interested to know the whole story, this was enough and he believed every word she said. He himself was very sad for her and he was unable to stop his own tears.
He took her outside under the trees and they sat on a bench, she made an effort to meditate but the weight on her chest was hitting her with vengeance. Sorrow of betrayal, burden of lost was bigger than the weight of a mountain. How she would survive in her life, she had an aging father to take care and a loving fiancée. She was struggling with the thought - to keep on living this life or end it. She had no choice but to take an antidepressant pill, that subdued her mind and she sat there in catatonic state looking at the things. Mitsuki made her eat a sandwich and she was able to swallow another tea.
It was 6pm, her father Russet Frazier, arrived to take her home.
Rishi was feeling week and feverish, hotel had a small heated swimming pool, he wanted to relax in water but he didn’t have any shorts or other clothes. He strolled in the shopping mall, and then walked to another mall across the street. There he found an inexpensive South Indian restaurant, he ordered light food. In the vestibule leading to the restrooms he saw a Yellow Pages phone directory lying on a shelf, he brought the book on the table and looked out for Thrift or Salvation Army or Goodwill stores. Asked the waiter for the nearest store, luckily the best store was in a shopping arcade, only half mile away. He ate his food and paid the bill and went to the mall.
It was a big Goodwill store, full of used clothes and shoes. For only twenty-five dollars he bought a complete set of clothes including an unbranded cargo pant, a full sleeved shirt, under-wears, socks, beach sandals and a nylon bathing short. From another store he bought a cheap set of disposable razors and returned to the hotel. When he was paying his bill, he looked at the visiting card that his co-passenger Rarisa had given him at the airport.
From the payphone he called her number at University of California. A man took the call.
“College of Agricultural and Environmental sciences, May I help you.”
“May I speak with Rarisa?”
“Hold on for a minute.”
Rishi stayed on the phone for five minutes, he had to add more coins and finally Rarisa was on the line.
“Hello, Rarisa speaking.”
“Rarisa, how are you.”
“Riseeeee-Riseeeee. Riseee San.”
“Rarisaaaaa-Rarisaaaaa. Rarisaaaa San. SHALOM.”
Rarisa laughed at the Jewish greeting.
“Rishi, I though you will never call.”
“I thought you found another nose-picker.”
She giggled, “No I haven’t found another nose-picker.”
“So the post is still vacant. Can I apply?”
She replied with a laugh, “Yes you can apply.”
“You know I love you so much, I can talk with you till my last ……”
“Till your last what?”
“Till my last coin and that is the last, too bad these phones do not take pennies.”
She giggled, “Then give me your number, Rishi.”
Rishi read her his number from the Econolodge’s receipt.
“It will take me one hour to reach the motel….”
And the line went dead. It was 5pm and anyway she was leaving her desk. Her home and research project both were around Vallejo, near Napa Valley.
Rishi reached at his motel and Rarisa called.
“So Rishi you want to meet me tomorrow?”
“Yes, anytime. I have nothing better to do.”
“I can pick you up from BART station, and then you can accompany me to my brother’s place.”
“Meet me at Dublin-Pleasanton station at 5.30 evening tomorrow. Pass the parking area and stand at the junction of the road.”
“OK, I will be there.”
“Listen; buy a prepaid phone from some store. It is very cheap.”
Rishi relaxed in the soothing warm water of the swimming pool for three hours, till sunset. It started raining he returned to his room, washed his clothes in the bath tub using the soap hotel had provided, squeezed the water out of them and left them to dry on the shower curtain rod. He fell to sleep at 10pm.
Levis Hopkins arrived in his office at 7pm. He handed fingerprints of Cynthia, Rishi and Dr Ryan to the laboratory technicians, working over time on the case, for further processing and to match upon the items those were found in the park and in the Dr. Ryan’s pockets. He mentioned to the laboratory technician that his first priority was the insulin syringe full of red liquid. He also instructed that after fingerprint match, all contents in the bottles and syringes to be sent to the forensic laboratory for chemical analysis, including two perfume spray bottles. He took the picture of everything including perfume bottles, noted the address on the sticker.
He was very tired. He slept only for four hours in the last forty hours; he went home, disconnected his cell phone and unhooked his landline phone. Suddenly an idea came to his mind, Rishi might have threw away poison container in some garbage bin in the park, he was going to make a phone call to know what has happened to the garbage there, he could find all bottles and match the fingerprints, batch number with the existing bottles and send them to forensic laboratory etc.
But when he heard the sound of the rain, he gave it up. Rain may destroy everything and also Rishi was not that dumb. He fixed a cold eggplant sandwich for himself, ate it and fell to sleep.