That night I was sat in my kitchen with a glass of champagne, when I finished it I thought “wow, I really need another drink.” Perhaps this case was even turning me alcoholic. But this made me think, if I infiltrated the bars in York maybe I could find him. It’d be like the “needle in a haystack,” that old chestnut. I’d be out all night, not going to deny that sounded appealing; but I’m not as young as I used to be. Sure, there were several bars in York; but I doubted there were many Pierre’s. Personally, I’m not a fan of social media, but here I used it to my advantage. I searched the site, “PeopleTalk” that I joined years ago, soon lost interest. Just scrolling through the same old peoples boring stories that aren’t actually accomplishing anything, and what they do happen to accomplish they choose to post it to this site before telling their family. Odd.
Anyway, I searched “Pierre” just that. That’s all that I had to work with. After a few scrolls, a “Pierre Lincoln” came up, said he lived in York, and worked at Lola’s Bar. I knew I was onto something here, the boxes were ticked. So I put on my coat, got up the map on my phone and made my way.
If I had to sum the place up in 3 words: claustrophobic, tacky, neon. Although the neon may fall under the tacky category. I’m a man of balance, everything in moderation. The amount of neon lights in this place was not in moderation, baring in mind the bar was rather small. I struggled to see due to the smokiness of the room, it was tinted red from the lights. The people in here looked young; mid-twenties and younger I’d have said. I sat on a stool on the end of the bar, a guy came over- with a curly head and ridiculously white teeth. To be fair it could have been because of the lighting. I squinted desperately to read his name badge, J… Ja… Jad?
“Is there a problem Sir?” He said, at least he was polite.
“Oh I’m sorry,” I laughed, “I’m just trying to read your name but it’s difficult to see in here.
“Jack,” he smiled.
“Jack, I’ll have a glass of your best wine, please.”
“Wine kind of guy are you?” He asked.
“Wine and champagne really,” I replied, he nodded. As he poured the bottle into the glass, I noticed the shape of the glass was the same peculiar shape as the bottle that I found at Josie’s. This must have been where she got her fix.
A guy much older than the one before me came over, I couldn’t quite make out what he said due to the music, but I heard Jack reply, “Yeah he’s coming off his break soon so I’ll go then mate.” Then the older man left.
“Who was that?” I enquired.
“Oh just the boss, meant to get my break soon just waiting for another lad to get back.”
“What was his name?” I further enquired. He appeared dumbfounded by my question.
“Martin. Why? You haven’t actually got a problem have you Sir? Because I’ll sort it out for you I swear-“
“No, no everything is fine, thank you,” I gave a curt smile. The panic fled from him. We’ve all been there, intimidated by the boss. Then another man approached him, tying his apron on his way.
“Jack, sorry mate you can go now I didn’t realise the time that I had,” he said. Aesthetically, I presumed him to be older than Jack, he had a bigger build and less youth-like hair. He had a more “grown man” type of front to him. He quickly turned to the group of girls waiting, “Alright ladies, you lot want the usual pitcher of sex on the beach?” They all nodded. “Yep, I remembered, and no glasses just straws because you drink it out the jug,” he pointed to them.
“That’s the one!” One of the women replied.
“And remember, jugs not drugs ladies!” He shouted as he handed them their pitchers. Smooth. This was definitely a student bar. He made his way over to another customer when one of the girls came back and shouted,
“Pierre!” He turned, I turned. That was him. She whispered in his ear and pointed at a bottle of wine, the wine I just had.
“Later, later. I can’t right now,” he replied. The girl wandered off and he turned around shaking his head- agitated. I called him over and asked for the same drink.
“You look a bit, riled up. Everything alright?” I added.
As he poured my drink, he replied, “Women mate, you give them a free bottle of wine once and they think they can just ask me to keep giving it them. Once is alright, makes them like the place more you know what I mean? Makes them come back. But if I get caught then it’s out my wages.”
“Yeah, what’s your name sorry? Can’t make it out from the badge.” I had to clarify that this was the right guy, everything was adding up so far. I could imagine her, walking in here desperate for a drink then receiving a free bottle, knowing to keep this guy close.
“Pierre, Pierre Lincoln. Probably the only one round here, its French after my Grandad.” Nice, bit of cultural information off him as well. But I already knew all that I wanted to know. I continued the small talk for a little while, he didn’t seem the worst of people, it was too soon to pin him as a killer.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m no detective, I could only do so much. So I gave the information of him to the police, told them about what had occurred at Gerald’s house.
Following days later, I received a knock on my door.
“Can I come in?” It was Detective Scofield, I’d met him a few times before. I widened the door to gesture him inside. “Look Ritter, we’ve thought about what you’ve said, and the evidence for what you’ve said is all there,” he sat himself down, “But what I’m thinking is, if we just go straight in with this guy and ask him questions about that night.”
“So, are you just going to ignore what I told you? Let an innocent man go to jail?”
“No,” he raised his voice slightly. “I came to you because, we need you to do some covert research.” I took a seat opposite him.
“Go on,” I responded.
“This guy can easily deny knowing Josie Buchanan, the evidence isn’t strong enough to be pointed directly at him. You said that you met this guy. Get to know him better. Dig deeper. Try and get him to talk about her.” He paused for me to reply, but, was he asking me to act?
“You do realise this isn’t in my job description Detective?”
“Yeah well, you’re doing a good job so far. We’ll attach microphones to you discreetly and get a member of the team to listen for anything suspicious, you just have to be-”
“The manipulator. A much stronger title,” he smirked, “You can manipulate a judge in court, you can manipulate a young chap in a bar.” He made sense, Pierre could have easily said he didn’t know her and that he was working that night. He would be lying of course, but we couldn’t prove that.
“Fine,” I declared. He patted me on the back and rose from his seat.
“Excellent! Knew we could count on you Ritter. One more thing though, don’t tell Gerald. He is still a suspect after all.” With that, he left.