Barker imagined most Captains in the armed forces would have lived luxurious lives after the army. Spending their youth and prime fending off the bad guys. However, Captain Dotton lived as far from luxury as one possibly could and still actually live. Dotton opened the door with what seemed to be five years in-between shaves and maybe bathing.
His clothes were almost non-existent due to the holes and streaming strings of white thread hanging from every crevice. That at least was the clothes he did wear. What he was missing was socks, shoes, a shirt, and any sense of pride.
Dotton was a billy goat and he was definitely quite gruff.
"What do you want?" he asked as if that was a correct and proper greeting to a man at his door.
Barker fished into his front pocket. No reason for moves to maintain a friendship, it was straight to the formal. He pulled out his detective star. It was really just a gold overlaid piece of metal, not even real gold.
Dotton sighed, "what did I forget I did this time?" the door opened a little further, but it was reluctantly. Dotton poked his head out and his eyes were lit by the sun, turning his pupils into small rectangular boxes. "Forget the trash cans again?" he was looking towards the curb, but Barker had cased the place already, there was nothing on the curbs. "There ain't even anything there this time," Dotton's breath smelt like strong liquor, which was quite prevalent with the army folk.
"No trash cans, Captain Dotton," Barker shoved the star back into his front lapel. Then he straightened his tie. No need to look shabby, not even in a place like this. "I am here about a former charge of yours in the army," Dotton nodded.
"Those folk always be getting themselves into some type of trouble," he replied. The door opened further and Dotton even took a step back. It was almost an invitation but not quite, he was still waiting for the flavor of the visit.
"Nothing of trouble in that sense, Captain, I am here about a murder, or a purposed murder, nothing specific yet."
The invitation was almost rescinded, Barker talked quickly before he lost the man for good. "It is about a man named Lucky, you may know him better as Captain Lucky, but I suppose when you knew him he was nothing more than a private first class," Barker said.
The door opened fully, "Oh no Lucky kill someone?" Dotton had real emotion on his face. A show of real friendship, he wasn't the one Barker needed. "On the contrary, he was himself a victim," Dotton's eyes sagged.
If the war didn't kill you and the reception didn't dampen your spirits when you returned, then life would hunt you again until it found you alone and cold. Here was Dotton alone and cold and life still grasped for his throat, ready to squeeze the last vestal of life from his lungs.
"I can't believe it, he was something," Dotton stepped away from the door. "You want a drink?" he asked. Barker could see this was going to be a waste of time. Dotton would provide him nothing in terms of a murderer. Maybe he could provide a path to someone who would be more viable.
"I will take water," Barker said and stepped up onto the small overhang.
The inside of the apartment matched the tenant to a tee. It was covered in old stains, presumably from the vomiting the alcohol induced. Barker was able to deduct this from the smell permeating the small enclosure. Sometimes it was a disadvantage to have such a keen sense of smell.
"Never mind on the water," Barker pulled a harmless looking seat over towards the door. The seat was bereft of a cushion and so Barker found it hard to believe that the vomit could have soaked into its metal frame. "Bring me the bottle of alcohol, do not bother with a glass."
The glasses Barker had seen were littered across the floor in various places and states. Some were covered in a green moss-like substance, others were half full of cigarette butts, and others were questionable even to the scrutinizing of the world's best detective.
Dotton fumbled over to the table and grabbed the brown liquor and took a long draught, before handing the bottle off to Barker.
Barker himself had no intention of partaking in the beverage, instead, he dipped his finger into the neck of the bottle and let the alcohol soak into his fur. Then he ran the dripping finger across the bottom of his nose. Alcohol wasn't the most pleasant of smells, but it sure beat the smell of old vomit.
Dotton didn't seem to notice the methods of Barker or if he did then he showed indifference to them.
"So, old Lucky is dead then?" Dotton sat down on the couch and Barker noticed a puff of dust trail behind him.
Barker pulled a picture from his coat pocket. He probably didn't need the gory details, but Barker was going to share them anyhow.
Dotton flinched at the scene of the crime. The picture landed a mere foot away from him on a small cluttered coffee table.
"Seems to me that such a gruesome death had to have harbored quite a hate," Barker let his nail trace the outline of the scene. "Don't reckon you are familiar with brake systems?" Barker could see that the vomit collection was seconds away from being added to. Dotton shook his head, even after the gruesomeness of war, seeing a friend dead still did something to people. "I didn't think so, but then again what do you have to know, more than where to snip the line."
Dotton recovered a little and shook his head, "Nope, not me Detective, I was the reason Lucky got that promotion to Captain," Dotton ran his hoofs together in a nervous fashion. He took his eyes from the picture but glanced back quickly with the sides of his eyes.
It was the fascination with death that had drawn Barker into the agency as well. Dotton was just showing normal behavior.
"I don't suppose you can fathom anyone capable of doing such a thing to poor Detective Lucky?" Barker had a list of names. He was bound to find one that fit the bill, but if Dotton could spew off a name or two it would surely cut his workload.
"I know of one or two who didn't like Lucky," Dotton grabbed the bottle from the floor and took another swig, and then glanced at the picture again.
Barker leaned forward and grabbed the picture placing it in his coat pocket. "Who?" just a simple answer could lead to such great things, Barker knew that all he needed was the name of one man to fit the deed.
"Major Blake Mane and General Plancer," Dotton shook his head as if the names hurt him to speak them aloud.
Maybe they did, maybe anything from that time in his life hurt him. If he hadn't planned to get drunk enough to spew this morning, after Barker's visit he was surely going to add to his planner.
"I do have both on my list," Barker tapped the side of his head. It was where he kept all important articles and details.
Dotton grabbed the bottle and cradled it to his chest, he would be of no further use.
"I will see myself out," Barker stopped at a dingy and dusty mirror and straightened his tie. It was back to the world.
The Canes Files