It was just after 8:00 am. Officer Angelo dropped his keys along with the Field’s case file on his desk. He had just come from The Coffee Shop. Angelo didn’t doubt Summer’s story, but wanted to corroborate as much as he could before speaking directly with Green. He had spoken with the manager, Kevin Durand. Kevin had been in the back room when an angry Summer threw hot coffee at Dan Green. Obviously, Kevin hadn’t heard their conversation, but he wasn’t surprised by what Summer claimed had been said. According to Kevin, Green was a regular, coming in four or five times a week. He too, described Green as loud and obnoxious and confirmed that Green clearly sought Summer out at every opportunity. He had expected a formal complaint from Green, but since the incident there had been no sign of the man. Kevin didn’t know anything about Green’s supposed interest in Zoe, though he wasn’t surprised. From his brief conversation with Zoe, Angelo could see she had no awareness of Green, let alone his interest in her. Tony Romero, who had been on the floor as a floater that morning, confirmed that it was busy and very loud. He had been in the far corner of the shop when the incident occurred and had not heard the conversation between Green and Summer.
An initial search of Green’s record brought up nothing more than a couple of speeding tickets and parking violations and even those were a few years old. Green’s address was in the Fifth Ward in Newport, but before he talked to Green, he still needed to speak with Summer's neighbor Terry Dugan and follow up with Nathan Beal. Nathan was the remaining coffee shop employee who was there at the time. Angelo hadn’t realized when Nathan arrived at Summer’s house that day that he had witnessed the incident. But, it was all there in Summer’s formal statement.
Angelo pulled up outside of Will Moody’s place on Indian Ave. Ted Fournier’s truck was parked on the street, behind it was Terry Dugan’s red Mustang. Angelo, a couple years younger than Dugan and Fournier remembered them both from High School. Terry showing off for the girls, Ted, more discreet and more popular. He wasn’t surprised that one was working for the other.
Ted answered the front door. “Officer, what can we do for you?”
“I need to talk with Terry, if you can spare him for a few minutes.”
“He’s not in some kind of trouble is he,” Ted asked only half seriously.
“No, I don't think so. I just need to ask him a couple of questions.”
“Is this about the girl at the coffee shop, about her dog?”
“As a matter of fact it is. Actually, maybe you can tell me? Has Terry been working with you all week?”
“Was he with you all day on Tuesday?”
“He was definitely here on Tuesday, but he comes and goes. I know he left for lunch. Said something about forgetting some tool he needed. But, he wasn’t gone long. I can tell you that. We’re behind schedule and Will’s coming in to check on our progress end of next week.”
“It looks like you’re getting there,” Angelo said scanning the large entry way, the old oak floors covered with paint splattered drop cloths.
“Well, come on in then,” Ted said turning to lead the way deeper into the large house.
“Actually, Ted why don’t you ask Terry to come out here. I don’t want to draw any more attention to this than I have to.”
“Sure, that makes sense. I’ll send him right out. Good to see you Ang. Catch the bastard, OK?”
"Sure, thanks Ted.” Angelo looked around - the entryway led to a wide semi circular staircase. Off to the right was a library, shades drawn its shelves of leather bound volumes shrouded in darkness. The formal living room, off to his left, ran the length of the house and was lit by large bay windows facing the sea. The furniture, covered in white sheets, like snow waiting to melt, reminded Angelo that winter would end soon.
Will Moody’s family spent three months, maybe a bit more in Newport each year. He was in finance, a hedge fund manager, or something like that, working in New York City. He owned an apartment on Sutton Place in the city, but as a Newport native, he liked to come home for the summer. Angelo wondered if you can call shuttling back and forth to the city all summer a vacation. Moody flew out of TF Green on a Monday morning, while his wife and kids did the Cliff walk or visited the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Looking out at Moody’s private beach, Angelo imagined cocktail parties under a setting July sun.
“Officer Ang, my man, what’s up?”
“Terry, how are ya?”
“I’m, OK. What I can I do for you?”
“I wanted to ask you about your neighbor, Summer.”
“Oh, sweet girl, and that poor pooch.”
“I couldn’t believe it.”
“Obviously Terry, if you heard or saw anything that could be helpful?”
“Can’t say I did. Summer and that guy from the shop, what’s his name?”
“Yeah, Nathan that’s right, they were outside drinking in the cold when I got home Tuesday night. Poor girl couldn’t bring herself to go inside.”
“Where were you Tuesday, earlier in the day?” Angelo asked taking out his pad and pen.
“Hey, what am I a suspect now?”
“No, like I said, I’m just hoping you might have heard or seen something.”
“Let's see, well I was here on Tuesday until after six and then I met my brother at the Pennant for dinner.”
“You didn’t by chance go back to the house earlier in the day for any reason?”
“Not that I,” Terry paused. “Oh wait, now that you mention it, I did go back. I’d forgotten some of my woodworking tools. We're restoring some of the molding upstairs, detail work, you know?”
“Do you remember what time you went back to your place?”
“It was after lunchtime, maybe one o’clock or there about.”
“Did you notice anything unusual?”
“I can’t say I did, Ang. I didn’t see any cars.”
“Do you remember hearing the dog barking, by any chance?”
“It’s funny that you ask that. Usually, if I’m going in he’ll start yapping.”
“Did you hear him?”
“No, no, I didn’t.”
“OK, Terry, I appreciate it.”
“I suppose I shouldn’t leave town huh?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know on those old cop shows we watched as kids like Dragnet or Burke’s Law, they’d always say that.”
“Oh right, yeah. Well listen, thanks again Terry,” Angelo said reaching out his hand.
The manager of The Coffee Shop had given Angelo, Nathan Beal’s address. He had a third floor apartment on Broadway above Leigh's Nail Salon. Angelo decided to walk the four blocks from the police station. It was finally beginning to warm up and he could feel the early afternoon sun absorbed by his dark uniform.
Angelo rang the bell next to a little speaker at the front door. He identified himself and a loud buzz unlocked the door . The hall smelled of nail polish remover, mildew and dust. Angelo made his way to the third floor. Nathan opened the door wearing a small bathrobe over large pajamas. He was unshaven.
“Officer Angelo, nice to meet you. Excuse my appearance. I haven’t gotten much sleep these last couple of nights. Can I get you something, coffee maybe?”
“I’m surprise you make it at home, when you have to make it all day at work,” Angelo, said removing his hat and sitting down at the small enameled kitchen table. “My grandmother had a table like this.”
“It’s from the thirties, I think,” Nathan said, filling a large orange mug with coffee. “You sure?”
“No, I’ve had my limit for the day. Listen, Nathan, I won’t take up much of your time, but I have a couple of questions.”
“Shoot,” Nathan said, laughing nervously.
“You were on the coffee bar when Dan Green and Summer had their conversation correct?”
“Actually, I was at the register with Zoe. Summer was on the bar making drinks.”
“We’re you able to hear what was said by either of them?”
“It was the height of the morning shift, so the place was humming. I’d have to say no.”
“After Summer threw the coffee at Green, what happened?”
“I pulled Summer off the bar and took her place. Tony ran over with paper towels and started cleaning up Green and the floor around him. Luckily, most of the coffee landed on his leather coat. That stuff’s hot and he was pissed. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.”
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t know if he was going to demand to see the manager, or lunge over the counter to get at Summer, or what. But, he just walked out in a huff.”
“How long have you been involved with Miss Fields.”
“Oh, Summer and I? No, we just work together.”
Angelo thought Nathan sounded disappointed.
“We’re just friends. We went out a couple of times but, I guess you could say, it didn’t go anywhere .”
“I see, but you stayed there a couple of nights this week right?”
“I slept on the couch. I only stayed because she didn’t want to be alone. Can you blame her?”
“No, no. Of course not. Did you and Summer see anyone else after I left?”
“Only her neighbor Terry Dugan. He showed up just after 10:00 I think. We were still outside if you can believe that.”
“She really didn’t want to go in, I guess. What did Terry have to say about all of this?”
“To be honest, I think he was a little drunk. He didn’t seem as surprised or appalled as I would have expected a neighbor to react.”
“Are you suggesting his behavior was suspicious?”
“No, not really, I just chalked it up to his having had a few.”
“Are you aware of any relationship between Summer and Mr. Dugan?”
“Relationship? No. Dugan said it was too bad about what happened to Alfie, said goodnight and went in to his house. Summer and I went in shortly after.” Nathan drank his coffee.
“Nathan, thanks you’ve been a big help” Angelo said getting up from the table.
“No problem, let me know if there’s anything further I can do.”
“No fucking way, I mean excuse me Officer, but I didn’t kill that bitch’s bitch dog.” Dan Green stood in the doorway of his home on Potter Street.
“How do you know about it then,” Angelo asked.
“Everybody’s talking about it.”
“Have you been back to The Coffee Shop since the incident.”
“By incident you mean when the fucking bitch threw hot coffee in my face? Kill her dog, Christ I should sue her and the god damned company. ”
“I suppose that’s you’re prerogative, Mr. Green.”
“No, I haven’t been back, but everyone in town goes there. A friend of mine heard the other baristas talking about it. That’s how I heard.”
“How come you didn’t ask to see the manager or file a formal complaint?”
“I don’t know, I just wanted to get out of there and get cleaned up.”
“Well if you weren’t going to file a complaint and you didn’t kill her dog, why haven’t you been back?”
“Would you go back? Green asked. “Truth is, I sort of deserved it, the coffee I mean. I said something pretty rude and the girl got pissed. I don’t blame her I guess. Shit, if her aim was better I’d be scarred for life.”
“So that all happened on Monday? Where were you Tuesday?”
“That’s easy. I work at Raytheon over in Portsmouth. I use a key card to get in and get out.”
“Did you leave Raytheon at all on Tuesday, to go out for lunch maybe?”
“Nope - I did not.”
Angelo sat in the empty office. It was past 5:00 now. The other guys were out on patrol, a Sergeant was posted at the desk out front. Angelo had just finished typing a draft of his report. He contacted HR at Raytheon and they confirmed Dan Green’s story - he didn’t leave work at all on Tuesday as he’d said. That left only two suspects to Angelo’s mind, either Terry Dugan or Nathan Beal. All he needed now was a motive.
If you missed the previous installment of Success Through Failure click here: