It was 9.30 in the morning. Sunil, the inspector, had just arrived at the police station. His telephone rang and the call was from Stay longer lodge. He got the information that one of the lodgers was found dead. They wanted to open the door in the presence of police. He rushed in his jeep along with two constables. He was informed that the room was occupied by one man in his thirties a day before and that he had asked the reception to wake him up early in the morning for him to go to the market. It appeared he was a regular visitor, a business man, coming to the city to make purchases for his business and that each time he came he procured some woman to spend the night with him. They were trying in vain since morning to wake him till they had someone peep into the room from the ventilator. He was seen lying in bed motionless. There was no one else in the room.
When they entered the room, they found him dead due to suffocation presumably with his face smothered by pillows. There were no external injuries. Two empty bottles of liquor were seen along with two glasses. Evidently he must have been drunk and might have been drugged till he was killed. When asked whether he had any visitor in the evening, Sunil was told that some young woman had come around 8pm.Since it was customary for the guests to bring women for the night, the lodge people did not keep a note of their movements not to embarrass them.They were not aware when she left. The man who had seen the woman did not remember her as she was not a regular visitor but he added a glimpse of her showed she was tall, well built and a big woman with a big red bindi on her forehead.
The inspector asked them to wait outside and closely examined the body and the room while waiting for the homicide department people. The dead man was only in his undergarment. The woman must have spent the last hours with him before she murdered him and vanished. The man was also well built and could have offered resistance. Obviously he did not as he was drunk. A close examination of his wrists showed they were held together. A search revealed a crumpled towel in bath room Except for about two hundred rupees and odd bits of paper in his wallet, there was no money in it. It was clearly a murder but for what reason he was clueless. It could be large money taken away from wallet since he had come for purchases. He found some strands of hair on the bed. He could make out nothing more till his eyes fell accidentally on a small pink button on the floor by side of cot. He put it safely along with hairs in his pocket.
He made sure the daed man had put in no calls through the board or received any. He pocketed the victim’s mobile. He noted the number of the last outgoing call and rang the number from his own mobile. There was a faint hello from a woman.
He said”Hello, I need your usual help urgently” and kept quiet for her response.
“Don’t feel shy. Who are you? Where are you staying? Which lodge? When do you want? Any specific requirement?” she asked
Sunil said “Not here. I need privacy I wish to come there. I will leave the town in three hours. I have some spare time.”
“Have you come here earlier? How did you get my number?” she asked.
When he said he got it from his friend she gave the location and said all the girls are sleeping and that she will manage to find one.
Sunil discarded the uniform and changed into normal clothes. It was a red light area and he was taken to the madam of the house by a stout well built man. She was tall, well built, and muscular with a large red bindi.
He said “I would have preferred to have the woman in my lodge but since morning there was a large crowd of people and police there. Somebody had a heart attack or something.” and watched her closely.
He felt he saw a trace of fear in her eyes but she maintained her cool.Then she became businesslike and said “I will call a couple of girls. You can choose anyone.”
He said “I don’t want anyone else. I want you only.”
She laughed and said “I have left this profession many years back. I just run the show with a few girls. They are all young. I am in mid thirties.”
He was adamant and said” No, If I have any, it is only you. .Expense is of no consequence. Will pay you whatever you want.”
She hesitated for a moment and said “OK.I can spare you just one hour and from next time onwards you should not insist on me.”
“Can I use your toilet?”he asked
When she agreed, he went in and as he surveyed he saw a big washing machine in the corner. He rummaged into it and found a pink blouse in it with one button missing. He matched the one in his pocket with others and found it was from this it had fallen.
He revealed his identity and confronted her with strong evidence of button and her hair. After some theatrics, she confessed that she knew him earlier and that he carried money. She was tempted on the spur of moment by the huge money he had in his wallet and killed him as she was in financial straits. After her pleadings and long discussions, he spent the next hour with her alone in the room and left the place a satisfied man. Sunil’s wife in a few days got the diamond necklace she had been wanting for long
The last heard about the murder was that the police despite their best efforts were unable to break the case and that all leads ended nowhere. They were still vigorously pursuing it and hoped to nab the culprit soon..