The next day Wilson awoke from an upstairs bedroom and walked down the open stairway to the living room. He was greeted by the aroma of coffee, bacon, and the warmth of crackling fireplace.
“Temperature dropped last night,” Burton said from over the stove in the kitchen. “Were you warm enough?”
“I had plenty of covers,” Wilson said.
“Coffee’s on the counter,” Burton said. “Pour yourself a cup. How do you like your eggs?”
“Scramble ‘em,” Wilson said.
“Scrambled coming up,” Burton said.
“When I woke up this morning I was thinking about something,” Wilson said moving toward the coffeemaker on the counter.
“That’s good,” Burton said.
“What was the name of the informant?” Wilson said pouring the coffee.
“That’s strange that you should mention that,” Burton said.
“How so?” Wilson said sipping the coffee.
“I went to sleep last night thinking the same thing,” Burton said. “But let’s eat some breakfast first.”
After breakfast was eaten they placed the dishes in the dishwasher.
“Have a seat at the table,” Burton said. “I have something for us, but mainly you.”
Burton opened a desk drawer in study just off the kitchen. He pulled out a letter and handed it to Wilson.
Wilson looked at it. “It’s old; post marked 1973 from Chicago, Chung Quang Dung.” Wilson appeared puzzled.
“That was the informant,” Burton said. “I’ve kept that letter separate from the file. It’s up to you to open it.”
“You never wanted to know the truth, did you?” Wilson said.
“I know the truth,” Burton said. “That’s a letter from a small man hoping to extort money. Dubious at best.”
Wilson tore open the envelope. “Sort of like Pandora’s Box,” Wilson said. He unfolded the paper inside. He pressed his lips tightly and read. “Dear Mr. Parnell, I have information about terrible thing done by Wilson Gentry.”
Wilson let the letter drop. “His address is on the bottom. It’s in Chicago.”
“He had nothing,” Burton said. “He was a worm. He was the enemy. Don’t put any stock in it.”
“That’s all I have to go on,” Wilson said. “That’s my truth.”
“Evidence has to be scrutinized and questioned,” Burton said. “It takes a critical eye and dispassionate approach.”
“Thanks, Burton,” Wilson said, “but you believe what you want to believe. I don’t have belief. I don’t have passion. I have facts.”
“I think you should talk with a professional,” Burton said.
“Thanks, Burton,” Wilson said. “It looks like you poured your heart and soul into this case. I’m going to Chicago and find Chung Quang Dung.”
Against the advice of Burton Parnell, Wilson was on his way to Chicago within an hour.