William Fitzgerald heard the crack of the gunshot while he was walking back to the bus stop. It happened that way, sometimes — the proud mind was frequently brittle, and couldn’t stand up to the shock of being known; that was why he insisted on payment in advance. It closed off the more lucrative cost for his ongoing silence, but he’s doing well enough, these days. He’s got a window back, at least, and if the streets are hot with plague they’re also full of people again.
Best not to linger, however. The cops might be worthless for everything meaningful, but they wouldn’t be able to overlook this, and there was a bright line leading from the dead man and his unspeakable basement to William Fitzgerald’s bank account.
He spends the first few hours getting everything in his office in order, making sure the right books were where they could be easily found, but not so easily it’d seem like he wanted them found, locking his hard drives and phones in the special faraday safe he’d built into the floor himself, along with the paper ledger he can’t bring himself to abandon, then he waits.
William Fitzgerald waits for days.
When, a week later, he opens the paper to see a full page of glowing tributes to a philanthropist, cultural icon, and city benefactor, he discovers almost pleasantly that the world is still capable of failing his expectations.