It took only a few moments for the coppers to funnel into the depot. A few of the officers that I knew had quite a look of surprise on their faces while a few others took it as business as usual. It was already clear that the room was divided.
My heart sank when the first suit I saw was Detective Greene walking through that garage door. Greene was not a bad guy, but he wasn’t exactly good for me. He moved to the city from the Midwest, Kansas or something, and spread his boy scout antics around to a fault. I don’t think he has a reasonable bone in his body.
“What are you waiting for?” Detective Greene asked anyone who would listen. “Pat him down.” One of the officers looked at me apologetically as he slowly approached.
“I am carrying. It’s registered,” I said as I opened my suit jacket. Greene seemed to notice the blood on my right hand and cuff. In my haste, I had failed to see it myself. I hate to admit that it did not look good. “I came here at the request of a client. I’m looking for a woman,” I said as the officer took my gun, emptying the chamber and removing the magazine.
“Where did the blood come from?” Greene asked, almost robotically.
I did not see any reason not to cooperate. After all, I didn’t do anything wrong. “There was a tussle. I got jumped by three guys. My punch was rather on the nose,” I said as I examined my slightly bloodied fist. “I found a body in the trunk of the taxi,” I announced as I pointed towards said taxi.
Greene furrowed his brow and then walked deliberately towards the cab. He did not take his eyes from me until he passed by. Before he did, he stopped and looked hard and deep into my eyes as if he could sense my guilt or innocence by doing so.
“There is a body in here,” one of the officers announced even though Greene was standing right next to him by this time.
“Go radio it in,” Greene commanded. “As for you, Mr. Darby, you’re under arrest for suspicion of murder. Cuff him,” he announced.
“Are you serious?” I asked. I cannot say that I’m entirely surprised given Greene’s by-the-book nature.
“I’m afraid so,” he replied. At this point, nobody had handcuffed me. “What are you waiting for?” he asked. This time, his frustration leaked through his usual icy demeanor.
An officer finally approached me with his handcuffs at the ready. “I’m sorry about this Chet,” he said, as he clicked the handcuffs into place.
I knew his remorse was genuine by how loose the cuffs were on my wrists. “Don’t worry about it. It’s all part of the job,” I replied.
“Take him away,” Greene calmly demanded. The officer complied and I was soon sitting in the backseat of a police car.
I sat inside the squad car for quite a long time. It looks like they put a rookie out here to keep an eye on the perimeter and he gave me the occasional glance. I doubt he thought that I would mount an escape but who could blame him for watching me. It’s a far sight better than trying to explain it had I successfully escaped.
After some time, the crowd around the perimeter had gotten pretty large. Many of the onlookers stared in and pointed at me. Some seemed curious or concerned while others would have been glad to have hanged me from the nearest lamp-post of sufficient height. Speaking of height, after surveying the crowd I saw my pal Walt Hayes towering over them. I imagined him holding the rope that I was hanging from as the crowd cheered and spat at me, he likely had the strength. For some odd reason, I found the mental image quite hilarious albeit morbidly. I began to laugh hysterically at the thought. Some of the crowd noticed as did the rookie cop. I won’t soon forget the look of terror on his face as he looked at me while I cackled maniacally. Tears slowly slid down my cheeks as the laughter turned into sinister echoes. I imagined Walt pawing at me, as a cat would a string while dangling me effortlessly. By now, my ribs and cheeks were sore, my breath was running short, and I was becoming light-headed. Time seemed to slow down so much so that my laughter sounded far more like the roaring of a beast frenzied in a fit of rage. The scene was undoubtedly incriminating. I don’t care. Whatever contempt the crowd may have felt for me, I revisited on them tenfold simply for existing.
Al long last, two officers got into the car and drove me to the nearest station. It was comically close to the depot considering how long I languished outside in that police car. Once we arrived, they rushed me inside, which seemed odd, once again, given the amount of time I had waited.
One of the officers took me to processing, removed the handcuffs, and seemed intent on fingerprinting me. “My prints are in my file already,” I said. He looked at his partner, both of them dumbfounded.
“What’s going on, Chet?” the desk sergeant asked. He looked sternly at the two petrified officers. “Take him to room two. I’ll vouch for him,” he ordered. The officers did not make him repeat himself before yanking me towards room two, presumably. “And take those cuffs off,” he shouted from a distance.
Strangely, as soon as my butt hit the chair, Detective Greene walked in. “Could you recommend a good lawyer?” I asked as he sat down across from me.
“Are you sure you don’t have anything to say?” he asked. I wondered if he cared or not. “Murder is serious business.”
“So is prostitution but you know that. Growing up in a brothel must be tough,” I said, convinced that would get Greene out of the room. As I predicted, he slowly got up from his chair and closed the door behind him. I could see him talking to another detective, Eddy Hill. Everyone calls him “Ebby” Eddy since his allegiance always seems to flow with the tide. The tide being cold, hard cash. Seeing him was almost never good news since the good guys aren’t typically inclined to hand out bribes.
“Ebby” Eddy walked in with his usual swagger. He was the personification of a weasel, tall and thin, almost sickly in appearance, with light brown hair and a pointy nose. “Well, I have good news and bad news,” he announced. His utter corruptness exceeded his originality or lack thereof. “The good news is, it’s Ash Wednesday. The bad news is, the judge on duty is a devout Catholic,” he said.
“What do I care?” I asked. By the way, I didn’t care.
“You care because we have to figure out what to do with you until Monday,” he replied. His filthy grin was almost as disgusting as the dark secrets he must have accrued over his many years as a dirty cop. The fact that he was a dirty cop was almost as cliché as his bad cop routine. Not that him being a bad cop was a routine. Nevermind. I made my point.
If I could ask that question all over again, I might change my answer. After looking into the pin-sized, desolate eyes of that scumbag, I could only wonder where I might end up at the end of the day. If this is merely a tactic, then color me impressed. Unfortunately, I feared the lengths they were willing to go to impress their will upon me.
Copyright © 2016 by Adam L. Cobden. All Rights Reserved.
“I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”