Inspector Joe Mitchell smiled. His over-whitened teeth gleamed like little stars in his mouth. ‘You are not under arrest. We would just like you to stick around and assist us in understanding what happened last night.’ His salt and pepper hair was crafted into one of those spiky carefully arranged disorderly effects popular with men in their forties that don’t like the mirror as much as they used to. Mirror, mirror on the wall….historian to the fall.
‘But I don’t know any more than what I told you.’
‘Help us out here, we have a man in the hospital, wounded after a confrontation with your friend.’ Mitchell smiled the cop predator smile, the most fake smile known to our species. By my reckoning he was the kind of cop that would observe you intensely, then catalogue the possible charges he could file against you. That gave him power.
Time to see what he had to share.
‘What about the guy who shot himself in the foot? He knows what happened.’
Mitchell sat one ass cheek on the edge of the desk and leaned forward towards me. ‘He isn’t cooperating.’
‘I wish I could help you. He’s innocent. Jimmy wouldn’t harm nobody, ever.’
Mitchell pulled out the chair on the other side of the desk and sat down. He leaned back on only the back two legs of it.
‘Well we are pretty sure he is innocent. He drove the wounded man to the hospital. We just want to know the full story. A man was shot, looks like an accident but he won’t talk to us.’
Mitchell looked at me hard, ‘so he didn’t tell you where he was headed?’
‘Nope. He was trying to make sure I wouldn’t get arrest for aiding and abetting a fugitive,’ I responded.
‘If you had to guess where he would go, what would it be?’ Mitchell asked.
‘Hawaii. Definitely Hawaii.’ I responded.
‘Have you ever been?’
‘Go. Then you’ll know.’
‘Is that where Jimmy went when he disappeared for most of 2011?’
‘Yep, the big island I think.’
Mitchell loved the interrogator role. He looked me straight in the eyes now. ‘So you never went out to visit him in Hawaii in 2011?’
‘No. Couldn’t afford the trip.’
‘And you haven’t been tempted ever again to sprout some seeds?’
‘Come on, that was years ago. We were 15 years old kids and were curious more than anything else.’
‘One hundred plants is a lot of curiosity for a couple of 15 year olds!’ Mitchell was sounding unhappy with my answers.
‘Hey we only grew that many because we didn’t expect many to survive. We were wrong.’
‘How do you get your smoke these days?’
‘I don’t.’ (Technically I just broke the law knowingly with this answer … must not touch my face with my hands … they are taught to watch for that). ‘Listen, since I am not under arrest, I am going to leave now. Unless you are going to charge my wife, she will be leaving with me.’
‘Not so fast, what if I want you to submit to a piss test’.
‘I will only do that under advice of my attorney. So arrest me or I’m leaving.’
I stood up to leave the interrogation room. Mitchell got up quickly and put himself between me and the door.
‘What, is that your solution … physical intimidation? And this is your strategy to get me to be helpful? You are dumber than you look. Oh wait, I got it. You are waiting for me to brush past you or touch you in some way as I leave, so you can arrest me on one of those pussy assaulting a police officer charges.’
Mitchell stepped forward within a foot of my face. His cold blue eyes were blank.
‘I had you on assaulting a police officer the moment we walked into the room without any other cops around. All I need to do is cuff you, slap myself hard and you are a graduating felon. And the icing on the cake, want to know what that is? I get to beat the crap out of you in self-defence.’
‘There is only one flaw in that plan,’ I responded.
‘I am free to beat the fuck out of you before you get the cuffs on me. Unless, of course, you are willing to shoot me. And I do mean willing, because you will have to.’
‘Look at you, all that brass in your balls now.’ Mitchell got closer.
I was not in the mood to back down. I looked him in the eye. I remember something I read on Reddit. I went into psycho mode with blank eyes and spoke very calmly.
‘I came into this world screaming and covered in someone else’s blood. I don’t mind leaving the same way. So please, please keep fucking with me.’ Mitchell recognized ‘nothing to lose’ when he saw it. He stepped back. As I moved to the door, he spoke.
‘Guess who is the guy who shot himself in the foot.’
‘I’ve got no clue, why don’t you tell me,’ I replied.
‘Arturo Rodriguez. Does that name ring a bell?’
‘He is a captain in our police force.’
‘You’re kidding me. A cop shot himself and Jimmy drove him to the hospital?’
‘That is about the size of it’ responded Mitchell’ ‘Do you know what else is peculiar?’
‘Nope, no idea’ I replied.
‘Rodriguez was Jimmy’s arresting officer’.
‘None at all.’
I sat on the bench waiting for her. It took them 20 minutes to bring my wife to the waiting area at the front of the station. She ran to me and hugged my neck. She whispered in my ear ‘it went perfect, not a single hitch’.
We drove home.