This is a First.
I snap on the lights in the interrogation room, and he squints his beady little eyes at me across the desk. “Alright, Shady. Let’s try this again. What were you doin in the park this afternoon?”
Awh, none a’ yer business, coppah!
“Oh, yeah, right, cause sayin that isn’t gonna make me med enough to lock you up and make up the worst charges I can get a judge to buy!”
The headache I’m gonna have later tonight is RSVPing somewhere inside my temples. I shake it off. “Let me see if I can jog your memory. You stole a bag of peanuts from an elephant this afternoon.”
S’what f’I did!
“Watch the apostrophes, mister. You kiss your mother with that mouth?”
Naw, jes yers!
“You then claimed that the peanuts in question had not been stolen, that you’d bought them yourself.”
An dat makes yoo a supreshunator o’ da peaple, don’t it?
“Maybe if you weren’t out your scrawny little butt. Or do you always eat the shells when you have peanuts?” He just glares. Maybe I’m finally getting somewhere. “So whatever you were doin, it wasn’t what you said it was. And now’s the time when you really want to start tellin me what it really was.”
“Which worked so well the last fifty times you said it.” The headache is ringing the doorbell. It’s early. “It’s not like you’d be telling me anything I didn’t already know. I know you stole those peanuts. We got witnesses. We got fingerprints–yours and the victim’s. We got menus from every two-bit pretzel cart, hot dog stand, lemonade truck, and guy with a cooler strapped to a rusty bicycle that’ll sell you a chunk of freezer-burned watermelon. There was nobody selling peanuts in the park. So where’d you get those?”
F’yer so smart, whatchu need me fer?
“Cause none of that tells us why you weren’t eatin the peanuts.” He just stares. He doesn’t look angry anymore. He’s looking scared. I lean forward slowly, blocking the light. “I mean, yeah, that you weren’t eatin em proves you were lying. But it doesn’t answer anything. Even if you stole em, there’s no reason to just sit there with the things on your lap, right?”
Uh… right. Yeah!
“So, ya got yourself a couple options.” The headache’s moving right on in now, but I can’t feel it. “Either you can give me somethin that looks a little less guilty, or I’m gonna go ahead and do some deduction.” He doesn’t understand. I think he might be getting a little cocky again. Idiot, how explicit do I have to make this? “Like from the can of weedkiller you had in your pocket.”
The worst part is he can’t think of anything to make this look like anything but what it is. I can see it in his eyes.
I sit back down on my side of the table. There’s the headache, finally. “Why, Shady? Seriously. Some kinda elephant vs. mice thing? You were always small potatoes. This is serious shit you’re in now. What was it for?”
I confess dat I want my lawyer.
“If that’s the way you want this to work. We get all that?” I ask the two-way mirror.
I don’t wait for an answer, and I snap off the lights on my way out.