Hi guys, Happy New Year! Welcome to our January story. This year my goal is to try to do a story at least once a month. I was barely able to get this one in on the last God damned day of the month. I honestly have to blame my tardiness on my idea train and a certain tiny blond woman. I kept starting over because there was always an idea for another story that I thought would be better. And even when I’d committed to finishing this one, someone decided that we needed to take a weekend getaway, and then spend a day at the autoshow. And for all of us in the medical field, it’s flu season, so I’m really busy. Anyway ... Next month I promise to be more focused. Hopefully. SS06
Out of the Blue ... Clueless ... Thunderstruck ... Pissed Off ... Foolish...
Those were my feelings that bright, shiny moment when two police officers walked onto our floor, out of the blue. I looked out over the bullpen area where lesser engineers, who have yet to make their marks, worked and congregated, wondering which one of those poor saps was in trouble.
From the relative luxury of my glass walled office, I was far enough away from them, that my large, cheesy smirk couldn’t be recognized, but close enough to see everything that was going on.
There were two cops. They both wore uniforms. One of the cops was male and the other was a female. They were both clearly up and comers in our criminal justice system.
I was sure of it because normally uniformed officers handle patrol duties etc. Running down or retrieving suspects was usually handled by detectives.
As I watched them, I noticed several of the poor slobs in the bullpen, duck down at their desks, to make themselves seem less visible. They were obviously guilty of something ... aren’t we all.
A couple of the lesser intelligent guys tried to duck into the rest rooms, printer rooms, or even the fucking broom closet, to escape the scrutiny of the cops, the flatfoots, 5 O, Barney Fife, Deputy Dawg, or a hundred other names we give to law enforcement.
I was almost salivating as I watched and speculated over which of the poor slobs was about to be embarrassed and wondered whether he’d leave in handcuffs, or just get a ticket.
The two cops differed in more than just gender. The male seemed to be trying his God damnedest to be nice. He nodded at and even waved at people as they passed through the bullpen leaving relief and happiness in their wake.
The female on the other hand was a pure hard ass. They were inside of the fucking building and she still hadn’t taken off those ludicrous mirrored sunglasses.
She seemed to be going out of her way to appear to be intimidating. Her icy glare and sneer, reminded me of Sylvester Stallone in Cobra. Like Mr. T, I pitied the fool who tried to get into those panties. The bitch probably wore one of those iron bikinis like Red Sonja in the comics.
As I watched them, it became obvious that they were headed completely through the bullpen and heading for one of the four corner offices. I was sure that Ted Monroe, the asshole next to me had finally popped his wife one across the chops. The two of them drank heavily and often and usually ended up getting into fights even in public places.
As they passed right by Ted’s office, my smirk faded and I began to recount my own sins. The supercharger on my Mustang, or my illegal X pipe had to be the reason. I knew I’d been hit with a radar gun on the way home the other night. But I’d been sure the MSP trooper had seen 150 on his screen as I tried to slow down and assumed that it was 15.0 mph. The MSP are not known for their decision-making capabilities. A tasered child and some terrible social media postings are proof of that.
The problem with my line of thought was that these were not MSP troopers. They looked like Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies and those guys don’t fuck around. But they weren’t Sheriffs either. They were from our small town’s regular police force.
As they knocked at my door, I looked past them and noticed a sea of smiling, smirking faces in the bullpen. I could see the gossip mills already running rampant as every son of a bitch and bitch on that floor speculated and laughed at me. How the worm had turned, out of the blue. The shoe was clearly on the other foot.
“What’s your ... name?” spat the female officer, out of the blue.
“Ask my God damned lawyer,” I hissed back in the same tone. “I’ll call her right now before this even gets started. I’m in my own office, minding my own business, so I can make as many phone calls as I’d like.”
“Whoa ... let’s all take a breath and tone this down,” said the male officer. “This got way out of hand in a hurry.” He glared at his partner.
“Mr. Thomas we already know who you are,” he said. “It’s standard procedure to have the parties we contact identify themselves. We’ve already run your record and except for an incredible number of speeding tickets, that I might add have always been paid off early, you’ve never been in any kind of trouble. You CAN call your lawyer if you wish and you may end up doing so but you aren’t being accused of any crimes. My partner here is slightly confrontational.
But she gets it honestly ... we don’t usually deal with nice people.”
“Oh...” I said, breathing a sigh of relief. I hadn’t even realized that I’d leaned forward in my chair and was clenching my fists so tightly that even my short fingernails had dug into my palms.
“I apologize,” I said. “Things are really tense around here. We have a lot of projects going and very hard deadlines for them. Those F’ing tariffs aren’t helping us either. I haven’t had a vacation in a while. As soon as my last project wraps, I’m taking the little woman and my stepdaughter on a cruise...”
“Can you get your money back for the tickets?” gushed the female cop.
As I looked at her, I noticed her partner elbow her in the ribs. “What?” she asked. “I was trying to help him save some money. He’s probably gonna need it for the...” A withering look from her partner and she just shut up immediately.
That immediately put the exact wrong idea in my head. It was almost as if she’d hinted that due to unforeseen circumstances, namely my own incarceration, I wouldn’t be going on any cruises any time soon.
“Sir can you please come with us?” asked the male officer.
“You’ll probably regret it if you don’t,” said the female officer, in a voice that again seemed malicious even if her face almost seemed ... compassionate.
I placed my wrists close together and held my hands out. The female officer reached behind her and pulled out her handcuffs.
“No!” said the male officer sharply.
“But he held out his hands,” whined the female. “What was I supposed to do?”
“How about our JOB?” asked the male officer. “He hasn’t committed a crime, Kristie. He’s the injured party. We’re supposed to protect and serve. That means when bad things happen, we’re supposed to aid and support the community.”
“We didn’t have any God damned classes in that shit at the academy,” she whined. “I didn’t become a cop to hold hands with whiney people. I’m not the type of person who wants somebody crying on my God damned shoulder ... I...”
“You were the best shot in your class at the academy,” said the male. “We’ve heard it over and over again since you showed up. But this isn’t really a situation where shooting is necessary. Maybe you should go out for SWAT...”
“I can’t,” she said. “My mom blocked it. She calls them the Sadistic Wannabe Army Team. She says SWAT is a career dead end.”
“We’ll finish this talk later,” he said. “Maybe I can pull some strings for you.”
He turned to me. “Mr. Thomas, can you follow us to the station?” he asked. “That way you can also drive your car back here or...” he paused. “Uhm ... wherever you need to go ... when this is done.”
He seemed to be on the verge of breaking down himself. “Sure,” I said.
As we walked through the bullpen and a sea of smiling, snickering, faces of assholes who were jealous of me and wanted nothing more than to have me gone or disgraced, so they could possibly take my place, I kept my head high and my chin up.
“Stay strong, DT,” said one guy, that I thought was actually serious.
“Don’t pick up the soap,” snickered another. I recognized the voice and turned immediately.
“Since we’re talking about picking shit up, Martin,” I hissed. “Why don’t you pick up your last paycheck?”
“It was a joke!” said a cheesy looking guy. Maybe I shouldn’t have called him cheesy, but that’s the way all of those fake hipsters look to me. His handlebar mustache, fully ridiculous beard and the ring in his nose, contrasted with his old time stiff collared shirt, suspenders, incredibly tight pants and the barely visible bow tie that peeked out from under the beard.
He looked like some weird cross between a member of a barber shop quartet and a fucking lumber jack. But his entire look was an affectation. He was just trying to make himself seem more interesting than he actually was.
I knew for a fact that he still lived with his parents, his mom dropped him off at work every day and his insistence on riding one of those giant front wheel bikes any time he could get someone to watch him, was all down to the fact that he didn’t have a fucking driver’s license and couldn’t get one.
“Come on Dave,” he whined. “We all know you didn’t do anything wrong ... unless they caught you speeding again. And they don’t send two cops to pick up speeders. You’re too much of a straight arrow to break the law. They probably need you as a witness to a crime that somebody else did. You’re not even cuffed.
The true crime is if they let you drive that gas guzzling, environmental nightmare of a vehicle anywhere that... “ he saw my look and stopped talking immediately.
“I’ve read about cases where you can slap the silly out of some people,” offered the female officer. “Do you want me to try it?” she asked.
I just shook my head. “I think it’s either situational blindness, a major joke that nobody except him gets the punchline to, or mental instability, brought on by the fact that his pants are so tight they’re squeezing his nuts and cutting off the circulation to his brain...” she nodded her head as she spoke. She gave me the impression that she just wanted ... almost needed to hit him.
“With that much pressure on his balls, he’ll probably never have children,” she continued. “But if you ask me ... that’s a good thing! Clearly, one of him is enough.”
He started sputtering like a fish out of water. As we turned to leave, I heard him mutter, “Lesbian,” under his breath.
Her head snapped around so quickly that it seemed like it was a wheel spinning on an axle. Her eyes locked onto to him so precisely that I began to suspect that she was a robot.
“What did you say?” she hissed. I was sure that Martin had just pissed his pants. Maybe it was the way his legs were rubbing together all of a sudden. Or the way he was leaning forward, as if to draw attention away from his nether regions.
There was also suddenly an acrid smell around him, but then ... that could have been fear.
“What did you say?” she repeated. “I believe that casting aspersions on someone’s gender or sexual identity in a negative connotation constitutes hate speech and is punishable...”
“I said thespian,” whined Martin. “It’s a fancy term for an actor in a play ... you know. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you’re a talented actress ... pretending that that you don’t find me attractive and all ... ya know ... ha ha,” he blathered.
Suddenly, she turned and we headed for the door. As we got to the parking lot, her eyes lit up and settled on my car.
“That’s a monster!” she gushed.
“Thanks,” I said not knowing if she was being genuine or setting me up for something.
“Uhm ... does Robin sit next to you ... or in the back? laughed her partner.
There was something weird going on that I didn’t get. There was a personality switch between them. He was the one cracking the jokes and for a second her aggressiveness was gone.
“Is there anything on this car that isn’t black?” he laughed again.
He moved from the side of the car to the front and laughed again.
“What?” she asked. He was pointing at my yellow, snake eye headlights.
“I’d hate to see that thing coming up behind me on a dark and stormy night,” he laughed. “What’s with your pony emblem?”
“Oh...” I said. “It’s a programmable LED light. It glows and pulses. It’s a one of kind item ... so far.”
“Bet that set you back a few bucks,” he laughed.
“Well ... this car is a 2014,” I said. “I don’t really like the new body style, so a lot of my money goes into modding this one. I make decent money, my house is paid off and all I have to spend it on are the big three ... Wife, stepdaughter and the car.”
She looked as if she was about to say something but he physically clamped his hand over her mouth, just in time to squelch it.
“Just follow us,” he said. “You can park next to us in the department lot to save money on the parking meter.”
As he started the engine of their police department Dodge Charger, she rolled the windows down. I knew what she was listening for so I gave her a thrill.
I was sure that gay or not, her eyes rolled back in her head when I started my Mustang’s engine. I wondered if her metal bikini would have rust spots on it from the drops of juice, she gushed during her exhaust note fueled orgasm.
The weird thing was that as we drove towards the city municipal center, I couldn’t get her off my mind. It was doubly weird because as a happily married man, most women, no matter how attractive they are don’t register on my radar.
Sure, she seemed to be an iron-clad bitch, but there was something about her. She was on the slimmer side. And her perky boobs were much smaller than my wife’s generous boobs.
But her ass was incredible ... or at least I thought it was. It was hard to tell in those unflattering uniform pants ... but damn she made them look good.
Her pale skin and freckles were intriguing. As was the obviously bright red hair that was swept up under that ridiculous hat she wore. I also wondered about the eyes under those stupid sunglasses.
I’d never been to the part of the municipal building that we went to. After parking my car, I looked around in confusion.
As I lagged behind, she took it as an opportunity to dig at me. She turned her head and stared at me over her shoulder.
“Never been in the back door huh?” she asked. I was stunned. The pose she assumed, with that ass pointed in my direction, and her face staring at me was too much.
And she had to know the double entendre that her words suggested.
“Where... ?” I mumbled.
“It’s okay sir,” said the male officer. “This door was just closer to where we’re going. And you won’t have to deal with a lot of people on your way out. From what I gather there are a few reporters out there. If you come back this way, you’ll be able to avoid them.”
That had me really confused. I couldn’t think of a single thing that a reporter would want to talk to me about. But his words assured me that I would be coming back out. I had no idea of what any of this bullshit was about.
But I was sure that I’d have a great story to tell my wife and stepdaughter over dinner.
Dana, my wife, just loved gossip. I didn’t personally care what went on in anyone else’s life. But I loved how excited it got Dana.
Inside of the building we passed a lobby, with a uniformed receptionist. She was a chunkier older woman, who despite her cheerful smile, and her pleasant voice as she greeted us, wore a gun in a holster in her hip.
I guess that even though she seemed like a friendly woman, she was all cop if the situation dictated it.
I also noticed that her smile dimmed a bit as she gazed at me. Maybe she thought that I was a criminal and reserved her smiles for other cops.
We turned a corner and went through a double set of doors and everything changed. Not that there were bars or more cops, but the air got much cooler and the smell changed.
The area we were in smelled ... more like a hospital. Hospitals all smell like disinfectants mixed with blood. No matter how much cleaning they do ... no matter how many flower arrangements they have, you can’t get rid of that smell.
And beside the smell there’s just a feeling ... you always feel like someone in the area is dying or has died.
We finally entered a room that was as cold as a refrigerator, with three or four levels of large drawers built into the wall. I suddenly realized where we were.
“I need you to take a deep breath,” said the male officer. He opened the drawer in front of us and pulled it out.
The smell alone almost drove me to my knees. I had to fight really hard to keep from vomiting.
It was not like when you watched this on TV. Everything wasn’t nice and clean and sanitized. I’d only been to a few funerals in my lifetime and this body didn’t look anything like those.
But then those bodies had been cleaned, preserved, embalmed and literally dressed and posed to appear lifelike. Those bodies always looked as if the person was only sleeping.
This was another matter. This body stank like nothing I had ever smelled in my life. It was soaked in blood and most of the upper portions appeared to have been in a fire.
The hair was charred and burned. The skin was burned and blackened like meat that has been left on the grill far too long. There were sections of the body where the flesh had been burned away and only bones remained, yet other areas were intact.
The head was burned down to a gleaming skull that had been yellowed in some areas. Other areas still had melted flesh thinly covering the bones. A pair of very familiar glasses appeared to have been pressed tightly against the face, the lenses melted by the flames and the frames twisted by pressure, until they were almost embedded in the fleshless face.
“Sir,” his voice was soothing and calming. “I know this is very hard for you,” he said. His words, his tone and even his volume level spoke to me.
They told me that he wasn’t just bullshitting me. He actually cared.
“I want you to step away for a few moments,” he said. “You’re going through an awful experience. We need to handle this in stages.”
I nodded. My mind was in a hundred places. I was sure that they were showing me that body for a reason. I was also sure that somehow ... it was my fault.
Perhaps I’d flown through an intersection and accidentally cut someone off, and when they slammed on their brakes, they caused an accident that led to that poor woman on the table being killed.
I never meant for it to happen. Okay ... I drive fast. I drive way too God damned fast, but I never meant to hurt anyone.
Shit ... most people never mean to hurt anyone, but it happens every fucking day. My life is over. Even if I get off with involuntary manslaughter, I’ll get three to five if I’m lucky.
The family will probably file a civil suit and take all of my money. I have to get a lawyer. And if I get bail ... they said that I’d be leaving when I was done. Does that mean I’ll get bail?
I have to put some money away for Kim to go to college. Dana doesn’t save a fucking dime. She spends all of her money on herself and as much of mine as she can get her hands on.
I have to make sure Kim is taken care of. She may not be my biological daughter ... shit, she doesn’t even like me. She always makes sure to tell people that I’m her STEP dad, emphasis on STEP.
But I couldn’t love her more if she was my real daughter. I spend more time with her than Dana does. Jesus ... why did this have to happen now? Kim is only thirteen and she needs me.
Dana will divorce me for sure. Despite how much she swears she loves me, Dana will not wait for me. Stand by your man my ass. Dana hasn’t ever even heard of Tammy Wynette. We’ll be divorced before the echo of my cell door slamming has faded. Then I’ll be Kim’s ex-STEP dad.
“Mr. Thomas,” he said. “Do you think you’re ready to proceed?”
“Sure,” I said. “How did it happen?”
“They were in an automobile accident,” he said. “They were going at a very high rate of speed. We’ve just found out that they’d found out very early this morning that they were going to be arrested and decided to get out of town and...”
“Not that her ... their history isn’t important,” I said. “But how am I involved? What did I do to cause...”
He looked at me again, but the look on his face was pure confusion.
“Nothing,” he smiled. “Mr. Thomas, that’s not why you’re here. Didn’t your secretary speak to you. Jesus ... you must be confused. No wonder you’ve been acting so weird.”
That was when I heard the sound of the door opening and noticed that he and I were the only ones in the room.
Even as I turned, I caught a glimpse of his hot, bitchy partner, letting another woman into the room.
This woman was older than me. I’d have to estimate her in that forty-five to fifty range. And she was incandescently beautiful. It wasn’t the symmetry of her features or their arrangement. Her beauty was the beauty of fierceness. She was like some sort of Viking woman. Her strength of purpose, elegance and grace defied her physical attributes.
“Hello Mr. Thomas,” she said.
“Not yet, ma’am,” he said.
“Thank you, Patrick,” she said. “I need to have a few words with Kristie, anyway.”
As she stepped away. He pulled the drawer open again. “Most of your shock is over,” he said gently. “This time I need you to look at specific details. Her face is unrecognizable. So as hard as this is to look at, look for other things. And before I forget ... you had nothing to do with this crash. It happened this morning. We already know that you were in your building and had been for several hours.
So please get that out of your mind and look for things you might know or remember.”
Suddenly, the situation changed. I was no longer burdened by guilt. I hadn’t killed anybody ... accidentally or otherwise.
I held my breath and looked again. As I’d said before, the glasses were familiar. They were very popular. My next-door neighbor, had a pair of them and I’d had to spring for a pair of them for Dana, once she saw them.
And then I saw it. The necklace she wore ... it was ... Oh GOD ... No! It couldn’t be. Suddenly I didn’t give a fuck how bloody or juicy the body was. The smell of charred flesh was no longer disgusting. I reached into the drawer and grabbed her hand and saw IT!
My entire world changed in that moment. I was making little whining noises in the back of my throat. I couldn’t help it. I was standing there holding the skeletal arm of a charred corpse that was wearing my wife’s wedding ring.
I blinked several times to clear away the tears that had formed in the corners of my eyes. I thrust my hand into my pocket and came out with my phone. I called Dana as if my life depended on her answering the phone.
The ringer seemed to be ringing in stereo. I heard it through my phone’s speaker but also from ... the officer beside me was holding up a purse that I’d seen at least a hundred times before.
That was when I lost it. There was no longer a need for any macho bullshit. My strength gave out. I dropped to my knees and started bawling like a baby.
I didn’t care who saw me crying. Nothing mattered. My hands lost their grip on my phone. My expensive iPhone X clattered to the floor and didn’t matter. Nothing did. Tears flowed from my eyes in a way that they hadn’t since I was a child.
This was different. This wasn’t a skinned knee. It wasn’t a tumble off of my bike. This wasn’t getting passed in the home stretch of a 10K. This was the most heartbreaking experience of my entire life and this time my mother was nowhere in sight.
I cried unabashedly and with no traces of embarrassment. None of that mattered. The male officer seemed to be lost. At times like that, men behave and feel awkwardly. You just don’t know what to do or say.
Out of the blue, I felt a pair of arms wrap themselves around me and comfort me.
“I’m sorry,” I blubbered. “I can’t help it.”
“I know,” she said. “And it’s so much worse when you never saw it coming. They always say it gets better in time, but it doesn’t. As time passes you just learn not to think about it ... but every time you do ... it comes back...”
And then she was crying too. And I was hugging her too. I’m not sure how long we sat there on the floor sobbing out our mutual grief, but in the end, it was me who decided that we should get up.
The biggest surprise I got was that the person who’d comforted me, was the same bitchy young cop who’d been taking shots at me since we met.
Without that stupid hat and those ridiculous sunglasses, she was pretty. I was sure that a little make-up and letting down that tightly bound red hair, would make her beautiful.
“Thanks,” I said. She just nodded and turned away. She walked back out the door she’d come in.
“Okay, I really am shocked now,” said the older woman. “Mr. Thomas, forgive me, but I am truly shocked. This is the first time that girl has shown as much as a hint of emotion in more years than I care to mention. She...”
“She showed me human kindness and compassion when I really needed it,” I spat. “Maybe there should be more police officers like her. She’s...”
“She’s my daughter,” interrupted the woman. “And I agree with you. She’s amazing. It’s just that no one ever gets to see it.”
“I didn’t realize that you...” I sputtered.
“I’m Marjorie Callahan,” she said. “I’m the District Attorney. We needed your help in identifying your wife’s body. I’m afraid that the bad news isn’t over yet.
I believe that officer Briggs kind of semi filled you in on what was going on...” she said.
“Sorry ... I’m still out of it,” I said. “I’m having trouble believing that Dana is gone. Wait a minute ... didn’t he say THEY? He said THEY were driving at a high rate of speed. They were going to be arrested! Who the fuck is THEY?”
“Calm down, sir,” she said. “I know this is a shock for you but I need you to bear with us. Come with me and I’m going to let you witness something that might fill in some of the blanks for you.” She paused for a moment.
“Mr. Thomas...” she began. And she sighed.
“Call me Dave,” I said.
“Dave have you ever seen the Matrix?” she asked.
“Of course,” I said. “But what...”
“Do you want the blue pill ... or the red one?” she asked.
“Huh?” I asked.
“It’s just that sometimes ... we’re better off not knowing,” she said. “You’ve just received a huge shock. It must feel like getting kicked in the nuts by a mule. Maybe you’ve had enough. Maybe you’re better off leaving things like they are...”
“No!” I said. “I married Dana for better or worse. I need to know how and why she died. Maybe I won’t tell my daughter all of the details but I need to know.”
“Come with me then,” she said. “We’re going down the rabbit hole and into the matrix.”
We walked through the building and into an area that was far more secure.
“He’s with me,” she threw out casually. And all of the cops in the area, relaxed. We walked into another area and into a small room with a large window.
Inside of that room, a man in a suit that had seen better days was talking to a woman who seemed to be familiar to me.
It was frustrating. I knew the woman, but at that moment I couldn’t have come up with her name or where I knew her from to save my ass.
Sure ... a big part of it was that my mind wasn’t there. I was flailing and just trying to keep moving. I still couldn’t face the fact that Dana was dead. That was why I was here. I needed to know what happened. I needed something to tell my daughter. Okay ... my STEP daughter.
Suddenly, the voices from the other room came through very clearly.
“Speakers in the wall,” she said, as she settled in to listen.
“I don’t know ... I’m like her best friend and now it just seems like I never really knew her,” said the woman sitting at the table in the other room. “I mean ... I thought she was stupid for sleeping with Jeff in the first place. He’s nowhere near as good looking as her husband. And he treats her like shit.
He’s screwing two other women in our office, behind her back. And he’s been married for longer than she has. It’s stupid and she kept saying Connie, I’m tired of this. I’m gonna quit. But then Jeff would do something ... like screwing her in a public park in broad daylight. Dana just loves dangerous, risky shit like that. And they’d be on again.
Jeff was mostly just using her for money. Her poor dumb ass husband is like the lead engineer at some big company. He makes a shit ton of money and spends it all on Dana and her kid.
Dana was getting money from her husband and giving it to Jeff. It’s so dumb ... especially after what happened at that picnic about a year ago...”
“What happened at the picnic?” asked the man in the rumpled suit.
“It was one of those company picnics in the park. We were all there with our families or friends. And Dana is kind of big up top. She has never in her damned life worn a top that didn’t show off her boobs. I think she does it because she doesn’t have much downstairs, you know.
Anyway, Jeff decided to be sneaky and grab a handful of titty, while no one was looking. He does shit like that and it turns Dana on. The problem was that Dave WAS looking. He always treats Dana like she’s precious.
He grabbed Jeff’s hand in midair and bent his fingers back until Jeff looked like he was gonna cry. Jeff was trying to get away and trying not to scream. Dave kept up the pressure until Jeff dropped to his knees, pleading with him. And then Dave punched him in the face so hard that something popped.
And Dana pretended that she didn’t know anything about it. But everybody knew. Everybody in our office knows those two were fucking. They weren’t fooling anybody. All of those late lunches and both of them coming back at about the same time. I knew she was stupid, but I never thought she’d help that idiot steal money. If this all comes out and she goes to jail, what will happen to her kid?
And her mother can’t live on her social security payments. From what Dana said her mom spends more money on liquor and weed than her checks. If Dana didn’t slip her some money every week the old lady would starve. Dana needs to turn that asshole in and work on saving her marriage before it’s too late.”
“So, do you think Dana had anything to do with stealing the money or not?” asked the rumpled detective.
“I don’t know,” said Connie. “On her own, Dana would never steal anything. But Jeff had a real grip on her pussy. Shit like that can make you do things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Dana doesn’t know what money problems are. She’s a steno. She makes about 11 dollars an hour typing and proofreading documents. Some fast food workers make more than she does. But she drives a brand-new Lexus and dresses better than any of the female managers. Money isn’t something she worries about.
But she has trouble saying no to Jeff. I’d bet any amount of money that he pulled her into this.”
“So you’re saying that her affair was common knowledge around your office?” asked the detective.
“Common knowledge... ?” laughed Connie. “Even the interns and the mail boys were hitting on her. Every guy with a swinging dick wanted a chance at those big old titties. They figured that if she was fucking Jeff, they may as well take a shot at her too. It was really confusing.”
“How so?” asked the detective.
“None of them got to first base with her. She even made a couple of complaints to HR. See, Jeff had her number. Nobody else did. If it hadn’t been for Jeff, Dana would be a very happily married woman. She always claims that she loves Dave. She wants to spend the rest of her life with him. She just can’t seem to get Jeff out of her system.”
“Thank you, Connie,” said the detective. “If you can think of anything that might be helpful, please give me a call.”
“Wait a minute,” said Connie. “Is there any way I can help bail her out? You have to know that this isn’t something she’d do on her own. And is there any way to keep this quiet? Her husband and her daughter and even her crazy assed mom, don’t need to know anything about this. It’s a big mistake but it shouldn’t ruin her entire life.”
“I’m not exactly sure what to tell you about that,” he said. “All of those decisions are going to be up to the DA. I’m just gathering information. Have a good day Ma’am.”
The woman got up and left the room. There were several times that it seemed as if she wanted to say something more, but she left without doing so.
“I’m sorry Mr. Thomas,” Marjorie said quietly. “I had no idea that any of that was going on. I’m sure it’s no consolation, but I really was trying to help. You seemed to want closure, and I wanted you to have it. I just saw this as a simple, routine case of thievery, that ended in an accident.
I expexted that woman to give us some kind of evidence that your wife wasn’t involved in the theft. We’ve interviewed a couple of other people from your wife’s office and they thought that she was just giving good old Jeff a ride. Someone was always giving Jeff a ride because he didn’t own a car.”
“Apparently my wife was giving Jeff all kinds of rides ... and some of them didn’t involve a car,” I said. “I’m so stupid.”
“How were you supposed to know that any of this was going on?” she asked.
“Because that woman ... Connie was right. I caught them at that stupid picnic. I beat the piss out of him, but she claimed that she didn’t know anything about it. She claimed that he was just a creepy guy who worked in their office. She said he was probably a little drunk and thought that he could get away with copping a feel since they were outside of the office.
I ... I believed her. I ALWAYS believed her. I’m such an idiot.”
I sat back down in the chair and dropped my head to the table. I took a few moments to just breathe. Before I could even get myself together the door opened loudly and slammed back.
“I want my fucking car,” a woman’s voice screamed. I looked up in time to see a brunette woman in jeans and a top that were both too small for her. Her chest was heaving and she seemed to be on the verge of tears.
She looked directly at me and came over and sat down in front of me.
“Your dumb assed cops have filled me in on the whole story,” she spat. “My asshole husband has been cheating on me again. This time it’s with that same cunt from his job that he got his ass beaten over. You’d think a broken nose, two broken fingers and a ton of embarrassment would be enough to make him stay away from that fat whore, but I guess there’s just something about big titties that drives a man crazy.
Anyway ... this was my last straw. I’m done with him. I heard he wrecked her car. Good for her. And your cops said that they stole some money. Well ... I didn’t have shit to do with them stealing anything and our car was not involved in the theft.
It’s in my name, it’s our only vehicle and I’m gonna need it to take our kids back and forth to school and whatnot. I am not interested in bailing Jeffery out, or in talking to him. As soon as I can find the cheapest God damned lawyer in town, I’ll be filing for divorce and...”
“Mrs. Stevens...” Marjorie said from across the room. She didn’t need to raise her voice. And her tone carried so much authority with it that the woman stopped ranting.
“Why are you telling Mr. Thomas all of your problems?” she asked calmly. “He has enough troubles of his own. In fact, the two of you are in exactly the same boat.”
“He’s not the DA?” the woman gushed. “That flatfoot at the desk told me to come in here and plead my case to the DA and I just assumed...”
“You stomped in here took a look around and assumed that since he was the only MAN in the room that he had to be the District Attorney. I guess you didn’t vote for me.”
“So, who’s he?” she asked pointing at me.
“I’m the cunt’s husband,” I said. “Welcome to the boat. We won’t have much time to get to know each other, this ship is sinking fast.”
“Sorry,” she gushed. Even as she said it, she wiped her face and adjusted her clothes as if I hadn’t already seen her.
Marjorie pulled out her phone and spoke into it. The male officer, whose name was Patrick came into the room and got the woman.
“You can’t take me to jail,” she squawked. “I ain’t done nothin’ ... this time.”
“He’s taking you to see your husband,” said Marjorie.
“I don’t wanna see that lying sack of shit,” she hissed. “I’ve wasted too much of my time on losers.” She looked over at me.
“Sorry ... I thought you were the DA,” she said. “But you look really professional. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an automotive engineer,” I began.
“We ARE in the same boat,” she smiled. “We...” Even as she spoke, I noticed Kristie opening the door almost silently and entering the room.
“You’re an engineer too... ?” I asked.
“No ... I’m a part time drive through window cashier at one of the city’s finest fast food emporiums,” she said. “But we’re both married to scumbags, so maybe we should get together and share our misery ... you know a few drinks ... maybe dinner ... and I could...”