Chapter 13: Good Cop, Bad Cop
“Remfred Brody, step up on the line please,” the young officer ordered.
The flash of the camera exploded in Remy’s eyes, he squinted.
“Turn to your right side please.”
Again the flash.
“Turn to your left side please.”
Booking. It was a longer process than registering a car at the DMV. They took more than finger prints these days. The system required a scan of your palms and the sides of your hands. Remy sat in a room with other people waiting to be processed into the system or housed in a jail cell. The only thing that made this room different than a kids area sickroom at a hospital, was the sliding steel bars on the exits.
It smelled like sick and bleach. There was a television, drinking fountain, and a series of solid plastic chairs all locked together in rows. Remy was in a room with the drug addicts and the drunks picked up last night. You couldn’t put your feet up, you were not free to leave your seat for any reason, and the officer who drew the short straw got stuck with this processing shift. It was shit work, nothing exciting. The system hardly ever handles any harden criminals these days. These are just regular folks who made a small mistake or became the victim of unfortunate circumstance. Remy fell into the second. The bolt slid back on a door behind them. Stenciled above this door in large block letters was the word, “Interview.”
“Brody. Where is Brody?” Remy stood up.
“Right here sir,” Remy said.
“Come on back.”
Remy recognized the young man from Smitty’s shop last night. It was the same police officer who told him to get outside and later hustled him into the back of a squad car. He had a likeness to the older man that Remy tried to help. More clean cut though, and permeated the small room with his egotism. The polished name plate pinned to his breast read, “Martian.”
The room was small and contained only two steel chairs bolted to the floor, a hard solid plastic table, one florescent light with one of the two tubes burnt out, one steel security camera box in the top corner, and two doors opposite each other. Remy could only guess that the door he didn’t come in lead to the personal jack off room for cops. They watched suspects being tormented into confessions of the crimes they didn’t commit. The two men sat opposite each other as Martian read through Remy’s file.
“So you were divorced and the kid decided to go with his mother?” Martian said.
“Yea that’s right. She wanted it to go smoothly and split everything 50/50 but I just told her to take it all.”
“Brody, you’ll refrain from elaborating unless I direct you otherwise. Yes or no are your only answer options at this time.” Martian scanned the pages in the file.
“Says here you are ex-military but everything about it is classified. Medical discharge due to knee injuries sustained during service. There are disabled vet programs for people like you. You know that right?”
“Yes,” Remy said.
“So you choose to be homeless?”
“No,” Remy said.
“No? Than why are you on the streets?”
“I grew up being taught that a man had to make his own way. Provide for himself and his family. That’s how it’s done. I’m just making my own way sir,” Remy said.
“So you’re the proud type of bum?”
“Yes,” Remy didn’t like the word bum, but there was no other way to describe himself. No one would hire him or give him a second glance. He was homeless but it wasn’t for lack of trying to make a better life. Failing as a husband to Dana and a father to his son Roger, made him realize maybe it was just time to fade away from existence. He had already squared it away in his mind that he would die on the streets, it was just a matter of time and place or temperature.
“How did you know Andrew Smithe?” Martian asked accusingly.
“Never heard the name,” Remy said.
“The owner of the underhanded pawn shop Brody, how did you know him?”
“Oh, Smitty and I go back a ways I guess. He’s a household name among the homeless. He’ll take just about anything if it’s in good enough shape, and he always pays in cash without asking any questions,” Remy replied.
“When was the last time you saw him before last night?”
“Well, I sold him a microwave I happened upon a couple days ago…”
“You mean you stole?” Martian interrupted in a harsh accusing tone.
“No, it fell of the truck or something. It was just sitting in the alley abandoned,” Remy snapped back in the same manner as Martian’s accusation and shifted his body forward. He watched Martian’s face turn a slight shade of red. Remy shuffled in his seat realizing the error of not keeping his cool.
“You got a problem with me Brody?”
“No sir,” Remy said.
“Then you better mind your fucking manners and just answer the questions.”
“Yes sir,” Remy said relaxing back into his chair.
The buzzer sounded and the lock on the door to the jack off room clicked. The door swung open. The older fellow from last night emerged.
“John, a word please?” he said. Martian stood up and put his palms on the table leaning over into Remy’s face.
“Don’t move Brody, I’ll be right back. You’ll explain to me just what exactly you’ve been doing the last couple days.”
The two men left the room and Remy was alone. These types of things were supposed to be routine. Remy had no convictions to speak of, but he had been arrested numerous times just for being who he was. Martian acted like Remy was taking regular shits on his lawn and wiping with his fresh morning paper. He didn’t understand what the guy’s problem was. After a few minutes the door opened again.
“Remy I’m Detective Arthur Martian. I wanted to thank you for your efforts last night. I don’t think you had any involvement in Smithe’s attack,” Arthur said.
“How is the knee and the ass?”
“Oh, about as good as yours I guess,” He shuffled to the chair opposite Remy and delicately sat down, wincing as he did so.
“You’ll have to forgive my brother John. We’ve had a bad round of luck in unsolvable cases lately,” Arthur said.
“I read about the Snoogins’ case in the paper. Bastard is still at large I guess. You think he attacked Smitty?”
“It’s a possibility. Remy, I’d like you to talk to me about your microwave,” Arthur said.
Remy looked down. He knew how crazy he would sound but he told Arthur anyway. He told him about how it just appeared, and the plates of Thanksgiving feast it kept producing. Told him how last night he saw the front door open and the plate of food again inside it.
“You think I’m crazy right?” Remy said.
“There is no doubt you are crazy Remy. A man with a classified war record is never quite right in the head. However, I do believe you are not a liar and are telling me what you believe to be true.”
Arthur proceeded to tell Remy about the Snoogins investigation. About the blender, and all the holes in their findings. How there was no evidence that anyone else was with her and her house was without power. Yet, she was dead in her kitchen and her arm chewed up in her own blender.
“That is some crazy shit,” Remy said.
“Yes, it’s definitely a different type of investigation. When we collected the evidence from Smithe’s shop this morning the microwave was unplugged. I do not believe it was ever plugged in. The plate of food we found inside matches your description.”
“You think that Smitty opened the microwave and it burned his eyes out?” Remy asked uneasily.
“I don’t know what I think yet, but I’d like you to work with me and be apart of this before someone else gets hurt. I’m going to have them release you soon and I’ve arranged for a bed at a local shelter.”
“I don’t need no shelter,” Remy said in a haughty tone.
“If you would rather a cell I can arrange that instead.”
“Good. Stay close to the shelter then, I’ll call on you there when I need you,” Arthur stood up and held out his hand. Remy took it and gave it a firm shake.
“Yes sir,” Remy said.
Danny Machal June 29th, 2009