by Some Kid
While being interrogated, Bly reflects on his trouble with promises.
|Minse took the jacket off the back of his cheap swivel chair and opened his office door only to see Mitchell blocking his exit. "Sorry. Whatever it is, can't. I already have one arm through the hole." Minse waved the tomato red sleeve in Mitchell's face before returning behind his desk. He put the nylon fashion faux pas back on his chair, going back to looking like a man who could put himself together, that was, as well as any thirty-something bachelor could. His simple cut suit wrinkled as he slummed down in his chair, knowing that whatever his boss wanted him to do that night he was going to end up doing. Minse moaned as Mitchell threw a manila folder on his desk that landed next to his propped up feet.
"It's a quick in and out, Wes. We already have the old man in there singing like a song bird. All we need you to do is get his official statement and then you can go home."
"Why can't you get Rollo to do it?" Minse wined, trying out all the possibilities before giving in his time.
"His wife is sick." Mitchell quickly tacked on, "And yes, that is more important than your big date."
"But I've been talking about it all week!" Minse waited a beat and then sighed running his hand through his short, brown hair, "Alright, alright. No dice. I got it." Minse stood up. He had about five inches on his boss, yet Mitchell still intimidated him. Of course, Minse would never admit that.
"One more thing, Wes."
"Oh, now that you've already roped me into it."
"Hayden's going in with you."
"Foster? No, no, no!" Minse said, sinking back into his chair.
"I don't understand your problem with him, he's a good man. He tied up that Carmikkle case for us."
"But he's not going to accept facts for facts. He's going to keep asking useless questions ‘til the break of dawn. Mindy might wait a couple of hours, but not the entire night!"
Unmoved Mitchell barked, "Interrogation room five."
Down the hall two men waited for the policemen to arrive. One sat behind the rusty steel table, with pasty fingers tapping on it. His wrinkles outnumber his muscles, yet he was still the one being accused. His droopy eyes stared up at the other man pacing around the room in a cheap suit; obviously his city-provided lawyer. "You are really going to have to help me help you," Steinbeck sighed turning to Bly, "and the opposite of that would be to confess."
"But it sure would make my job a lot easier." Minse laughed closing the door behind him. "Alright," Minse checked the name in the manila folder on his clipboard, " Mr. Sworman, you're official statement please." He asked dispassionately as he slumped in the chair opposite him.
"Not so fast," Foster shouted letting himself in.
"Why can't you ever make this easy, Foster?" Minse groaned.
"We need to take this seriously, Wes, this is a murder charge."
"Alright, alright. But Mindy will only wait so long." Minse said throwing up his hands.
Ignoring this Foster went up to Steinbeck to introduce himself, "I'm Hayden Foster."
"And I'm Kyle Steinbeck." They shook hands.
"And I'm late for a date," Minse exclaimed and then pointed to the man across the table, "And he's Mr. Shot-Some-Lady. Now that we're all friends, let's get this show on the road!"
"Wes! You can't make comments like that!"
"Cool it, Foster. We can all take a joke. Can't we, Mr. Lawyer?" Steinbeck nodded meekly as Minse went on, "And Mr. Murderer over here already confessed to doing it, so there was no new information in my comment. Right?" Bly simply stared at him. "Well, you seem chatty." Minse looked back down at his clipboard. "It says here that you shot the poor gal in the face. Oh! and there's a picture. Charming!" Minse held it up for Foster to see, but he swatted it away.
"Wes, we have to be professional about this."
"I've been here for twelve years, Foster. I know how things should and should not be done. Now, Mr. Sworman, your statement please." Minse held a pen to the paper waiting for Bly to speak, but he was too busy with his own thoughts.
He had butterflies in his stomach, but he couldn't help it. He knew he was being crazy, the hard part was over. He still couldn't believe it, they were only 17 and she said yes. Still this was important too.
He took the small box out of his pocket and then quickly put it back. His paranoia sunk in and he needed to take another peak to make sure it was still in there. The little rascal had cost him three weeks salary in the mail room. He hoped that she would like it and he wished that he knew why girls only liked certain things and that they weren't so capable of deciphering between cheap and expensive gifts. He snapped the box shut when he heard her footsteps. He whipped around and forgot everything he had planned to do. He held out the box and managed to say, "It's not like the one I promised, but..."
She threw her arms around him and declared, "I love it!"
Minse threw down the pen, "I thought Mitchell said he was singing like a song bird!"
"He was," Steinbeck piped in, "that was until you two walked in."
"I guess he doesn't like you," Minse teased Foster.
"Maybe he doesn't like you," Foster snapped, snatching the clipboard from Minse's lap.
"Oh, getting catty now." Minse remarked, walking to the back of the room.
"The victim's name was Eleanor Sworman. It says you two meet in high school, married young, right before you got a job in Chicago." Foster kept rambling off notes from the file, but Bly couldn't listen, he was still thinking.
Her face welled up as she threw away her Common French Phrases book and her tiny Eiffel Tower figurine. She was silly to think that she would make her goal of traveling out of the country before she turned thirty. Not wanting him to see her face, she turned to the window when he entered.
He wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, baby," he whispered, "I shouldn't have promised Paris if it wasn't a sure thing."
"Tulsa will be fine."
"The monotony!" Minse yelled out as he leaned against the back wall.
"Excuse me?" Foster inquired, puzzled at this sudden interruption.
"You're just standing there reading off those notes that we all already know. I've read the file, you've read the file, he's read the file," Minse complained pointing to each on turn, "he’s lived the file. And throughout that entire boring lecture you didn't use a single hand movement or anything to make it at all interesting."
"This is not supposed to be interesting; I'm just trying to go over the facts to see if we missed anything." Foster fired back.
"Jeez, Foster! The man already said he did it, he just needs to say it again."
Steinbeck advised, "You don't have to do anything!"
"I did do it," Bly croaked.
"You're going to have one hell of a time defending him," Minse joked, slapping Steinbeck on the back.
It was the picturesque view of a man's perfect night after work. A man who was on the verge of the big 3-2, but still got carded every time he ordered a drink, laid sprawled out on the sofa, perfectly fit, with the television's faint luminescent glow gleaming on his slumbering unwrinkled face. The cat was curled up on his socks keeping his feet extra warm on that cold winter night.
The clicking of heels didn't interrupt his slumber, even at their quickening tempo. Regardless of the look on her face she looked stunning in her glittering blue gown. He didn't even flinch when she took off her earrings and slammed them down on the mahogany sideboard. She studied his sleeping form, arms crossed over her chest. He snored and she took off one shoe. As the pump made contact with his stomach, his body contracted and sent the cat flying. He was definitely awake as the shoe continued to pummel him. He tried to fight it off as she screeched, "Where were you?"
Since the shoe attack had yet to finish all he was able to do was cover his head and respond with a few "Oww's." At least he had gotten to his feet, and eventually he was able say, "Stop!"
She complied, deciding to hear his excuse, weigh it, undoubtedly come to the conclusion that it was pathetic, and then recommence the pump beating. "So?" she asked, tapping her shoeless foot.
Not being in the mood to put up with his schmooze, she interrupted, "You promised me you'd be there!"
"I know, but I forgot."
"You forgot." She began to limp out of the room, shoe in hand and more hurt than before. He couldn't even be bothered to come up with one of his stupid lies this time.
"Baby, you'll hurt your foot!" he yelled after her.
Foster had been continuing his review of the accused life, "And then you were divorced at age 32, is that right?"
"Of course, that's right! You have the divorce papers right in front of you!" Minse moaned.
Feed up with Minse's taunts, Foster shouted, "Why don't you help for once!"
"Because I shouldn't even be here, I'm going on a 20 hour day!" Minse hesitated and then glanced at his watch, "Mindy'll have gone onto three other fellas by now," he sighed, "I'll tell ya what, Foster. I promise to not be such a pain, if you tell me why it bothers you so much to think that this man killed his ex-wife."
"The Swormans have been divorced for 25 years and they had made a point of not seeing each other, you can ask any one of their relatives to verify. I don't think that something that happened a quarter of a century ago could have worked up so much rage."
"Maybe it took him that long to work up the nerve." Minse remarked, forgetting their deal.
Ignoring this, Foster went on, "I think that he is covering up for someone else."
"No!" came a voice not heard much in that room, "I'm the one. I'm the one who shot her with a Colt King Cobra at a 37 degree angle from 15 yards away."
"What are you, a ballistics expert?" Minse questioned, flabbergasted.
"Well, then why did you do it? Why would you break up a leisurely game of canasta just to shoot the hostess in the face? You were divorced, so you weren't getting any money out of it..."
Bly ignored Foster screaming, even though his face was only inches away. He still had other things on his mind.
He could see nothing, but concluded that he couldn't be dead because of the persistent beeping going on beside his ear. Such a noise couldn't exist in heaven. Plus, he imagined that if he had made it there he wouldn't have been experiencing so much pain.
He opened his eyes and confirmed he was still on Earth although the place reeked of sickness and death. God must have thought it would be a shame to have taken him at such an earlier age, with him being only 23.
His eyes then focused on the one heavenly element in the room, the tearful angelic face gazing down at her hand twirling the gold band on his finger, while avoiding the tube jutting out as if it were death itself. He grabbed her hand and her eyes darted to his freshly gashed face. A new wave of tears began to stream down her face, but this time for joy.
"You must promise me this," she choked out the first few words and then batted away her tears, "I'm the one who goes first."
"Excuse me, sir," a temp had appeared in the doorway, "more has just come in on the Sworman file."
"Thanks, kid," Minse said taking the folder. He flipped through it as Foster continued his rant.
"You haven't seen your wife in 25 years! Why now? Why'd you do it!" Foster screamed, slamming his fists on the table.
"Oh jeez, Hayden, look at this," Minse exhaled, but Foster was too into the moment.
The folder included Bly's medical records. It was cancer. And he had a month to live.
Bly looked up into Hayden's eyes, "I wanted to keep at least one promise."