A gun she wasn't suppose to have is lost.
By Sue Van Namee
The policeman at the precinct desk appeared oblivious to who she was and that was a poor end to an already bad night. She had her trademark earrings of skulls lining her right ear and her rhinestone B on her belt buckle cinching her red mini-coat, a relic from the 70’s, but he apparently didn’t frequent the bars where she sang. He asked questions about her missing purse as if he was placing an order for groceries, his voice not lifting at the end of the sentence.
“My personal secretary cancelled the credit cards.” She told him when he enquired of the contents. He appeared unfazed a woman in her twenties had a personal secretary.
“Where did you leave the purse last” It was a statement. She looked at his nametag: Johnson. How plain could you get? His face made her think of a plaster mask. It was pale, without a freckle, a mole, any mark at all. Almost as though he had been burned and this was a graft where they made space for eyes, a mouth and a nose. He looked up from the pad he had a pen poised over with bloodshot blue eyes.
“Ma’am. Where did you leave the purse?” He raised his voice at the end this time and tapped his pen on the metal desk.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked.
He looked at the pad. “Yes. You are Brandy Koflin.” He looked back up. “Is there some reason you can’t tell me where you last saw the purss?” He put the pen down, sat back in his chair and folded his arms.
“Is that name not familiar to you, Officer?” She ran her fingers through her spikey blonde hair and leaned forward to give him a good view of cleavage.
“No, Ms Koflin.” He picked up the pen again. “Perhaps,” he started, “I have misunderstood. Did you not come in here because your purse was stolen.” Again, there was a period at the end of the question, not a question mark.
Brandy sat back in the chair. “Yes,” she said. “But, I’ve changed my mind.”
“I see.” He looked at her. She expected him to say more, to tell her to have a good day, to stand and escort her to the door, to even tell her she was wasting the police department’s time.
“No, you don’t see.” Brandy said finally, twisting one of the five rings on her right hand and looked out a grimy window. If he could see, he would see the gun in the concealed carry compartment of her purse.
He continued to look at her as if she were a egg about to hatch and all he had to do was wait.
She stood. “I better be going.”
He watched her rise, but did not stand with her. “Ms. Koflin, it is possible your purse will turn up. Is there identification in it where can contact you?”
“Oh,” she said as she pulled on her coat straight and cinched the belt tighter. “Don’t bother. Please don’t bother. I should never have come here.” Her eyes flew around the room behind her for the door. “I have no idea what I was thinking.” Other officers and people in plain clothes were looking at her. Of course they were, she thought. THEY knew who she was. “What?” She turned back to Officer Johnson.
He shook his head. “I didn’t say anything.”
“Yes you did.”
“No. You seem a little jumpy, ma’am. If you don’t want to report a stolen purse, you are welcome to leave.” He pointed a pale finger to the door.
She looked over to the exit. It seemed to be locking. She could almost hear a deadbolt closing. The smell of burned coffee from a coffee pot two desks over made her dizzy. She sat back in the chair.
“Are you all right?” He waved to a woman officer nearby. “Katie, c’mere.”
Katie touched Brandy’s sleeve and Brandy jumped half out of the chair “Don’t touch me,” she yelled. “How dare you touch me?”
Katie stepped back. “Sorry. Just trying to help.” Brandy saw her roll her eyes at Officer Johnson.
“Ms. Koflin,” he said, “we do have other things to do. If you don’t want to report your stolen purse, then perhaps we can get on with them.”
Brandy stood again. “Yes, of course.” People around her were no longer watching. They were paying her no attention at all. And yet, a moment earlier, they knew who she was. Didn’t they?
“There’s a gun,” she heard herself say. The typing at a computer next to her came to a stop. She smiled. Now, she had their attention. “It’s not my gun, of course.”
“Of course not, Ms. Koflin.” Officer Johnson sat forward again and picked up the pen. “Whose gun is it?”
They would find it anyway, she told herself. They would run a “trace” whatever that was. Then they would find who Jason bought the gun from. He would be mad she’d lost it. Maybe it was good that door was locked, if it was locked. He wouldn’t be able to get in here.
“Ah,” he smiled with encouragement. “And who is your boyfriend?” It sounded like a question, not a statement, and she felt she could reward him with an answer.
“Jason Larson,” she said and wondered if that was his real name. Wondered why she had called him her boyfriend. Wondered why she had offered to take the gun off his hands after he had dumped her like a one-night-stand. Wondered why she covered his accidental killing of the street person at all. It was an accident, wasn’t it? Why would Jason kill a street person?
“Ms. Koflin.” Officer Johnson was looking at her. “You are worried about us finding the gun?”
She swallowed. “I don’t have a permit to carry it.”
“Somehow, I think that is the least of your worries.”
“Yes,” she said. “It is.”