Interview Room C by Josh MacLeod

A high-profile murder case. A hot-shot cop on the rise. The wrong kind of killer.

“It’s strange. Sitting here is all strange. I suppose I should say I never thought I would get caught, but everyone who says that is caught. Still, I would have thought Internal Affairs would have more important things to do: I gave the press what they wanted. I was already a hero before that case. I suppose sleeping with Shapiro’s wife started your investigation, eh? No, no, don’t bother to answer. It’s not as if you people investigate yourselves.

“Am I bitter? Of course I’m bitter. Three years on the Dangerfield case. I’d like to say it was my crowning achievement but I’d be lying. It was good work. Solid police. Mr. Dangerfield, a real-estate tycoon with more enemies than God, found dead by his wife. Everyone’s alibi checked out. Hers, the kids, his lover, her lover, their kids. No one was squeaky clean, everyone had a motive, but he was alone in the house.

“The Mayor was involved, friend of Mr. Dangerfield’s from way back. Shit got political: we never looked too deep into why. Not that the Mayor had him killed, nothing like that. He pressed the department for answers but manpower shrunk as other cases demanded resources. Usual drill, same old BS. Told the Mayor if he wanted it solved faster we should have more funding. The Captain was down right sarcastic to me about that one.

“The break was horrible. Routine triple-check and we got a break from some suit who was finally home when we came to call. She’d seen the butler two blocks from the mansion not long before the killing despite him having the night off. Alibi was a couple of friends who swore blind he’d been there. You have any idea what that was like? Spend months on a case you’d banked on getting you up past Detective, have the entire thing stall for even longer, and then you find out the butler did it?

“The fucking butler. I could have spit nails. I confronted him with the evidence, he admitted everything. Like they do. Words spilling out of him like pus from a wound, going on about how he’d been treated like shit, as if Dangerfield didn’t treat everyone like shit. I cut him off with, ‘No.’ He said, ‘What?’ And I said: ‘No. I am not telling the mayor the butler did it.’ He didn’t understand, so I explained. I said: ‘We need a better killer than that.’ I understand his phone recorded it, some fancy modern camera shit that fell out of his pocket when I shot him.

“Three times, to the chest, body wrapped in carpet, into his car, left it on the train tracks to be destroyed by a train. Didn’t know about the phone. I guess it fell out in the driveway. I must have kicked it into the bushes. I made it into a suicide that he tried to hide as murder so his wife would get the life insurance. Then I tossed a case together about Dangerfield’s second ex-wife using the butler’s friends to help break her alibi.

“I didn’t have money to bribe them with. I had a gun and threats. You know how that works. But you’re IA, so I suppose not. You only see it when it fails. I imagine it was Rictor – he seemed the brightest of a dull bunch – who figured that if I was in jail it meant I couldn’t do anything to him. As though no one has friends or is owed favours. I should have spelled that out, then.

“My mistakes? I just said it. Rictor. Not the phone: someone would have found and played it. You’ll find some file somewhere about it, buried in some hard-copy cabinet someone has lost the key to. We have a few of those. But the mayor was spinning glib and everything coming up roses, a movie made about the killing. You know the type: the lone Detective slogging through the streets, damsel in the wings, beautiful but deadly. So the truth got buried. Leastways until you people dug it up.

“The movie tanked. You probably know that, but the actor they had was five-foot-nothing, a pissant of an excuse of a Detective, even for IA. If the real story came out, it would probably do better. Not make the department look good, but you knew that going into this. Heh. You people know shit. See, the mystery isn’t why the butler did it. Not even that the Detective – me, in case you need to take notes – killed him. It’s why I was never charged. The phone would have been recovered during the last sweep of the property; cell phones don’t magically turn up three years later, so everyone will scream conspiracy and ask questions you’d rather they didn’t about the why of this investigation.

“And then it’ll go to court, with jurors raised by CSI bullshit who will be convinced you’d have been able to find proof of what I did at the scene of a three-year old case. You know anything you found would likely not hold water. I know it, but they aren’t about to believe that. The department covering for me, though, that they’ll believe. And tossing me out to dry because of Shapiro, too.

“You think you can throw mud around and none of it stick to you? Even I couldn’t do that in my prime. So go get the Captain and he and I can talk. I’m a good press draw still. The Mayor likes me. This comes out, what do you think happens to our funding? You get the Captain, you mention the butler, and the Mayor, and what I did for this department. You do that and we’ll just see what happens next.”

The author has been writing for going on ten years (and seriously for the past year or so), working on novels and short stories. He would like you to know that being put on a reality TV show was the worst witness protection plan ever, but writing fiction is perhaps not much better. This is his first published story, and writing the story was perhaps easier than deciding on this bio. Make of it what you will.

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