Chapters Nineteen - Steak and Freud Go Together
Toni realized Meadows hadn't
answered her questions earlier. "You didn't answer either of my questions. Remember when I asked you what brought
you here, and asked why you became a detective? You didn't tell me. You just told me why you left your farm."
Meadows slid his cast-iron skillet-plate to the side, then wiped bread crumbs off the table
into his hand. He scrubbed his hands discarding the crumbs onto the plate while buying time to formulate his answer. He usually
didn't talk about it because his dad had made him promise to keep their farm no matter what.
"Well, that's a complicated question, in a way. When I decided to sell the farm,
I picked this city because my dad used to bring me here. We had some good times together. It was the first place I thought
of. But about the part of becoming a detective-- well, I always wanted to be a cop. So I applied, was accepted, and went to
the academy. After about five or six years, I was promoted to detective. That's a pretty short time and some people resented
it. But, here I am," he explained. "I'm satisfied with the job and don't really want to be a captain or
chief. I'd rather be doing the footwork in the field and catch the bad guys than rely on others to do the job for me.
Any higher in rank, is just politics and games. I don't care for politics much and never play games."
"Really? I'd thought you'd follow in you dad's footsteps and be a farmer.
But instead, you're a Cinderella," she replied.
you mean by that?"
"You were a farm boy in the country working
fourteen hours a day, then traveled to the big city and found happiness outside the farm," she answered, smiling across
"I guess. I suppose I deliberately left my cowboy boots
behind-- uh, I mean the glass slipper-- for the PD to find. And they fit. They matched the slipper to me and offered me happiness
for ever after. The end," he told her. "But seriously, I work longer hours as a detective than I ever did on the
farm. At least on the farm, you worked and cutoff the day to eat supper and bed down early just to get up early. The chores
got done and had to be redone the next day. But, I didn't bring the work home with me. It could wait until morning. Now
I bring home case files and sit up all night going over them until exhausted and I fall asleep on my sofa. My work can't
wait until tomorrow."
"Well at least you can choose whether
to bring your work home and stop when you want. I can't," she answered.
"Okay, so what do you mean by that, you know, when you said "choose"?"
"Come on Brad. Do you really think I can turn off the visions and hearing his whispers
"Oh. 'Sorry. I guess not. That is bad. I wouldn't
wish that on anyone. Maybe I shouldn't complain about my hours, huh?"
"No, you shouldn't complain. You do have a choice, just like most people do. I don't have any, so I
don't have a normal life," she told him.
Chapter Twenty - Interrogation
Jacob Peters sat slumped in his chair, sweat running down his brow and dripping off his nose. He continually wiped
his palms on his jeans while glancing at the door every few seconds.
stood staring through the one-way glass window, waiting for the right time to go in. Another detective stood beside him. "I
want him to be uncomfortable and sweat it out long enough to loosen him-- hopefully, mentally break him down as quickly as
possible. I want a signed confession-- today," Meadows told the detective. He opened the door, entering the small barren
"Mr. Peters, I'm Detective Meadows," he announced.
He threw a file folder on the table and sat down across from Peters, tapping the folder nonchalantly. He didn't look at
Peters and opened the folder, pretending to read its contents. A ploy. Never get intimate with the suspect in
an interrogation right off. Make 'em sweat-- feel the boom's about to lower on 'em.
"What am I here for? The police came and arrested me at work and never told me what the charges are," Peters
"You're not under arrest, Mr. Peters. They brought you
in for questioning. Should they have arrested you?"
"No. I haven't
done anything wrong. I'm not in violation of my parole either, so why am I here?"
"I've already told you. You're here for questioning. Your boss told us you've missed a lot of work
the past few months. Can you explain why is that?"
not a crime to miss work. I was sick some days and played hooky other days. Sometimes, I just wanted to hang out for a change--
a guy needs a break once in a while. It's not a crime."
thought that might have been partially true, but also thought those missed days presented Peters the opportunity to stalk
and choose his victims.
"What's your relationship with your boss,
"Relationship? Hey-- I'm no fag. We don't
have a relationship."
"Not that kind of relationship. A boss
and employee relationship. Do you get along okay-- or butt heads? Does your boss ever piss you off?"
"He's okay, I guess. But yeah, he pisses me off. What boss doesn't?"
"What's he do to piss you off?" Meadows asked.
Peters leaned forward in his chair and looked Meadows straight in the eyes. "He orders me around and treats
me like I'm trash-- like he's better than me 'cause he owns the place and I'm just a body man-- a peon,"
he answered. "And he doesn't let me forget I'm an ex-con, either."
"So what do you do when he does that? Do you tell him how you feel, talk back to him? Maybe cuss him out? I
think I would, if a boss treated me like that. There's other jobs. Who needs it?" Meadows asked.
"Sometimes we get into it pretty bad, yeah. But I walked off the job once and left him
with a shop full of cars that were due out at the end of the week. I knew it'd teach him a lesson and he'd realize
how valuable I was," he smugly told Meadows, leaning back in his chair.
long did you stay gone before you returned?"
"Oh, I didn't
return. Well, not on my own. That would be begging. He called me. He called me two days later after he cooled off and realized
he couldn't get the cars finished in time. He begged me to come back. I got a raise out of the deal."
"Did you get a long after you went back? Or have there been problems since, you know--
the same old same old?"
"Nope, it's been okay. He avoids
me and I avoid him. It works out better that way. But, what does this have to do with why you brought me in? Is this about
my boss or something? You know, he's Italian and all."
it's not about your boss. Where were you a few weeks ago when you didn't show up at work last time?
"How can I remember? I've skipped a lot of days. Sometimes I hang out at the Purple
Hat over on Commadore Street. Shoot some pool, have a few beers, you know, hang with friends," Peters explained.
"That's in direct violation of your parole terms, Peters. You're not allowed
to go into beer joints, pubs, pool halls, and the like," Meadows informed him. He knew if nothing else, he could get
him violated and off the streets. One way or another, he probably had his man. Only question is, why sign the art work
with an 'R'?