Monday, 29 January 2007

Chapter 7: Tom

The suspect was very well behaved on the ride to the station, sitting quietly and staring out of the window, weighing up his fate. We had to lock all the doors and roll up the windows just in case he decided to make a run for it so the car was hotter than ever as the morning sun burned through the windscreen.

I didn’t care though. I was tired, hungry and emotionally drained. In a few hours I’d be able to go to bed and I wasn’t planning on moving from it for at least a week.

“Do you mind booking him in on your own?” Dave asked.

“Why? Have you got something better to do?”

“Yeah, I’ve booked some vacation and it’s due to start this afternoon if I’ve got nothing else on.”

“Yeah, no problem,” I said, “What are you doing with your time off?”

“Taking Janine and the kids away”, he said, “We’re going up to the lake. I’m going to teach the boys to fish.”

“Are they old enough to go fishing?” I asked.

“Pete, the eldest, he just turned nine last week,” he corrected.

“Time flies,” I said, hoping to cover up my faux-pas, “seems like yesterday you were rushing off to the maternity ward.”

“It certainly does. Twice as fast when you’ve got kids. I’ll be packing them off to college before I know it.”

Dave was a good family man, married for God knows how many years with three kids. He was one of the only people I counted as a true friend and even though we had worked together on and off for many years, he had only been my official partner for the past six months.

He talks about his kids all the time but I get mixed up with the names and we’ve known each other far too long for me to ask him to remind me which one’s which. If I had a girlfriend or wife, I’d ask Dave and his wife round to my place for dinner. As it happens, I’m single and planning on staying that way so I don’t suppose they’d be too interested in coming round to my apartment for Heineken and TV dinners.

I was married once, a long time ago. Her same was Sarah. We were very happy together, right up to the day she told me she hated me and wanted me to move out. She told me I was spending too much time on my work and not enough with her. We had endless arguments about it but she was right.

She gave me the choice of my work or her but didn’t let me make the decision. As soon as I paused to think about it, she knew what the true answer was and walked out of the door without saying another word.

The marriage lasted five years which isn’t too bad in this day and age, or so I keep telling myself. Looking back, I guess I wasn’t really husband material and when I look in the mirror, I realise I’m even less suitable now than I was back then. I always wanted kids but wasn’t sure why; probably because that’s what everyone’s brought up to believe in. Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, have grandkids, die. That’s the way it’s supposed to go, isn’t it? Looking back, it’s probably a very good thing for the kids that I didn’t get past the “get married” stage.

One day Sarah called and told me she wanted us to get back together. I was ecstatic. I moved back into our apartment and took as much time as I could off work so we could spend quality time together like normal couples. When I went back I took a desk job, started at nine and walked out of the door dead on five every day so I could get home to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful wife.

Everything was going well until Michael Hudson was released from prison.

Michael Hudson was the first murder suspect I arrested early in my career in homicide. He caught his wife cheating on him and took revenge on her with a baseball bat. After beating her body for over an hour, almost all of her bones were broken and her entire body was bruised and bloody. He then went to the kitchen, made himself a cup of coffee and went to visit her lover to do the same to him.

He received a twenty year sentence but served only nine years. They said he was released for good behaviour but as far as I knew, he hadn’t done anything in prison that I would consider good behaviour and certainly hadn’t given enough back to the community or the justice system to warrant giving him eleven years of his life back.

On the day of release from prison, most people visit friends, a bar or a brothel. Michael Hudson went to a sporting goods shop, bought a baseball bat and paid a visit to our apartment. I wasn’t at home but Sarah was. She didn’t stand a chance against nine years of pent up aggression.

He was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for twenty years. I still don’t know if I would have preferred the death sentence. I’m the one who caught him and I always thought there would be closure once he was out of the picture.

I was wrong.

Every day for the last five years I have thought of different ways to take it all out on him but nothing could bring back what he took away. Even though he’s probably going to be locked up for the rest of his natural life, every day I expect to get the call to say he’s got a release date.

After he was put away, I threw myself into my work. I don’t always play by the rules and I’m not in the job to make friends but I always get results. My investigations have led to more convictions for homicide than any other detective in the department for the last three years. I’ve tried talking to the department shrink but that didn’t do much good. It only made me think about what happened to Sarah so I just blank it out the best I can. That’s why I turned myself into a workaholic: so I don’t have to think about the life Sarah and I could have shared.

Being a detective is pretty much the same as doing any other job I guess. It’s hard, boring work with the occasional moment when you realise why you decided to take the job in the first place. Today’s arrest was one of those moments.

Our hard work had paid off and now after two long, exhausting weeks of dead end leads and waiting around for forensic evidence, I was standing at the front desk of my police station booking in the prime suspect in a murder case. He was set to go before the judge the next day and I suspected he would either be refused bail or it would be set way out of his price range.

Someone else would have to interview him. Dave had already disappeared and I wouldn’t be around for another two weeks. Dave deserved the time off and so did I.

No comments: