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The Way of Interogation
I sit in a small room. The table in front of me is solid as is the man sitting at it. The walkie-talkie is on the table. The man looks at me. His eyes are cold and condescending and annoyed; deeply annoyed. In the bright light every feature is exaggerated. He’s not old but he is aged.
“I’m sure when I put your name into the system it will already be there. Am I correct?”
“No” I say
“Oh I have trouble believing that”
“Haven’t dealt with any of us before?”
“Really?” he says. His eyebrows are raised. He’s not surprised. It’s a tactic to get information
He drops it and quickly moves on. He didn’t get what he wanted. He moves on; typical cop.
“Do you see why I’m having trouble believing what you say? Your story isn’t matching up with what other people have said. It doesn’t match up with the video footage. It doesn’t make sense”
“It’s the truth”
“Who is shady Dan?”
“Do you know shady Dan?”
“You don’t know any one by that name?”
“I think I’ve heard of him” is all I can say. I can’t tell him.
“Why would Britney be calling shady Dan?”
“I don’t know; buy drugs?” I put a question on it. I don’t know Dan. I know no one by the name of Dan. I promised I wouldn’t know a Dan.
“So you go from not knowing Dan to knowing he sells drugs. Do you see why I’m having trouble believing you? What’s Dan’s last name?”
“I don’t know.” It’s the truth. It’s the only truth
“What kind of car does he drive?”
“I don’t know. It’s blue”
“Is it a truck? Is it an SUV? Is it a van; a coup?”
“I honestly don’t know.” It’s a Chevy. It’s small. It’s like a smart car. It’s across the street.
“You don’t know?”
“We could charge you for this. We could charge you. It’s illegal to take a class E substance. What you took is a class E substance.” I’m trying to seem normal. That’s all he thinks I took. I just have to remain normal.
“Do you have any aspirations for the future?” He asks this in an exasperated voice. He’s trying to get through to me.
He stops. He looks at me. He didn’t expect that. “Like what?”
“I want to go to college. I want to be a foreign correspondent”
He really didn’t expect that.
He goes back to being a cop again. “And do you think you could get into a good college with this on your record? Do you think you could become a foreign correspondent with this? Do you think you could become a foreign correspondent if you continue down this road you’re on?”
I pause. “No”
“The video at the library shows you leaving after Josh called.”
“I swear I didn’t. If I did, I didn’t know. I was at the park.”
“But that’s not what the video shows.”
“I told you, I was at the park when Amanda and Allie told me the police were called. I didn’t know. Why would I have left my stuff at the library if the police were coming?”
“I think you got scared and took off.”
“And left my stuff?” I couldn’t get passed this. The first thing I had learned the previous year: always carry everything you need on you. Don’t leave anything behind.
“You left your friend alone when she was obviously in trouble. Is she really even a friend or do you not know her?” He already knows the answer. He’s baiting me. He’s condescending. He’s scolding me for leaving her.
“She’s one of my best friends.”
“And yet you left her in that condition by herself?” How could I have helped her when I could barely walk myself; when I couldn’t see; when I couldn’t stand up right? But he doesn’t know this.
“I didn’t leave her by herself. There were four people with her.”
He drops it. Again, he didn’t get what he wanted. He switches tactics.
“Do you think that Katie has been a good friend?”
He wants me to say no. He wants me to blame this on her. “I’ve known her since I was six.” I start to explain to him.
“Well I’ve known plenty of people since I was six but do you really think she is a good friend?
I want to scream but I’m tired. I don’t have the energy to scream or fight or run anymore. I’m tired. He doesn’t get it. He won’t get it. He’s a cop. I think of Britney. I see her in my mind. I see her on the stretcher. She looks the way she did when I had last seen her; dead. I should have been with her. Tom hid me. I would have been with her. I would have been on the stretcher. I would have been in the ambulance. I know this; he doesn’t. My eyes sting.
He looks at me as if he has won. He thinks he got through to me. He thinks he did. He didn’t; she did. Seeing her like that, it got through to me. Feeling the way I had felt got through to me. Not being able to walk or talk or feel; not being able to feel got through to me.
“Ok, let’s do this one more time. Tell me exactly what happened from the time you left school.”