“Again, where were you on the night of December 7th?” The pimply faced cop asked.
It was the mention of December that reminded me that we were in the last month of the year, getting close to the Christmas season. What was I doing sitting in an interrogation room answering questions about a murder?
This was not how I’d planned my life, ever.
It was exactly three days after Ruby’s demise that the cops showed up at our home. Immediately I saw them, my heart skipped a beat. I’d known that this day would finally come; still I hadn’t been prepared for the jolt I got when they were actually standing there in person.
They introduced themselves and asked if I knew an Eleanor Bright.
“Who?” I asked, hoping that I’d heard right and they’d come to the wrong house.
“Eleanor Bright. This woman.” The pimply-faced cop handed me a photograph of Ruby.
I gasped. “Yes, I knew her. But not as Eleanor Bright.” I replied. I wasn’t sure what part to play; the part of a surprised, innocent person or someone who’d actually been at her house on the night of her death?
I wished Kemi was there to give me moral support. It was 6pm and she wasn’t yet back from work.
“You said ‘knew’” Pimple face said, squinting at me.
“I’m sorry…what?” I was spluttering like a teenager caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“Just now, we asked if you know her. You said you ‘knew’ her. Past tense.”
“I…uh…guess it was a slip.” I said, panicking.
“I think not, Mr Pepple. Is there something you’d like to tell us?” It was the other cop talking now.
“Not without a lawyer.” I blurted out as confidently as I could. I’d just messed up,
I’d been caught, there was no hiding now. They knew that I knew something and I didn’t even know what they knew about me that had led them to me.
They looked at me, surprised. “Lawyer-ing up already? We haven’t even told you what we’re here for.” Pimple faced jeered.
“I don’t like your tone.” I said to him, a tad irritated. “If you have something to say, then say it. Or we can end this conversation.” I spoke, succinctly.
“Eleanor Bright is dead. Murdered. Three nights ago. Yours was the last number she dialled. Is that enough for you?” The good cop said bluntly.
By now; I’d classified them into the good cop, bad cop role. Pimple face was the tough one, he had a name that sounded much worse than pimple face; a name I found hard to pronounce or remember.
Even though, I’d more or less known Ruby was dead…it still came as a blow to hear it confirmed by the cops.
Ruby Marshall, no…Eleanor Bright, the woman I’d slept with once and who’d almost cost me my home was dead. Murdered. Someone had come into her own home and killed her.
What a world.
“Do you still need a lawyer?” Pimple face asked. “Or do you have something you’d like to tell us.”
It was a statement. Like he knew I knew something and wasn’t telling.
“I still need a lawyer.” I said slowly. Kemi and I had talked about it. In the event the cops wanted to talk to me, I wasn’t to say anything.
“Well our business is finished here, then. This is a murder case we’re investigating so we’ll need to talk to everyone tied to the victim. We’re leaving no stone unturned. I hope, for your sake that there’s nothing implicating you in this murder because even then, your lawyer will not be able to save you.” It was good cop who spoke this time as they stood to take their leave.
I was tempted to tell them all I knew; throw myself at their mercy. But I knew what a bad move that was. I needed to tread with caution if I was gonna come out of this unscathed.
That had been six days ago. They’d shown up at my door again today. This time, they asked me to come down to the precinct to answer some questions.
I’d immediately placed a call to Kemi as we’d agreed. She’d promised to get me a good lawyer because she couldn’t represent me herself. Something about conflict of interests…
I’d been cooling my ass off in the interrogation room for almost two hours before pimple face had shown up. His real name was Osimondorf Dwight.
“Where were you on the night of December 7th?” he asked again.
“I’m not allowed to speak without a lawyer.” I replied.
“So, you’re willing to cool your ass off here till your lawyer shows up?”
Fortunately I was saved from answering that question because the door to the interrogation room opened and a young cop poked his head in and announced:
“His lawyer is here.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. I was already getting thirsty and tired of waiting.
Dwight, on the other hand looked like he’d tasted something sour. He scowled at me before leaving the room.
The door opened and my lawyer walked in.