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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chapter Ten

       “Turn the camera off.” David grunted, his fingers white on the wheel. Billy, who had been flipping the camera back and forth between Rosie in the back of the car to David in the front, blinked at him and shook his head, “I can’t. I have a contract.”

            “I’m serious, shut it off.” David pulled the car over to the side of the road, and shot Billy a stern glance. The cameraman blinked and set the camera in his lap, his hand over the red button that gave away that it was still recording audio.

            Rosie, who hadn’t said a word the entire time she’d been in the car, sat up stiffly, a look of horror on her face, “What are you doing?”

            David hit the lock button on his door, aware that he already had when he’d sat down in the driver’s seat, but he liked the effect the sound made. Rosie looked like a caged animal, and when he shifted around to face her, she jumped slightly despite herself.

            “I haven’t officially booked you, Ms. Lund. I wanted to talk to you first.”

            “Wow, this is illegal.” Billy whistled under his breath.

            “What do you want?” Rosie snarled.

            “Why were you trying to break into Atlas’ offices?” David asked, his eyes carefully trained on her. She bit her lip, and looked away without an answer, “Alright, here’s another question. I found out that your father is Ted Richmond.”

            “That wasn’t a question.”

            “Well, the question that I have is this: were you planning some sort of revenge for your father’s incarceration?”

            Rosie snorted, “No.”

            “Care to elaborate?”

            “I have the right to remain silent: anything I say can be used against me in a court of law.”

            Billy snickered under his breath, and David sighed, “Look, I’m pretty much just going to let you go. I just wanted to impress upon you the gravity of what you attempted to do.”

            “Wait a minute, did you just admit to using your position as a policeman to intimidate a private citizen?” Rosie asked with a smirk. She played with one of her lip rings with her tongue in a way that David couldn’t quite tell if it was meant as gesture or not.

Billy snorted, and David couldn’t help but remember his last SNAFU and how Billy had handled it: by posting the footage that hadn’t made it onto the show onto a website he had created called “Armstrong’s Finest Moments.”  The last video that Billy had posted was footage of David talking to a young person, who was heavily tattooed with multiple brow, nose, and lip piercings, and significantly large gauges in their ears. Their attire had been completely asexual and there were no bulges, curves, or facial hair to help David identify this person’s gender. Mind you, David wasn’t racist, prejudiced or intolerant; he was just sensitive to the fact that everything he said or did was broadcast to millions of people, and in this case, he frankly couldn’t figure out whether the person he was speaking to was a girl or a boy. 

Instead of Billy helping David, Billy began panning from one region of the young person’s body to David’s confused face and then back again. If David had noticed Billy’s actions he might have changed his body language or turned his back away from the camera. Instead, Billy was able to capture each of David’s puzzled and perplexed expressions.

Billy had had numerous faux pas to post on his website, and even though some less tolerant men might have punched Billy’s lights out, the detective had learned to trust the camera man’s judgment and Billy learned to have a quick finger on the record button. 

Rosie’s eyes were wide, giving away her panic even though she was outwardly very calm, “Are you going to bash my head against a wall if I don’t talk?”

“No.” David growled.

The incident that she was referring to was something of a local legend amongst the force. When they had first started working together, Billy had failed to recognize that David’s short temper made for some uncomfortable situations. David was interviewing a thirty-year-old man who frankly didn’t want to share any information.  A situation like this wasn’t unusual but the man was telling David to get lost in rather profane language.  He began yelling and his spittle was leaving small, ugly spots on the lens of the camera and on David’s trench coat and tie. Before Billy could hit the record button to stop the images, the man’s head bounced off the wall and then the floor. The camera embarrassingly caught David’s hand and arm guiding the man’s head into these solid surfaces. After a number of meetings with lawyers and network executives, the man agreed to give a civil interview in exchange for a small fee after signing a release that stated that he would forgo litigation against David and/or the network. David and Billy returned to the man’s house and the interview began again. As David began pressing this man for more detailed information the man again became hostile. This time Billy caught the sneer on David’s face and bulging veins in his neck out of the corner of his eye. He turned the camera off a split second before David once again drove the man’s head into the wall. When the camera was turned back on there was a bloodstain on the plaster wall and a nasty cut on the man’s forehead. The last thing the viewers saw and heard as Billy and David left the house was a laughing Billy Margate razzing the man about his balance issues.

            “Listen, I just want to know what you were doing. I had Billy turn the camera off because, since I didn’t officially book you, you are free to go once you’ve told me what you were doing.”

            Rosie sighed, “I was doing a research project on night-blooming cereus, and there are a bunch in the planters around Atlas.”

            “Try again.”

            “Honestly, you are wasting your time. I’m not going to tell you what I was doing, but I can assure you that I wasn’t going to hurt anyone.” she looked him straight in the eye and nodded.

            “Look, you are a smart woman,” David started, “You are a student, just starting out in life-“

            “I’m not a student, and I’m twenty eight.”

            “Wait what? You look like you are nineteen!”

            “I’m not.” Rosie fished her wallet out of her pocket with cuffed hands and pulled out her driver’s license and pressed It against the glass barrier between them, “See? Rosie Lund, and if you do the math from the year I was born, I’m twenty eight.”

            “Fine. You’ve made your point. I just assumed that since you were living in a student apartment-“

            “Rent is cheap.”

            “Gotcha.” David scratched the back of his head, “Fine. You are free to go.” he unlocked the doors, and Rosie just sat and stared at him, “GO on.”

            “Can I at least get a lift back home?”

             David rolled his eyes and started the engine, “Yeah, okay.”
Next Chapter

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