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Then There Were Three (part 18)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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It had been an hour, exactly an hour since NFPD officer Kopkage had taken a seat in Mayor Hyle Troy’s outer office. He’d expected a wait of a few minutes, after all, it was a working day and no doubt the mayor was busy. After twenty minutes he reasoned that, well, okay, he had arrived without an appointment so maybe the mayor had someone in with her. So, he was optimistic when, after a few minutes more an elderly couple came out of her office, beaming and holding each other’s hands. Ten minutes after that, he was starting to become impatient and kept giving the mayor’s secretary long, meaningful looks… to which she always responded with a smile, a nice smile. A smile that always disarmed the increasing annoyance he was feeling… As it was supposed to do, because that was part of her job. But, when the little hand on his watch counted down the last few seconds of the hour officer Kopkage had been sitting, he was determined that, this time he was going to say something. Fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight…

“Mayor Troy will see you now.

Kopkage tapped on the door and pushed it open. The office was still just as bright as he remembered from his last visit, the furnishing still as simple and functional, and the mayor’s oak desk still sported the little red flag with the white cross on its six inch flag pole and with the framed picture of the mercenary known as Reavy, sitting next to it.

“Officer Kopkage. Two visits in one year. What do we owe that dubious honour to this time, hmmm?”

The policeman offered his hand across the desk, again like he did at their last meeting. This time, however, it was two whole seconds of cold blue eyes boring into his own before the mayor reached up and shook it. Even then it was yet another couple of seconds before it dawned on Kopkage that Mayor Troy, unlike last time, wasn’t going to offer him a seat. He cleared his throat and rummaged inside his jacket pocket for a folded piece of paper.

“I have here a warrant for the arrest of Oliver Rundle, a New Flagstaff resident who, I understand, is currently being cared for by your town clinic.” He held the warrant out, half expecting the mayor to ignore it, but was relieved when she took it from him and opened it flat on her desk to read. He cleared his throat again, wondering why he was beginning to feel like he was back at school, handing in his late homework.

“I understand that the boy may be rather ill…”

Mayor Troy held up a hand, effectively halting whatever it was Kopkage was going to say and reinforcing the sudden anxiety that he hoped his spelling was correct. He stood patiently while the mayor finished reading and resisted the sudden urge to polish his school shoes on the backs of his socks.

A loud sniff of indifference signalled the end of Hyle’s reading of the warrant.

“It says here that the Rundle boy is under arrest for the murder of an unidentified female infant.” She looked up at the policeman. “Not for the suspected murder, but just for the murder. So, you have evidence that proves his guilt in this?”

Kopkage cursed his earlier hurrying of the clerk who typed out the warrant.

“Well, no, not exactly. But the body was found in a secret underground facility known to be a place where the suspect frequented. We have notebooks written in the suspect’s hand that place him at the scene of the crime and a witness who can verify that the suspect once took him to the location.”

“Ah yes. The notebooks. Doctor Troy mentioned these to me.”

Kopkage expanded his curse to cover the diminutive doctor, and daughter of the mayor. This was not going well. Mayor Troy relaxed into the high, cushioned leather back of her chair.

“She never mentioned that your suspect had signed these notebooks, though. Rather serendipitous of him to have done so.”

Kopkage looked down and pursed his lips. He was an experienced policeman but this woman was pushing his buttons just as effectively as her secretary had pounded away at her keyboard in the office outside. He looked up again and even managed to force a smile to his lips.

“The notebooks weren’t signed, as such, but they were written in a child’s hand.”

Mayor Troy shrugged.

“In a child’s hand.” She repeated. “There are, how many children in New Flagstaff officer Kopkage? And you’ve narrowed it down to just one already?”

The New Flagstaff policeman did not like having his professionalism impugned.

“The evidence is circumstantial, yes. But that little girl was butchered…!”

“Please don’t raise your voice, officer. Remember where you are.”

Kopkage bit back the rest of his words, but it was an effort. Mayor Troy leaned forward over her desk, pushing the piece of paper back towards the fuming policeman.

“This warrant is not acceptable. Partly because it assumes guilt already, therefore indicating bias, and also because every word you have said demonstrates that you do not have enough evidence to arrest anyone, let alone a very sick little boy.” She sat back again. “Do you have the crime scene report?” Kopkage shook his head and again cursed his conversation with Doctor Troy. “What about the autopsy report? Does the body you have found even have Typhoid?”

Stony faced now, Kopkage replied matter-of-factly to the mayor’s questioning.

“We don’t know, the autopsy report hasn’t yet been produced.”

“Well then, as the suspect is in our care, I would like my own doctor, who not only majored in forensic pathology but taught the subject for two years at Haven, I would like her to go over the results when they are produced. Then we can make our own decision as to what is in the best interests of the patient.”

“Mayor Troy, we have perfectly qualified pathologists at the Medical Centre in New Flagstaff. We also have the facilities in place to give the suspect whatever medical care is deemed necessary.”

“I’m sure you do, Officer Kopkage. But Oliver Rundle is under our care… My care, in fact, so any decisions made about his immediate future will be taken by me under advisement from my own medical experts.”

Kopkage’s anger was starting to rise again. He leaned across the desk.

“The suspect is a New Flagstaff citizen, subject to New Flagstaff law.”

Mayor Troy stood up and copied the New Flagstaff policeman’s aggressive stance so that their faces were bare inches apart.

“Which, as I am sure you are very aware, has no jurisdiction in MY town!”

Kopkage, eyes bulging, almost shook with contained fury. Hyle sat down slowly and reached for a folder from the pile on her right.

“Good day Officer.”

Comments

Canni Belle's picture

(( Yay Hyle!

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid



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