Write What You Know, Part 19
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,815 words
Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18
When shit got real, Nikki evaporated like a ghost. It was a very annoying habit actually. As long as anything was fun, dangerous, exciting, she would be right there in the thick of it ready fuck shit up but when the cops, parents, or doctors showed up she fled the scene like the guilty bitch she was, and left Christie holding the bag.
Like the infamous disemboweling incident. That asshole was one of Nikki’s boyfriends, Christie barely knew him. Nikki and he got in a fight over some chick they both hooked up with, on separate occasions. Started out as a shouting matched, graduated to a wrestling match, ended in punching when she got the upper-hand. The chick they were fighting over was the witness. She’d been sent to the hospital for promiscuity and self- cutting. She’d been the one with the knife, egging Nikki on to use it, and trying to use it on Nikki instead when she declined. Well, actually, Christie was who she’s tried to stab because Nikki peaced out the second she spotted the first security guard coming at her from across the dining hall.
The knife broke her skin actually. The scar was still a dark purple spot to the left of her belly button. She could have moved out of range if she knew that she was in the middle of physical danger but the abandonment was so sudden and unexpected that she didn’t have time. She too would have liked to disembowel Nikki with a a pocket knife.
Nikki would say it was Christie’s fault for writing her with such over confidence going into ever adventure with the exuberance of happy puppy and the ego of a rockstar. Christie stopped trying to argue about who created who pretty early on in their aquantaince.
Now Christie found herself holding a picture of her cell phone still stained with a police detective’s blood and no response. Nikki had actually handled her part of the interview so well, Christie stopped preparing any answers in her head. So she looked guilty as hell when it came to this final and most important of all the responses.
“Ms. Fields? Is that your cell phone?”
“IT’s not what you think,” she said.
She hated being out in the world during the day. The sun was too bright. There were too many people, too many cars, too much of everything. She had to be out today because she was still missing something after holding back with the piano player the other night. She still couldn’t find where that ungrateful troll Helen hid the money or phone so she had to walk the streets instead of taking the cab she would prefer. Cabs were generally just as smelly and noisy as the streets of New York but they moved quicker and were on a whole, so much less.
She wasn’t sure where she was going until got there, she was just compelled to go, despite the hassle and annoyance. She had to move forward, like she was being tugged gently forward by an invisible strong string. It tugged and it tugged until she lost track of how many blocks she’d trudged.
The problem with this city wasn’t just too many people and too much rushing. The problem wasn’t just the dirt and pollution. The problem was that the buildings were too tall. They blocked out the sky and sun, so you had to look straight up to be sure you were still in the real world. Still on Earth. They blocked the air, so that the breeze had the texture and stale, garbage smell of the recycled airline air that had con through too many cycles. It could never refresh, never smell clean. They made her feel trapped, claustrophobic, like a lion captured in a cage. Even in the center of Central Park she still felt those buildings around her, waiting for her to come back out into her clutches.
To be honest, she hated the city any time of day. But she was here, so she was here.
Knock Knock Knock
Finding herself at the library was a pleasant surprise. A little surreal but pleasant. A public library was like a free day time bar minus the drunk perverts and nasty toilets. She really wished thought of it before.
The smell of the library was better than the smell on the street. It was indescribable and took her straight back to her childhood. Was the smell of old books, furniture polish, stale mimeographs, or something else entirely? The smell of magic maybe? The smell of the imaginations of countess authors and loyal readers? How many hours did she spend in a corner of her local library, bathed in that smell and reading every book she could find?
Today she walked up and down the aisles aimlessly, her fingers trailing against the spines of books, listening to the soft crinkle of the plastic covers, a sound as familiar as the smell. Sometimes she thought her mom encouraged her to read at an early age just so she could drop her off at the library for free daycare and babysitting. At least until she was sent away forever.
Her aimless walk through thousand of stories lead her to a reading room with one young man diligently reading and taking notes. He was by far the best looking man her muse (vices?) led her too.
He wore a navy sweater over a creamy button up. His corduroy slacks matched the walnut shade of the desk he sat at. His chestnut hair fell into his sea-green eyes and every few seconds he pushed it back. She needed an excuse to talk to him which was more difficult in a library than at a bar. If she could get a look at his subject matter she could wait in the stacks until he emerged for another book but that would only work if he actually needed another book and he didn’t already have everything he intended to read. If she had money she could run out, buy pens and notebooks, and pretend she was studying too, Maybe play act frustrated enough to start up a commiseration convo. Finally, if he wasn’t in the reading room, at all she could maybe talk about any book topic - talking was forbidden in in the reading room after all. (Alternatively: She could easily start a convo by asking for directions within the library or help finding a book but the reading room was tucked on the bottom floor in the back of the building past at least one circulation desk and several librarians.
It wasn’t all bad news though - if she found a good vantage point, watched him from afar, waited for him to leave and follow him to a more social setting and approach him then. Stalking was almost as much fun as the stabbing itself.
ANSWER THE DOOR
Officer Gimlet stuck his head in the door and Detective Riley wanted to slam it shut on his neck and be the first person of human strength to fucking decapitate somebody.
“You should come take a look at this, boss.”
He said nothing because he was afraid if he opened his mouth only a string of curse words would leave it and give away the absolute rage quit levels of anger he’d reached just now and ruin the entire dynamic of the interrogation. He hoped the silence would still sound heavy and judgmental and keep the pressure on Fields/Transom so they could pick up exactly where they left off. He wished for the strength to not actually kill Gimlet.
Outside of interrogation, O’ Ryan grabbed Gimlet by the elbow and pushed him towards his desk.
“Listen. . .”
He kept his voice down but his anger and disgust was obvious. “You listen, Gimlet, and listen very, very well you just fucked up incredibly and if I can’t go back in the and get this suspect to confess or she lawyers up, I will have no problem throwing you under the bus and letting the great gears of bureaucratic finger pointing crush you career to dust. While I’ve got you here, call me boss one more time and I’ll take out back and punch you til you piss blood (super cliché, like most of this dialogue but it will do til I figure it out). Now, what the fuck do you have that is so goddamn important you had to interrupt my interview.”
“I’m sorry. . . Sir but we finally we received those records from the phone company, including the gps data of where the phone was when the calls were made and . .. . Well you’ll want to take a look at this.” He wouldn’t meet his eyes when he spoke like a scolded child and his voice had the right amount of recalcitrant which gave Wes some satisfaction but not enough. (Find out if the phone company has this info or if it’s data that’s taken from the cell phone itself by police techs and seriously, what’s the point of watching every Forensic Files episode if you don’t actually learn this shit.)
Gimlet handed him the records, on which he’d already highlighted and circled relevant information but through the lenses of anger and frustration Riley could only see a useless group of letters and numbers that refused to form themselves into useful information.
“Just tell me, Gimlet.”
“Well, sir, the data shows that the phone was active all the cities where Ms. Fields or Transom or whatever visited recently on her book tour.”
“Ok, well, that’s not. . .”
“That’s not everything, sir. On a hunch, I guess, I decided to see if there were similar unsolved stabbings in the same cities and, we’ll sir, there were several.”
He handed him more papers. They were police reports and descriptions, practically carbon copies of their own reports. One or two in each of the tour cities, nothing close to the numbers in New York.
“Are you serious? And no one else had or has any leads?”
“No sir, every fingerprint is smudged or isn’t in the system. There’s nothing linking them to anyone or each other. The phone is the biggest break.”
“I steal need the confession to seal the deal though.”
“Sorry about breaking your rhythm but I thought this was, you know, important.”
“No, you were right. Good job, whatever (his rank is).”
“Thank you, detective. Let me know if you need anything else.”
“Actually, can you get more information from the detectives working these cases? Also, maybe the synopsis of Christie Fields books? Whether she confesses or not, I think I have enough circumstantial evidence to charge her for the murders here. I’d like to know as much about her as I can by the next interrogation, on top of any evidence or details we can get about these other case.”
“No problem, b-…sir.”
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