Chase, part nine: Jack

(Start with Part One)

"What do you mean, it's your case now? You're not even a cop!"

The man in the charcoal grey suit smiled at me. “True. But the FBI has clear jurisdiction here, and they’re turning the case over to me. Trust me, you don’t want to fight this one.”

“Fuck you.”

The man - he’d introduced himself as Agent Blake, but he was The Man to me - nodded as if I’d just said good morning. “I’ll need all your files on the case, of course. And access to your witness.”

“My what, now?”

He glanced at his smartphone. “I believe her name is Mary Rogers?”

“That’s our suspect, asshole. She didn’t witness anything she didn’t do.”

He grinned again. His teeth were way too bright. And even. “Right. Silly mistake. Suspect. I’d like to talk to her, please.”

I sighed. “Yeah, sure.”

I led him to Interrogation Room 2 - the smallest one - then called for Mary to be brought over.

He poked his head out of the door. “You will, of course, not record anything said in this room, or watch behind the false mirror?”

I tried to smile at him. Failed. “Of course.”

He nodded once, then ducked back inside.

I went in to the observation room to turn off the recording equipment before Mary got there.

We had plenty of footage of Mary already. Mary crying when accused of kidnapping those kids. Mary taking the psych eval, and coming through as a scared but perfectly normal person.

Mary insisting she didn’t remember anything of the last three weeks.

She shuffled in from the stairwell, escorted by a uniform. She kept her eyes locked on the floor in front of her, raising her head only to cough. She looked better than when we’d brought her in: not as pale, and able to walk without stumbling. Still had that cough, though.

The uniform escorted her into the interrogation room, then came back out half a minute later. Agent Blake didn’t want anyone to see or hear his talk with Mary, it seemed. The uniform stood sentry next to the door, thumbs hooked in his belt.

Mary and Blake stayed in the room over an hour. Mary came out with her head up, looking around like she’d never seen the place before. She didn’t cough once as the uniform escorted her downstairs.

Agent Blake poked his head out of the door again, waved for me to come inside.

“What did you find out?” I asked. I settled into one of the hard chairs as he shut the door.

“Nothing I can tell you about,” he replied, taking the other chair. “This is above your pay grade.”

I gritted my teeth, but didn’t say anything. He smiled.

“Now, I need you to go over what happened when you caught her.”

“It’s all in our report. Or don’t you know how to read?”

“I’m quite familiar with reading, Detective, but sometimes verbal questions are best. Now, walk me through that day, step by step.”

Just to piss him off, I started at the beginning, with my regular morning BM. I moved on to talking about traffic, how some jerk had cut me off before my exit that day. I went through how well the morning coffee tasted, the dead leads Lacey and I had followed through most of the day, then how we finally got the address of the last set of plates. How we checked the owner’s background, canvassed the building before getting a warrant for it that evening. How we entered Mary’s place, chased her down, then brought her in.

Through everything, all the mundane details, Blake sat in his chair, fully at attention. He didn’t take any notes, didn’t yawn, even nodded along with me when I bitched about my commute.

That pissed me off even more.

He didn’t stop me until I got to our first interrogation session with Mary. “Thank you, Detective, that’s far enough. Tell me, what happened to the owner of the apartment you and Mary barged into?”

I rolled my eyes. “I already told you. She was pretty shaken up, but there hadn’t been any damage. We talked with her a while till she calmed down, then left.”

“Who talked with her? You?”

I shook my head. “I was busy getting Mary back to a squad car. I think Lacey spoke with her, maybe a uniform or two.”

Agent Blake stood. “I’ll need to talk with anyone that had contact with that girl.”

I sighed. “Really? Look, I can tell you everything you need to know about her. She was this tall, maybe early 20s-”

“Can you tell me her name?”

I blinked. “No, I don’t remember. Lacey might know.”

He smiled. “Bring her in here for me, so I can ask her, will you?”

I swore and stormed out. Crazy feds.

Turned out Lacey didn’t remember the girl’s name. Neither did any of the uniforms that had talked to her. Apparently they’d asked her her name first thing, but she’d been so freaked out she hadn’t answered.

Blake just smiled at that.

Two hours later, he slapped a warrant for her arrest on my desk. “Her name is Daniela Hernandez.”

Ron Toland @mindbat