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The call of desperate rang on my radio. Someone was in need of my help. My career as a police detective was one that has greatly shifted my life. I have seen the worst within the wrath of destruction we call the human race.
I responded to the call right away. I was at the scene of a murderous play in the blink of an eye. The cast was not what I had expected. Laying before me was my old classmate, Justin Doyle.
Justin was a well-known enemy of mine. We went to school together and despised one another from the very beginning. Justin had his way of getting what he wanted. His manipulative skills hypnotized every last file of thought in your mind. I should have known it would lead him to the drastic measures of death one day.
“I know this case will probably turn out to be personal for you,” started my captain, Christopher, “but you need to stay on task. I want this case solved by the rise of the sun. You hear me? And meet me at the restaurant on the corner on West Second and Chestnut for lunch while you’re at it.”
I nodded and turned towards the dead body. When Captain spoke like that, he meant business. If I did not follow his orders, my job as a detective in his unit could be blown away before the first howl of the wind even cries. This case was already personal. How would I come up with a case report by tomorrow?
Forensics scanned for fingerprints, blood, and other forms of identification. I watched with anticipation as all their worlds came crashing down. No hair, string, or other obvious fibers lied across the crime scene. I told them to run the blood they found immediately and to file it at the lab as highly important.
The lab report came back shortly afterwards while I was sitting in my working cubicle. My partner, Kelli told me that no foreign blood was found; Justin’s blood was the only identifiable substance at the scene. I soaked in this information like a sponge.
“So that means the killer probably used latex gloves. Go get a report of all the people who have purchased latex gloves within the past forty-eight hours. We will start there.” I responded after a few moment’s silence.
As Kelli was gathering the purchase report, I set out to meet with Captain for lunch. I yearned for a glass of wine. A drink was what I needed right now. We were already halfway through the day and I was getting no where with this case. My mind was racing at a thousand miles per hour and my heart begged to speak the truth.
Captain met me outside the entrance. He was wearing a tie, dress shoes, and the rest of the formal package. I looked inferior next to him for two reasons. For one, I was a good six inches shorter. His brawny structure was no competition towards my lean exterior frame. Second, I was simply wearing a plain black t-shirt and dress pants. It looked like Captain was going to a ballroom dance and I was going to pursue some desk job in the city.
“I see you’re wearing your finest clothes.” Captain teased.
“Only for you.” I said with a giggle.
We took a seat in the back of the restaurant. The lighting was dim and everything about the place was elegant. I have never eaten somewhere so extravagant. Lamps hung over our heads like a gibbous moon. The finest china fulfilled their job at tables nearby. I was absolutely stunned.
“Surprised much?” Captain was waving a hand in front of my face. I must have zoned out into another galaxy for a split second.
“Yeah sorry. So why did you want to meet me here?”
“It’s about this case. I’ve heard that you have a personal history with Justin. I need you to catch me up on the chapters I have missed.”
“You have to swear not to go all police on me and look up files and cases about what I’m about to tell you, okay?”
“I am your captain, Danny. I won’t make any promises.”
“And you can’t tell anyone. Not even Kelli.”
“Justin and I never really got along from the beginning. However, things got a billion times worst as the school years went on, especially after what happened to my mom. In the summer of 1998, she was driving down the main street by our school. Her car was hit head-on by a drunk driver. She was announced dead at the scene. The driver behind the wheel of the other car was identified as Justin. He took away my one and only mother’s life. I cannot tell you how hard things were when it was just me and my dad. Justin could have prevented her death if he was driving responsibly. I shall never forgive his sin.” I was on the verge of tears. Captain sat in silence. He opened his mouth to speak words of sympathy, but he stopped himself. You could tell the story hit him even though it was sweet and to the point.
We were cut off by an approaching waitress. “Sir, are you Detective Danny?” she questioned in an almost frightened tone.
“I’m sorry. I never formally introduced myself to you. I was Justin’s wife.” I sat there in shock. Her husband was found dead only a few hours earlier and she was as joyful as can be. She didn’t even take the day off of work. If something happened to my spouse, I would’ve personally put the whole world on shutdown until I found out what happened.
“Well, Mrs. Doyle…” I started, but she cut me off.
“Call me Miss Cabot. I have always gone by my maiden name even when Justin was around.” Her voice was picking up confidence as she spoke. The slightest tint of sadness didn’t even show in her tone.
“Sorry, Miss Cabot. May I ask you a question?”
“You just did, “she started with a smile, “what would you like to know?”
“You don’t seem even the least bit upset about the death of your husband. Why are you working? If you need the money, our department can provide you the costs while you get your bearings straight-”
She cut me off again. “Why in hell would I be upset?! I am more than happy that Justin is gone! It’s like the heavens fell in and engulfed me! The weather is gorgeous outside! The insurance money is going to start flooding in!” At this point, I blocked out her babble. Captain gave me an estranged glare from across the table.
“Well I am glad to hear that you are so happy ma’am. May I order now?” I said in order to quickly change the subject. I only did so because I didn’t want to express my feelings in front of Captain. Happy is an understatement, not only for Miss Cabot, but for me. I was beyond glad that Justin was dead too.
“I got the purchase report for latex gloves within the past forty-eight hours. I have been looking over it for quite awhile now. The only suspicious person I have found so far is Matt Long. I cannot find his name anywhere in the system. My gut tells me he is a fake.” Kelli flooded me with new information the second I got back to the station after lunch.
“I’d say. Where did he make the purchase at?” I asked.
“At the Mini Mart downtown.”
“I’ll go talk to the manager there and see if they have security cameras.”
My journey to the Mini Mart gave me a great deal of time to think. It was pushing three in the afternoon and my biggest lead was “Matt”. My future hung in the balance. I couldn’t let Captain down no matter how personal this case was. Why does everyone even care who killed Justin? If anything, the murderer did the whole wide world a favor!
I walked into the Mini Mart with a smirk on my face. It was pointless in me coming here. I knew for a fact that they were too poor to have any surveillance. Besides, why should I believe any one’s description of this Matt dude. He could be anyone and we wouldn’t even know. I took the opportunity so Kelli could finish something productive. I needed the ride to clear my mind and get a bearing on this destructive case.
“Excuse me, sir.” I mumbled in a mixed state of confusion and self battle.
“Yeah?” responded a short, heavy weighted man. His hair was balding and gray. His skin was so white that it looked like he never meant the break of day.
“I’m Danny from NYPD. I would like to ask you a couple questions.”
“Yesterday at approximately three-thirty, were you working here?”
“Yes.” he sounded almost annoyed to be talking to me. I was befuddled as to why he was so irritated. It’s not like he was missing out on any business anyway. The store was a run down shack compared to the rest of the city and his appearance scored some extra vacancy points.
“Did anyone purchase latex gloves at that time under the name Matt Long?”
“Can you describe this man to me, please?”
“He was long and lean. His hair was luscious and dark brown. I wish I had hair like that! It was conditioned so well-”
“Sir, continue please. I do not have all day. ”
“Oh yeah. Anyway, he was wearing all black except for a Phantom’s hockey cap.”
“Okay thank you.” I sighed as I exited the main door.
“He almost looked like you…” the man called after me. However, his staccato entrance in the orchestra was too late. I was already gone and did not hear his crazy response.
When I got back to headquarters, Kelli ran up to me in a panic. Her breath lagged behind and sounded desperate. “WE GOT MORE OF A LEAD!” she whimpered.
“Tell me!” I begged.
“I finally tracked Matt Long’s identity through the system. He is a thirty-one year old white male from Queens. He is a real person! He is not a fake. However, his identity and information was stolen and used in our case. I went out and talked to him at his apartment while you were out checking with the man working at the Mini Mart. He has been a victim of fraud plenty of times before.”
“Interesting…” I said, “so how is this a lead? We still don’t know who is posing as him.”
“Everyone has a motive for what they do, right?”
“Matt’s fiancé left him for this other man named Jay. Maybe Jay got revenge on him by stealing his information and trying to make Matt look like the guilty party.”
“Yeah, but how does that connect Jay to Justin?” I asked curiously.
“That’s what our job is for, isn’t it? I got him in custody right now. Let’s go figure it out.”
“How’d you arrest him with no connection?” I wailed, “you’re risking your job! If they find out you did this with no real reason you will be-”
“Whoa! Hold your horses, Danny! He came in willingly.” Kelli said, taken aback.
She led me to the interview room that was tucked behind our offices. This Jay guy was sitting in a chair, handcuffed. He looked so little and frightened for an adult man of his build. He must have been at least six foot five and his face dropped with worry. We walked in together as Captain listened through the one way glass.
“Hello Jay,” I started, “I’m Danny and this is Kelli. We are here to-”
“Please! Please! Just hear me out! I didn’t do this! I swear on my life! Me and Matt are cool! It was her decision to leave him, not mine! Please! I don’t even know this Justin dude! Why would I kill him!? I have a daughter now and I need to provide for her. I can’t be taken away from her and Matt’s ex whom is now my wife! I didn’t do this! You have no evidence to hold me here! I can leave when I want to, right?”
“Yeah, but when we do find evidence, you will be right back with us. Only that time we won’t be as nice. You’ll be getting a tough boot right through your-”
“I can’t do this.” I whispered. I choose that moment, not only to save Kelli’s reputation in front of Captain, but because I simply could not go on. The look on Jay’s face killed me. His plead almost brought me to tears. I thought about his little daughter and how she would grow up with no father at home. I pictured how her only visits with him would be in a state prison. They had no evidence against him, yet, but I knew they would find it. I planted it there.
“IT WASN’T JAY! IT WAS ME! I KILLED JUSTIN!” I was leaking out a gallon of information by the second, “I HATED HIM! I WAS DOING THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD A FAVOR. HE DESERVED THE DEATH HE GOT! EVEN MISS CABOT HATED HIM FOR GOD’S SAKE! HE WAS EVERYBODY’S GRUDGE, NOT JUST MINE!”
“All this time I thought-” Kelli began as she took a step backward.
“I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK KELLI! I WAS THE ONE THAT STOLE MATT’S IDENTITY! I PLANTED JAY’S DNA AT THE SCENE. OUR CREW WAS JUST TOO STUPID TO FIND IT. IT WAS ALL ME! NOBODY SUSPECTS THE DETECTIVE BECAUSE YOU ALL ARE BLIND!” I was crying at the top of my lungs by now.
“But why did you do it, Danny?” questioned Kelli. She was almost shaking with terror.
“Everybody has a motive, don’t they?”