Shiva's Messenger

Swim Where 8

“Shall we stay on for specialty coffee,” Scott asked, “or find another place to go.” The meal dishes had been cleared away and the deserts had come and gone too.

Cute Blue Boxer & Bikini Set

Cute Blue Boxer & Bikini Set

“We’re already here and comfortable.” Belinda opened her pad again. “How did you manage to keep the police from finding out?”

“That’s the dividing line between garden variety law breaking and criminal genius. I got away with it because I didn’t hide my crime from the police: I skillfully employed the tried-and-true principles of reciprocal blindness. I effectively told them I did it, without quite actually coming out and saying that it. It worked out like magic.”

“Talk slowly enough for me to copy your words verbatim.” Belinda advised. “I think I may have to read this part through a number of times.”

“My opening ploy was when the detachment commander came over to inform me of the tragedy. I was ready for him. I had smeared Tabasco sauce on my fingers, but then mostly wiped off the red stains. I was dry eyed and seeming bewildered when he first arrived. Then he delivered the news. I turned away, seemingly in grief and I covered my face with my hands. Surreptitiously, fingered my nostrils and eyelids. My tears flowed and my nose started running like a twin-barreled leaky faucet.”

“And he was fooled.”

“No. I didn’t want to hoodwink him completely. I intended him to see the sudden change as slightly too fast to be natural. If he were to detect a hint of Tabasco smell, it would be even better. In that moment, I told the detachment commander that he would have to look no further for Luther’s killer but I only gave subjective proof that even an inept lawyer could shred in a courtroom.”

“The police chief must’ve watched you closely after that.”

“He was like a hawk but to his surprise, it was far easier than he expected because I wasn’t making the slightest attempt to slink away, or hide. I eagerly embraced the other police officers, like they were my only replacement for a father who had been suddenly taken away from me. I played up to the distorted vision that police like to believe of themselves—even when they know that it’s utterly false.”

“Surely with your being a ‘person-of-interest’, the chief was investigating you.”

“Doubtlessly,” Scott grinned like a tomcat with bird on his breath, “and I’m sure he made subtle overtures to his men that they should advise him if I acted strangely—so they became aware of my probable guilt too. But to my assistance, they all knew what Luther was really like. They had been reciprocally blind but well aware of how Luther Wagner had abused my mother and I. Perhaps they were also cognizant, on a level beneath their persona of blindness, of Luther having murdered my mom.”

shivasmessenger

“They were still cops, as Luther was a cop, and they were dealing with a cop-killer.”

“True. But they are also extremely violent people and those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to kill, are envious of, and somewhat in awe of, those who have killed. I asked an officer if he would teach me to shoot a revolver. He took me to a gun range and while there I also got a chance to clearly demonstrate rifle proficiency rifle. I can guess the police chief had his troops searching local sand pits for any slugs to match the one forensically extracted from Luther’s brainpan. But I’d long since dug those up and disposed of those physical proofs: my rifle had been carefully tucked away in a very safe place since the day that it was used.”

Click for Bikini Set

Click for Bikini Set

“Honestly Scott,” Belinda looked up from her writing, “while on the one hand what you’re saying sounds like it may theoretically work, I just can’t see any reality in it.”

“That’s because you’re still clinging to an untruthfully optimistic state-of-mind your reciprocal blindness has instilled. I was psychologically targeting the deeper truth that’s hidden underneath a policeman’s outward persona. I purposely let slip more hints of my guilt, but was scrupulously careful to limit clue to one-per-office and to ensure that in a court, they would each be pitifully vulnerable to cross-examination.”

“Please detail that more.”

“So you believe you smelled a hint of Tabasco sauce when he began crying.” Scott mimicked the questions a defense attorney might ask. “Did you check to see if he had recently eaten any hot chicken wings? My subtle tactics were not intended to scoff the officers, or to assert my superior to them, as you may be supposing. I was begging them to take me in, despite my foibles, as they’d accepted Luther with his.”

“It worked?”

“Consider the only options I’d provided. To try me for Luther Wagner’s murder, they would each have to take the stand and offer only unsubstantiated opinions. Without any actual evidence, the case would be shaky so the only way to swing the jury to a conviction would be to supply a strong enough motive. The only one they had was the horrific family violence I had endured and to use that one, they would have to besmirch the memory of their slain comrade, as well as to confess they had suspected Luther of being an abuser but were negligent. Arresting, or even openly suspecting me would hurt them just as much or more than it harmed me.”

“I can’t envision investigators proudly racing into the prosecutors office to present that case file.”

“Another option was to brutally handle the matter internally. I could’ve committed suicide like my mother did, died of some accidental fluke or simply disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa. That last one would’ve been the worst for them because each time my picture was featured on a milk carton, it would be a shameful reminder of how they took the cowardly way out.”

“It sounds like a lose or lose situation—for both sides.”

“Fortunately, reciprocal blindness provided a solution that favored almost everyone. I had done my utmost to foster strong bonds with both the individual officers and the department as a unit. For one thing, I performed my murder only a few months after my seventeenth birthday, at a time when I was socially vulnerable. I couldn’t collect the insurance money yet, because I was underage, but I was somewhat too old any realistic foster care. I casually commented on my difficult financial situation and the whole department galvanized and they turned out like troopers for me.”

shivasmessenger

“How so?”

“Some guys helped me with yard sales to liquidate my old scuba gear and Luther’s pilfered merchandise. The officers who actually worked me with the sales got the rest and their families to be my customers and the junk disappeared like magician’s rabbits. I faked some pensiveness over a few items like my scuba mask, fins and scuba equipment as if these held sentimental value and complete scuba package went to the very best of new homes. The detachment itself helped me through the rough time with grants from a pool of collected graft called the benevolent fund.”

Boxer Bikini Set in Blue

Boxer Bikini Set in Blue

“Something is still missing.” Belinda remarked. “But I can’t put a finger on it.”

“Comradeship.” Scott supplied the key element. “In my talking with the guys, each walked away with the impression that my life’s calling was to be one of them. Then they started empathizing with my predicament with Luther, not through his eyes, but along with mine. The overall thought that circulated in the locker-room was that I was bravely trying to maintain the department’s untarnished image, despite what I was forced to do in order to survive. They realized that someone like Luther would not have willingly passed the torch of next generation policing to me: I had to take it from his dead fingers. Then when Mr. Han D. Scapegoat conveniently showed up and had the murder’s tail pinned to his donkey rump, I knew I was in the clear.”

“That ending isn’t enough.” The reporter reviewed the end section of her notes. “It needs to finish with a human element of some kind.”

“The last words the detachment commander said might fit well.” Scott mused. “I had turned eighteen and finally received the insurance money. I was eager to go away but I needed a plausible excuse. I intimated to the Chief that I was thinking of trying out for competitive swimming.”

“What did he say? Give it to me word for word.”

“Son,” Scott even dropped his voice an octave to impersonate the older man, “after you’ve grabbed your fistful of Olympic gold, your job will be waiting. When I retire, I expect to find your scrawny butt parked in my vacated chair.”

“Fabulous!” Belinda cheered. “A twisted murder plot where the wrong guy takes the blame, all the characters know it and still it has a heartwarming ending.”

“The house sold soon afterward and I bought a one-way bus ticket to the sea, where I signed up for scuba training and invested in a complete scuba gear package.”

Swim Where will continue….

Russell Twyce is the Author of Shiva’s Messenger

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