They’ve caught their man. Cloud Beaudry risked his life and got his ass kicked in the process, but he isn’t the hero everyone’s propping up on their shoulders. Det. Griffin is taking credit. Det. Griffin is the man of the hour. Det. Griffin needs to be dealt with.
The Slave Quarters
Chapter 18 – This Isn’t Over
By Rock Kitaro
Det. Griffin is the man of the hour. Dressed sharp in his black overcoat, Griffin is met by thunderous applause as he parades a traumatized Calvin Chalmers through the 3rd floor bullpen. Detectives, deputies, and sergeants alike stand with adulation, thankful and relieved that the storm battering their withered department will soon dissipate. And of course, perhaps no one is more grateful than the police chief himself.
“Breaking News” scrolled on the lower third of every major network. The police chief was preparing to make an official announcement at the eleven o’clock broadcast. No doubt, it must have been how Obama felt when Bin Laden was killed. Because at long last, the police chief was ready to announce that the “Slave Quarter Killer” has been captured.
Calvin Chalmers was severely beaten. His jaw was popped back into place, but other than that, the police didn’t bother with his broken ribs or the cuts and bruises swelling over that baby face of his. After Calvin refused to say another word without his attorney, Griffin locked him in a holding cell down in the basement. It was the same holding cell Jamar and O’Shea was kept in earlier in the day. Cell 1-A, the one closest to the entrance and directly in view of the camera so Calvin was supervised attentively.
Turns out, the paranoid Leanne logged into a computer to track the GPS on her phone, the phone she left in the rental car. Once they found out I was at the slave quarters, she, Jessica, and Griffin hauled ass. I guess I should be thank…No. I’m not thankful. If I wasn’t distracted by Griffin’s obnoxious LED headlights I would’ve seen Calvin scooping up the dirt that he threw in my face. I suppose the only thing I am thankful for is the confession recorded on my phone. Better to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Jessica and Leanne briefed the police chief with the details of the evening. Jason Hicks was taken as a material witness. Since I couldn’t give up how Miranda hacked the Halo-Star servers, it was Jason’s testimony and the confession from my phone that backed the warrants needed to search Calvin’s home. Hair fibers and blood samples were found on Calvin’s clothes, his bed, and in the car he owned. The victim’s wallets were kept in drawers. Their DNA was found in the sinks. All of it was incriminating, enough to condemn him.
The revelations were appalling but served as an eye-opener for the department and the community. Everyone was so focused on pointing fingers and casting blame. None of it was productive and if it hadn’t been for my rebellious determination to get to the bottom of it, more people could have been seriously hurt or killed.
The protesting mob that gathered outside eventually broke up and started planning vigils. The police chief would later face criticism from his own department for dropping the assault charges against Jacory. He did shoot three officers, after all. But I guess losing a leg and having to register as a sex offender was punishment enough. His face, distinguished by those orange contact lenses and his bald brazen build, made it difficult for him to fit in with any neighborhood. He’d eventually go on to leave the state and start a new life somewhere in the Southside of Chicago.
Jason Hicks would lose his job as a paramedic. In fact, the community would forever think twice every time they saw an ambulance parked near a school. It’s kind of sad actually, how a few bad eggs can tarnish an entire occupation.
Griffin was golden. His clean image and tall statuesque build made him the perfect poster child for the department. The chief credited him with Calvin’s apprehension and planned on giving him a promotion. Even on the news, it was Det. Griffin’s face beaming as the man who caught the Slave Quarter Killer. He was lead detective after all. Everyone praised him for staving off years of racial tension that threatened to proliferate throughout the state and possibly the entire nation. In every hallway and every bullpen, Griffin received a warm welcome and another round of applause. Yes, the police were proud to have him, a paragon of exemplary service.
As for me…I didn’t hear any applause. No one came to shake my hand and tell me, “good job.” I sat on the examination table of the 1st floor infirmary receiving medical attention from a nurse who was all too eager to go upstairs and meet the darling Griffin. She slaps on a cold methane pack where the butt of my own gun hit me. Even touching it with something as soft as gauze would cause half my face to flare up something fierce. I fear its an orbital fracture that would require surgery.
Nope. I’m just a wimp.
The nurse doesn’t make conversation. She doesn’t ask how I got the bruises or what I did during the night. She doesn’t care why I’m wearing a bulletproof vest or why my back’s covered in dirt. Even when she fetches a bottle of painkillers, she just puts it on the tray next to me and promptly leaves the room. She doesn’t return.
After a while, I slowly turn to look in the mirror. I’m like Quasimodo with this face. My left cheek looks like it’s about to give birth to a plum. If I took off my shirt, I’m sure it would look like the aftermath of a paintball fight. And as much as I needed to rest this body and let it heal…I can’t let things stand as is. I just can’t.