Officer Collins came out of the interrogation room and quietly closed the door. He shook his head and sat down at his desk. Officer Taylor sat at the desk that abutted to Collin’s.
“Well”? Taylor asked.
“They gave it up. Finally.”
“What was the play?”
“George must die. That’s what they said.”
“Just like that, huh?”
“It seems they’ve been carrying a grudge and thinking about this for a while,” Collins said.
“The big one, with the crew cut, his name is Peters. He’s got a scar on the right side of his chin. It seems George gave him that. He said he never forgot that and always planned on settling the score.”
Collins got up and crossed to the coffee pot and poured himself a cup. Taylor’s eyes followed him, waiting for him to continue. When Collins sat back down Taylor prodded him.
“What’d they say?”
“Oh, Christ, this is depressing,” Collins muttered.
“What happened in there?”
“Okay. At first, neither one of them admitted to anything. Just played it dumb. Didn’t know why we brought them in.
“I laid it out for them. Told them this was their one chance to help themselves. They didn’t believe me, of course. They were sure we had nothing on them. Then I told them about the witness. Told them they had been seen in the act. That shook them up a bit. I then told them that right now we had them for attempted murder but that could change if George didn’t pull through. That seemed to get their attention.
“Next thing, the little one, Macklin, his eyes start darting all over the place and you can see he’s scared. The big one yells at him to shut up. Don’t open his mouth. That’s when I separated them and put Peters back in the lockup. I let Macklin sit in the interrogation room for about twenty minutes, hoping his imagination would take over.”
“That’s what did it, eh?”
“Yeah. By the time I went back in he had a lot of time to think about spending all that time in jail. He was ready to spill.”
“So, what’d he say?”
“You know that old beat up cash box Pop keeps on the shelf at the back of the bay?”
“Yeah, most people do. He keeps that stuff handy for some of the customers.”
“Well, these two geniuses decided they were gonna nab it. No big plan. They just sat on the other side of the hedges next to the station. They wait until Pop gets busy pumpin’ gas and wipin’ the windshield and they bolt for the bay door.
“But what they don’t figure on is George. He’s just inside the bay doors in the shadows. These two mugs make for the box but George nabs them. By this time, Pop hears the commotion and shows up. Peters has the box in his hand and Macklin’s supposed to be standing guard.
“Now, Pop’s got them red handed and says he gonna call us. These mugs make a break for it, George let’s them have it and the three of them are rollin’ all over the bay. Pop goes to help George but slips. George goes to Pop and these two take off. Peters is dripping blood from his chin. But other than that everyone’s fine and Pop just drops the whole thing.
“However, our two friends here don’t. The way they see it, they would have gotten away clean if it wasn’t for George. Peters’ chin is split open and he’s pissed. That’s when they started planning today’s mess.”
“They tried to kill George over that?”
“Yeah, you believe it? So, they start thinkin’ how they’re gonna do it. Fortunately, they can’t get their hands on a firearm, so they start lookin’ for alternatives. Peters sees himself as the brains of this outfit and comes up with a plan. He’s the one who’s been scarred, so there’s no way he’s not going through with this. If it had been just Macklin, I don’t think today would have happened. Between what Pop told me and what Macklin spilled, this is what I think went down:
“This evening, just before Pop closes, they spring their plan. You have to remember that these two boneheads think Pop is just a doddering old man and he won’t recognize them from the robbery attempt.
“The plan is for Macklin to go to the pumps with his wheels and get Pop to come out to help him with a problem he’s pretending to have. They know George would be doin’ his thing in the bay. Once Pop is engaged with Macklin, Peters is going to slip into the bay and take care of George and then slip out again.
“But once Pop gets out to the pumps he recognizes Macklin right off. Macklin knows he’s caught and starts stammering all over the place. Pop tumbles to what’s goin’ on but he thinks they’re after the old cash box again. He spins and goes running to the bay.
“It takes a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness and when they do, Pop sees Peters sneaking up behind George with a bow and arrow, fully pulled back, ready to let fly. Pop yells, George jumps but Peters lets go with the arrow. The shot goes wide but still hits George in the shoulder. Pop’s got his hands around Peters’ neck, Peters is thrashin’ about trying to hit Pop with the bow, Macklin is screaming that they got to get out of there and takes off.
“Pop now realizes that George is down, so he lets go of Peters and goes to George. Peters, of course, makes like a bat out of hell. Pop sees that George is hit but alive and calls 911.”
“How’d you nab them?”
“These two idiots take off down the street pass a couple sitting on their front porch. They gave me a good description and I found these two sitting behind the Rockin’ Chair Inn huffing and puffing trying to pretend they’re just hangin’ out. I could see they were thinking about bolting but I convinced them it would be in their best interest to just come along and clear this all up. That I thought they were witnesses to a crime. I put them in the back of the squad car and brought them here.”
“How’s George doin’?”
“OK, he’s gonna pull through. Pop has him over at the Vet’s now.”
“And these two?”
“Good thing they’re to ignorant to know you don’t do hard time for trying to hurt a dog.”
“Poor dog. All this over an old box full of candy.”
“I’m going to try to throw all I can at these guys. I’ll tell ya, these are two of the nastiest eleven year olds I’ve ever seen”
“Yeah, pity the parents.”
“Amen to that!”
Jack Mageean has been an actor, system analyst, computer programmer, bartender, waiter, insurance investigator, US Marine, scuba diver, certified personal trainer, lousy golfer, juvenile delinquent and all-around wise-ass. He is the author of a thriller entitled Acting With Intent available for the Kindle at Amazon.com and for all EReaders at smashwords.com. He is North Jersey born and bred but now lives in Toms River with his wife Marylou and their Beagle pup, Mickey. When not writing he spends his time trying to piss off the Radical Right.