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“Well it doesn’t feel like just facts to me, seems to me you’re trying to put the blame on this old man,” he said jabbing a knotted, arthritis ridden finger into his own chest.
“Where exactly were you when you noticed the shining object in the pigpen?” Officer Jefferson interrupted. He had been on the force for several years, but had never been involved in a homicide case, not that there had been one in West Fargo for over fifty years. He was a young man in his early thirties, tall and slender with his once thick brown hair receding over the dome of his head. Ever since he had been a little boy, Bruce Jefferson dreamed of being a police officer, catching bad guys, and putting them in jail where they belonged. As he listened to the questioning he was certain the old man was guilty and was getting impatient with the slow methodical means Arnie was using to get the confession. He was sure he could have gotten it a lot quicker by acting like a real detective and grilling the old man into submission.
“Bruce, let me handle this ok,” Arnie said taking back control. He knew if Clyde got spooked he would bolt like a rabbit in the brush. Bruce dropped his pen on the table and held up his hands in resignation conceding to Arnie’s seniority on the force. He couldn’t wait until Officer Paulson retired because then he would be third in the line of seniority and things would definitely start to change.
“See I told ya,” Mr. Jordaine said starting to rise from his chair, “I knew it. You think I killed her and what would you do if I did? Huh Arnie? Would you wonder ‘bout all those times out in the woods hunting with me? Would you wonder if I ever thought ‘bout killin’ you too? I coulda if I had wanted too.”
Officer Jefferson shot a raised eyebrow with a crooked smile towards Arnie as if to say ‘I told you so’ and waited for Arnie to go for the kill.
“Shut up, Clyde!” Arnie shouted rising from his chair putting his fists on the table, “You just shut your damned mouth and sit down!”
“Or, what? Whadda ya gonna do if I don’t? Arrest me? Shoot me? What? You think it matters to me what you think? You think it matters to me what anyone in this rat hole of a town thinks of me? You think I don’t know ‘bout all the whispering and such that goes on behind my back? Well you just think again, Arnie. I do know. I know that everyone says I did this thing and I didn’t. I swear to God I didn’t do it.” Tears were welling up in the old man’s once ice blue eyes that had turned a grayish in color over time and the years of pent up pain from undeserved ridicule began to spill over and flow down his weather worn cheeks.
“Clyde, I think you need to cool off and sober up before we go any further with this. Let’s go,” Arnie said grasping the old man’s arm in an effort to guide him to the waiting drunk tank.
Mr. Jordaine jerked his arm out of Arnie’s grip, “Get yer dirty hands off me! I ain’t done nothin’ wrong and you know it.”
Officer Jefferson leaped from his chair the exhilaration of the interrogation getting the best of him. He could feel the adrenaline coursing through his veins like a hunter about to finally pounce on his prey for the kill. He could taste the collar and wanted it more than anything. It would the one thing that could catapult him past Arnie and the other officers to detective where he would be respected as an officer of the law and people would fear him. Never again would anyone push around Bruce Jefferson.
“Clyde, stop it,” shouted Arnie attracting the attention of other officers in the station. “Bruce, settle down. There’s nothing to get excited about. Cuff him and take him to the holding cell so he can sober up.”