First Draft Excerpt from Gifts of The Mother

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Before the kiss broke, I was roughly grabbed, shoved up against the car door, and handcuffed. "Mark Jackson, you are under arrest on suspicion of murder! You have the right to remain silent..." I'm sure you've heard it hundreds of times in mass entertainment. My least favorite overzealous homicide detective - Ramirez - was obviously enjoying himself.

What really surprised me was his partner Officer Whitehall was repeating the same thing to Julie.

She was not taking it well.

To give him credit, he'd started considerably lower-key than Officer Ramirez. He hadn't even touched her to begin with; but he did start off with, "Julie Ingmar, you are under arrest on suspicion of murder...", but she understood what was coming considerably better than I would have. She backed away crying hysterically, "No no no no no no no no!" she kept repeating growing in volume.

I tried to get through to her, but being manhandled by Ramirez wasn't exactly conducive to the task. "Julie! Panic isn't, oof, going to help! Ow! Julie, you've got to calm down OW! Or they're really going to get physical! Julie, oof!" and about that time it must have penetrated Ramirez' BB-sized brain that I was trying to talk her down because he just held on and let me talk. "Julie I know you're scared but if you don't calm down they're going to use force and it's going to be much worse. Julie you keep telling clients to cooperate and once it gets to the courthouse the lawyers will sort it out. Julie, remember what you tell your clients!"

Officer Whitehall was at least somewhere in the vicinity of humanity. He could see she was terrified beyond rational thought; he stopped and said, "Ms. Ingmar, I've got to take you in, but if you cooperate I'll be as gentle as I can and let you walk on your own." He could see she was in heels and wasn't running but she was panicked and not going to be talked down easily.

Ramirez muttered an obscenity and headed for Julie, releasing me in the process. I tripped him, he went windmilling and sprawled on the lawn. I managed to keep my feet and simply stood there waiting for him, trying to reach Julie verbally, "Julie, stop. Nobody's attacking you! The police have to handcuff us; it's how their jobs work, but they don't have to attack if you let them do their job." Finally, since nothing else was working, "Julie, think about the baby! If you make them attack, they might hurt the baby! They don't want to attack you, but they'll do it if you don't calm down!"

Something finally got through. She still had the wild look in her eyes, but she managed to get out a desperate, "Promise?!"

That was about when Ramirez, back on his feet, gave me an elbow to the kidney, following it up with a twist of my (cuffed) arm and something else to the back of my knees. I'd known something was coming; men of Ramirez' stripe do not accept being challenged or thwarted in any way. I managed to keep myself to a pained intake of breath, but Detective Whitehall stepped into the breach, "Promise. If you allow me to cuff you, I won't even touch you other than that, although we will have to have a matron frisk you at the station. I'll let you walk to the car and let you get in on your own unless you need me to shield your head."

"What if she's got a weapon?" Ramirez wanted to know.

"If she had a weapon, she would have used it already," Whitehall replied, "She was frightened enough she didn't care what would happen next. If it bothers you, I'll call for backup and you can ride with Mister Jackson in the other car." Addressing me, "What happened to her?"

I didn't need to see Julie's frightened headshake to know not to discuss that. "Not my secret to tell, detective, but I doubt it's relevant tonight. If it's not too much to ask, what's this about? It can't be a renewal of whatever happened to Diane; Julie wasn't there and we didn't even meet until the next day. You wouldn't be arresting her. So what's it about?"

Ramirez, true to form, did something to my back that hurt like hell. It spasmed, and I cried out in pain. But this time, I knew there would be recordings I could access. Officer Ramirez would be hearing about excessive force in the near future. "Quit playing the innocent! It might have worked last time but this time we know you know!"

Whitehall addressed Ramirez, "Mike, stop it!" When Ramirez looked at him, he glanced meaningfully at one of the surveillance cameras. The whole neighborhood was full of them. Prosperous area, near downtown, lots of homeless and less than scrupulously honest individuals. "Ms. Ingmar, I'm going to ask you to turn around and put your hands behind your back now. I'll be gentle, but the handcuffs are required. I'll take your purse, but I won't touch anything but your hands."

He was good as his word. He gently cuffed Julie's hands behind her and took her purse, but didn't touch her otherwise. Whitehall was black; I guess he had some perspective on the evils of excessive force; he was old enough he might have been around for the last set of riots. Nobody was likely to riot over us being abused, but Whitehall understood there was no point to force in this instance.

Julie calmed down enough to ask, "What's this about? If you're arresting us on suspicion of murder, who's the deceased?"

"With all due respect, counselor, that's going to wait until we get you into an interrogation room down at the station. Suffice it to say there's good enough evidence for reasonable suspicion. Judge Bean signed the warrants."

"Cowboy Roy is not exactly the most careful judge on the bench."

"He's got the duty this week; there's nothing irregular about the warrants counselor."

"I have only your word for that. When do I get to examine them?"

"Soon as we get to the station. What's it going to be, Mike? You bringing the other suspect and riding in with us or do I call for other transport?"

"We'll ride with you." I could hear the unvoiced hope we would be stupid enough to try something. Nope. He'd already done everything necessary to put his career into my hands.

Remembering Julie's warnings from the previous case, I carefully did not listen to what the two detectives said on the ride to the station. Instead I kept my voice low and talked to Julie, beginning with, "Are you okay? Is there anything I can do in this situation to help?"

"I think so, now." She was still trembling, but she was no longer being controlled by her fear. Her thinking mind was back in control. "Right now, we have to wait. They'll book us before they question us, separately.

Just like last time, don't say anything without a lawyer present."


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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 12, 2021 7:00 AM.

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