The Precinct wasn’t much grander than Barker’s small office quarters. Matter of fact, it was colder and more unwelcoming with its concrete floors and windowless rooms. Barker shivered thinking about being stuck behind those bars.
Confined spaces never settled well inside his mind. He needed space and no clutter to work. He needed pastures to roam.
That is why he tried his best to always avoid these rooms. Lucky had been the interrogator. He had been horrible at it, but he did it without complaints. Usually, by the time Lucky was even needed, Barker had already solved the case, so Lucky could just do the paperwork and go home.
Today, Lucky wouldn’t be here to do the cleanup work. Today, Barker would have to dirty his paws on the cold concrete floors.
“Good afternoon, Detective Barker,” said the young street patrol, Barker couldn’t remember his name. Which was odd because Barker was great with names. “Mane is ready in the third room,” the patrol was eager. Barker could see it in his eyes, he would make detective one day, but he wouldn’t be a good one.
Barker walked towards the third door. He wanted to steel his nerves a bit. Mane was a massive fellow. He was big enough to slay Barker without breaking a sweat. Barker reminded himself that Mane would be chained to the table and the table bolted to the floor.
The knob was cold. Barker was told as a rookie that the cold made people uneasy. The cold would make people talk faster. Barker figured it out later that the department was just too poor to run the heater down here.
The door squeaked as he pressed it open. Mane was sitting in shackles behind the small table. The rest of the room was bare. This was no fancy room. There was no two-way glass, the district couldn’t afford those wonders.
That meant it was just Mane and Barker alone inside the concrete prison.
Mane lifted his head and showed his sharp teeth. In the cafe, Barker would have trembled at the sight, here it was as pathetic a scene as a broken man could get.
“Put them away,” Barker stepped in and slammed his writing material on the table. “You are already beaten,” Barker pressed the wrinkles from his jacket and sat down. “This whole scene won’t take but a minute or two,” Barker flipped open the book.
Nothing was written there, nothing of import anyhow. Scribbles and list of nothing. It was for show. A scare tactic.
“I won’t be talking,” Mane said.
Barker looked up, “Oh, but you already have,” he closed the book, pretending to have read what was of worth.
The table wasn’t all barren as it seemed at first glance. On the corner was a small recording machine. The machine would be all Barker needed to catch the killer of Lucky. He hit the record button.
“Did you kill Detective Lucky?” Barker traced the record button and clicked it off. Mane didn’t seem to notice.
Mane lifted his head, “You think I killed the little rat?”
“He wasn’t actually a rat,” Barker smiled, sarcasm was his friend as long as Mane stayed in those chains. He didn’t want to imagine what would become of him if those chains broke.
“I don’t give a hoot what he was, I didn’t kill the man,” Mane was adamant, convincing even. It was a good thing Barker didn’t really care.
“I see,” Barker hovered his finger over the record button again. “But you do admit to hitting me in the cafe?”
Barker was already sure of the answer. Admit the lesser and deny the greater. It was to show the truth could be told. Barker hit the record button,
“Yes, I did do that…” Barker hovered over the button. He had his back to back answers. Machines were really easy. A full confession in a matter of minutes.
“Why?” Mane looked at Barker for a moment. Barker hoped the question would prompt the right answer.
“Because I was angry,” Barker flipped the record button off. That was a wrap. Admissible in court and with his own testimony Mane was as good as sentenced. Sometimes it was a good thing to die young and loved, it meant the people really wanted to avenge you.
Unlucky for Mane, however, “Well, thank you, Mane,” Barker grabbed his notebook from the table.
“Wait, where are you going?” Funny how the ones who don’t want to talk always have something more to say.
“Oh, I have what I need, Major,” Barker grabbed that cold handle and opened the door. “Have a pleasant time,” Barker wanted to add the jibe. It was classless, but Mane had tried to kill him. He straightened his tie, even with a low blow one must look their best.
In the end, Mane was sentenced to life without parole. Barker was the key witness and did as he may say an impeccable job on the witness stand.
Mane roared and pleaded his defense, but you can’t beat those who die young. After all, was said and done, Lucky was avenged, well, sort of.