The next batch of cops blew in like a thunderstorm. One car after another came skidding down the driveway until the whole yard in front of the big ramshackle farmhouse was choked with them. The pig farm was secured in a matter of minutes. Three ambulances showed up. One of them took the wounded police officer to Parkview Hospital in Grantville. Another one took my friend’s body to the same place, to have him declared dead. The third one stayed put. The cops didn’t see any need to pack away the bodies of Ned Ishmael and Dean Jenkins right away: they’d keep. And there might be more people needing medical attention.
The fresh police spread out over the farm and collected Willie, Shiner, No Neck, and Roach. Due to the
intoxicants these four had imbibed, the questioning was time-consuming and inconsequential.
Gene had slipped off the grounds with Moondog and, long before the second wave of police had arrived on the
scene, he had the dog at his home, half a mile up the road. Moondog was happily splashing water out of a half-gallon dish while the sirens shrieked past.
Danny was found hiding behind a sofa in the living room and he was read his rights and interrogated.
Relieved of his medical duties, Deputy Lawrence sneaked into the bedroom Mary Lou and Ned had shared. Daisy and Flo were hiding there in a closet.
“Come out,” the policeman ordered.
Heads down, without a sound, they obeyed.
He looked at them, at their uncomprehending, drunken faces and said, “You stupid whores. Face the wall.
Put your hands up. Spread your legs.” After they did this, he kicked Daisy’s left ankle in an attempt to spread her feet farther apart, and she fell on the floor. He patted Flo down and then he told her she could drop her arms.
“Stand up,” he told Daisy. She did and he cupped her breasts in his hands. He looked at his hands and twisted them. He was expressionless. “Both of you stay right here. Don’t move or I’ll shoot you,” he said, and he left the room.
Outside the house, police officers buzzed around like heavily armed bees. George Lawrence found a bottle of soda in the refrigerator, wiped off the top, popped it open, leaned against a wall, and began to take long swallows of the sugary water.
Upstairs, in the same room where Joe and Rita were hiding, a pair of policemen found Tina’s baby, pissy and screaming, in a open dresser drawer, wrapped in dirty blankets. One of the cops picked up the odorous bundle in his big, outstretched arms, being careful not to pull it close to his crisp, clean uniform. His partner kicked in a closet door and found Joe and Rita huddled on the floor. He ordered the two to stand up and then patted them down. The other cop handed the baby to Rita and asked, “Are you the mother?”
Rita said, “No.”
The policeman handed the child to her and said “Do what you can with this thing, willya?”
She took the baby into the upstairs bathroom to clean it up.
Slow-Joe was marched downstairs at gunpoint. When he reached the midpoint of the stairway, George Lawrence threw his half-empty bottle into the kitchen sink. The bottle smashed into a hundred pieces. Its contents erupted, splattering the backsplash, the window above the sink and the floor in front of the sink. The young policeman following Joe down the steps jumped at the noise and accidentally fired his pistol.
The bullet whistled past Joe’s right ear and he dove over the last six steps and hit the floor. His chest bounced off the bottom two steps and his chin hit the dusty floor. He covered his head with his arms and began crying. Deputy Lawrence busted out laughing.
“Careful with that gun, sonny,” he yelled to the officer who’d been escorting Joe downstairs. “Gimme that punk,” he said, pulling Joe up by the back of his t-shirt. He shook the boy like a rat and walked him out of the kitchen through the back door.
At just about that time, Dylan Jones’ girlfriend, a fifteen-year-old named Jasmine VanCamp showed up. She was
a pretty little child with big blue eyes and short peroxided blond hair. She had skipped school that day and
hadn’t heard about Dylan’s problems with the law. There was an outstanding arrest warrant for her driver, a seventeen-year-old named Susie Blanchard. Susie had the steering wheel cranked and was about to speed away when Jasmine yelled, “Stop. I’m getting out”
Jasmine sprinted down the driveway. A tunnel of dust enveloped Susie’s dad’s car as she high-tailed it away.
Jasmine had never seen so many police officers in one place. They were running that crime scene cop-tape all over the place and they all looked angry. It never occurred to her that one of their own had been killed, here.
She was wringing her hands and asking questions and getting in the way and pissing off all the cops. Finally, a detective got her name, address, and phone number, determined that she had just arrived, and told her to beat
it. He told her that someone would be in touch with her and went on with his business. She wandered down to the creek.
She followed a deer path through knee-high grass, down a shallow grade, to the spot where she usually met Dylan to get high and to make love in the shade of an old swamp maple. She hoped she’d find him there. She reached the spot where the grass was flattened down and discolored and she just stood there.
After a few seconds, she walked over to a big pine tree with a folding chair leaned up against it. She opened it up and she sat down on it to think things over. She was right at the river’s edge. It was a pretty spot, just like a postcard. The river curved around that tree and there was a sand trap straight out in front of her.
You could catch trout while you sat right in that chair. She had done it, herself. You could eat them, too, because it was upstream from the pig farm.
She had a cell phone with her, of course. She tried calling Dylan, but got no answer. He had intentionally left his phone behind at his camp down by the railroad tracks. Someone had told him that the police could track you by zoning in on your cell phone signal. She tried calling Dylan’s mom. A policeman answered it. She hung up immediately and put the phone back in the pouch attached to her belt.
She had no idea what she was supposed to do. After a few minutes, she followed the river up to a bridge, climbed up the abutment, and began walking home. It was a three mile hike, but she felt she needed time to collect her thoughts.