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This was either a joke or I’d finally snapped. Mr Action-hero, sitting here plain and bright as day–and–he’s my lawyer?

“What the fuck is going on” I stage whispered not sure if I could trust anything that was happening. The room had to be bugged, or video recorded or something–maybe there were a bunch of people standing behind the glass just waiting to rush in and laugh at me. Of course this guy wasn’t a killer– things like that don’t just happen after all–people don’t just murder cops and then walk into a police station unmolested.

“What, you don’t want a lawyer? Way I hear it you’re a bad man. Like Ali in his prime, no?” he laughed and pushed his briefcase aside so he could lean closer to me his arms reaching across the table. “Seems you’ve been out doing the dirt.  Killed some welfare trash on a bus and then–” his mouth formed an O of mock surprise as he pantomimed consulting a paper “–why it says here you killed an officer of the law!”

I shook my head and screwed my eyes tightly shut “N-no! We both know it was you that killed those people! Why? What the hell is going on here?!?”  it took all I had to keep from screaming in his face. I wasn’t cut out for this insanity. Whatever was going on in his world I wanted no part of. Then it clicked “A-are you going to. . . kill me?”

“What? Heaven forfend! I’m your lawyer, Mr Shannon! And clearly you need help.” He nodded his head and put on a concerned look “maybe more than the kind of help I can provide.Maybe–” He paused and looked off  “maybe you need a doctor?”  He laughed at that and leaned across the table to whisper conspiratorially “do you think if I leave and come back in a lab coat they’ll think I’m a doctor, too?”

“So what’s to stop me from telling them the truth? I mean what if I called the guard back right now and told them you’re the real killer?” A small spark started building in me when the look on his face fell away, leaving him looking almost lost.

He leaned back in his chair raising his arms behind his head and staring at the ceiling for a moment, considering the possibility. After a moment or two he leapt to his feet and spun toward the door to knock loudly against the small safety window. “Let’s find out, shall we?!” he smiled gleefully and called out “Guard! Guard! Someone come quick!”

A guard appeared at the window and motioned Mr Action-hero to stand back. The guard entered the room, his hand hovering over a can of pepper spray “What’s going on?” he asked, looking between me and the fake lawyer.

“Ask him.” Mr Action-hero pointed at me “Go ahead, Mr Shannon. Tell the guard what you just told me. Please.” He smiled at me encouragingly.

I hesitated a second, prepared for just about anything, including getting pepper sprayed. “He–“I stopped to clear my throat “He’s the man you’re looking for.” I said nodding my head toward Mr Action-hero.

The guards hand dropped from its position over the can of pepper spray and he straightened slightly “What? Looking for who?”

“The man that killed the other police officer.” I said and looked again at Mr Action-hero.

He chimed in to add “Oh, don’t forget about the two on the bus.” he smiled at the guard and looked expectantly at me.

“N-no, of course. Them too; he killed those people.” I confirmed.

“Seriously?” The guard turned and looked at Mr Action-hero “It’s crazy out there tonight, bro, and you gotta waste my time with this shit?”  The guard shook his head “Don’t call me again until you’re ready to leave.” With that, the guard stepped through the door and muttered “asshole” as he once more locked us inside the room.

Well of course. This is some prank show, obviously. That’s how a guard would react in this situation, right? Then in a couple more minutes someone–maybe one of my co-workers–is going to pop through the door with the camera crew and tell me I’d been had.

Mr Action-hero resumed his seat and held his arms out wide “Well? How’d that work out for you?” he let out a small sigh “let me clue you in, ‘kay? The police have found their suspect.” he said and extended his index finger toward me “they’re not looking for anyone else. In fact, they don’t want to hear it, because as far as their concerned you’re guilty; hell you’re halfway to being shanked in the showers even as we speak. The only real question is are they going to have another inmate do it, or are they just going to piss all over you then stab you a few times themselves and tell the medico’s you were attacked in the shower?” He tapped a finger against his chin as if contemplating what the outcome would be. “No, my friend you are well and truly fucked. The system has someone to blame and the case is closed.:

“So what, is this just how you get your kicks then?” I leaned forward, the anger rising in me when I realized he was probably right. The police didn’t want to spend more time looking for the truth, they just wanted a scapegoat and they’d stuck the horns on my head. “What do you want from me? If you’re not here to kill me you–what–came to perform your own brand of psychological torture on me? You like pulling the wings off flies, too?” For some reason my little diatribe seemed to stop him cold. I waited for him to spew more of his weird attempt-to-be-comedic bullshit at me.

“Actually, I’m here to help you.” He said, sitting forward once more, looking serious “See, for some reason I can’t stop thinking about you. I know you from somewhere or for some reason, but I can’t recall exactly what.” His brow furrowed as he stared at my face looking for a hint of recognition from me “the question I have now, is how exactly am I going to help you get out of here?”

I understood now that old saw about drowning men and their need to clutch at straws to save themselves.” I’m guessing you’re not really a lawyer, right? “I asked trying to find anything in this situation that made sense “All right. Let’s say I believe you–believe any of this–why do you want to help me? Because we were playground buddies in second grade?”

He held out his arms again and shrugged. “Call it my good deed for the day. Maybe I just feel sad for you–for what’s about to happen– and I need to save somebody.” He sat back in his chair and regarded me for a second before cracking a smile “No, just kidding. That’s what I’d say that if I had a conscience, but no, seriously; I know you from somewhere and if I don’t figure it out, I’ll just drive myself crazy thinking about it.”

He stood up and walked around the small room. “So what do you say? You want to be killed by the system or take your chances with me?”

I watched him pace back and forth a bit before answering. “I’ll take my chances with the system.”

He stopped pacing and stared. “Okay. Don’t say I didn’t try.” At that he knocked on the door and scooped up his briefcase and waited.

“Wait–I mean” I tried to think of a reason to put my trust in this lunatic “I don’t even know your name.”

He looked out the window; the guard was taking his time after the little stunt he’d pulled. “Ted–Johnston? I think.” he shrugged “I don’t remember what they told me.”

They? Who the hell are they? I thought but didn’t ask. “No, I–uh, I mean, your real name?”

He scratched his head and looked at me as if I’d asked him to name the capitals of all fifty states. “Drill.”

Drill? Like drill sergeant?”

“No. Drill, like I put holes in people.” his head snapped around as the guards face appeared at the window again.

I could hear the guard fumbling the keys in the lock and wanted to ask more questions now, but my time was up.

Drill turned and looked at me as the guard finally got the door open “Well, Mr Shannon, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you find an attorney more suited to meet your specific needs.” He turned and I saw him make a little motion to the guard, indicating to the man that I was crazy. The guard rolled his eyes a bit and nodded, smirking slightly.

Drill turned to look back at me as he stepped through the door “You take care now.”  he gave made a gun out of his finger and thumb and mimicked shooting at me as the guard closed the door behind him.

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