The cops who arrived on the scene took obvious exception to that Rue was doing. The suspended PI had immediately concluded quite rightly, that the suspect had enough of a head start that it wasn’t worth pursuit and had instead concentrated his efforts on the vehicle that’d mown down his client – doing so with the same tactics employed by the earnest physician who’d sought to help Mr. Mathewson, “Stand back, I’m a professional.” A flash of his card and Dobbs had the scene to himself. …Until the copes had arrived – late, as usual – and put a stop to his investigations.
“Step away from the vehicle, sir,” the uniformed man gently cautioned him, crooking his and to beckon the PI. “Are you the driver of this vehicle?” the gentleman gestured with his pad, eying Rue with an air of disapproval.
Rue hesitated, wondering how much he ought to tell the two policeman. The hesitation was costing him, he could tell, as the policeman’s demeanor soured further in the split second it took Rue to find his tongue.
“Naw. Driver took off down the alley,” a helpful witness offered, sauntering up. “This guy’s just some snoop.” Ok, he didn’t help that much.
Rue raised his hands in a gesture of what he hoped projected innocence and goodwill, “The victim was a client of mine. If I may?” He reached for his credentials, such as they were.
“Hmph,” the officer didn’t seem to think too much of Rue’s card. He handed it back with a watery smile, “Well, it appears your services are no longer needed, Mr. …Dobbs.” As was typical of his kind and he added, almost as an after thought, a formality, “Have a nice night, sir.”
Have a nice night, my ass, Rue smiled back, mentally wishing them luck. “Obviously do give me a call once this investigation gets under way, as I’m sure your case will benefit from the knowledge I’ve already gleaned.” He knew the statement would grab more ire than strictly necessary, but was worth it if he got called in to help. They already had his name and a quick check of records would show he’d been deliberately ignoring the embargo on his practicing so he had to plant the bait. He hoped they’d take it.
“You can expect we’ll take your statement with the rest of the eyewitnesses, sir,” dismissal was plain on the cop’s face. That they weren’t detaining him immediately to record his statement was an indication of their impression of the whole thing and his next words confirmed it, “Though with an abandoned vehicle and half-a-dozen eyewitnesses to the accident, I’m sure we’ll be cleaning it up pretty quick.” The uniformed official looked to move on.
Rue realized he’d have to play another ace if he was going to stay in the game. Shrugging nonchalantly, he threw out, “Well, you’ll find that eyewitness accounts confirm that the screech of the tires came from rapid acceleration rather than an attempt at braking, the vehicle was likely stolen, the driver was short – perhaps 5 feet or so, was wearing heels that, frankly, had to have inhibited her escape from the scene in some way, and that she wore latex gloves to hide her prints on the wheel.”
Rue had seen enough interrogation rooms in his time that he could have given the police a primer on fifty tips for their improvement. A comfortable chair was number one. The brain simply refused to function while the tush was searching for its optimal position on hard molded plastic. Oh, he knew the idea was to make the suspect uncomfortable – but honestly, didn’t they understand the difference between physical and mental discomfort? Most of the toughs he knew weren’t going to crack just for a cushy place to rest their bums.
He wondered how long they’d make him sit and stew, which of course prompted the door to open a moment later. Well, they’ve got that down to a science, he mused, then smiled as he realized who’d been sent in to question him.
“Mackey!” his voice rang in cheerful dissonance with the bleak surroundings.
“Save it, Dobbs,” the response was tired but laced with a smile, “You’re lucky they sent me in. The guys upstairs are tossing around words like ‘belligerent’ and ‘shady’ not to mention ‘smarmy,’ ‘disrespectful,’ and ‘smart-ass.’ Now you and I both know you sure as hell aint no Sherlock Holmes but I need a better statement than the Smarter-Then-Thou detective slight-of-hand bullshit than you were spouting off to Inspector Rogers and company.”
“Hey. I wanted to be sure this case got the kind of treatment it deserved,” Rue started up his mantra.
“Accident,” Ins. Mackey cut in, “Unless, like I’ve said, you’ve a plainer fact-based train of thought than-“
“Yes, yes, I get it,” Rue waved him off sullenly, “C’mon, you know me. If I say-“
“Rue, you’ve been told by the State of Illinois to cut the crap. I’m telling you a second time,” Mackey flipped his pen between his fingers with a distractingly casual air, arresting its motion to point at the PI, “I know that, generally, when you say it happened just as you say it did, you’ve good reason and good facts to back it up. But I’ve got to give the boys upstairs something better to work with.” He hesitated and continued, “You help us out on this one, give us that inside scoop I know you have, and I can make sure your license is reinstated, no questions asked.”
Rue’s eyes widened then narrowed, “Client privilege…”
“Client privilege be damned, Dobbs. The man’s dead. Mowed down by a car you say did so on purpose,” the cop pursued.
Leaning back, realizing he was in the driver’s seat – a metaphor Rue suddenly realized he really didn’t like – the PI closed his eyes a brief moment and, seeming to make up his mind, opened his mouth to speak. “Alright. Whole truth and an insider’s tour of how my mind worked out the details of your hit and run driver. But you’ve gotta promise me one thing-“