Part 1: A Life In Pieces (click here) Part 2 Another Life In Pieces, part 3 A Life in Anguished Pieces, Part 4 A Life in Mobile Words, Part 5 A Life in Coffee Part 6 A Life in Loneliness, Part 7 A Life In Rags, Part 8, A Life in Confusion, Part 9, A Life In Families Part 10, A Life in Memories, Part 11 A Life in Contemplation, Part 12 A life in church, Part 13 A Life in Lasagne, Part 14 A Life in Chaos and Part 15 A Life in Gossip
A LIFE IN CUSTODY
The Interview room was bleak, its walls a sombre green and a statuesque constable standing by the door, his face expressionless, his posture as motionless as any good statue would be.
Jake “Rusty” Naille sat in one of the four chairs that surrounded a desk. Recording equipment occupied one corner of it. There was a blotter in front of one of the seats.
Who in the name of goodness uses a blotter in this day and age, wondered Rusty, almost irrelevantly.
He looked at the constable and sighed. Talk about a character in a vacuum, he thought, this bloke doesn’t seem to have any character at all, like some uniformed stuffed dummy waiting for the apocalypse!
He was about to ask the officer a stupid question, like can I have a cigarette please, even though he hadn’t smoked since his teens, when the door flew open and the fat Inspector loomed in. His stomach gave one ripple as he stared for a moment at Rusty then made his way to his table.
He sat down in the blotter seat and carefully aligned the folder he was carrying so the corners precisely mirrored the blotter corners. He then placed a ball-point pen on the folder and just as fastidiously arranged it.
OCD, thought Rusty. The blokes got obsessional-compulsive disorder! There’s something wrong when a fat bloke like that reckons he can sit in judgement on a god-fearing citizen like myself.
Then because it was irrelevant but he wanted to say it anyway he explained, “I’m not actually God-fearing, you know.”
The Inspector looked up at him.
“You suffer from OCD I see,” smiled Rusty.
“Mr Naille,” grated the Inspector, “you’d be best not poking fun at the likes of me when you’re about to be arraigned for the cruel and bloody murder of your wife! I’ve got a wife, Mr Naille, and sometimes I feel like suffocating the life out of her myself, but I don’t, do I? And why don’t I? I’ll tell you why, Mr Naille. I don’t suffocate the life out of my good wife because it’s against the law. That’s what it is. Against the law.”
“I wouldn’t have done anything of the kind to my wife because I loved her,” said Rusty.
“Funny way of showing it, then,” snarled Inspector Greasley. “I mean, she did die, didn’t she? That’s what your girlfriend told the vicar, and in my experience vicars don’t lie!”
“They lie every Sunday of their lives when they tell fairy stories to a gullible public,” snapped Rusty. “I don’t want you or anyone else starting to compare me to vicars because the whole lot of them are liars! All of them!”
“Mr Naille, we’re not here to have a debate about the religious belief’s of an innocent man, we’re here to have a much more serious debate about murder and the way you did it to a wife you probably resented like I res… But no matter. I can imagine it. You came home from work, weary, head aching, nerves all shot, and she starts on you. Nag, nag nag, she goes, why haven’t you done this, why haven’t you done that, the shelf in the bathroom needs fixing, the dog crapped in the hallway and it needs clearing up, and on and on it goes … I can understand that. Of course I can! Any man would be able to understand it. It’s part of a man’s lot, to be blamed for everything … even the stuff that happens when he’s away earning a crust for the table…”
“I don’t understand a word you’re saying,” sighed Rusty.
“I’m saying what you’re thinking!” barked Inspector Greasley, “I’m thinking of all the rows you had when you were too bone-tired to face them, the accusations of infidelity when you hadn’t even looked at her more than a glance, you know, the sort of glance you might make if a woman’s got a biggish chest and not much covering it, and your old lady sees you looking and thinks you’re about to go off with the tart, and you say something like if you did something about yourself, ate more nice meat pies and got a bit of flesh on your tits… but you don’t because you’re an honourable man, and in the end you snap. I understand that. Even honourable men can snap. And when really honourable men snap it’s all the more violent. And looking at you, and talking to you, I can tell you’re an honourable man… So you grab a pillow, she’s in bed there like the sainted vicar told me, and that’s the end of her! You wait until her body’s still… did it jerk while she died? Sort of spasmodically? Did she kick and thrash about? Was it like that? Mr Naille: was it like that?”
Rusty turned to look at the constable who was still standing by the door, and his immobile face had undergone a minor alteration. He was almost (but not quite) smiling, and Rusty could guess what was going through his head. He was thinking something along the lines of so that’s why the sad old bastard comes to work with a sore head some days… fancies a bit of skirt down the street and his wife knows about it…
“I haven’t a clue what you’re on about,” he said to Inspector Greasley. “You’re a very strange man!”
“You’ll not get very far insulting me, Mr Naille! And it might help your case, when it comes to court, if you were to tell me what the straw was, you know, the one that broke the camel’s back.
“I mean, did you come home from work one day and find her in the sack with the window cleaner? Is that what it was? I know these crimes of passion, when the blood boils and everything turns red… They’re always to do with sex, and that’s a fact. If there were no such things as sex there’d be less call for us police, that’s for sure, and I might well be out of a job. But there is, and I’m here. So what was her dirty little secret, the one that made you snap when you found out about? Was it the window cleaner after all? I know window cleaners all right. They go round your house and peer in all the windows with their lecherous eyes, even those upstairs … had she left her dildo on the bedside cabinet next to where she lay her pretty head at night? And had he taken that as an invitation to go in and give her one? Is that what happened! The dirty littler pervert! We’ll get him you can bet your life savings on that! We’ll get him and make him complicit, that’s what we’ll do … driving a man to breaking point and beyond…”
“I can barely understand what language you’re speaking,” retorted Rusty. “I’ve told you, and everyone knows this so it’s no secret, I loved my Connie with every breath in my body, and right at the end, at the very end of her life when each breath was an agony and the painkillers barely did anything to help her, when she couldn’t eat and needed me around to moisten her lips, right at that absolute end I loved her…”
“Well, if you’re going to be like that we’ll give it a break!” snarled Greasley, “Let’s see what a few hours in a nice cell, with time to think and crap to eat, will do for your conscience!”
“You can’t!” almost shouted Rusty.
“Mr Naille, you’ll find that I can do just about anything I please because here, in this office, I’m the boss and you’re the miserable scum that’s going to confess to murder, and at the moment it would please me very much indeed to put you under lock and key for the rest of your natural! Constable, take him down!”
© Peter Rogerson 22.03.14