Seconds Away Page 7

’’I don\'t even know who was shot.’’

Dunleavy looked at me skeptically. ’’Really?’’

’’Really.’’

’’You have no idea?’’

Chief Taylor remained silent. I didn\'t like that. I looked at him and even from this distance I could see my reflection in his sunglasses.

’’Of course I have no idea,’’ I said. ’’Who was shot?’’

She changed the subject. ’’Can you tell us where you were last night?’’

I didn\'t like where this was going. I risked another glance at Chief Taylor. He stood with his arms crossed.

’’I was home.’’

’’When you say home ’’

’’The house where you picked me up.’’

’’You\'re staying with your uncle, is that right? Myron Bolitar?’’

At the mention of my uncle, Chief Taylor winced a little.

’’I am, yes.’’

She nodded and wrote something down. ’’So tell me what you did last night.’’

’’I did some homework. Watched some TV. Read a book.’’

’’Was your uncle home?’’

’’No, he was out.’’

’’Where?’’

’’He didn\'t say.’’

’’And when did he come home?’’

’’I don\'t know. I fell asleep.’’

’’What time would this have been?’’

’’What time did I fall asleep?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Around eleven,’’ I said.

Dunleavy jotted that down too. ’’And your uncle still wasn\'t home?’’

’’I don\'t think so. I don\'t know for sure. My bedroom is in the basement and I had the door closed.’’

’’Doesn\'t he check on you when he comes home?’’

’’Usually, yes.’’

’’But not last night.’’

’’Unless he came down while I was sleeping.’’

She made another note.

’’What else did you do last night?’’

’’That\'s it.’’

She finally glanced behind her at Chief Taylor. Chief Taylor recrossed his arms and gave me a tough-guy stare.

’’What?’’ I said.

’’Did you talk or text with anyone?’’ Dunleavy asked.

’’Yes.’’

’’Which one?’’

’’Both.’’

Chief Taylor spoke for the first time. ’’And yet you didn\'t mention that, did you, Mickey?’’

’’Excuse me?’’

’’Investigator Dunleavy asked what you did last night. You gave her some song and dance about homework and TV but you said nothing about texting and talking. That seems kind of suspicious, don\'t you think?’’

’’I also made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,’’ I said. ’’I took a shower. The shampoo I used was Pert.’’

Chief Taylor didn\'t like that. ’’A wise guy, just like his uncle. Are you being a wise guy with an officer of the law, Mickey?’’

I was. I could be stupid with my mouth sometimes, but I\'m usually not suicidal. So I stopped.

Dunleavy put a hand on Chief Taylor\'s arm. ’’I think he was trying to make a point, Chief. Weren\'t you, Mickey?’’

Maybe I did indeed watch too much TV, but even if I hadn\'t, this felt a whole lot like a good-cop bad-cop routine. Chief Taylor gave me one more hard frown and went back to the wall. He leaned against it as though it might fall without him.

’’Let\'s start with your talks,’’ Dunleavy said. ’’Did you talk to someone in person or via the phone or what?’’

I swallowed. What was going on here? ’’Via the phone.’’

’’And with whom did you speak?’’

’’Just a friend.’’

’’Her name?’’

Her. Interesting. How did she know it wasn\'t a ’’his’’?

’’Her name,’’ I said, ’’is Rachel Caldwell.’’

She was staring hard down at the paper, but I saw something I didn\'t like in the way her body sort of jerked at the sound of Rachel\'s name.

My blood went cold.

’’Oh no . . . ,’’ I heard myself say.

’’Did Ms. Caldwell call you or did you call her?’’

’’Is it Rachel? Is she okay?’’

’’Mickey ’’

’’What happened?’’

’’Yo, kid.’’

I glared into Chief Taylor\'s sunglasses, again seeing my own reflection.

’’Pipe down. You\'re here to answer our questions, not the other way around. Got it?’’

I said nothing.

’’Got it?’’ he repeated.

Not. One. Word.

’’Mickey?’’ Dunleavy cleared her throat. She had the pen ready. ’’Did you call Ms. Caldwell or did she call you?’’

My head spun. I tried to put it together. What was going on? Suddenly Rachel\'s words came back to me:

I have to take care of something.

What had she meant by that?

’’Mickey?’’

I found my voice. ’’Um, Rachel called me.’’

’’Just like that?’’

’’Well, no. I had texted her first. Then she called me back.’’

I quickly filled her in on the brief text exchange. I also told her that I had texted Spoon, but they had no interest in that. Whatever had happened . . .

. . . shooting . . . two people shot . . . homicide . . .

. . . involved Rachel.

’’So after your texts, Ms. Caldwell called you back?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Do you know what time this was?’’

’’Maybe nine.’’

’’The phone records tell us it was 9:17 P.M.’’

They had already checked the phone records.

’’That sounds right,’’ I said.

’’So what did you two talk about?’’

’’I was just checking in on her. We had an ordeal on Wednesday. You probably know about that.’’

They said nothing.

’’So I was making sure that she was okay, saying hi, that kind of thing. We also have a project due in school. I thought we could talk about that.’’

’’Did you?’’

’’Did I what?’’

’’Did you talk about the project?’’

’’Not really, no.’’

’’How long have you known Rachel Caldwell?’’

’’Not long. I just started at the school ’’

Chief Taylor jumped back in. ’’We didn\'t ask when you started at the school. We asked ’’

’’I don\'t know exactly. I don\'t think we talked before maybe a week ago.’’

’’Not a long time.’’

’’Yes, not a long time.’’ I was getting scared and when I get scared, I have a habit of getting angry and even sarcastic. So I added, ’’See, that\'s what I meant when you asked, \'How long have you known Rachel Caldwell?\' and I replied, \'Not long.\' Sorry I didn\'t make that clear.’’


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