We left the county seat at 8PM on our drive south. Our first stop for gas and a bathroom break came in South Carolina. I had dinner before we left and it was the middle of the night, so I opted for just coffee and an old fashioned cinnamon role. One of those that wasn’t too sweet nor with too much cinnamon on it. In other words a slightly flavored dinner roll.
Simpson on the other hand visited their burrito bar. I am sure you can imagine what a burrito bar in a convenience store on the interstate highway is like. Words could never describe it. Let me just say, I planned to ride with the windows open.
“You sure you don’t want me to drive?” I asked as we headed to the car. “I have had more sleep, more recently, than you.”
“No thanks,” he said. “I’ll just take it easy.”
“If you take it any easier we won’t get to Florida till tomorrow night,” I suggested.
“I am driving the speed limit. I have the caddy on cruise control.” Simpson said.
I didn’t reply. I just shook my head. Not even cops set their cars on cruise control at the speed limit on the open road. Never mind, I said to myself and just got back into the car. It was still a long ride to Florida.
Simpson looked dopey within an hour. “You sure you are feeling okay?” I asked.
“I’m fine just talk to me.” There was a further lull in the conversation then he ask. “Did you ever kill anyone?”
“You ever been in the military?” I asked him in return.
“Not in combat,” he replied.
“Then the easy answer is I don’t really know. At the time I wanted to kill someone badly, now I kind of hope I didn’t,” I said.
“How do you not know?” he asked.
“Say there are are four trucks in a convoy. Each truck has an armed guard to keep the villagers from stealing everything, before it gets to the outpost. Then there is a Humvee with a machine gunner.
As you pass by a mud hut a little back from the road, you take fire. Everybody with so much as a slingshot returns fire. You do that while you are getting the hell out of there. After you have been at the outpost for a few hours, a patrol comes in to tell you they found two bodies in the hut.
So you know that somebody killed somebody. You also know that you were throwing rounds downrange, but did you kill anyone? That is hard to say. If you want to be a hero, then sure you killed them all by yourself. If you want to sleep nights, then no you didn’t shoot anyone.”
“Oh I get it,” Simpson said. “How many times did that happen?”
“One is way too many Simpson,” I explained. “Now it’s your turn.”
“Middle of the night guy coming out of a grocery store after a burglary silent alarm. He pulled a piece of shit South American pistol on me. I shot him.” Simpson paused a few minutes the asked. “Did you ever see what a 12guage with buck shot does to a human being?”
“No, but I can imagine that it isn’t pretty,” I said.
“You are right it isn’t. I went home and just shut down. I found myself in the hospital, when I woke up. My neighbor found me passed out with the door open,” he explained.
“That happens more than you think, Like you, it is after the noise stops and you are all alone with it, I’m told.” I replied.
“I think I will let you drive at the next rest stop,” he said.
It took almost another hour but at 1:45AM, more or less, I took over the wheel. I let the big heavy caddy get used to me before I added some speed to it. I set the cruise control at 80MPH and rolled on into Florida.
It was mid morning when we pulled into Fort Meyers Florida. The town isn’t all that big, but it is much bigger than the county seat of Warren county. I drove the Caddy to the police station, where Simpson presented our paperwork to the desk sergeant.
“We have been expecting you two. Your Sheriff called the DA and said you were on the way. The DA said fine but she wasn’t going to rush the paperwork and screw it up.” the desk sergeant said.
“That doesn’t sound good,” Simpson replied.
“No it doesn’t and our DA is a flaming liberal on top of it all. She looks for excuses to put them back out on the street.” the local cop said.
“Wonderful,” I said under my breath.
“Why don’t you two let me make a call to her office, just to see where we are. I’ll let her know you are coming.” he said.
“That would be great,” Simpson said. Then to me he added, “Damn it Porter play nice. Didn’t you ever hear you can catch more flies with honey than sarcasm”
“Really, I use flying insect spray, because I don’t want to catch them and be a fly rancher. I want to kill them. Same is sometimes true for Lawyers,” I said.
“Oh does fly spray work for that?” he asked just as sarcastic as me.
“Have you two had breakfast yet?” the desk sergeant asked.
“Not yet, we kind of thought we would eat before we picked up Gypsy Allen,” Simpson said.
“You may be eating more than one meal. Go on to breakfast and check with the DA in an hour or so,” He suggested.
“Anywhere you recommend?” I asked. “To eat that is.”
“Try Edison’s Lunch box on Widman Way,” he suggested.
“Good, I’ll tell them you sent us over,” Simpson suggested. The sergeant just nodded his head as we turned to leave.
“You got to love GPS,” I said as I entered the address into the gizmo, It directed us right to the parking lot. It just didn’t tell me what to order.
Simpson and I were both exhausted and in my case at least that translated into ravenous as well. I had their jumbo breakfast special. The description was simply ‘a lot of everything on a platter’. “This is damn good,” I said once I started to eat the breakfast orgy.
“Yes it is. Did you know you eat like a weight lifter,” he said.
“Where did that come from?” I asked.
“Oh I saw a special about female weight lifters on TV. They have these huge meals to add body mass. You don’t seem to need the body mass though,” he said with a real edge to his voice.
“Simpson, you aren’t exactly a male model you know. Not only do you have a belly and too much ass, your nose is way too big.” I giggled. The giggle proved that I was tired, even more than the lack of a filter on my words did.
“So now that we are not trapped in the car the truce is gone?” he asked.
“If that is what you want, we can do that,” I suggested. “Or you can stop with the insults and treat me like you would one of your real partners.”
“But you aren’t one. You are a rookie patrol deputy,” Simpson said.
“Simpson, I am not a rookie anything, and you fucking know it. You on the other hand are a new detective trying to prove you belong. I personally don’t give a shit whether you do or not. I just want to get along, so trust me I’m not after your job and I won’t be for years. That is unless you continue to make my life uncomfortable. If you do that, then I will try to make my life better. It is just the nature of people to do that.”
“So, are you are threatening me?” he asked.
“Of course I am, Surely you aren’t so stupid that you misunderstood that,” I said.
“Not at all, I just wanted to be sure I had a good reason to continue rattling your cage,” he said.
“Rattle all you like, I am not a very good choice for a bully’s attention though,” I said with a smile.
“So you think I’m a bully?” he asked.
“You sure as hell try to be, but that’s okay I only have the time or the inclination to take care of myself. And trust me Simpson, I will take care of myself.”
“At least we understand each other. Now let’s see if we can make the local DA understand us as well.” Simpson suggested.
“Sounds like a reasonable plan.” I agreed. I also researched for the DA’s office address. It turned out to be in a county building across from the courthouse. So that’s where we went. It is also where we cooled our heels for two hours.
“We are going to close for lunch now. I don’t suppose you would like to come back at one?’ The receptionist asked.
“No we would like to see someone before they all check out for lunch,” I replied.
“I’m sorry that won’t be possible,” the receptionist said.
“I see, well then I guess we will just wait here. Were you planning to call the police to evict us from the reception room,” Simpson asked in his nicest voice.
“Actually that’s up to you,” she said.
“Okay, so Simpson would rather have sushi or barbecue for lunch?” I asked.
“Barbecue gives me gas, lets have that,” he answered turning his smile on the receptionist.
Just about that time a man walked from one of the offices. “Mr Wilson,” the receptionist said. “Could you explain to these deputies from out of state that the paper work for their prisoner needs to be reviewed before she can be released to them.”
“Instead of that, you could just do the two minute review which you have had two days to do already,” I said.
“You know you aren’t making any friends here,” he said to Simpson as well as me.
“I know, but you see her attorney’s is a cousin of the local US district judge up there. You are holding up her speedy trial hearing and it’s just a matter of who we piss off. We can go through all the proper channels and we both know what the outcome will be, or you can do the review before lunch.” Simpson said.
“If you do that I promise we will be gone by the end of day and I will make his life miserable all the way home,” I said.
“I have an appointment for lunch and it takes about twenty minutes to read those pages of custody change orders,” he said.
“So why not just sign them. How often do you really have to make changes in them anyway?” Simpson asked.
“You are really going to have to wait at least till I get back from lunch,” he said.
“Tell you what Wilson, since we are new here and have no idea where to eat, why don’t we just tag along with you.” I suggested. I bet your friends will just love us.”
“Sure we can keep them amused with cop stories. We know hundreds between us. In some them all the lawyers don’t look like complete assholes,” Simpson said.
Wilson lifted his cell phone, then began to speak. Odds were fifty-fifty that he was calling the police. “Honey, I am going to be about ten minutes late. Yeah something came up but I promise I will not be more than ten minutes late.” I smiled at him.
After he went back into his office with a promise to be back in five minutes, I said to Simpson, “Is Gypsy’s lawyer really a cousin of the US district Judge?”
“Hell probably everyone up there is related. More incest than in a family of West Virginia moonshiners”.