In the old days, they’d be good cop and bad cop. The bad cop would threaten the suspect with anything and everything, crushing nuts they’d call it - while the good cop became the protective uncle and father. Before coercion was outlawed in the new wave of political correctness, confessions were held to be legally obtained.
And now their hands were tied by lawyers invoking the fifth every time an awkward question was asked. ‘My client is not legally obliged to incriminate himself’ they’d say. So much for the Constitution. Murderers, rapists, and drug barons got off on any legal technicality that a clever lawyer could pin against the exhausted cop. ‘It’s inadmissible,’ counsel would say to the judge. ‘Obtained under duress’.
But they hadn’t even gotten to that stage where Shepherd was going to confess. Quite the opposite and, despite the fat fees he was pulling in, Bernstein was becoming the biggest pain in the ass that Mac had encountered.
“We have been sitting here all day, and you got nothing, not a shred of evidence against my client. If you aren’t going to charge my client, then I demand that you release him. I tell you, detective, I am going to demand an enquiry into your procedures.”
Mac tried for the last time to reason with the lawyer. “Mr Bernstein, how many times I got to tell you this is a homicide we’re investigating. I have every right to hold your client until we have exhausted our enquiries.” He paused and pointed to a growing pile of documents and the tape recorder. “We still have a mountain of paperwork and tape to sift through. That’s apart from the forensic results that we’re waiting on. The best I can offer you right now is to call it a night. Get some rest for you and your client.”
Bernstein nodded. Mac was relieved he didn’t pursue his hard-ball approach. Maybe he had his own plans.
Mac also nodded to Elmer. “Let’s get Mr Shepherd tucked up in a nice warm cell, with his dinner and a fresh blanket,” he said, for the benefit of the lawyer. One less complaint for them to worry about.
With Bernstein gone and Shepherd locked up, Mac suggested they wrap up their work, change into something casual, and go for a chili-dog and some Buds.
“Good idea,” replied Elmer. Bad idea, in retrospect.
Saturday daylight flooded through Mac’s apartment window. Mac squinted into the sunshine and sat up on his bed with a sore head and slaking thirst. Fully clothed. Mac had a sense of ground hog day.
He padded out of the bedroom and looked around. Someone must have had a party; there were empty Bud bottles scattered around, a quart bottle of Jim Bean Black in the garbage and a stale smell pervading his senses.
What was different was the snoring. Elmer. That was all right then. No embarrassing explanations needed. Until his apartment door buzzer sounded. He frowned. Couldn’t remember if he had put in a wakeup call with the service lady. He moved over to the door, unhooked the chain latch and opened it.
“Surprise,” they chorused. Katie, with his mom and dad hovering behind. Katie hugged him and bubbled. “We flew in early to see the game today. Your dad’s a big fan of the Bees.” Then she took a longer look and sniffed. “Hey Mac, you look like shit.”
“Yeah, well I can explain,” he started to say, rubbing his fingers through his stubble, but there was a loud crash and some swearing from inside. “Elmer,” he said, as if it explained everything. “Come in and meet my police buddy from way back.”
They trooped in behind him and helped to clear the mess - his mom giving them both disapproving glances, his dad grinning at their discomfort, while Katie busied herself making coffee for them all.
“So you got a result, then?” his Dad asked, as he made room to sit down.
Mac glanced at Elmer, who shrugged in a non-committal way. “We got a suspect locked up, that’s all. We’re waiting on forensics. Should have some news later today if we’re lucky,” replied Mac. Katie was still in the kitchen, his mom fussing over her.
“Dad, it’s still a nine-eleven,” he said in a low voice.
His dad caught on. “All right, son, she’ll be with us if she isn’t in your company. We struck it lucky, got a last minute cancellation at the Marriott.” He paused. “I suppose you’re needed at the precinct most of today?”
Mac nodded. “Later, Dad. Elmer’s going in now to cover first base while I check up on a lead. When we finish up here, I’ll catch up with Katie, and then drop her off at the Marriott.”
Later, alone with Katie, Mac held her close and told her how much he missed her. “It’s been a long time,” he said. “Much too long.”
“But?” She wrinkled her nose. Smart cookie.
“It’s not about us,” Mac replied, “Well I hope not anyway. It’s just that I got this job to do, and I can’t relax until Josie’s killer is locked up.”
She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight. “Mac, I have had a long time to think also. I’m sure we can make it work. At least we can give it a try. And it’s for us, not Josie, your parents or the job.” She playfully tugged at his shirt. “Now get these smelly clothes off. Time to take a shower.” Her eyes met his. She raised her eyebrows, challenging him. “Together?” she suggested.
Mac felt a little embarrassed and hid it with a grin. “I thought you’d never ask,” he joked, as she started to undress him.
Katie’s face lit up with her beautiful smile. “Now you know I’m an easy lay,” she teased, her fingers feeling his hardness grow.
So was he.