Probably the worst thing in the world wasn’t the president being murdered, or a Colombian drug king escaping jail again, or even his own wife being raped, killed then left in a ditch. No, he didn’t care about that.
What he cared about was the fact the stupid alarm went off thirty minutes before he was supposed to wake up.
“For God’s sake,” Loftin muttered as he fumbled in the dark for his phone. He practically smashed the screen to pieces. Now he was awake. He couldn’t go back to sleep without missing work. Damn. Groaning, he sat up in bed. The damn sun wasn’t even up yet. Barbra moaned.
“Jesus, Toby, why the hell didn’t you set it for later?”
Loftin flipped his feet to the side of the bed, patting the mattress to find his pants.
“Well, I’m sorry. Happy?”
The bed shifted as he got up. Barbra put a pillow over her face.
Loftin muttered to himself about civil weddings and expensive dresses before leaving the room. He looked out at the windows in the hall when he passed through. It was still dark out. He yawned. The coffee maker hadn’t even started. First world problems, apparently. He waited sleepily as he pressed the buttons, watching as the water slowly drained from its filter and into the pot. God, he did not need to be up this early. It was hell trying to make himself stay awake when the sun wasn’t even up. Then the water jammed. He sighed, shaking it. It didn’t start again.
He looked at the digital clock on the coffee maker. 4:35. He’ll just pick some donuts up for the boys. Taking his keys and coat he walked to the front door, spinning the keys around his finger.
“Let’s hope at least the day can’t get shitter.” He mumbled.
Then his keys smacked him in the face.
“Hey, Loftin. You finally chipped in, didn’t ya?” Soto clapped him on the back, reaching for a box of the donuts from Loftin’s arms. Loftin rolled his eyes and dumped them on the secretary’s desk. The smell lured the officers around the room, gathering around the desk.
“Here you go, you wankers.” Loftin shouted to them. He got muffled thanks from the officers. He shoved his hands into his pockets and tramped to his office.
He heard the squeak of high heels behind him.
Suddenly Lola was in his face. She was frantically waving papers around, speaking rapidly in Spanish as her heels squeaked louder on the floor. Loftin placed a hand on her shoulder, holding her still.
“What?” He asked sternly. Lola swallowed.
“S-sorry, sir, it’s just my husband hasn’t returned from the night shift and he isn’t picking up his calls and I don’t know where he is and it’s scaring me oh please Loftin do you think he’s dead or hurt or kidnapped oh please can you-“
Loftin listened to her for a moment, letting her tire herself out as her speech switched back and forth between the two languages. After she had taken a few deep breaths he shoved her out of the way.
“Go back to your desk. Your husband overslept at one of the motels again.”
Lola turned to see her husband standing at her desk, rubbing his eyes. She cried out in joy and dashed over to him. Loftin rolled his eyes. That woman was always worried about him. He should have felt sorry for the man that got stuck with her but Loftin was just relieved Barbra didn’t give a damn about where he was as long as he was alive and had a salary.
“Maybe I can get some work done in piece.” He mumbled to himself, closing the door to his office. Just as he sat down though, Jacob came in after him, eating a cinnamon donut. Sprinkles of sugar dotted the floor and on Loftin’s desk. Loftin raised an eyebrow at him.
“What do you need?” Jacob took another bite, laughing.
“Don’t be like that, old timer. We still gotta work on that case, y’know, the one about the girl-“
“- who faked being kidnapped, yes, are there charges being pressed against the parents?” Loftin sighed, fanning himself with a file case. Jacob nodded. Cinnamon rained on the floor.
“Yesh,” he mumbled through a full mouth, “also, we need to certify the papers for Andra’s transfer into the 49th Precinct here from the 38th down in Sasernest.”
“Oh, we talking about Andra?”
Loftin groaned inwardly as Soto strutted into the room, a brief case banging on his knee. His fingers were coated in chocolate, and he licked it in front of them as he looked between Loftin and Soto.
“Andra? She coming here?”
Soto rolled his eyes.
“Yes. Shut up.”
Soto looked to Loftin, who just shrugged. He sighed, wiping his hands on his pants and settling down into one of the chairs. Streaks of spit and chocolate were stained on his pant leg, making Loftin scrunch his nose.
“What do you guys need, other than having to bother me with work I obviously know how to do?”
“Well, one of our officers stationed down near Tarrent got a call earlier today about a rape victim.” Jacob said as he unlocked the brief case. Loftin raised his eyebrows.
“Rape victim? Early in the morning?” Jacob asked as he tried to look into Soto’s case.
“Six thirty-one to be exact is when the report was called in.” Soto pulled out a file from the brief case, handing it over to Loftin. The papers were smudged with pen ink.
“Don’t look so surprised there, Jacob. A rape can happen anytime, to anyone.” Loftin glazed over the case. It looked normal, except for the date. He frowned, squinting at it closely.
“Wait, this happened three months ago?”
Jacob sucks in a breath.
“Yes. The victim says it was a woman of sixteen years. It happened at a party at the Trace Ridge Resort on IH-70, on Friday, September 16th.”
“Yes, okay,” Loftin muttered. Then he frowned.
“Wait, this says here the rapist was female but the victim was-“
“Well, yes.” Soto interrupted, scratching his neck, “the victim was male.”
Jacob’s head snapped up, looking at Soto with bewilderment.
“Male? As in male, male? But that’s not possible.” He said, chuckling awkwardly as he turned to Loftin, “that can’t be right. Was it a tranny?”
“They are referred to as transgender and no, it wasn’t.” Loftin shot a glare at Jacob, who was still reeling in shock. Soto eyed him from behind the desk.
“You were sure when you said rape can happen to anyone, right?” He asked. Loftin stood from his chair.
“Well, it can, and it has. Have we already conducted a search in the resort for any evidence?”
Jacob bolted from the chair, sending it to the ground with a loud thud. Loftin and Soto gazed at him as he started to blubber.
“Wait, you’re seriously thinking about taking this case? But what if it’s just a family begging for attention? And-and what if they’re lying? Men can’t get raped, Loftin. It’s impossible.”
Loftin clicked his tongue at Jacob.
“I’m going to look into this case. You should take the day off.”
He looked to Soto, who started to frantically shake his head.
“No, sir, like I said the report was just handed in this morning by Officer Robertson. No search for evidence has been issued yet.”
“Great. Send Robertson down to the cafeteria so I can talk with her. I need some coffee.”
Without looking at either of them Loftin walked away from the office, and closed the door behind him.
The cafeteria was unusually damp. Loftin sat at one of the metal tables, drinking slowly from a cup of coffee. He counted the bolts on the table again. 7. He flipped through the file – it was a short one, only one page with 154 words. He sipped the last of the coffee from the cup. It was cold.
“Sir, you called?”
Loftin glanced up. Robertson was standing next to the metal table, her face stone.
“When my coffee was still hot. Sit down. We need to talk.”
The officer sat down on the other side of the table. Loftin watched as she straightened her back, folding her arms across her lap like a proper doll. He sighed.
“And stop with all that stiffness. You’re not attending a dinner with the cast of Downton Abbey, you’re having cold coffee with an old man. Relax.”
Robertson’s shoulders hunched a little, a spread of confusion on her face. Loftin slid the report file over to her across the table. She took it, her eyebrows still bunched together.
“Do you know what this is?” Loftin asked, sipping the cold coffee, grimacing. Robertson nodded slowly.
“Yes sir, it’s the report I filled out early this morning. I don’t understand why you want to review it with me since the information is present-“
“No, shush,” Loftin said, holding up a hand. Robertson quieted. “I want to ask you, who called? Who was it that actually claimed that they were raped?”
Robertson played with a sugar packet.
“It was a young man, sir. James Smith, a senior over at Central High.”
She stopped, looking at him warily. Loftin grunted impatiently.
“And, well, he just gave me the information, I wrote it down and turned it in – sir, what is this about?”
Loftin shook his head.
“Nothing,” he eyed the empty Styrofoam cup, “now since you made me wait, get me another coffee please. Extra cream.”
Back in his office Loftin studied the sheet again. His fingers traced over the words carefully, as if something new must have popped up since the last time he read it. Finally, he grabbed the phone, dialing frantically. Putting his hands to his eyes, he waited as the phone rang in his ear. Then a click.
A young man. Loftin sighed.
“Is this James Smith?”
“Yes? Who is this?”
“This is Detective Loftin from HTPD. I need to ask you a few questions regarding your rape.”
Mom was biting her nails hard enough to draw blood. James hung up the phone, watching as Marcus tried to bandage her hands.
“What happened? Who was it? Someone from the department? Was it officer Robertson?” She asked frantically as soon as she pulled her hand from her mouth. James rubbed his eyes.
“Detective Loftin,” he swallowed, turning to his parents, “he wants to take up the case.”