"Let's go over this again Matthew. Just to be sure," the detective says, "Your full name is Matthew Alan Chandler, correct?"
I nod. This is the third time he's asked me that question in the last ten minutes. And I can clearly see the copy of my birth certificate he has set before him, along with other papers he's somehow found about me. I know very well that he's already familiar with my name. But since I just tried to rob a storage warehouse, I know I'm in no position to say anything. So I don't.
For the last half hour, I've been sitting in this interrogation room, occasionally glancing at myself in the two-way mirrors on all four walls. And other than myself, the only things in the room are the detective, a police officer, a set of two chairs, and the cold metal table in front of me. If my hands weren't handcuffed together in my lap, I might even consider resting them on it.
About ten minutes ago, the detective stepped into the room alongside the officer, and took the seat across from me. The entire time he's been asking me quite trivial questions that under other circumstances, where I'm not worried about the direction my life is going, I might even say boring. Definitely not like in the crime TV shows or movies you see.
"You're fifteen-years-old, you go to Jackson Peak High, and you currently live with your grandmother–a Miss. Regina Ridley, am I right?"
I nod again. He's absolutely right about everything he's said– even about that witch of a granny. It's almost like he's reading from a stack of papers set in front of him.
"I'm going to need a verbal answer please."
I clear my throat and answer, "Yes." Unfortunately, it comes out much quieter than I expected and more like a whisper than an answer. He asks me to say it again louder and I do. "Yes, sir."
"And your parents are deceased?" he asks, looking down at a specific two of his sheets. I already know what they are from the last time he asked the question and did the same thing. That and from the two words "Death Certificate" that are printed in large letters near the top of each.
"Yes," I say, "They were in a car accident when I was five.”
He nods, his face looking sympathetic as he does it. I start to wonder how many times he's had to ask that question or similar other ones to people. Probably more times than he cares to.
He then takes in a deep breath. "I guess that leaves one thing, Mr. Chandler. You say you and your accomplice tried to rob the warehouse because you needed money?"
That's not even the half of what I said, but I reply "yes" anyway, because I know he doesn't really care. Wether I did it because I was pressured into it, or because I was just dead broke, it doesn't really matter to him. I still did it. And it's his job to make sure I face the consequences.
"And what did you plan on doing with the goods once you took them?"
I shake my head. "I don't really know. Clark said he knew some people who might be interested in buying some stuff."
The detective rubs his chin. "That's interesting, because according to Mr. Riggs, you were the one with the whole thing planned out. He said robbing the warehouse was your idea from the beginning. Even told me you planned on selling the stuff to some school friends."
My brow furrows and my hands clench together into fists. The thought of Clark makes me angry. I guess ditching me wasn't enough. Now he has to do whatever he can to put as much of the blame on me as possible.
"That's not true," I say, “He’s lying.”
“I know,” the detective replies, letting out a long sigh. “And he’s not good at it either.”
Something in me lightens and I relax my hand. “Then why'd you tell me?”
“We needed to make sure. And besides, I thought you might want to know what kind of person you picked to be your partner in crime.”
I roll my eyes. Oh thanks. Like I didn’t already realize what a total dickweed he is.
“And what if I’m lying?” I ask.
“But I know you’re not.”
The detective stops and gives me a long, hard stare. I can’t tell if he’s trying to intimidate me or read me, or both. All I really know is that I’m certain that something’s going on behind his eyes. And I’m not sure I want to know what.
But then he stops. And instead of replying to my question, he gathers up the papers on the table and neatly puts them in a single folder that he tucks under his arm. When he’s done he stands up and pushes his chair in. And then, for a final time, he looks at me.
“I just know.”