Everyone stopped what they were doing to look at Seth. He hadn’t intended to speak as loudly as he had but it was too late to take it back. When am I going to learn to keep my big mouth shut? The expression on their faces proved he had just uttered one of the stupidest remarks ever, when invited to a crime scene. Even Detective Crash had on his “official police business” face. He was no longer Seth’s new buddy, Bill.
“You knew him, Seth?”
“Well, kind of…I didn’t really know him; know him, if you know what I mean. I saw him at the coffee shop the other day. He was really rude to me…to everyone, really.
“Maybe you should just stop talking now, Seth. I’ll get your official statement at the station.”
Seth’s stomach knotted into a pretzel as beads of sweat formed on his brow. The body was barely cold and he’d just offered the police a motive. Even Angela and Kim had cast sideways glances at him. Trying to look less conspicuous than he felt, Seth used his phone to key in notes about the crime scene. Anything was better than looking up at the accusatory faces of the officers. When there was nothing left to annotate, he slogged through the pages of spam in his email inbox. Moments later the gut-wrenching shriek of a woman carried on the breeze and, again, all eyes were on Seth. Nearly dropping his phone, he was thankful for the dark of night. His face would have matched a strawberry.
“Sorry,” Seth muttered. “I have got to remember to change that damned ringtone!”
The text message was from Angela. Go down to my car. It’s unlocked. Pop the trunk and look inside the silver gift bag. There’s a flask. (it’s a thank you gift from a friend) TAKE A DRINK!!! You need one.
To offer the perfect excuse, Angela shouted over to Seth and asked him to retrieve her camera bag from the trunk of her car. Jumping at the chance, he was already ducking under the police tape before she’d finished her sentence. The others were too busy doing their jobs to notice his departure and Seth finally exhaled. Just as she’d said, there was an engraved flask wrapped inside several layers of decorative tissue paper. Not caring what was inside; he tipped the metal opening to his lips and let the liquid flow over his tongue and down his throat. Sadly, not hemlock….worse…it’s peach schnapps. Ugh! His phone vibrated inside his pocket and Seth was relieved he’d put the damned thing on silence. He’d expected a snide remark from either Angela or Kim but it was from his agent, Ethan Rosewood: Just checking in to see how the book is coming. Sighing, he put the phone back in his pocket and heaved Angela’s heavy camera bag from the trunk. At least if I get arrested I can call Ethan to post bail, thought Seth.
After a couple of hours, Detective Crash gathered his things and walked over to the visibly nervous writer.
“You ready to head back to the station?”
Seth nodded glumly and followed Bill to the car.“Relax; no one thinks you killed that guy. I’ll let you in on a little secret. We all get a kick out of torturing anyone new to the ranks. Rookies, trainees, and even authors eventually say something and we just pounce on it. But, seriously, if you do think you might know who this guy is; it will help. Besides, we need to make sure there’s no audio on that recording so let’s get to work.”