The Night I Took Her Breath Away
It was the morning after Valentine’s Day when the cops kicked down my door.
‘Christopher Brailey?’ I nodded. ‘ You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of Elizabeth Maniscalco.’
In a state of shock I was cuffed, roughed and thrown into the back of the Police van like a thug in the movies and taken to the station where I was questioned by Sergeant Dixon and Lieutenant Gibbs.
I was offered a coffee, only to have it thrown in my face immediately. Left scolded and crying hysterically, they proceeded to take turns at beating me with an old phone book. I knew it was old because when I used my one phone call to dial a lawyer the phone book had listed, I discovered the listing had long belonged to a florist since 1999.
Not wanting to waste my one and only phone call and not knowing if I’d ever see Elizabeth again, I ordered flowers to her apartment with a note : Last night was the most fun I’ve had in forever. Yours, Chris xx’.
As I sat crying under harsh light, the two cops drilled me about my date with Elizabeth.
‘When was the last time you saw Miss Maniscalco?’ Asked Sergeant Dixon.
‘Last night. I, ah, dropped her home at about twelve-thirty. Please tell me what’s going on?
‘What were you doing with her?’ Dixon asked, as he banged on the table.
‘Nothing,’ I said.
‘Nothing?’ Probed Gibbs.
‘Well, we, we were on a date. Is she okay?’
‘She’s having trouble breathing, no thanks to you kid,’ snickered Gibbs.
Sergeant Dixon started circling me. ‘Look, you better start talking. Walk us through what took place last night. Every detail.’
‘Okay. I, I picked her up at around 7.’
‘Aha. Then what happened Romeo?’ Asked Gibbs.
‘Well, we had dinner then took a stroll in the park, and there was one of those horse and carriage thingys. So we went for a ride.’
‘Knowing full-well that she would think you’re some kind of romantic guy, am I right?’ Added Gibbs.
‘Well, yeah, I guess.’ I confessed.
‘You’d really planned this whole thing out hadn’t you? You piece of shit,’ screamed Dixon.
Gibbs shook his head. ‘Pre-meditated, Sarg, just as we thought.’
‘Son of a bitch. Anything else?’ Dixon asked.
‘I don’t think so…’
‘Listen kid, we know about the CD’.
‘Oh yeah,’ I said, now remembering. ‘I made her a mixtape, and she was like, I can’t believe you did that, nobody does that anymore, and we started holding hands.’
Dixon slowly pulled out a chair that made a screeching sound along the floor, he asked, ‘Why don’t you tell us what happened when you dropped her home?’
‘Nothing really. We sat in the car just talking,’ I said, trying to hold my nerve. ‘We played truth or dare. Then she wanted to listen to the mixtape I made.’
At this point Lieutenant Briggs began to gag and dry reach. ‘I think I’m going to throw up, Sarg.’
‘I’d say we’ve heard enough,’ said Dixon, cracking his knuckles. ‘You see that kid? You made my partner throw up in his own mouth. A man who’s been working in homicide for more than 25 years.’
Lieutenant Briggs wiped his mouth with his hanky before grabbing me by the collar. I could smell the barf on his breath. ‘Now tell me boy, is that when you went in for the kill?’
‘The kill? All I did was kiss her.’
‘Son of a bitch,’ Dixon kicked his chair across the room. ‘So you confess then?’
‘Confess what?’ I asked.
‘That you did it!’
At that point, Gibbs was called away to take a phone call. When he returned to the room he was a shell of the man he was just moments earlier.
‘Hey Sarg, we just got some bad news I’m afraid.’
‘What is it?’ Asked Dixon spitting on the floor.
‘The girl’s dead, Sarg. The bastard finished her off,’ cried Gibbs.
The blood quickly drained from Sergeant Dixon’s face, but returned twice as fast and red with rage. ‘How is that possible? He’s been here the whole time.’
‘It was his last phone call. He didn’t call a lawyer, the asshole got flowers delivered to her apartment.’
‘Don’t tell me?’ Asked Dixon.
‘Yep, they took her breath away.’