The Last Confession: Chapter Seventeen, “You’re NOT under arrest, OK?”

The old police station where Detectives Johnson and Contreras drove Marcos Duendes and his pretty wife, Priscilla, was getting too small for our growing community. It had been built for another time in America, a quieter, safer time with only occasional petty offenses committed by juvenile delinquents or a town drunk or two. There was a small waiting room in the front for the rare visitor or member of John Q. Public to sit and wait and read a ten year old copy of People magazine. Behind the reception window were the detectives desks and a couple of interview rooms, a couple of single seat restrooms, and two holding cells that were hardly ever used.

“We’re gonna take you two with us through the back entrance,” Detective Johnson told Marcos and Priscilla, “just in case anyone is in the waiting area, we wouldn’t want you to be embarrassed or anything.”

Both Marcos and Priscilla said, ‘Thank you,” for this consideration.

Once inside the back part of the station house, Detective Contreras told Marcos that they wanted to speak with Priscilla first and not to interview the two together because they wanted each of their independent recollections, “because you know how husbands and wives sometimes finish each other sentences or one is silent while the other does the talking, right?”

Marcos smiled weakly and said, “Sure. I understand. Usually, I’m the talker in our family.”

Detective Johnson offered Marcos a seat in the first holding cell, along with a can of soda, and a new Sports Illustrated off of someone’s desk, and asked him to make himself comfortable. He jokingly reassured Marcos, “Now you’re NOT under arrest. OK?”

Marcos laughed at the cop humor like a man would at another man’s morbid joke, and he chuckled too, and said, “OK!”

But when Detective Johnson closed the door to the holding cell on Marcos and it loudly clicked shut with only a key that Detective Johnson had on his key ring that could re-open it, Marcos Duendes WAS under arrest whether the two of them . . . or anyone else in all creation . . . knew it or not.


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