Authors: Sydney Arrison
Brooklyn closed her eyes and felt her stomach knotting up as anxiety crept in. She began. “He was a white male, maybe 5 feet10 inches tall, about 180 pounds. He was wearing a red baseball cap, plaid shirt and sunglasses. His face was oval shaped with no facial hair and a narrow nose. I didn’t see his teeth.”
Spen listened and drew on the sketch pad. “Ms. Peirce, did he hold the gun in his left hand or right hand?”
Brooklyn envisioned blood trickling down her father’s temple, and the scarlet pool forming beneath Lydia; then the outstretched hand pointing a gun. She heard a far away cry, a child was crying: “Mom, Mom!” Brooklyn was back in the hospital room when she was ten-years-old, calling for her mother to wake up. She trembled with fear as a river of tears flowed down her cheeks. She felt Song’s gentle touch before she heard his voice. He reached over and rubbed the top of her hand.
“We can stop now if you like…It’s okay,” he whispered.
“He held the gun in his left hand!” she shouted. Brooklyn opened her eyes and Spen continued to sketch.
“Good,” Spen muttered.
Sensing that Brooklyn was becoming emotionally drained, Song said, “Spen, we’re going to step out for a few minutes; would you like something?”
“A few Butterfingers will do,” he said without looking up.
‘”You got it!”
Song escorted Brooklyn out the door. The two of them walked to the break room in complete silence for a few minutes.
“I’m sorry; I sort of fell apart in there.”
“Hey, look, I understand. I think you were very helpful. Believe it or not, Spen can work magic.” Song chuckled. “He’s a very unique person; he’s also the best sketch artist and computer tech guy in the business.”
He inserted a few dollars into the vending machine and retrieved two Butterfingers.
Brooklyn managed a smile; “Spen has a very unorthodox way of doing things.”
Song grinned. “He certainly does.” He poured a cup of coffee. “Would you like a drink?”
“Coffee is fine, thanks.”
Brooklyn and Song sat down at a small table. She stirred creamer and two packs of sugar into the coffee and then took a big sip.
She almost gagged as the thick slush slid down her throat. It looked like crude oil and tasted similar she expected.
Song noticed the expression on her face and said playfully, “This is the best it’s tasted in a while.”
Brooklyn grinned and pushed the cup aside. “I’m sorry to hear that. So, how long have you been a detective?”
‘’I’ve been on the force for eight years. You said last night that you teach kindergarten; how long have you been a teacher?” Song asked.
“I’ve been teaching for about six years now.”
“I’ m sure it’s quite a rewarding job.”
Brooklyn smiled thinking about the kids in her class. “It’s very rewarding and challenging too. I like to think I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me.”
She’s stunning … Simply gorgeous, Song thought. Brooklyn wore a floral print sundress and Mary Jane pumps. The dress hit below the knee and showed off her well toned legs.
“Detective Kai, do you think…You’ll catch the guy who tried to...“ Her voice trailed off.
Before he could answer, his cell phone vibrated.
Song looked at Brooklyn and politely said, “Excuse me,” and answered his phone. “Hey Spen…Okay cool! We’re on our way back.”
Song reached over and placed his hand on top of Brooklyn’s; this time he let it linger a while longer.
He held her gaze. “To answer your question, yes, I think we’re going to catch this guy; I hope sooner rather than later, but we’ll catch him.” His voice was determined and confident. “That was Spen, the sketch is ready. We should head back.”
Brooklyn slowly nodded her head. She found Song’s touch comforting. She noticed that his dark brown eyes had flecks of gold which made them even more alluring.
Spen was sitting on the edge of the desk holding his sketch pad, when Song and Brooklyn entered his office.
“Now please let me know, if I need to change anything, we have a few more people coming in today and I just want to make sure I got your sketch right.”
He turned the pad to face Brooklyn and she gasped.
“That’s him! That’s him.” She shouted.
Song noticed Brooklyn nervously shaking, as if she were reliving the shooting “Would you like to sit down?” Song asked.
“No, I’m fine.” Brooklyn took a deep breath, “I’m fine.”
“Well it looks like our work here is done. I can’t thank you enough for coming in today. By the way,” Spen said, “Your dad is one of the cool ones. I hope he and Miss Carmen will make a speedy recovery.”
Brooklyn reached and shook Spen’s hand. “You’re welcome, and thank you too.”
Song handed the candy bars to Spen.
“Breakfast,” he said, excitedly, “Thanks, man.”
Song laughed and shook his head.
Mattice smiled and said, “Good morning, Miss Peirce,” as Song and Brooklyn were leaving the police station.
“Good morning, detective.”
Before going out the door, Brooklyn overheard Mattice say: “Now Junior, I don’t want to see you in here again. You got off easy this time. Mr. Thomas has agreed to let you put in a couple of hours at his shop to pay for the damaged window. Little man, you have to listen to your mama.”
Song walked Brooklyn down the stairs of the police station while a security guard stood by the door of her Town Car patiently waiting. The air was thick and humid. Beams of the early morning sunlight pushed through the wispy clouds. When they reached the bottom step Brooklyn turned and faced Song.
“Miss Peirce, thanks again for coming in, I realize this wasn’t easy for you. Here’s my card; if you think of anything or if you need to talk, just call me, my cell number is on there too.”
“You’re welcome, detective. The coffee alone made the trip worthwhile.”
They exchanged smiles as she entered the limo. The windows were tinted, but he held up his hand and waved, as the car pulled into traffic.
Song and Mattice were standing in Lieutenant Irene Phillips’ office filling her in on their investigation thus far. Irene in her late 50’s, was a former marine and the mother of five. Being female and African American, she had faced her share of discrimination. Due to her perseverance and hard work, her squad had come to respect and admire her. They closed more cases than any other precinct in the city.
She popped a piece of Nicorette gum in her mouth while reading over Song’s report. “You need to talk to the governor, his aide and Miss Carmen as soon as possible. You should also know that the feds have launched their own investigation, so whatever information we gather, we’ll be it sharing with them. They have established a multi-jurisdiction task force.”
Mattice sneered. “Shit! We’ll do all the work and in the end they’ll get all the credit!”
“I don’t give a shit who gets the credit, just catch this asshole!’ Lieutenant Phillips said.
“We’re making progress and have a few more witnesses coming in today,” Song informed Lieutenant Phillips.
“Good! We’ll be holding a press conference later this evening; I expect both of you to look presentable. Go home, get some rest and then hit the pavement.“
“You got it,” Mattice said.
Brooklyn was attending the weekly staff meeting at the Coretta Scott King elementary school. At the conclusion, the principal, Alice Harewood, said, “Before we go about our day, I would like to tell Miss Peirce that our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”
Brooklyn thanked everyone. As the staff filed out of the auditorium, Brooklyn’s friend, Lonette Mitchell, called to her.
Lonette was petite and full-figured, dressing exclusively in animal prints. Today she wore a leopard print jumpsuit with matching wedges. Lonette often referred to herself as “fun-size.”
“Girl, I’m so sorry to hear about your father and Lydia,” Lonette said, giving Brooklyn a big hug.
“Thanks Lonette, he’s coming home today and Lydia’s condition has stabilized.”
“I’m going over to my dad’s when I get out of work today. How did your date go last night?” Brooklyn asked, suggestively wiggling her eyebrows.
“Girl, I thought you’d never ask; can you believe we went-”
“Excuse me, Brooklyn,” her coworker Harold Donovan said, “I just wanted to let you know I was shocked to hear about the shooting.” He pulled out a hanky and blew his nose. “I’m sorry, it’s allergy season.”
Harold was average height and medium build with a paunch above his belt. He was the music teacher at the school for the last ten years. Most of the staff thought of him as eccentric and odd, and never wanted to invite him to social gatherings. Brooklyn however went out of her way to include him.
“Thanks for your concern, Harold; that’s very kind of you.”
He handed Brooklyn a brown paper bag, “I got you a blueberry bagel with banana cream cheese on the side; just the way you like it.”
“You are so sweet, thanks!” Brooklyn tapped him on the shoulder and his cheeks turned a bright red.
“I better, umm... I better get to my classroom. If you’d like to talk, I’m…I’m right down the hall,” Harold said, bashfully.
“Thanks Harold, that really means a lot.”
When Harold was out of earshot, Lonette said, “He sure has it bad for you. Anyway, back to my date. His online picture didn’t do him justice. His name is Konstantinos and yes, girl, he’s Greek.”
Brooklyn laughed and looked at her watch. “Walk me to my classroom and tell me all about it.”
The federal, state and local law enforcement agencies held a press conference updating the public on the progress of their investigation. Song was now at the podium fielding questions from a ravenous group of reporters.
“Detective Kai,” yelled a female reporter, “Since Governor Peirce is the first African American governor of the state, was this a hate crime?”
The reporter asking the question was Hunter Reed, Song’s former girlfriend. Hunter was an attractive brunette in her late 30’s. After ten months of dating, she was looking to settle down, but Song wasn’t ready to commit, so they parted ways. They were on friendly terms, but there was a touch of bitterness on Hunter’s part.
Song glanced over at Lieutenant Phillips and she mouthed the words, “no comment.”
“As of now, we are looking at all possibilities,” Song said.
“Detective Kai, it’s a known fact that the governor has received more threats against his life than any of his predecessors,” Hunter said, with an edge to her voice, “Therefore, one can only conclude that race may have been a factor.”
Song cleared his throat. “Again, Miss Reed, we are not ruling anything out.” He pointed to another reporter and said, “Next question.”
Hunter, visibly agitated, jumped in before the reporter had a chance to ask his question.
“Detective Kai, are you currently looking at any hate groups?”
Having had enough of the back and forth, Lieutenant Phillips stepped forward.
“Miss Reed, as Detective Kai repeatedly stated, we aren’t ruling anything out; no stone will be left unturned.” She then silenced Hunter with a look she primarily used to keep her five children in line. Hunter immediately got the hint and backed down.
A sketch of the assailant was shown along with a tip line phone number at the end of the press conference.
Song approached Hunter as she talked to Neil, her cameraman.
“Excuse me. Neil, may I have a moment with Hunter?” Song asked, politely.
Neil hesitated, and looked at Hunter.
“It’s fine, Neil,” Hunter said.
“I have to bring this equipment out to the van. I’ll be right back,” Neil said.
Hunter pulled out her compact, powdered her nose and said to Song: “So, what’s going on?”
Song tried to contain his anger. “What was that all about?”
”I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Hunter said, insincerely.
“Listen, this isn’t a game; we are trying to find the person responsible for attempting to assassinate the governor and his fiancée.”
She snapped her compact shut, placed it in her purse and stepped close enough to kiss him. “Babe, if it were a game, I’d say you lost!” she whispered.
Song stared at Hunter for a second and tried to remember why he ever went out with her in the first place. He opened his mouth to respond and then decided against it. He turned and walked away.
Lieutenant Phillips tried to get his attention. “Detective, may I have a word with you?”
Song turned and Lieutenant Phillips was marching towards him…And she didn’t look happy.
“My office….Now!” she barked.
Song was thinking, Shit! This day just gets better and better.
Brooklyn watched the press conference on her way to her father’s private estate. She thought Detective Kai’s handsome face looked exhausted. Brooklyn admired the way the woman identified as Lieutenant Phillips handled the pushy reporter. She thought about how Detective Kai tried to comfort her when she became distressed. His touch was subtle; his voice serene and filled with concern. “We can stop now if you like…It’s okay,” he whispered.
Brooklyn looked out the window as the car drove through the wrought iron gates of the estate. It was a spectacular mansion nestled on a corner lot in the Hamptons with a striking panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The car came to a halt. The security guard opened the backdoor and Brooklyn hopped out. She was greeted by Marta the housekeeper. Marta was Hungarian and still spoke with an accent. She had come to work for the governor when Brooklyn was 10-years old. Like Terry, Marta was there for Brooklyn’s first crush, first heart break and sometimes gave her motherly advice when it came to dealing with her father. Marta slapped a towel over her shoulder and pulled Brooklyn into her ample bosom.
“Brook, it's so nice to see you.”
Brooklyn just wanted to stay in Marta’s warm embrace forever; the hug reassured her that everything would be okay. She took in her scent; Marta still smelled like fresh baked cookies and Gloria Vanderbilt perfume. “It’s nice to see you too.”
They entered the foyer and the soft light from the antique chandelier showcased the freshly polished marble floor and the spiral walnut staircase.
Marta spoke softly as if she was revealing a secret, “The governor is in his den; he’s really worried about Miss Lydia. He hasn’t eaten a thing.”
After her mother passed away, Brooklyn’s father lost a lot of weight, didn’t sleep and didn’t take care of himself. Terry is the one who brought him back; keeping him busy, helping him through the most difficult time in his life.
“Marta, don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be fine.” Brooklyn kissed her on the cheek and made her way to the den. She knocked on the door
“Come in, “her father said.
He stood gazing out the cathedral window and turned when she entered the room. Brooklyn practically leaped into his arms.
“Dad,” was all she could manage before her emotions got the better of her. Brooklyn began to cry on her father’s shoulder.
He rubbed her back and softly said: “I’m alright, Brook, I’m alright.”
The governor had a gauze bandage wrapped around his head and he was casually dressed in a black track suit. He held Brooklyn’s hand and led her over to the sofa.
She touched the gauze on his head. “Does it hurt?”
“It’s not too bad.” He let out a chortle. “Terry told me she knew my hard head would come in handy one day.”
Brooklyn felt the corners of her mouth twitch and then laughed. “Terry can take anything negative and put a positive spin on it.”
“She certainly can.” His tone became more serious. “Brook, I know this incident may have brought back some bad memories for you. Please know that I’m always here for you and Jules.”
“I know, dad. I met with a detective today and provided him with a description of the shooter.
“You saw the would-be assassin?” He was surprised and sounded distressed.
“Yes, I saw him. I think my description helped. There were a few other witnesses too. I watched the press conference and hopefully someone will recognize the guy from the sketch.” She leaned on his shoulder.
“Brook, I know you like everything to be carefree, but until this guy is caught, I want you to have security detail. It will … It will make me feel better….And no funny business.”
When Brooklyn was a teenager, she and Jules would always find a way to outsmart their bodyguards and sneak out to parties.
“You didn’t think I knew, did you,” her father said, playfully giving her a nudge.
“Dad! I can’t believe you never said anything.”
He kissed the top of her head and held her close.
“How’s Lydia, Dad; is she improving?”
“Lydia is doing fine. She’ll probably be released towards the end of the week. I’d rather you give her a call, instead of going to the hospital, because…”
“She glanced up at him, and knew he didn’t want her to revisit those sad memories of her mother in the hospital. “I’ll give her a call later. I’m going for a run. I’ll have Marta bring you in some dinner. Promise me you’ll eat.”
“I promise,’ he said, crossing his heart, “Why don’t you bring Bella along to keep you company?” Bella was their German Sheppard.
“That’s a great idea.” Brooklyn said, before going out the door.