On the way to the hospital Amanda called her mother from Detective Crager’s vehicle and relayed what had happened in very broad strokes. She then asked that her mother Ginger watch their son Justice till she was done at the hospital and with the Police. Her mother Ginger was anxious because she was unable to come to the hospital because nobody else was available to take care of Justice but Amanda assured her that everything would be fine. Her mother had made frequent comments about what an idiot Chester was but her quiet controlled sobs told Amanda that her mother had been bitter about the problems he had caused because she truly cared about Chester and was disappointed in him. Now that he was dead, in fact murdered in his own house Amanda understood that her mother Ginger loved him and was going to miss him a great deal.
The examination and tests in the hospital E.R. revealed Amanda had cracked two ribs when she caught the shot in the vest and they recommended an overnight stay as a precaution. Amanda agreed to the overnight stay partly because she was dreading telling her story and partially because she felt like she had been run over by a truck.
She did give Detective Crager a rough overview of what happened in those precious seconds at their front door. William P. Stone agreed to let her talk as long as they did it very quickly. After that he recommended respectfully that the interview be delayed until Amanda was again in full control of her mind. While the meds they gave her for pain were relatively mild for a hospital they still had a tendency to skew peoples mind and confuse their thoughts.
For the most part Detective Crager was understanding and thought she had enough information to get started on her investigation into what had happened. The broad strokes were that they were at home and the doorbell rang. Chester asked her to slid her vest on and grab her weapon which was in the room. He answered the door and managed to get his weapon out of its holster on the opposite side of the door as he was falling backwards from the door being kicked or pushed on. He was able to put two shots into the first home invaders before the other shot him and he collapsed to the floor. The 2nd shooter piled into their hallway and quickly administered the coup de grace and then Amanda shot him at least a few times she wasn’t sure how many. They would need to count holes and spent casings to get the exact rounds fired count for the incident.
Amanda confessed she might have passed out a little and when she came around she couldn’t get a signal with her phones and the pain was unbearable. So, she crawled to the kitchen and took a half a pain pill from last year’s dental surgery and waited for the meds to kick in and relieve the intense pain. After awhile she made her way to the closet were they kept an old cell phone on a charger and walked gingerly down the street till she was able to make the call to summon help.
She did tell Detective Crager that when she was checking all the men for signs of life she recognized Evan and Phil a few years previously when her husband played golf with them on a weekly basis. But as far as she knew Chester had broken contact with them after Chester gave up recreational drug use and did a brief stint in rehab. The detective watched as she related the story and jotted down a few notes when she mentioned Chester’s drug use and rehab.
Two miniature digital recorders caught and saved the conversation for the sake of prosperity and to possibly be used as evidence in a criminal trial. One digital recorder belonged to Detective Crager and the other belonged to her new lawyer William P. Stone who asked Amanda to call him Bill. He apparently didn’t take any unnecessary chances and was as proficient and caring as she had been told by her concealed carry instructor and Hollis the person that had answered the phone when she had called William P. Stone for the first time mere hours ago. Funny how sometimes a few hours seems like a lifetime.
With midnight approaching the two left the room and Amanda drifted off into a fitful pain medication induced sleep. Nightmares of what had happened penetrated the fog of pain killers they had given her and when she awoke in the middle of the night the impact of what had happened hit her and she sobbed uncontrollably. A nurse had heard her and came and sat with her after Amanda refused any meds to get her back to sleep. After an hour of sobbing the tears abated and she asked that she be given a little something to help her get back to sleep and asked if there was any way she could avoid being woken up at the crack of dawn so she could let her body attempt to recover from the mental and physical effects of what had happened.
The experienced nurse whose nametag read Matilda had heard about Amanda’s experience and smiled and promised to do her best to insure that she wasn’t woken up one minute before absolutely necessary. With that promise echoing in her mind Amanda drifted off to sleep riding the wave of the half a pill that her nurse had provided for her. Thankfully between the pain medication and the half a sleeping pill her sleep wasn’t encumbered by anything that disturbed her slumber and she gained some restful sleep to replenish her energy. When she was awake again she was going to need that rest to deal with the aftermath of what had happened in their home.
In a situation like this would the police investigators be at all sympathetic or will they bring charges against Amanda? It seems it should be cut and dry, but if this were a real world situation would it be?
Great story alangator. Thanks for the new chapter.
If I had to guess about the reaction from Law Enforcement and the District Attorney's Office my gut tells me that it's best not count on being safe from prosecution no matter what happened and that your results may vary.
The breakdown of society's core decency means that there are bad people that are playing by a diffrent set of rules compared to the rest of us. Combine that with the need to be taken care of(911 system,ect) and you have an enviroment that doesn't always embrace our basis right to protect ourselves and the one's we care about.
I for one would never want to be in a position that my future rested on the system the way it now stands and I think most people I know feel the same way.
They work up a case and send it to the County Prosecutor, District Attorney or whatever they have where you are. THAT entity makes the decision. Usually something like this will be send to a grand jury. That entity won't want to hang it out that far, making a decision. So they usually pass it to a grand jury. If they are more sure they will usually send it to a lower court for arraignment and bind-over if that court agrees they are more than likely guilty.
The grand jury, being made up of people from the community, saves the Prosecutor from looking too lenient, or too bloodthirsty, by making the decision for him.
No true bill from the grand jury means "good shoot". A true bill from the grand jury means you are going to spent a lot of time in Common Pleas Court, or whatever they call it there. The Higher of the two common courts, the one that can put you in jail or prison for LONG periods of time where the other one generally can't.
Figure on probably getting cuffed by the cops and escorted to jail NO MATTER WHAT. Might not happen, but it is a nice surprise if you are expecting the worst and it doesn't happen.
Amanda awoke in her hospital bed feeling as if she had been dropped from the ceiling and landed on her chest. The meds to suppress the pain in her chest had worn off and she felt the sharp jab each and every time she moved. She thought that getting used to the discomfort might take some getting used to and was thankful to whoever invented Ibuprofen. Her mouth was dry so she reached over to find that the small Styrofoam water pitcher next to her bed sounded as if it had ice and fresh water in it. Even pouring the water that promised to be cold excited her as she poured a cup for herself and scooted up in her bed to drink out of the plastic cup.
The crisp coolness of the water in her mouth was like a revelation to her dry and almost gummy mouth. She hadn’t realized how thirsty she was and one cup led to another and then a third. With her thirst slaked she moved the covers off to make her way to her bathroom to get the morning started confident that the worst was behind her. She felt vulnerable as the gown they had supplied her with the night before pulled this way and that. All the money spent in the health care field and she was sitting in her bed in view of others with basically a sheet wrapped around her. The sheet/gown had a place to tie it together but the gown design was basically a sheet with ties and arms sewed into it. Not exactly the 21st century answer to any problem. Surely it couldn’t get any worse than it was now?
In the bathroom that theory in her mind was put to the test minutes later when she realized that not only had her period started but she was without the supplies she needed. Sobbing very quietly she hit the call button next to the toilet and waited for someone to acknowledge her.
A reply came over the intercom seconds later. “Amanda is there a problem in there? Do you need help?”
Amanda swallowed, chocking back more sobbing. When she spoke her voice betrayed her angst and pain from the direction her life had taken in the last 24 hours. “Yes, I seem to need feminine supplies and there aren’t any in here. Any chance someone can grab some for me and bring them in here?”
Over the small intercom came the reply. “Oh, give us a minute and we’ll get something to you. Be patient someone is on the way.”
Amanda replied to the disembodied voice trying to get what she desperately needed to help make the world seem right again. “Thank you, I appreciate it.”
Amanda waited while they found what she needed. As she sat she noticed that her pee had smelled like barbeque from the chicken sandwich she had eaten at lunch the day before. Funny thing was the smell made her hungry and she realized she could eat. When she had ventured from her bed to the bathroom she had seen a tray on her little table next to the bed. Maybe there was something good enough to snack on under the warming cover and plastic wrap?
A few minutes later a nurse knocked on the door and opened it a crack and slid a bag across the floor toward her as she sat on the toilet. She spoke thru the door without opening it more than a few inches to give Amanda some privacy. “Amanda you can take a shower if you’re up to it. Sometimes a shower helps make you feel a little better and the Doctor isn’t going to be here for 30 minutes at least. There is soap, shampoo and towels in there you can use and I can get you a clean gown. Your lawyer left some under things with your nurse last night so you don’t have to go commando. I put them in that bag.”
Amanda chuckled at the comments about not wearing underwear. The chuckling made her realize that she still could find things that amused her and made her laugh. She was also thankful she would get to wear underwear under her gown and hoped that there was a bra in the bag from Bill Stone. With everything that had happened in the last 24 hours she felt very, very vulnerable and she needed at least a bra and a pair of underwear with the notoriously small gowns that had been provided to her by the hospital. The gown the hospital had given her did manage to cover her butt completely and she was thankful for that small mercy. But with everything that was going on it had slipped her mind that since all her clothing had been taken by the Police the night before that she was essentially without any clothes at all. She needed to see if she could borrow some stuff from her mother Ginger or if Ginger could pick something up for her. The chances of Ginger being able to get back into her house weren’t good at all since it was a crime scene. Bill Stone mentioned last night that the house would be off-limits to her for a few days at least.
Amanda elected to take a shower and the nurse had been right, she felt better when she turned the water of and got out. She still felt bad but she did feel better than before she had taken the shower. She was excited to see that Bill Stone had included a new white sports bra still in it’s packaging that fit pretty well. When she stepped out of her bathroom with a towel wrapped around her wet hair and wearing a borrowed gown and under things bought be someone else she found Detective Crager standing next to a heavier set man wearing dress pants, grown-up shoes and a non-descript sport coat. Amanda assumed the man was another detective working the incident.
Amanda spoke to the two. “I’m pretty sure that whatever you need can wait until I eat breakfast. Hey, are you supposed to talk to me without my lawyer present?”
Detective Crager looked vaguely nervous or maybe upset. Her partner MacDonald had been unavailable the night before and he wanted to spend a few minutes with the victim before they headed in hoping to get some sense of her before their formal interview with her lawyer in the room. “Amanda we’re sorry to bother you. This is my partner Detective MacDonald and we are actually waiting for your lawyer to get here. We are just a few minutes early so do what you going to do as if we aren’t here.” Detective Crager paused and then added. “In fact I think we’ll step outside your room to wait and give you some privacy.”
The slightly out of shape Detective nodded at her. “Mrs. Fugg I’m sorry for your loss. This must be a very trying time and we’ll try to get you taken care of and get you back to your family. If there is anything we can do just let us know and we’ll do our best to do it. I think we’ll let you get back to it and we’ll talk later.”
Amanda noticed that while his words indicated compassion and understanding toward Amanda’s situation his face betrayed absolutely no compassion at all. In fact it seemed as if the man that professed empathy might not be capable of it. “Detective MacDonald thanks for dropping by and introducing yourself. Now if you don’t mind I was going to try to eat something. My stomach feels off and I’m hoping it’s because I haven’t eaten since dinner last night.” Amanda hoped that the casual tone she had used didn’t betray the fact that she instantly felt that MacDonald was a man she didn’t like and that she resented him being in her room while she showered. As far as they knew she was a victim of a violent crime and dealing with the loss of her husband and her taking of a human life. The two would have an opportunity to hear what she had to say later. Amanda wondered if taking a shower without anyone in the next room too much to ask?
Detective MacDonald nodded. “We’ll talk to you later. Sorry for the interruption.”
Detective Crager nodded. “If the hospitals food doesn’t suit you we can find something before the interview for you to eat. I’ll mention it to your lawyer when he gets here. The charge nurse told us that the Doctor is going to change her schedule and see you first so that you can get out of here so it shouldn’t be long now.”
Amanda nodded at Detective Crager comments. “Good, the sooner she shows the sooner I get back to my family.”
With that the two Detectives left the room and Amanda poked around the tray in what passed for breakfast. The results were mixed. The oatmeal was cold and uneatable, the O.J. was actually the good stuff and the toast was edible but lacked jelly. She ate the toast and drank the O.J. thankful to have something in her stomach. As she was finishing up Bill Stone knocked on the door and came into the room after Amanda invited him in.
Bill Stone was wearing a plain looking well cut suit with a colorful tie around his neck. Amanda noticed that in the breast pocket of his dress shirt was a penlight like the one she owned. “Amanda you feeling any better today?”
Amanda nodded. “I little better, I’m just scared is all. I still cannot believe Chester is gone. It seems... it seems unreal somehow.”
Bill Stone paused as if he was choosing his words carefully. “Amanda this is a process you need to get through. Later, after today you can take all the time you need to make sense of what happened and spent time with your family. We have someone to help you during all that. The main thing right now is to focus on dealing with the Police and getting back to your son. Trust me it’s harder than it sounds but I think you’ll do great. What you did last night tells me you are stronger than even you know.”
Amanda listened to what Bill Stone was saying but was distracted by the fact that she hadn’t shaved her legs in 3 days and they looked simian.
I am a law abiding citizen and I've never been in trouble with the law, but if I were in Amanda's shoes I'd be scared to death. I would also really, really resent the cops showing up in my hospital room just for a look see meet and greet (yeah right).
The few cops that I have met, and it's probably not fair to lump them all together, seemed over the top macho and heavy on an authority trip. I already get the feeling that in this story they aren't trying to clear a case as much as they are trying to make one. Paranoid? probably, but I've read some of the real life stories.
This is a really good story alangator and I need more soon as you can.
The nurse had been correct and an hour later Amanda was released from the hospital. She wasn’t wearing anything that she had actually bought herself. When it was time to leave she wore underwear and a sports bra bought by a man she didn’t know well and borrowed scrubs that looked like they had spent 5 years being washed by banging them on a rock in a cold stream. And just to make sure the experience was complete they wheeled her out wearing hospital slippers in a wheelchair that had a bad wheel and squeaked like a bad set of bed springs.
She was happy to be away from the Doctor that had checked her over and signed her release papers. He was Indian or maybe Middle Eastern and his grasp of the English language was good but not the quality that lends a great deal of confidence in what he was saying so Amanda could only hope she understood the high points of her injuries and how to treat them.
Her detective escorts MacDonald and Crager trundled her into the back of their unmarked sedan and they were off. Before they had left Detective MacDonald struggled to fit his big body comfortably into the driver’s seat and his movements shook the car like two teenagers parked on a lover’s lane. As they headed toward their office to question Amanda she glanced back from time to time to see if Bill Stone was keeping up to them. To Amanda it seemed as if maybe Detective MacDonald was trying to lose the attorney that was following them or that MacDonald just drove like an asshole. As expected Bill Stone turned off to pick up Amanda’s breakfast and she sat there wondering how the Detective’s would take being forced to wait while she ate a real breakfast.
Amanda was thinking of her son and as they neared the Law Enforcement and Courthouse complex and it didn’t dawn on her that the news vans and one satellite truck were there to get information about her story. All she was thinking about was her son and getting something to eat to calm her stomach. Their vehicle pulled into an enclosed parking area surrounded by fencing that blocked it from view and the trio piled out of the car. About 15 seconds before the car quit moving a malevolent odor wafted through it and all were quick to exit the vehicle and thankful for fresh air. Amanda was the last out because the inside door handles were missing and she was not happy at being locked in. No one said sorry or gave any hint that they were the perpetrator of the lapse of social etiquette.
When Bill Stone showed up 15 minutes after them MacDonald looked annoyed at having to wait for the lawyer. Apparently Detective MacDonald wasn’t a man of great patience and he became even more annoyed when he saw the bag of food in Bill Stone arms and started to look pissed at having to wait.
Detective Crager ushered Amanda and Bill Stone into a conference room without any cameras and they began to talk about what had happened to Chester and Amanda while they ate their breakfast.
Bill Stone looked mildly annoyed at what he was getting ready to say. “Amanda the story about what happened at your house last night was reported on the morning news this morning. All the locals stations sent crews there and about an hour ago someone leaked both your and Chester’s name. The news crews haven’t chased down your mother yet for an interview but you might want to call her and tell her to take Justice and stay with friends or find a hotel room.”
Amanda sat stunned at Bill Stone’s revelation. She had seen the news trucks parked on the street as they had pulled into the area around the Law Enforcement and Court complex. And with everything going on she had just plain forgotten that the news stations would be eating this up and that they were there to report on had happened to her family. While the news reported on all kinds of violence, rape and murder in the inner city seldom did the taint of our dysfunctional and increasingly screwed up society grant them the ability to mine the suburbs for the sensational stories that sucked viewers in. What happened in an inner city neighborhood was of little or no concern to most people that didn’t live there but as soon as the neighborhood started looking like the neighborhood they lived in everything changed and they became more interested.
Bill Stone gave her a minute to absorb what he had just told her. Then he spoke words that would help calm Amanda and help her realize everything would be OK. “Amanda I know this is less than optimal. But, the news cannot be controlled past a certain point so I have a person from my office that will speak to them on your behalf. She is very good at dealing with them because she used to be one of them. Using her will allow you to focus on what has happened and allow us to manage the message that the media gets until something more sensational or tragic comes along to distract them. Think of it this way. That old story about two people being chased by the bear and one looks at the other and explains that he doesn’t have to outrun the bear they just need to outrun the other possible victim is a decent analogy here. We just need to keep you running till something else comes along to divide their attention and we’ll be far enough ahead to be left alone.”
Amanda chuckled at the analogy. Yesterday when the men barged thru the door they were the bear. Then Amanda shot and killed the second gunman and she was the bear and then after the Police got involved she became the possible victim again. She capitulated from victim to bear to victim again all in the span of an hour or two. “Well if they’re after me we better get this done so I can go back to protecting my family. Where do we start?”
She started with a call to her mother to give her update on how she was doing and explaining that the media was in the process of looking for her mother or anyone else that knew either Chester or her. Amanda explained what needed to be done and encouraged her mother to get out of her house and find a nice and quite hotel or motel room. Amanda felt a tad better after her mother promised to pack a bag and find a hotel room and that her mother understood what was going on.
For an hour Amanda and Bill Stone discussed what had happened last night and Bill Stone explained what Amanda was going to face and the legal process. There was talk of the Prosecuting Attorneys role in this and how later a Grand Jury might become involved. Bill Stone also gave her the name and card of a good bail bondsman so if she ended up needing one she knew who to contact. Bill Stone explained which State Laws allowed her to defend herself using lethal force and was confident that she had met all of the requirements to take another human beings life in defense of her own. By the time they were done Amanda was slightly more confident she could get through this. Then the crying started, again.
For two hours Amanda told her version of the story twice to Detectives Crager and MacDonald and answered their questions. Still when she looked at Detective MacDonald she felt as if he could feel the deception in what Amanda had told him. He looked ready to say something and suddenly found that the expression on his face changed.
Detective MacDonald smiled for the first time that Amanda had seen since she had met the man. “Well I was just told that the FBI Home Invasion Task Force has made a possible link from the two men that broke into your home to a series of 3 other home invasions in the last 2 months. The phone record check indicates no contact between the perpetrators and anyone in your home. Also the crime scene people found a cell phone jammer located in the yard that they estimate would interfere or disrupt your cell signals for up to 50 to 75 feet or so. The jammers are not an exact science when they are home-built and this one looked marginally effective. That might explain why Detective Crager and the crime scene people got a decent signal when they showed up. The other explanation is that the battery or batteries were weak and not replaced before the break-in. When we do ops we generally replace all our batteries to insure optimal performance from our gear but it never occurred to these morons that batteries go dead. My experience is that batteries usually die at the worst possible time.”
William P. Stone smiled relieved that the gruff and unfriendly Detective MacDonald was now on board and listening to his client’s story. “Detective we appreciate the update. I hope that you can link these men to the other crimes and clear some cases up. I don’t think I knew that the FBI was involved in tracking home invasion crimes. I’m glad to hear they are involved and hope they can help you guys. Would it be possible to have Amanda do what she needs to do so that she can get out of here and go see her son? As you can understand Amanda’s mother is anxious to see her so that she knows she is OK.”
Detective MacDonald nodded his understanding. “Someone is typing up the transcript as we speak and it should be completed within 15 minutes or so. Till then we are done and you can adjourn to the conference room where you both will be more comfortable and you can make some calls in private.”
Relieved that this was wrapping up Amanda shrugged. “I appreciate it detectives I really need to hold me son right now. Would it be OK to call my mother and tell her that we’re just about done so she can come pick me up?”
Detective Crager nodded approvingly of the idea. “That sounds like a good plan. We should be done in 45 minutes or so if you and Mr. Stone are comfortable with the statement as it is typed.”
With that the two detectives stood and motioned for Amanda and William P. Stone her lawyer to follow them. Detective Crager offered them coffee, soda or a bottle of water. Both accepted the offer of water and she was off to get them for the two guests. Detective MacDonald ushered them back to the spacious conference room and told them to make themselves comfortable.
Amanda was relieved that this part of the process was nearing completion and hoped that she had turned a corner and would be able to try to cope with the loss of her brave husband. The detectives had let her know earlier that her husband’s body would be examined by the coroner to help determined exactly what happened and that they estimated that the body could be transferred to the funeral home within the next 48 hours or so.
With that in mind she sat pondering what Chester would have wanted done with his body. They had an emergency folder at home that dealt with various scenarios and maybe he had listed his funeral/memorial service wishes so that she could avoid guessing at what he wanted. The problem was that she had never reviewed the folder and the house was locked up as a crime scene so Amanda didn’t have access to it.
She stared at the phone on the table to the side of the room that detective Crager had mentioned that she could use and swallowed at what she needed to do right this second. She picked up the phone and dialed the number from memory.
After 3 rings a woman picked up the phone. Amanda took a deep breath and began. “Virginia this Amanda, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Are you sitting down?”
Over the other end of the phone the woman paused before replying. “Amanda I’m sitting down. What’s happened? Is everyone alright?”
Amanda had never told someone their son or daughter had died and was nervous. “Virginia I’m sorry to say that Chester was shot to death last night at our house during a home invasion. Virginia I know this is tough but I was in the room and he didn’t suffer and both Justice and I are OK. …Also Virginia you need to know that during the incident I shot and killed the man that killed Chester. I’d ask that you pray for us all, we need the help desperately.”
The silence on the other side of the line stretched on for 30 full seconds before the sobbing began and Amanda felt like the biggest asshole on the face of the earth. No good way to tell someone that somebody they love is dead and Amanda just hoped that Virginia would forgive her for doing such a bad job of it.
Within 5 minutes of learning that her son was dead Virginia choked back tears and managed a few words. “Amanda I’m so sorry for you and Justice and will pray for us all to get through this ordeal. When is the service going to be? I can get there by tomorrow afternoon.”
Amanda was dreading this part of the conversation. “Virginia they say they need to examine the body and it may be a few days till we can make arrangements. I know how you feel about desecrating the body but it isn’t my call to make. There was a crime committed and people died so the Police have started the process and I don’t think there is anything that I can do.”
Virginia started into another wave of grief filled sobbing and Amanda waited for her to get it under control. She glanced over at William P. Stone and shook her head and shrugged her shoulders as if to say what should I do.
Lawyer Stone motioned for her to cover the phone and Amanda complied.
Bill Stone leaned in toward her and spoke quietly. “Just a few things real quick while she is on the phone with you. First if she isn’t driving the airlines and maybe even the train and bus companies sometimes offer a special bereavement or compassion fare. I talked to a guy and he thinks they may be done with the body by this time tomorrow. Also if she can get here I have a grief therapist that is amazing and might be useful to help her get over this. Obviously this comes as a shock to your mother-in-law but our counselor will see her once a day for up to 2 weeks if she needs it. I can also help her if she has a problem getting off work.”
Amanda nodded understanding his comments. “Look Virginia this is a lot to take in and we have a few days. I was shot during the incident but was wearing a vest so I’m OK but I haven’t seen Justice since last night before everything went bad and was held overnight at the hospital for observation. I need some time today to get some stuff sorted out. How about instead of driving you wait a day to get settled and then fly here. My lawyer told me that the airlines and maybe even Amtrak will sometimes offer a discount on fares for serious medical emergencies or funerals. They call it compassionate or bereavement fares and you can look and see what they offer. We need you here and I’d be happy to cover the airfare or train fare.”
Chester’s mother Virginia paused to consider the option she had just been given. “Amanda if you could spare me for a day that might be a good idea. It’s just so sudden, what the hell happened?”
Amanda would have rather told the details to Virginia in person but the woman lost her son and deserved the truth. “Virginia two men that Chester used to play golf with knocked on our front door last night and Chester answered it. The men immediately forced the door open and fired at him. He shot and killed the first man that came through the door and the second winged him and he fell to the ground. The second guy shot him and killed him and I killed the second guy seconds later. I think both men were drug addicts and he FBI mentioned that they might have been involved in other home invasions. Virginia I understand this is difficult but your son saved my life and he saved the life of Justice. As far as I’m concerned I have never been prouder of anyone in my life and as his mother I want to thank you for raising such a brave and faithful man. He truly is my hero and our savior.”
Virginia again paused to sob gently. The energy was slowly beginning to ebb and she wasn’t as overtaken with grief as she had been just minutes ago. Amanda hoped that hearing the valiant way Chester had died had given her some measure of comfort.
With her statement signed and the two Detectives satisfied Amanda walked out the back entrance to the Police Station with Bill Stone. The reclusive Hollis had dropped off clothing and shoes for Amanda so she could ditch the scrubs she had borrowed. While Hollis was in the building she was in a hurry so Amanda hadn’t met her. The media had still been camping out in the front of the building with an occasional reporter or two making their way through the building looking for a edge that they could use on at their next live stand-up.
Amanda was lost in thought as she walked through the parking lot and Bill Stone was experienced enough to let the silence persist. The two climbed up and into Bill Stone’s full size SUV and were off.
As Bill turned the key she looked at him. “Bill, I know you have some experience with type of stuff and I’m wondering how long it will be till the media moves on and focuses on something else.”
Bill Stone careful backed his truck out of the space. “Well we should hope something more interesting comes along. But honestly a home invasion robbery with three deaths in the suburbs is kind of a big deal. Later today I’ll have someone from my office make a statement and we can go from there.”
Bill thought that dwelling on the media situation wasn’t very productive so he changed the subject as he pulled out of the lot. “Anything you need before I get you back to your son and your mother?”
Amanda had used her time alone in the conference room to make a few calls and knew exactly where she wanted to go. “If you have the time I could use a few things. I’m essentially locked out of my own house and need to make a few quick stops.”
Bill Stone was a very good driver and answered as he scanned his 6 to insure that no media were following them. “I allotted a few hours to get you settled back with your family. Anything after that and I’ll need to hand you off to Hollis. She offered to go with you and can help protect you from the media.”
Amanda took a deep breath and spoke. “Bill, I’d actually like to replace the pistol that the Police took and the one that they recovered from the dead guys. For some reason I feel naked without a firearm close to me. I never would have imagined I’d kill someone but now I feel really vulnerable without a firearm.”
Bill shook his head in understanding. “You prefer Glocks right? I have a guy we can go see that will get you set-up. If you don’t mind we can give him the high points of what happened and he will give you whatever you need at his cost. I know he’s a Glock dealer and I can call and see what models he has in stock.”
Amanda nodded. “I’d appreciate that and I’ll also need ammunition, a trigger lock, a lock box and a decent holster.”
Bill Stone picked up his phone off the center console and dialed a number. After a few minutes of catching up Bill explained that he had a client that needed some stuff and asked him what he had in stock. Amanda listened as Bill Stone finished up promising to head right to the gun dealers place.
Bill momentarily turned to Amanda. “I think he has what you need and is expecting us in 20 minutes. That is unless you want to stop and get a bite to eat first?”
Amanda’s one sentence reply summed up she felt at that exact second. “Let’s go see a man about a gun, we can eat later.” She replied.
Bill Stone’s friend did indeed have what she needed. Amanda picked out a G27 .40 Caliber sub-compact Glock just like the one the Police had taken into evidence from the crime scene. She also picked up a few spare magazines and 200 rounds of ammo ranging from bulk pack to high-end self-defense ammo. Rob the gun dealer throw in a very basic cleaning kit and after 10 minutes Amanda found a holster she liked better than the one she had at home and had been wearing for over 2 years. After talking to Rob a few more minutes she saw his recommendation might be useful and let him show her his stock of stun guns and pepper spray. After understanding the basics of what he was saying she agreed that pepper spray and a less lethal option might be useful to incorporate into her defensive plans. The credit card was quickly swiped and Amanda promised to come back to look at another AR-15 if it looked like the Police were going to keep her AR very long. She walked out of the shop carrying a mid-sized box jammed with gun goodies. It wasn’t as good as Christmas but to her it just felt right.
Amanda asked to stop to fill her prescription for the pain medications that the Doctor with the accent had given her but after that was done she declined to run anymore errands until see had seen her family and held her son to her chest and kissed his chubby cheeks and expansive forehead. Now that she was out of the Police station and was minutes from being with her family she started getting a tad anxious.
The hotel her mother had chosen catered to suburban businessman and was only 5 years old. The receptionist quickly called up to the room and confirmed that Amanda was cleared to receive a room key. As Amanda and Bill Stone rode the elevator to the 5 floor she noticed for the first time that her attorney had a handgun in his waistband on the left side. Before they had left the Police Station he had briefly opened the rear hatch and placed a briefcase in there. While he was doing that he must have slipped the holster with the handgun onto his belt.
As soon as Amanda opened the door her mother Ginger was hugging her and crying. Thru the hallway she could see Justice lying in a Pack N Play sleeping. Satisfied he was OK she let her mother have a few minutes of crying to help her with the process of coping with her son-in-laws death and the danger that her daughter and grandchild had narrowly avoided.
“Mother. Mother, this is Bill Stone and he’s my lawyer.”
Getting no acknowledgement of what she had said Amanda hugged her mother and let her cry on her shoulder. The sobbing began in earnest and Amanda felt her mother shake from the exertion of her crying. As her mother leaned back Amanda saw the tears running down her face and the small amount of make-up she was wearing migrate to Amanda’s new sweatshirt.
Amanda gave her a few minutes and then leaned in and whispered in her mother’s ear. “Mom I need to hold Justice. How long has he been down for his nap?”
Amanda’s mother tried to stop the crying so she could answer her daughter’s question. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was one of the harder things she had ever done but she brought herself under control. “He’s asleep right now but you can wake if you need to. I’m sure that he is missing you because when he got up this morning he was cranky. And think he was missing his mother and father. Oh, my god.” The sentence wasn’t finished because Ginger was again taken by the urge to purge her pain by crying.
Amanda stood there for 10 minutes while her mother cried. Bill Stone was wedged in between Amanda and her crying mother and the door to the hallway. Amanda glanced up and noticed that Bill Stone stood absolutely still as if this was something he had experienced before.
The two broke their embrace and Amanda’s mother Ginger worked to get herself under control.
Amanda tried the introduction again as Bill Stone stood next to the hallway door. “Mother this is Bill Stone and he’s my lawyer. He’s the one that helped me with the Police.”
Ginger’s murmurs stopped as she stepped toward the lawyer and without saying a word hugged him. Since Bill Stone was right up against the door and Ginger moved him when she hugged him he bounced slightly off the door’s frame. Her face was buried in his suit jacket and he hoped that the make-up didn’t ruin the jacket as it was his 3rd favorite one.
Ginger weeping had been replaced with a strong voice that belayed her grief. ”Mr. Stone, thank you for helping my daughter. Here she is the victim of a violent crime and watches a man shot and kill her husband and she is the one that spends half a day with the cops getting grilled by them. Thank you for helping her, and thank you for helping us. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate it.”
Ginger stepped back and let Bill Stone step away from the small corner he had been trapped in. “Ginger it is always my pleasure to help people that have responsibly defended themselves against criminals. All the weapons in the house were legal and she defended her life and her son’s life within the confines of the law. So it is me that should thank her for allowing me to represent her. She is a hero and a fine example of how guns and the right to bear arms are an important part of who we are as a nation. Now if we can just keep the media from making her life a living hell, following her around and harassing her for interviews I will have done my job.”
Both looked over as Amanda held her son to her chest as he slept. Both spectators understood the importance of that moment in Amanda’s life.
Bill Stone fished a business card from his jacket pocket and handed it to Ginger. “I’d better get going it looks like you three need some time alone. If you need anything please call, I’m available almost 24/7.”
Ginger smiled as she took the offered business card and mouthed the words “thank you” without making a sound.
Bill Stone turned around and opened the door and quickly slipped through it back into the hallway.
Amanda was thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with her thoughts as her mother and son slept in the other bed. Her son was cocooned in a pocket of pillows and rolled up bed comforters. It was right at that moment that she realized that the last 24 hours had changed the way she viewed the world. First of all she had different feeling about how she spent her time. In fact she almost laughed out loud when she thought of how much time she had invested in silly things like watching TV soap operas and reading bad to average books. After her quick personal re-evaluation she did two things. She decided to carefully analysis how she was spending her free time and treasure the time she did have. You never knew when something life changing could happen.
That new line of thinking led her to connect her mother’s laptop to the hotel’s internet and quickly found her 5 favorite prepper sites. She settled on the always entertaining and informative site ran by Jerry D. Young. The site had an excellent selection of Jerry’s old stories as well as the works of TOM and Fleataxi who had passed away recently. Amanda always loved the stories of those authors and decided to lose herself and try to forget her predicament by reading one. She found a story that she had read twice before but like most if not all of Jerry’s story it withstood the test of multiple readings.
She read the story till her eyes were so heavy she drifted off to sleep. She was woken up by the discomfort of her injuries just as light was fading from the sky. She moved from the bed to the bathroom and used it thankful to be in the same room as her son and knowing he was as safe as she could make him. Amanda did her thing in the bathroom and bent to kiss her son on the forehead and stroke his hair. She laid back down and closed her eyes and let a tide of sleep wash over her.
There would be a lifetime to explain to Justice what kind of person his father was and how he had died. And for her it might take a lifetime to grieve the loss of her brave and loving husband.
I believe it is somewhere between 5 - 8% of the population who has the [good] post-incident adrenaline reaction...
I am sure there is a technical name for it (heh, the bean sorters always have to have a label!) but is a double edged sword... Time s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s..... Seconds become minutes...
In your brain you are working normally, but the whole world around you goes into slow motion - you can make choices - see what needs to be done but the machinery just won't respond...
I was in a car crash a couple years ago - I was driving (a Camry) and a large Con-Way truck drive into me doing 70+ mph and spun me in front of it... I KNEW I needed to get away from it and not back into the right lane traffic... I managed to get the car controlled enuf to take it into the median wall and take the secondary impact on my corner rather than my wifes door.. then slid it [backwards] down I94 till we came to a stop on top the wall...
Total time from impact to stop - maybe 5 seconds - but it felt like several minutes... car was totaled - got all four corners and the rear floor but we got out of it with a small concussion (wife), whiplash and sprained ankle/knee (me).... I didn't realize my ankle/knee was boogered till after the cops got there.
We got off light could have been much worse. Once the adrenaline burned off then we were [aching]!
With all that said: Great story! Please tell us more!
The whole range of effects are known as tachypsyche.
Covers time dilation, auditory exclusion, tunnel vision and maybe some other effects.
Both Amanda and Ginger woke up around 7pm. They were awoken by the soft crying of Justice as he squirmed in the play pen. Both had been refreshed by their nap and were hungry so after they changed Justice they headed downstairs to get a bite to eat and feed justice.
The meal was passed with a minimum of conversation. The last 24 hours had drained them both of energy and they focused on making sure that Justice was fed and happy. They returned to the room and flipped the TV on and played with Justice.
“MOM, stop it.” Amanda’s voice had risen louder than she had intended but she was on edge. “Sorry I didn’t mean to be loud. Justice just seems to do better when you talk softer than a regular voice. He’s like me he doesn’t like loud noises.” Amanda leaned up in the bed and looked across the room. Justice was standing in the playpen he had slept in and as soon as he saw his mother a big smile broke across his face.
Ginger noticed that Justice was giving them a strange and mysterious look. The 6 month old had never stood even hanging on to something and Amanda was happy to be there to experience this first. She rolled onto her feet and grabbed her phone and snapped some pictures of the moment.
Trying to be around her mother and her son was breaking Amanda’s heart. After the traumas of what happened she would much rather curl up in bed and cry than be around her son and her mother. But like parents since the beginning of time to the present she needed her family and they needed her to be strong. Her son needed her attention because in the end he was just a baby. Her mother needed to process the loss of her son-in-law and know that her daughter was or would be OK after the horrifying and traumatic experience she had lived through. So Amanda needed to be close to Justice, to know that he was OK and stroke his back and sing to him when he was upset as babies are known to be. Amanda also wanted to keep an eye on her mother because she seemed to be adjusting to what had happened poorly. Amanda had already heard her mother crying under the sheets trying to keep Amanda from hearing her. But when three people are sharing one room even if one of them is under a year old privacy is hard to come by. The two minutes of silence from her mother was a first. Every since Amanda was a little girl she could never remember a time that her mother let a pause this long go without replying to a question or statement.
Finally her mother let a brief smile cross her face. “Amanda dear I’m sorry. It just so strange sitting here knowing that Chester was such a brave and insightful husband. I accused him of being so much less of a man than he was. I, I, I.” Her hand went to her face and the soft sounds of sobbing soon followed. Ginger’s face was un-seeable as the wall she had built to stay strong for her daughter and her grandson crumbled and washed away in a flood of sadness, pain and despair.
Amanda walked over to the bed her mother was sitting on and sat next to her and put her arm around her. “It’s OK mom. If Chester was here he would understand that you were disappointed in him. He was ashamed of what he did and tried every day to make it up to us in 100 different ways. That whole part of our life made both of us think about what was truly important. I had forgiven him his mistakes and he was an even better person than the day I met him. After what he did he would understand how you felt and tell you to move on and that he forgave you for how you felt. He told me that after I forgave him that he would always give people a second chance just like the second chance I gave him. Since he is gone the thing to remember is that my number one job in this world is to raise our beautiful son. And mom, do to that I’ll need your help. Mom can you help me raise the son of the man that gave his life to save us?”
Amanda’s mother’s sobbing slowed down and she was able to speak again. “Anything you need that is my power to help with I’ll help with. And thank you, thank you for understanding.”
Both of them sat like that wrapped up in their thoughts for 10 minutes. Amanda then noticed that her mother was leaning on her and heard the soft breathing that told her that she had fallen asleep. Amanda moved and gently laid her mother back on the bed with her legs hanging over the edge. Her mother scrunched up and her legs were pulled onto the bed at an awkward angle. Amanda smiled and took the spread off the other bed and laid it across her mother. While they had been talking Justice had also fallen asleep and Amanda just sat on the other bed and watched her precious son sleep the sleep of the innocent.
After 30 minutes Amanda stood up and made her way to the bathroom to take another shower. Spending the night at the hospital and the morning at the Police Station made her feel as if she was dirty and she loved the relaxing feeling of the hot water cascading across her body. The water seemed to be washing away the doubt and guilt of what had happened and she was surprised that she felt as good as she did. It was in the shower that she decided to schedule a massage for her and her mother the next day. She had only had 2 professional massages in her life but remembered how good it felt to have someone that knew what they were doing knead and rub her body till just thinking was a chore. Occasionally Chester would rub her neck or her shoulders but the pros know how to make a person forget about all but the decadent feeling of their hands working their way across her tightened body.
Amanda finished the shower and climbed out and dried off with a hotel towel. As she turned she winched and caught a glimpse in the mirror of the ugly bruise that covered her chest below her breast. The intricate bruising on her body ranged from a vaguely yellow to dark colors that were dark grey to almost a purplish black. She brought her towel up and gingerly dried the area around the bruise careful not to put any pressure on it. The pain from her wound was still acute and she had been taking ibuprofen all day to dull the discomfort. And while the pain was better than this morning when she had walked into the hotel room and her mother and absently-mindedly hugged her and a wave of nauseous coursed through her body reminding her she wasn’t 100 percent well. She had filled the prescription that the hospital had given her for a mild pain killer and tried to decide if taking one was a good idea. It was now that she realized that being in pain wasn’t noble if she couldn’t do anything without wincing or almost puking. She decided that taking the pill was OK and found the bag from the pharmacy and washed one down with a sip of water.
After she re-dressed and came out of the bathroom Justice stood in his borrowed play pen. As soon as he saw his mother looking at him and huge smile broke out over his face. Amanda went to her son and picked him up. And just like every time she had picked Justice up in the last few hours the pain in her body attacked her ability to think clearly. She found that sitting on the bed and bouncing him up and down on her knee seemed to make Justice happy and wasn’t too bad for her. They had told her at the hospital that the pain pill they had prescription might take up to 30 minutes to take effect so she waited for the drug to work its magic and make the pain bearable.
There was a knock on the hotel room’s door and Amanda ever cautious now that senseless violence had killed her husband picked up her pistol and quietly walked to the door with it along her side. She looked through the peep hole and saw Detectives Crager and McDonald standing away from the door so that she could clearly see them. Amanda opened the door and got right to it while letting the two law enforcement professionals stand in the hallway. “Detectives what can I do for you?”
Detective MacDonald looked slightly embarrassed. “Amanda we are sorry to bother after what you’ve gone through but we need to interview your mother about last night. We’re finishing up our investigation and need to interview her. We just have some questions about when she picked up Justice and a few other questions and we’ll be done.”
Amanda looked slightly annoyed. She was hoping to have some time to process what had happened and yet again the Police were forcing their way into her grieving process. She was also acutely aware that watching Justice after taking a pain pill was not acceptable. “Detectives last I checked my mother was sleeping. As you can understand she is very upset about what has happened. On top of that she also had to watch my son while I dealt with what happened last night. Any chance I could tell her you came by while she was sleeping and she could call you to schedule a time to come in tomorrow?”
Detective Crager looked at her partner MacDonald deferring to his judgment. Being the less experienced detective in this case allowed her to let him make the call. But Amanda could sense the compassion in her eyes and thought that if Detective Crager was in charge she would be compassionate and let her mother Ginger call them and come in tomorrow.
Detective MacDonald however was being pressured to get the information that they needed and get the shooting either closed or gather enough information to fill charges. “Mrs. Fugg I’m sorry to say that we need to get this interview done so that other people can get their job done. The sooner we get this done the sooner you can put this event behind you.”
Amanda considered what she had been told by her lawyer and replied to the request by the Detective. “I’ll see if I can wake her up if you don’t mind waiting.” Without waiting for an answer she closed the door in the face of the two Detectives.
Amanda walked over to where her mother was sleeping. Watching her sleep for that few seconds reminded her that eventually everything would work out. She gently shook her mother at the shoulder. “Mom, mom the detectives are here and they need to talk to you. Mom I’m sorry but you need to wake up.”
Her mother popped up in the bed with an angry scowl on her face. Amanda I’m sleeping what the hell is going on? Is the hotel on fire?”
Amanda answered. “No mom, the Detectives are trying to get the case wrapped up and need to talk to you. I told them you were sleeping and tried to get them to wait till the morning but they say it’s important that they do this now.”
Ginger rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Good dam assholes. Like this family hasn’t gone through enough in the last 24 hours. Tell them I’m taking a shower and will be ready in 30 minutes or so. If they don’t want to wait I can drive myself to their office when I’m ready.”
Amanda turned ad went back to the door and opened it. “My mother is up and wants to take a shower first. She said either you can wait 30 minutes or she can get freshened up and meet you there.”
Detective Crager smiled. “Amanda we heard her and she can head in to talk to us when she is done with her shower. Tell her to take her time and we’ll see her in an hour. She can tell the receptionist that we are expecting her and they will page us. Sorry to trouble you so soon after you got here.”
Without waiting for a reply they turned in unison and walked back down the hallway.
Amanda closed the door and as she did heard a yelp.
Either her mother was talking to her or she was talking to herself. “That hurts like hell. Why is that I always stub my toe more often when I’m tired than any other time?”
She smiled and punched out the personal cell number for her lawyer and told him what was going on. She listened carefully as he told her what to do.
Thanks for the new chapter. I guess if Amanda had not called her mother to come and get Justice the night of the shooting he would have gone into Child custody. Hope Amanda and her mother are together on the times.
A knock came from the hotel room door and Amanda upholstered her Glock from inside her waistband and walked to the door and peeked out the peephole. A tall red headed woman stood there waiting for the door to be answered. Directly next to her stood an older woman that was between the age of MILF and Cougar with very short blonde hair wearing a sharp looking pantsuit that looked like it was taken from a local news anchor. Amanda spoke thru the door. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m Hollis from Bill Stone’s office. He said that I was to stay with you while your mother talks to the Police. The woman next to me is Barbara Camp and she will escort Ginger to her interview and keep her away from the press. Is this the right room?”
Amanda inserted her new Glock into its holster and pulled down her golf shirt to cover the weapon. “Give me a moment please and I’ll be right with you.” Amanda quickly changed her mind and removed the holster and stashed it in the locking box she had picked up at the gun store. She walked back toward the middle of the room. “Mom the press rep and the babysitter are here.” She turned around and walked to the door and let the two women in. “I’m Amanda, thanks for coming on such short notice.”
The red head held out her hand and the two women shook. “I’m Hollis; we spoke on the phone when this whole thing started. And this is Barbara Camp our press spokesperson; she’ll spend a few minutes with you to craft a statement to give to the press vultures.”
Amanda turned from Hollis to the press spokesperson that Bill’s office had sent over and reached to shake. Her hand was met with nothing except a stony gaze. Amanda thought that Barbara Camp must save the smiling and the social nicety of shaking hands for the people that mattered. And clearly for some reason Amanda Fugg didn’t matter to her. She withdrew her hand embarrassed that she had been left hanging. “I’m Amanda Fugg nice to meet you both.”
Barbara Camp looked at her as if she was joking with the handshake. “I’m Barbara Camp, I’d shake but I just had my nails done. We need to quickly craft a statement that we can give to the press. I have a template we can use and I recommend staying very close to it. Where can I set up my laptop?”
Amanda ushered them into the room. With 5 people in her room it seemed small and she hoped that they could do this without waking up Justice. “You can use the table. If we can keep it down I’d appreciate it. My son is sleeping and is missing his father so he’s a little on edge.”
Barbara the press witch walked quickly over to the table and set her stylish messenger bag down after checking to be sure the table was clean. She then whipped her computer out of the bag and began booting up. In what seemed like seconds she had the template pulled up. When she spoke her voice was lower than at the doorway. “This is what I’d recommend using. It’s the standard we’re shocked and requests that the press respect that you have just lost your husband and goes on to thanks everybody that has wished you well and prayed for your family during this terrible time. Generally it doesn’t work and they will want to talk to you regardless of any other stories that come across their desks. A home invasion with three dead is a big deal and eventually they will force you to talk just to get them out of your life. Bill set-up an account at a local bank like the two of you talked about. If you want to let people contribute to your son’s education all you need to do is sign the paperwork I have in my bag. He also set-up the other account something having to do with a defensive firearms non-profit.”
Amanda quickly understood by the way she spoke the word firearms that the aloofness might be the result of being opposed to guns in general. Citizens’ in the US had over an estimated 200 million guns and rising. After the gun buying frenzy after B.O. was elected, the AR craze and the rise in concealed carry that number might be on the low side. The media especially bred a type of Liberal that claimed to be objective while doing their job yet hung on to every scrap of suspect data that supported their world view as if he was FedExed down from the God many of them didn’t believe in. “Let’s go with that statement and let’s sign paperwork for both accounts. Do they need to be notarized or anything?”
Hollis stood over by Justice just watching him sleep. She turned and stepped back over to Amanda. “Amanda I’m a Notary, I can take care of that for you.”
Barbara spoke. “Well if you sign both and we use them in a press conference or they are linked from the news channels websites it might confuse people. Maybe you should just do the College account that way it will help provide for your son’s education. College is expensive and children from one parent families are way less likely to attend and graduate college than kids from families where the marriage is intact. You can always do your pet project later on after his future is secured.” Her voice and tone conveyed disapproval and if Amanda understood the basics of body language it would have confirmed what she was feeling. That was that the press spokesperson disapproved of her desire to raise money for firearms defensive issues.
Amanda looked Barbara in the eyes. “Maybe you’re right, let me step out into the hall and make a quick call. I’ll just be a few minutes I need to call Chester’s mother.” Amanda smiled slightly without thinking about it. It was more Crocodile smile than a genuine smile that had warmth and honesty.
Barbara showed understanding for the first time she had stepped into the room. “Take all the time you need. We’ll be here waiting for you.”
Amanda stepped into the hallway to get some privacy and dialed Bill’s number.
Bill answered on the second ring. “Hey Amanda did Hollis and Barbara get there?”
Amanda took a deep breath. “Yes Bill they did but this Barbara bitch needs to go. She starts out with attitude and then gives me a three sentence lecture on why doing both will confuse people and how I should just worry about my son’s future. The way she said it implied that I was a bad mother if I didn’t do the education fund only.”
Bill replied quickly. “Barbara just lost her husband to someone 15 years younger. I’m telling you because she is focused on that and before the day is done she tell you just like everybody else within earshot. If you need someone else I have a group of motorcycle enthusiasts that protect woman and children that are testifying and have been the victim of abuse or violent crime. I can ring the President up and he might be able to send someone to go with your mother to the Police Station to protect her. The only problem with that is time; I hate to keep Crager waiting.”
Amanda noticed that Bill hadn’t mentioned keeping MacDonald waiting and decided to mention it. “Bill did you mean Detectives Crager and MacDonald?”
Bill answered the question. “No I meant Crager. I don’t like MacDonald. We’ve gone at it before and I think he’s unprofessional and sloppy. He was lucky that the other case we worked on from two different sides never was filled. I would have torn that guy up on the stand. I did file a complaint with his boss about catching you coming out of the shower and talking to you without me present this morning. MacDonald is like a bumbling cop you see on TV, the one that makes mistake or leaves something out of his case notes and someone innocent goes to jail. He’s not very bright and lacks the attention to detail that is critical to his job. He’s the kind of cop that thinks following his gut is the same as working smart or hard and doing things the way they are supposed to be done.”
“Bill, please tell me how you really feel.”
Bill voice was serious. “Amanda of the 10 smartest people I know 3 make their living in Law Enforcement at one level or another. That compares to two lawyers that make the list and cops like MacDonald would be better on patrol or in another line of work than tasked with such an important job. Anyway, getting back to business what do you want to do with Barbara?”
Amanda answered quickly since she didn’t even have to think about it. “She’s gone. I’m sorry to ask that you call the guy that might be able to get my mother an escort.
Bill understood two things that made the task easier. The first was that Amanda had suffered a huge shock less than 24 houses ago. The second thing was that on a certain level he understood that Barbara was an iffy fit for the types of clients that he had. “Done, I’ll call him right now and call you back as soon as I talk to him and see what he can do. Meanwhile I’ll call the Police Station and let them know that she waiting for a ride. If that doesn’t work for them they can interview her at the hotel or come back and pick her up. I’ll try to get them to bump the interview till tomorrow morning but that’s unlikely to happen.”
Both of them hung up and Amanda walked back into the room. “Barbara can you print me a hard copy of that.” She pointed to the computer to indicate that she meant the statement they had agreed to.
Barbara nodded and pulled a small wireless printer from her messenger bag and set it up. She then printed off two copies of the statement and handed them over to Amanda. “Is the type big enough or do you need it to be bigger?”
Amanda fondled the copy she had been handed. “Barbara the font size is fine. You’re fired please leave this room immediately. The last thing I’ll tolerate right now is some Liberal bitch passing judgment on me because I own a handgun.” Amanda went silent and just stared at Barbara waiting for her to gather her stuff and leave.
Without saying a word Barbara began to pack up her stuff. Right after loading the printer she stopped and turned to Amanda. Her face was slightly red and she looked upset. “Well I don’t really feel right working for someone that has killed another human being.”
Hollis quickly stepped between Amanda and Barbara. “This woman killed a man protecting herself and her baby and she witnessed her husband’s murder. Tell me Barbara who the hell are you to criticize her?”
Barbara might be better working the other side of the Q & A because she seemed to think that she understood what was right for everyone and her face betrayed that feeling. “Well I sure as hell wouldn’t have killed him. You could have wounded him and let the Police handle it from there. The Police have indicated that he was on drugs and not in his right mind.”
Amanda maneuvered around Hollis. She picked up Barbara’s bag and walked toward the door. She opened the door with the bag dangling from her hand. “I asked you to leave. Perhaps it’s time for you to shut up and leave like I asked.”
At that moment Amanda’s mother walked out of the bathroom after getting a shower and changing clothes to go to her interview. She stopped when she saw Amanda at the door and Barbara staring daggers at her.
Barbara walked toward the door and as Amanda was handing her the messenger bag it “slipped” and hit the floor. Even Hollis heard the unmistakable sound of plastic meeting concrete from the middle of the room. Amanda quickly reached down and picked the bag up. Barbara understood that she might let the bag “slip” gain and snatched her from her grip.
Amanda smiled the crocodile smile again. “I hope nothing broke.” Then her facial expression changed to more of an angry look that telegraphed intense rage. Her voice was emotionless and she uttered them in a vaguely threatening way “Thanks for dropping in, have a good day.”
Barbara was at the open door and Amanda nudged her out using her hips and quickly shut the door in her face before Barbara had another chance to speak.
Her mother and Hollis began laughing and within moments so was Amanda. For Amanda finding humor amongst the tragedy in her life might just be possible.
Hollis smiled after she was done laughing and while the other two were still chuckling at what had happened. “I never did like that woman. She was a pretentious bitch that thought she was better than the rest of us. I think being on the news for all those years got into her head. And did you smell that noxious perfume she wore? It was terrible, every time I was within 4 feet of her it made my allergies act up. She was like an old lady that fogged the whole room up with her stink. Oh, I better call Bill and let him know what happened. Bet she tries to get him to buy her another laptop because I think that one is in less than optimal operating condition.”
The three women began the laughing that had been temporary brought under control. It went on for a few minutes. Justice was sleeping so they tried to keep it down to a dull roar and right there and then Amanda decided that she really liked Hollis. The red head had a good sense of humor and seemed very concerned about what happened to Amanda and her family.
Just then the hotel phone rang. Amanda picked it up and Bill Stone was on the line. “Listen Amanda, the escort will be there within an hour, if you could have your mother ready that would help speed things along. And I need to speak with Hollis.”
Amanda handed the phone over and Hollis moved her red hair from her ear and put the phone to her ear. “Hey Bill, what’s up.” She paused and listened while her boss talked. “Bill honestly it was her own dam fault. Amanda asked her to leave and she made a snarky comment and wouldn’t leave. I recorded it if you want me to send it to you and you can listen to it. If it was me I’d tell her to go to hell and recommend that she sue Amanda in small claims court if she feels it was anything but an accident. Somehow the fact that Amanda is the survivor of a brutally violent crime would come out and any half compassionate judge would likely rule her Amanda’s favor. But hey it’s her time and if she thinks that’s what she needs to do then more power to her. How much did she say she paid for the laptop?” Hollis listened for a minute and then snorted. “Seems high to me but you’re the boss.” Hollis listened to Bill and both women saw her nodding and she handed the phone back to Amanda.
Her lawyer’s voice didn’t betray any emotion at all as he began to talk. “Barbara is pissed and I needed to get Hollis’s take on what happened. I think Barbara was madder at getting fired from the job than the laptop that was dropped. She has always had a bit of an attitude and the inflated ego to match. I was worried that someday her true colors would come thru. Like I say, once a journalist always a journalist. I want to apologize for sending her to you she was clearly a mistake in this case. In fact I’d like to hear your version of what happened in the next few days to determine if she needs to be disassociated with my office. But enough about that already. The guy that is going to help out with your mother’s visit to the Police Station is called Frog. He looks like a sociopath with a Meth habit but don’t let the long hair and tattoos fool you he’s Mensa smart and talks more about psychology and philosophy than any person I’ve ever met. In real life he designs websites based on a method he employs that uses aspects of those two elements to ensnare visitors and captivate them while producing stellar results for his clients. You might want to encourage your mother to keep the conversation with him to the weather or something else equally mundane or he’ll talk her ear off. After what has happened the last thing we need is your mother being distracted. Any more questions for me?”
Amanda thought for a second and decided she understood what was going on. “No Bill I think I understand what you’re saying. Sorry about the press bitch but she was a little much and I have had a seriously bad few days. If it makes you feel any better I’m still half doped up from the pain pills so maybe she’s not as bad as I thought.”
Bill laughed. “Thank you for saying that but the problem is that when I started using her she was the best of the worst. When I was interviewing P.R. people to work with my office I didn’t like any of the candidates and thought they were a bunch of self-absorbed, intrusive ass-hats posing as righteous guardians of the truth, justice and the American Way. Even the mediocre ones think they are Woodward and Bernstein acting for the people and many suffer from delusions of grandeur. I don’t like most lawyers and seldom socialize with any if I can help it and after them my least favorite people are the media and their band of wayward jackals. What those people have done to our Country is a disgrace. Lawyers, the Liberal media and Politicians are the Trifecta of our eventual ruin. My sincere hope in life is that I’m dead before they accomplish their despicable goals.”
“Listen Bill I’m with you there but I need to make sure my mother is ready to go when your guy gets here. We can talk about your buddy Babs in a few days if that is what you need to help you make that decision.”
The two finished the call and Amanda looked over at Hollis who was smiling. “I will not be sad to see that woman go she’s toxic. Better late than never I’ve said on multiply times. OK, Ginger what to you need to get done be ready that we can help with?”
Ginger was dressed but had been distracted and wanted to put a little make-up on. Ginger usually wore make-up sparingly but tonight she wanted to look her best for the interview with the two Detectives. “I could use some help doing my eyes. Amanda has told me that my style is dated, as she put it.”
Hollis nodded indicating that she approved of the request. “Good news Ginger, in college I worked the make-up counter in a nice Department Store for a year. I sold some of the best cosmetic lines in the store and did makeovers almost every day. And for a woman with a daughter is old as Amanda you have very nice eyes. Just a few lines that lend character I wish I was aging as well.”
Ginger stood a tad taller at the compliment. “It’s all in the genes, my mother was very regal looking in her later years and everyone always said she looked 10 years younger than all her younger sisters.”
Hollis shook her head up and down in agreement. “Genes will to that for you. My father’s ancestors were peasants from Russia so I’d guess that old age will show on my face like a crumbled old road map.
Ginger showed Hollis what she had to work with make-up wise and Hollis got to work so Ginger wouldn’t be late to her interview.
Early the next morning Amanda’s attorney called to say that the Police had a few follow-up questions they needed to ask her and Bill agreed they would meet the two Detectives in a small meeting room at the hotel after breakfast. Bill had explained that they were trying to cooperate fully but the continuing media circus around the Police Station had Amanda freaked out. And if losing her husband and taking a man’s life wasn’t bad enough the media was keen on getting pictures of her at the very least and would violate her privacy and a law or two if necessary to get it. The quest for an exclusive interview meant that both Amanda and Ginger’s cell phone number had been bought and paid for and they were sick and tired of the phones ringing every 10 minutes or so and the number always showing as being blocked.
The gentle knock on the door indicated that Bill had arrived and Hollis lifted up her shirt and put her hand on her gun as she looked thru the peephole. Amanda hadn’t know that Hollis was armed and smiled as she watched Hollis drape the polo shirt back over the semi-auto pistol on her right hip and open the door. Hollis and Bill hugged and the pair closed the door and walked into the room.
“Hollis I told you if you were spending the night here to go downstairs and get whatever you needed and I’d reimburse you. Hollis that breathe of yours is super morning funky. You want a mint or something?”
Hollis smiled and slapped Bill on the arm. “I haven’t had a chance to brush my teeth or eat breakfast yet. Amanda asked me to hold the baby for a minute and Justice wouldn’t let me put him down. Bill he is about the cutest kid I’ve ever been around. Anyway you better get going or you two are going to be late.”
Bill’s smile morphed into a serious expression when he focused his eyes on Amanda. Ginger was still sleeping and baby Justice was sleeping in Hollis’s arms. Bill’s expression betrayed the worry that he was feeling. “Amanda we better get moving if you are ready. We can talk on the way down.”
Amanda gathered her bag and the two left the room to do another round with the pesky Detective MacDonald.
They arrived at the small room on the second floor to find Detective MacDonald pacing outside the room looking agitated. Amanda saw what she assumed was a nicotine patch on the Detectives’ neck peeking out from under his shirt collar.
The detective said hello and he victim and her legal counsel returned the greeting and they all stepped into the room. Detective Crager sat at the table making notes on a small tablet and looked up and closed the computer. After a new round of greetings they got down to it. Amanda felt she was justified in taking her prep supplies since they were bought under dishonest circumstances. The other stuff she took was more like partial compensation for killing her husband and she was still fairly confident she could pull this off. If she was wrong then all the gold and silver would help pay for her defense. She was pretty sure it would cover the cost of the retainer and not much else. She had Googled it and good defense under these circumstances was pricey as all hell.
So she sat and waited while Detective MacDonald arranged his legal pad that held his notes.
Detective MacDonald paused before asking his question. “Mrs. Fugg certain aspects of our time of death estimations vary slightly from the account you have given us. Our forensics people use a variety of methods to get to what they consider the time of death and it’s a tool we use in our investigations. Body temperature, hardening, the condition of the eyes, skin color, blood pooling, and the digestive system all point us to when death occurred. In the case of your event the 3 men most likely died within minutes of each other. However, all the tools we can use point to a discrepancy of over an hour between the times they died and the time we arrived factoring in the response time of our patrol units. What we need to know is how accurate you think that the information you gave us is?
Bill looked at the Detective like he was a science experiment gone awry. “Detective MacDonald, Mrs. Fugg watched her husband die in an act of violence that rises to the level if what our service people experience over in the Middle East. She took the life of the man she watched execute her husband and you want to ask her if she is sure of the information she has repeated to you 4 times and signed a statement concerning. To be honest at this point I’m more concerned about dealing with the possible effects of post-traumatic stress disorder than rehashing what happened the other day.”
Amanda chimed in. “Bill thank you but I can answer that question myself if it helps put this to behind us so that my family and I can move on. As I mentioned in my statement I might have passed out or taken some time to rest after everything happened. I know that they attacked us shortly after my mother picked our son up around 10:30 or so but I don’t know to the minute when she picked him up or when the men barged in and murdered my husband in front of me. I stand by the times I gave you; they are my best estimation of when it happened.”
Detective MacDonald looked at Amanda. “They attacked at 10:30 then?”
Again Bill broke in to the question. “Her statement clearly states that her mother picked up her son around 10:30 and that the event in question happened after that. Detective can you please tell us why this is necessary because my patience is running thin.”
Counselor we have a slight discrepancy with our time line after interviewing the victim’s mother. Her recollection is that she picked the boy up closer to 10pm than 10:30. That time moves us to the grey area of the time-of-death estimates based on all the information we used in this case.”
Bill watched the detective from across the table. “I understand time-of-death isn’t an exact science but a tool to establish timeframe guidelines. Amanda stated clearly that she might have taken a rest or passed out after the event. She did sustain injuries that can be shocking to an average person not trained to deal with them. You and your partner have been trained extensively to fight through incidents where you are injured so that your survivability rate is extended and you can continue to do your job of protecting and serving the public. For the rest of us getting shot is a totally unexpected occurrence and it’s safe to say that Amanda might have passed out. And while you may be confused about the timeline I doubt that the forensic evidence is telling you that she staged a triple murder or was in any way involved with what happened. Unless you think that she and her husband killed the attackers and then she turned her weapon on her husband after the fact. The problem is that he was in the middle of two dead attackers and the evidence in this case would have to show that it was an extensive staging of crime scene. I’ve examined some of the preliminary reports that have been filed and they indicate that she was indeed across the room at the time of the confrontation. The blood evidence clearly confirms this fact. What exactly are you asking Detective?
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