Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Long Thursday Shift

The flickering florescent light glinted off of officer Galletto’s badge as he surveyed himself in the dingy bathroom mirror of the 8th precinct’s men’s locker room. He splashed some water on his face to try to perk himself up, but all he could think of was how much he didn’t want to do this task in front of him.

“You ready to do the nasty?” he asked his partner upon exiting.

“Oh come on, it’s not gonna be that bad,” Whik said.

“What are you kidding? This guy’s a nut job if I ever saw one.”

“What can you do, we’ll interview ‘em, write up the report and let the boys downtown deal with ‘em.”

“It’s the interview that I’m worried about, you know he’s gonna wanna tell his whole schizo life story.”

“Then let’s get started and stop bitchin’ bout it.”

They reluctantly walked back to the holding cells where they greeted a man with blotchy, purple Einsteinian hair in a clashing orange prison jumpsuit they used to transport prisoners to and from court. He jumped up and grabbed the bars, looking out with a eager expression like a dog at a pound realizing he was about to be let out. Galletto considered his eager attitude to be yet another nail in the coffin that might have been an early end to his shift had they not gotten the call about this particular psycho.

“So, Mr…” he trailed off as he scanned the report to find the man’s name. “Baker, is it?”

“Yes sir, Benjamin T. Baker. The T stands for “The Magnificent”. I’m a wizard.”

“Uh, huh. Well, Mr. Baker my name is officer Galletto, this is officer Whik. We’re gonna take you back to the interrogation room and ask you a few questions, if that’s alright.”

“Of course,” Ben said, smiling. “We magic users try never to interfere in civilian law.”

“Right,” Galletto said, unlocking the door and pulling it open. “Let’s just walk you down here and we’ll go over what exactly happened.”

“Well, nothing happened- that’s the problem, you see? If something had happened when I cast the spell then I wouldn’t be here right now,” Ben explained while Galletto quickly led him down the hallway. Whik opened the door in front of them and Galletto pushed Ben through and gruffly sat him down in one of the aluminum chairs purposely made to be unforgiving to the ass of the sitter and make them more willing to say what needed to be said so that they could move to more comfortable surroundings.

“I don’t believe I’m understanding this,” Galletto said, moving around to the other side of the table and sitting down. “Let’s just look at the report, shall we.” He slapped the paperwork down on the table, flipped open the folder and started reading.

“Defendant was found in the lobby of the Queensburgh aquarium at 3:45pm Thursday August 27th clothed in white cotton socks and a gold costume necklace. He-“

“It wasn’t ‘costume jewelry, it was a very powerful medallion which was confiscated from me when I got here,” Ben defended.

“He had been taken into custody by security after attempting to enter a “please touch tank” containing three horseshoe crabs, five starfishes, two sea cucumbers and various coral," Galletto continued. "Then there’s reports from several eye witnesses, various shots from security cameras, and other evidence… So, what is your explanation for this course of events?”

“The spell didn’t work, that’s where this whole mess started. What, do you think I normally wander into banks on Thursday afternoons wearing nothing but a medallion and socks? I’m not crazy,” Ben laughed. Whik and Galletto exchanged a glance which clearly expressed their doubt about this last statement. Ben, whom they both thought of as the kind of guy who would not catch such non-verbal communication, caught this.

“I’m not! I tried to cast an invisibility spell, right? But I didn’t know how to find wormswort. I substituted some rosemary from my mom’s spice rack cause, you know. Then I said the incantation, and that was that. I looked in the mirror to see if I was invisible and I wasn’t but then I realized that was cause it’s not a magic mirror. SO I-“

“Excuse me for interrupting you, but the whole crux of this story is that you’re a wizard, right?” Whik asked.

“Yes.”

“Well, I’m sure I’m going to regret asking this, but if you’re a wizard why don’t you just zap yourself out of here?”

“Wizards don’t ‘ZAP’, they work spells,” Ben answered indignantly.

“Fine, why don’t you do that, then?”

“I’m not a very good wizard,” Ben said, as if that explained everything.

Galletto sighed to himself realizing just how long of a shift this was going to be.

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