CHAPTER ONE: BRINGING IN THE SUSPECTS
June 13 th , 2013
Ninety-Two Degrees Fahrenheit
Seven teenagers, between the ages sixteen and nineteen, slowly walked up to the front doors of the Pascal J. Schultz Detention Center with irritated, frightened, and tired looks on their faces. All seven teenagers stood outside of the building and waited for someone to come out and give them instructions. On the shoulders of the three girls were over-the-shoulder bags while the four boys carried JanSport backpacks on their backs.
Officer Fleischer, a skinny man with salt-and-pepper hair and green eyes, walked down a long, narrow, white-tiled floor hallway with a very disturbed and serious look on his face with two officers, who answer to the names “Jones” and “Newman”, trailing behind him.
Their shoes made clip-clopping noises as the officers walked down the hall and the hallway had a lingering scent of scrambled eggs and coffee, thanks to another officer reheating a potluck breakfast dish from two days ago. The cold air from the air conditioners gave Officer Fleischer goose bumps on his neck and arms but he decided to not allow himself to display any signs of getting bothered by the sixty-degree temperature.
The three officers were at least six feet away from the entrance of the detention center when Officer Fleischer suddenly stopped.
“We are dealing with teenagers.” Officer Fleischer said in a quiet voice. “Adolescents, juvenile delinquents…human beings between the ages thirteen and nineteen. Keep in mind that with individuals like them, they can be manipulative and dangerous. Officer Jones and Officer Newman, keep your guard up and don’t let those teenagers, also known as our suspects, find your weaknesses and take advantage of you two.”
“Yes, sir.” Officers Jones and Newman replied in unison.
Almost immediately, Officer Fleischer walked to the entrance and walked out of the building. His body immediately began to warm up as he walked in front of the seven teenagers.
Officer Fleischer took a deep breath as Officers Jones and Newman walked out of the Pascal J. Schultz Detention Center.
“ALL OF Y’ALL, STAND UP STRAIGHT AND PLACE YOUR HANDS ON YOUR SIDES!” Officer Fleischer shouted.
In a hesitant matter, all seven of the teenagers obeyed Officer Fleischer’s order. Well, all of the teenagers straightened up but only four of them didn’t put their hands on their sides.
“HANDS ON YOUR SIDES NOW!” Officer Fleischer shouted to the four teenagers.
This time, the four teenagers who didn’t place their hands on their sides did that action almost immediately.
“TODAY IS NOT THE DAY FOR YOU TO MESS AROUND!” Officer Newman shouted. “THE SEVEN OF YOU ARE BROUGHT HERE FOR A REASON! Do you want to know the reason?”
One of the teenagers, a boy with heavy black make-up and nail polish, raised his hand.
“NOW’S NOT THE TIME FOR QUESTIONS!” Officer Newman shouted to the teenager, immediately making him put his hand down. “THE ONLY TIME TO ASK QUESTIONS IS WHEN YOU’RE INSIDE THE BUILDING! WHEN WE GO INSIDE, Y’ALL HAVE TO DO WHAT I TELL Y’ALL…NO IFS, ANDS, OR BUTS! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?”
As four of the teenagers nodded their heads, the other three mumbled,
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” Officer Newman shouted.
“NOW I WANT ALL OF Y’ALL TO SAY THAT TOGETHER!”
Immediately, all seven teenagers shouted in unison,
“All right! Thank you!” Officer Fleischer exclaimed. “Now, as y’all walk in, Officers Jones and Newman will be inspecting your shoes, pockets, and backpacks for safety reasons! Officer Jones is going to lead you to the Inspection Room and make sure that you’re not carrying any weapons in your shoes, pockets, or bags. If any of y’all refuse to allow Officer Jones inspect your pockets or bags, then that’ll make me believe that you have something to hide from us. Do I make myself clear?”
“Line up in a single file line!” Officer Jones commanded.
The teenagers immediately lined up in a single file line with Officer Jones in the front.
Officer Fleischer and Officer Newman opened the front doors, allowing Officer Jones to lead the teenagers into the building.
As soon as the teenagers stepped into the building, the cold air immediately made goosebumps run up and down their necks and arms, cooling them off.
One of the girls did not react very well to the cold air. She clenched her jaw and her eyebrows were knitted together in discomfort as she glanced around her surroundings nervously.
“EYES FRONT!” Officer Fleischer exclaimed at the girl, surprising her. “EYES FRONT!”
The girl immediately stopped and looked forward.
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” She muttered quietly and nervously.
The teenagers continued to walk until Officer Newman exclaimed,
Immediately, they stopped.
Then, Officer Fleischer shouted,
“HANDS ON THE WALL!”
The seven teenagers looked at him in confusion.
“Which one?” One of the boys asked.
“The wall on our left or the wall on our right?” One of the girls asked.
“ON YOUR LEFT!” Officer Fleischer exclaimed.
The seven teenagers turned to their left and placed their hands on the wall like they were doing wall push-ups. While they were doing that, Officer Fleischer and Officer Newman whispered something to Officer Jones and they both left the hallway.
“This is Officer Jones speaking to y’all.” Officer Jones said a few seconds later. “I will be inspecting y’all quickly so that I can make sure that y’all aren’t carrying anything that’s not allowed inside the interrogation ward. I want y’all to be cooperative while I’m doing this. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir.” The seven teenagers replied in unison.
“With your hands still on the wall, every one of you should take off your shoes.”
The teenagers hesitated but they reluctantly obeyed the command.
Four out of the seven teenagers, three boys and one girl, found it really difficult to take off their shoes with their hands on the wall. They couldn’t see their feet and two of them almost fell down because of an unequal amount of balance.
“If any of y’all fall, don’t sit down.” Officer Jones said. “Stand back up right away and put your hands back on the wall.”
The four teenagers who struggled with balancing themselves acted like their hands were stuck to the wall with sticky tack putty and super glue, even though their palms were growing sweaty by the second. Two of the teenagers clenched their jaws in frustration while the other two grunted.
Officer Jones smiled when the four struggling teenagers finally managed to take off their shoes.
“Why do we need to take our shoes off?” One of the boys asked.
“Just a safety precaution.” Officer Jones replied as he picked up a pair of shoes and clapped them together like there was mud on the soles.
“Let me guess.” The girl who acted nervous earlier said. “The reason why you’re clapping our shoes together is because there was a crime involving a man with a dull bladed-weapon in one of his shoes, right?”
Not really paying attention to the girl’s question, Officer Jones nodded as he clapped a second pair of shoes.
“Why, yes.” He said. “There was a man who tried to conceal a switchblade in his shoe. Your parents must’ve told you the story about Barnabas Stains.”
After a brief pause, the girl replied,
“My parents never told me about Barnabas Stains and I have a feeling that Barnabas Stains is not his real name…”
Just as Officer Jones was about to clap together the third pair of shoes, he stopped and looked at the girl in shock and confusion.
“…and his real name remains anonymous, due to wanting to conceal his identity.”
Officer Jones blinked twice and said,
“How did you know that? The last part that you said was never mentioned in the paper. Did somebody who knew the criminal tell you the criminal’s real name?”
“No, sir.” The girl replied. “I’m from Hornstein, Virginia. No one in Hornstein knows about Barnabas Stains. I didn’t have any idea him until you told us to take off our shoes.”
Officer Jones was stunned.
How can that be possible if the criminal’s real name was never revealed to anyone in Fraternity Row?
“I’m back.” Officer Newman said as he walked towards the stunned Officer Jones with a Styrofoam cup in his right hand. “Are you finished with the inspection?”
Officer Jones suddenly remembered his job and quickly replied,
“No but I’m almost done.”
Then, he looked at the girl from Hornstein and said to her in a whispered voice,
“You and I are going to have a talk later if things go well today.”
As if he were a man rushing to get ready for work at the last minute, Officer Jones quickly clapped together the third…fourth…fifth…sixth…and finally, the seventh pair of shoes, which, to him, was the dirtiest pair that he had to clap in a long time.
“Hands off the wall, everyone.” Officer Jones said. “While you face the wall, check your pockets and bags to see if y’all are not carrying any pocketknives or anything illegal.”
“Yes, sir.” Five of the seven teenagers replied.
Two of the three girls stood awkwardly as they kept their eyes on the wall. Both of them were wearing all black outfits and had black spiky hair with some ends looking like they were defying the laws of gravity.
The girl that stood on the left side of the single file line raised her hand.
“Yes?” Officer Jones asked.
“I don’t have any pockets. What should I do?” The girl asked as she still kept her eyes on the wall.
“Just wait until the others are done.”
The two girls in black stood still while keeping their eyes on the wall.
As for the remaining teenagers, they dug their hands into the pockets of their pants and the inside of their backpacks as they thought about how ridiculous Officer Jones is with his idea of inspecting.
One of the boys on the left side of the line looked at the girl from Hornstein, Virginia with curiosity. He was very curious to know how the girl happened to know so much despite of not looking up any information about a criminal who carried a dull switchblade in his shoes. Many of the boy’s thoughts began to run around in his head as the three other boys stopped digging through their pockets one by one.
The girl from Hornstein glanced at the boy. She noticed that he was looking at her and she sensed the curiosity in his eyes. The girl from Hornstein had a feeling that the boy wanted to know how she manage to know so much about someone despite of never hearing about them at all.
“LINE UP!” Officer Newman exclaimed, surprising the girl and the boy.
As their thoughts about each other still lingered in their minds, the girl and the boy joined the other teenagers and walked down the hall with them like soldiers.
One of the girls in black glanced back at the girl from Hornstein with irritation in her eyes.
“What was that all about?” She hissed.
“What was what all about?” The girl from Hornstein asked in a whisper.
“Your little act from back there. Were you trying to show off?”
“I never intend to show off and what I did is nothing but a very bad habit. Whenever somebody says something…I don’t know, my mind just clicks and I can’t help but ask that person about the thing that’s somehow related to something else.”
The girl in black blew one of her gravity-defying-like strands of hair out of her face and exclaimed softly in a mocking voice,
“Ha! Yeah, right!”
The girl from Hornstein frowned and replied calmly,
“It’s true. I’m not making anything up.”
“Well, guess what, missy?” The girl in black hissed. “I hate girls who show off and try to act innocent to cover up their—”
“She’s not trying to show off!” The curious boy harshly exclaimed at the girl in black.
“QUIET!” Officer Newman exclaimed, shutting the three teenagers up.
While keeping her eyes front and looking solemn, the girl from Hornstein felt a feeling of surprise grow inside of her.
What the heck was that about? She thought. Nobody has ever stood up to me like that whenever my gift makes me act up. Why did that boy stand up for me? What is his reason? Was he trying to impress me? Does he have a gift that’s similar to mine and knows how a beginner feels when trying to keep their gift a secret? I guess that I will find out later once I have the time.