“The old woman at Club Versailles?” he asked.
I bristled at the word “old” yet let it slide. I informed him that when Lieutenant Pelzer arrived, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department would probably claim jurisdiction, in which case he wouldn’t have to deal with this mess. That didn’t seem to cheer him up at all.
Meanwhile, another officer was making diagrams of the Audi and the cars I had piled into for a traffic report. Yet another wanted to see my driver’s license. I asked Riley for help. She reached under my jacket, removed the wallet from my inside pocket, and gave it to the cop—either he didn’t see my expired police ID or it didn’t impress him at all. Next, the cop wanted to see my proof of insurance. I told him it was in the glove compartment of the Audi. The cop looked at Riley as if he expected her to retrieve it for him.
“I’m not your bitch,” she told him.
“You got some mouth on you, honey,” the cop said.
“I have a bad attitude, too. Want to do something about it?”
The cop shook his head as if he had heard it all before and moved to the Audi.
“You do have a bad attitude,” I said.
“I called my grandfather. He’s not happy.”
“What else is new?”
“This is crazy, McKenzie. What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that the man who murdered Reney and who attacked Anne Rehmann was standing outside your front door. If I had arrived just three minutes later, he would have taken you.”
Riley shuddered at the thought of it. She took my arm, closed her eyes, and rested her head against my shoulder. I didn’t know if she was feeling sorry for herself or Mrs. R until she said, “Reney was so kind to me.”
“Me, too,” I said.
“Mrs. Rogers was your friend?”
“Even though you only spoke to her twice?”
“I was her friend three minutes after I met her. It works that way, sometimes.”
“It’s never worked that way for me.”
“Don’t be so sure.”
Riley tightened her grip on my arm.
There had been moments in our brief relationship when I was tempted to give Riley the spanking she so richly deserved. Other times—I would have hugged her if not for the handcuffs.
The sergeant seemed less charitable. He stood by listening to every word I spoke. I nearly shouted at him, “Yes, this is what’s considered a spontaneous utterance and it can be used against me in a court of law whether you read me my Miranda rights or not, which you haven’t by the way, you nitwit.” I didn’t, though.
By then the owners of the two vehicles had appeared. I had more trouble dealing with them than I did with the cops. How was it possible, they wondered loudly and angrily, that I had managed to crash into two parked cars, and what in the hell was I doing driving on the sidewalk in the first place? That, of course, was exactly what the cops wanted to know.
I knew I was going to get a ticket for either careless or reckless driving and wouldn’t that make my insurance company happy? I was already paying an ungodly amount for coverage since they had me ranked as high-risk. The cops asked me to submit to a PBT, and I agreed. The preliminary Breathalyzer test came up negative, though, eliminating the possibility of a DWI charge—so I had that going for me. I had no doubt, though, that the cops were thinking I should be cited for DWHUA—driving with head up ass.
Lieutenant Pelzer finally arrived, trailed by a small army of deputies, and both he and the sergeant listened intently while I explained myself. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, what with the questions they both insisted on asking. They then asked the same questions of Riley, who was her usual ultradefensive self.
Eventually Pelzer took official charge of the investigation, and the Minneapolis cops handed over the evidence they had collected to the deputies, who promptly double-checked it all. The cop who had caught the call in the first place reluctantly removed the handcuffs. He kept my gun, though; or rather the deputy he had given it to kept it. The owners of the two damaged cars were on their cells making travel arrangements and discussing lawsuits. No one seemed happy except for the tow truck operators who carted off the vehicles—oh, and my auto mechanic. ’Course, he was always delighted to hear from me, considering how much business I’ve thrown his way over the years.
It was when the tow truck operators were doing their thing that Greg Schroeder appeared, accompanied by a young man who was wearing a suit that looked like it had been given to him as a graduation gift. The young man announced that he was an attorney acting on behalf of Mr. Walter Muehlenhaus.
“Who?” Lieutenant Pelzer asked.
I didn’t know if he was putting the lawyer on or not.
“I demand that my client, Ms. Riley Brodin, be released immediately,” the lawyer said.
“Your client is not in custody,” Pelzer told him.
“Then why is she being detained?”