Weekly

By Sally Gray

 

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath day

Is fair and wise and good in every way.

 

***

            Weekly stepped out of his car into the crisp winter night, hopeful that this case would be a quick one to crack.  He looked at his watch.  Twelve twenty-seven, eight hours and three minutes until his wife woke up on the morning of her birthday and, if he wasn’t there when she did, eight hours and four minutes until he met his untimely but well-deserved demise.  This would be the sixth year in a row that work pulled him away on her birthday.

            Weekly hated being called into work.  In fact, Weekly hated his work in general.  Twenty- three years of working as a detective in Detroit had jaded him.  His hair had greyed, the stitch in his back was celebrating its twelfth anniversary, and his jaw never unclenched even as he slept.

            The wind whistling through the buildings brought him back to reality.  Twelve thirty-one, he had lost four minutes just standing in the parking lot.  He pushed through the doors and, stomping the snow off his feet, looked around at the all-to-familiar bustle of the office.  Even at this time on a Friday night the building was teeming with activity.

            “Detective Weekly, good to see you made it safely through the snow,” a voice rang out through the din.

            Ugh, Deborah, Weekly thought to himself.  How could someone be so cheerful at this time of night?  Nonetheless, Weekly appreciated having Deborah as his assistant, even with her unfailing flamboyance.  Hard workers are a rare find.

            “I have the file of the incident laid out on your desk,” she chimed.  “Detective Day wants to speak with you after you’ve looked it over.”

            Weekly grabbed the coffee she was offering him and forced a smile. “Thank you Deb, you’re too good to me.”

            He weaved his way through the other desks to his office, where he shut the door and closed the blinds.  If he wanted to get through this quickly he needed uninterrupted concentration.  Flipping through the file he pieced together what looked like a relatively textbook case of homicide.  A forty-five-year old woman murdered in her home, no fingerprints or DNA found, forced entry evident, no witnesses. 

When he reached the last page he groaned.  A picture of the victim had been blown up to fit the computer paper.  This occurrence was particularly gruesome as it became evident that a knife was the weapon of choice.  It wasn’t the gore as a whole, however, that bothered Weekly but one specific detail.  An “F” was carved into the floorboard next to the victim’s head.  This linked the murder to a string of three others that had occurred so far this January.  Nineteen ninety-seven had started out with a violent bang.  This would not be a quick solve.

“Looks like we’re in it for the long haul, eh, Weeks?!” Detective Day exclaimed as he burst through the door.  Bursting was the only way Day knew how to enter a room, and knocking wasn’t even on his radar.

“Tonight of all nights.  My wife is gonna kill me,” Weekly mumbled.

“She’s too old to celebrate birthdays anyway.  You’re busy bringing home the bacon.  At least that’s what I tell my wife.”  Day plopped down on the chair across from Weekly and leaned his elbows on the desk.  “Well, you’ll be happy to hear that we have some suspects waiting for questioning.”

Day paused and stared blankly ahead.  He always did that, that pausing.  Like he wanted permission to continue or approval of what he’d just said.  Either way, it was infuriating.

“And? Names? Previous records?  Anything?”  Weekly tried not to sound impatient.  He knew he wasn’t very tolerant.  He was working on it.

“It’s a group of boys who reportedly hang out together a lot.  All of them live in the same apartment complex within a two-mile radius of the killings.  They all go to the University.  We have them each in separate interrogation rooms.  Neighbors we’ve talked to reported that the group of boys had been driving around the neighborhood this evening.  We found a small amount of marijuana in the van that they all share which gives us a nice reason to keep them in custody.  Nobody has claimed the drugs yet.”

Weekly sighed.  “That’s not much to go off of but I don’t have any better ideas.  Let’s talk to them each one at a time, get a lay of the land, see what they’ve been up to tonight.”

The two detectives got up and made their way down the hall toward the interrogation rooms.  When they reached the first room they stopped to review the file of the first boy.

“Alrighty, first one’s name is Davy.  Davy Monday.  He’s twenty-two years old.  You wanna go in or should I?”  Day asked.

Weekly, knowing that Detective Day, with his lack of volume-control and his intimidating physique, had never been very good at interrogation, replied, “I tell ya what, you be the bookkeeper and I’ll do the leg work.  That way things stay nice an’ organized.”

Before Day could respond, Weekly entered the interrogation room.  The boy sitting at the table was a small and gangly redhead with skin so light it looked like he’d never seen daylight.

“How’re you doing Davy?  Is that chair comfortable enough for you?”  Weekly asked, trying to sound interested.

“Oh I’m good sir, very comfortable sir. Thank you for asking.” Davy stuttered.  His hands shook as they laid on the table.

“Good.  Well, the thing is, Davy, as I’m sure somebody filled you in on, there have been a few murders in your neighborhood recently and we were wondering if you have any information that would be helpful to us.”  Weekly took the gentler approach on the already nervous kid.

“The drugs aren’t mine sir, I….I don’t even know all of those guys very well.  Honestly, I think they could be Scott’s, or Malcolm’s.  I don’t even use that van.”

“Calm down Davy, you’re not in trouble.  I’m not too concerned about the drugs.  Boys will be boys, right?  I was your age once too.” Weekly got serious.  “I’m more interested in knowing if you have any idea if those guys you hang out with could have been involved in the murders in any way.”

“Like I s-said, I don’t really know all of those guys very well.  I just met them this school year.  Me ‘n Luke are the only ones who’ve known each other for longer.  We went to high school together.”

“Oh yeah?  Which high school?”  Weekly tried to get the boy to relax a little.

“Forrest Preparatory school.  Me and him were pals all through high school.  I was in my freshman year and didn’t know anyone but Scott just came right up to me and we’ve been friends ever since.  We even--“

“Wait, I thought you said it was you an Luke who’ve known each other for longer.  Did you know Scott in high school too?”

“No, no, no I said Luke.  I don’t know Scott at all, he keeps to himself.  Me and Luke are pals.”  Davy’s eyes darted around the room as he got more and more nervous.  He repeated a mumbled “Scott keeps to himself.”

“Okay, I got it.  You and Luke, Scott and nobody.  One more question and then I’ll leave you alone for a while.”  Weekly was getting tired of Davy’s stuttering anyway.  “What were you and the guys up to tonight?”

“Well the guys had just picked me and Luke up from the library.  They had been hanging out before that, just driving around, goofing off.”  Davy smiled a little at that.  “I don’t know where they get the gas money to do all that driving.”

“Sounds good, Davy.  Why don’t you just sit tight while I talk to your friends and then I’ll let you go,” Weekly said as he backed out of the room.

Day was waiting patiently on the other side of the two-way mirror.  “Kid was freaked out.  Seemed like he wanted to be as far away from the situation as possible.  Nice catch on that slip-up by the way.”

“Could’ve been an honest mistake,” Weekly countered.  “I think I wanna talk to this Lucas kid next.”

“Okay, Lucas Saturday, twenty-three years old, room seven.”

Weekly walked down the hall and entered room seven.  Lucas sat at the table, much calmer than Davy but with big circles under his eyes.  He smiled at the detective and nodded.

“Evening, sir, hope I can help you out tonight.”

“Me too, Luke.  My name is Detective Weekly, I know you were picked up on a small drug charge but I actually have some questions regarding the string of murders in your neighborhood.  We’ll get right to it then.  Let’s start with what you and the guys have been up to tonight.”  Weekly could already tell this kid would be more informative than Davy.

“Yeah, no problem.  Davy and I had been studying at the library tonight, there’s a big physics test tomorrow and I’m trying to keep my four point GPA.  Then the rest of the guys picked us up at about seven and we all headed home.  I assume they were just driving around and goofing off like they usually do.”  Luke looked apologetic.  “Sorry I don’t have anything more than that.”

“So you and Davy are pretty close, huh?”

“Oh, we’re all close, sir.  I’ve known Davy for the longest but we’re all like brothers.  Except Scott, he’s kind of a sad kid.  We try to keep him involved but sometimes he can put a damper on the mood.”  Luke flashed a sad smile.

“Scott Wednesday?  Was he with you all tonight?”

“No, he wasn’t in the van with the guys when they picked Davy and me up.  He was already at home, just getting out of the shower when we got there.”

“Okay that’s all, thanks for your help.  I’ll be back in later to let you go home.  Sit tight.”  Weekly got up and left the room.

When Weekly was back in the hallway, he turned to Day.  “Sounds like these guys have different opinions on how well they know each other.  Could be something, could be nothing.  Which room is Wednesday in?”

“Four”

When Weekly walked into room four, Scott Wednesday noticeably jumped.  He had an annoyed look on his face and the detective decided to take a more aggressive approach.

“The guys tell me you’re the odd man out in this little group.  Do they ever get into stuff you don’t wanna be involved in?  Or maybe vice versa?”

Scott looked aggravated.  “I like to keep to myself, is that a crime?  They’re annoying anyway, but I have to split rent with somebody.  They’re always nagging about something.  I swear, Lucas never stops complaining about school.  None of their hobbies interest me, that doesn’t mean I killed anyone.”

“I was talking about the marijuana issue.  Do you know anything about the murders?”

“Of course not, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that you detectives would spend so much time on a misdemeanor drug charge.  I’ve been hanging out at home all night, you have nothing on me.”  Scott leaned back in his chair and glared at the two-way mirror.  That was that.

Weekly said nothing as he stood up and walked out of the room.  He knew Scott’s type and he knew he would get no more information out of the kid.  Day met him in the hallway with his eyes glowing.

“Was that defensive or what?  You didn’t even have to bring up the murders.”  Day was almost buzzing with excitement.  “This one could be promising.”

“I don’t know.  Lots of kids his age hate the world.  Why don’t you see if there are any commonalities between the victims while I talk to the next two kids together.” Weekly tried not to make it too obvious that he wanted to get rid of Day.

“Alright, why don’t you talk to Malcolm Thursday and Gary Sabbath in room two?  I’ll go research the victims some more.”

Weekly strode into room two while a police officer sat Gary down next to Malcolm on the other side of the table.  Right away Weekly noticed that Malcolm was younger than the other boys.  He was rocking back and forth in his chair with Gary’s arm resting on his shoulders.  Gary had a very fatherly aura about him and gave the impression that he was a responsible kid.

“Hey fellas, we shouldn’t have to keep you too much longer.  My name is Detective Weekly, I just wanted to ask you two a few questions.  I’m not too worried about the drug issue, I’m more concerned with the pattern of murders in the area.  So let’s start with what you’ve been up to tonight.”

At that, Malcolm burst into tears, “sir, I don’t—we don’t have anything to do with this—these horrible things.  We—I, I mean, there’s no way I would—“

“Malcolm, it’s okay, calm down,” Gary interjected.  “Sorry detective, we’re just a little shaken up by all that’s been going on.  We heard about the murders of those professors and just felt awful.  We want to do all that we can to help you out here.  What would you like to know?”

“We really appreciate that Gary.  I’m not trying to make this difficult on you all.  Can you just tell me a little bit about you guys?  What you’re all like? What you’ve been up to tonight, any concerns about any of your friends?”  Weekly had a good impression of Gary so far and decided that he might have some useful info.

“Of course, anything you need.  Well, I guess we’re just a really average group of guys.  Malcolm here is the young guy of the group, he’s just a freshman.  Davy’s kind of a nervous guy but is really fun to be around when you get to know him.  Him and Luke are real good friends.  Luke is the working stiff of the group.  He’s a real nice kid, always worrying about his schoolwork.  Uh, Mark is actually on the school soccer team.  Most graceful player you’ve ever seen.  You should really see him play if you get a chance.  Charlie is one of the nicest people I know.  He volunteers in his spare time, helps out a lot of people who need it.  Even Scott is a cool guy if you get to know him.  He prefers to be alone but I can respect that.  Some people just like the quiet.”

“And you?” Weekly asked, trying to process all of the information.

“I guess I just like to take care of everyone.  I like to make sure everything is running smoothly.”  Gary kept the description of himself short, he obviously didn’t like talking about himself.

“So what were you boys up to tonight, anything fun?”

“Nothing too exciting. Mark, Malcolm, Charlie, and I had dinner and then went for a cruise to relax.  We like to do that, just drive.  Calms the nerves.  I tried to get the other three to come but Scott didn’t want to and Luke wanted to study, as usual.  Gary chose to hang with Luke like he always does.  When Luke and Davy were done studying we picked them up from the library and headed home.  When we got there Scott was relaxing on the couch.  That’s pretty much it.”

Gary was almost annoyingly fair.  It was obvious he trusted all of these boys and, although this was respectable, it wasn’t helpful when it came to dishing out dirt about his friends.

“Thank you, Gary.  I promise you’ll be out of here soon.  Hang in there.”  Of course, Weekly had no idea if what he was saying was true, he couldn’t be sure how much longer this would take.  He walked out into the hallway and almost ran directly into a grinning Detective Day.

“Hey, Weeks, I made a list of a few things the victims have in common.  All four were professors at the University.  All were professors of classes that Gary, Scott, and Lucas were enrolled in.  Funny story though, as I was walking to my desk with my coffee I ran into Kathy from HR and she was talking about her new dog and—“  at this point, Weekly knew it was safe to tune out the oddball detective.  Besides, something had clicked.  How had he not seen this right away?  Everything made sense now.  “—so then she had to scrape that off the bottom of her shoe! Isn’t that unbelievable?!”

“Yeah, mmm-hmm.  Day I think I figured it out.  There’s no proof but if I can get him to crack, we’re golden.  I don’t need to speak directly with Marcus Tuesday or Charles Friday.  I’ll be right back.”

Weekly ran down the hall toward the interrogation room.  Stopping to compose himself before entering, he took a deep breath and acknowledged that he had one chance to get this right.  When he was ready, he stepped in.

The boy was pacing as Weekly entered.  When he noticed the detective he took his seat without saying anything.  He linked his hands on the table in front of him and stared right into the detectives eyes.

“I’m going to be straight with you kid, we gotcha.  We know how you did it, we know when you did it, we know why you did it.  We’ve already notified your parents of the situation.  Your roommates were already convinced you were involved.  It didn’t take much digging.  You’ve failed, this is the end of the road.  Carving an ‘F’ into the floorboards?  Could you be more obvious?  You tried so hard to be perfect but you failed yourself, your parents, your friends—“

The boy snapped, his eyes bulged and his hands started shaking as he stood up.  His chair clattered to the ground behind him but Weekly remained stoic.  The detective knew he needed to appear confident.

“You don’t know how hard I work!”  Lucas could hardly get the words out.  The tears started to fall.  “Those professors didn’t appreciate my hard work.  I need my four point.  Nobody’s gonna take that away from me.  An F?  An F?  Lucas Saturday does not get F’s?  They deserved it!  I did the other students of the university a favor!  Their crime overshadows mine, I did the world a favor.”

The police officers stormed into the room and, all the while, Lucas kept spitting out his explanations.  No evidence, DNA or otherwise, and Weekly had still caught him.

“You did it and you got Gary to cover for you by meeting you at the library afterword.  You both tried to throw doubt on Scott for being an outcast.  Gary and his carefully planned slip-up.  Gary knew something was up and he tried to cover for you but we got you Lucas.  We got you because your cover-up was imperfect.”

Lucas had stopped yelling by then.  He finally looked defeated as the officers cuffed him and led him out of the room.  Weekly stood up and followed them out.  Day stood dumbfounded in the hallway.  Weekly took the opportunity to slip past him unnoticed.  He charged into his office, making sure to slam the door behind him.  He needed a few deep breaths.  In and out.  In and out.  God he hated this job.

After composing himself, he grabbed his coat from his office and headed straight for the door.  He mumbled a quick “thanks for your help, Deb” and stepped out into the cold.

He trudged across the parking lot and climbed into his car. What a night.  This ordeal would make for a busy day on Monday.  There was a lot to process but he pushed it to the back of his mind for later.  Right now he needed to rest.  The detective glanced at his watch.  Seven forty-five, not dead yet.

 

 ***

 

 

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© Steve Taft