Chapter 4

“Name?”

“I already told you.”

“Name?”

“David Beveridge.”

“Age?”

“I already told you that too.”

“Age?”

“Seventeen.”

Officer Titus, a large bulky black man with a shaved head, looked away from the pad he was writing on and glanced at his wristwatch.

“It’s eleven-fifteen,” he said. “Curfew for minors is eleven.”

At this point, my dad, who had been standing idly by wringing his hands, stepped forward.

“Okay, Officer, I think my son has answered all your questions. He was in the back when the assailant entered the store and he stayed there and didn’t see the man’s face. Now are we done here?”

My dad had arrived less than a minute after I called him. After all, we lived only ten blocks away and he had hurried here in his BMW in sweatpants and an undershirt.

The police — Officers Titus and Mallory — had pulled into the parking lot about a minute after Dorothy came to. I’d just helped her to her feet when the electronic buzzer went ding-dong and there the two cops stood staring at us with frowns.

Officer Titus took his time marking something down on his pad. He seemed bored, like he was too good for this type of cop work, probably believed he would someday make a great detective instead.

His partner, who had been inside taking Dorothy’s statement, came out the door and walked over to us shaking his head.

“Nothing on the tape.”

Officer Titus said, “Say that again?”

“The tape was in the player and it was recording. Right before the perp came in, it all turned to static.” He noticed my dad, smiled, and extended his hand. “Assistant D.A. Beveridge, it’s very good to meet you, sir.”

Officer Titus gave my dad another look, something changing in his face. “Oh shit, I didn’t — ”

“That’s quite okay,” my dad said. “So are we done here?”

“Just one more thing,” Officer Malloy said, stepping forward and taking my arm. In a soft voice he said, “David, what I’d like you to do now is glance across the street and see if you recognize any of those people as the guy.”

Officer Titus said, “The kid says he didn’t — ”

“I know that,” Officer Mallory said. “But it’s a small store. He may not have seen the guy’s face completely, but he may have gotten a glimpse. Maybe even the color of his shirt or his hat. What do you say, David?”

We were right outside the store, the police cruiser next to us with its red and white roof lights flashing. It had drawn some attention across the street, a half dozen or so people milling around wondering what was what.

“Sure, okay,” I said and gave that side of the street a quick look — some Puerto Rican kids, two old black men, a tall bald guy with a thick goatee — and then I looked back at Officer Mallory and shook my head.

Officer Titus blew air through his nose but Mallory ignored it. He reached into his pocket, dug out a card, and handed it to me.

“If you can remember anything else, please feel free to call me, okay?”

My dad took the proffered card and slipped it into his pocket, smiling at me for the first time. “So are we done here?”

Officer Mallory nodded. “Yes, sir.”

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