The Causeway – Chapter 2
The ride to the police station was an unpleasant one for Charlie. Not that rides to the police station are ever pleasant. Charlie had never taken a ride like this before, but no possible ride in the back of a police car could be worse than this. Sure, he could be maced or be shot and left lying in the back seat bleeding out just to wait to be processed or he could be forced to sit next to a detoxing junkie. That would be terrible, but at least Charlie would have a situation appropriate response ready. He didn’t have an answer for what was happening to him now.
“Can you at least tell me why you’re taking me in?” The policeman didn’t answer. He just huffed. “I haven’t done anything, you haven’t read me my rights, I don’t even know your name so I can report you to your superiors.”
The policeman turned around and glared at Charlie. He was somehow able to glare at him for an extended period of time while navigating through traffic at at least forty miles per hour in a residential area. “The name’s Snyder. You won’t forget it. You never do. ”
Officer Snyder could not have offered up a more bewildering response. “What the hell does that mean? I’ve never met you before in my life! ”
Officer Snyder continued to glare back at Charlie, somehow managing a left turn at a busy traffic light while doing so. “Oh you’ve met me. You just don’t know it yet.”
This was not the way a policeman was supposed to behave. Weren’t they supposed to respect peoples’ rights, or at least tell them what they were being hauled in for? They definitely weren’t supposed to drive recklessly without looking while uttering insanely cryptic remarks to complete strangers. That was more of a job for a street preacher at the bus station.
Officer Snyder turned his head back to the road just in time to swerve into a parking spot in front of the police station. Somehow the car ended up neatly parked bumper to bumper with police cars front and back. If Charlie wasn’t so frightened at the moment, he would have asked Officer Snyder how he learned to drive like that. All Charlie managed to do instead was swallow loudly.
“Last stop Mr. Calloway.” Charlie was experiencing every negative emotion there was to experience at the same time. He was extremely frightened by this madman who had no regard for the rules that the police are supposed to follow. His disregard for the law made Charlie angry. He was confused about just what the hell was happening to him. He was jealous of the frankly magnificent driving ability this crazy man had. His coffee was kicking in and he had to pee, which made him annoyed.
Snyder flung open the passenger door of the police car. “Right this way, Mr. Calloway.” He sneered out Charlie’s last name as if he were spitting out sour milk. He was breathing loudly through his nose, causing the bristles in his mustache to vibrate, dislodging crumbs and whatever other snacks he kept stashed in there. He grabbed Charlie by the arm and yanked him out of the car.
Charlie was too frightened to resist. Perhaps he was paralyzed by all those stories of police officers waiting for a perp to resist so they had probable cause to beat him senseless. Perhaps this situation was too unusual for a human brain to process in a normal amount of time, causing him to freeze up like an old computer running the latest graphics intensive shoot ’em up game while simultaneously simulating a relativistic many body problem. Perhaps Charlie was simply a coward. In any case Charlie followed him inside the police station.
The inside of the station was completely empty. Most of the lights were off. It was pretty early, only 6:30 in the morning, but there should have been somebody here. Charlie timidly wondered about this. “Where is everybody?”
Officer Snyder’s grip on Charlie’s arm intensified. He was being dragged to a little room in the back. Probably an interrogation room. “They’re all late for work.” Snyder was very satisfied with that sentence. It was as if he had been waiting all day just to say it. Charlie once again lost the ability to speak.
The door of the interrogation room creaked open. Inside were two wooden chairs facing each other. Snyder threw Charlie onto the far chair, causing Charlie to knock it down. “Sit down, Mr. Calloway, we’ve got some things to discuss.”
Charlie picked himself up off the ground, shakily picked the chair up and sat down, not once taking his eyes off of this crazed policeman. “Wh-what do you want to talk about?”
Snyder laughed a deep, guttural, evil laugh. “You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to get you. If I have my way, you won’t ever know. They told me it was impossible. That it would cause problems with some kind of space fabric or something. I just know I have to make all this madness stop before it starts. I have to set the world right again. I have to bring back what was lost, I have to bring her back.”
Tears were streaming down Snyder’s face from behind his sunglasses. He slowly pulled his gun from its holster. He brought the barrel up to his lips and he kissed the side of it. Then he pointed the gun at Charlie.
Charlie wanted to remind this guy that they had never met, that maybe he was thinking of another guy named Charlie Calloway, that killing someone in cold blood never solved anything, that please, wait a minute, I have to pee. All he managed to do was squirm in place and squeal quietly.
“That’s right, squirm you little weasel!” Snyder cackled as he cocked his sidearm. “Nobody will ever know that my actions here today will save the world.”
Charlie fell out of his chair. He frantically checked himself for bullet holes. He thought he found one, but it was just an ordinary hole in the armpit of his shirt. He looked up at Officer Snyder, whose face was suddenly disfigured by exit wounds. Snyder’s body promptly collapsed into a heap on the floor.
Behind him was the mysterious businessman from the night before. “So, Charlie. You ready for that job interview?”