[Anglican priest in the interrogation room–still wearing his collar]

“He had a hood over his head.” That is what Andrew tells the detective in the bright interrogation room. This is the one reason the detective does not believe him; he will save the other damning reason for later.

“I’m the only witness, other than the boy.”

“You’re the only suspect. The boy is the only witness.”

“Do I need a lawyer?”

“You tell me.”

“I will tell nothing but the truth.”

“Be careful, Mr. Barnett. In this case, the truth will not set you free.”

The detective wants Andrew to tell his lame story one more time. A lie, if told over and over, never evolves to perfection. This will be the third time, best out of three. The good cop bad cop scenario has already been tried. Only the detective remains in the room, foul and on the prowl.

“Start at the beginning.”

“I was running.”

“Was it hot?”

“Yes.”

“How hot, very hot?”

“Yes.”

“Wasn’t the sun blazing bright in a cloudless sky and the temperature set somewhere in the mid-to-upper nineties, almost too hot to run—certainly too hot, say, for any normal person to be wearing a coat and hood?”

“He isn’t normal.” Andrew turns and acknowledges his reflection in the one-way mirror. “He’s a monster.”

The detective stands. His chair makes an ugly scraping sound on the floor. He circles the table, his walrus mustache coming intimately close to Andrews’s face. His breath reeks of burnt coffee and smoke. Caffeine—nicotine—guillotine—the words rhyme in Andrew’s tired mind.

“Your breath stinks. It’s making me sick.”

“Your story stinks. YOU make ME sick.”

The detective slams his beefy fist on the table. Walking back to his chair, “You were running….”

“I was running through the woods, all alone, on the overgrown utility trail which passes under the bridge and along the creek.”

“The train trestle almost visible from the side entrance of your church…”

“Yes—that one—but what is not visible from the side entrance of the church…”

“What might that be?”

“A troll.”

The detective emits a long, smelly sigh.

“Listen, I have a hard enough time believing in Jesus because of perverts like you, now you want me to believe in trolls?”

“I don’t care what you believe, Odobenus Rosmarus.”

“What is that, you say? Talk to me in plain English.”

“I said, I don’t care what you believe, walrus.”

“Mr. Barnett, I hope I’m not being too forward since we’ve just met but, I have to say, you look good in black and white.”

The detective pauses for effect then continues.

“But that’s the problem, isn’t it, Mr. Barnett? Looks are deceiving. Frankly, I don’t care if you wear black and white for the rest of your rotten life, as-long-as you wear it in prison stripes and a collar of another kind. That way no one will ever be deceived again—especially little boys.
_____________
Andrew Dabar
(Excerpt from the short story entitled, “Black and White”)