Porter opened his eyes and lifted his feet off the desk when he heard the radio go off. “Unit 974 to Post, I’m 10-10 Carlisle with the 10-14.”

“10-4, 974.”

Standing up, Porter stepped into the doorway of the small office, waiting for the state police trooper to bring the suspect in. The office opened onto a large room with a table and a few desks. Beyond that was a smaller room, the dispatch room. They had radios for the county fire and EMS and the city. The front door opened, letting in a gust of wind. The trooper was speaking as he led the visitor in.

“Yeah, don’t worry, man. I’ll drive you back when we’re done here. I go that way anyway. Hey Porter, here’s your man.” The trooper left them and stepped into the dispatch room, where the dispatcher was leaned back, shaking his head over at an old episode of COPS.

“Mr. Franks, I’m Detective Porter. I don’t whether or not Trooper Johnson told you, but I’m investigating a murder and need to ask you some questions, help with a timeline.”

“Sure, he mentioned it but like I told him, I don’t know nothin bout a murder. Just be a waste of your time.”

Porter smiled. “Oh well. If I wasn’t doing this I’d be doing some other paperwork. The TV never shows how many forms we have to fill out.” He motioned at the table. “Please have a seat and we’ll get you out of here as soon as we can.”

The man pulled out a chair and dropped down into it, rubbing at his eyes. “Yeah, well, I ain’t got much goin on but watchin tv these days so whatever.”

Digging into his pocket for change, Porter opened the door. There was a small lobby with a pop machine and another door leading into the city office. “Something to drink, Mr. Franks?”

“Nah. I’d never get to sleep tonight.”

Porter came back in with a can of Mountain Dew, sitting it on the table with a thick file folder. He opened the file, flipping through the pages until he found what he was looking for. “Okay, so your name is Michael Franks, of 4178 Myers Road? And married to Glenda Franks?” He then read Franks his rights and had him sign to show it had been done. “Paperwork, man. I swear, I’ll probably die from a papercut instead of a gunshot. Do you know this man?”

Franks looked down at the photo pushed his way and shook his head. “No idea. He the guy got killed?”

“Yeah. Are you sure you don’t know him? Somebody told me they saw you talking to him at Grey’s the day he got killed. Have a closer look.”

Frowning, Franks looked again. “Well, maybe. I was out there and somebody asked me for some directions. That could be him. But I left, never saw him again.”

“Uh huh.” Porter made a note. “So you don’t know a man named Bobby Jones?”

“Doesn’t ring a bell. But I meet lots of people, you know. I’m a salesman.”

“And how many of these people you meet do you bring home to sleep with your wife?”

Franks jumped to his feet, chair falling to the floor behind him. “What the fuck? What the hell kind of question is that. Man, if it wasn’t for that badge…”

“Sit the fuck down.” Porter sit looking at the man, hands still resting on the table. “You think we’re fucking stupid? That we don’t ask questions? Besides, your wife isn’t very fond of you. She told us everything. Sit down, goddamnit.” His voice never rose but it had developed a hardness that had Franks putting his chair upright and quickly sitting.

“That damn bitch doesn’t know shit. So I gave the guy directions, and maybe he was fucking my wife. I’ll be sure to let my divorce lawyer know.”

“Boy, if he fucked like he runs his mouth, his wife probably wouldn’t be looking for strange, eh Porter?” The trooper leaned against the dispatch room doorway, arms folded across his chest.

“Hell, Bell, you know how hard it is to make up for a little dick.”

Franks slapped the table, face red with anger. “If you just brought me here to fucking insult me, I’m leaving.”

“Sit down.” The order came out with a bark that even had the trooper starting to straighten up. Only half way out of his seat, Franks dropped back down. Porter opened the file and laid out a series of pictures. “This body was found yesterday morning. One of those pull offs where the county used to have dumpsters. Somebody driving past saw it. Best we can figure, it had been there since sometime the evening before.” He tapped a finger on one of the pictures. “Somebody bashed his skull in with a hammer and cut his fucking dick off. You believe it?”

Franks shrugged. “Maybe he’d been fucking the wrong woman. Or maybe he cheated on his girl. Don’t know the man. Gave him directions and that was it.”

“It’s true, isn’t it? Your wife likes fucking other guys?”

“What? What the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

“Well, according to Mr. Jones’ friend, he had a thing for married women. Fucked the wrong wife some husband might want to kill the sumbitch.”

Porter frowned at the trooper. “Yeah well let’s leave conjecturing to the lawyers. We’re just trying to cover all the bases here. What time did you see him at Grey’s?”

“Around noon. I went out there to get some lunch. He was leaving, his car parked next to mine.”

“What did you argue about?”

“Man, I fucking told you, there was no argument. He had got turned around and needed directions to get back over to 68.”

“So if somebody said the two of you were arguing and shouting…”

“Is it that fat fucking bitch behind the counter? She never has liked me.”

“Shit, calm down, man. No jury here is going to convict you for shooting this black fucker. Not with what I’ve heard of the asshole.”

“Trooper Johnson, that is enough. And you, Franks, just answer the fucking questions.” He glared at them both, turning a page of notes. “Now, when was the first time you invited John Blaine to your house so he could have sex with your wife?”

Franks just stared at him. “I told you I had no idea who that is. That’s enough of this shit.”

“How stupid do you think we are? You think we haven’t all ready talked to your wife? Your neighbours? Hell, the body was found yesterday morning. I’ve had plenty of time to get ready for your dumb ass. Cooperate and it’ll go easier on you.”

“I can call a lawyer, right?”

“Sure. And I arrest you and send you to jail. And it’s too late for pretrial so there’s no chance at a hearing until Monday. Or you can cooperate and we’ll make this as smooth as possible.”

“Right. And I still go to jail.”

“Why? Since you say you didn’t do anything.”

“Whatever, man. Let’s just fucking finish this. If you’re going to send me to jail, I’d like to get there in time for some sleep.”

“Shit, Bell, cuts a man’s dick off and he’s worried about sleep. So when did you first meet Jones?”

Franks looked back and forth between the detective and the trooper. Porter put down his pen and leaned forward. “Mike, you are right. You will be going to jail tonight. We have enough evidence and witness accounts to do that. But it’s true that you confessing will help you out. Besides, like Trooper Bell said, no one’s that concerned with this shithead being killed. Besides fucking his way through half the married women of three counties, he brought a lot of pills into this area. So why don’t we just get this done.”

Sighing, Franks sunk back into his seat. “Fine. Yeah, we were…swingers, I guess you’d call it. Met other people, trade off to fuck. Although in the last year or so, it got to be where it was more other men and they were just there for her. She discovered she liked big dicks and she liked rubbing it in my face.”

“That can’t be easy.”

“You got that fucking right. Your own wife, laughing at the size of your dick while riding on some other guy? It’s why we are getting divorced.”

“And Jones?”

“Couple months ago. Friend of one of her lovers. Fucking asshole he was. Wasn’t enough that he was fucking my wife but he had to lord it over me. Act like I was just some piece of shit. That I wasn’t man enough and not as good as him. And Glenda went right fucking along with him. Stupid cunt.”

“And that day at Grey’s?”

“Yeah, he was there. I went there for some lunch and was leaving as he pulled in. Just to fuck with me. So yeah, we got into it in the parking lot.”

“This was at what, twelve thirty, one? Coroner said he died at eleven pm. What happened all that time?”

“Far as I know he was at my house fucking my goddamned wife. I went out to daddy’s, had to cut hay. Had supper there and never laid eyes on the bastard till about ten thirty.”

“At Glenda’s house? She said he left and she got in the shower. Last she saw of him. That right?”

“Probably. They were standing in the doorway sucking tongue like fucking teenagers when I got there.”

“Didn’t see you?”

“Nah, parked down the road and walked up. I…I was…fuck, pissed ain’t even the word for it. Never been this mad before. Wanted to show that goddamned asshole what a fucking man was. It was fine when it was just fucking. But this, this was beyond that.”

Other than scribbling the occasional note, Porter watched the man across from him. “Yeah, I know how you feel. Got off early one night, thought I’d surprise the wife and found her in bed with another man.”

“Yeah?” Porter nodded. “Like a fucking kick in the nuts, isn’t it? But what are you going to do?”

“What did you do, Mike?”

“Hit the fucker over the head when he was getting into his car. Maglite, same as you guys use. Went down like a fucking sack of taters. But you guys know about that, don’t you?”

“And then?”

“Drove him out to that old dump site on Cassidy Creek. Remember when they used to have dumpsters there?”

“And what, sliced his dick off? Let him bleed to death? Or did you cut his throat first?”

“Shit, I ain’t that cruel. Sliced his throat.” He fell silent for a moment. “All those muscles and big dick didn’t help him then, did they asshole? It ain’t like the movies, didn’t die right away. He laid there choking on his own blood. I can still hear it.”

Porter closed his file, laying his pen on top. “Hank, call the jailor,” he called to the dispatcher. “Franks, you might want to call your lawyer now.”


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