"Come in Doctor Sanchez."
The detective ushered Austin into the cramped little room and directed him to a slate backed chair at a long wooden table. Shutting the door, he sat opposite of Austin with his arms folded, rocking back and forth on the rear legs of the chair. He studied Austin as if he were staring at a specimen under a microscope.
Then, without uttering a word, the detective let the chair fall back on all four of its legs, the sudden thud startling in the quiet room. Tapping the blunt end of his pencil on the table as he studied the notes in front of him, the detective repeatedly hummed a couple of tuneless notes.
Austin, assuming that this was another form of police psychological torture, nervously glanced around the small room. It was a mess. The clutter made him fill slightly claustrophobic. Shelves, floor, and table were packed with files, office equipment, and other office paraphernalia. There was barely enough room for him to move. Breathing slowly, Austin strove to put on the face of extreme confidence. After all, he had done nothing wrong. He had stolen nothing. No one had died on the operating table while in his hands and he owed no one any money. So what was the problem? Why had he been called here?
He could feel himself slipping into the Black man's sense of injustice and fear. No matter how professional a Black man became, the idea of dealing with the law could put mortal fear into his soul.
Examining the tips of his manicured nails and then the tips of his well shined shoes, he waited for the detective to stop the tuneless humming and speak. When the humming stopped, Austin thought he was about to learn the reason for his summons and he sat up straight, but he was mistaken. He watched the detective with a burning anger as the man tossed the useless pencil, pushed back his chair and moved away from the table, crossing the room to the coffee maker.
"Would you like a cup of coffee, Doctor Sanchez?"
"Why not, I guess I have nothing to lose by taking a cup." Deciding to get the show on the road, he employed sarcasm as his tool. "Maybe after that, you will tell me why you requested my company. Unless you called me here because you were lonely."
"No." The detective returned to the table and placed one of the cups he was carrying, in front of Austin. "Loneliness doesn’t happen to be one of my problems. As a matter of fact, my problem is really your problem." He took a sip from his cup.
Copying the detective's moves, Austin irritably took a drink from his coffee. The damned little detective was working on his last nerve. Having to sit at the beck and call of a White man made him want to return to his belligerent, defiant, and ignorant days in the Hood. The gulp of scalding coffee brought his control into focus and he coughed in annoyance. Slamming the cup on the table and spilling a few drops in the process, he then mimicked the detective's rocking movements.
"Doctor Sanchez where is your son?"
"What?"Austin let the chair's legs fall back to the floor with a bang. "I don't have a son. If you called me in here to badger me about some unknown child, then I'm afraid you called in the wrong person." Austin stood to leave.
"Do you know a Catrine Nechelle Teddi?"
"Yes," Austin answered hesitantly before he turned and gazed doubtfully on the detective. "I haven't seen her for a few years, though."
Pointing to the empty chair with an ink pen, a sure sign they would now get to work the detective resumed his interrogation.
"When was the last time you saw your son?"
"I have never seen my 'son', because I don’t have one." Austin getting more irritated as the moments passed emphasized his response angrily by running his fingers through his hair.
"From what Ms. Teddi has told us, you do. The child is three and a half." He picked up the sheet of paper. "He was born on the twentieth of September."
"What?" Austin resumed his seat slowly, staring at detective in astonishment. "You mean you're telling me that Catrine had my child and she didn't let me know?"
"Is that what you’re telling me?"
"Yes."Austin covered his mouth in shocked disbelief. "How could she do such a thing? Isn't there a law against that or something? How can a woman keep the knowledge of a child from its father and there not be a law against it? Wouldn't that be like kidnapping or something?" He stared at the detective, but did not really see him. His mind, desperately trying to assimilate what it had heard, refused to take in anything else.
"Have you and Ms. Teddi had an argument lately?"
"I just finished telling you that I haven’t seen her in a few years. I'm talking about over four years,
"Four years," The detective repeated the words in disbelief. “So you're trying to tell me you don't know where the boy is."
"He's missing? You brought me here, tell me about a child I have never seen and then you tell me that he is missing. Am I going to be considered a suspect? Wait a minute; I am a suspect, right" Austin stood in agitation and paced the room. “Do you think that I took him?"
"Sit down, Sanchez." The detective stood and put his hand on his hip. His solid stance and the hand nearest the gun in his holster intimidating as hell and Austin sat."The mother reported the child missing and we always check with family members, first. You are not the only one we will question."
"I just can't believe this." Austin shook his head in stupefaction. “Catrine had my child and didn’t let me know. Do you have a picture of my son?" He looked across the room at the detective.
"No, an officer is on the way to meet Ms. Teddi now to get one." He sat back down. "I won't be able to keep you too long, but I do have a few questions that I want to ask you. I want to ask you a few questions about your activities throughout today. So sit back and calm down."
Taking a deep breath and picking up the cup of coffee so his hands would be occupied, he had spent the better part of the past two hours sitting in that hard bottomed slate backed chair, repeatedly answering the same questions until he thought he would burst with anger and frustration.
"Listen, I don’t know how differently I can answer you. I have never seen him. I have already told you the same thing repeatedly I have no ideas about an abduction. For all I know the child is not even my son."
He had stressed the statement. Losing all patience, but to no avail. The questions continued. Do you know Catrine Teddi? Where does she live? When was the last time you had any contact with her? How long have you known her? Do you think she would harm her own child?
The same questions, the same answers except for the one that he had no answer for.
Why had Catrine kept the boy a secret?
- The Author Explains Premise of Novel
- Excerpt- Catrine
- Interview with Catrine Teddi
- Interview with Austin Sanchez
- Interview with Brhin-Kristoffer
- Interview with Mona Boots
- Book Page on Smashwords
- Love and other Stories
- Excerpt: Confronting the Workers
- Mona Celebrating
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