The base of the green vinyl chair Benjamin had slumped in creaked and groaned under his shifting weight as he watched the door. He leaned away from the once white wall, darkened by age and dirty handprints. Without a phone, he didn’t know how many hours had passed since he arrived or if it was even the same day. The anxiety of being disconnected faded, likely swallowed by the growing numbness radiating from his ass.
The door to the room flipped open. Benjamin sat up as a detective in a moss green button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows sauntered in. His thumb hooked behind the gold badge on his belt when he hitched up his pants, then he dropped a manilla folder on the metal desk in the middle of the room. Keeping a close eye on Benjamin, he pulled the worn black office chair away from the desk and flopped down. The detective sighed, opened the folder, and leaned over it. “Quite a night you’ve had… Benjamin.” He looked up with one eyebrow raised. “I bet your friends call you, what, Ben? Benny, maybe?”
Benjamin watched the detective without emotion. “No.”
The detective frowned. “Okay then.” He flipped through the papers in the folder. “Let’s see here, assault with a deadly weapon, destruction of private property, theft over—”
“It wasn’t my idea.”
“Don’t matter whose idea it was, you were there, which means just as much as if you planned the whole thing.”
“I didn’t plan anything. My… friends didn’t tell me what they were going to do. If they even knew it themselves.”
The detective gave a smile that was anything but genuine. “Oh, they planned it all right. Got two confessions already. Only need one more before the rest of the crew goes to lockup.”
Benjamin tilted his head. “Are you suggesting there’s some sort of deal on the table if I tell you what you want to know?”
The detective shrugged and looked away, fighting the twitch at the corner of his lips. “Maybe, and I mean maybe, that’s what I’m sayin’.”
Benjamin sat back and scanned the corners of the ceiling. “Am I on a hidden camera show? Does that kind of thing happen in real life?”
The detective scowled. “Well, if that’s the way it’s going to be.” He slapped the folder shut and pushed away from the table.
The air in the room grew heavy and still. Flickering light from the fluorescent fixtures overhead steadied and dimmed. The detective’s skin greyed as his body slowed and froze mid-way to standing. Benjamin frowned, then turned to the door and crossed his arms. When it swung a wide arc into the room, it did so without a sound.
A man in a black tailored suit sauntered in with a shit-eating grin plastered to his face. “Benjamin, there you are.” He shook a shiny, oversized watch down his wrist and glanced at its face as if time meant something. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
“I bet.” Benjamin stood with a wide stance. “What the hell happened out there, Wheeler?”
Wheeler’s smile faltered, and he averted his eyes. “It was a… misunderstanding.”
“You have a talent for down-playing nearly every situation, don’t you?”
The smile returned. “I have many talents.”
Benjamin rolled his eyes but did not respond.
“Anyway,” Wheeler waved a dismissive hand, “let’s get you out of here before our little distraction wears off.” He turned to walk out the door but stopped and leaned back into the room. “Benjamin?”
“Don’t forget the folder.”