I left with the two officers who helped me in the back of the squad car. Even though they claimed I wasn’t under arrest, and there weren’t any handcuffs, it sure felt like it. As we drove in, I tried making small talk. “I’m sorry you guys have to be dragged out on this bogus claim.”
Tim smiled, handing me an empty brown bag. “That’s okay. Here’s a bag just in case you feel like you have to throw up. So, how far along are you? My wife’s pregnant with our first. I’m really excited.”
“I’m not sure to be honest with you.”
“The doctor didn’t give you a date?”
“I haven’t gone to the doctor, yet. I just started havin’ mornin’ sickness. With my son, it wasn’t fun, but I love kids. I want a whole house full!”
He laughed. “That’s what my wife said too! She’s having difficulty with the whole morning sickness thing too. She can’t keep anything down and lives on ice cream and shakes. It seems to stay down.”
“Yes. The doctor put me on an ice cream diet for the last six months of my pregnancy. It was horrible. I couldn’t keep anythin’ down but ice cream. However, I might have to give this shake thin’ a try.”
“My wife would kill me if I didn’t give another tortured pregnant woman advice on morning sickness.”
Jake rolled his eyes. “Dude, I’m taking away your man card after this conversation.”
“…says the single man.”
Once at the precinct, I was taken into one of the interrogation rooms and told to wait. It was just a room with a table and four chairs. There was a huge mirror on the wall. I didn’t fluff my hair or look in the mirror because I knew there was someone in there watching me. I took a seat at the table and waited.
After a few minutes, two detectives walked in and sat down opposite me with a folder in hand and a recorder. They all pretty much look the same. One was blonde, one was dark haired and I got the impression one was the good cop and one was the bad.
“Good morning. State your name for the record.”
“Thank you. Do you mind if we call you Elyse?”
I smiled. “No, that’s fine.”
“Thank you. Elyse my name is John Howard and this is my partner, Larry Frost.”
They both smiled and nodded. “It’s nice to meet you. I only wish it were under different circumstances.”
“Would you like something to eat or drink?” John asked.
I put my hand on my stomach. It was better that I didn’t eat or drink anything… at all. I remembered what it felt like before, and unless this was a case of the flu, it was happening again. “Oh, no, thank you. I’m havin’ difficulty keepin’ things down right now. It might be better if I don’t.”
There was a knock on the door and Tom entered with a vanilla shake, setting it down on the table in front of me. “Here you are. I just talked to my wife and she made me promise to go out and get this for you. Luckily, the place next door has them. I’m not sure what flavor you like, so I got you vanilla. She said that will stay down.”
Yes, he was definitely the good cop. I looked up at him. Every day we come in contact with land angels and you never really know who they are. It’s moments like these where they come out of the woodwork, showing themselves to you.
“Aw, thank you!” I accepted it, taking a drink. I felt the coolness ease down my throat, down my chest, and into my empty belly and it felt good. “Mm, that is good. I think you’re right. This is gonna help. Please make sure to tell your wife thank you so much.”
He smiled, winked at me, and saluted before leaving the room.
Larry went back to business as usual. He opened the folder, pulling out a receipt. “Please tell me if that’s your signature at the bottom.”
I looked at it as I took another sip from my shake. It was a receipt from the McStevens and Son. “Oh, I recognize this. Yes. That’s my signature.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a receipt for delivery. It’s the second one, actually.”
“What do you mean?”
“See, we always charged a delivery fee. When this truck came to the yard, he was early. They called me an’ told me that he was there for delivery, but claimed there was no fee. On the first receipt, they faxed out to me, it showed that there was no cost to the guy. He was supposed to get it free, so I did a little sleuthin’ of my own. I double checked the other screens an’ accounts an’ nowhere in the records did it show a free delivery. So, I made the changes, charged for delivery, signed the order with my manager’s code an’ sent it back out.” I pointed to the receipt. “That’s what this is: the fixed receipt.”
“Why was that such a big deal?”
I shook my head. “There are three different crews with three different managers that run that place. Each of us were allowed to give good discounts, but we weren’t allowed to offer free delivery. That’s the money that the truck drivers get for takin’ out the load. They have to go to different places so it’s on top of their salary. It’s like a tip for them they’re guaranteed to get. Ya don’t pay the truck drivers, you don’t get your delivery.”
“Ah. So, what happened to make you have to send down another receipt?”
“Like I said, the yard called me. I was leavin’ for vacation, but stayed to deal with the problem. I was leavin’ my assistant in charge. He wouldn’t have known how to deal with that. The customer was under the impression there was no charge, whereas the driver was expectin’ to be paid. I checked the files an’ didn’t see where they weren’t bein’ charged. I printed out a new receipt, signed it, put a delivery fee rate on it, an’ sent it back out to the yard. I fixed the screw up an’ sent them on their way. I didn’t have time to investigate or I would have. I was about to miss my flight if I didn’t get out of there.”
John furrowed his brows. “That happened so long ago. How do you remember the details so clearly?”
“…because it’s not somethin’ we do and my sister recently called me an’ told me that they were still doin’ some shady shit like that there. We don’t give out free deliveries. When the yard called me with this I wanted to launch an investigation as to why.”
Larry nodded, pushing another piece of paper in front of me. “Can you tell me what this one says?”
I looked at it. “This is another delivery receipt. It shows no delivery charge was assigned. Greg signed off on it. From this receipt, he’s the one who issued it.” I slid it back in front of him.
John slid another receipt over. “How do you explain this one?”
I pulled it closer, looking at it, furrowing my brows. It was a standing order for free delivery for McStevens and Son… only I never saw it before. I had no clue what it was or where it came from. “I don’t know.”
“Isn’t that your signature?”
“It looks like mine, but it can’t be. I’ve never seen this nor did I sign it.”
“Then how do you explain it?”
“I don’t know. This was durin’ the time the doctor put me on complete bed rest. I had to take off work. I wasn’t allowed to leave my bed. I had a twenty-four-hour nurse to make sure I didn’t.”
Larry looked at the date. “You have documents that prove this?”
“Yes Sir. If you call Gentle Care, they can tell you when the nurse was there an’ how long she stayed. She stayed until I went in for delivery. She started two months before that on the receipt.”
The door opened again and a man I never met entered. “I’m Craig Still, counselor for Elyse Tanner. Excuse me, why are you speaking to my client without me being present?”
Larry blinked. “She’s not arrested.”
John looked at him. “I wasn’t aware she had an attorney.”
“Actually, her fiancé just hired me.” He took his seat beside me, setting his briefcase down on the desk. “Now, what have I missed?”
“She was named as a conspirator on a drug laundering case in Aivedal Rock Quarry. There was evidence due to signatures of hers on documents. If her alibi proves credible, then she will be released.” He motioned to Larry. “If you would go and call them and ask them to fax us out that contract, then we can wrap this up.”
Larry walked out of the room.
“Well this little trip to the station has caused my client to miss her flight out of the state. I hope there won’t be another situation such as this.”
“Leaving during an investigation isn’t the best way to claim innocence.”
“She’s not claiming innocence. She is innocent. They live in California. Is she able to leave now?”
He shook his head. “Not until we clear this, but it shouldn’t take that long. She might be needed to come back as a witness for the state.”
“Then all you need is to call her and she’ll return. Unless you’re arresting her for something, or you think she’s not being truthful, you can’t hold her here for the investigation.”
I looked between the two of them. Why did people always talk about me like I wasn’t in the room? Was I wearing my invisibility cloak this morning?
“I’ll be back as a witness. Someone was tryin’ to use my name to get drugs in or out of the place that I helped build with my blood, sweat, an’ tears? Just call me on my cellphone. I’ll be on the first flight into town.”
Larry returned with a piece of paper. “She has an airtight alibi. She wasn’t involved.”
John nodded. “Okay, she can go then.”
“Thank you. You have my number. If ya have any questions or anythin’ at all, don’t hesitate to call me.”
I walked out with the attorney. Corey was there with Logan. He immediately jumped into my arms.
Corey laughed. “There’s your mommy. Thank you, Craig, for your assistance.”
He smiled. “I’m just glad it all worked out for the best.”
“Don’t go anywhere. I still need you. We have another problem to deal with right now.”