"I'm telling you I don't fuckin' remember what happened last night. I got drunk. I was only drunk for God's sake. If I had the money I'd sue you, someone hit me..."
“That's what you say."
“Why are you asking me all these questions? I don't understand," Tom whimpered.
“So there is no one Mr. Busey who could say where you were last night after 8.30pm?"
“I've told you I can't remember anything!" said Tom becoming more belligerent.
“Don't you think you ought to get a medic to look me over rather than asking me all these questions?"
“We did," said the police officer, his little gold filling on his front tooth coruscating," they said you had drunk too much and had mild concussion."
“So don't you think I can go home?" pleaded Tom.
“So, what you are saying is that no one could say where you were after 8.30 last night?" continued the officer.
“Yes, for the hundredth time," said Tom peevishly.
“How would you describe your relationship with Ralph McManan?" the officer said sternly looking Tom, straight in the eyes.
“What's that got to do with anything?" implored Tom.
“I will repeat the question," continued the police officer leaning over the desk putting both elbows on the table, "How would you describe your relationship with Ralph McManan, the Operations Manager?"
“I'm not going to answer that question," said Tom his frown creasing. "I want a lawyer."
The light on the desk was the only item in the room apart from the table and two chairs. The air was like treacle. Another police officer stood silently in the corner, saying nothing and fingering the buckle of his belt.
Tom felt little rivulets of sweat collecting at the base of his spine. His head was pounding.
“Interview terminated at 11.55am," Goldentooth muttered and flicked a switch.
“I don't think I like you very much Mr. Busey, not very much at all."
"Can I go home now?" implored Tom.
“Not yet”, said the officer as he dug his fist deep into Tom's ribs. “Not yet. I think we might have some fun with you first. I have never liked you, you piece of shit.”
Tom felt all the air being expunged from his lungs as he fell to the floor.
The floor was cold, the air hot. Why?
The leather boot cracked into his spine and he heard a crack.
Was that me or the boot,' thought Tom as his mind started to swim, the pain from his back felt like a naked flame burning his flesh. 'Can I smell burning?
Tom remembered being at school. A plane streaked across a clear blue sky leaving an iridescent trail. It was summer. He was thirteen. He was in the schoolyard playing basketball between lessons with the others.
It was the same scene really. The faces of the crowd were leering at him, blind to any emotion, chanting. He felt the same pain, the warm liquid flowing from a cut in his head. His pleading screams being ignored.
“Arsehole! Arsehole! Arsehole!” went the chant, “Soon to be toothless arsehole!" People jostled to peak at the entertainment.
Another crunch as a boot delved into his lower lip. His bottom teeth cracked and gave way, little fragments of enamel and blood mixing in his mouth in a sinister broth.
That same fucking face. That same gold glimmering tooth. 'Arsehole I'll get you somehow' something in his head said.
He could feel himself slipping unconscious. A void of desultory thoughts beckoned him, 'Come on down from the tree,' said his mother, her ginger hair ruffled in the wind. 'Come down.'
The great thing about going unconscious,' some survival mechanism told him, some self-trickery of the mind to preserve him, 'is this bit, just now. The dreaming part, the part when you are invincible, a warrior. a knight. He saw himself on a throne, surrounded by people adoring him, caressing his clothes. He was mighty. He was proud. He was in an enchanted land, a verdant landscape, with pink things floating about two inches from the floor. Why? “What are they for?” He saw himself saying to the assembly.
‘Master' replied the crowd in unison with due solemnity.' ‘Please what are they for?'
‘Master' the crowd's stentorian voice boomed as one.
A pink cloud passed by, it was blinking at him with blue eyes. No it wasn't. No wait, it was.
“99.99% fluffy. The fluffiest cloud that money can buy. Guaranteed pleasure, guaranteed status!” chimed the cloud.
“We are all here for you!” chimed the hundreds of clouds around him, all pink, all fluffy.
“We can make as many of us as you want. How would you like us pink or green?”
“What are you saying?" gasped the limp, foetus of a man in front of the police officer's boot.
“What did you do that for?" enquired the man in the corner.
“I never liked Tom Busey and I know he killed Ralph McManan. Even if he didn't, I hope he did. Put this cocksucker away. “.
‘The fucking trouble with having a sick twisted fuck as a boss, is that you don't get promoted if you grass, ' Goldentooth's subordinate thought.
He felt sick at himself, but they wanted to have good kids and he needed that promotion.“Yeah we could have fun," replied the police officer to his boss with a grin.