Isis and Toni followed Captain Doe back to Queens. After Pam was placed in a holding cell, Isis made sure that all the officers that were on duty knew that the girl in the last cell was a relative of a cop.
When Pam’s mother arrived, all hell broke loose. “Where’s my daughter? “she shouted at the desk sergeant. “Pam! Pamerla! Where are you?”
The desk sergeant tried to calm Deloris down, but to no avail. She ranted and raved up and down the lobby of the precinct. “Where is my daughter?” she screamed.
Isis came running from the holding cells.
When Deloris saw her sister, she pointed at her like she was the devil. “You. You did this!” she yelled at Isis: “You’re fuckin’ evil!” Deloris grabbed a handful of her hair and started pulling. “First Daddy, then Mom, now my baby.” Deloris pulled out a handful of her hair. “Oh my God, please, not again,” she shouted as she pulled out another clump of her hair. Deloris dropped to her knees and started pounding her fist on the floor.
Isis took a step toward her sister. She wanted to comfort her, tell her that she was sorry for everything that had happened. But she did not. Instead she stood rooted where she was and watched her eldest sister slip into a catatonic state.
Twenty-four hours later, Defense Attorney Anthony Bliss sat inside his favorite restaurant, Ristorante Italiano, on Queens Blvd. He had the New York Times folded neatly to the section that he wanted to read: the murder of Derrick Simmons. A female waitress placed a cup of coffee near his left hand and walked away. The murder of Derrick Simmons was headline news. Bliss sipped his coffee as he read the details.
His cell phone buzzed in his shirt pocket. He looked at the screen: Dt. Isis Williams. He listened as Isis spoke. Twice during the conversation, Bliss arched an eyebrow. Isis spoke so fast that Anthony Bliss had to tell her to slow down. He agreed to meet with her and her niece tomorrow at Riker’s Island.
Isis switched off her phone and looked at Toni. “He’s gonna meet us tomorrow at Rikers.” The detectives were sitting in a waiting room at Queens General Hospital. Deloris had been admitted an hour and a half earlier. A doctor had told Isis that Deloris had slipped into a catatonic stupor. She ignored any external stimuli and she was completely rigid. He told her that they administered a high dosage of benzodiazepine. He also told her that sometimes the condition only lasted a few hours, but that they had seen it go on for days or even weeks.
Toni placed her arm around her girlfriend’s shoulders. “It’s going to be okay, baby. It’s going to be okay.”
Isis and Toni had awakened at 5:30 am. They wanted to beat the morning traffic. It took Isis less than twenty-five minutes to reach Riker’s Island. Isis and Toni went through the procedure of entering one of the largest correctional institutions in the world. Afterward, they were led to a room where lawyers conferred with their clients. Fifteen minutes later, defense Attorney Anthony Bliss entered the room. He dropped his newspaper as soon as he crossed the threshold, and his glasses slipped off his nose when he went to pick up his paper.
Bliss was an unkempt man. The suit he wore looked as if he’d slept in it and his hair was sticking up in some places. Although the man stood at five foot four, he was a dynamo in the courtroom. Isis helped him pick up his things and thanked him for coming.
“Don’t mention it, Isis,” he said as he placed his glasses back onto his face.
“This here is my partner, Toni.”
“Detective,” Bliss said as he shook her hand.
“They’re bringing Pam down now,” Isis said. She tried to make small talk as they waited for Pam. She told Toni that Bliss handled most of her arrest when he was working with the D.A.’s office. “We kind of started our careers together. I arrest them, and he puts ’em away,” she said with a weak smile.
The door opened, and in walked a large female correctional officer, followed by Pam, and then another correctional officer. Pam was wearing a straightjacket.
“What the hell is she wearing? Why do you have her in that?” Isis shouted at the correctional officers as she sprung from her chair.
“She tried to kill herself last night. She’s on suicide watch,” one of the officers said as she led Pam to the only empty seat left in the small room.
“Well take that fuckin’ thing off her, now!”
The two female officers looked at one another. The officer that led Pam into the room shrugged her shoulders at her partner and began undoing the straps on Pam’s straightjacket. “I don’t think she’ll try anything.”
Pam rubbed her arms, wrist, and shoulders when she was freed from her restraints. She sat down and stared at her aunt. Pamerla looked like hell.
“Are you okay, niecey?” Isis asked. She tried to touch her niece’s face, but her hands were shaking.
Isis introduced Pam to Toni, then DA Bliss. “He’s your lawyer—”
“Now...Isis. I’m just here as a—”
“As a what, Bliss, a fuckin’ friend?” Isis said, cutting the man off. “Well, we don’t need no damn friends at this point. What my niece needs is a damn good lawyer.”
Bliss looked at Isis, then he looked at the scared teenager that was sitting in front of him. The young woman was the spitting image of her aunt. “Okay, okay, tell me what happened, Pamerla.”
Pamerla went on to tell her lawyer, her Aunt Isis and Toni what had happened. “He was alive when I left him, I swear.” Pam’s lips were chalky white when she was finished talking.
“There are people who will swear in a court of law that they saw you running away from the motel,” Bliss said.
“I don’t know what they’re talking about. I left the motel and drove home—”
“But why were you running—”
“She already told you why,” Isis snapped, jumping into the conversation. “She didn’t want to be late for our date.”
“Look, Detective, if you want me to handle this thing, then let me handle it, please,” Bliss said.
“Do you think I did this?” Pam asked her lawyer.
“Well, I hope you didn’t—”
“I didn’t. It could’ve been those two girls who...” Pam paused.
Isis and Toni both asked the same question at the same time, “What girls?”
“These two bitches that auditioned for Mister Welsing’s play…”
“What?” Isis asked her niece. Her face twisted in confusion.
“We had an argument—”
“Who had an argument, Pam?”
Pam was playing with a piece of thread that hung loosely from her shirt. Isis slapped her hand down on the table. “Pam!”
Pam jumped at the sound of flesh hitting wood, as did everyone else at the table.
“One of the girls was trying to push up on Derrick. Derrick tried to tell her that he was my boyfriend. He had to push the girl away from him….” Pam paused again, and Isis glared at her.
“Derrick pushed her, and she fell. They said they were going to make him pay for that.” Pam stared at the palm of her hand as she raked her thumbnail across it.
“What are these girls’ names?” Toni asked.
Pam bit the bottom of her lip, then she said, “I think one of them was named Tracy, no, no, it was
Stacey. Stacey Hill. And the other one’s name was Jannifer.”
Isis sat back in her chair and thought, I’ve heard those names before.