Billy Dee Jackson relaxed in his easy chair. His fifty-five inch” Sony was on the other side of his family room. He turned the sound up and grabbed a beer from the fridge. The Cavaliers had the Bulls on the ropes. Cleveland opened the Fourth quarter with a ten-point run and tied the score. He was so into the game that he was startled when his wife, Janine, came and stood in front of the screen.
“Turn that thing down,” she said, “I’ve been trying to tell you there’s a call.”
“What? Get out of the way. Who is it?”
“It’s Flynn, the desk sargeant.”
“Shit, what does he want?”
His wife didn’t move. “I don’t know, best you go find out.”
Billy Dee got out of his chair and moved slowly to the kitchen. After a day of work he was in no rush. “Yeah, this is Billy Dee, what’s doing, Sarge?” There was static on the line. “Hello”
“Yeah, what’s going on?”
“Sorry to bother you, but was there a Jack Rakow in lock-up when you left?”
“Sure as hell was.” Billy Dee tightened his grip on the phone. “What you say’n? Someth’n happen to him?” Static exploded over the line. “You there, Sarge?” He took the phone from his ear, glanced at it. The connection cleared. “Hello?”
“Yeah… these damn phones. Anyway, I’m looking at the book, and someone wrote Rakow’s name and took him. Rakow is gone.”
“That’s just it, we don’t have any personnel with that star number.”
“Let me get this straight. Rakow got signed out by an officer who isn’t CPD?”
“That’s what it appears to be.”
“Lord have mercy. Did you talk to O.B.? He relieved me. He been do’n this for a long time.”
“It was the first thing I did. He’s in with the captain now. He told me everything was in order.”
“Jesus.” Beads of sweat formed on Billy Dee’s forehead. His wife came into the kitchen.
He waved her away. “Are you on a pax or a bell phone?” he asked.
“Pax,” Flynn answered.
“Good, you know the “G” was nosing around Rakow’s case. They could have signed him out.”
“Uh-huh, well the “G” is sending someone here to look at the signature. From the conversation they had with the captain, the “G” didn’t recognize the name.
“Lawd, Lawd, Lawd.”
“You better get down here. The Captain wants a word with you.”
“I’m sure he do. It’ll take me a little bit, but tell him I’m coming.”
“See you when you get here, Billy Dee.”
He hung up the phone.
“Well?” his wife asked.
“I gots to go down to the station.”
“Uh-huh, for what?”
He took his time to answer. He lowered his eyes and stared which meant don’t stick your nose where it don’t belong. He knew if he said ‘police business’ it would only invite more questions, but he said it anyway.
“Now look here Billy Dee, I aint havin none of this. You tell me straight. What’s going on where you have to go traips’n down to work at this hour of the night?” She planted her hands on her hips.
“Janine, it’s noth’n to get all up about. A prisoner been lost. He was an old time baseball player. That’s why all the fuss. Probably some fool didn’t do the paperwork. Let me get dressed. The sooner I’m gone the sooner I’ll be back.”
“You mean like someone lost keys but instead it’s a person?”
“I don’t like where that’s head’n—just got to get to the bottom of it.”
“Well, you make sure dat you aint where the shit falls. I’m look’n forward to your retirement pension.”