[Author's note: I'm sorry it's been so long since the last part was posted, and I'm sorry that this one isn't a little bit longer. However, I am back at it, so hopefully it won't be another ten months until Part IV. I sincerely thank all of you for sticking with me from the bottom of my heart. Enjoy.]
When we arrived at the police station, I was escorted inside. I did not see Michael; in fact, I never saw him again. The moment the officer and I moved past the small entranceway, I was alerted that I would be searched. My single respite from the rest of the night was the relief I felt knowing that I had made the right decision to ditch the coke in the car.
“Do you have anything to declare?” the officer asked. “Drugs? Weapons? Cigarettes?”
A sharp corner of the half-pack of cigarettes I had stuffed into my underwear was digging into the skin of my thigh.
“No. Nothing to declare.”
I was told to remove my jacket and my shoes, told to empty my pockets. The officer proceeded to pat me down, and as his hand brushed the cigarettes, I stiffened. He told me to give them to him.
“You are sixteen, and as such it is illegal for you to possess tobacco products. Hand 'em over.” Actually, I thought, that’s not true. I’m just not allowed to buy them. However, I thought better of myself than to say so out loud. He watched as I pulled my jeans down part way and reached into my underwear. I handed the pack to him, and in one fluid motion, the cop crushed the cigarettes and tossed them into the trashcan conveniently located next to where he was standing. Any favor I may have gained, or more accurately, any pity, was immediately lost.
I began to get stuck in my head, and was no longer completely engaged with my surroundings. I knew that I would have to give a statement, but did not know when. I did not know the protocol and was terrified I’d be caught unprepared. As soon as the search was over, I immediately began thinking of how I could tell an almost-truth and somehow leave out the cocaine. Not lie in the strictest of senses, just lie by omission. I started to consider the simplest version of events I could manage, and once I had it in my head, I repeated it over and over again.
Before I was taken to give my statement, another officer approached me. He asked whom he should call to alert of my whereabouts, whom he should ask to come pick me up. “Call my parents,” I told him, and gave him their number. I looked at the clock, which read 4AM. “They’re probably asleep, but they are there. There’s no one else, so I guess you should just try until you get them.” He nodded curtly and turned away. Just before he was out of earshot, I called out, “Are you going to tell them why I’m here?” The officer turned to me and gave me a look that I could not place. All I could tell from his face was that he had a child around my age. I could see it deep in his eyes, despite the distance between us. “That’s your job, buddy. Not mine.” I gave him a half-grimace-half-smile, feeling fully defeated.
I was lead to a small back room by the officer who had driven me to the station. Before he sat me down, I asked him his name. When he told me, “Officer Scott,” I wondered idly if that was his first name or last. He sat facing me, in front of an ancient computer that took approximately ten minutes to boot up. I guessed that I was the only person he’d taken a statement from that night. Even criminals have to sleep sometimes.
When the computer finally sputtered to life and Officer Scott was ready, he first asked my name and age again and simply told me to recount what had happened. Just like I had practiced in my head, I told him, “I met that man online tonight. He picked me up, drove me to his office, and we tried to have sex but couldn’t because I was too scared. We decided to leave, and that’s when you arrived.” I was pleased with this version of events, as it was simple. It did not implicate either of us. As angry as I was at the whole situation, I did not want to be responsible for Michael being condemned as a pedophile. Mostly, I just wanted everyone to avoid any more trouble. Mostly, I was afraid.
Officer Scott asked me if that was really all I had to say. I nodded, and though he continued to push me, I kept my mouth shut. Finally, he accepted that I was finished talking. He printed my statement from a machine that, if possible, looked even older than the computer. Once he had taken my statement from the tray, he told me that he was going to check if my story matched Michael’s, and as long as that was the case, there would be no charges filed against me. The overwhelming weight that had been slowly crushing me for most of the night lifted at his words, though somewhere deep down a gnawing feeling pulled at my core. I reminded myself that there was a good enough chance our statements wouldn’t match, but I at least felt confident that Michael was smart enough to not bring up the coke. Officer Scott returned only a few minutes later, his expression unreadable. I looked up at him hopefully. After a short while, he spoke.
“Your statements basically match. We’re just about done here.”
I sighed heavily, blatantly, and the officer eyed me suspiciously. It was obvious that I had expected him to say anything but that and I tried to reel it in.
“There’s just one other matter we have to attend to.” He stared at me long and hard, and suddenly my veins felt as though they were full of ice.
I prickled. Something was wrong. Basically match.
“That man claims that you tried to rape him.”
To be continued...
Once I Was Invincible (III)