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Stories

Glazed Donuts - The Story of Redbone

Note:  We recommend that you read the story "Blacktop and Redbone" before reading this one.

1 - "That Shit'll Kill You, Man"

Detective Joe Shmolnick sat at his desk in the overcrowded, poorly ventilated Homicide Division office and wiped the last few donut crumbs off his mustache. The building was old; budget cuts had cancelled the construction of a new Police Headquarters three years in a row. Shmolnick wasn't holding his breath. He sipped the cold remnants of his mid-morning coffee, forcing the now tasteless liquid down his throat. He needed the caffeine.

Shmolnick sighed as he caught his boss, Lt. Glenn Briles, watching him from across the room in his glass office. "Officious little prick," thought Shmolnick. The crewcutted Briles opened the door to his office and headed toward the weary detective.

"Shmolnick, how we doin' on that John Doe case? Any ID yet?" asked Briles, who frowned at the open box of donuts on the detective's desk.

Shmolnick stifled a sneer. "Nothing yet, Lieutenant. Bubble's over at Records now." In truth, Briles was a political appointee, his uncle having contributed a hefty sum to the Mayor's last campaign. He had little experience in homicide investigations.

Briles nodded. "Good, good. Make sure you keep me in the loop. Downtown's watching this one," he said, and tapped Shmolnick's desk with his knuckles to signal the end of the conversation.

"Sure thing, Lieutenant," muttered Shmolnick. He had no intention of telling his boss anything.

Shmolnick watched him go. "Fuckin' rap your knuckles on my desk one more time, asshole," he thought.

Detective Vivo Bubble, Shmolnick's long-time partner, suddenly appeared.
"Well?" asked Shmolnick impatiently.

"Success," answered Bubble, sitting on the cluttered desk next to Shmolnick's. He glanced over at Briles' office. "Got an ID on King Kong in there," he said quietly.

"Prints belong to a Robert Lamar White."

Shmolnick frowned. "Never heard of him. Priors?"

"Nothing, Joe. Clean. Only reason his prints came up is that Records cross-checked against Family Services' database."

"Family Services? So what did they tell you about him?" Shmolnick opened the box of donuts.

"That shit'll kill you, man," offered his partner.

"Yeah, that or something else." Shmolnick closed the box of donuts. "So what else do we know about Mr. Robert Lamar White?"

Bubble opened the brown folder he'd been carrying. He scanned a page inside the folder. "Not much. No current address, last known address at least ten years out of date. Hmm, let's see, mother deceased, father unknown, no siblings. Great, no family at all according to this."

Shmolnick winced. His heartburn was acting up again. "Shit, it figures. Those morons at Family Services dropped the ball again I see."

"Wait a minute," said Bubble. He read something to himself then whistled.

" What?" asked Shmolnick, fishing into his jacket pocket for some Tums.

"You need to read this." Bubble handed the open folder to his partner.

"Jesus," said Shmolnick, reading the page that Bubble indicated.

"Yeah. Nice guy, huh?"

"Jesus!" Shmolnick said again.

2 - "Harmless Enough"

"Mommy, I'm hungry!"

The twelve-year old black boy didn't move from his favorite seat on the beat-up orange sofa across from the TV. He had always been big for his age, and his appetite had only increased as he got older. He was nearly always hungry.
Cheryl White ignored her son's pleas from the tiny cramped kitchen. She was busy getting herself ready for her work day. Like the rest of the low-income apartment in which she lived with her son and young daughter, the paint was peeling off the walls, the heat barely worked and the water from the kitchen faucet was tinted brown. The kitchen cabinets contained more cobwebs than food. At least the poor family still had the television set.

Cheryl tapped the syringe several times, a task she'd performed hundreds of times before. Suddenly little Tawanda appeared in the doorway holding a tattered old cloth doll. "Mommy I'm hungry too," she said sweetly.

Cheryl whipped her head around and clumsily tried to hide the syringe from the little girl. "Now baby, you know Mommy has to take her medicine. Now go watch cartoons with Robert."

The little girl pouted. "But I'm hungry!" she insisted.

Cheryl was losing her patience. "I said GO WATCH TV DAMN YOU GIRL CAIN'T YOU SEE I'M BUSY!!" She hadn't meant to yell at the child.

Little Tawanda stared at her mother with wide frightened eyes. In the next room, Robert had been listening to the exchange. "Hey Tawanda, come here an' watch Bugs Bunny with me," he called to his sister. The girl reluctantly turned from her angry mother and went in to watch TV with her big brother.

"But I'm HUNGRY," whined the little girl to Robert.

"I know, I'm hungry too," agreed Robert.

"You're always hungry Robert," teased his sister.

"Shut up," said Robert. "I am not." He was sensitive about his weight.

In several minutes, Cheryl emerged from the kitchen wearing a crooked smile and red, half-closed eyes. "Robert, you watch your baby sister for Mommy today, okay?" she asked, her words slightly slurred.

"But what about school?" asked Robert, looking suspiciously at his mother.

"I'm NOT a baby!" complained Tawanda.

"Shut up," said Robert.

Cheryl fussed with her hair and smoothed her tight-fitting blouse. "Now don't sass me, boy. You can go to school tomorrow. Mommy has to work so she can buy food, okay?"

Robert turned his gaze back to the cartoon on the television. "Okay Mommy," he replied, disappointed.

Robert didn't go to school very often these days, what with his mother working during the day. Somebody had to watch little Tawanda, who at four was not quite old enough to attend school.

"Thas a good boy, Mommy's proud o' you." She thumbed through one of several piles of dirty clothes on the floor swearing to herself, then pulled out a small sequined purse. She walked toward the door and almost fell, but righted herself as she reached the door. "Uncle Slade's gonna come by later baby, make sure he gets the bag on the kitchen table." She opened the door and left.
Robert continued to watch TV with her sister. Uncle Slade. Robert didn't like Uncle Slade.

Detectives Shmolnick and Bubble stood outside Interrogation Room 2 and watched the big prisoner through the two-way mirror. The big black man sat silently at the spare table, his wrists and ankles shackled to the chair. His eyes were open but he seemed to staring out into space. A plastic waste basket lay on the floor in the corner, its contents partially spilled onto the floor.

A uniformed officer approached the two detectives.

"I see you finally subdued our boy in there, Straczny," said Bubble, still holding the folder from Records.

Officer Straczny handed a key to the detective and peered inside the Interrogation Room. "Took three of us to herd him into the room, Detective. Then we had to shoot him full of elephant tranquilizer just to keep him quiet."

Shmolnick whistled. "How much elephant tranquilizer did you use on him?" he asked. "He looks like he's in outer space for christ's sake."

"We used 75cc's of the stuff and he's still conscious. I'd be careful in there if I were you."

"Yeah yeah, thanks Officer," grumbled Shmolnick, who had brought the box of donuts with him.

"He looks harmless enough," commented Bubble.

"Harmless? He broke O'neill's arm and Sullivan's got several cracked ribs. And that was AFTER we nailed him with the tranqs."

"Well, you stay out here Officer, just in case," said Shmolnick brusquely. He and Bubble exchanged looks.

3 - "It's a Good Thing I Brought Donuts"

Robert's stomach grumbled again. He was beginning to have trouble concentrating on the television. "I'm hungry," he mumbled. His sister Tawanda paid no attention to him, her eyes fixed on the cartoon.

The boy decided to go the kitchen and see if there was anything to eat. He'd been there three times already this morning, each trip yielding less food. But he was hungry again. He walked slowly into the kitchen and the first thing he saw was a paper bag on the table. It looked like it was filled with something. Food maybe?
He picked up the bag, opened it and let out a whistle. The bag contained money, more money than Robert had ever seen in one place before. He took out a small stack of twenty dollar bills.

"Man, twenty dollars buy enough food for me and Tawanda," he said to himself, enjoying the feel of the money against the soft skin of his palm. "Damn!"
He turned his head and glanced into the living room. Tawanda was still watching TV. "Twenty dollar won't matter much, I guess," he thought. He carefully pulled one bill out from beneath the rubber band holding the stack together, then crumpled the bill in his fist and replaced the bills in the bag.

"Hey Tawanda!" he called to his sister. "Tawanda, wake up girl!"

Tawanda looked up at her brother, annoyed. "What?"

"I'm goin' to the store to get some food. You want anything?"

Tawanda beamed at the good news. "DONUTS!" she squealed.

Robert pulled his sweatshirt jacket off the back of the couch and put it on. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Don't let nobody in," he said, and headed toward the door thinking of donuts.

Detective Bubble finally stopped staring at the huge man in the interrogation room and leaned against the two-way mirror. "I'm glad he's doped up," he said to his partner, Detective Shmolnick. "I don't know if I'd want to go in there otherwise."

"We've faced worst," said Shmolnick. But he too was wary of the big prisoner. "Hey, where's that shrink that's supposed to meet us?"

"That shrink is right here, Detective," said a pinched female voice behind Shmolnick.

Shmolnick turned to greet her. "Joe Shmolnick, this is my partner Vivo Bubble," he said as cheerily as he could.

"Deborah Peters, I've been assigned to the Robert White case," the woman said humorlessly. The tall thin woman in the dark blue suit stuck her hand out for Shmolnick to shake.

"Firm handshake for a woman," thought Shmolnick. He found her marginally attractive in a plain sort of way.

"So Doc, what do you have for us on this guy?" asked Bubble.

Dr. Peters opened a thick folder she was carrying and removed a pair of wire-framed reading glasses from a suit pocket. "Robert Lamar White," she began, adjusting the position of the glasses on her sharp nose. "Age 27, last known address 1385 Breene Street, no known adult criminal record, and I assume you've seen the report from Family Services?"

"We've seen it," answered Shmolnick.

The woman snapped the folder closed. "Then you are aware that this man experienced a significant trauma as a child. As a result, he has the emotional and intellectual capacity of a twelve or thirteen year-old boy." She looked into the interrogation room. Robert Lamar White sat quietly in the chair and stared into space, a vacant look on his face. He seemed utterly unaware of his surroundings.

"Shouldn't be too difficult talking to a twelve or thirteen year old boy," said Shmolnick to his partner.

"I don't know, he looks like he might lose it any second," said Bubble, making no attempt to keep the worry out of his voice.

"You are right about that, Detective," said Dr. Peters. "Don't be fooled by his childlike demeanor. Mr. White is a ticking time bomb." She removed her reading glasses and carefully folded them and put them away.

"Anything else we need to know Doctor?" asked Shmolnick.

"Yes, although I don't know how this will help you," replied Dr. Peters. "He likes to eat. A lot. Food makes him docile."

Shmolnick grinned at his partner and patted the box of donuts he was carrying under his arm. "Well then, it's a good thing I brought donuts," he said.

Robert came home to find his little sister Tawanda still sitting in front of the television. He was carrying a big grocery bag filled with junk food. He plopped the bag on the scarred table between the TV and the couch and took off his sweatjacket.

Tawanda stopped watching TV and reached for the bag. Robert swatted her hand away. "I get to pick first."

"That's not fair!" Tawanda pouted.

"Too bad, little girl," said Robert. He opened the bag and pulled out a bag of Cheese Doodles, a bottle of YooHoo and several candy bars. Then he pulled out a box of donuts. "Here's your donuts," he said. "Don't touch the glazed. I get the glazed."

"I hate glazed. I don't want 'em anyway," said Tawanda.

The two children enjoyed their meal and watched cartoons.

4 - "We're Here to Help You"

Detectives Joe Shmolnick and Vivo Bubble watched Robert Lamar White as he sat overstuffed in the little gray chair in the interrogation room. The big man’s wrists were handcuffed in front of him and lay still in his lap. The man continued to stare out into space and didn’t react when Shmolnick and Bubble entered the room and slapped the case folder on the table.

Shmolnick took the seat opposite the prisoner while Bubble hovered a safe distance away. They had been assured by Dr. Peters that while Robert White was well sedated, he might respond to gentle questioning, but Bubble was taking no chances. He still remembered the bloody bone that was taken away as evidence when White had been arrested. It kept the otherwise hardened detective up at night.

Shmolnick folded his hands on the table and looked at the big prisoner. White continued to stare at nothing, his eyes unblinking. “Hello Robert. I’m Detective Shmolnick and this is my partner Detective Bubble,” said Shmolnick in a friendly voice. “We’d like to ask you a few questions.”

Robert gave no indication that he either heard or understood the detective’s words. The two detectives glanced at each other.

Shmolnick cleared his throat and continued. “Robert, do you know where you are?”

No response. Shmolnick sighed.

Bubble took his turn. “Robert, we’re here to help you. If you can answer a couple of simple questions for us, that would really help us help you.”

Again no response.

Shmolnick was growing impatient. “Robert, do you know a man named ‘Rufus McAdam’?” he asked.

“Blacktop,” offered Bubble. “This man sometimes goes by the name of Blacktop.”
Robert Lamar White’s head, which had previously been frozen in place, now moved slowly toward Detective Bubble’s direction. The two detectives glanced at each other.

“You know this man McAdam do you Robert?” asked Shmolnick.

Robert’s unmoving mouth now started to unfurl its corners into a small, child-like smile. “Blacktop,” he said in a deep voice.

Shmolnick smiled at the prisoner. “That’s right Robert. Blacktop. Do you know him?”

“Blacktop,” said Robert again. His eyes slowly narrowed, then the small smile dissolved into a small frown. “Blacktop git food. Redbone hungry.”

Bubble had a spiral notebook out and was writing excitedly.

Shmolnick tried to temper his excitement. He had to be gentle, the doc had said gentle questioning might be okay. Didn’t want to rile the beast. “Blacktop went to get food? Where’d he go, Robert? Food for who, you?”

“Redbone hungry,” said Robert, his deep voice a partial growl now. His eyes shifted to the box of donuts on the table. “Still hungry,” he growled.

Shmolnick saw the shift and said, “Oh, YOU’RE hungry. You’re Redbone? Is that it Robert? Your name is Redbone?” He opened the box of donuts and offered them to Robert. “Would you like a donut?”

Robert’s frown disappeared again, this time giving way to a toothy smile. The detectives shared a secret grin. It was working! Food made him docile!

Robert lifted his handcuffed hands above the table and held them suspended above the open box of donuts. His giant hands dwarfed the box. “Glazed,” he said, his eyes brightening.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

“Somebody’s at the door,” said little Tawanda, her eyes fixed on the TV.
Robert looked at the door and frowned. “I know,” he said.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

“Hey you little motherfuckers, lemme in. Lemme in right now, yo.” The voice on the other side of the door sounded angry. Robert sighed heavily.

It was Slade.

Robert got up and unlocked the door, and had to get quickly out of the way as Slade pushed into the room past him. Slade wore a fedora lined with orange fur and a long fur coat with black and orange stripes.

“The big man,” he said, clapping Robert on the back, “I gots to git me a key, yo.” He headed directly for the kitchen. “Don’t mind yo’ Uncle Slade, I be in and out.”

Robert winced at the pain in his back. He sat back down on the couch, but couldn’t concentrate on the cartoon. He was thinking about the paper bag with the money in it.

“Sippin on gin and juice,” Slade sang softly as he clutched the paper bag in one bejeweled hand. He had opened the bag briefly in the kitchen but hadn’t counted the money yet. He noticed the donuts on the table. “GodDAMN, you KNOW how much yo’ Uncle Slade loves donuts.”

He reached down and looked into the open box. “Yeah, Uncle Slade’s FAVORITE yo!” he exclaimed and grabbed a glazed donut out of the box.

“Hey, I was saving the glazed,” complained Robert.

Slade immediately grabbed the boy’s shirt and lifted him half off the couch. “Listen boy, I say what’s yo’s and what’s mine,” he spat angrily at the boy, who tried to shake the man’s grasp. “The glazed is MINE, you git me boy?” He let the boy slump back to the couch and slapped his head, hard.

“Ow!” yelped Robert, rubbing his head. Tears starting forming in his eyes.

“Don’t be cryin’ now, you little motherfucker,” warned Slade, brandishing his outstretched hand in front of Robert’s face. “You want somethin’ to cry about boy?” He was yelling now, both children now frightened. “Well, do you?”

“N-no,” replied Robert, his lip trembling.

Slade’s anger vanished just as quickly as it had appeared. “That’s better boy. Best you be knowin’ who the boss is ‘round here.” He cackled evilly, then plunged the entire glazed donut into his mouth, letting the crumbs fall past his stubbled chin.

“Damn that was good, boy. Think I’ll have me another.” He reached into the donut box and grabbed two more glazed donuts. Robert’s eyes grew wide; they were the last two glazed donuts! He’d been saving them for last.

Slade ate the two glazed donuts slowly, staring at the boy the whole time. “Mm-MM, I just love glazed, don’t you boy?” He cackled again and finished eating the donuts. Then he brushed the crumbs off his mouth and chin and smiled.

Robert felt tears in his eyes again. He rubbed them away with a clenched fist.

5 - "Eatin' em Like Candy"

Lt. Glenn Briles was in his office finishing up the latest revision of the departmental budget when his phone rang. He saved the spreadsheet on the computer and picked up the telephone. “Homicide, Briles,” he said in his most authoritative voice.

It was the Mayor’s office calling. Again. With the precinct Captain on conference call this time.

Briles nodded his head repeatedly as all authority left him, the “yessirs” and “nosirs” he muttered sheepishly into the phone betraying his growing nervousness. The John Doe case was all over the papers this morning and the Mayor was not happy. Were there any new leads? Did they have positive ID yet? Did he know they were under extraordinary pressure to show some progress? Did he know that he was being watched on this one?

Briles hung up the phone and wiped the nervous sweat from his forehead. He looked through the glass walls of his office. Detectives Shmolnick and Bubble weren’t at their desks, which could mean they were working on a lead. Briles suddenly became angry. He was their boss, he was the one who had to take the heat for the lack of progress in the investigation, not those two. He stood up and walked stiffly but purposely out of his office, vowing to find the wayward detectives.

---------------------

The contents of the donut box disappeared before Shmolnick and Bubble’s eyes. Robert Lamar White’s giant handcuffed paw stuffed donut after donut into his mouth, the crumbs falling to his lap.

“Shit Joe, he’s eatin’ ‘em like candy,” whispered Bubble to his partner, who was seated opposite the large prisoner.

Shmolnick stared at the big man, who had a silly grin on his face when he finished the second to last donut. The detective peered into the box and saw one left, another glazed.

“Robert, you sure do like donuts.” he offered gently.

Robert smiled. “Glazed is mah favorite,” he said, not taking his eyes off the prized donut.

Shmolnick pulled the donut box slightly away from the prisoner and smiled.

"Robert, can you answer a few questions for me?” he asked. “You can have this last glazed donut.”

Robert looked up from the donut at the detective. The smile was replaced by confusion. He raised his shackled hands to his chin and wiped off a few crumbs. Finally he said in a deep but quiet voice, “Okay.”

The detectives shared a look. Shmolnick asked the first question.
“Robert, do you know why you’re here?”

Robert shrugged, then looked down at the donut again. “Glazed is mah favorite,” he said.

Bubble smiled, less worried than before. The prisoner’s apparent docile nature had put him somewhat at ease. “It’s got your name all over it, Robert. All you have to do is answer a few questions.”

Robert glanced at Bubble unsmiling, then returned his gaze to the donut.
Shmolnick tried again. “Do you know why you’re here, Robert?”

Robert smiled again and looked at Shmolnick. “Redbone be in trouble,” he said in a small voice.

Bubble scribbled in the notebook. Shmolnick pressed on, as gently as he could. “What did you do, Robert? Why is Redbone in trouble?”

Robert shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno,” he said, looking down.

“Aw come on Robert, you can tell us,” said Shmolnick. “We’re your friends. We want to help you.”

Robert looked up at the detective, then back at the donut. “You gonna give Redbone the glazed?”

Shmolnick smiled. “I said I would, didn’t I Robert? I don’t break promises to my friends,” he said.

Robert sighed. “Redbone be bad. Redbone in trouble cuz he be bad.”

Detective Bubble nodded his head and continued scribbling in his notebook.

The door to the small flat opened and a very tired looking Cheryl White came in. She was worn out, so much so that she didn’t notice the remains of the children’s impromptu meal. Slade was in the kitchen counting the contents of the paper bag.

“Get in here bitch!” he yelled.

Cheryl sighed. “You kids keep watching TV, Mommy’s got some business wif your Uncle Slade,” she said wearily to the children. Little Tawanda didn’t seem to hear her mother, but Robert watched his mother warily.

Slade stood up from the littered and unwashed kitchen table and immediately delivered a resounding slap to Cheryl’s face. She was knocked backward a step by the blow.

Slade was angry. “Bitch, why you tryin’ to fuck wif me?” he demanded, raising his hand to slap the woman again.

Cheryl’s face stung from the blow. “Baby, I been good, I ain’t tryin’ to –“

WHACK!

Slade delivered another stinging blow to the woman’s face. She reeled sideways toward the table, which stopped her from falling.

Slade held up the paper bag. “Bitch, you short twenty dollah. You holdin’ out on me again!” he said menacingly.

Cheryl moved so that the table was between her and Slade. “Baby, I don’t know what you talkin’ about. I counted it, it all be there, baby. I swear!”

“Stupid ho’! I counted it and you twenty short! I want my money, bitch!” Slade was losing control. If it’s one thing he couldn’t stand, it was sneaky crack whore holding out on him. This was the third time with this one. He needed to teach her a lesson.

Cheryl backed away from the table, trying to distance herself from the angry pimp. “I SWEAR baby, I ain’t holdin’ out on you. It’s all there, I fuckin’ SWEAR!” She was crying now, desperate to avoid Slade’s wrath.

“You callin’ me a liar, bitch? Dat it? You motherfuckin ho, now you’re gonna git it!” Slade lunged for Cheryl across the table, but she avoided his grasp and ran for the other room.

Slade was too quick for her though, and managed to grab her arm as she ran by and swung her around and to the floor. “Now you gonna git it, bitch. NOBODY fucks wif Slade! NOBODY!!!” He reached inside his long coat and pulled out a blackjack.

Cheryl looked up at him and began pleading for mercy, but Slade intended to punish her. The blackjack went up. “Fuckin’ ho don’t hold out on ME!”
The blackjack went down.

Lt. Glenn Briles couldn’t find the two detectives anywhere. The other detectives were no help; none of them had seen Shmolnick and Bubble. Briles suspected they were lying. “They all resent me,” he thought bitterly.

He decided to try Records and as he turned to enter the main hallway leading to that department, he ran right into Dr. Deborah Peters, causing the woman to spill several folders onto the floor.

“Oof, excuse me, Miss Peters,” he said quickly, and bent to help pick up the folders.

“Watch where you’re going, Lieutenant,” she said brusquely. As he handed her the last folder, he saw the name “John Doe” written on the tab.

“This isn’t related to the John Doe case, is it?” he asked. Maybe she’d seen the two errant detectives.

“It’s DOCTOR Peters, Lieutenant. And yes, it IS related to the case.”

Briles thought for a moment. “You haven’t seen the lead detectives on this case anywhere, have you?” he asked.

Dr. Peters sighed impatiently. “Yes yes, they’re interviewing Mr. White in Interrogation Room 2 right now.”

“WHAT? Who’s Mr. White?” Those two were going behind his back again! “You mean they have an ID on him?” He was angry now. Those two flaunted his authority at every turn. This was a big case. There was no way they’d shut him out this time.

Dr. Peters smiled humorlessly. “Lt. Briles, I’m just the shrink here. Perhaps you should ask your detectives.” And she turned on her heels and left him standing there fuming.

6 – “What’s Going On Here?”

Cheryl White screamed. Robert heard his mother but was too frightened to move. Little Tawanda continued to watch TV, making no sign that she’d heard the scream from the kitchen.

“STUPID!” THUD! “BITCH!” THUD!

Cheryl White screamed again.

This time, Tawanda took her eyes off the TV. She looked over at her brother then flew off the couch.

Robert reached out a hand to grab his sister, to stop her from going into the kitchen, but the little girl was too quick and dodged out of the way. “Tawanda, stay here,” he warned.

Slade was shouting something unintelligible from the kitchen Cheryl White screamed again, this time more softly.

“He’s hurting Mommy!” insisted the girl and she ran into the kitchen.

Robert shook his head and said “Damn,” then stood up and warily followed his sister into the kitchen.

Detective Joe Shmolnick was finally making progress with the strange prisoner Robert White. The big black man had been drugged to keep him calm, and Shmolnick and his partner Bubble had softened the man’s resistance to questioning with the help of a box of donuts. Bubble was writing notes as Shmolnick asked the questions, Robert quickly but quietly devouring the donuts.

“Now Robert, you said Blacktop McAdam went out to get food, right? What happened next?”

Robert finished chewing another jelly donut as the detectives waited for the man to answer. Robert wasn’t really paying much attention however; he was examining the box of donuts and determining to save the glazed, his favorite, for last. “Huh,” he said. Were these men talking to him?

“Blacktop,” repeated Detective Shmolnick as calmly as he could. “What happened to him, Robert?”

Robert wiped the crumbs off his mouth with his manacled hands. “Blacktop? Blacktop gone, Redbone hungry. Blacktop gone a long time. Redbone git real hungry.” Hungry. He was still hungry. He was always hungry. Only one more donut, a plain one, then the glazed was his!

“Then what happened?” asked Shmolnick.

Robert plunged the plain donut into his mouth, letting the taste of it soak in. “Plain ain’t bad,” he murmured.

Bubble was growing impatient. “Then what happened, Robert? After Blacktop left to get food?”

Robert looked up at the detective. “Blacktop gone. Redbone all alone again. Redbone hungry.” He finished chewing the plain donut and dutifully wiped his mouth again.

Growing exasperated, Bubble whispered into his partner’s ear. “We’re not getting anywhere, Joe. He just keeps repeating the same shit.”

“Relax man,” answered Shmolnick. “We’ll get there,” he whispered.

“Won’t we Robert?” he said cheerily to Robert. “Robert, what happened when you were all alone? Did you do something? Something bad?”

Robert screwed his face up, deep in thought. He reached for the glazed donut.

“STOP HURTING MY MOMMY!” Tawanda screeched upon entering the kitchen.

Slade turned to look at this new intrusion. He stood panting over Cheryl White, whose screams had fallen silent at long last, half her head bloody and misshapen from the beating he had administered. “Stupid bitch had it coming,” he thought to himself.

“Get the fuck out of here, little girl,” he growled.

Tawanda glanced at the unconscious form of her mother and became angry. Unthinking, she launched herself at the big man, screaming wildly.

Robert entered the kitchen just in time to see Slade whip his arm out and propel his little sister backward toward the kitchen table.

Tawanda almost got her footing, but at the last moment slipped on a tiny puddle of blood. A look of fear and surprise crossed her face before she went down, before the back of her head hit the corner of the table hard. She fell to the floor, eyes open but unseeing, blood trickling from the wound in the back of her head.

“Tawanda!” cried Robert.

“I’m warnin’ you boy, stay out of this,” said Slade, brandishing the bloody blackjack in Robert’s direction. Slade felt something on his lip; with a blood-stained finger, he brushed off crumbs from the glazed donut.

Briles stormed over to the Officer Straczny who was standing guard outside Interrogation Room 2. The officer had been leaning lazily against the glass but stood up straight as soon as he noticed the Lieutenant coming his way.

“What’s going on here?” demanded Briles. He immediately saw Detectives Shmolnick and Bubble through the glass questioning the big prisoner, who was shovelling donuts into his mouth. “Why is that prisoner eating donuts?”

“Uhh,” said Straczny, groping for the words that would get Briles off his ass. “Perp’s getting interroga--“

Briles cut him off. “Never mind, I’ll see for myself,” he muttered impatiently. He pushed past the officer and reached for the doorknob.

Robert didn’t move from the kitchen doorway. Slade brandished the bloody blackjack in front of him. He glanced down at the boy’s mother and the little girl.

“Dang,” he thought, “this shit be getting’ outta hand.”

“Tawanda?” said Robert softly, tears filling his eyes. He looked back at Slade. He hated Slade. Slade hurt his mommy. Slade hurt Tawanda. The tears flowed freely now, encouraged by the young man’s growing rage.

“Don’t be doin’ nothin’ stupid, fatboy,” said Slade, taking a tentative step forward. He wiped one last glazed crumb from the stubble on his chin. “You be good and Uncle Slade be gettin’ you some tasty glazed donuts.”

Robert’s teary eyes narrowed. “You took my glazed.” he said softly. His hands turned to fists at his sides. “You took my glazed!”

The boy’s large hands had a will of their own; they seemed to reach out for the blackjack of their accord. Robert watched fascinated as the blackjack fell to the floor and skittered across the room. Slade grimaced and swore. The boy’s hands went for the man’s skinny neck. He heard his own voice crying out, “You took….my glazed!” repeatedly as Slade’s fists pummeled his back. He barely felt the fists. He only felt the man’s neck between his hands. He felt the room shift, they were on the floor now, his shirt getting wet from the blood.

“Muthafucka!” groaned Slade, trying to get the boy off him. “I’m gonna kill you fatboy!” he yelled, but the boy was too heavy. Slade couldn’t budge him or his hands. He felt himself weakening as his supply of oxygen was cut off by the boy’s choking hands. The room began to darken. Suddenly the boy’s weight lifted off him, “Thank God, now I’ll kill the motherfucker,” thought Slade.

Robert had stood up and, looking around kitchen, saw the gleam on the kitchen table. “Bad man,” he said softly, and reached for the large kitchen knife on the table. He quickly returned his attention to the man gasping on the floor. “You a bad man,” he said, his woice wheezing from exertion. He took the knife handle in both hands.

“You a BAD!” He plunged the knife into Slade’s belly. “MAN!” He withdrew the knife and plunged it in again.

Slade’s eyes went wide, then he made an odd gurgling noise and fell silent. Robert continued to repeat the mantra “Bad man!” with each bloody plunge of the knife, ignoring the spray of blood and guts that stained his shirt.

He stopped finally and tossed the knife aside. He stared down at the dead man beneath him. He felt his breathing gradually return to normal.

“You a bad man, Uncle Slade. I be glad you dead,” he said. It was then that he noticed something gleaming among Slade’s leaking guts. It was the shiny sweet glaze of a shred of undigested donut.

“The glazed is mine,” he said and reached down.

Lt. Briles swept officiously into Interrogation Room 2 just as Robert White reached for the last, glazed, donut. “What the fuck is going on in here?” Briles demanded to know. “And what the hell are these donuts doing here?” He angrily shoved the box of donuts off the table onto the floor.

Shmolnick stood up, incensed. “Jesus, what are you doing you asshole?”

A look of panic crossed Robert’s face as he watched the lone donut fall from the box onto the floor. The last donut. The glazed. HIS glazed.

Bubble watched the prisoner’s expression change. “Uh Joe,” he began, but by then it was too late. Robert White had stood up suddenly and yelled “The glazed is mine!” and had knocked over the table.

Officer Straczny burst into the room, clumsily reaching for his service revolver. “No get back!” shouted Detective Shmolnick.

“YOU A BAD MAN UNCLE SLADE!” shouted Robert, and wrapped the chain connecting his handcuffs hands together around the surprised Briles’ neck.

“Get him off me! Get him off me!” squealed the struggling Lieutenant.

Bubble and Shmolnick tried to pry Robert loose from Briles but the man was too strong. Straczny had finally gotten his service revolver out and was pointing it at the perp. He didn’t have a clear shot. He looked at Shmolnick for instruction.

“Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him!” repeated Shmolnick, desperate to prevent the current situation from becoming deadly.

“BAD MAN! BAD MAN!!! TOOK THE GLAZED!” Robert was repeating this as he pulled the chain ever tighter around Briles’ neck. Briles could hardly breathe now; his pleas for help were fading.

“Robert NO!” yelled Shmolnick.

Robert gave no indication that he heard the detective. There was only the bad man, and the bad man had to be punished. He gritted his teeth and gave one final yank on the chain. Briles stopped struggling.

“Holy shit!” cried Officer Straczny, and as Robert flung the lifeless body of Lt. Briles aside, the officer opened fire.

“NO!” shouted both Shmolnick and Bubble at the same time.

“Oof,” said Robert, as the bullets struck him. His forward progress was only slowed however, and despite the combined efforts of the two detectives, his manacled hands found the terror-stricken uniformed officers’ head. “Bad man!” he repeated, and shoved Officer Straczny’s head into the wall as hard as he could. The gun clattered onto the floor.

Robert turned to Shmolnick and Bubble. Several officers and detectives had heard the shots and were streaming down the hall toward the interrogation room.

"You don’t want to do this, Robert,” said Shmolnick, trying to sound calm but perspiring heavily.

“They were bad men. Bad,” said Robert. He looked down at his shirt to see blood streaming out of several bullet holes. He slumped to the ground.

“Gurke,” he said, then closed his eyes.

7 – “Just Another Day At The Mill.”

Several hours later, Shmolnick and Bubble watched as the large body of Robert White, AKA Redbone, was finally wheeled away to the morgue. Bubble looked around and shook his head.

“Those IA fuckers still here?” he asked, taking a sip of water to wash down his fourth Prisolec of the day. Internal Affairs “representatives” had indeed been questioning everyone all day, contributing to the tense atmosphere at the precinct.
Shmolnick leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on his desk, stretching.

"They’re gone thank God,” he said.

A commotion from across the room broke the relative quiet of the police station.
“Man I ain’t done nothin’, why you gotta go pick on po’ Blacktop? You gonna hear from my attorney that be fo’ DAMN sure!”

Detectives Bick and Pemberton were roughly hustling a thin black man into the squad room. The balding Pemberton pushed Blacktop McAdam back toward the interrogation room. “Shut up Blacktop and keep moving,” ordered the burly detective.

Shmolnick and Bubble looked at each other at the sound of the name ‘Blacktop’ and stood up. “Hey Bick, whatcha got?” said Shmolnick.

Bick turned and grinned. He pulled a clear plastic envelope from within his jacket and held it up. “I got a 45 and one of the serial murder victim’s wallet. Bastard made us run six blocks to catch him. Pemberton’s pissed.”

Bubble snickered. “I’d hate to be Blacktop in about five minutes,” he said.
“I heard you guys had some excitement here earlier,” said Bick. “Briles lost his shit, huh?”

“Briles lost his shit alright. He screwed up an interrogation and had to be taken out in a bodybag. Straczny too, but not before he killed our perp.”

Blacktop was complaining again from the other side of the room. “Police brutality yo! Police brutality! Oww, I think you done cracked a rib, yo.”

“Shut up or I’ll crack your head,” growled Pemberton. “Hey Bick anytime you’re ready,” he yelled at his partner.

“Be right there,” answered Bick. “Which perp, not the big guy? What was his name?”

“Robert Lamar White,” answered Bubble. “AKA Redbone. We liked him for the serial murders. Mentioned your boy there.”

Bick smiled. “He did eh?” He turned to join his partner. “Now that is interesting.”

Shmolnick sighed. “Just another day at the mill.”

THE END.

2006 Michael S. Cohen

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