February 22, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

Murder in the Great Big Playground 

A tale of real estate, murder, politics, and really great powder: Chapter Five

click to enlarge Illustration by Jon Parris
  • Illustration by Jon Parris

By Stella L. Harvey

His shoulder blades pinched as the officer slammed his weight into Rory, and made him stumble forward. The other officer yanked on Rory’s arm. “Steady, ” he said. “Thought you’d lay off that stuff, graduate to booze after you nearly killed one of those Limey rock-throwing girls.” The officer behind Rory cinched the nylon handcuffs.

The cuffs bit at his wrists. “Do we need to do this?” Rory asked. “I called you guys. Remember?” He couldn’t feel his hands. He pushed his head back to get the hair out of his eyes. He flexed his shoulders but found no relief.

“You’re a person of interest. It’s procedure.” The cop who’d steadied him stood in front of Rory and grinned as if to say, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Two teeth in the officer’s mouth were capped in gold. The embossed nametag pinned at his chest shimmered in the locker room’s muted overhead lights. Constable Baker. His eyes were the same unrevealing grey. He’d packed on some weight since Rory last saw him. Baker’s golden hair had diminished. An uneven, mottled scalp remained, but he was still the dickhead former captain of the Olympic snowboard team, the guy who’d turned his back on Rory after that thing with the women’s curling team. The smell of a spicy curry lingered on Baker’s uniform and on his breath. Rory had associated that smell with Baker since they were kids. Rory turned his head. Baker reached behind Rory and gave the handcuffs another tug. “Nothing personal,” he said, and bathed Rory’s face in a curry burp.

“I can’t feel my hands.”

“You will.”

Baker grinned and nodded at his partner. “When we get back to the station.”

In the cruiser, Rory sat on the shredded vinyl seat in the back. The stiff slivers pierced the cheap instructor’s uniform he’d been issued and nipped at his butt. He fidgeted but couldn’t get comfortable. He squeezed his hands. Still he couldn’t feel them.

“Where’s my client,” Rory asked.

“You always had a way with the girls didn’t you?”

“Where is she?”

“You’ll have your reunion soon,” Baker said. “First, we’re going for a ride.”

The cruiser dragged by the fields on either side of the Pemberton road. Rory had been out here a hundred times but on this overcast night he saw nothing he recognized. Baker and his partner talked, laughed between themselves about the detachment’s hockey pool but said nothing to Rory. An ache had settled between his shoulder blades. He wondered if these two were involved somehow in Chuck’s plans. Chuck or Minty had talked, said something to someone. They’d bragged and flaunted how they lived off of other people’s supply. Someone had had enough. Did they know Rory had a map to the place? Had they put Minty in his locker to warn him? Get rid of all three of them?

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