His picture was pushed across the stainless-steel table. Taken two years ago as part of a department wide update. He’d refused to dress up or do much of anything besides stand. “Oh look,” he said, “it’s me."
“You know why we’re here, James.” Sergeant Clapper said.
James liked Clapper as much as he could like anyone. Which wasn’t much, but Clapper said what he meant. Clapper’s statement was just that, not a passive question. He said what he meant, that was rare. “Don’t know why you’ve got to bring that old thing out every time we sit down like this.”
“Part of the process. Protocol. You know that too.”
James nodded. “Right. Protocol,” he sighed, “okay. Let’s get on with it.” The cool air in the steel walled interrogation room bristled the hair on his arms. He sipped coffee from the same mug that was in the picture.
“You drew your sidearm in a crowded restaurant. You were off duty. Tell me your side of things.”
“You’ve seen the feeds, heard the whole thing from half a dozen sources—at least—I’m sure.”
Clapper nodded, “Yeah, but I want to hear it from you. The one angle I don’t have is yours. Tell me why, what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking he’s was being a little shit and needed a good scare. Maybe now he’ll stay in line.”
“Maybe now he’ll think cops are scum of the earth, which he probably already did think. But now you’ve confirmed it for him and he’ll go way out of line. We’re meant to enforce justice, James, not scare it into kids by shoving guns in their faces.”
James pushed his picture back across the table with a grunt.
“Look, promise me you won’t go back to that same shop for a couple months and we’ll call this good. Can you do that for me?”
James scowled, “That’s the only donut and ramen shop near my place.”
“Then maybe you’ll have to get your ramen and donuts separate from each other for sixty days. Or get them delivered, I don’t know. I’m sure you can figure it out. Can I get you to shake on this?”
“Sure.” They stood and James offered his hand.
“Ramen and donuts, huh? You ever think that might be more sugar than you need?”
“Leave my diet out of this.”
“Fair enough,” Clapper laughed.