The interrogation room doesn’t seem quite as scary this time.
While I was in the patrol car, I was gobbling up every story I could find about Wendy Garrick’s suicide. Apparently, she slashed her boyfriend’s throat, then swallowed a bunch of pills. She even left a suicide note.
This adds an entirely new dimension to what happened to Douglas Garrick.
I’ve been in the room for about half an hour when Detective Rodriguez finally strides in. He still has that serious expression on his face, but it doesn’t seem quite as ominous anymore. He just looks… perplexed.
“Hello, Miss Calloway,” he says as he slides into the seat across from
“Hello, Detective,” I say.
His brows knit together. “Did you hear what happened to Wendy
“I did. It was on the news.”
“You should know,” he says, “that in her suicide note, she also confessed to Mr. Garrick’s murder.”
I allow myself a teeny, tiny smile. “So I’m no longer a suspect?”
“Actually…” He leans back in his plastic chair, which creaks under his weight. “You already were no longer a suspect. It turns out there was a camera at the back entrance that nobody knew about. We reviewed the video feed, and it looks like you were never even in the apartment building at the same time as Mr. Garrick.”
“Right. Wendy set me up.”
This whole time there was a camera. All the panic and stress of the last two days… and all along, the proof of my innocence was right there.
He nods. “That’s what it looks like. So I want to apologize. You can see how we might have thought that you were responsible for the murder.”
“Of course. I have a prison record, so if a crime is committed, I must be the one who did it.”
Rodriguez has the good grace to appear embarrassed. “I did jump to some conclusions, but you have to admit, it didn’t look good for you. And Wendy Garrick was so insistent that you had to be responsible.”
He’s right. She did a good job setting me up. But if she’d just been a little bit smarter, she wouldn’t have had to set me up at all. In the end, Wendy Garrick made things a lot harder for herself than she needed to. She could’ve learned a lot from me.
The whole experience has soured me though. I helped a lot of women over the years, and although it didn’t always go according to plan, I always felt like I was fighting the good fight. When women came to me for help, I never felt any hesitation to do the right thing.
But now I’ve started to wonder. Wendy legitimately seemed like a victim. It’s going to be hard to trust the next person who comes to me for help after this experience. And that’s one of the things I resent about her the most.
“So I’m no longer a suspect?” I ask Rodriguez.
“That’s right. As far as I’m concerned, the case is closed.”
Douglas is dead. They know Wendy is responsible. And she’s dead too.
No need for an investigation, or any more arrests, or a trial. I’m free. “Then I don’t understand. Why am I here?”
“Well…” Rodriguez smiles sheepishly. “It turns out you have a bit of a reputation.”
“A reputation?” My stomach churns slightly—this doesn’t sound good. “As what?”
“As a hero.”
“A… excuse me?”
“I recognize you thought you were trying to help Mrs. Garrick,” he says, “because you’ve helped other women before. And I want you to know, it’s appreciated. We see some bad stuff in here, and sometimes we get to the victims too late.”
His comment hits home. I have done everything possible to keep it from ever being “too late.” And no matter where the future takes me—as a housemaid or a social worker—I’m going to keep right on doing it. “I… I do the best I can with the resources I have.”
“I understand that.” He smiles at me. “And I just want you to know that you can consider me one more resource. I want you to have my card, and if you ever see any situation where a woman is in danger, I want you to give me a call right away—I wrote my cell number on the back. This time, I promise I’ll believe you.”
He slides his card across the table. I pick it up, staring down at his name. Benito Rodriguez. Finally—a friend on the police force. I can hardly believe it. “Just to be clear, you’re not hitting on me, right?”
He throws his head back and laughs. “No—I’m too old for you. And I assumed you’re with that Italian guy who came to the police station yesterday, making a fuss about you, about how we had the wrong person and he wasn’t leaving until we listened to what he had to say. I thought we were going to have to arrest the guy.”
I smile to myself. “Really?”
“Oh yeah. In fact, he’s out there right now. He won’t leave the waiting room until he gets to see you.”
“Well then,” I say, still unable to wipe that smile off my face (although I’m not really trying), “I guess I’ll be heading out.”
When I stand up, Rodriguez stands too. He holds out his hand to me, and I shake it. Then I head out to meet Enzo and finally go home.