Part two of Batting Practice
“We’ve asked you in here today, Detective Sergeant, to ask you if you know anything about the assault on Senior Constable Frank Morgan?” said the man who had identified himself as an officer from Internal affairs.
I don’t remember his name now, as I didn’t make a note of it then — no point. He was just the first wave — the monkey, not the organ grinder.
“Do Internal Affairs officers get a special clothing allowance — more than we mere mortals in Robbery? I only ask because that is a particularly handsome suit. Well cut, well fitted — handsome.”
This was an old trick, and it showed him up to be relatively inexperienced in the business of extracting information — the next officer I spoke to would be better at his job — assuming there was to be a ‘next officer’.
Throw your suspect (or in this case inquisitor) a question designed to distract them and yet require an answer — breaking their train of thought.
“No, not that I know of. Maybe. No, I don’t think so,” said the young Detective Sergeant.
“Not to worry. By the way, I reserve the right to be questioned by an officer of equal or higher rank. You just won’t do young man.”
Always be on the front foot. Never retreat.
“I’m a Detective Sergeant. I said so at the beginning of our interview. I’m like you,” he said.
Back foot, and nothing like me.
“So, you did. And why am I here again?”
He repeated his question after straightening his tie and shuffling his papers (always have documents in an interview — your subject will be wondering what you have on them — on paper).
I paused for a longish time, shifted in my chair, scratched at my ear and finally said, “I don’t know SC Morgan all that well. I’ve only spent quality time with him once.” When I beat the living shit out of him with a cricket bat.
My inquisitor seemed a bit flustered — not sure where to go next.
“You do know that Senior Constable Frank Morgan is married to Detective Constable Helen Morgan, from your squad?”
“Yes, I do. She was recently assaulted, wasn’t she? Did they ever catch the evil bastard who did it?” I said through gritted teeth.
“Investigations are ongoing,” said my inquisitor and it was the first time I had heard him mumble. He knew what I was getting at, and he was embarrassed that her recently pummelled husband had not been charged. This was a good sign.
“How is SC Morgan going?”
“He’s recovering. Won’t be back at work until after the operation on his knee.” More shuffling of papers.
I was determined to not directly say that I had nothing to do with SC Morgan’s beating. It’s a small point, but I don’t like to lie — not directly.
“I don’t think I can be of much help to you. Did SC Morgan give a description of his assailant?” I was reasonably sure he hadn’t, but a bit of fishing wouldn’t hurt.
“No. His memory of the incident is a bit hazy.”
I thought so, and it probably had something to do with my parting comment to him as he lay holding his damaged knee.
“Here is a list of all the people you have taken kickbacks from over the past twelve months.”
I pushed the list into his top pocket before I put the bat in the boot of my car and drove away.
“No help with CCTV footage?” I said.
“No. His home system wasn’t switched on — for some reason.”
“Too far away and the resolution’s crap. Just a man and a dark coloured car.”
“Pity. Are we done? I have the ungodly to apprehend. It’s my job.”
“Yes. That’s all — for now. We may want to speak to you again.”
I’d heard what I needed, but I will put my cricket bat in the shed when I get home. I had considered burning the evidence, but Dean Jones signed that bat. Buggered if that arsehole Morgan is going to make me incinerate my favourite bat.
The young Internal Affairs officer gathered up his papers and left the room without making eye contact.
I stayed seated and stuck my little finger in my ear and gave it a bit of a twirl. I pulled the finger out and inspected it — shiny but no wax.
I checked my phone for messages and stretched my arms up in the air in an exaggerated stretch, all for the benefit of the people behind the mirrored panel.
Calm and relaxed.
Unhurried and with nothing to hide.
SC Morgan would probably walk with a limp for quite some time, and he will think carefully before laying a hand on his wife.
I felt satisfied that I had dealt out a bit of justice, but I could not help feeling that I had crossed a line.
A line I had so far been on the right side of.
The ungodly were waiting, so I gathered myself and left the room — striding down the corridor towards the sunlight.
“Just one more thing, Detective Sergeant. Do you play cricket?” said my inquisitor, who had stepped out of the second last office before the doors to the street.
“Not since I represented the Police Force, back in the nineties,” I said without thinking.
My young inquisitor was better than I thought he was.
I’d underestimated him.
I won’t do that again.