As promised -- or 'threatened', if you prefer -- today's piece is a short sketch featuring Detective Jack Tate, a character dreamed up for my skit writing class and introduced when last we danced.
"Now pay attention, Fleshpot, because I'm only gonna say this once."
Since that leaves very little writing to do (as opposed to copy-and-pasting what I wrote earlier in the week), this seems as good a place as any to report that the Mug of Woe collection including a story of mine will be officially available soon. On Amazon, no less!
(At least until Amazon gets wind of this, after which I'll probably be relegated to passing out literacy pamphlets in the back of a Starbucks.)
And now you're up to speed. Let's talk to Jack. Happy weekending.
JACK TATE, AMNESIC DETECTIVE
[Interior of a police interrogation room. A seedy perp sits cross-armed at the table, uncooperative and bored.
A frustrated detective stands near the door, holding a file with the perp's picture and info clipped to the front.]
DETECTIVE: You want to do this the hard way? Fine.
[Detective raps hard twice on the door.]
DETECTIVE: Now you gotta deal with my partner.
[Detective Jack Tate enters the room, old school and all business. His partner passes Jack the file as he leaves the room.]
DETECTIVE: He's all yours.
[NOTE: Where Jack's lines are in quotes, he's pausing to read conspicuously from the file jacket.]
JACK: All right... "Fletcher". How's about you tell me about this... "where you hid the stash"?
PERP: Get bent.
JACK: Oh-ho-ho no. That's the wrong attitude, punk. You'd better come clean right now about this... "where you hid the stash".
PERP: Are you... reading that?
JACK: Hey. I'll ask the questions around here, Flanders.
PERP: Fletcher. My name is Fletcher.
JACK: [confused, scanning the file jacket] Fletcher? Fletcher... Fletcher... Wait -- you're Fletcher? Listen here, bub. I wanna talk to you about this... "where you hid the stash" business.
[Jack turns his back and opens the file to scan the contents.]
PERP: Holy god, it's like being questioned by my grandmother.
[Jack closes the file, but doesn't turn to face perp again yet.]
JACK: Now pay attention, Fleshpot, because I'm only gonna say this once.
PERP: [under his breath] Yeah, _that's_ unlikely.
JACK: Kid, I can be your best friend here, or your worst nightmare.
[Jack whirls around dramatically and faces perp, leaning close across the table. He drops the file on the table, close by but not where he can easily see it.]
JACK: But if you want my help, you've got to talk to me about this... uh, this... thing we're talking about. Come on, Flipchart. Work with me here.
PERP: Damn. You are the worst cop I have ever seen in my life.
[Jack takes a step back from the table.]
JACK: Yeah, wise guy? Well, who d'ya think you are -- the chief of police?
PERP: Yeah! Maybe I am.
JACK: [taken aback, worried] Wait. You are? Really?
PERP: Uh... sure, that's right. Yeah. I'm the chief.
JACK: And you think I'm a bad cop?
PERP:Oh yeah. The worst. You're a disgrace to the force.
JACK: Wow. I had no idea.
PERP: Yeah, well -- the truth hurts sometimes. And you suck.
JACK: So do you want... I mean... should I turn in my badge?
PERP: Uh... well, yeah. Right. Give me your badge, yes. And your gun. And... a pack of breath mints.
JACK: [pulls out badge and gun, checks his pockets] I've got Juicy Fruit. Will that do?
PERP: See, this is just what I'm talking about. Disgrace to the force. You're finished, flatfoot.
[Perp beckons with his hand for the badge and gun. As Jack leans forward to hand them over, he glances down at the file, stops cold, looks at the perp, then the file, then the perp again, and yanks back the gun and badge. The file stays on the table.]
JACK: Hey! You're not the chief! You're not the chief at all! You're Fletcher! And I've got a bone to pick with you, buddy, about this... "where you hid the stash"!
PERP: [burying his head in his hands] Oh good lord.
JACK: Now are you gonna spill what you know, Flaxseed? Or do I have to get ugly?
PERP: For the love of god, I'm not talking to you, I don't have any stash, and MY NAME IS FLETCHER!
[Jack sees the perp is upset, takes a deep breath and turns away, switching to a 'good cop' approach.
In the middle of Jack's line, the perp gets a bright idea and steals the file off the table, hiding it under his shirt with smug satisfaction.]
JACK: Look, kid. I'm asking for your own good. I've seen guys like you. You're not made for prison, trust me. You'd never last a week in the joint. And none of us wants that.
[Jack turns around to face the perp, and the now-empty table.]
JACK: So talk to me here. You can trust me. Help me to help _you_... [Jack looks around for the file, doesn't see it, stalls] ...um, you... [finally guesses at the name] ...Fletcher?
PERP: Oh, I'm not Fletcher. Fletcher's gone, baby.
JACK: Gone? What happened? Did he talk?
PERP: Nope, not a peep. You said you could never break a guy like him, and you let him go.
JACK: I let him go?
PERP: Yup. You said he was the smartest guy you ever met, and he walked right out that door. Said he was real good-looking, too. Nice cheekbones.
JACK: I said all that?
PERP: 'Fraid so. Can't win 'em all, pal.
JACK: Well, I'll be damned. But then... who are you?
PERP: Me? Uh, well... I'm... uh, Flintstone.
[Perp cringes at coming up with ridiculous name, but tries to play it off anyway.
Jack responds in disbelief, slowly walking around the table to end up behind the perp.]
PERP: Yep. Flintstone. That's what I said, all right.
JACK: You. Are Flintstone?
PERP: Sure am. Flintstone's my name, don't wear it out.
JACK: I see. You're Flintstone... [Jack pounces at the perp, grabbing him in a headlock and jamming his gun into perp's forehead] -- the serial killer I've been hunting for the last fifteen years?! The godforsaken animal I swore to put in the ground?! Oh, Flintstone -- I'm puttin' a bullet in your brain right now, and I don't care who sees me!!
[As Jack finishes his line, his partner walks through the door, while the perp screams in terror, ducks and throws the file back on the table.]
PERP: Gaaah! No! I'm Fletcher! Fletcher! I'll talk, all right? The stash is in my basement! I'll show you! Just get this nut away from me already!
[Jack mouths 'Fletcher?' to himself, trying to place the name. He notices he's holding his gun, shrugs and reholsters it.]
PARTNER: That's some great work, Jack. Another scumbag off the streets, eh? I'll get him down to processing.
[Jack nods distractedly. Partner collects the perp and prepares to march him out the door.
Jack says to no one in particular:]
JACK: Now what the hell did I come in here for?
[Jack notices the file on the table and picks it up. He does another double-look at the picture and the perp as his partner takes the perp out the door. Jack chases after them.]
JACK: Fletcher! Hey! You get back here, mister! I've got some questions for you!