Frank’s prisoner slowly regained consciousness. Frank directed him into the back seat of his car and drove west. The prisoner’s body quit jerking from the Taser and he seemed coherent.
“Son, you wanna tell me what you were doing in the woods over there? Where’s your buddy at?”
The man didn’t reply while staring out the window. Frank pulled up behind the red Pontiac and asked, “You wanna tell me the story behind this car?”
Frank grabbed the radio receiver to enhance his bluff. “Now I’mma gonna call these tags in. You got any idea what they are gonna tell me when I call it?’
“That ain’t my car,” softly said the man from the back seat.
“I have an eyewitness that says he seen you and another black guy over here by this car.”
“I ain’t been nowhere near that car. I was just out here walking, minding my business, trying to clear my head.”
“So why you run, and where’s your friend?”
“I’m out here by myself. I ain’t do nothing. You just fooling with me 'cause I’m black.”
“Color has nothing to do with it. I got an abandoned car on the road, you fooling around in the woods, your buddy missing, and I got an eye witness that says you and your friend were by this car.”
“I ain’t got no friend with me, I was out here walking trying to clear my head that’s all.”
“Oh yeah? So who the hell is Cooley? Don’t you remember yelling ‘Cooley, it’s Five-O’ before I Tased you?”
“I was talking to myself, Cooley,” he said. “I sometimes call myself Cooley. It’s a nickname. No crime in having a nickname.”
“I’m sure,” Frank replied. “But don’t take offense, ‘cause I sometimes call my riders liars.”
“You the one lying. You ain’t got no eyewitness. You probably talked to that goofy white dude with the duffel bag. That white boy was on this side the road with the car. We was on the other side. Talk to that white boy about that car.”
“We? I thought you said you were by yourself?”
“That’s not what I said. You over here changing my words. You stunned me and got my mind messed up. I said me. I was on the other side and that white boy was over here. Go get that white boy. This is his car. I don’t know jack about this car.”
“So if this ain’t your car, where’s your car? How’d you get out here? Let me guess, your momma kicked you out this morning from your Jasper home and you’re going to live with your cousin in Nelson? Cause if so, I heard enough of that hog-wash. Something stinks to high heaven between your story and his story. And I’ll bring everybody in to get to the bottom of it. Not to mention that I saw you two when I was driving up this way. So you wanna come clean and tell me what the hell you were up to?”
“I wasn’t doing nothing. I know my rights. You ain’t got nothing on me.”
“Well, let’s go find your buddy in those woods and see what you were up to. I doubt you are as clean as you say you are, Homeboy.” Frank started the car back up, pulled onto the highway, and made a U-turn heading eastward.
Sergeant Frank Todd pulled up to the same area where he picked up the black guy, and then headed into the woods, keeping his hand on his Taser. A natural path was already cut into the woods from frequent traffic.
He followed the path deep into the woods. Although the middle of the afternoon, it looked like it was dusk. The tall trees blocked out most of the sun.
The path started to branch. A faint trail went to the left. Up the path another faint trail went to the right. Choices. Since Frank was left handed, he chose to go left.
Frank continued to follow the shadowy outline of the trail for a few dozen yards and then stopped. His heart beat like a sledge hammer against his breastplate. Waves of nausea caused his vision to blur. He leaned onto a tree for balance as he stared at what looked to be a female corpse wrapped up in clear plastic lying in the grass.
“Sally, Sally, you there?” Frank desperately yelled into the radio.
She answered with concern in her voice. “What’s the matter, Frank?”
“Gonna need back-up. Found a dead female in the woods.”