Chapter 24: Singing like a bird

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The interview room was lit up brightly. Both spot lights on the side were surging with heat and fluorescence, so the room looked like a baseball stadium. A single glass was sitting isolated on the table, but it was empty and so was the jug beside it. The air conditioner was set on humid, despite the outside temperature sitting on a stifling thirty degrees.

A feeling of exhaustion and paranoia would await anyone who sat in the main seat now. This room was designed this way for a reason. Criminals entered this setting full of strength and bravado. Their willpower was initially rock solid and so was their determination not to speak. They soon found out though, after a few hours in the chair when their body was sweating profusely, their mouth was as dry as a baron dam and questions were being flung at them, like darts that this resolve they possessed was fleeting. These men soon faltered through dry, cracked throats. The allure of a soft drink or a respite from the searing heat made them squeal. They would say anything to once again feel a moist liquid running down their agitated throats or the coolness of a shadow in the corner. This process was like a form of torture and the police had been using it for years. There was no better way to legally obtain a confession.

Max squinted his eyes when he entered the room, followed by Commissioner Graham.

"Far out, who ordered the light show?" he asked.

"We need it this way," his colleague admitted, before issuing an order, "now sit down, before anyone sees you. I brought you in through the back door for a reason."

Max quickly found a seat in the corner which was the coolest part in the room. He could feel a slight breeze from another air conditioner leaking in through a crack in the ceiling. This was his only respite from this sauna, like atmosphere.

"So, do you know what you're going to ask him?" he queried.

The Commissioner responded to his lingering gaze with a confident smile.

"I have it all planned. He's going to sing, like a canary, but I need to ask something of you first?"

"What?"

"I'm allowing you to be here, but you can't say anything," he continued, like issuing another order, "let me take the reins. I want him to have no recourse to appeal his confession. He may claim prejudice if you become involved."

"That's fine," Max conceded, "I'm just happy I can witness this."

"I'd put you in the viewing room, but I need you here. Your presence will rattle him."

A door squeaked loudly, cutting off his words. The wood opened wide, revealing the petulant, grizzly face of Frank Hardy.

"What am I doing here?" he grumbled in a crabby tone.

Two officers released him and walked off back through the door, before shutting it loudly behind them.

"Why was I escorted here like a common criminal?" Hardy again protested, hitting them with another question immediately, "why did they take my gun?"

"Sit down Frank," the Commissioner responded in a cool voice, "I have some questions to ask you."

There was negativity in Hardy's body language. His hands were clenched tightly at his sides and his mouth was slanted with a vicious snarl. He motioned to move, but suddenly sensed something over his right shoulder. His head quickly turned, before he instantly felt like his eyesight was betraying him. Hardy noticed Max through a misty haze caused by the lights, half hidden in the shadows of the back corner.

"What the fuck is that criminal doing here?" he asked, turning angrily back towards Graham.

"He's here for the interview."

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