Misty looked out the window as Mike walked up the street. They were having a cop convention outside his house, it seemed. There were seven or eight cop cars parked on his lawn, and at least a dozen officers milling around in his front yard. Four of them spotted Mike and moved to intercept him as he started up his front walk.
She saw him shake his head and point at the house, and then two more of them hurried over. Mike was arguing with them, and all six of them went up the steps into his house. She wished she could hear what they were saying.
Mike walked towards his house and was intercepted on his walkway.
“Excuse me, sir, you can’t go in. This is a crime scene.” he was told by a blue suit.
“That’s as may be, but I’m going in. This is my house.” Mike told him, pushing past the cop.
Two more of them hurried over, in plain clothes. “Are you Michael Ménage?” he was asked.
“Of course I am.” Mike replied. “You already knew that.”
“Do you know what happened here?” the other detective demanded. Mike just looked at him.
“Well, I know that there was a lot of dead bodies in there, and there’s bullet holes all through the place. Excuse me, you’re in my way. I need to go get my medications.”
“Sir, you can’t go in there right now. We have a forensics team going over the place with a fine tooth comb, and you could contaminate evidence.” said the first one, stepping in front of Mike and blocking him.
“If I don’t get my meds, I could die.” Mike told him. “I think that outweighs any `contamination` issues.”
“We need to ask you some questions first.” said the second detective, putting his hand on Mike’s arm to stop him from going around the one in his way.
“Excuse me Officer, but am I under arrest?” Mike demanded to know. The cop immediately removed his hand and flushed bright pink.
“Well, no, but-” he started to say, but Mike cut him off.
“Then I am going into my house and getting my medication that was prescribed by my doctor and that I could die if I don’t get.” he said heatedly. “Now, get out of my way, or I’ll sue the whole city.”
“I’ll be glad to escort you inside so you can retrieve whatever is necessary for your survival” said the second plain-clothes detective. He gave a nod and a frown to his partner, who stepped back and let them pass.
“Well, thank you for that.” Mike said, going up the walkway.
“So do you know what happened here?” asked the detective, following closely behind him.
“Nope.” said Mike. “It’s looks like a gang war in there, though.”
“Funny you should mention that.” said the detective. “Do you know the identity of any of the men in there?”
“No.” Mike answered, going up the steps. The front door was wide open, and he pretended to recoil a bit at the sight of all the blood on his hardwood floor.
“I was in here yesterday, but there are more dead men now.” he said, putting his hand up to his mouth. “I don’t know if… if I can…”
“It’s okay, Mr. Ménage. I understand. Could I go in and get your meds for you?”
“That… that might be best.” he said weakly. “I believe I’ll just stay out here on the porch.” He went over and sat on his porch swing. “My meds are in the medicine cabinet on the second floor.” he said. I’ll need my Valiums as well. They are on the bedside table in the Master bedroom.”
“Okay, you just stay there, and I’ll be right back.” the detective promised.
As he went in, his partner came back up and stood on the porch next to him.
“So, why do you think they picked your house to have a gang war in?” he asked.
“I have no idea.” Mike answered. “Why don’t you ask them?”
“That’s what Forensics is doing right now.” he said, wryly. “It will be a lot faster and cheaper if you just tell me, though.”
“If I knew, I would.” he said. “Those are my tax dollars at work in there. What theories do the police have at the moment?”
“Well, you might be interested to know that we found your secret room in the basement, and even though it’s against regulations, I’ll tell you that your wife was tortured in there. We found one of her nipples on the floor. You know anything about that?”
“Oh, God, Cindy…” he said, covering his face with his hands. He tottered over to the porch swing and sat down heavily. “Oh, God, Cindy.” The officer heard him choke back a sob.
It was calculated to make the cop feel uncomfortable in front of a man about to cry, but it didn’t. The cop wasn’t a rookie, and just cleared his throat, clearly indicating that he wasn’t leaving.
“Sir? If you could pull yourself together, I have more questions for you.” he said, sounding less than sympathetic.
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly answer anymore questions without my lawyer here.” he said, lowering his hands as his tears dried up. His cheeks were genuinely wet, tho, the cop couldn’t deny the emotion he’d just witnessed. Mike was obviously distraught, but also had pulled himself together enough to speak the magic words.
“Oh, well, you don’t need your lawyer for the questions I’m going to be asking.” said the cop smoothly. “Why don’t you start with what time you got here yesterday morning?”
“I don’t remember.” Mike told him. “I’m going inside and call her right now.”
“Ah, I can’t let you go in there.” the officer told him. “That’s a crime scene, and closed.”
“I don’t think I could stand to be in there right now anyway.” Mike agreed, getting up. “I’m going down the street to my friend’s house to make the call.”
The cop followed him off the porch and out to the sidewalk. Mike turned to look at him.
“Am I under arrest?” he asked.
“No, sir.” the cop answered. They were both on the sidewalk outside his house.
“Are you going to be following me all day?” he asked nastily. “I’m entitled to a little privacy while I consult my lawyer, and I’m very sure you’re not invited into my friends house, so why don’t you go get a warrant for her house to arrest me, because that’s where I’m going.”
The cop just looked at him blankly, then looked around for his partner, still inside. His orders said Mike Ménage was only to be arrested if he blatantly refused to cooperate, and he hadn’t. Mike was striding purposefully down the street, and the cop just watched him go. Three houses down on the same side of the street, Mike turned and went up the walk and entered a neighbor’s house without knocking. The cop spoke into his radio, and 5 minutes later, the first press van pulled up. It started raising the mast antenna before it had finished rolling to a halt across the street from the neighbor’s place he’d gone in.
“Hello viewers, I’m Amanda Foakmey, and we’re coming to you live outside this house in a normally quiet, peaceful neighborhood here in suburban Lakeside. Up the street there, you can see all sorts of police activity outside the last house on this street, where we are told dozens of men were killed, along with two uniformed police officers. Additionally, there are rumors of a woman being tortured and murdered here, but nobody seems willing to substantiate that.
“We are outside this house, where the owner of the first house, site of all the grisly murders is reported to be inside. It is unclear at this time if he is implicated in these murders or not, but he is definitely a “Person of Interest” according to one officer who does not wish to be named.
“Oh, wait! I see movement! Rob, are you getting this? Yes… it appears that someone… a man… is exiting the house! He’s coming this way!
“Sir!! Sir! If I might have a moment of your time? Sir?”
Mike turned to the lady reporter and smiled weakly.
“Can I help you? That’s my house up there, and I need to go…” he said, holding up one hand.
“Your name, sir? For our viewers?”
“I’m Mike. Mike Ménage.” he said. “Please? I need to go see about my wife. Well, my ex-wife, to be exact, but still…”
“Is she the woman who was murdered in there?” Amanda asked him, holding the microphone out to him.
“I… well, the police told me she is dead, but I don’t know where…”
“How about the dozens of dead men in there? Any idea who they were?” she asked.
“I don’t know any of them by face…” he said, “But the police told me it was… I think… Sal Mineo and his men? I think he’s… was… some sort of organized crime figure, but I don’t know about such things. I hear stuff, though.”
“They told you that? Sal Mineo is dead in your house?” she asked, her eyes shining with excitement.
“Look, I really shouldn’t be out here, talking to you like this. I really have to go. I have to find out about my wife… where she is. I have to see her.” Mike sounded really distraught as he said this last, his voice choking up.
“Yes, of course.” she said, letting him turn away. “There you have it, folks, straight from one of the witnesses himself, and the owner of the house where dozens of bodies, dead bodies, were carried out earlier today. Allegedly, the police told him one of the dead men was Sal Mineo, and others were his henchmen, but as yet the police have not positively identified ANY of the corpses found inside.
“This is Amanda Foakmey, reporting to you live from Lakewood. Back to our regularly scheduled programming, and we will bring you more news from here as it happens.”
The lights on the camera went off, and she hurried after Mike to catch up with him.
“Sir?” she called out. “Mr. Ménage?”
“Yes?” he said, turning. He sounded much less distraught than he had a moment ago on camera. “What do you want? I gave you your interview. Please leave me in peace.”
“I know, sir, but I was wondering if I could convince you to give me the exclusive. I’m sure my station would be willing to make it worth your while.”
“Hmm.” he said thoughtfully. “An exclusive, eh? What would you personally be willing to do to guarantee I won’t call channel 5 once I get inside?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, her eyes narrowing. “My station will be willing to pay you quite a large amount of money if what you just told me about Sal Mineo turns out to be true.”
“Oh, it is true.” he said. “And the money is one thing. That’s what the station has to do to guarantee my exclusive. What are you willing to do for me to ensure that you are the only reporter I will work with? This is a big story; could be a Pulitzer if you play it right.”
“What would you want?” she asked right back.
“Take a guess.” he smiled. “Your station will be giving me money. What could I possibly want from a beautiful, famous lady reporter such as yourself?”
“Mr. Ménage!! I am not a prostitute!” she exclaimed, looking hurt and offended. “I’ve never slept with anyone for a story, ever!”
“I never said you were.” he agreed. “But now you’ll never be a Pulitzer winner, either.” He started to turn back towards the house. “Please excuse me. I have to go call Alexis Morgan from channel 5.”
“Wait!! Mr. Ménage! Don’t do that! I’ll- I’ll come with you. I want this story.” she said, hurrying up to catch him as he reached the steps.
“Not here.” he said. “Come pick me up in an hour in your car and take me to your house. This is my neighbor’s house; I have her daughter babysit my son once in a while. We can’t do anything here. We are going to need privacy, and I assume we’ll have more of that at your place. Unfortunately, mine is crawling with police of all sorts.”
“Umm, okay.” she said, uncertainly. She turned back to the TV van and walked slowly towards it, her head down as she stared at the ground.
“Amanda?” he called out to her. She turned to look at him. “One hour. In sixty one minutes, I’m calling channel five.” She nodded at him weakly and climbed into the van. A moment later, it started lowering the antenna after starting up, then pulled out from the curb and went down the street.
He went back inside, where Misty was waiting for him.
“Wow, what did you say to her?” Misty asked him as he came through the door. “I’ve never met anyone who was on T.V. before.”
“I just gave her the bare bones of what’s been happening lately.” he said. “In an hour, she’s going to pick me up, and I’ll grant her an exclusive interview.”
“Yeah, right.” Misty snorted. “You’re going to strip her bare, and bone her for an hour.”
“What’s the matter, Misty? Jealous?” Mike grinned at the girl.
“Not really.” Misty said lightly. “As long as you promise that you’ll be here tomorrow to fuck me and my Mom some more.”
“Oh, hell yeah, you know it!” he grinned. “I just found the two of you; think I’m going to let the best thing to ever happen to me go so easily? Not on your life!!”
He went into the bathroom - alone- and ran his fingers through his hair, splashed some water on his face, then went out and sat on the couch to wait for Amanda to arrive.