Friday, February 10, 2012

The Confessor

Gerry Rigby sat at his desk, feeling like an outsider. A rookie was fair game for the seasoned cops. It was hard deciphering when they were serious or pulling your leg.

Pressure was on to solve the latest string of murders. The victims were nobodies, mostly creeps or winos.  The fourth victim was dumped behind Dirty Mick’s off Fifth. Somebody’d gone over him real good.

Heads turned when the frumpy blonde walked in, her rheumy eyes darting around the squad room as she scratched  her arms like she was four hours late for her next fix.

Two detectives winked at each other, then the old timer spoke.

“Why don’t you take this one, Gerry?” he said.

Gerry motioned her to his desk and she sat down, looking straight into his eyes. “It was me,” she said.

“It was you what?”

“It was me killed that bum behind Dirty Mick’s. The other ones too.” He smelled the whiskey fumes from across the desk.

Damn, fortune was finally falling right in his lap.

“You got a name?”

“Millie Sanford,” she said, as if he should’a known that.

Gerry stood, lifting her by her elbow.  “Why don’t you and I take a walk to the interrogation room and have a little talk.”

After he left with her the other officers snickered.

The old timer, Donny McNab, laughed. “Guess Gerry hasn’t been here long enough to know about Millie the Confessor,” he said. “She’s been coming in here for years confessing to every murder, robbery and just about everything else.”

“Yeah,” said another. “I’ve dealt with her more than once.”

“We all have,” said another cop with a laugh.  “Think we ought to tell Gerry?”

“And take all the fun out of it?”

“Oh, what the hell,” said Donny. “I might as well clue him in before he cuffs her and books her.”

A few minutes later Donny walked back in, Gerry walking behind like a beaten puppy. They watched as Donny led Millie Sanford out the door. She turned to face them.  “I did it,” she said. “I killed ‘em all. Why won’t you believe me?”

Millie exited the station, into the autumn chill and headed home, dread in every step. Going to jail would be a blessing. She‘d be safe there. Safe from the abuse that waited on the other side of the door. She walked up the steps, took a deep breath and entered.

“Where the hell you been?” Her husband barked at her . His fist hit her hard across the cheek before she could answer, knocking her off balance.  “Fix me some food, bitch. I’m hungry.”

He settled back into his chair and took a healthy slug from the whiskey bottle as she headed silently into the kitchen. Her body ached from healing fractures and faded bruises and futility. She pulled a steak from the refrigerator and slapped it onto the counter, lifting the knife from the drawer. She started to trim the fat, then froze as the reflection from the overhead light flickered across the knife blade like a heavenly glow. Millie looked up like she was expecting to see some messenger from God looking down on her. She could have sworn she heard singing. Like a choir of angels.

“You about ready in there?” He yelled from the other room.

“Coming right up.”



Gerry Rigby walked Millie Sanford into the morgue to identify body number five.  It had turned up in the alley behind Dirty Mick’s not five feet from where they’d found the last one, a knife in his neck and surprise on his face. Millie was expressionless as they pulled back the sheet. “That’s him.”

“Sorry for your loss,” Gerry said.

“I killed him. He wasn’t nice.”

“Sure you did.”

He escorted her to the door, then walked back into the squad room.

Millie heard them laughing.

Just one more dead drunk.