John Gibson sat at a desk in a motel room in South New Jersey, typing. He paused to light a new cigarette with his old cigarette and flicked the butt onto the carpet with the rest. He wiped sweat from his hands onto his jeans and continued.
There was a knock at the door, which John ignored, and then the door flew open and two uniformed policemen entered with guns drawn.
John put one hand up without looking towards the door. With his other hand he continued typing.
A well dressed man behind them said, “Mr. Gibson, keep your hands where we can see them and join me in the hallway.”
“One second, Chief.”
John stood slowly and continued typing. After a moment he stopped and put the other hand up. He walked toward the door.
“Anyone else in there with you?”
“I write alone,” said John.
“Check it out,” the man said to the officers. “You don’t mind, do you?”
John shrugged and spat out the end of his cigarette.
The well dressed man asked, “You wouldn’t be inclined to tell me anything about the high jacking on the turnpike last night?”
John answered, “I wouldn’t be inclined to, Chief.”
“Stop calling me Chief, will you? I’m a lieutenant.”
“I guess we’ll have to take you downtown.”
“I think the uptown station is closer, Chief. Lieutenant. Say, where’s your uniform?”
The lieutenant said, “Dobbs, Cuff this silly son of a bitch will you?” He walked into the apartment and looked around. He nodded when he had finished and took the pages from the desk. “Mind if we take a look at these?”
“Always happy to have an audience, Lieutenant.”
“You’re a cheerful bastard, you know that?” said the Lieutenant. “In my experience only cold, ruthless psychopaths are cheerful.”
“Say, Lieutenant, you mind lighting me a cigarette?”
“I hear smoking is bad for your health, John,” said the Lieutenant. “And I don’t want to do anything to shorten your career.”
“How about you, Dobbs?” asked John. “Got a cigarette? No? Maybe one of the executioner’s men will be better prepared.”
The Lieutenant closed the door behind him as they left.