58. Blue on black

Jesse woke around three in the afternoon. He checked his messages.

“No news means wake and bake!” he said cheerfully. As he was getting everything ready, the RCMP banged on his door and demanded to speak with him.

After shoving his drug paraphernalia into a drawer, Jesse went to the door. “Unless you have a warrant, you’re not coming in, and unless I have my lawyer present, I’m not going out,” Jesse said. “I’m perfectly happy to talk to you through the door, though.”

“Open the door, sir. We just want to have a quick word with you.”

“Really? I have a copy of David Eby’s BCCLA Arrest Handbook and unless you have a warrant or tell me what this is about prior to me going anywhere, the admissability of any conversation we might have would be subject to doubt, and I will certainly sue the buttons off your uniforms.”

“There’s no need to take that tone, sir, you found a body down on 14th and we’d like to talk to you about that incident.”

Holy shit. “We can talk about it through the door, then.”

“Can you answer a few questions?”

“Since you haven’t actually identified me as the person you think you want to be talking to, sure.”

There was an unhappy, rustling pause in the conversation.

“Sir, all we want to do is talk to you.”

“Hang on, let me get the pamphlet out about how to sue the RCMP in BC when they prevent you from leaving your house to go about your lawful business,” Jesse said. “By the way, I have a security cam and I’ve got your badge numbers, so if I ever run into you again I’ll know what to say.” He picked his tablet up from the front hall junk shelf and, cursing the slow boot time, waited to log in to the security application.

“People talk like that when they have something to hide,” one of the cops said.

Jesse lost his temper. “If you’re a cop in a relationship, there’s a two in five chance you’ve hit your spouse in the last six months. Should I be worried that you have something to hide?” Jesse was using statistics from the US, but didn’t really care, and didn’t doubt the stats sucked in Canada, too.

The consternation on the other side of the door was now palpable. He heard a murmur. The app woke up. The cops, neither of whom were older than thirty, popped up on the tablet screen in bleary colour. One was professionally expressionless.  The other looked like kicking the door down was rapidly scaling his bucket list.

“I have a customer for your business,” one of the cops said.

“And I’m going as Nicki Minaj for Halloween, so why don’t you call the business number and book an appointment?”

There was a short pause. “We don’t want a phone call linking us to the booking,” one of the cops said.

Now it was Jesse’s turn to frown. He considered his options. George had promised him that he’d never spend the night in jail.

“I’m going to open the door on two conditions. I’ve uploaded the cam footage to a secure server, so if you guys are lying, off it goes to youtube to sow your prospects with salt for the rest of forever. Also, and this is critical, repeat after me, “Mr. Jesse Silver has a medical condition which could kill him if he’s exposed to sunlight for longer than twenty seconds.”

“You have a medical condition which could kill you if you’re exposed to sunlight,” the sensible cop said glibly.

“What, is he a vampire?” the other one muttered, but Jesse heard it.

“Police harassment is real, vampires are not,” Jesse said.  “Because of my solar allergy, I have a floor to ceiling light-blocking cloth baffle in the doorway, which will prevent you from seeing into the apartment. This will make you, as cops, very, very uneasy. I honour and validate that unease. You don’t want to walk into a place where a hostile citizen is, without knowing what the hell is on the other side. I’m telling you it’s just me and my dirty laundry. No mantraps, no weapons, no tricks.  And just so we’re square, if you rip my light baffle down as you are being allowed to enter my home without a warrant, you are putting my life in danger, and the coroner will know you were warned.”

There was a sleeve in the baffle which allowed him to open the door.

“Go right and then left,” Jesse said.

The cops came in, gingerly, and scanned the apartment.

“Siddown. Did you park out front?”

“No,” said the cops, simultaneously.

“Two streets over,” one of them added.

They sat.

“Can you move me tonight?” the angry cop said.

“Prob’ly,” Jesse said. “Got a thousand dollars cash up front?”

“You’ll have it at the start of the move.”

“What’s the exigent circumstance?” Jesse asked.

“My wife’s threatening to kill me.”

Six months of working with George and Michel had refined Jesse’s ability to stay calm in the face of absurdity, violence and terror. He did not scoff.

“Well, you’re not the first man we’ve helped and you won’t be the last,” Jesse said. “Give me the address and the rendezvous time. Have you packed?”

“I can’t pack. If I put a sock in a drawer wrong she knows about it.”

“So you’ll need us to bring all the boxes, blankets, etc.”

“And as many movers as you can,” his new client said.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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