Reasonable Doubt: The 3 a.m. phone call
Oh God. What is that... I woke up with a start. My heart pounding. An alarm. Not an alarm. My phone. The answering service. Ugh.
“Hello? Laurel Dietz speaking.”
“Ms. Dietz? This is the answering service. We have a Cst. Scrimshaw on the line for you. He has a Mack Neilson in custody.”
“Uh. Okay. Put him through.”
“Cst. Scrimshaw? Ms. Dietz is on the line.”
“Hello Cst. Scrimshaw, this is Laurel Dietz. You have a Mr. Neilson in custody?”
“Hmm... Yes. Let me put him through to you.”
“No wait just a second. What has happened? Where are you calling from?”
“We’ve just arrested him. We’ve just executed a search warrant at 721 Helsinki Drive. We’re arresting him for production and possession for the purposes of trafficking.”
“Are you at the detachment?”
“No. We’re putting him in the back of the squad car.”
“Are you going to question him?”
“I can’t say just now, ma’am. I don’t make those decisions.”
“Okay, thank you. Let me talk to him.”
• • •
“Mack? Hi. It’s Laurel.”
“How are you?”
“I’m okay. Not great.”
“Hmm… So, Mack. You know the drill right? Don’t say anything. There is nothing you can do or say that is going to make anything better. Do you hear me?”
“We’re going to have to deal with this in the only way possible. Through the courts. You know by now there is no easy way out.”
“What happened? No. Wait. Don’t answer that. We’ll sort through that later. They haven’t told me yet if they’re going to question you or if they’re going to release you. They’re going to take you back to the station and book you in. They’re going to take your fingerprints and photograph. If they ask you to sign a consent for them to do this—don’t. Don’t resist, but don’t agree. Do you understand?”
“Okay, Mack. You know they’re going to try to guilt you into a confession. They’re going to try to tell you that it’s the only way you can make things right. To be a man. Don’t listen to them. This is not the time to man up. They’re going to try and get in your head and make you answer questions. They’ll ask you questions about your family, your life, your background. These questions are used to make you feel like they’re on your side. Whatever you do, don’t answer these questions. Don’t answer any questions.
“You do not know what sort of information they’re trying to get from you. They’ll try all sorts of tactics to get it. They might only be seeking to get a voice sample from you. Stay silent.
“They may make up evidence to convince you that they have an airtight case against you and the only way to save yourself is by confessing. Or they might tell you that you may as well explain yourself because you’re as good as convicted. Don’t believe any of this.
“Whatever you do, do not speak.
“They might put you in a cell with another person. For the love of all that is important to you, do not speak to this person. The only person you speak to from now on about anything relating to this is me. Be suspicious of everyone else.”
• • •
“Did you hear everything I said?”
“Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
“Okay. Do you have any questions?”
“No. I got it, Laurel.”
“Okay, is there someone I can call? We may need to arrange a surety or bail money.”
“Call my brother, Joe. 555-987-0000. Call my girlfriend, Anna. 555-080-9898.”
“And I can tell them you’re in custody?”
“Okay, they’ll probably take you back to the Surrey RCMP station. I’m at Surrey in the morning. I’ll check in and see if you’re still there. Call me in the morning if they release you.
Oh another thing. If they release you and give you back your cellphone, get rid of it.”
“All right. Talk to you later.”
• • •
Shower. Coffee. Toast. Peanut butter. Suit. Heels? Packed. Driving shoes. Coat, scarf. Briefcase. Phone. Keys. Surrey.
What do I have to do again? Oh right. Mack. I need to sort that out. Call his brother. Call his girlfriend. Better call the office and get them to scan me Mack’s info from his last file.
What else? Right, the Jenkins bail hearing... What was that thing about his mother—it’ll be in the file. What else? Oh right. The appearances for Nguyen, Michaels, and Tucker. Not bad—if everything runs smoothly.
• • •
All of the characters in this article are fictionalized. Any likeness to real people is because most files tend to be the same after a while. To be continued next time.