It was 1:00pm in the small accounting firm I work at and Derek, the person I hate the most in our office, still hadn’t come in to work. As everyone walked out of the lunch room, we were all greeted by a short, squat man and a towering, thin woman with a long face. Both were wearing cheap blazers and standing by our cubicles with Sheila, our boss. Sheila looked very miffed.
SHEILA: Everyone, this is Detective Mallory and Detective Vuotto. They were called in here today by Eric.
ME: You guys sure took your time getting here. Sheesh.
The squat, round-ish male detective spoke first.
MALLORY: What’s this about a missing person?
ME: Forget about it. You’re too late. His trail is long gone by now.
The tall, skinny female detective spoke next.
VUOTTO: We take calls regarding missing persons very seriously.
ME: Well, don’t worry about this one, because he’s probably dead by now.
Vuotto squinted a little, appraising me.
VUOTTO: Why would you say that?
ME: Because everybody hated that jerk. For sure someone did him in.
MALLORY: Really? Everybody hated him?
ME: Listen, you can trust me on that being a fact ‘cause I’m probably the one who hated him the most. I have dreams at night about how much I hate him, and what I want to do to him.
Don from our office interjected then.
DON: It’s true. He wore a T-shirt last week that he made himself and it said I hate Derek.
I turned, smiling and nodding proudly at the cops.
ME: That's right. And see these two gold medals?
I clutched the two gold medals around my neck.
ME: I stole one from him the other week. And this one just this morning from his desk. I hated that bastard. So, so much. You can’t even begin to imagine. So take it from me, that guy’s a corpse.
MALLORY: We’ve been informed that this morning, you contacted several members of Derek’s family and informed them of his supposed death.
I glanced guiltily at Sheila, my boss.
ME: Not during work hours, but yeah, I did let them know not to keep their hopes up too much. Being as I’m certain someone rubbed out my all-time worst enemy ever. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to assist you on this case.
VUOTTO: And how would you help us exactly?
ME: Well, you see, I’m kind of an expert on wanting this guy off the planet. I could provide you with some insight into the killer’s mind. I most likely have the same wants, same needs, same murderous instincts. What do you say?
Mallory nodded his head briefly then.
MALLORY: I’d like to continue this conversation downtown. Why don’t we give you a ride?
An alarm went off distantly inside my head. I almost didn’t pay attention to it. My grandma Gertie once told me that if a cop ever asks you to “continue this conversation downtown” then you should always turn the other way and run for your life. Which is what I did, just at that moment. I flew out of our office, bursting through the doors to the main hallway. My grandma Gertie died in prison. I wasn’t about to let that happen to me. Even though I still didn’t know what those two detectives thought I was guilty of.
When I finally figured it out, I ran even harder. I wasn't about to give up my two gold medals to anyone, or for anything.