The Watchers 13

No one said your daughter was a criminal

“Female, 22 years of age, one prior, and oh lookee here,” Tracy said, “surprise, surprise with a prior charge of disorderly conduct. Not exactly innocent, now is she?”

“Just tell me the facts,” Blackfoot turned his back to the wind and the crowd of onlookers watching their every move. The assailant was in the back of the ambulance headed to the hospital, but his job wasn’t done. His job wouldn’t be done until he finally got to talk to Trina Davenport, who was sitting in her family’s living room waiting for him.

Blackfoot stared at the Davenport house as Tracy read the report from the cruiser’s monitor. He’d been the first officer on the scene. Blackfoot was going to interview the Davenports personally, but he knew he had to be prepared. If he didn’t have all the facts it was going to be a long night.

Just because Trina now agreed to talk it didn’t mean she was willing. It’s just that Mrs. Davenport couldn’t deny her daughter was in her home anymore, not with an entire neighborhood of witnesses.

“Apparently the woman threatened to bust out the windows of the Davenport’s Chevrolet with her bat unless Trina Davenport came outside,” the officer paused to hold up a bat. “When Ms. Davenport came out of the house Bat Girl got a few swings in and then that’s when this happened,” the officer then waved towards the ambulance and made chopping motions through the air with her hands.

The EMT hadn’t reported to him yet, but he knew the gist of the rest. The woman was hit by Trina one time, but it must have been a hell of a punch because the woman had been knocked out cold.

By the time the first officer arrived she was moving, but had difficulty breathing. It all sounded very familiar. Only this time they had footage. It was dark, but he could see faces and hear the exchange on one of the teenager’s mobile phones. He had the teenager forward the link to his email account. The only thing left was to figure how this encounter factored in with the other incidences involving Trina Davenport.

The investigation was pretty much going by the book ending with the woman’s arrest pending her discharge by medical staff.

The only deviation from the textbook assault case was that this was the third time in three days that Trina Davenport had been involved in an altercation. The woman wasn’t just born under a bad sign she had a big red target on her back.

“Sounds like chickens coming home to roost if you ask me,” Tracy said.

“Follow the bus to the hospital,” Blackfoot told the officer. “Stay on her. Once she’s released take her downtown.”

“Will do, sir.”

Blackfoot walked towards the Davenport’s front porch for the second time that day but his mood was much worse and his footsteps a lot heavier. He cursed himself for giving up so easily earlier.

Maybe if he’d pushed more all of this could have been avoided and he’d already have the information he needed from Trina. It was the second time he’d second guessed himself out of finishing this case; he swore there wouldn’t be a third.

He wanted to talk to Trina even less than she wanted to talk him, but neither had a choice now. He didn’t care about excuses anymore; he was finishing this tonight.


Groaning he turned in time to see a short boxy man running his way.  It was the EMT from the bookstore the night before. He couldn’t say he was glad to see the guy, but he no longer felt like pummeling the man either. He called that progress. 

“Hey,” Blackfoot said pulling a cigarette out of his pocket making the most out of the reprieve. “You ever not on the clock?”

“I could ask the same about you,” Rusty said as they fell into step with each other.

“The girl’s going to be alright, but we hadn’t had the chance to check out Ms. Davenport yet,” he gave a nod to the house. “I can’t believe they discharged her so quick after last night.”

“They didn’t. She’s AMA.” Rusty shook his head, and Blackfoot shrugged. “Her choice, but it’s a pain in my butt. We’ve been looking for her all day. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the girl planned all of this. No one has this much bad luck,” Blackfoot said before dropping what was left of his cigarette to the ground.

“You mind if I tag along,” Rusty said, “you know in case she needs some medical attention.”

Blackfoot would have been impressed with the man’s dedication if he didn’t already know him. Although he’d gotten over their confrontation the night before he still didn’t like the pipsqueak. Besides he liked to work alone. He was about to tell the man no, when Mrs. Davenport stepped out onto the porch and waved for both of the men to come inside.

Immediately he had the urge for another cigarette seeing the woman’s dour face but he ignored it. Blackfoot led the way.

“Wow,” Rusty said under his breath as soon as they entered the interior of the house. They passed the diplomas of the Davenport clan and pictures with local and nonlocal celebrities hanging on the walls. Both Mrs. Davenport and her late husband were national scholars each having gotten multiple degrees and certifications in Education and Science. However, after both retired they opened the Davenport restaurant and found their second calling. Several of the pictures on the walls showed the couple in their later years smiling widely with their arms around dignitaries. Blackfoot saw a couple of pictures with the Davenport’s and two different U.S. presidents.

Mr. Davenport had been one of the few doctors of color in town, and Mrs. Davenport had worked for the state’s education system for more than three decades first as a teacher then an administrator. They were considered local celebrities themselves and had become a highly respected staple of the Gulf Coast.

Unfortunately, the achievements the two elders of the family hadn’t transferred to their offspring. Leena, who had to be in her mid-thirties, still lived in her parent’s home and hadn’t completed college, Trina had barely finished high school, and her biggest claim to fame was her notorious stint on a reality television show that put Jerry Springer to shame.

“Just let me do the talking, hear?” Blackfoot said in Rusty’s ear. The red head frowned but quieted when Mrs. Davenport sat down directly across from them.

Blackfoot looked over his shoulder to see Trina enter the room. She looked as he expected her to look. Dog tired, but still standing. She came into the dining room and sat next to her mother at the table. She said nothing as she stared across the table at the two men.

Blackfoot had the distinct impression that he wasn’t just being watched but assessed. He didn’t like it. Her look said, screw you, but Blackfoot could say at that point after the day he’d had he felt about the same. He didn’t want to be there any more than she wanted him there. In fact he couldn’t wait to leave. He only had one question.

“Why did you run?”

“I didn’t.”

Surprised, Blackfoot looked at the young woman waiting for her to say more, but she just stared back at him. “Okay, what happened to make you leave the hospital this morning,” Davenport said, “without telling anyone?”

“Is that a crime?” Mrs. Davenport spoke up. “You know how expensive it is to stay in a hospital.” She added, chuckling, but no one joined in except for Rusty. Blackfoot gave the man a warning look.

“Yes, ma’am,” Blackfoot said turning back to the two women. He already regretted having agreed to allow Trina’s mother in the room with them. He wanted answers, but his hands were tied about how to approach getting those answers. His patience was so thin it was damn near transparent which was a bad spot for him to be in. Even on his best days his temper could get the best of him which he knew would be the opposite of the right thing for him to do.

He was an excellent interrogator and he knew what he had to do, but there were too many people in the room. He wasn’t going to get to talk with Trina with her mother acting as a go between. Even though from what Blackfoot learned of the woman in the past twenty-four hours she was the least vulnerable person in the room. He was beginning to have the distinct impression that the tv persona she’d adopted was just the tip of the iceberg.

He wanted to talk to Trina alone but Mrs. Davenport wasn’t budging.

“No, it is not a crime to leave the hospital, but considering her injuries.”

“She’s fine,” Mrs. Davenport said. “Don’t you think she looks fine? She looks fine to me. It’s that crazy girl outside that isn’t fine. She’s the criminal not my daughter.”

“No one said your daughter was a criminal,” Blackfoot said wishing a hole would open up in the middle of the dining room and swallow him whole. “Just considering all the problems she’s had over the past couple of days I’m following up to see if maybe we missed something. Is there a relationship between the altercations she’s had of late? Will there be more attempts to harm her?”

“Not if you lock up that crazy woman out there, there won’t,” Mrs. Davenport said. “I will not have my daughter treated like a common criminal, detective.” Blackfoot nodded his head, as it became clear they were on crossed paths. So he cut to the chase.

“Ms. Davenport, do you have any idea who tried to kill you?” Blackfoot heard a gasp from behind him. Turning he saw Trina’s little girl staring back at him with a horrified look on her face. Immediately he regretted being so blunt, but the woman needed to get some sense knocked into her.

He didn’t want to worry her family especially her child, but he was done playing around with her and Mrs. Davenport especially when there seemed to be an ever increasing circle of criminal activity developing around her. Trina had already taken up the last twenty-four hours of his life, and now it looked like after this evening she’d take the next twenty-four as well since he’d have paperwork to file.

Blackfoot waited until Mrs. Davenport stood and took the little girl out of the room, and then looked back to Trina.

Trina scowled back at him shaking her head. Undeterred, Blackfoot followed up with another question. “And the couple that attacked you yesterday. Did you know them? Had you met them before?”

Trina paused as if she was considering the question but then her only response was a slow shake of her head. She didn’t say anything but the look on her face made Blackfoot want to hit the wall with his fist. She was holding back on him, but he tamped down on his anger. The woman wasn’t going to give him anything more than what she had to, and he’d had enough.

“Well, then tell me this,” he said, “why is it they’re claiming you hired them?” Blackfoot watched the woman’s face closely. He saw the woman frown, but it was gone so quickly that he thought he’d imagined it. Other than that brief slip, there was nothing. 

“I have no idea what they’re talking about,” the young woman said her voice cool. She kept her golden-brown eyes fixed on Blackfoot’s. Her gaze steady. “If that’s what they’re claiming it’s their word against mine. Considering they tried to kill me,” she said.

“I will not have you in my house accusing my daughter of such things,” Mrs. Davenport interrupted as she marched back into the room to reclaim her seat at the head of the table. “My daughter wouldn’t have any need, want or desire to affiliate herself with those, those hooligans.” Blackfoot could feel the older woman’s temper rising. It was time to go. He’d done enough for one day.

“I apologize for any misunderstandings,” he said smiling politely he rose from his seat. “That wasn’t my intention.” Blackfoot tapped Rusty on the shoulder letting the man know it was time to go. Trina denied needing any care so there was no need to stay any longer.

Blackfoot apologized for taking up the family’s time but not for his questions. He’d be surprised if he didn’t get a call from the Lieutenant, who was a personal friend of Mrs. Davenport, in the morning, but it was worth it. He got what he needed.

Did it explain who was trying to kill Trina Davenport? Hell no, but if she wasn’t going to cooperate, he didn’t see why he should. The case was closed as far as he was concerned. Trouble was going to follow Trina Davenport no matter what she did and all he could do was make sure none of her dirt got on his hands.

As they walked across the driveway to their respective vehicles it was Rusty that spoke first.

“She’s a cool character isn’t she?” he said whistling.

“To say the least,” Blackfoot said chuckling.

“Pretty too,” Rusty said as Blackfoot pulled his door open. “Just too bad she and her whole family’s bat shit crazy.” Looking back to the house once again Blackfoot saw the curtain in the picture window move, but he couldn’t see who’d been watching him. He’d bet on it having been Trina.

She was pretty alright, but Rusty was wrong about her. She wasn’t any crazier than he was. Still Blackfoot had a feeling Trina Davenport knew exactly what she was doing, and as long as her mother allowed her to hide away in her house she would.

She was also nothing at all what he’d imagined her to be. It made him wonder about the act of hers on television. The episodes Taylor had sent him of her television show was nothing like the reserved young woman sitting in her mother’s house. It made him wonder which was the real Trina.  He didn’t know the Davenport girls growing up. He was years ahead of them in school, but he’d heard of some of their exploits.

All he knew was that based on what he saw today she deserved an Oscar for her TV act. She had to be the most amazing actress he’d ever seen or she’d fooled the entire world into believing her wild woman act on television. The only other explanation was she’d just pulled an A- plus con job on him by convincing him that she wasn’t as crazy as everyone said she was. He still wasn’t sure which Trina was real.

Either way he was done. Let whoever wanted to kill her have at her as far as he was concerned. There was something there, but until she was willing to talk, he didn’t see how he was going to find out what it was.  

“Still say I should have fucked her when I had the chance,” Rusty said.

“What did you say?”

“C’mon you heard me,” Rusty said laughing. “Don’t tell me you’re a prude on top of a shit luck with women,” he said shaking his head, but this time Blackfoot ignored the dig.

“You know her?”

“More like knew her,” Rusty said, “just not in the biblical sense which I regret. C’mon man we all went to school together. I was in her class, of course, I knew her.” Blackfoot exhaled.

“Oh,” Blackfoot said. “When y’all were kids.”

“Yeah, I had it pretty bad for her then too, but Miss Popularity wouldn’t give me the time of day back then,” Rusty said as they walked to the ambulance. He threw his pack into the back and walked to the cab. “But last week when she got in town it was a different story.”

“You mean you and her were together last week?” Blackfoot asked.

“Yeah, I told you that,” Rusty said climbing into the cab. “Wait maybe it was your partner I told. I don’t know man. Either way nothing happened.”

“So how long has she been in town, I’m wondering,” Blackfoot asked.

“I don’t know man but she’s one hell of a partier,” Rusty said smirking.

Blackfoot could feel himself getting sucked in all over again, but he couldn’t help it. If Trina had been in town for a week, who had she been staying with? Furthermore, why would Mrs. Davenport lie about not seeing her when it was so easy to disprove.

Unfortunately, Rusty didn’t know the name of Trina’s friends the night they’d met up. He only had an address. Blackfoot took it down. It was an address over in the warehouse district where a lot of so-called hipsters were moving to in the city.

It seemed like every time he thought he was going to be able to quit the case it took another turn. He was beginning to believe the reason Trina wasn’t talking was because it saved her from tripping over all her lies.

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