Niles lived at the bottom of one of the steep roads spilling into downtown Brewster Harbor.
While lacing his shoes for the morning he heard a man outside yelling. Niles slipped his sports jacket on and rushed out the door. Tom had a pickup pulled over. A fisherman stood outside the truck flailingd his arms and cursing.
“I got to get to work, man,” he said and cursed.
Tom held his arms out and pleaded with him, “Just settle down. It’s nothing but a ticket, people get them all the time. “When you came down the the hill I clocked you at 52. I got to ticket you, sir.”
The man swung and knocked Tom’s arms away. Tom stepped back.
Niles slowly walked up to them. “Tom hand me the cuffs.”
“It’s just a speeding violation, Chief,” Tom said.
“Resisting, disorderly conduct, and striking an officer,” Rich said and grabbed the cuffs.
“This is crap,” the fisherman said.
“Turn around and put your hands behind your back,” Niles said. “You are under arrest for speeding, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, striking an officer,” Niles glanced at his license plate on the truck,” and your tags have expired.”
The fisherman stood defiantly. “Go for it.”
The words no sooner reached Niles’ ears and he lunged into the fisherman’s midsection knocking him off his feet. Niles snapped the cuffs on one hand and spun him on his stomach. He quickly grabbed the other hand and cuffed it. He helped the fisherman to his feet.
“What’s your name?” the fisherman said.
“Puddin’ Tame, ask me again I’ll tell you the same,” the fisherman said.’
“Tom are you keeping track of all the violations?” Niles said.
“Yes, Chief,” Tom said said pulling a note pad from his shirt pocket.
“Add, providing false information,” Niles said.
“He’s a cousin,” Tom said. “Bobs Potier.”
“Well, Bobs liked to me,” Niles said.
“Yes, Chief,” Tom said and started writing on the not pad.
“You can walk to the police station or be dragged,” Niles said. “Either way you’re going.”
“My lip is bleeding?’ Bobs yelled.
“We’ll give you all the medical attention you need at the jail,” Niles said.
“Jail!” the fisherman said. “you ain’t got no jail.”
“Sir, you’re about ready to be able to make a first person account,” Niles said. “Now walk. Officer Potier read him his rights as we have our first perp walk.”
Niles walked Bobs to the the police station. As the passed a chair on the way to the cell, Bobs kicked a chair and a leg came off.
“Destruction of police property,” Niles said. “Make sure you get this all down.”
Niles shoved him in the cell and locked it. He instructed Bobs to back against the bars to remove the cuffs.
“How long you gonna keep me?” Bobs said.
“Mayor is out of town today,” Niles said. “So we can take you to Mayor’s court tomorrow. We’re going to keep you locked up till then. You appear to be a danger to me and my officers. You’re looking at 30 days. If you behave yourself, Officer Potier and me will speak for you. That’s what I can do for you if you do something for me.”
“I’m sorry about what happened,” Bobs said. “I had a fight with my wife, I was late for work, and my 15 year old daughter is pregnant and won’t tell us who did it.”
“Sounds like you’re carrying a heavy load,” Niles said. “We got kids waiting on school buses old people taking morning walks. Which do you think is harder, a man facing up to the fact his 15 year old daughter is pregnant or me telling a parent some guy was having a bad day and killed your 15 year old daughter with his truck?”
“I screwed up,” Bobs said. “All I wanted to do is get on the boat and out on the lobster pots.”
Niles walked over to the cell and unlocked it. “Go home and talk it over with your daughter and wife.”
“For real?” Bobs said.
“For real,” Niles said.
“Thanks,” Bobs said and calmly walked from the cell to the door.
“One more thing,” Niles said. “the charges are good for 72 hours. If your daughter ain’t pregnant she better be by the time I talk to her.”
“And what if she’s lying to me?” Bobs said.
“If she’s lying, we celebrate,” Niles said. “Remember, watch your speed.”
Bobs calmly walked away and back toward his truck.
“You handled that pretty good, Chief,” Tom said.
“Not really,” Niles said. “He should have been locked up. If this was six months from now his daughter could have been in intensive care and he would stay locked up.”
“You see, Officer Potier, folks around here are not used to real law enforcement. I don’t expect you and Sid to be top notch officers in a few weeks, it takes time. These folks need a little time also.”
“You make it sound like there’s a crime wave going on in Brewster Harbor,” Tom said.
“How many fisherman speed down that hill a day, a hundred, two hundred? How many trucks have expired tags? The other day I took a walk in the fisherman’s parking lot and counted 22 trucks with dents, five with expired license, and I’m guessing most of them are uninsured, they just let it go.” Niles said. “I bet when you see cousin Bobs and cousin Bills in a fender bender you drive on by and let them handle it, right?”
“I figure it’s best men handle it between the two,” Tom said.
“And both or one aren’t insured,” Niles said. “That’s against the law. Let’s say Bobs hits a fifteen year old girl speeding into town and she’s crippled for the rest of her life, who pays for treatment, the hospital, rehabilitation, long-term care, and if it’s really bad who changes her diapers. You’re right there is no crime wave, it’s just kind of murky water all around us.”
“I’m going back to traffic control, Chief,” Tom said.
“Yeah,” Niles said sardonically, “and think about it.”
Niles walked to a newsstand and bought a paper. He returned to the office and read the paper for an hour. Later that morning he dropped by Bobs’ home, indeed his daughter was pregnant.
Niles walked back to the car parked in Bobs’ drive. He opened the car door.
“Chief Quinn,” Bobs called out walking from his home.
“Thanks for talking to my daughter the way you did,” Bobs said.
“She’s a sweet girl,” Niles said. “she’s going to need friends and support. I’m going to see if there’s some local help for her; support group, things like that.”
“Tom drove out here a couple hours ago,” Bobs said. “He said a lot of the charges could be dropped, but the expired plates and speeding can’t be. I’ll be in to take care of it later today. He said he’d give me a day to get my plates renewed.”
“You okay money-wise?” Niles said.
“Yeah,” Bobs said, “and I’ll repair that chair; it will be better than new.”
“Take care Bobs,” Nile said and slipped into the cruiser, backed from the drive, and drove back to the police station.
Tom’s cruiser was parked at the station.
Niles walked inside and Tom immediately stood from behind Niles’ desk.
“Just finishing some paper work,” Tom said.
“Sit down, finish it,” Niles said and sat in another chair. “I’m going to ask Mildred if there’s another desk in the building or small table. You and Sid ought to have something.”
Tom finished his report. “You can have your chair now.”
“Went out and talked to Bobs,” Niles said. “Good police work.”
“I think I see something you see,” Tom said.
“What’s that?” Niles said.
“When there is a disregard for the small things in the law, there’s a disregard for the big things,” Tom said.
“That’s right,” Niles said.
“You have drawn a direct line from fender benders to an unsolved murder, right?” Tom said.