At this point I was the only one in the cell without a spot either laying or sitting on a bench or stretched out on the floor under a bench.
I repeated “‘MOVE!” Still no reaction. Big Guy said “That’s not how it’s done. Watch.” He got up, came over to my bench and shouted “HEY!”
“MOVE OVER!” My bench perp sat up. Big Guy said “That’s how it’s done.” He returned to his own bench. My perp resumed a reclining position.
Ah! So THAT’S how it’s done. Now I got it! I said “HEY! MOVE OVER!” No reaction. Big Guy just looked at me and shook his head. “Pitiful.”
No reaction. There’s a place you go in your mind at times like these. You don’t know why the perp won’t share the bench. Well, yeah, you do.
Clearly he desired to spend the night horizontal rather than upright. Well, me too. On the fulcrum of a decision, I faced a moment of truth.
Anticipating possibilities, I turned sideways to shrink my target area, shifted to my heels and bent my knees to lower my center of gravity.
My bench perp said “What the f#@k are you doing?” I said “Are you moving or not?” “Not.” My mistake. I shouldn’t have offered him a choice.
Without taking my eyes off him, I removed my jacket and wrapped it around my left arm. I said “Last time I’m asking. Are you moving over?”
Another cellmate came up and said “Hey man. Don’t do that to your coat. Let me hold it for you.” “OK. Thanks!” I never saw that coat again.
I’m ready, certain I’ll withstand a gun blast, a knife stab, a fistfight, jujitsu or anything else, up to and including a vehicular assault.
No reply from the recumbent perp. I hadn’t many items of clothing left to remove. Then he looked directly at me and said “Hey! You Arkaby?”
I tensed every muscle. “I’m DETECTIVE Arkaby. Sup?” “What a shock to meet you here.” “It is. And you are?” “Don’t you remember me? I’m A.”
He smiled enigmatically. What was his game? Was he stalling to solidify his bench position? I decided to play along. “OK. You’re a…what?”
He said “What?” “Yes. You’re a what?” “Nothing. I’m A!” “You’re nothing?” “NO. I’m not nothing. I’M A!” “Got that. I’m asking what are you?”
Big Guy said “Go on. I’m enjoying this.” Bench perp said “Stay out of this A-hole.” “If I understand right YOU’RE the A-hole.” “No, just A.”
I said “A What?” “Let’s try this. Remember the city Coroner?” “Yes. He was an A-hole.” “That was me.” “So you ARE an A-hole.” “NO! JUST A!”
Ow! Like a swift gut punch I realized the truth. A just punched me swiftly in the gut! I wasn’t ready for that! I realized something else.
That guy who took my jacket was gone! Where could he hide in a twenty by twenty cell? As I looked around, the bench perp grabbed my shirt.
He said “Dammit! You don’t remember me? I locked you and that bimbo in a freezer! I killed her father by suturing him together incorrectly!”
Piloting the car as I recount my lockup encounter, Regi says “Who’d he call a bimbo?” “That would be you.” “A, that self-righteous quack!”
(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)