“Fuck, Maggie Nice was here last night?”
“Yeah, she was the slutty Riddler.”
“No she wasn’t. That was Maggie Gibbons.”
“Fuck, Maggie Gibbons was here last night?”
“All right, that’s enough,” said Officer Bishop. “Who the hell actually saw Maggie Nice last night?”
“I mean, I saw her when she first got here with Annie,” said Big Mac.
“Me too,” said Jackson. “She was the slutty cop, by the way.”
“Which one?” said Reggie, snickering.
“Hush, boy,” said Officer Bishop. “What time was that, boys?”
“Ah, hell. Must’ve been 9 o’clock. 9:30?” said Big Mac.
“Can’t have been,” said Ethan. “I got a text from Annie at 10 saying they were heading back this way.”
“Well, shit. She probably left with Annie. She took off when everyone started taking their pants off last night,” said Big Mac, looking thoughtfully at Ethan.
“Officer Parker, radio in and have a car run over to Annie’s house and see if she’s there. She could probably help clear some things up for us.” Officer Parker stepped away and began speaking into his radio.
“What the hell happened to Maggie anyway?”
“We’re the ones asking the questions here,” said Officer Bishop. “All right, kids. We’re gonna take off the zip ties and you’re all gonna call your parents. Tell them to meet you at the police station. We need to question each and every one of you.”
“Fuck that,” said Reggie. “There’s no way in hell I’m going to the police station.”
“You’ll do what you’re told.”
“Officer,” said Ethan. “I think we’re all willing to cooperate with you, but don’t you think it’d be best if we knew what happened to Maggie?”
“Yeah, man. Some of us have known her since kindergarten.”
Officer Bishop looked around the group and then looked Ethan up and down before responding. “Well, I guess it can’t hurt. You’ll all find out soon enough anyway if I don’t tell you. Maggie Nice was found passed out on the curb outside Kate’s last night. She was taken to the hospital and was comatose last we heard. A SAFE kit had yet to be used, but foul play is suspected since her…ahem…undergarments were pulled around her ankles.”
“Jesus Christ, seriously?” said Big Mac.
“What the fuck is a SAFE kit?”
“It’s…It’s a kit used to take samples and determine if a rape occurred,” said Ethan, who looked quite pale.
“What the fuck? I didn’t know they had those.”
“Yeah, man. Haven’t you watched CSI?” said Jackson.
“I’ve only seen a couple episodes of Miami.”
“All right, pipe down,” said Officer Bishop. “Officer Parker, start removing the zip ties.”
“Well, what the hell, who actually did see Maggie last last night?” said Big Mac.
“Annie, remember? That’s why they’re bringing her over here, dumbass,” said Reggie.
Officer Parker cut all of the zip ties loose and everybody began to call their parents and explain the situation. The police officers lounged near their squad cars like chaperones at a middle school dance while the large group of high schoolers split off into three or four smaller groups. Each person began to explain their relationship to Maggie in an attempt to process how they felt about what had happened.
“I met Maggie the first day of kindergarten,” said Jackson. “I remember she was wearing red corduroy overalls. She had a stupid haircut and looked like that kid from Problem Child. I thought she was just another boy. Then I asked her if she wanted to play blocks with me and she was like, ‘Gross, I don’t play with boys!’”
“Yeah, I bet you were pretty into her if she looked like a little boy. Eh, Jackson?” said Reggie.
“Fuck you, dude,” said Jackson, shoving Reggie in the shoulder.
“Yeah, I didn’t meet her till middle school,” said Big Mac. “Honestly, I had a pretty big crush on her for a couple years, but then freshman year I guess she fucked a bunch of dudes on the football team and I lost interest. Still, it pissed me off how they always talked about her in the locker room. I always thought she was nice.”
“You had a thing for the sluttiest girl in school, Big Mac? Of course you did. Shit, man, I knew you were depraved, but I didn’t realize your self-esteem was so low” said Reggie with a wide grin.
“Jesus Christ, man, it was years ago. And have some fucking respect, Reggie, the girl’s in a coma.”
“Yeah, man, I’m getting pretty sick of your shit. Why are you always busting everybody’s balls?” said Jackson. “Besides, I thought you and Maggie were friends.”
“Hey, now, just because she’s a slut doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for her. The girl likes to have sex is all, nothing wrong with that.”
“Stop calling her a fucking slut!” said Jackson and he shoved Reggie in the chest.
“Get your hands off me, motherfucker!” said Reggie. “I’ll fucking kill you!”
“Hey, now! Cool your jets over there, boys!” called Officer Bishop, who was smoking a cigarette next to his squad car. “I’ll have Officer Parker throw you back in zip ties faster than you can blink. Don’t think I won’t! Hell, I could probably have you arrested. Are you boys 18 yet?”
The group ignored Officer Bishop, but both Reggie and Jackson deflated quickly. Reggie smoothed the front of his shirt and ran a hand through his fledgling afro. “Hmph. Well, shit. I wouldn’t say we were friends but we always got along,” he said. “In fact, once or twice the McCormick brothers got after me, telling me they were gonna burn crosses in my front yard and shit and she defended me. I always thought that was decent of her.”
“You’re goddamn right it was,” said Jackson, who was rubbing his hands together and licking his lips compulsively. “What about you, Ethan? We were in the same kindergarten class together. You’ve known her just as long as I have.”
Just then a squad car pulled into the driveway and Annie stepped out of the passenger seat, looking miserable. Big Mac marched over to her and put his arm around her.
“You all right?” he said, rubbing the back of her head.
“I think so,” she said, with tears running down her cheeks. “Just worried is all.”
Big Mac nodded his head. “What the fuck happened anyway? She left with you right?”
“She was going to, but she told me that she had to talk to someone. I tried to get her to leave, but she wouldn’t listen to me. Eventually, I just got fed up and took off. I had to work this morning and when I got there, they told me that Kate found her when she was opening up the shop today.”
“What?” said Big Mac. “Well, who the fuck did she need to talk to so bad?”
“It was Ethan,” she said, pointing over at him. “She said she couldn’t go till she talked to Ethan.”
“What the fuck, dude? Why didn’t you say something?” said Jackson, who turned and looked at Ethan sharply.
Ethan inhaled sharply and looked up at the sky, and then put his hands in front of him and said, “All right, guys, chill out. I can explain everything.”