The Halloween Project 2023 - Story 4: Like a Rolling Stone
Both detectives huddled just outside the interview room. Whispers tossed back and forth, some with expletives, some without.
“I can’t make out this little shit,” said the oldest, a grey-haired, lined, old-timer wearing a suit that looked like he had dragged it along the police department floor. It was not only wrinkled but dabbed with dark splotches of dried blood. That was Al Parker, much the worse for wear and years.
“I know, I know. I get a few things once in a while, but the way he goes on, and the stuff he says. It hardly makes any sense,” Thompson offered. “Let’s call Winklo?” he continued, more a question than a request.
“You mean that younger guy? Marco?” Why? And who would name their kid that?
Marco Winklo, I mean, really?” The older protested.
“I’m telling you, Al, he knows everything about rock and roll. He’s always going on about how many groups he’s seen, how many records his old man had. He can recognize rock lyrics like, like…like he’s a…what’s that word?”
“What the hell are you talking about? This guy is guilty as crap. Why would we need Minklo?” Al asked.
“Savant. That’s it. He’s a rock and roll savant,” Thompson said. “I know that word. You mean idiot savant, don’t you?”
“Let’s call him,”
A half hour later the two detectives, accompanied by a patrol officer still in uniform
re-entered the interview room. It was a tight fit for all four, including the young man in the corner, hunched into his chair, feet up. Sneakers poked out of jeans, and a bright red t-shirt with the word RAMMSTEIN was darkened at the shoulders by the long black hair that rested there. It was further darkened by the blood, some dried, some matted.
“O.K. Simon, we’re back and we brought along another officer. This is Patrolman Winklo.”
“Pleased to meet you, won’t you guess my name?” Simon said.
“Rolling Stones,” Winklo said.
“What?” Parker questioned.
“The band, The Rolling Stones,” Winklo said flatly.
“You like RAMMSTEIN, huh?’ Winklo asked.
The young man shrugged, and bowed his head into his knees.
“Das Bose kommt, wird nicht mehr gehen,” Winklo replied. The detectives turned their faces from the boy to Winklo. The boy sat up, not abruptly, but carefully, studious, his dark eyes brightened, but narrowed.
“Angst”, the boy said.
“It’s a song. It’s called “Angst” In German. By RAMMSTEIN,” Winklo explained. They all looked back at the boy.
“I’ll tell you what. Let’s play a game,” the boy began, “You can ask me questions. Go ahead, any questions, I don’t really care. I’ll answer you all. But after each answer I’ll give you a lyric,” pointing to Winklo, “and you have to tell me the band. You get it right, we’ll continue.
One wrong, we’re over. Done.”
“This is bullshit,” Parker replied, disgusted, crumbling his empty coffee cup in his hand.
“Al, give it a try. What have we got to lose?”
“Game?” Simon asked, the first flip of a smile on his lips.
“Why were you at 58 Winchester tonight?” Al asked.
“To kill those three guys. Isn’t it obvious?” Simon answered.
“You were already in the house?” Al followed.
“Whoa, gentlemen, my turn. “I’ll wait for you there, like a stone.”
“Audioslave,” Winklo offered.
“Nice,” Simon returned.
“So you were already there. When they came back?” Thompson asked.
“I already said that, didn’t I? I knew they were coming back from smoking weed and being assholes. I knew the parents wouldn’t be there. I waited in the basement. In their ‘clubhouse,’” sarcasm sizzled from Simon. He continued, “This is it boys, this is war.”
“fun.” Winklo said.
“What the fuck? What’s fun about this?” Al grimaced at Winklo. “That’s the name of the band,” Winklo said.
“Did they bully you? Did they bother you at school? We heard that there was some targeting going on. Like maybe they were threatening you,”
“We’ll pack a lunch and stuff you in the trunk,”
“The Chicks,” Winklo added.
“Another body lying cold in the water,”
“TLC,” Winklo said.
“Yeah, they did things to me. They said things to me. They hurt me sometimes. Around. Around town. And down in that basement. They were my friends once, like, way back in middle school. Then they turned on me. For years. Until now.”
“Did they fight back? Did they try to get out?” Al asked.
“Watching some good friends screaming, “Let Me Out!!”
“Queen, oh, and David Bowie,” Winklo said.
“So you killed them. All three of them. With that samurai sword?” Al questioned.
“There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface, consuming, confusing.”
All three heads turned to Winklo. A space occurred in the room’s air. They waited.Simon’s eyebrow raised. “Gotcha?” He asked. Another ten seconds ticked by.
“Linkin Park,” Winklo said slowly.
“Damn, you’re good,” Simon said, “Yeah, yeah, I collected blades and knives and swords. I had my own sharpener. That steel was razor, dudes. They didn’t last…hell…not even a minute. A little touch with that sword and you were bleeding like a butcher had been at you.”
“So basically, this is your confession. You’re saying you did it. You’re under arrest.You’ve been read you rights,” Al stated, now back in control.
“Everything is my fault, I’ll take all the blame.”
“Nirvana,” Minklo said.
“It’s too late to say you’re sorry. How would I know? Why should I care?” Simon declared.
“Wow, old school. The Zombies,” Minklo said.
Simon spoke again, “I lost my way. I’ve been walking in the night of tears.”
Al sat back in his chair. “This truly is bullshit.”
Minklo was silent.
“Did I get you? Did I win the game?” Simon asked.
Minklo looked at Simon a long time, then said, “Give me the next line.”
“My heart is cold now,” Simon answered.
“Japan X” Minklo said.
Simon’s last word before the trial, “Damn!”