“So, there I was, arms full of four bags full of groceries, and coming out of the store I see this guy breaking into my car.”
“And that was when you hit him with the jar of tomatoes,” Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Liam Campbell said, his gaze rapt.
“Sun-dried tomatoes,” the woman sitting next to his desk said. She uncrossed and crossed her legs, rearranged the skirt of her blue-flowered house dress, fussed with a short smooth cap of still black hair, and smiled at Liam. “And no, or at least not then. I was going to hit him with the two-pound loaf of Tillamook Sharp, but it just didn’t seem hard enough to stop him. He is a pretty big guy.”
They both turned to look at the six-feet, five-inches and two hundred twenty pounds of Guamanian man, by way of Chicago and Anchorage, handcuffed to the chair on the opposite side of the desk. He was bent over, his free hand cupping the left side of his face. His left eye was swollen shut with the beginnings of what looked to become a shiner of truly fabulous hue. The left shoulder of his blue BB King T-shirt was stained a dark brown. He pulled his hand away from his face and looked at his bloody palm. “Fuck, man, how come you ain’t arresting her? How come she ain’t in the cuffs? She assaulted me! I’m wounded, here, man! I’m bleeding!”
Liam opened a drawer and handed him a Wash’n Dri. “Here, Harvey, see if you can’t clean yourself up a little. You look disgusting.” He turned back to Mrs. Lydia Tompkins, a seventy-four year old housewife, mother of six, grandmother of two, who topped out at four-foot-eight and couldn’t have weighed a hundred pounds wringing wet with six-pound lead weights strapped to each ankle. “So,” he said, radiating a quiet joy, “instead of hitting him with the cheese, you hit him with the tomatoes–excuse me, the sun-dried tomatoes.”
“Well, yes,” said Mrs. Tompkins, “but not yet. I was going to hit him with the artichoke hearts, but it’s an awfully big jar–did you want to see?”
“Absolutely,” Liam said.
Spoils of the Dead, the fifth Liam Campbell novel, publishes on February 6, 2021.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.