The Adventures of Chartan: Police Questions

            (Last Sunday: Detective Moran reveals to Chartan and Brazil that Elisa has been shot.)             

            “Let’s do this downtown—it won’t take long.” Moran’s voice was so soft that Chartan thought at first the detective wasn’t serious. But in a few minutes he was next to Brazil in the back of sedan with a uniformed officer at the wheel. Moran, in the front passenger seat, stared at the dashboard.  

            Chartan guessed that Luke, Elisa’s husband, had shot her in self-defense. He assumed questions would involve his knowledge of this man Elisa said she despised. He also noticed that Brazil had drifted off to sleep

            Chartan studied Moran’s features from a side view: rugged with a strong chin, the look of a man who knew he was in control.

            Without turning to Chartan, Moran almost shouted, “How long have you taught classes on Life Restoration?”

            “Eight years.”

            “Eight years?”

            “Yes, eight years.”

            “Do you get paid well?”

            “Doesn’t concern me.”

            “Is that a ‘no’?”

            “Some would say ‘no’.”

            The sedan entered a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire. Chartan and Brazil followed Moran into a dirty brownstone. Inside they clomped on a granite floor until they reached an officer who nodded and opened a door.

            “Chartan, follow me,” said Moran. “Brazil, go with officer Stutz.”

                Chartan walked methodically, each step a deep thought about his emotional state: Why am I so angered by simple questions from this person of authority? Maybe it’s easy to sound guilty in a police station? This place is dingy.

                                                                                ***

            “Is that a two-way mirror?” asked Chartan.

            Moran grinned. “Just like the movies.”

            Chartan sat at an oak table with Moran standing behind a chair across from him. Chartan closed his eyes and rubbed a hand across the table top.

            “Coffee?” asked Moran.

            Chartan opened his eyes. “How long will I be here?”

            “Depends.”

            “On what?”

            “Your answers.”

            “Is the coffee okay?”

            “It was made today—I’ll get some.”

            Moran left the room. Chartan listened to the static of hallway conversations. He rubbed the table top, but with his eyes on the doorway.

            “You like that top?” Moran entered with two mugs.

            “It has stories to tell.”

            “That’s one way to look at it.” Moran put a mug in front of Chartan.

            “Cream?”

            “No.”

            “Good, we’re out anyway.”

            Chartan recalled Dr. Kodor sitting in the thick leather chair. The detective would enjoy therapy.

            Moran sat down and took a sip. “We found a slip of paper in Cunnings’ pocketbook with your address on it and your name in large block letters.”

            Moran’s ‘we found’ was a douse of cold water on Chartan’s face.

            “Is she okay?”

            “Thought you would have asked that sooner.”

            Chartan grabbed the sides of the table. He barely recalled why Moran had been in his apartment. And what of the stranger, Brazil?  His pulse quickened. Was he in another dream to be shared with Dr. Kodor? He rubbed the table top—it wasn’t smooth anymore: People on the other side of the window must think I’m crazy…even guilty.

            Moran shook his head. Chartan was in another zone. At this pace the interview would take days, not hours. He left the room, confident the mystic hadn’t noticed his departure.

            He walked one door down, knocked and entered.

            Brazil looked up from the table. Standing on the other side was Moran’s partner, Ruggio, who winked at Moran and offered: “Mr. Brazil was Special Forces in ‘Nam, but that was 45 years ago, so he says he’s lost touch with his combat skills. He was simply hired by Cunning to take photos of her with this Chartan guy—no muscle required.”

            “You’ve got a book going and I’m stuck on page one,” said Moran. “Let’s get these characters together.”

            A few minutes later Chartan sat across from Brazil with Ruggio at one end of the table and Moran at the other.

            Chartan rubbed the table with his arm. “Not as many stories in this room.”

            Moran laughed. “We just need your story”

            Before Chartan could respond, Moss, the assistant district attorney stormed in. “I need to see you two.” Moran and Ruggio left.

            Brazil broke the silence. “As I said in your apartment—I’m afraid of my anger, but this isn’t the time or place to bring that matter up. I just want to get out of here. I have a problem with windows I can’t see out of.”

            “I need to leave as well—I have no control in this place. And I’d like to continue our talk.”

            Moran opened the door. “Gentlemen, you can go. Seems Ms. Cunning shot herself.”

                                    (Continued next Sunday)

The Adventures of Chartan: Shocking News

(Last week Brazil in an attempt to find his client, Elisa, encounters Chartan where he blurts out, “I’m afraid of myself.)

             Chartan was puzzled by Brazil’s response. What did this man really mean and what did he want? 

            “Let’s talk at my place,” said Chartan who had never had a stranger in his apartment to discuss inner feelings. Brazil nodded.

            When Brazil entered the studio, he looked for signs that Elisa had been there. The area was spotless and there was no bed, no normal place where two people might have sex.

            Chartan rolled out the yoga mat. “Here,” he said.

            Both men faced each other in the sitting position about an arm’s length apart.

            Chartan cleared his throat. “What about your fear?”

            Brazil opened his mouth but nothing came out. He clenched his teeth and lowered his head before speaking.

            “I’ve been battling anger for years. I thought I could get over this urge to hurt once I got older.  But it flares up when least expected. And it’s getting worse.”

            Chartan spoke slowly, “Replace your anger with love—sounds trite, but you can do it, or you wouldn’t be talking to me. You need life restoration.”

            The doorbell rang. Chartan knew it was Elisa—she’d only been gone a few hours. He stood up and walked to the door.

            Brazil guessed it would be his client as well, but he didn’t care what she might think. The floodgates of internal pain had been opened and he wanted to release more and didn’t care who heard it.

            “Mr. Chartan? “ The man in the doorway wore a suit.

            “Yes.”

            “I’m Detective Moran.”

            In a Life Restoration class Chartan once stated, “People have differing levels of ‘shock absorption,’… the unexpected can terrify one person and barely move another”. He said there’s no right and wrong response to shocking news, provided the person remains grounded in who they are—he didn’t elaborate on the statement and the four students in the room didn’t ask for elucidation.

            Chartan recalled the class while facing the detective in the doorway with Brazil next to him. Moran asked the pair if they knew an Elisa Cunnings.  Brazil gave a “yes” while Chartan said, “I know an Elisa—wasn’t aware of her last name.”

            Moran looked around the studio. “Can we sit somewhere?”

            “I have two chairs and a table, otherwise it’s the yoga mat,” said Chartan.

            Brazil blurted, “I’ll stand.”

            Moran took a chair and Chartan grabbed the other. Brazil stood by Chartan before inching closer to Moran.

            The detective asked each man how he knew Elisa. Brazil said he met her at a class Chartan was teaching —he made no mention of his private investigator relationship with Elisa. Chartan added that Elisa was the nurse in the San Francisco hospital where he had been taken after he was grazed by a bullet fired by the Car Window Bandit. He omitted how she had followed him to Sacramento.

            “A celebrity,” said Moran

            “Lucky,” replied Chartan.

            Moran coughed. “She could use some luck today—she’s been shot.”

(To be continued next Sunday)

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