“Do you know this man, Mr. Swinelin?” I pushed an enlarged photograph across the table. The dim light cast an eerie glow on Swinelin’s unshaven face.
“Yes.” He answered immediately.
“Sir, please look at the photograph.”
He pointedly glanced down at the picture. “Yeah, I know him.”
“What were you doing at his house last night at approximately 3:15 am?”
“What? I wasn’t there. What is this all about?” He demanded.
“Don’t play dumb with me, Mr. Swinelin. We have two witnesses who placed you in front of Mr. Zhu’s home–”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“We have reason to believe you stole from Mr. Zhu.” I responded, the words dripping off my tongue like venom. I don’t appreciate being interrupted.
“Is this about the hammer I borrowed?” He asked, understanding dawning upon his face, “Look man, I gave it back. It’s not my fault if he lost it.”
“I don’t care about the hammer.” I sighed.
“Then what is it?”
“This morning Mr. Zhu reported that five pounds of bacon is missing from his refrigerator–”
“–And we know you stole it!”
“This is ridiculous! I didn’t steal anything!”
“Don’t lie to me!” He jumped as I slapped the table hard. “We know you were outside his house last night.”
“We’re neighbours. I live in the townhouse next door. I came home late, and that’s probably what those people saw. Just me getting into my own home.”
“Witnesses say you stood outside Mr. Zhu’s door for a full ten minutes, like you were fumbling to get inside…because you didn’t have a key.”
“So I had a few drinks last night, okay?” He responded hurriedly, ” I struggled with my key. You know how it is with the tiny holes and it was dark . . . but that’s all!”
“A few drinks, huh?” I crossed my arms, “You must have been feeling pretty hungry afterwards.”
“Maybe decided to get yourself a snack.”
“No! This is all a big misunderstanding! I don’t even eat that stuff. I’m a vegetarian. Staying healthy.”
I eyed his massive gut. “I find that very hard to believe, Mr. Swinelin.”
“Okay, fine, I only started a couple days ago. But everyone’s gotta start somewhere. The doctor said if I don’t change my eating habits now I’m gonna be dead in five years.”
I shook my head. “Even you’ve got to admit that sounds weak.”
“I’m telling you! It wasn’t me!”
“I’m getting awfully tired of this back and forth, Mr. Swinelin,” I sighed, “why don’t you just cooperate with us, huh? We’ll cut you a deal–”
Suddenly, the door burst open and Mrs. Zhu fluttered in, her husband trailing helplessly behind her.
I scrambled to my feet, preparing to lead them out of the room. “Mrs. Zhu, what are you doing? You can’t be here.”
“It was me!” She shrieked, “I took the bacon!”
“But why?” Her husband finally asked.
She turned to face him. “Because I overheard Cindy say you were gonna pork her!”