Progress is Dependent on too Many People
It was an old factory converted into an apartment building back in 1972. The detective had already put himself out in the alley of that apartment building where the child had been abducted. He looked into the basement apartment and noticed the curtains were still drawn. If there was a witness, why wouldn’t that witness call the police while watching someone carrying a little girl from the back door to a car trunk?
That didn’t make any sense to him, so he decided to investigate some more. The detective walked the full length of the basement until he came to that apartment. It was that basement apartment that overlooked the alley.
He knocked several times on the gray steel door until someone finally opened up. He was a balding black man with white skin patches on his face and neck. He was in his fifties and in pretty bad physical shape.
The apartment was dimly lit and smelled like cat urine. There was an old wooden table in the center and beach chairs surrounding it. There was a green sofa with brown stains against the peeling brick wall. There was also a laundry basket with kitty liter lining the bottom that desperately needed changing.
“Did you see a little girl being abducted?” the detective wasted no time.
“Me?” The question startled him. “Are you talking about that little Puerto Rican girl that lived in this building?”
“I’m talking about that girl.”
“No, I didn’t see nothing.”
“If that girl dies, what do you think they should do to everyone that could have helped?” asked the detective.
“Nothing, it’s not our business.”
“You saw that girl through your window, right?”
“I got a doctor’s appointment; I can’t stay and continue answering questions. As you can see I am a very sick man.”
“I see… maybe you should just clean your house and take a freaking bath. Maybe you won’t be so sick.”
“Like I said it’s just not my problem.”
“A little girl that lived in your building might be murdered, and you still think it’s not your problem?”
“Not my child.”
“What if it was your child?”
“I wouldn’t let her have the freedom to roam the building. A girl that young could get hurt. You know this was an old cigar factory in the 60’s right?”
The detective nodded.
“Family should be responsible for watching that child, not me.”
“It takes a village?” added the detective.
“This just ain’t no village my friend. It’s a run down apartment building that’s trying to be a home for a lot of poor folks.”
“If you change your mind or feel guilty why don’t you give me a call,” said the detective as he handed the man his card. “I will answer 24/7.”
When the detective turned around he was greeted at the door by a large black pit-bull. The dog was growling and baring his teeth.
“Is that your dog?” he asked.
“Yes, that’s my dog. I need protection living alone here.”
“Calm him down,” the detective demanded.
“Why don’t you just show him your badge?”
“You better keep in mind that I carry a gun.”
“Down boy, let the man pass.”
“You could have ordered this dog on the man in the alley when he was abducting that girl!” the detective said as the dog walked toward the green sofa.
“Nothing to do with me,” he said as he walked to the dog and gave him a dried piece of meat.
“It’s a shame,” said the detective as he closed the gray door behind him. “Progress is dependent on too many people.”
Other Quick Flash Crime fictions by Frank F. Atanacio:
© 2012 Frank Atanacio
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