It was too early in the a.m. for his phone to be ringing, but it was, waking him from some serious slumber. Darius reached for it, knocking it off the nightstand in the process and onto the floor. “Fuck,” he said, leaning over, using his hand to search around for it. He hoped to put it to his ear, mumble a You’ve-got-the-wrong-number and get back to sleep without fully waking. He didn’t know how late it was, but it was later than midnight, when he’d fallen into bed, tired from the last few weeks of work.
“Fuck,” he said again, ‘cause in addition to the phone, someone was knocking at his front door. Police; it had to be, ‘cause who else knocked that fucking hard. He lifted his head from his pillow, flipped over onto his back, and threw his legs over the side of his bed to retrieve the phone, stuck between the bed and the nightstand. Of course it was.
Placing the phone to his ear, he snapped out a terse “Hello.” It was Bishop, his employer calling, which meant emergency. The knocking started up again.
“Is that you?” Bishop asked. He could hear the loud banging too. Darius was sure the entire neighborhood could hear it.
“See to it, and call me back. Brandon is missing,” he said.
“Sure, yes sir, in a second, sir,” Darius said, standing, reaching for his jeans with one hand, placing the phone in his back pocket. It was one of those portable ones you could take wherever, and he did. He made his way to the front door, his heart racing. Not the full-out gallop kind of racing that came from the consequences of having done something majorly improper; no, this was more of a canter, a recognition that nothing good surfaced at this hour of the night.
“What’s up?” he said to the officer standing on his front porch. White was his skin color, and crisp was his uniform and demeanor. Lights swirled in a red haze behind the officer’s head, mixed in with the muted sounds of multiple police officers at work.
“Sorry to wake you sir, but there’s been an accident,” he said.
“We’re trying to determine that now, sir. Did you hear or see anything out of the ordinary?” he asked, all professional clean-cut public servant, ready to protect and serve.
“No,” Darius said, looking past the officer’s shoulder to the street. Three police cars with lights flashing circled a car, a Mustang GTO, black. He knew that car. “I think I know that car?” he said.
“You do, sir?”
“If it’s who I think it is, I work for his father.”
“Who would that be sir?”
“Bishop Walker. His son is Brandon Walker, home from college, completed his first year. African American, six feet or so, slim build,” Darius said, and he could tell from the officer’s demeanor that he had guessed correctly.
“We aren’t able to disclose that information until the next of kin has been notified,” the officer said.
“I understand,” D said.
“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked, pen poised to take notes.
“And you work with Bishop Walker?”
“Yes. I’m his assistant.”
“Thank you, sir. One of our detectives will be in touch,” the officer said.
D watched him make his way back to the street. His last comment about the detective meant it was more than an ordinary traffic accident. Detectives came for something more serious. He pulled the phone from his pocket and hit the number to call Bishop.
“Yes sir,” he said, in response to the Bishop’s hello. “There has been an accident, sir,” he said, pausing, ‘cause there was no easy way to say it. “I think you should come. Alone,” he said.
* * *