by Alexis Kypridemos
Detective Richard "Dick" Tuggs sat at his desk, clumsily typing at his computer. His partner, Detective David "Davie" Croquet hovered beside him.
"Yang... Yang..." Tuggs mouthed as he typed the words. "Here we go." He hit a key and a printer in the corner churned out paper. Croquet walked over and picked up the sheaf of paper.
"'Ridin’ in the hood, slap my bitch up good...'" he read. "What is this?"
"Yang's rap sheet. Flip to his current address."
Croquet turned the page.
"Unknown. He skipped his last probation meeting. Has been missing since."
"Last known whereabouts?"
Croquet turned another page. "Chinatown... The Fuschia Dragon club."
Tuggs picked up the phone on his desk. "Better get Lee on this," he said and dialed the number of Lee, a Chinese American detective in the precinct, to serve as interpreter.
Two hours later, Tuggs, Croquet, and Lee entered the station, having returned from the Fuschia Dragon club in Chinatown. Tuggs pushed the newly apprehended, handcuffed suspect, Yang Yang, in front of them. They headed to the interview room.
The room was occupied. Through the one-way glass they observed Caruthers, an older, gray-haired detective, interrogate a suspect.
"Look, there’s nothing to be afraid of," Caruthers told the frozen suspect.
"Afraid of?" the suspect said. "Are you kidding? I’ve heard about what goes on in here."
Caruthers grinned and waved away the implication.
"Urban legend. Here."
Caruthers offered the suspect a cigarette from his pack. Hesitantly, the suspect took it. Caruthers lit it for him.
Croquet frowned. "That's against regulation."
"See?" Caruthers said to the suspect. "We try to create a friendly atmosphere here at the station. Just relax and tell me what happened."
The suspect stared at the table for a minute, lost in thought.
"OK. OK. I did it," he said finally.
"Are you sure?" Caruthers asked.
"Yeah. I got the gun... Sneaked around back... I did it," the suspect confessed.
Caruthers leapt out of his chair and slapped the suspect so hard in the face that the cigarette flew out of his mouth and across the room. He grabbed the suspect by the shirtfront.
"You son of a bitch! You killed him!" Caruthers yelled.
He continued to slap the suspect. The door opened. Tuggs and Croquet pushed Yang into the interview room. Lee followed behind them.
"Hi," Tuggs said. "Are you done in here?"
Caruthers pulled back from the cowering, terrified suspect and wiped his brow.
"Yeah, we’ve pretty much wrapped it up," Caruthers said. "Come ‘ere, you bastard," he grunted to the suspect and hauled him to his feet and out of the interview room.
Croquet uncuffed Yang and shoved him into the chair. "Sit down."
"We know you did it, Yang," Tuggs said.
"I’m not talking until my lawyer gets here," Yang said.
"We’ve heard that one before. Look, if you won’t tell us what we need to know on your own, we’ll light a fire under your ass until you do," Croquet said.
"So, Yang? How are we going to do this?" Tuggs pressed.
Yang spat something at Tuggs in Chinese.
"What did he say?" Tuggs asked Lee.
"How should I know?" Lee said.
"What do you mean, you don’t know? You’re supposed to be the interpreter."
"Yeah," Lee said.
"He speaks Mandarin. I don't speak Mandarin. Just Cantonese."
Author Notes: "Chinese Whispers" is part of "Fiction Fix," a collection of 46 short, funny stories, plus 196 bonus micro fiction budget stories, available at http://www.fiction-fix.com.