Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Catching Up With Fonzie - Crime & Punishment

"That's it?"  The Union Pacific detective asked, looking not at his suspect, but at the two-way mirror on the back wall of the interrogation room.  He knew that behind the glass, the Oklahoma City cops were shaking their heads.

"That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it, copper."  Fonzie, a six-year veteran of the grinding, often brutal hobo life, had been in trouble before.  His smile spoke of relief, as if he'd confessed everything.

He had not.  Not nearly.

His confession had covered only the petty crime committed that morning - his attempted theft of a woman's purse at Union Station.

"Buddy, we got all night.  I already told you the purse snatching ain't your biggest problem.  So, before we go any further... Arturo Hebert Fonzarillo--"

"Call me Fonzie," the hobo said smugly.

The policeman cleared his throat.  "Arturo Hebert Fonzarillo, you are hereby charged with the murders of Estelle Jane and Frank Joseph Fonzarillo.  You have the right to remain silent--"

"What??"  Fonzie slammed his handcuffed fists on the ancient wooden desk, and began to lunge from his chair, before several officers rushed into the room and encouraged him to reconsider.  "My parents?  What's wrong with you, bub?  My parents died six years ago."

"Yes - the day you disappeared, Mr. Fonzarillo," the lead interrogator said flatly.  "The day you murdered them.  Now, you pays your money and you takes your choice, see..."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"What he's trying to say, Fonzie, is you did the crime, so now you're gonna do the time.  I'd say about twenty-five to life."

Six hours later...

"You know what, coppers?"  Fonzie sighed, exhausted.  "I know I didn't kill my folks.  God knows I didn't do it, and I'm pretty sure you fellas know I didn't do it.  But, you know what?  Write up a confession, and I'll sign it.  Whatever you say - I did it.  I drowned my dear old mama in the lobster tank in our restaurant.  I knocked my pop unconscious with the pizza paddle from the kitchen, then burned him in the oven.  Done and done.  Where do I sign?"

The detectives stared at each other for a moment, then at Fonzie.  "We'll get that typed up in just a minute, Fonz.  But we been here for hours - with you proclaiming your innocence up one side and down the other.  What gives?"

The weary hobo sighed heavily.  "Like I said, God and me - we know I didn't do it.  But there ain't a judge or jury that's gonna believe me.  So, the way I see it, I already been punished to hell and back, over the past six years.  You say I'll get twenty-five to life in the clink.  About now, that sounds like a step up.  A cot, a shower, food that don't have bugs in it, vaccinations, a roof over my head and no more running - I'll take it.  Where do I sign?"

  


This time, I combined the STUDIO 30-PLUS prompt "he'd confessed everything" from Kirsten A. Piccini's "Man on a Mission," with the LIGHT & SHADE CHALLENGE prompt "You pays your money and you takes your choice," and the name Fonzie, from John Hodgman's list of 700 hobo names.

So.  Did he do it?

15 comments:

  1. Poor Fonzie, but who could blame him! Excellently told story.

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  2. Poor man to be reduced to that - and a murderer still at large! Lyssa M x

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    1. Yes - I have to remind myself that most hoboes weren't witty and fun.

      So, it sounds as though you believe that he's inncent of the murders, eh?

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  3. Three hots and a cot were sounding pretty good to him, eh? I like Fonzie, the poor bastard!

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    1. Yep - probably sounded especially good, if he really didn't believe he'd escape a conviction, anyway.

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  4. Sounds like a welcome change of pace, I'd take it too if I'd been living a homeless life.

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    1. I watched internally as he weighed his options. Prison won't be any picnic, but he's prioritizing, at this point.

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  5. sometimes the grass is greener even if it's behind bars. I loved the way you wrote him, the final admittance was painful but necessary,
    Wow, I love these stories of yours. They are rich in language and stories. I look forward to them every week.

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    1. Aww - thanks so much, Kir! (warm fuzzies) I'll try to keep it up, despite the approach of Camp NaNoWriMo 2014...

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  6. You've woven a wonderful little tale. I really enjoyed it.

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    1. Woohoo - thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

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  7. I say he seems innocent to me, but he was quite specific with his explanation of the deaths ;) I loved the dialogue! Really enjoyed the whole story, Joe!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Excellent read.

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