Most cops avoid the paperwork like the plague that it is. Not Griff. Not that day. Not after that display. Griff arrested every last Trevor Love.
He took their fingerprints and every last one came up as—you guessed it—Trevor Love. He searched their pockets and every last one had a license with the same information, different picture, but all of them claimed their owner was—yup, once again, you got it—Trevor Love. Griff even tried prying the heart away from the woman holding the box, but he couldn’t get it out of her hands. Like magic, that’s what I say. Griff, however, says it must have been some sort of electromagnetic device. He’s still searching for answers, I think.
After every Trevor Love was arrested and crammed into our holding cells, I only needed to talk to three people. Probably only two, to be honest. But, the case called for the three: the first Trevor Love, the one with the stolen heart, the second Trevor Love, the owner of Food for Thought, and the woman with Trevor Love’s heart, Christina.
Inside the interrogation room, I sat across from the three of them. Each looked as if they already knew what I was going to ask and had written and rehearsed their answers. Each looked as if they knew—by some unseen, undetectable omniscience—the outcome before we’d even begun.
I attempted to wait them out. Sit there without talking until one of them gave me some nonverbal sign of wavering faith, but all three remained as stoic as a statue. Leaning into the flat back, cold metal of the chair, I laid one arm over the chair beside me and cleared my throat. I played it cool, but they were cooler.
‘Ma’am,’ I said to the woman holding Trevor Love’s heart. ‘Christina, correct? May I call you Christina?’
‘You may,’ she said, the box on the table set before her. She held it securely. No damage would ever come of the contents within. Not while in her possession, at least.
‘Why did you steal this man’s heart?’ I asked, pointing to the Trevor Love with the stolen heart.
‘If I may,’ the Trevor Love with the stolen heart interjected, ‘I’d like to say something.’
I told him that he was encouraged to speak. That that was sort of the point. But he didn’t speak. At least not at first. He stood from his chair, began unbuttoning his shirt, and shushed me from asking why or what he was doing. He lifted a single finger and gestured it to me.
Draping his shirt over the back of his chair, he revealed the once-wound of him having had his heart stolen right out of his chest as nothing but a thinning, faint line, the evidence of his incision healing so rapidly that it appeared as if the size or severity of the wound was of little or no consequence.
‘As you can see, Detective Lashmont,’ he said, ‘my health is not to be questioned. I’m okay. It’s true that my heart is not within my body and that Christina holds it and carries it with her, but that’s only because it’s safer there. My heart is safer in her hands. In her care. Thus, she didn’t steal my heart. I gave it to her. She’s not guilty of the grand larceny you believe her to be. But, rather, she’s the benefactor of love.’
He returned to his seat. He leaned to Christina. He kissed her and whispered that he loved her, that he’d always love her. They both smiled. That stupid smile of being in love. Madly in love. That wide-grinning, split-my-face-in-two, I-think-you’ve-broken-me type of smile.
‘You see,’ the Trevor Love who’d given his heart said, ‘I just wanted to tell a story. I suppose I just wanted to tell a story that told a story that told a story. But, you folks don’t let people tell stories anymore.
‘It’s bizarre. And with that bizarreness, I wanted to tell a love story. People think there’s only one way to tell these love stories, but here was another. This one. The love doesn’t minimize the rest and the rest doesn’t minimize the love. You see, these kinds of stories don’t always need bareback, bare-chested horseback riding along low tide beaches. Cold-shower scenes aren’t a requirement to tell a story to make people swoon. I wanted to tell a love story that was more than just a love story but a love story all along.
‘If it’s criminal to do so, then so be it. And if it’s criminal to be in love then lock me up for life.’
‘No, Mr. Love,’ I said, ‘there’s nothing illegal about love. However, the stunt you’ve pulled crosses the line of legality. You falsely reported a crime. You diverted police attention. You’ve disturbed the peace. You’ve obstructed justice. You’ve perverted the course of justice. I’m sure there’ll be a list of charges as long as your arm.’
‘That’s fair,’ he said, ‘but, can I have the last word?’
‘It’s yours,’ I told him.
‘There comes a day when you’re faced with a choice. To do this or to do that. Simple choice. Yes or no. As you may say, black or white. And we choose, not because we have to, but because we want, need to. It’s inborn to the Human.
‘However, when we choose this, people tell us to have chosen that. And if we had chosen that initially, they would have told us we should have chosen this. I guess—after belaboring about—my point is that there is no point. And there’s a point in that. I think. So, let us live.’
‘Yeah,’ the shop owner Mr. Love said, ‘you bunch of slime-spined fascists.’
There were charges filed, but everyone walked. Nothing stuck because it was all nonsense anyway. They didn’t care what we had to say. They promised never to do anything like that again. Crossed their fingers and hoped to die. Pinkie promised even. And they walked away just like that. The same way they came in, they went out. But boy was that middle part bizarre. Maybe even more bizarre because before them was nothing and after them has been more nothing. Just cases we’ve seen a million times. Nothing new. Nothing bizarre. Nothing curious even.
Griff took it to heart, of course. Took it to his soul. He’ll tell you that he took it right up the ass, but that’s neither here nor there.
‘What do we do now?’ Griff asked when the final Trevor Love exited the precinct—a curly haired ginger with dirty shoes, dirty shirt, and dirty pants. I bet his underwear were clean though. Because that’s just the way of the world.
‘We do as we did before,’ I said to Griff, slapping a hand on his shoulder, reassuring him that moving on is better than staying put.
‘But how do we do that after something like this?’ he asked.
‘I wish I knew. I wish I had the right thing to say, but I haven’t the slightest idea,’ I said.
‘But we checked his pulse? And the hospital checked his chest? And there was no heart beat and no heart?’ Griff grasped at something of sense. ‘How can that be? The fingerprints? The box with the heart inside? It was a real live heart. I saw it. How can any of that be?’
‘I don’t know,’ was all I could say. When considering, it seems it’s all any of us can honestly say.
Griff slumped over, dejected, knocked out, defeated.
‘Go home,’ I told him. ‘And that’s an order. Go home and get some sleep. You’ve earned it. You look like you need it.’
‘What I need is to fall into a coma for a month or two,’ he said. I laughed, but he wasn’t joking. ‘Do you think Trevor Love could do that for me? Put me in a coma? He put his damn heart in a box. Can he put me in a sleep so deep that it lasts a month?’
‘You’re talking nonsense, Griff. Go home,’ I told him.
He didn’t say anything. Just grabbed his phone off his desk, pulled his keys from his pocket, and went the way the Trevor Loves went.
I did all the paperwork. Because that’s what partners do. I did all the paperwork, filled out all those reports. Eventually, I went home. I was still hoping to be able to answer some of the same questions Griff still had. The black-spined books? The Days of Yesterday are the Days of Tomorrow? The girl who came in to read the note? The bookstore? The missing heart? I knew—I know it must mean something more. It’s saying something I haven’t been able to hear. Maybe I can’t speak that language, so it sounds like a whole bunch of gibberish. Maybe it’s showing something I just can’t see. I’m too blind. Or I’m oriented in the wrong direction.
It must be. Otherwise, why go through all that trouble? Why disrupt law and order? Why take it out on Griff and me?
But I still don’t know.
I really don’t.
I suppose it couldn’t have been anything personal. Griff or I hadn’t done anything to them. Didn’t know them from Adam, yet they subjected us to this. Whatever this is. Whatever that was.
Which—maybe, my best guess—meant they were taking it out on the metaphorical us, our symbol, what we represented, not us as individuals. They wanted to say something about the system and used two people within to do the talking.
Interesting, really. If you want to show something is broken or sick or dying, what better way than to climb inside and fester and rot until you break through the flesh and expose the twisted inner workings to the outer world. Very clever.
Trevor Love—the metaphorical Trevor Love—wanted to say something about the cop—the metaphorical, whatever policing authority, any policing authority it may be—and used a cop to do the telling.
Us cops try to enforce rules, but what if it’s a world with no rules? What if Trevor Love is talking about a world within a world—a story within a reality? Does that make his message any better or worse? Does it mean he’s right or wrong? Or does it simply mean that he just is?
Because I think—at least the way I see it—is that he did his job. He told a story and took a stand. What’s more important than that? Trevor Love went out of his way to tell a story, to take a stand, and tell someone something important. To tell someone that he loves them. What’s more important than that?
Where we go from here, I’m not sure. I’ll never be sure. When it comes to that, I’m forever sure.
There is something, however—one thing that has been paining me. It involves you, sir. I suppose, in more ways than one, it’s always involved you, sir.
May I ask you a question?
Thank you. I appreciate this. It’s only a single, simple question. One fundamental to all of this, to the entirety of this curious case of the missing heart. May I ask what your name is?
What’s your name, sir?
Hmm, I thought so.
Well then, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.