October 11th, 1963
“5 feet, ten inches tall. White, Caucasian. Male. Seventeen years of age. Eye color, brown. Hair color, brown. Greased. Average weight. Medium build. Possessions: one leather jacket, slightly worn, confiscated. One white t-shirt, pair of jeans, two boots. Pocket knife, confiscated. Pack of cigarettes, confiscated. Pack of gum, confiscated.”
The corrections officer smacked his lips, blew a bubble of strawberry gum, let it pop, and looked up from his paper to stare at a young man in a white t shirt and blue jeans sitting, handcuffed, on a cold concrete bench behind iron bars.
“One gun. Stolen,” the corrections officer said, loudly smacking his gum in between phrases and looking the young man up and down suspiciously.
The boy continued to look at the cracked concrete beneath his feet, not budging an inch to scratch an itch or breathe deeply or even to cough. Detective Rockwell, outside the bars, stared at the young greaser harshly. He frowned when the corrections officer mentioned the gun. “Fucking kids,” he muttered.
“Six bullets in the chamber,” the corrections officer continued. “One paper clip in back pocket, confiscated. One leather belt, confiscated. Under suicide watch, twenty-four hour surveillance.
“A couple priors. Namely, aggravated assault with a weapon, underage drinking, petty theft, gambling.
“And all before his 18th birthday,” Rockwell taunted.
“Reported missing a day or two ago by his Mom. Name…”
The greaser turned his face away from the floor and looked at the corrections officer with dead, broken eyes.
“Jules. Jules LaTour,” he intoned monotonously.
“Jules Latour,” the corrections officer continued. “Sophmore at Benjamin Pitt High. Works for his uncle… a mechanic. That right?” the officer finished, turning towards Rockwell for validation.
“Sounds about right,” Rockwell said, pulling up a stool to sit right across from Jules so that he could stare at him at eye level through the bars. He nodded towards the corrections officer who smirked back and plodded gleefully out of the cellblock to buy a donut, no doubt.
“So, Jules, your teacher outside was telling me you tried to shoot your own brains out in the school cafeteria. Is that true?”
Jules let his posture slump, and stared at the ground once more. He seemed on the verge of tears.
“Mr. Savage is worried about you, Jules. Whole school is. They all just want what’s best for you.”
“I couldn’t do it though,” he finally murmured.
“You damn near did, that’s the thing, Jules. Now your friend Daniel Pyle…”
Rockwell stopped short as he heard Jules grind his teeth together and press his fingers against his denim jeans.
“Your friend Daniel Pyle,” Rockwell continued, “told me quite the story. Now he told me that you came into the lunchroom, took out a turkey sandwich from your lunchbox like you usually do, and started eating. Mr. Pyle tells me that after a couple bites, you open your lunchbox again, get this crazy look in your eye— his words not mine— and you pull out a Smith and Weston .38… your dad’s gun, right?”
Jules remained silent.
Rockwell continued, “And you take that gun and put it up against your head, and you jump up on the lunch table and you scream out, red faced and wild-eyed, I quote…”
Rockwell pulled out a notepad from his back pocket and flipped open to a page. He squinted, and articulated slowly, but loudly, “You’re not going to win. I’m going to do it, fucking hell. I’m going to do it. I win now. You lose.”
Rockwell closed his book. He stared blankly at Jules, as if expecting an explanation (he was).
“Care to explain?” Rockwell pressed, after several seconds of frustrating silence. “Who’s ‘not going to win?’ You? Death? God? Society? Who loses? Who lost? Were you talking to yourself? Were you hearing voices? Have you killed anyone before?” Rockwell rattled each subsequent question with more fever and fury than the last. His efforts produced little effect, however.
Jules’ lips barely budged. Jules blinked, but Rockwell had trouble telling whether this was a result of his own efforts or the dry, prison cell air. Rockwell could tell that Jules was struggling to keep silent. He pulled out his notepad once more, flipped it open to another page, and continued to speak, maintaining a less aggressive, more placating tone.
“Now your lunch lady, Mrs. Brennan… sweet lady… tells me you stood there, stood there for God knows how long, holding that gun to your temple. She tells me your arm was quivering, your knuckles were white, straining to keep hold of that gun. Were you afraid? What were you thinking in those brief few moments that you straddled between the worlds of the living and the dead? Were you having second thoughts? Were you realizing that the whole thing was a ploy to get you attention, and that now that you were actually going through with the thing, there was pressure on you to finish what you started? As if you piqued an audience’s appetite and were now withholding the climax? Or were you just enjoying the attention?”
Jules suddenly broke out in a staggered wail, louder than that of Powell’s five-year-old daughter. He shook with some undetermined emotion.
Rockwell was solemn, observing the greaser’s every move, every twitch, looking for some sign of disingenuousness, some trace of manipulation.
Were the tears real?
Were his eyes really red?
Were those cries actually cackles?
Was he laughing?
Rockwell couldn’t even see the greaser’s face given that it was now covered by his two large hands. He tilted his head to get a better angle of the face, but before he could look at his eyes, the greaser moved his hands to cover his face in the direction of Rockwell’s gaze.
“He’s hiding something,” Rockwell thought.
The sniffles and strident wails only got more and more involved, and soon, Rockwell grew tired of grilling his taciturn subject.
“Well then,” Rockwell finally said. “I’ll leave you to your own devices,” he said, waving at the guard outside to come back in. However, he stopped short before the door. Something struck a discordant note in his subconscious. He quickly turned back around and nearly threw himself onto the bars of Jules’ cell. With crazed eyes, he called out, “Bogdan Ivanov! Sonya Nikitin! Nikolai Preobrazhensky! Pavel Karaulov! Vladimir Karamazov! Do those names mean anything to you?”
The sniffling continued. Jules LaTour said nothing. Rockwell’s face quickly turned dour and uninterested, reflecting his deflated excitement.
However, Rockwell still had one name left to throw at the boy.
In a low, steady, but apprehensive voice, Rockwell uttered the name, “Razin.”
Jules looked up to Rockwell. His eyes were no longer dead and limp. They were indeed red, almost burning. They frightened Rockwell, and Rockwell quickly turned away to walk towards the door.
Jules Latour looked like he wanted to tell Rockwell something… to warn him.
But Rockwell had no time for unspoken messages. He clicked his teeth and left the building.