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Bill’s feigned placidity sublimated into vapor at Officer Davies’ question. “Have I been drinking? Is there a reason that you ask or what? I need to see Gabrielle, Officer.”

“Mr. Finger, I asked you a simple question and you haven’t answered it. Have you been drinking tonight?”

Bill lowered his face, covered it with his hands, exhaled, lowered his hands, looked at Davies’ name tag and after a two second pause said, “Yes, Officer Davies. I had two drinks today. Is there a problem with that? I’m definitely not drunk.”

“Glad to hear it. Get out of the car please, sir.”

“Is this really nece-”

“Mr. Finger? I have an assault case to investigate. You claim that you are here to give comfort and aid to the victim. Great. If you cooperate with me we can both get back to doing what we’re here for, me investigating, you comforting. If you won’t cooperate I can just have you blow into the breathalyzer and then put you in the back of my squad car until another officer can appear. Shouldn’t take more than an hour would be my guess. Now what’ll it be? Cooperation and speed, or you throwing a wrench into me helping your friend?”

Bill had honed the art of the glare to razor sharpness but Davies had been maliciously stared at by far more intimidating suspects. “How can I help, Officer?”

Davies opened the car door. “Get out of the car please and blow into this instrument as hard as you can,” he said, indicating where on the breathalyzer to exhale.

Bill’s nostrils flared as he inhaled, exhaled through them, inhaled again and blew. Davies attached the instrument to his belt via a lanyard. “Please walk along the seam of the sidewalk here,” he said, pointing with his flashlight.

Bill did as he was told. “Good. Now, close your eyes, hold your arms out and…”

Bill took the index finger of first his right and then left hand and alternated touching his nose. “I see you’ve done this before,” Davies said.

Opening his eyes and cocking his head to the side he responded, “No. I’ve just seen it on TV and in the movies. You’re my first.”

“Glad to hear it. Would you please stand on your left foot and then your right?”

Bill let out a little cough, looked down and then shook his head minutely four times. “You do know that I’m sixty four years old? My balance isn’t what it used to be,” he replied as he lifted his left leg and balanced for four seconds before having to replant it on the ground.

“Not a problem, sir. The test accommodates for age.

“Okay. Thanks for your cooperation,” he added, checking the readout on the breathalyzer. “Let’s go see if the Gibeons would like comfort and aid, shall we.”

“That would be great. I told you I wasn’t drunk.”

“You did say that, and you  are below the point oh eight DUI limit.”


Holding out the test results so Bill could see them he added, “But you’re definitely above the point oh four DWI.”