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This entry is part 7 of 17 in the series Doing Laundry
Photo: Kim MyoungSung – (CC BY 2.0)

      Eli heard shuffling from a large individual sitting next to him, the metallic thud of Haley’s boots on the floor, and the rustle of several bodies shifting to leave. Though he could hear the door open, he saw nothing. He felt someone shoving him from behind urging him to get up. A hand grabbed the sack covering his face allowing him to see two men in full tactical gear. They pulled him from the vehicle.
      This is a lot of fuss for a guy charged with fraud. He thought as he exited. The amber lights of the parking garage cast gray-scale shadows on the bleak concrete. They herded him through a network of corridors before arriving at a small room containing a table, two chairs, and a large mirror that ran across one side of the room. The table featured a steel bar making it look as though a towel rack had been mounted facing up in the center. Haley un-cuffed one side of his restraints and reattached them to the steel bar. His choices were to either sit, or stand awkwardly. He sat. She left him alone.
      Haley already knows what I did. How long do they put people away for fraud?
      He didn’t know.
      Time melted under the fluorescent light. Eli wondered what would happen to his apartment, all his stuff, and his car. Could he sell it to help pay off whatever bail was set? Was he even getting a trial? His thoughts stopped there. He didn’t care. All he wanted was to go back to that moment at the mall with the old lady in the gray bun, for Haley to be Sadie, and live like he had never read her name in the ledger. It was a lie, sure, but it was a wonderfully familiar one.
      The abrupt sound of the door opening snapped him back to reality.
      “Eli Walters? Hank Murdock. I’m a big fan of your work. Clever stuff.”
      Eli starred off the edge of table and into a corner. He said nothing.
      “Right. You hate me. Of course you hate me, I stole your girlfriend. You need to understand that Agent Garret was…,” Hank started as he sat down opposite Eli.
      “Only doing her job!? Defending her country? Please,” Eli exploded in disgust. “This was cruel and unusual punishment. What? No longer enough to put a guy in jail? New study show incarceration to be more effective when combined with heartbreak?”
      “I can see why she likes you,” Hank leaned back to let the words sink in.
      “Well, I’m sure you’ll slap her wrist for getting emotionally involved,” Eli said feigning a smile.
      “Well, she had to.”
      “Yeah? Tell me about that. Because I thought that all you needed to convict for wire fraud was either hard evidence, or an outright confession.”
      “And?”
      “And what!?” Eli was livid.
      “Well, you’re smart enough not to give us proof, and you only confessed to Sadie two days ago. From that, seems like you getting your feelings hurt is your own fault,” Hank said with a ‘there-you-have-it’ tone of voice.
      Eli cringed at the alias.
      “Oh my mistake, Hank. I’m just imaging the emotional entrapment here, I’m…”
      “She needed to trust you,” Hank interrupted.
      “She needed me to trust her, you mean?” Eli corrected caustically.
      “No,”
      “No?”
      “No,” Hank repeated casually.
      “Why?”
      “Do you know why you’re here?”
      “Because I was placed under arrest for fraud?”
      “Really? You were placed under arrest? By whom?” Hank asked with an amused smile.     

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