2006-06-09 / On Second Thought

You have the right to remain silent

A close friend and retired cop told me this story and swears it happened to him. In his own words:

The phone rings as I'm sitting down for my usual evening meal. I answer and am greeted with, "Is this Karl Stedman?" This isn't even close to my name, so I ask who's calling.

The telemarketer says he's with the McNally Aluminum Screen Door Company or something like that. Then I ask him if he knows Karl Stedman personally.

To heighten the suspense a couple of pegs, I say off to the side, "Be sure to get pictures of the body from various angles; and shoot the blood stains with the blue filter - they show up better."

Now I'm back on line with the telemarketer guy. I advise him: "You have entered a homicide crime scene and are required by law to remain on the phone. Your calling number has already been traced, and you will be summoned to appear in General Sessions Court to testify in this murder case."

Then I question him at great length as to his full name, home address and home phone, and how he knows the dead guy. I also ask him if he can prove his whereabouts for two hours before making this call.

The guy's voice is shaking so bad I can hardly understand what he's saying. I think he's whimpering. It's at this point that I read him his rights and inform him that police units have pinpointed his exact location and members of the SWAT team are, as we speak, entering his building to take him into police custody.

The next thing I hear is the phone falling to the floor, followed by a scurrying sound that's the telemarketer either running away or having a heart attack.

I go back to the table. My wife is mad. My supper is cold. But it's worth it. My wife sees tears running down my cheeks but hesitates to ask anything. Only I know these are tears of laughter.


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