Chapter 3 – What Did You Say

Art sat behind his desk and let Vasquez run his mouth until he ran out of steam. He was going on and on about procedure and about how he and his deputies really messed up. If he tried to cut in now he knew the man would just talk over him and he would never get to say his peace so he sat back and waited, the man had to take a breath sometime. Finally spotting his chance when he heard a break in the stream of consciousness abuse that was pouring out of his mouth he stepped up to defend his people.

“Now you just wait a damn minute now. I understand that things didn’t go the way you imagined they would when you gave the order to bring Mr. Givens in but you have to understand a few things before you continue on in your dressing down of my men. First of all you were living in a fantasy world if you ever thought what you had in mind would have worked. You hear about a man by name only and twenty minutes later you give the order for him to be brought in immediately. You don’t give any time for research on the subject, hell we didn’t even have time to pull up a DMV photo so my guys would be certain they were hauling in the right man. You don’t allow us to ask any questions of the witness who introduced him into the situation because you don’t want to tip your hand, leaving us without a lead to even try to find him with. Then you tie their hands farther behind their backs by not providing a warrant or a justification for the detainment, something I feel the need to point out is frowned upon in most parts of law enforcement.” He hoped to see at least a modicum of shame in his eyes at his denouncement of his actions but his stubborn nature wouldn’t let it shine through. Damn fool.

“My not allowing you to talk to the witness didn’t exactly stop you did it? You crossed the line!” His pride was in the fight now and nothing nobody said from here on would make a dent in his hard headed reasoning.

“Like hell I did. You might not have wanted to let Ava Crowder know that you were hauling Givens in on her word alone but I wasn’t about to leave my people out there with their butts flapping in the breeze. They needed a lead so they could get in and out quickly before Boyd Crowder caught wind of them being there and that’s exactly what I got for them. If I crossed a line doing it, then that was a line that never should have been there in the first place.” He would be damned if he let someone come in and say he’d done wrong by looking out for his deputies.

“Fine. It’s done now. What I want to know though is why they took the man in without reading him his rights or telling him the charges, the man has been demanding a lawyer since his foot hit the first step of the courthouse.” How far in the dark was this lawyer about how the justice system worked? Of course they hadn’t read the man his rights!

“Well gee, I don’t know, let me think about it for a second and maybe I can conjure up a reason. Could it be, and this is only a theory since I ain’t asked yet, but could it be that they didn’t read him his rights because he wasn’t under arrest? Also could it be that maybe they didn’t tell him the charges against him because there are no charges since once again I have to say he WASN’T UNDER ARREST!” Hell the man didn’t even have a parking ticket to his name! What exactly were they supposed to arrest him for? Living in Harlan? Allegedly knowing Boyd Crowder?

“He is the key to this entire case.” Like he hadn’t heard that one before! The only thing he’d heard about Raylan Givens since his name first tumbled out of that girl’s mouth was about how he was the key to locking up the Crowders. What he hadn’t heard yet was a plan for getting said key to cooperate. Ava had said that not only were Boyd and Raylan lovers but that they had known each other practically their whole lives in one way or another. It was damn hard to get people to flip on relationships like that in the best of circumstances and this was far from that. They had no leverage and no real idea how to get any. They were all feeling their way through the dark and frankly he was getting sick and tired of it. He was starting to just wish this entire mess would just get the hell out of his office.

“He is a civilian who as far as we can prove hasn’t broken a single law in his life. There is no record on this guy. There is a driver’s license. You might be surprised to know he’s an organ donor, I know I was. There are tax forms from when he started working the mines after he graduated high school and a few odd jobs after that but then he ghosts away there too. Then again we have no record of him having any employment during those years either, at least not the legal kind so it makes sense he wouldn’t be paying taxes anymore. Before you start there ain’t no records of him paying anything either, no rent or utilities in his name ever so we can’t go asking where he gets his money since as far as the federal government is concerned he don’t got none to be asking about. Other than that there’s nothing! No speeding tickets. No voter registration. Nothing.” It was actually kind of spooky. Usually when a man his age came in they had information coming out the ass, most of it useless but at least it was there. Seeing a man’s entire life fit neatly on a few sheets of paper just didn’t sit right.

“Nothing?” Vasquez sounded almost lost, he had probably never met a man before who didn’t exist in any significant way. 

“Nothing.” The man was a ghost. When he began working for the Crowders he literally disappeared into the job. No wonder they had never stumbled across him before today.

“What about permits?” Didn’t he just list everything they could find on him? Did he say permits? No! And there was a reason for that.

“When I say nothing Vasquez I mean nothing.”

“Then we got him, your two deputies said he met them at the door with a gun. No gun permit means he broke the law.” He had to fight the impulse to roll his eyes. The man had all but shouted Aha. He was almost sorry to ruin his feeling of triumph. Almost.

“No we do not have him so save your righteous moment. This is Kentucky. I don’t know where you were before you got transferred here but here in the great state of Kentucky you don’t need a permit to have a gun. In fact you don’t need a permit to purchase a gun, you don’t need to register it once you do own it, heck you don’t even have to leave it in your car when you go inside most businesses around here.” That was all around a bad idea if you asked him, but no one asked him directly so he kept that to himself as usual. 

“Well there has to be something.” Finally some worry was starting to creep into his voice with the realization that they may have taken a giant mis-step. The only thing that would have been better would have been if this revelation had come a touch sooner, like before they scooped the man up.

“Oh I’m sure there is, but we don’t have the time or the manpower to dig it up. We have not arrested him and he is under no obligation to speak with us while he is here. Hell under the eyes of the law the only thing that’s happened to Raylan Givens today is that the Marshal’s service saved him some gas money and gave him a ride into town, against his wishes.” Something he hoped would be kept quiet, the last thing they needed was more bad press. If this got out they would have hooligans outside jumping up and down with their signs protesting for days. The world loved a new cause to march to.

“How long would it take you to find something, if you had the time?”

“Well, I don’t rightly know. The man is practically a ghost so digging up anything at all would be hard enough but finding anything illegal might be next to impossible. Your best bet would be to get your witness to give us some more details.” That would be harder than before too now. The woman had clammed up after she’d been told what they were currently doing with her information. Turns out this Raylan character was her soft spot and she didn’t like them poking at it, or him.

“Yeah, best bet.” Watching the man storm out, again, left him with a bad taste in his mouth. This whole thing was going tits up but he had a feeling deep in his gut that it was just going to get worse. He didn’t know how yet, but he was sure it was.

Signaling for Tim to follow him as he walked towards interrogation room two he tried to find his confidence again, their first move would be to take an opening swipe at Givens and see if they got anything useful. He didn’t think they would but Rachel was already coming up empty with his cyber trail so this was all that was left to try.

God help them.

Raylan was feeling a bit miffed about this whole day, first he’d been all but manhandled out of his cabin and then he was dumped in this little room and left there alone. They didn’t even leave him a magazine or nothing to help keep his mind busy. Without something to do other than just shake his leg under the table and whistle he found his mind drifting back to Boyd and what they would have been doing by now if not for this business. Boyd would have already come in through the door by now and they would both be sitting on the porch sharing a beer while teasing each other about their vacation plans. Teasing words would have lead to teasing touches and from there-

When the door finally did open he was almost happy to see the little boy scout who had cuffed him coming into the room followed by a man seemingly older than God. The jowls alone would give him endless entertainment and that was something he had been sorely missing the last few hours. It had become clear to him that the nice boys and girls of the Federal Government were scrambling and he was starting to see the humor in it, even if it was pissing him off in equal measure. They hadn’t read him his rights, they hadn’t given him his phone call, they hadn’t let him see a lawyer, honestly as far as he could tell they hadn’t even arrested him despite what the cuffs and the inability to leave seemed to imply. 

“Hello boys.” No need to be confrontational, as it was he was currently winning and they all knew it. “Something I can do you for?”

“Raylan Givens.” Jowls was already scowling at him in a hell of a way. Someone had obviously pissed in his beer, such a thing could ruin any man’s day.

“Present.” They all knew who he was, but it didn’t hurt to be at least a bit friendly. After all, this entire business was beyond funny, and so long as he could keep seeing the humor in things there was no need for anything to become violent. The last thing he needed to do was to take a swing at a lawman and turn his “detainment” into an actual arrest. He was on vacation, damn it.

“We have recently become aware of some information that puts you on the wrong side of the law son, and the right side of a Mr. Boyd Crowder.” Very recently by the looks of it. Someone had rolled on them or at the very least been indiscreet with where and when they were popping their mouth off. That was going to be a problem, but it would be a problem for later.

“Who?” They all knew the game, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t worth playing. The steps were practically by rote now, on both sides, a dance done to a song as old as time.

“Don’t try to pull that shit with me Mr. Givens. You were raised in Harlan County with Mr. Crowder. We have old work records that put the two of you in the mines together after you left high school. Please don’t insult my intelligence by pretending not to know the man.”

“Fair enough, what about Boyd?” Admitting to knowing a man wasn’t a crime but if they thought he was going to be admitting to anything else well then they had better have another think on it. He would never turn on Boyd, never. 

“So you do know Mr. Crowder?” The boyscout seemed to be reading from a script, like he was just going through the motions but didn’t actually want to be in the room at all. He could relate. 

“You work a deep mine with a man and you get to know them pretty well. Something I doubt either of you have ever had to learn first hand.” No these two were definite city dwellers, even if they weren’t from Lexington he would bet they were from somewhere just like it. Though he could see something in the boyscout that made him pause, a shadow in his eyes that spoke to something deeper. 

“You would be right about that.” At least they weren’t bullshitting or trying to find some equally bullshit common ground. If he had to sit through a fake ass story about how they’d all been there once upon a time he wasn’t sure he’d be able to contain himself.

“So I ask again. What about Boyd?”

“What can you tell me of his more recent activities?” Jack shit. He felt his brows start to scrunch together in that way that Boyd always said made him look mean as a snake, but he couldn’t find it in himself to mind it. 

“What makes you think I would know anything like that? Like you said your records put us working together over a decade ago, closer to two now, I don’t see how that puts me in his orbit today.” They could go around and around on this all day long, eventually something would have to give and it wouldn’t be him. It was just a waiting game now.

“Our information puts you more than in his orbit Mr. Givens, it puts you directly under him.” The almost sneer in the words put his back up a bit, someone had been talking more than just out of turn they were spilling all kinds of things to the Feds. When he got out of this he was going to have to have a serious conversation with this person about personal boundaries and what it means to cross them. Until then he would just have to play it like a dumb good ol’ boy from the hollar and admit to nothing.

“Your information huh?” He knew Boyd would be coming for him soon enough so rather than give into his anger he decided to just lean back and enjoy the circus. 

“That’s right.” 

“My information puts me in need of a lawyer and a phone call.” Forcing his muscles to relax he grinned at the older man and gave it his best aww shucks no hard feelings good old boy act. 

“We’ll get right on that for you Mr. Givens.” The two stomped out and left him alone again, he was starting to hate this room. 

Tim wasn’t sure how he felt about Ava Crowder at this point in this long and drawn out game they were all endlessly playing. In the beginning he had felt nearly sorry for her, being dragged from a hospital bed to an interrogation room would have set anyones head to spinning. The woman was battered black and blue and then the AUSA had come at her just as hard, refusing to pull his own punches even a little. The end goal of a career defining conviction under his belt had seemingly wiped the man clean of all compassion and good sense. Then she had almost carelessly twisted everything they had known about Boyd Crowder around on its head with a few absentminded words. 

Raylan Givens. Two words. One name. Yet they changed it all. Before her offhanded declaration that Boyd had Raylan as an implied partner they had been under the impression that Boyd Crowder was a lone wolf type. No one they ever found who had any kind of dealings with the man ever said anything to indicate otherwise. There were no pictures of the man out on the town with a pretty little thing on his arm like you would see with others in his profession, the man was an enigma. He wasn’t sure yet if the piece of the puzzle his sister-in-law had provided would lessen the mystery or deepen it. Either way things were about to change.

“So, Ava. I wanted to ask you a few things about Boyd and Raylan. Can you tell me more about them?” What they really needed was some background on Raylan before they tried to take another run at him but the boss said she was a bit protective of him so they couldn’t focus on him alone. Make it about Boyd and they might get more.

“Like what?” She seemed tired, her head was all but laid on the table and he could feel those old feelings of concern welling up inside of him again. If nothing else, even with all this mess she had dumped in all their laps, she was still a battered woman who needed some rest. Rest they unfortunately couldn’t give her.

“Anything really, I’m just trying to get a sense of them. Tell me some stories, things that they’ve done, they don’t even have to be about them breaking the law.” He needed to hear about how they interacted with each other, but more than that he needed to know how Raylan Givens was likely to roll. Was he a die hard follower protective type or a self serving survive no matter the cost type? That was not something he wanted to figure out mid-interrogation.

“Okay. Well, I suppose I could tell you about that time that they went fishing together for the first time. Raylan took a fishing pole while Boyd took some dynamite.”

“Well now that does sound like a heck of a story.” Settling back he took out a little notebook he could use to take down anything that might be useful. Something had to be useful eventually.

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