Hank let himself go limp. “I’m a police officer. From Maryland.”
The man on top of Hank pushed off and grabbed a handful of Hank’s t-shirt. “You’re a goddamned killer and your ass is busted. Get up or we’ll shoot you right here and be done with it.”
Hank got to his feet. Another cop stood on the far side of the bed, gun leveled. He was a few years older than the blond cop, with short dark hair and thick eyebrows. He stared at Hank with flat brown eyes.
They moved Hank down to the end of the bed where there was more room to work. They turned him around and cuffed his hands behind his back. They weren’t gentle about it.
Hank was wearing only the t-shirt and boxer shorts, but the blond cop patted him down anyway.
“He’s clean, Chief.”
“He’s dirty, the son of a bitch.” The chief took a fresh grip on Hank’s t-shirt. He was about five inches shorter than Hank and was about fifty years old, judging from the crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes and the amount of white that was beginning to shoot through his thinning red hair. The body beneath his white shirt and khaki trousers, however, was muscular and fit, and the look in the man’s eyes betrayed a meanness and aggression that Hank immediately recognized. This was a cop who always traveled in a straight line, demolishing anything in his path that threatened to prevent him from reaching his objective.
This was his town, his law, and his moment.
Hank took the punches without making a sound. The first one struck him in the stomach, bending him over. The second clipped his jaw as he rolled his head, trying to minimize the impact, but the third caught him on the left temple and he dropped like a shot steer. After that it was a blur, a series of punches and kicks that ended with the chief’s hands around Hank’s neck as someone else tried frantically to pull him away.