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Strength of a Bear

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Selah listened to the phone message from the 3rd Precinct detective and ground his teeth. He could fathom no reason why Mrs. Ursane would cozy up to Mr. Ursane’s girlfriend, the wench that caused a man to cheat on his wife and get her to tell some story about yet another female he was allegedly involved with. The only reason was deflection; Mrs. Ursane was drawing police attention away from her as a suspect. Well, he had been in this job long enough to recognize a ploy when he saw one. This third female was a red herring.

He pulled out all the evidence he had pointing to Randall Ursane’s ex-wife as the prime suspect for his murder. She had no alibi after 4:30 for the evening of September 10th; she had a cell phone, she could have been anywhere when she called her son. A bear claw was found in a wound on Randall Ursane; Mrs. Ursane had a very recent pawdicure job. Her brother had a pickup truck and was plenty large enough to help her move the body and dump it in the river; or let her take the truck without knowing the reason; just because she didn’t have a license didn’t mean she didn’t know how to drive. She said she hadn’t been with her husband in months, but her DNA was all over the body; that much of the testing was back. Ripping someone’s throat out with your teeth was a crime of passion; she had motive.

He gathered up the information and headed for the magistrate the Port of Authority used. He would get his warrant; he would bring her in and break her. The magistrate didn’t question Selah’s explanation or evidence; she smiled warmly at her fellow ass and handed him the warrant.

Back in his office, the glow of victory started to spread through him. He should take that cute little ass out to dinner in celebration once he had Mrs. Ursane behind bars. First, however, he had to get to her away from her office and all those butinski lawyers.

He studied Mrs. Ursane’s routine. She almost always caught the 4:20 green-line out of Precipitation Station. That was 3rd Precinct and would require officers with authority in that area. He grumbled at the bullshit about jurisdiction. Zootopia was one city, including the ports of call; all the police should have power of arrest through the entire city. Well, he could commandeer a couple of large officers now that he had a warrant.

It was a couple of days before he had everything in place.

********

“Mrs. Ursane,” she started at the extremely unpleasant tone coming from the African Ass that was Det. Selah. “I have a warrant for your arrest.” He flashed an official looking document.

She looked past Det. Selah and saw he was in the company of two ZPD TUSK officers, a rhino and an African elephant, in full riot gear. Passengers were showing anxiety at the presence of the heavily armored police focused on the female bear. If Selah chose to use force, some innocent would be injured; perhaps the little agouti with his mother. The horrified expression on the mother’s face cemented Carla’s resolve to ensure there was no for force.

“I’ll go with you so as not to cause a scene. However, I’ve been told not to speak with you.” She pulled out her phone and called up Sid’s number. The moment they stepped out of the subway station at the next stop, she hit the green call button and told Sid what was happening.

“Say nothing, has he read you your rights?”

“No.”

“Has he shown you a warrant?”

“Sort of.”

“Has he said specifically that you are under arrest?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, tell him you will not speak until your attorney is present; anything he asks, just repeat that like a broken record. I’ll meet you at PoA headquarters.”

“Will you cuff her dammit?” Selah nearly shouted snatching away her phone.

Carla put her paws behind her back. She insisted on walking tall among the three officers. She would not resist but neither would she give them a victory by appearing afraid. That fear she kept tucked deep inside; though doing that made her throat hurt.

By the time Selah and the two TUSK officers had escorted her into PoA headquarters, the two mega-faunae were grousing. Carla caught, “… about as savage as a flower.” That was followed by a grunt of affirmation from the elephant, a sergeant.

“Det. Selah, we have helped bring in this most savage and vicious of dangerous perpetrators. One of your own can take it from here. We have work to do,” the elephant sergeant announced. He nodded his head to Carla; she returned the gesture. The two 3rd Precinct officers turned around and left.

Selah was steaming. Technically he outranked them being a police lieutenant. However, their jurisdiction was with 3rd Precinct, Sahara Square and he couldn’t order them to stay. He saw a new Panda officer come out of administration.

“You, rookie, what’s your name?”

“Sir, Officer Pao.”

“Do you have your sidearm issue?”

“Yes, sir.” Officer Pao patted the taser.

“Come with me.”

“But…” Pao looked back at the way he had come and the paperwork in his paw. He hadn’t even finished his in-processing and was being ordered about by someone other than the chief.

“No buts, I’m a lieutenant; when I tell you to do something, you do it. I need you to be the interior guard during my interrogation of this murder suspect.” Selah pointed at a door indicating Carla to start moving.

Pao shrugged, folded the paperwork, stuck it in his pocket, and followed. He was low mam on the totem pole as it were; stuff rolled downhill. He glanced back when there was a yell for Selah and saw a grey wolf in a fitted, flax, 3-piece suit carrying a briefcase rushing toward them.

“Hold on, not without her attorney,” Wolford snarled at Selah. Once he was at Carla’s side he smiled unpleasantly at Selah. “Now we may proceed.”

Selah snorted in frustration but led them to an interrogation room. This was not a comfortable interview room such as they had used before. This was a barren room with a metal table and chairs, harsh bright over-head lighting, and on one wall a giant mirror that wasn’t really a mirror.

Pao stood by the door where Selah indicated. Carla and Sid sat at the table facing the door with the mirror to their right.

Sid took the warrant and read over it. “Did you Mirandize her?”

“Of course,” Selah snapped.

“That’s not what she told me when she called.” When Selah started reciting the list, Sid stopped him. “Too late now. Get this charade over with.”

“Where were you on the night of September 10th between the hours of 4:45 and 7 p.m.?” Selah demanded as he leaned on the back of a chair facing them.

Carla glanced at Sid who nodded. “I left Podanski’s Deli at almost five; I arrived home about 6 p.m.,” Carla responded keeping her tone calm and even. It was easier now that Sid was at her side.

“So, you say. That was plenty of time for someone to drive you to your husband’s home, savagely murder him, then help you take the body to the river and dump it. Isn’t that what actually happened?”

“Don’t answer that,” Sid ordered.

“Are you afraid the vile truth of your precious office manager will come out if she…”

The door banged open and a Coyote and Capybara walked in.

“Chief,” Selah came to attention with a shocked expression.

“Explain to me why I got a call from Attorney Wolford AND the wife of 3rd Precinct Detective Sousa-Oliveira stating that you had blindsided Atty. Wolford’s client on a crowded, busy, moving subway car and, with two 3rd Precinct TUSK officers, and arrested her without reading her her rights? Explain to me why you have co-opted one of MY new officers? And explain to me why I received a call earlier today from 1st Precinct Detective Oates AND 3rd Precinct Detective Sousa-Oliveira with information about your case and why, after that information was passed to you, you have not followed up on it?” Chief Yenez leaned on the table, his back to the mirror glowering at Selah.

Det. Williamson stood quietly beside Officer Pao.

“Don’t answer me now,” Yenez stopped Selah from speaking. “You will have plenty of time to write up a report because as of this moment, you are on suspension pending an I.A. investigation for harassment and abuse of authority.” Yenez straightened and pointed at the door. “Turn in your badge and your sidearm before you leave the building.”

“Yes, sir,” Selah said and dutifully left the room.

Yenez heaved a big sigh. “You may go on about your business, Officer Pao; I want you street-ready by tomorrow. Det. Williamson and I will handle this.”

“Yes, sir,” Pao saluted and left.

After the young panda left, Yenez eased into one of the chairs.

“Uncuff her, Bill. I am extremely sorry about how you have been treated, Ms. Ursane,” he said.

“I suppose after what I’ve heard about his divorce, he might be a little angry,” she said rubbing her wrists. “But I don’t know why he chose me to take it out on.”

“How do you know about his divorce?” Williamson asked.

“Agnes Hornsby knows the attorneys who handled it,” Sid answered. “Zootopia might be a city of two million but there still is a grapevine.”

Yenez snorted an unamused laugh and nodded. “Ms. Ursane, Det. Oates of the 1st Precinct got back from a two-week vacation to find a voice message from your son with information pertinent to this case; could you please tell us what that was about?”

Carla had to think back; two weeks was a long time. “Oh, yes, Daniel, that’s my son, and I were in the Rainforest District one Saturday morning; I was there to buy a Macaw. We were on our way back to Precipitation Station…” she paused wondering what sub-genius came up with that stupid name. “We were on Tujunga when I saw Ms Nguyen with a male Asian bear. I didn’t think much of it but Danny, my son, suggested that perhaps he was a boyfriend or husband who had killed Randy in a jealous rage. He insisted that someone be informed.”

“Why didn’t you call Det. Selah?” Yenez asked.

Carla shrugged. “I don’t have a number for him; Det. Oates gave me a card, but Det. Selah never did.”

“I’ll vouch for that,” Williamson said.

“Are you sure it was Ms. Nguyen?” Yenez pressed.

“Yes, I saw her only once before, but I’ll never forget her maw.”

“Where was she when you saw her before?” Williamson asked.

“Coming out of an apartment building on Tujunga at Water Street; she was with Randy and she was in her negligee and robe.” Her head drooped.

“Do you know her address?” Williamson asked gently.

Carla shook her head. Remembering this was probably being recorded she said, “No.”

“But you saw her again and took her to 3rd Precinct,” Williamson said somewhat hopefully.

“Yes,” Carla explained that meeting.

Williamson handed her a card. “If you see the mammal Ms. Nguyen was with or have any questions, please call me.” He smiled amusingly. “I have no life so can come at your beck and call.”

Carla took the card chuckling. “Thank you, Det. Williamson.”

Sid glowered at Chief Yenez. “Do I have your assurance that Adom Selah will no longer harass Ms. Ursane?”

“You have my word,” Yenez emphasized. “Again, please accept my apologies on behalf of the Port of Authority Police. You are free to leave.”

Carla stood. “Thank you, Chief Yenez, Det. Williamson.”

“I’ll drive you home,” Sid told her once they left the building.

When they pulled up to the house, Daniel came running out. “Ma, what happened? Why are you late? Heh, Mr. Wolford. Why did you drive Ma home?” He pulled Carla into a hug.

“I’m fine. I’ll tell you all about it over supper.” Carla turned to Sid and thanked him for his help and the ride home.

“It was my pleasure; it’s been ages since I was in Happytown; the place has really cleaned up.” Sid got back in his car and left.