Favor The Line Never Crossed

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
An agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation goes to a mysterious man known by the Bureau for his "favors" and ends up bartering for information he needs to hopefully solve a case.

Submitted: February 12, 2017

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Submitted: February 12, 2017



Justified reasoning was the best explanation that I could offer. There was a muddled suggestion, an absolute for a free will. I tried to justify that reasoning when I walked into that room. 

I thought he would be dressed casually. The office spaces never had room for discipline, more or less courteous for that matter. Thus, you had computer technicians wearing T-shirts and shorts rather than suits and leggings. But when I met him, he was dressed like a funeral mourning. Oddly enough, it was rather fitting. I hesitated in doing so, but tapped him on the shoulder. 

“Excuse me, are you Mr. Darlton?”

He laughed. Peculiar enough, it was strangest thing to make understanding of. His laughs daunted, as if the rest of the application to the sound devastated the silence of the office space. Never had I heard a laugh shatter an emptiness in reality. That is the best way I can describe it. 

“Who might you be sir?”

Mr. Darlton didn’t bother turning towards me. The computer screen kept him applied directly to the capacity of his undoing. Whatever focused him made sure to keep him occupied for eternity. It was an indefinite definite. 

“I’m Daniel Brooks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and I’m meeting you because I have a…favor to ask of you.”

Mr. Darlton was unfazed. Never had he encountered the FBI before, and yet any other person I revealed the title to shattered their reality. Immediately they’d bundle themselves in fidgeting, assuming the government’s private eyes caught them in the act of every sin they’ve ever committed. But I suppose the hardest part of all was trying to contemplate as to how he was ready to disregard the unfathomable. He couldn’t have known I was coming. So why hadn't he acted like the others? What truly phased this man?

“I take favors of all kinds. The question I have for you is are you prepared?”

I became terrified. Never in my life had I been prepared for anything. Not even the Bureau. The Bureau unravelled into my life after the random connections I had made. It was never an intentional choice. So when he asked me if I was prepared, it regurgitated the underwhelming fear of anxiety that I repressed long ago. Of that I was terrified.

“Excuse me?” I tried to say assertively, hoping to instigate the limitations of my position.

“Well, what I mean is you aren’t the first to come to me. Many of the men and women in your little clan have come to ask me for ‘favors.’ Some quite legal. Others…not so much. That’s why I’m asking if you’re prepared because nobody ever understands the line they cross until they’ve crossed it. This favor you have…it will change your life.”

I kept silent for a moment. It was unsettling, the size of the cubical and how every word he spoke seemed to make the room shiver. It felt like the coldness was closing in on me. Along with the space. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for it looking back. But back then, he reassured me otherwise.

“Listen,” he began, “I don’t mean to scare you Mr. Brooks. Believe me, I know a rookie when I see one. I’ve been in this game for far too long. But you…I also know a good man when I see one. I can tell you are one of the good ones. I’m sure you’ve met others in the FBI that to you remain questionable of being called good. They remain…disturbed.”


He nodded.

“You see, you have to understand that every man is meant to be broken. In some way. Something or someone will break them. Every man can be broken quite easily in fact. That being said, the easily broken ones will turn against the law. Not the written one, but the law of human nature.They become corrupt, undaunted, and soon, they turn against you. Or someone I should say. So a lot of those comrades of yours come to me as broken as the hinges on my door.”

He pointed to them. I hadn’t noticed their uselessness now.

“Do you…fix them?” I asked accordingly. Depending on the answer, I assumed my favor would not meet his mandatory. However, he began to explain after a quick chuckle he escaped from his mouth. His eyes still mindlessly kept toward the computer screen.

“You know what Mr. Brooks, I must say I like you. You are an intuitive man. But to answer your question, I do not. And I can’t. That is something left for God. I’m not a miracle worker, and even if I was, I wouldn’t waste a miracle on a disturbed man. What I do is acquire certain information. What that information is used for is entirely up to the user. That is what you came here for, isn’t it? Information?”

I nodded, but also shook my head.

“I want you to understand that I’m not a crook. I’m looking to figure out a way to fix things. But it seems my hands are tied.”

Mr. Darlton laughed yet again, pressed his hands atop the computer, and turned the screen away from him. His face then came to mine, laughing with a courageous smile. His glasses were that of complete circles, and his hair that of an ordinary curl. He appeared that of any of other average person. He was ordinarily extraordinary. I could tell there was a finite method of understanding him. I just couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. 

“Well if that’s the case Mr. Brooks, then elaborate. Tell me, what information do you need?”

“Well…Mr. Darlton…what’s your price?”

“What I want isn’t money. Simply a guarantee that you will verify my whereabouts on a later date in the future and your cooperation.”

I was afraid I didn’t understand.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand. Verification of your whereabouts? For what purpose?”

For the first time, he didn’t respond. He kept paused, turning to the computer before he turned back to me.

“I suppose you wouldn’t understand unless I showed you. And…and even if I told someone like you, you wouldn’t get it. Suffice to say, there are…acts I commit that aren’t legal. Meaning…that what I would do would land me in prison. So I do favors as a means of compensation for what I do.”

“So wait…you’re telling me that members of the Bureau falsely verify your whereabouts, for a crime I presume, you would commit? That’s absurd!”

I rose from my seat sweating, horrified of how corrupt the system was. I knew it was. Only a fool wouldn’t. But to sit there with someone I didn’t know…it was tragic. 

Mr. Darlton was quick to notice my discomfort. He closed his eyes periodically, reasoning a way to get me to calm down. I didn’t take too kindly to the notion at first, but I soon established my authority and repositioned myself. Once I seated myself, I fidgeted a bit before asking him a question I didn’t necessarily want an answer to.

“So what do you do exactly? These crimes you commit…what do you do?”

“Like I said Mr. Brooks, you wouldn’t understand. Take for instance yourself. You’re a white male, in your early thirties I presume, with a general upstanding in society. And no matter what you do, you won’t be treated unfairly. As for myself, I’m black, and no matter what picture you paint, I could very well be treated unfairly because of it. Sure segregation and slavery is gone, but what does that matter when my family and I still get uneasy glares just because we have our hands in our pockets? Or why they presume we are hoodlums simply because of the color of our skin?”

I gulped, and he shifted his glasses quickly.

“Perhaps I said too much. So I apologize Mr. Brooks for not being forward. But I’ll tell you what. I will show you exactly what I do if you give me your favor. I get you the information you need, and you verify my whereabouts as well as your word.”

“My word?”

“Yes, that you will not tell anyone what happens. Here and later on. Sound like a deal?”

I needed the information. The cost didn’t justify the means, but I know that the cost was far greater than the law. I suppose looking back Mr. Darlton was right about brokenness and corruption. There was always a cost, and it was inevitable. 

“Fine…well what I want to ask of you is that you get me the surveillance feed for my office at the Bureau.”

Mr. Darlton shifted his glasses and turned to his computer.

“It seems you know more about corruption than you led on,” he said quickly, before inputting codes and text in the computer terminal that I had no understanding of. He worked quickly with each stoke of the keyboard numerically inputting exactly what I wanted. Soon enough he had intercepted the camera feed from my office. And there it was. My office. Normally abnormal. Nothing seemed out of place.

“Is it possible you can go back to last night’s footage?”

Mr. Darlton laughed and did as I asked. He rewinded until I saw it. I saw a man. There at my desk. Opening cabinets ferociously and throwing aside my files until he found one. I believed I knew the file in which the man took. And I believed I knew the man as well.

“What’s Mr. Heights doing at your office?”

I immediately grabbed Mr. Darlton’s shoulders and made him face me.

“You know him?”

“Yes of course! I told you you’re not the only one from the FBI to come to me with favors. He did too. He’s the reason I have access to the camera feed! He made me plant a backdoor awhile back, hoping to catch his secretary sleeping with another guy. Sure enough he was right. Are you alright now?”

I let go of him and he shoved himself back a bit.

“I’m sorry…it’s just…he took my file. And I think I know why.”

“Do go on.”

I gulped.

“Well, we have a case about his son, Martin Heights. He was our main suspect in a string of drug deals. According to one of our informants, he has strong ties to a drug lord we were hoping to get convicted. We were going to bring him in when our informant stated he went missing. It’s been a week now since then and of course Mr. Heights isn’t allowed on the case. However, I became suspicious that he was helping his son escape the country. Then a few days ago, when I try to get more information from our informant, he turns up dead. And today, I discover the file is missing. I had an inkling that he took it. And now I know I was right.”

Mr. Darlton wasn’t facing me as he nodded, simply absorbing all the information. He didn’t appear to be bothered by any of it, simply understanding of it. He kept the surveillance paused and turned back to me.

“Well, is that all you needed?”

“Yes, I suppose so. Thank you.”

I was ready to leave when he stopped me.

“You remember our deal right?”

I shuddered slightly.

“I still don’t get it. What have you done and what are you going to do that requires that of what you want from me?”

Mr. Darlton proceeded to leave the room and patted my shoulder. 

“How do I put this? You see…everyday a person dies. Some of natural causes. Others…of another man’s hand.”

That’s all he said before he retreated down the hall in an orderly fashion. I didn’t understand. i was too bewildered to keep an eye on him because by the time I took another look up, he was gone. I had the information I needed, but to what end? I didn’t know because I never came across him again. And that favor he wanted, he never came to collect from me. Not directly anyway. About two months later, his lawyer hands me a subpoena for me to come in as a witness for his whereabouts. He was charged with first degree murder. Apparently, I was out with him. In his office. Catching up on life, having a few laughs. And that I knew him for a few months now. And that we were friends. I still don’t know what I got myself in too. And now I have to lie under oath. I’m just not so sure I should. 


© Copyright 2018 LeoHarp. All rights reserved.

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