* A/N *
Hey there, it's ALPHA with the twelfth chapter of my beloved "Kickin' It" mystery FanFic, Vandals Anonymous, and I'd just like to say that today is the one year anniversary of Vandals Anonymous! Today is exactly one year from the day I posted VA and you guys don't know how happy I am about that. I am honestly ecstatic right now.
As usual, there is a longer A/N at the bottom of this chapter and I'd prefer it if people actually reviewed alongside favouriting and alerting. With this chapter I just know that I'll make it to two hundred reviews, however I am interested in how quickly we can make it to two fifty. So please review, if not for me than in honor of today being VA's first birthday!
DISCLAIMER: I do not, under any circumstances, own the characters or places mentioned in Disney XD's "Kickin' It".
Also, this chapter is dedicated to Disneyluver89, one of my biggest fans ;)
* JACK BREWER *
Unfortunately, due to the order of our last names, I was supposed to be the first of the Warriors to enter the interrogation room with Officer Riggs.
The rest of the gang were supposed to take a seat in the plastic chairs just outside the interrogation room and quietly wait for my interrogation to end. They weren't allowed to leave their chairs, much less go anywhere. If they did, Officer Riggs suggested that the two cops he had stationed on either end of the hallway would be on them like pitbulls.
"But what if we have to go to the bathroom?" Jerry curiously questioned, his left eyebrow arching high over its corresponding eye. "When you gotta go, you gotta go...but how can we go if your cop buddies are gonna get all up on our jocks about getting up and moving around. I know I'm going to have to use the bathroom soon since I had a Super Big Gulp to wake myself up this totally swag morning. Milton too, since he has the bladder the size of a walnut..."
"Leave my bladder out of this, Jerry!" Milton snapped tensely, shooting daggers at Jerry. He was still on edge about the whole interrogation thing and his nerves were starting to take a toll on his mood, making him way more touchy and irritable than before. He was acting exactly like Kim when it was her time of the month...or any day of the month really.
Officer Riggs chuckled lightly as he thumbed the edge of the file he protectively held against his chest. "Mr. Martinez, do not worry. You and your friends will be allowed to use the police department facilities should you ever feel the need to. However, you must ask one of the police officers to escort you there and back. It's nothing serious; just a precautionary procedure to ensure that you don't run away. The only time you will not be allowed to use the facilities is during your interrogation."
"Gracias a Dios!" Jerry exclaimed with a grin, but his grin quickly turned into a smirk as another thought dawned on him. "Well Jack, bro, looks like you're out of luck since you're heading into the lion's den first. Speak now or forever hold your pee."
I rolled my eyes and laughed tensely as he pat me on the shoulder with false sympathy, playfully shoving him back. "Shut up, dude. All this talk about bathrooms is making me have to go."
Officer Riggs smiled and shook his head at Jerry and his antics before shifting his attention back to the rest of us. "Any other questions before we part?" He asked.
Choosing to actually answer Officer Riggs' question while the rest of us just shook our heads, Milton nervously blurted, "Do we need lawyers?"
The cop gave Milton a sympathetic look, pretty well aware of how absolutely terrified he was of just standing in vicinity of the interrogation room. "If this case ends up going to court you will be allowed to have a lawyer, Mr. Krupnick. However, I can assure you that we will not be going to court. If things go smoothly, we can settle everything right in here without the need of a judge."
Milton visibly became less tense at Officer Riggs answer and content with the fact that Milton had seemingly relaxed, Officer Riggs nodded in approval. With a final nod he shifted his attention to the rest of the Warriors and me, and said, "Now, will that be all?"
The five of us nodded and acknowledging our answer, Officer Riggs said, "Alright then, if that will be all, Mr. Brewer I'd like you to follow me please. The rest of you should have a seat."
I swallowed hard, feeling the nerves I'd tried to suppress for the past couple minutes crawl up into my stomach, forcing an unwanted wave of nausea over me.
The reality of the situation at hand had finally hit me hard on our long, weaving walk to the interrogation room, leaving me feeling unusually edgy and tense. I rarely—if ever—got nervous, but when I did I become a little crazy—or human, as my mom liked to call it.
Even though I'd been through something similar to this before I still felt kinda nervous, which I guess was sort of understandable. I didn't know too many people who'd be comfortable entering an interrogation room, no matter how many times they'd done it, if they were innocent and were being accused of a crime they didn't commit.
At the doorway of the interrogation room, I turned to face the other Warriors and was slightly surprised to see them staring at me with worried looks in their eyes. They looked more as though Officer Riggs had been leading me to my ultimate doom than into the room just down and across the hall from them.
In an attempt to cool their nerves I shelved my own and shot them a cocky wink, mouthing that everything would be alright, as I slid into the room and tried to maintain my cool demeanour.
Despite my instincts, I couldn't become manic in a situation like this and risk being tossed in a loony bin. I had a turtle back home that needed me. Who else was going to feed him since my mom certainly wasn't going to? I was surprised she'd even managed to remember to feed me before I was capable of making myself a snack or two. Seriously. I was even more surprised that I'd actually lived after eating the homecooked meals she'd made when we couldn't afford microwavable meals since she had virtually no cooking ability whatsoever.
Now it was either me or my grandfather who made meals at our house. We rarely allowed my mom in the kitchen to make a simple sandwich.
My worries of becoming manic soon faded after I entered the interrogation room, the majority of my nerves soon leaving me.
The interrogation room looked nothing like I'd expected it to be. While I wasn't exactly sure just what I'd been expecting, I knew I definitely hadn't been expecting the room to look so much like the detention room at school.
I felt more like I was going to explain why I was in Saturday Detention—again—to Mrs. Granger, instead of why I shouldn't be doing community service to Officer Riggs.
The walls of the interrogation room were an off-white colour, which looked a lot more pee-stained thanks to the sunlight which streamed through the small heavily barred window, and the linoleum floors clearly hadn't been waxed in a while judging by all the scuffmarks all over the floor—exactly like the school detention room.
The biggest difference between the two rooms was the fact that there weren't twenty-five desks in the interrogation room—much less Jerry spitballing Mrs. Granger while she napped, or Randy Plotski doodling dirty pictures on the whiteboards—but instead a small table, two chairs and a large flatscreen TV sitting over top a VCR.
Aside from these differences, the two rooms were pretty much the exact same and the false sense of familiarity actually cooled my nerves. While I still felt a little uneasy in the room, I definitely didn't feel as tense and as nervous as I had before.
Officer Riggs quietly shut the door behind me and quickly made his way across the room. He stopped in front of the flatscreen TV and put his file down, gesturing for me to sit down in the chair across the table from him.
Not wanting to get on Officer Riggs' bad side, I did what he said—motioned—whatever and quickly sat down.
After making sure that I was settled, Officer Riggs sat down and flipped his file open, scanning through its papers and documents, and I eyed the file with interest.
I wondered what had been typed up in the file. Obviously there was information on me and the rest of the gang, but what had been said about the vandalism? Did it state how bad the Black Dragon's dojo had been trashed, or that the vandalism of their dojo had been similar to the vandalism of ours? Were there clues hidden in the text which would relate to our case?
There was a slight chance that it listed who had been among the first at the scene of the crime after it had been committed. While it could've just been Ty who'd entered the dojo the morning after, nothing said that no one had been there with him. Maybe the person who had been with him knew something about what had happened that night. I mean, if they were there first, what was to say that they hadn't been there last?
Discreetly, I craned my neck and quickly scanned the page Officer Riggs had been staring at for the last couple minutes. I was a little disappointed though because there was nothing really juicy there from what I could read.
The specific page Officer Riggs was on just listed our names and a couple other things about us such as our birthdates and appearances; nothing notable and definitely not vandals related.
I sat back in my seat in defeat, hoping that I'd be able to catch something other than Kim's awkward middle name—which I was so going to blackmail her with—on the next page Officer Riggs flipped to.
Unfortunately for me that opportunity never came since Officer Riggs had folded his hands over the file almost immediately after he'd turned the page. From the little that I could see, this page definitely had stuff related to the case since I could see the word evidence peeking out from underneath his fist. I let out a silent groan in frustration.
Seemingly unaware of my frustration with his freaking fist, Officer Riggs asked, "So you know why you're here?"
I raised an eyebrow. Not too sure if the question was rhetorical or not, I took my chances and nodded yes.
"Good," Officer Riggs removed his hands from the file and began reading it again. "It says here in your record that you've had a run in with the police before, but it led to nothing due to the incriminating circumstances being nothing more than a misunderstanding."
"Yeah, that's right." I said, briefly wondering how the cops had stumbled across that little piece of information since I'd been told that everything in relation to that incident had been swiped from my record.
"I see..." Officer Riggs said more to himself than to me. But before I could start reading the 'evidence' page, Officer Riggs had folded his hands over the file and had begun speaking again. "You know, Mr. Brewer, I believe that I may know your mother. It is said here that Catherine Brewer is your legal guardian and your biological mother, but I seem to recognize the name elsewhere. Does she know anyone by the name of Shanna? Shanna Davidson, perhaps?"
I wracked my brain for the answer to the cop's question. While the name did sound really familiar to me as if I'd heard it a thousand times, I struggled to match the face up to the name. My mom had introduced me to a bazillion of her old Seaford girlfriends after we'd moved back here, but they'd all seemed to look alike and had similar names so was it really surprising that I was having so much trouble remembering which chic had been Shanna?
Eventually I just nodded, deciding that Shanna was the hot blonde who swung by every once in a while to convince my mom to hit up a club with her despite the fact that they were both, like, thirty just so they could hook up with unsuspecting twenty year olds who honestly thought they were their age. And at my confirmation Officer Riggs immediately lit up.
"Ah ha!" He exclaimed, "I knew you were Catherine's son. She used to send me photographs of you back when we were still in contact. I believe I still have that one of you and her when you were about four; all dressed up like a princess. She said that for a short period of time you wanted to be a princess, not a prince, but a princess. God, I wonder where that photograph is?"
My face burned. My 'princess' phase was one of those embarrassing things I'd like to forget but my mom liked to spread around. She said that she enjoyed telling the story—and sending the pictures—only because it was the one time she'd ever felt like she had a daughter, but I honestly thought it was so she could humiliate me in front of people without me being able to do damage control.
"We met back in the day at an Iron Weasel concert and just clicked." Officer Riggs reminisced, and I began to feel a little uncomfortable. I wondered just how close they'd been before she'd decided to move us away. "Good lord, I was heartbroken when Catherine left Seaford. I thought I'd never see her again. But who would've thought good, old Pussy Cat would return to little, old Seaford after being away in the big city for so long?"
My eyebrows shot up as did the bile in my stomach.
Ew. I supposed I'd just gotten my answer to the question of how close they'd been.
According to the affectionate, yet somewhat kinky nickname he'd given her and the fact that he still appeared to be quite hung up on my mom, they'd been extremely close in the past. And due to the fact that Officer Riggs also appeared to be my mom's type both physically and music wise, it was also safe to assume that they'd hooked up a couple times as well, as disgusting as it was to admit this.
It felt strange and uncomfortable sitting in front of one of my mom's past lovers, a man who even had photographs of me when I was younger, listening to him go off about his memories of my mom. While he didn't seem too creepy about his slight obsession, I still felt really uncomfortable.
I usually flipped guys who referred to my mom as a MILF or something—Jerry and Eddie included—but this I couldn't do anything about, not only because he was a cop and this was my interrogation, but also because he didn't really seem infatuated with my mom's hotness, but he actually really seemed to like her.
Luckily for me, Officer Riggs was finally able to move on from my mom, although I could sense that he was still feeling a little nostalgic. With a sigh he said, "Anyway, I would think that it's time for the actual interrogation to begin. Wouldn't you agree?"
I nodded, happy to get away from the awkwardness of being Catherine Brewer's son.
Officer Riggs bobbed his head and stood up, flipping the file closed before I even had a chance to do anything. Irritation flashed through me again.
He turned the TV on before reaching for the TV remote which sat on top of the VCR. Pointing the remote at the VCR, Officer Riggs pressed the ON button and the VCR whirred to life. He then aimed at the VCR again and pressed the PLAY button. It took a couple seconds, but eventually the screen flickered from black to white and the video footage filled the screen. With a satisfied smirk, the cop placed the remote on the table and sat down, leaning back in his chair to enjoy the film.
For the very first couple minutes of footage, the Black Dragon's dojo was empty.
There was literally nothing and no one in the Black Dragon's Martial Arts Academy. Everything had been neatly stowed away under lock and key—unlike everything in our dojo, which was just shoved to the side or shoved into one or more of the previously broken lockers—and not a single thing was out of place or order. The dojo looked completely undisturbed—or at least it did.
It was around the three minute mark when I noticed the first sign of suspicious activity.
Thanks to the video camera's awkward angle and the fact that the footage and was filmed in the dark, I couldn't really see what exactly what was going on. But from the camera's limited view of the door, I could tell that someone was standing right outside the dojo's glass doors and I guessed that this someone was trying to pick the lock. But couple seconds later the figure flinched away from the door and the glass shattered into a bazillion pieces like my grandfather's ancient, antique porcelain plates—which I totally did not drop when I was helping him unpack from his trip to Japan—falling on the ground like glitter. A second later another—but more fem looking—figure slid into view. Twisting their arm around, the person shoved their hand through the hole I guessed they'd made in the door and swivelled the lock around. The person then slid their arm out of the hole and pulled the door open with ease.
As weird as it was to admit this, this seemed almost exactly like how the Warriors and I would've broken into the place—not saying that we did or anything. It just seemed so us to have one person try to pick the lock and another just break the glass to get in. If it had been us we would've had Jerry try to pick the lock, while he bragged about doing it loads of times, with Kim finally getting frustrated with Jerry's inability break in and deciding to take matters into her own hands.
Either these people had their own 'Jerry' and 'Kim' on their hands, or they knew us far too well for our own good.
Around the three minute and forty second mark, things really started to pick up since at that exact moment four figures had marched into the dojo. The four were immediately followed by the fem person, who closed the door behind them. They all leapt over the shattered glass with agile ease as they entered.
Luckily, now that they were inside the dojo I could see the figures much more clearly.
Judging by his haircut and the way he was dressed, I guessed that the guy who'd led the group into the dojo was supposed to be me, and followed by my poser was Eddie's, Milton's and then Jerry's, with Kim's poser bringing up the rear with a flip of her long blonde hair.
I had to admit that despite a couple differences—such as the fact that Eddie's poser was a little too tall, Jerry's poser was way too skinny and reminded me of a rat, and Kim's poser had way longer hair than she did—the posers did look a lot like us.
Now I could sort of see why we'd been accused—which was a really bad thing.
Clearly these people weren't just amateurs; they knew exactly what they were doing.
They'd been careful to match their appearances to ours as closely as they could, making sure that they'd all worn gloves so their fingerprints couldn't be traced if things looked too suspicious, and they'd hidden their faces from the cameras with expertise. Clearly they'd known exactly where all the cameras had been in the dojo, since they'd known exactly how to avoid being seen—even as they'd actually vandalized the Black Dragon's dojo.
This meant it was going to be a lot harder than I'd thought to prove that we were innocent—and that was only under the assumption that I didn't screw up now and the other Warriors didn't mess up their interrogations either.
This basically meant that Milton couldn't have a total meltdown, Jerry couldn't get confused to the point of accidently confessing to something he didn't do, Eddie couldn't stumble over his answers—which would make him look suspicious—and Kim most definitely could not have a screaming match with Officer Riggs.
Even though I liked to look at the brighter side of things, in my opinion the likelihood of none of these ever happening didn't look particularly too good.
My stomach turned when the video footage finally streamed to a stop. While the images on the flatscreen had faded to black, they continued to play in my mind. I kept on going over the vandalism, trying to find an error—any error—which could unmask the real vandals and set us free, but nothing came to mind.
The posers had been good—too good—at covering their tracks. Heck, they'd covered their tracks so well that even a ninja would've been impressed with the skills they'd used and probably would've begged for lessons on how to be so sly—James Bond too.
As I struggled to come up with an argument which would be far more convincing than the whole 'that wasn't me' thing, I shifted my eyes away from the dark TV screen and onto Officer Riggs face, flinching in surprise when his eyes met my own.
I wasn't sure if my fevered mind was playing tricks on me, but I swore that something in them had changed. His eyes had become less warm and more frosty, the friendliness of his gaze changing into something more predatory. His creeper smile gave me flashbacks to the previous night with the nasty cops which had stopped by my place. Their smiles had been similar to his current one.
Coolly with a smile which didn't reach his eyes, Officer Riggs asked, "So Mr. Brewer, are you ready to answer a couple questions?"
My face was warm when I finally left the interrogation room and I was freaking peeved.
The rest of the Warriors, who'd been anxiously waiting for me to reappear, had leapt up with a cheer the moment they'd seen me, initially alarming the cops Officer Riggs had stationed on either end of the long hallway. They'd been ready to go all pitbull on them, but once they'd realized that I'd returned and the Warriors hadn't decided to go all 'angry mob' on them, they'd calmed down and resumed their posts.
The Warriors crowded around me anxiously, asking me several questions about how the interrogation had gone, mentioning that they had heard me raise my voice a couple times at Officer Riggs and wanted to know the reason behind it. They asked me a bazillion more questions before I told them to back off because they were making my headache worse and were starting to make me claustrophobic.
Kim shut the guys up and shooed them all away before turning back to me. "Okay, so what's the sitch? What the heck happened in there? I mean, you look about ready to snap; really frustrated and irate."
"Oh no, that's just how Jack always looks after dealing with people of authority." Jerry joked, earning a snicker or two from Eddie but a smack on the arm from Kim. "Ow!"
"Not now, Jerry." I begged, not wanting to get upset with Jerry. Unlike Kim, I actually tried my best not to take my frustration out on other people—training dummies were a whole other story, though. It wasn't fair to target them, especially if they had nothing to do with the source of my frustration in the first place.
Jerry mumbled an apology and Kim tried again, "Jack, seriously? What happened in the interrogation room?"
I gave them a quick little recap on everything that went down in the interrogation room, carefully leaving out certain details such as Officer Riggs' crush on my mom and the whole 'princess' thing, putting a little more detail into the description of the video footage so they knew what to expect.
They appeared to be every bit as surprised as I was at how well the posers had managed to hide their identities, even a little bit sceptical, although this was mostly just Kim and Milton.
But before we could actually discuss what the video footage meant for us, Officer Riggs materialized behind us.
We jumped when Officer Riggs loudly cleared his throat, once again too surprised to claim that our abnormally high pitched shrieks were the latest 'Columbian War Chants'.
He took a couple steps towards us, eying me suspiciously, but before I could hastily state that I hadn't been discussing my interrogation with the other Warriors, Officer Riggs had turned away from me and had begun eying Kim—well, her ginormous bruise.
"Miss Kimberly Crawford, I believe that you are next so please follow me. The rest of you should have a seat now."
The guys and I did as we were told and quickly found seats as Kim reluctantly followed Officer Riggs into the interrogation room with a silent groan.
In the doorway she paused and turned to look back at me and the guys, and I gave her a small smile of reassurance which she returned, before ducking into the room with a slam of the door.
The guys and I flinched back when Kim stumbled out of the interrogation room looking the most upset I'd ever seen her in the course of our friendship—excepting that time she'd found out that I'd let her win a sparring match. Despite having been witness and victim to various spurts of untamed anger and rage from the blonde—I mean, I still ached where she'd hit me super hard with her skateboard a couple months ago—I'd never seen her look this enraged, and judging by the terrified facial expressions on the other guys' faces, neither had they.
The guys and I sat in silence as we watched Kim pace back and forth, waiting for the fire in her dark eyes to finally die down.
We all knew from personal experience that talking to Kim when she was upset was basically just asking for her to throttle you; and if she was this upset, talking to her would be a certified death sentence or something. And I wasn't sure about the other guys, but I didn't want to die just yet—although, in a couple hours when my cold worsened, I would probably prefer death over torture.
About a minute or so later, when it appeared as though Kim had calmed down somewhat, I decided to take my chances with the blonde by saying, "Whoa…peeved much?"
"You got that right," Kim muttered, as she continued pacing back and forth, but at a much slower pace than before. "I am so flipping peeved right now, you can't even imagine!"
"Actually, I think we can," Jerry countered, earning him a dirty look from Kim.
"Don't. Even. Jerry." Kim hissed through her tightly clenched teeth. "I am so not in the mood right now. One wrong move and you'll be down like a punching dummy. I'm just letting you know now before it is way too late."
Jerry let out a horrified, high pitched squeal and ducked behind me as if I'd be any protection from Kim when she was this steamed. I shook him off and turned to face Kim. "Well at least you know how I felt when I left the interrogation room. I'll take it that the interrogation didn't go too well, then?"
Kim snorted. "Please. I actually think that my interrogation went worse than yours, and we could practically hear you telling yourself not to snap back at Officer Riggs every time he said something that obviously upset you."
Jerry's eyebrows shot up. "It went that bad?" He asked, and Eddie groaned.
"Aw great," Eddie said, shooting Kim and I his own version of a death glare. "Thanks for getting Officer Riggs all mad and stuff. Man, I'm supposed to go in next and thanks to you two he definitely won't go easy on me."
"Whatever," Kim muttered. "Look, I don't care what Officer Riggs says. I am going to get that file and I will do anything it takes to get it! We need to get that file!"
Milton, who'd been anxiously rocking back and forth in his seat as some sort of self-soother, suddenly stopped rocking and turned to look at Kim incredulously. "What?"
"I said we need to get that file. Remember the file Officer Riggs was holding when he entered the waiting room and asked us if we were the ones he was going to question? Yeah, that's the file I'm talking about! We need to see what's in there!" Kim exclaimed. "I asked several times who made the arrest warrant and got nothing but a couple excuses and a warning that if I didn't shut up about it, I'd be in some serious cow paddy. Since Officer Riggs won't tell us who made the arrest warrant against us or see who was among the first people at the scene of the crime Friday morning, I think we need to get that file for ourselves."
"Whoa…whoa…whoa…" Eddie took a couple steps towards Kim, gapping at her in disbelief. "Are you suggesting that we steal the file from Officer Riggs? Isn't that, like, illegal?"
Milton gasped loudly. "I am not going to participate in the stealing of the file and there is no way that I'm going to be witness to the crime! I also will not be known as an accessory to such a petty little crime either! Stealing is wrong and I promise you that if you guys steal that file, I will—"
"I don't think Kim meant that we were actually going steal the file." I hastily cut in before Milton's rant became more of a preachy lecture on how wrong stealing was. "I think she meant that we were going to sneak a little peek at the file and just that. We weren't going to steal it or anything like that."
Kim nodded. "Right,"
"And I for one actually agree with Kim on this." I stated, earning me a surprised look from both Eddie and Milton. Clearly they hadn't been expecting me to agree with Kim's plan to sneak a peek at the file Officer Riggs held prisoner under his iron fist. I shrugged at the two of them. "What? For once, Kim Crawford is actually right." Kim muttered something about always being right but I ignored her. "What choice do we have? We're not only trying to clear our names here. We're also trying to solve the whole 'vandals' thing, and that file might hold some important evidence. We'll never know unless we look."
"I'm with you two." Jerry announced with a grin. "Finding out who our stalkers are is just as important as clearing our names. Could be even more important actually..."
"But you guys, what if we get caught?" Milton stressed, his eyes clouded with worry. "Don't you guys understand how much trouble we'll be in if we are caught sifting through Officer Riggs' file?"
"Not in any more trouble than we'll be in if we don't prove our innocence to the Riggs." Kim snapped. It was pretty clear that Milton's reluctance to help was getting on Kim's nerves.
Milton rolled his eyes in exasperation. "No Kim, we'll be in way more trouble than that." He whispered anxiously. "If we were caught sifting through the file, more likely than not, Officer Riggs would accuse us of trying to steal important police documents and he'd also accuse us of trying to steal police evidence. Not only would these accusations result in him charging us for theft of police documents, but it would also incriminate us in regards to the vandalism of the Black Dragons dojo. Because it would appear as though we'd been trying to steal some of the evidence, the police would automatically accuse us of being guilty. Even if we found proof in the file which proved that we didn't do it, the police wouldn't believe us anyway because they'd assume that we were lying. In short, if we were caught the penance we'd receive for our actions would be far more extreme."
We were all silent for a couple moments, considering what Milton had said. He had raised a good point. If we were to get caught, not only would we be falsely accused of stealing evidence but we'd also end up being accused of vandalising the Black Dragon's dojo because the cops would probably just jump to conclusions. Did we really want to risk that?
With a sigh I shrugged. "I'm not sure about you guys, but that's a chance I'm willing to take for my own and your guys' safety."
"Really?" Eddie asked incredulously and I nodded.
Kim released a long sigh and moved next to me, giving my shoulder a squeeze. "That's a chance I'm willing to take too. I don't want anything bad to happen to you guys, and I don't want to be afraid of changing in my own bedroom anymore just because I feel like I'm being watched."
Jerry happily skipped over to the other side of me and pat me on the back. "Dude, I'll risk it too. If that means that the creepy stalker people will get off our jocks then I don't care if I might go to jail for it...but I really hope that doesn't happen because I bet my sister that I wouldn't be in jail by the time I turned twenty-five and we bet big money on that."
"Good grief..." Kim muttered while I rolled my eyes at Jerry. Jerry shrugged at us, mouthing 'what?' and Kim and I exchanged a quick glance before we turned to face Eddie.
Eddie looked completely torn. He looked between four of us uncertain of whose side to choose and I felt kinda bad for putting him in an uncomfortable situation.
Luckily for him, before he could make that difficult decision, Officer Riggs materialized behind us and once again scared the freaking crap out of us.
Why the heck did he keep doing that?
"Mr. Jones, I'd like to see you in the interrogation room now, please."
Eddie looked a little too excited as he stumbled over his own feet towards Officer Riggs, even gaining a raised eyebrow from him.
Officer Riggs watched Eddie as he rushed into the interrogation room before turning to us sharply. Without words we understood the implication of his glare and we hastily sat down in our seats. He shot the four of us one final glare before following Eddie into the interrogation room and quietly closing the door behind him.
"Is it just me, or did you two suck the 'friendly' out of Riggs?" Jerry asked aloud even though I was almost one hundred percent certain that it wasn't supposed to be.
"Either that or he was fronting." Kim replied distractedly. The blonde turned to face Milton, who was shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "Are you one hundred percent sure you don't want to help, Milton? It would be so much nicer if you were in there with us trying to find clues since you're supposed to be a super genius or something."
"But," I cut in, "We understand if you don't want to help, Milton. We know that you have all your Ivy League dreams and you want to continue your relationship with Julie in one of your dream schools. It's totally okay if you don't come in with us."
Milton looked down and sighed loudly. "Well as long as you guys are actually going to go through with it, I might as well. Even if I stood out here and waited for you guys while you searched the file for clues, the police would still view me as an accessory to the crime if you got caught. They'd probably assume that I was your watchdog or something."
"But Milton, we could tell them that you had nothing to do with the plan." I tried, but Milton shook his head.
"No. Considering how awful you guys are at lying I highly doubt that the police would believe you if you said that I wasn't involved. I was present for the majority of your deliberations so the idea of me not knowing what you guys had been planning to do would be unlikely in the polices' eyes." Milton shrugged sadly. "I guess that this is the chance that I'm unwilling to take, but if it means that Julie won't get upset with me for something that I did not do when she returns from her trip, then I'm all for it."
Kim smiled and eagerly hugged Milton, who melted into her arms. "Aw, I knew you'd come around!"
Irritation flashed through me as Kim and Milton hugged, and I coughed loudly in an attempt to capture their attention, although it turned out not to be such a good idea since the dry coughs irritated my already sore throat which launched me into a full blown, hacking coughing fit which actually really hurt.
Kim and Milton separated as Jerry leaned in and pat me really hard on the back, begging for me not to die out on him or whatever, and lucky for him my coughs eventually subsided and I was able to breathe again. Albeit painfully, but hey—at least I could breathe.
"Jack," Kim said anxiously. "Are you alright?"
"My lung isn't anywhere on the floor is it? My right lung? I need that thing..." I muttered, wincing in pain.
"I don't see your lungs anywhere on the floor so I'm going to work under the assumption that you're good." Jerry announced and Kim shot him a look.
"Do you need water or something?" she asked. "If you'd like, I could go get you some. There's a water fountain not too far from here and I'm pretty sure that Officer Riggs' watchdogs wouldn't mind walking me down there."
I shook my head. "Thanks, but I'm fine. I just choked on my own spit, it's no big deal."
I could feel Milton's eyes on me, suspicion in his gaze as if he could tell that my coughs hadn't been caused by a mishap with spit, but rather an attention grabbing cough gone totally wrong—which it technically was. I wasn't completely sure if Milton knew why I'd tried to capture their attention—and had tried to get both him and Kim to stop hugging—but I definitely wasn't going to ask him about it right now.
Trying to get the attention away from me I said, "We need to come up with a plan right now."
"A plan?" Jerry repeated and I nodded.
"Yeah a plan," I confirmed and lowered my voice, "We need to come up with a plan on how we're going to sneak into the interrogation room to sneak a peek at the file. We need to get those two pitbulls away from us and we need to lure Officer Riggs out of the interrogation room. We need some sort of distraction."
"Jack's right," Kim agreed. "We need a distraction, but what?"
"More like who..."
Milton, Kim and I turned to face Jerry, almost unsurprised to see him dish us the cocky, full-of-it smirk he usually gave when he had an idea that might actually work. "I could be the distraction. You guys could use me!"
"You...?" Milton asked sceptically and Jerry nodded eagerly.
"Yes, me!" he exclaimed and Kim raised an eyebrow.
"I'm not so sure, Jerry." she said slowly. "How are you supposed to distract three police officers long enough for us to search through the file for any clues which may give us a lead in the 'vandals' case we're working on?"
Jerry's smirk broadened. "Ah, you see, here's the plan..."
Within a couple minutes, the four of us had formed a reasonably good and easy to carry out plan. The plan was pretty basic and straightforward with very simple steps, so it couldn't possibly go wrong unless one of us were actually stupid enough to screw it up. While it wasn't much, it definitely was enough to get Officer Riggs and his pitbulls away from us long enough to check the file, and that was all we ever asked for.
The minute Eddie stumbled out of the interrogation room we bombarded him with our plan. We had no time to listen to how upset he was with how his interrogation had went down. We needed him on the exact same page as us as soon as possible since Officer Riggs would soon call Milton into the interrogation room and it was in that time gap we would act.
If anything, Eddie seemed pretty sceptical of our plan. He didn't seem to believe it would work regardless of all the stuff Milton spewed about it being an infallible plan, but eventually we managed to convince him that the plan would work and wouldn't be a total failure.
And by the time Officer Riggs had reappeared to lure Milton into the interrogation room, we were all more than ready to begin phase one of our crazy awesome plan.
Stressfully running a hand through his hair, Officer Riggs stepped out into the hallway and said, "Mr. Krupnick, I'd like to see you in the interrogation room now please."
Doing just as we'd planned, Milton remained seated and shrank back into his seat.
As expected, Officer Riggs sighed and began his coaxing attempts. However, just as he'd begun his weak attempts at convincing Milton that everything would be alright, the police department's PA system went off, calling Officer Riggs to the main desk.
With another sigh Officer Riggs straightened up and ran his hand through his hair again. He gazed at us sternly as he said, "I will be back in a couple minutes, but in the meanwhile could you five please behave. If you need anything, I am certain my fellow police officers would be willing to give their assistance."
The five of us nodded obediently and Officer Riggs smiled weakly in approval. He gave us one last warning glare as he headed down the hallway, and the moment Officer Riggs turned the corner, the five of us high-fived.
Phase one of our plan had been a success. Our plan to remove Officer Riggs had been to have Kim call her parents—with the cellphone she'd skilfully hidden in her bra—and complain about how awful her interrogation had been to them, knowing that they'd get upset that their little angel was upset and would want to have a few words with the cop.
Now that phase one had been flawlessly executed, we could begin phase two of our crazy, awesome plan.
A wide grin slowly stretched across Jerry's face as he sprung up onto his feet, prepared to begin his part of phase two in our epic plan. He'd been more than willing to serve as a distraction to Officer Riggs' pitbulls and was actually pretty excited about it.
"¡Oh, Dios! You guys don't know how pumped I am to do this!" Jerry squealed as he stretched and made a couple attempts to limber up and loosen his muscles.
"Oh trust me Jerry, we know." Kim said flatly. "You've made it pretty clear that you're pretty flipping excited and I kind of wish you'd stop. You've been going off about it ever since we—or you—came up with it in the first place and it's starting to get on my nerves. Don't make me regret not letting Eddie do this."
Sensing that Kim's final comment was a threat, Jerry raised his hands in surrender. "Whoa there, Kimmy! No need to get all hostile. I'll stop raving about how swasomely swaggy I'm feeling right now. It's cool."
"Yeah, and it's time for you to get the show on the road." I said before Kim could say something that she'd completely regret to Jerry for using her hated nickname.
"Right man," Jerry nodded in agreement. "It is time for the Swagster Master to get the show on the road!"
With a loud war cry which would've made the Columbians proud, Jerry took off down the hallway at top speed, tearing off his shirt as he ran and tossing it to the side.
The two cops whom Officer Riggs had stationed on the either end of the hallway suddenly sprung to life, finally moving after standing frozen in their posts for such a long time, and began chasing after Jerry. A cool breeze passed the rest of the Warriors and I as the cop closest to us and farthest from Jerry sped by to help his friend on the other side of the hallway.
They both ran towards the Latino at top speed and moved in to stop him, but Jerry managed to dodge their grabby hands as he ducked and swiftly rolled right out the hallway with another loud cry.
The two cops followed after Jerry, completely forgetting about the remainder of us, and moment Officer Riggs' pitbulls had disappeared, the four of us sprung into action.
We barrelled into the interrogation room as Kim chanted 'go' on repeat, very well aware that we didn't have much time on our hands. This was basically the only chance we had to search the file for evidence. A couple minutes from now, Officer Riggs and his pitbulls would return with Jerry and we'd be unable to continue searching the file for clues. This was pretty much our only chance to do the search and we couldn't afford to waste it.
"Eddie, go wait by the door. If you hear Riggs and crew coming, let us know right away because we cannot let them see us come out of the interrogation room, alright?" Kim said and Eddie complied.
Racing to the other side of the table, I slid the file across the metal over to Milton. "Here, start reading."
"No way! I am not touching the file and leaving my fingerprints all over it!" Milton exclaimed, jerking back from the file as it slid to a stop in front of him.
"Fine, I'll turn the pages." Kim said, irritation edging her words. She flipped the file open with ease. "Just tell me when you need me to turn the page, 'kay? Time is money, guys, and we don't have enough money to bail ourselves out of jail!"
"Skip the first, like, two pages." I said, "It says nothing about the case. It just talks about us, the suspects. Look for the page that says 'evidence' about halfway down. That's what we're looking for."
"Thank you, Jack." Kim said appreciatively as she quickly flipped through the file until she found just what she'd been looking for. "Okay, here it is. Just start reading from the top, Milton, and keep going from there."
Milton briefly nodded in agreement as he began quickly to read, mouthing the words as he read along to ensure that he didn't skip words or lines. Every single word in the file was pretty important at this point.
I could feel my stress and tension ripping through me as I jiggled my foot incessantly, impatiently waiting for Milton to reveal that he had figure something out and this whole thing wasn't a complete waste of time and an unnecessary risk we'd taken. I was starting to feel a bit paranoid as my adrenaline rush finally wore off.
And judging by Kim and Eddie's facial expressions, they were also starting to feel the same way that I did. Kim, being the open book that she was, made it pretty clear that her patience was running out and while Eddie tried his best to pay attention to all the noises out the room, it was pretty clear that he was starting to get distracted.
I would be lying if I said there wasn't a collective sigh of relief when Milton finally decided to speak.
"Well that's interesting," he said, and Kim and I immediately leaned in to see what the heck Milton was talking about.
"What's interesting?" Eddie called from the door, turning around to face us.
Milton shifted in his seat. "It says here in the fourth or fifth paragraph, depending on how you look at this, that among the first group of people who'd shown up at the Black Dragon's dojo soon after the discovery of the vandalism was none other than Arthur Turner himself..."
Kim and I rocked back on our heels in shock.
Arthur was involved with the Black Dragons? Since when had he been a part of their crew?
"Quite suspicious if you ask me," Milton added grimly, "Especially considering the fact that the vid-cam's images were being wirelessly transmitted to the mall cops' security computers."
"Wait...wait...wait...say what now? I said, shaking my head. This was information overload at its best. "The vid-cam's images were being transmitted to the security computers at the mall? When did we find this out?"
"Last night..." Milton frowned and shot Kim a look. "Kim, didn't you tell him?"
Kim subconsciously reached up towards her bruised eye. "Something came up..."
Milton shot both Kim and I another suspicious gaze, understanding that whatever had came up was related to the bruise which was still trying to eat Kim's face from the left side across. He'd been about to say something about it, but I swiftly dove in before he could question us about the bruise again. "So the vid-cam images were—or are—being transmitted to the mall security's hard drives, and Arthur was seen with the Black Dragons the morning after their dojo had been trashed? Something says suspicious..."
Kim snorted. "Says it? More like screams it."
"Right," Milton agreed. "I am highly suspicious of Arthur at this moment due to all the incriminating evidence we have against him. His had the motive and the means to carry out his revenge. Everything currently points at him."
I nod. "Yeah, as of right now, everything does point to him. But we need more proof..."
"And what's a better way to get more proof than during Arthur's second apology visit tomorrow?" Kim asked slyly.
I smirked. "I love the way you think."
"I love the way I think too," Kim said with a coy wink.
"So tomorrow we're going to question Arthur about his little fling with the Black Dragons?" Eddie asked and I nodded.
"Yup, that seems to be the plan."
Eddie smirked. "Well, you know Jack, if it does turn out that Arthur is behind all the vandals stuff, that would technically mean that on Monday, I was right about my guess that Arthur had been the one who'd trashed our dojo—with a little help—and you were wrong."
With a smile, I rolled my eyes, and was about to say something but I froze.
I wasn't sure if it was a trick of the light or if my fever was finally getting to me, but I swore saw someone. A shadow or something lurking behind Eddie, watching us from just outside the interrogation room, listening to every word we said.
* A/N *
With that, this chapter draws to a close...
I'd just like to thank you all for being here on this very special day. Today is the one year anniversary of my beloved FanFic, Vandals Anonymous, and honestly I am just so grateful for all the support you guys have given me. When I first posted this story, I was absolutely terrified. I thought no one would like it, but then I got my first review and that review came from StormingTheCastle. I'd just like to thank you for leaving me that review. It probably didn't seem like much, but it really gave me confidence a boost.
Holy cheese...so much has happened since I first posted this story, so much has happened...
Within these last two chapters you guys have uncovered quite a few things. Last chapter you may have figured out who had attacked Kim due to the lovely hint I'd left behind and this chapter you discovered two very crucial details—that the vid-cam images were being transferred to the mall's security computers and that Arthur is now involved with the Black Dragons. What does this mean for all the other high profile suspects? You'll soon see...
Truman's involvement with the case will soon be revisited, as will the issue with the phones numbers. A cellphone stealing may take place...
But until then, you'll have to deal with the next chapter which features Arthur's imminent return. It will be rather cracky and filled with surprise guests, laxative-filled-brownie mentions and potentially-poisoned-cookies...YAY!
I sincerely hope that you all enjoyed the chapter. I personally didn't like this one, but to each their own.
Lots of love, ALPHA
PS: To those who guessed "Wizards of Waverly Place" as the show in which the band UGHHH is found, you are correct! Although, according to BETA, there may have been a poster of them in "ANT Farm". Either them or Tears of Blood.
PPS: Jack wanting to be a princess when he was younger? I definitely need someone to write me a one-shot about Kim discovering this little tidbit about Jack XD
PPPS: Ms. Brewer is apparently a classic Disney Channel mom. She has zero cooking ability and can only microwave food lol. I am only a little better off than she is.
PPPPS: If you haven't already, check out uniquemusician's "Kickin' It" forum! A place where everyone can discuss FanFiction :)
PPPPPS: Check out me and Beta's OFFICIAL blog! Go to alpha-and-beta-soup . tumblr . com to get the deets on us!