Donald lived in a world of his own creation. He’d come back to reality only when it was convenient for him, which wasn’t too often if one considered how many times he’d was in trouble with the cops.
He never did any major damage. Every once in a while, he’d get pulled over for a speeding ticket because he believed the guy in the car next to him had challenged him to a street race by blinking in Morse code. Sometimes he was caught shoplifting because Donald’s mind said he had already paid for his snacks in tax money and good looks, or he believed that the employees of the convenience store were evil pirates and the bags of chips Donald attempted to pilfer were his rightful treasure.
At worst, Donald was delusional, but he was generally a cheery sort of guy, and the kids at the day care he worked at loved him and his wild stories.
Unfortunately, he claimed to be a witness to a homicide, and we were getting jumbled truths and tall tales out of his statements.
“His partner was a leprechaun,” Donald told Detective Montez. “The tiny bastard slipped into the bank with his magic and cut off the alarms so the suspect could waltz right in there and kill the general manager.”
“Right.” Montez glanced in my general direction at the one-way mirror, her expression screaming why me? “Where exactly were you when you saw the suspect and his partner?”
“I was on the corner of Fifth Avenue,” Donald said.
Montez raised one of her thin eyebrows. “…That’s on the other side of the block from the bank.”
“Yeah.” Donald didn’t see the problem with this.
“If you were standing there, you wouldn’t possibly have seen anything that went on with the bank,” Montez said.
“Of course I could have,” he said, granting Montez a look as if she were the crazy one. “That was the direction that the suspect and his leprechaun came from. I had never seen a leprechaun before, so I followed to see if I could meet them, but then when we rounded the corner, the leprechaun disappeared. A minute later, the bank’s doors unlocked, the suspect went in, and you police were called to the scene.”
“So you were in front of the bank when you saw the suspect enter the building?” Montez asked, trying to find some clarifying statement within Donald’s words.
“Didn’t I just say that?”
Keep it together, Porter, I thought to myself. You can’t bang your head against the wall. You’ll shake the mirror.
Montez pinched the bridge of her nose. “Around what time was it when you were standing in the front of the bank and saw the suspect enter the building?”
“I’d say probably about half past one in the morning,” Donald said, looking up at the ceiling.
“…We were called to the bank at two-fifteen by one of the bank’s panic buttons,” Montez said. “You saw someone walk into the bank at that hour and didn’t think to call the police sooner?”
“It’s not like he broke in.” Donald shrugged. “He walked in. No forced entry. Why would I think he didn’t belong there?”
That was probably the most sense the man had made all day.
Montez took a deep breath and loosened her death grip on her notepad. “How clear where the suspect’s features when you saw him?” she asked. “Being that early in the morning, I’m sure there wasn’t much light to see by.”
“Pretty clear,” Donald said. “Yeah, he had dark eyes, brown hair, a scar across his right cheekbone, and a diamond stud in his left ear.”
Montez glanced back at me through the mirror, her eyes wide in surprise from Donald’s attention to detail. “How did you see his face that clearly?”
“I shined my flashlight on him,” was the simple response.
“You had a flashlight?”
“Well, it’s dark at one in the morning, you see…”
“He didn’t notice you shining a flashlight on his face?” Montez asked.
“Oh, he noticed.” Donald rubbed the back of his head. “When I saw the leprechaun, I made my way over to them to try to meet them, and I shined my light on the suspect to see who I was talking to. He wasn’t very happy about it, actually, and grabbed my flashlight before tossing it in an alley. I ran after it, since it was my neighbor’s, and she’d be pretty upset if I lost it–”
“You lost visual contact with the suspect?” Montez said. At Donald’s baffled expression, she explained, “When you went after the tossed flashlight, you weren’t paying attention to the suspect, correct? The suspect ran off while you were distracted.”
“He didn’t get very far,” Donald said. “I went after him around the block to scold him for trying to destroy another’s property, and I saw them enter the bank.”
“How do you know that the person you saw enter the bank was the same, scarred suspect?” Montez said. “Surely you didn’t see the features clearly at that time.”
Donald gave Montez a gentle smile. “Detective, how many suspects do you know have a leprechaun?”