Short Fiction: The Search Warrant

A fun post today. Last week at writer’s group, we did an exercise in which we had to respond to the following prompt in 20 minutes. The police arrive at your door with a search warrant. There is something in the house that they cannot see, that nobody can ever see.

This is my (slightly edited) attempt. In case you were wondering, no, it’s not real, this is fiction.

There is a loud, brisk rap at my front door. I peer through the peephole and my pulse races. Two policemen. I know what they want—one of them brandishes a search warrant.

My bloody husband. They’ve caught up with his shenanigans at last. Breaking Bad, eat your heart out. Call me callous, but I don’t care about him, my fear is deep and primal. There are papers in the house they cannot see. Papers nobody can see. They can have the sex videos—let the policemen get their rocks off if it pleases them—but they cannot see the papers.

I let them in, sweet as pie. “Yes, officers. This way, officers.”

As soon as they begin—one in the study and one in the living room—I sneak into my bedroom. Quick as a flash, I pull a small cassette from an out-of-date video camera hidden in my underwear drawer. I slip it into my jeans pocket and head for the study.

A police officer is rifling through the filing cabinet. He can look all he likes; he won’t find anything. Not about me, not abut my husband—at least nothing incriminating.

“Can I get you a drink?” Sweet as pie.

“Thank you.”

In the kitchen, I dart to the cabinets and grab the papers from a box for a mixmaster we never use. I put the video cassette on the bench and shove the papers down the front of my jeans. With a loud crack, I snap the cassette in two and unspool the tape. I switch on the InSinkErator, but before I can feed in the tape, a detective darts beside me and tries to snatch it away.

“What have we here, Mrs Baylor?”

“Nothing relevant.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

My tears come readily. “This is such an invasion of privacy.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am.”

I sniff and splutter. “I’m going to the toilet. Are you going to follow me there, too?”

“No, ma’am. Just leave the tape and you can go.”

With heavy reluctance, I relinquish the cassette and head to the bathroom, locking the door behind me. I pull out the papers and silently tear them into tiny shreds. In doing so, I shred my identity, my only link to the past.

The scraps of paper float on the water inside the toilet bowl until I flush. Down they go. Nothing left but a swirl of bubbles. My last connection to my former life.

Next time: Alone at Mansfield

5 thoughts on “Short Fiction: The Search Warrant

  1. Pingback: Show Day | The Winding Narrative

    • It’s all a mystery, Danny! In the original I said “my identity as a Russian pole dancer.” My friend, Virginia suggested “Putin’s private pole dancer” which I love, but my family voted it was better to leave it open to speculation.

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