Hackett didn’t need to interview Damon, but his curiosity got the better of him; he sent the guards to set the prisoner up in one of the small consultation rooms, then followed after he finished looking over the morning report.
Damon was slouched in the chair, his mouth twisted downward with boredom, dressed in the standard prison jumpsuit. His good looks were fraying from the accumulated choices of his lifestyle, but he still had enough of the roguish bad-boy aura to be attractive. The worst trait about him, in Hackett’s opinion, was that the glint in his eyes spoke of deep-rooted cunning; Damon was not a stupid criminal.
“I’m not talking to anyone without my lawyer present,” Damon said as soon as Hackett sat down across the table from him. The warden ignored him, opened up the manila folder of paperwork, and pulled out a pen.
“I’m just here to ensure that your stay with us is as pleasant as possible.” Hackett glanced up. “You already have marks against you for assaulting a guard and vandalizing private property.”
Damon’s eyes were fixed on Hackett, with an intense and penetrating gaze. “I’m sorry about my behavior. I was overcome with emotion when I saw my girl, and I deeply regret my actions. I would like to apologize to the guard and the owner of the car.”
“Hm.” Hackett turned over a page, and skimmed through the intake forms that had been filled out on Damon. Annoyingly, more than half of the questions had been left blank. “I’m still pressing charges against you for the damage,” he said offhandedly.
“You?” Damon asked quietly.
Hackett immediately realized that he had made a mistake, and that Damon was smart enough to put the pieces together. He kept his face blank, but inwardly cursed himself for revealing more than he had intended – his mind was still back home with his new wife, and he should have been more cautious of that fact.
“Did you take a liking to my Alice after all?” Damon smirked as he leaned back in his chair. “She was in your car, then, right?”
“You didn’t provide your birthdate in your forms, and the standard physical examination hasn’t been done yet,” Hackett continued, then flipped to another page. “It looks that your hearing isn’t for another month, and you don’t have bail.” He wasn’t going to slip up even further by responding.
“Have you fucked her? She’s a lot of fun, right?” Damon chuckled. “Oh man, there was one time I gave her some molly and told her I wanted to see some girl-on-girl action, and she just went wild. It was seriously hot. I got a good portion of it on video too, up until I had to jump in myself, if you know what I mean. Get my cellphone, and I’ll show it to you.”
Hackett set his jaw. “Fine then, I’ll play along,” he said stiffly, his mind racing to find the balance between satisfying his curiosity and concealing the truth. “No, I haven’t had intercourse with her. She was an inmate here, and I was helping to transport her to her new home.”
“You’re a very involved sort of warden, aren’t you. Do you take a personal interest in most of your inmates?” Damon began tracing a finger around the tabletop. “That was my baby, wasn’t it.”
“How would I know?” Hackett rubbed the bridge of his nose to help control his expression. “I just want to get this questionnaire filled in completely, for the sake of your safety as well as my staff.”
“I knew that Alice was becoming self-aware and slipping out from under my thumb,” Damon mused. “That’s why I had to ditch her, you know? I guess I was a little too distracted at the time to piece together the reason why.” He sniggered. “Maybe I should step up and be a father; exercise my paternal rights, and all that.”
“I doubt that you’ll have any rights after you’re convicted of murder,” Hackett replied, snapping the folder shut.
“What? Were you planning on raising my bastard for me?” Damon’s eyes were gleaming. “Always looking for signs of me in every misbehavior, wondering how far the apple fell from the tree? You like Alice, but you’re the wholesome sort who can’t just use her like the whore she is, so you’re desperately trying to be the white knight that saves her from herself. Correct?”
“If that were true, then you should tell me how you managed to seduce her so thoroughly when she was a teenager. Maybe I can’t break through her loyalty to you, despite becoming her white knight.” It was a gamble, and it struck right to the core of what Hackett wanted to know, while still hopefully deflecting from the truth.
“Oh, that was easy. I pegged her the moment I saw her standing alone with a sad expression on her face, and I knew that she didn’t have any friends or family – not in any meaningful sort of way. So I sounded her out, showed her attention, and figured out how readily she responded to manipulation. I knew that she was scared the first time I fucked her, but she wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I wanted because she was even more scared of losing my interest. Alice was weak and broken long before I rolled into town, and I simply knew how to make use of it. That’s all there was to it.”
Hackett stood. “And how was she involved when you murdered my friend? You know, the undercover cop who was investigating you for trafficking?”
Damon’s expression turned hard. “I’m not talking without my lawyer.”
“I’ll be sending in one of the guards to get the answers for this paperwork from you. After all, this is your new home, and we need to get you properly settled.”
As Hackett walked to the door with the folder in hand, he heard Damon quietly reply, “I doubt that.”
Out in the hallway, Hackett took a deep breath to steady himself, then pulled out his cellphone. The picture of Alice sleeping with her baby was set as the background, and as he stared he could see Damon’s features in the newborn’s eyes and nose. Fury uncontrollably flashed up inside of him and he punched the wall, startling the nearby guard.
“Get this filled out on the prisoner, and do it right this time!” he snapped, pushing the folder into the guard’s hands before stomping away.