Holden

#ConversationsWithLeon

Tea

“How many more o’ these we gotta do?”

“Just a couple more, Leon.”

Holden released the results of their last session into the machine tracking the Voight-Kampff test. The detective still couldn’t tell if Leon was the cagiest person he’d ever met or just had the mental acrobatic ability of a rock. He had two more scenarios to run and it didn’t seem like his man was going to make it through even one more. Still, that was the assignment. Leon had to know that.

“Really? A couple? Two more?”

“Yes, Leon. I thought your supervisor had filled you in.”

“Well, yeah, but she just said it’d be a few questions not all this fairy tale stuff.”

“You think this is fairy tale stuff. Huh?”

“Yeah. You’re just makin’ stories up and puttin’ me in ‘em.”

“Fair enough, but it’s just two more. Okay? Then we’re done.”

“…”

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you, Leon."

"I said: Fine."

“Okay." Holden took a deep breath. "Here’s the scenario: you’re making tea—”

“Tea?”

Holden looked directly into Leon’s eyes. “Yes, tea. You’ve had tea before?”

“Naw. Never had no tea.”

“But you know what it is?”

“O’ course, I’m not stupid. I know people drink it.”

“Right.” Holden held the bigger man’s glare for a few seconds before moving on. “You’re making tea, you’ve got a friend over, and you ask them, ‘would you like some tea?’”

“I do?”

“Sure, you’re being polite.”

“Okay, yeah, I’m polite. That’s good.”

“It is, Leon, absolutely.”

“Thanks.”

“Now, they answer: they don’t want tea. You’ve made enough for two, but they don’t want any. What do you do?”

“Whaddyou mean? They don’t want any? Why not? I made it for ‘em. Right?”

“I don’t know, Leon, they just don’t. The important part here is what do you do?”

Leon leaned back in his chair and folded his thick arms. “What do you think I’ll do?”

“This isn’t about me, Leon, it’s about your decisions.”

“My decision.”

“That’s right.”

“I don’t do nothin’ then.”

“You don’t ask again?”

“No.” He sat up and unfolded his arms, anxiety plain on his face. “Why? Should I ask ‘em again, would that be polite?”

“You tell me.”

The crease between Leon’s brows deepened and his eyes darted left and right. He chewed his lip and said, “It wouldn’t be polite to bother my friend.”

“Wouldn’t it? Maybe they want tea and they don’t want to impose.”

“What?” Leon stood up. “That don’t make no sense. Maybe you’re the rude one.”

Detective Holden raise his hands, but other than that made no sudden moves. He wasn’t going to lie to himself, the big man made him nervous. “Okay, Leon, it’s no problem at all. You gave your answer, it was a good one. And you were honest. Right?”

“Yeah. O’ course I was honest. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Right, sure thing. Could you sit down, Leon? The machine can’t record your responses properly if you’re not sitting and looking at it.”

Leon took a deep breath and unclenched his aching fingers. Then he sank slowly into his chair.

“Good, thanks, Leon, there’s just one more scenario to go through. Remember?”

“Just one more?”

“That’s right, just one more and we’re done.”

“Good, ‘cause I wanna get back to work, I got stuff I gotta finish.”

“Of course you do, I understand. Okay, in this next one, you’re in the desert and there’s a turtle…”

#ConversationsWithLeon

Traffic

Officer Holden tweaked a setting on the device tracking the Voight-Kampff test before taking a slow drag on his cigarette. Leon waited with the impatience of a twelve-year old boy, eyeing the detective with a toxic mix of confusion and malice.

“Okay, Leon, just keep looking into the device here. I just have a few more questions.”

“More questions?”

“Yeah, just a few more scenarios.”

“Why? I already answered some questions.”

“You did, Leon, thank you. We want to be sure everything’s squared away so you can head on home. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, sure, I guess.”

“Okay, great. Here we go. You’re driving on a two-lane road—”

“I ain’t got a driver’s license.”

“That’s fine. This is just a hypothetical.”

“What’s a ‘hypothetical’? Is that like a ‘hypodermic’?”

“No, Leon, it’s a hypothetical situation, meaning it’s a—”

“I know what that means. What you said made it seem like a thing, a—what’s it—a noun.”

“Right. Sorry. So, you’re driving on a two-lane road—”

“What about my license? ‘Cause I ain’t got one and if I get pulled over, the cops—.”

“You don’t need a license, don’t worry.” Holden sat back and regarded Leon for a moment, wondering at the big man’s answers, letting the machine click into the silence. He leaned back in and continued. “There’s two lanes and your lane is moving quickly, there’s traffic, but it’s going right along.”

“Where am I going?”

“Excuse me?”

“Where. Am. I. Going?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does to me.”

“Fine. You’re going to work. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“There’s traffic in both lanes, but yours is going fast. The other lane’s all stopped. They’re waiting for a truck. It’s stopped with the blinker on, it wants to make a left turn, across your lane.”

“And no one’s letting him go?”

“That’s right, Leon. No one’s letting the truck driver make the turn.”

“That’s being a dick, right there.”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’d let the guy go. Gotta make a living. Right? I mean, he’s probably got a job like mine. What is my job, anyway?”

“Let’s not get into that detail right now. Okay? You said you’d let him turn?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“But if you do, you’re going to be late to work.”

“I’d still let him turn.”

“Even if you’d been chronically late and one more time you get fired?”

“Well… Yeah. ‘Cause I’m not a dick.”

Holden took a few more notes and a few more drags off of his cigarette. Leon watched.

“Is that the right answer?” Leon asked.

“There are no right or wrong answers, Leon.”

“Then what the fuck kind of test is this?”

“It’s just to determine—”

“This is bullshit. How can I pass the test if there’s no right or wrong?”

“Just calm down, Leon, we’ll be done soon.”

“Then I can go?”

“Yes, then you’ll be able to go.”

Leon didn’t believe the cop at all. There was right and wrong and it wasn’t fair to ask him questions that didn’t have answers.