Monday, May 22, 2017

Camera Shy by Bruce Harris

Camera Shy

Speed 15mph, streets narrow. Stevie eased the Nova along. It was a friendly argument, black or brown. Stevie was partial to the black. For Phil, riding shotgun, it was the brown. The brothers had just finished their weekly volunteer stints at the animal shelter. The debate centered around two of the shelter’s greyhounds and the question, if you could only take one home…

“That black one looks so sad. She really needs a loving family.

Phil shook his head. “Maybe. But, I’m sure I lost a bundle on her the last time I went to the track in Miami."

“That could apply to any greyhound you’ve ever bet on! You…Shit!”


“I’m getting pulled over.”

Patrolman Belcher peered into the Nova’s rolled down window. “License and registration.”

Stevie reached for his wallet. “What did I do, officer?”

Belcher took the paperwork. “Do? First off Yankee, you’re drivin’ with New York tags.”

Stevie gulped. “Is that illegal?” He regretted asking the question.

A sickening grin crossed the trooper’s thin mouth. “’tis in Beaufert County sometimes.” The patrolman hitched up his belt. “Didn’t you see that woman in the crosswalk? Yall nearly killed her.”

Stevie was shaken. “N-noo,” he stuttered. “I didn’t see her. Where…”

Belcher pointed with a pen. “Right there! I watched her cross and then I saw you practically hit her. I was in my cruiser ‘cross the street. I gripped the steering wheel so tight my knuckles turned white as grits. Son, it was a damned miracle you didn’t hit her.”

Belcher completed the ticket and handed everything back to Stevie. “See-ins as I’m in a real good mood, on account I’m off duty soon, I won’t take you in. Watch it next time.” The cop walked back to his car.

“Shit,” said Stevie. “I really didn’t see her.”

Phil boiled. “That’s because no one was there.”


“There’s no way we both could have missed someone in the crosswalk that close to the car. He’s full of shit.”

Stevie saw Belcher in his rearview mirror. “Forget it. It’s just a ticket.”

“Fuck that. He isn’t getting away with this.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Watch. Make sure you videotape everything.”

Phil approached the cop. “You’re full of shit! There wasn’t anyone in that crosswalk and you know it.”

Belcher licked his lips. This was a dream come true. He turned off his body camera and got out of the police cruiser.  “Get back in your car and go. I told you I was in a good mood. Don’t change that.”

Phil stood his ground. “I can prove it,” he lied. He pulled out his phone. “I’ve got it on camera. Nobody was in the street when we drove through.”

Belcher thought for a quick moment. Kid has a gun. Self-defense. “Give me the phone. If it’s evidence, yall’ll be obstructing justice if you refuse.”

“Don’t think of touching this phone. This shows you are a liar.”

Belcher reached for Phil’s phone, but Phil pulled it away. Belcher put Phil in a bear hug and violently dropped him to the ground. Twenty feet away, Stevie heard the deadly thud as Phil’s head hit blacktop. A pool of blood spread from the shattered skull. Belcher grabbed Phil’s phone and tossed it into his patrol car. He looked up toward the Nova. Stevie stood outside the driver’s door, capturing everything on his cell phone. Belcher barked orders into his radio. “Ambulance needed. And backup.” He gave the address and then beelined toward Stevie. “Hand over that fucking phone!”

Stevie jumped back into the Nova. Before he could throw it in gear, Belcher pulled his police automatic and fired one shot. Stevie slumped over. Sirens could be heard in the background. Belcher hurried over to the Nova. He checked on Stevie, but it was clear he’d never be able to testify against anyone. Belcher found Stevie’s cell phone and pocketed it. He then placed a hot automatic on Stevie’s lap. Belcher always carried the piece in case of emergencies. He went back to his patrol car and waited for reinforcements.

Belcher feigned nervousness. “I’m shaken captain, but I think I’ll be fine.” He explained to his superior that the kid in the car had pulled a gun on him and that the little punk on the ground had physically assaulted him.”

“Good work,” said the captain. “I’m sure your body camera documented everything.”

Belcher explained how it had accidentally been turned off.

The captain noticed the Nova’s license plate. “That’s okay, Belch.” With a wink, “I’m sure we’ll find a witness or two.”

Turned out there were millions of witnesses. The video Stevie shot was all over social media.


Bio Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type.