Interview Room 2

He’s seen a lot of film noir but can the detective predict how this interrogation will end?

The stage is an interview room in a police station. There’s a table, two fold up chairs, paper cups.

Seated, looking tense is ROXANNE LAWSON, the “witness”. Interviewing her are Detective Sgt AARON MALONE and Detective Senior Constable LINDSAY COOPER.

AARON
The time is 7.45. Interview re-commencing with Miss Roxanne Lawson in regard to a robbery last week at Amalfi’s bar. Present are Detective Sergeant Aaron Malone…

He looks over at Lindsay, unsure.

LINDSAY
…and Detective Senior Constable Lindsay Cooper of the Gaming and Licensing squad. Before we start, thanks Sergeant Malone for standing in for my colleague at short notice.

AARON
(nods to Lindsay)
So Miss Lawson. Can I call you Roxanne?

ROXANNE
Sure. Can I call you Aaron?

He’s not happy about that. Lindsay stifles a smile.

AARON
Detective Sergeant will do. You witnessed a robbery? (reads statement) You say you were having a drink in the Amalfi bar when four masked robbers entered. They had guns and made verbal threats, before entering a room in the back of the establishment, where a high stakes poker game was being played, and the robbery occurred.

ROXANNE
Well I didn’t see what happened in the back. I just saw the guys come in and go out later. Is it true it was the Pellegrini family – those mafia guys – who were robbed?

Aaron and Lindsay exchange a glance.

AARON
Let’s just focus on finalising your statement, shall we?

ROXANNE
Jesus! Who’d rob the mafia? They must be brave.

LINDSAY
Or stupid. Is there anything you want to add?

ROXANNE
No.

AARON
Well, thanks for coming in Roxanne-

LINDSAY
You said the guys wore masks. What kind? Halloween, clown..?

ROXANNE
(thinks) They were movie star masks. There was Brad Pitt, George Clooney..Julia Roberts.

LINDSAY
And the fourth..?

ROXANNE
Johnny Depp, I think.

AARON
Depp? Are you sure? Couldn’t it have been someone more rugged? Like Matt Damon?

ROXANNE
Yeah, it was Damon, actually.

LINDSAY
How did you know?

AARON
They’re all actors from Ocean’s Eleven.

LINDSAY
Ocean, what?

AARON
Ocean’s Eleven. It a film, about a robbery in a casino. I would have thought it would have been a fave with you guys in the gaming squad?

LINDSAY
Sergeant Aaron Malone. I know where I’ve heard your name before! You write movie reviews for the police mag.

AARON
I write a column for the Force Be With You magazine, yes.

LINDSAY
May the Force Be with You – that’s a quote from Battlestar Gallactica – am I right?

AARON
(scathing)
Star wars.
(to Roxanne)
So nothing more to add?

ROXANNE
Well, there was one thing. But I’m not sure I should say.

LINDSAY
Please.

ROXANNE
It’s just.. I had this feeling the robbers were.. cops.

They both exchange a look – gobsmacked and horrified.

AARON
Based on…what?

ROXANNE
It was just a feeling.

AARON
Can I ask why you waited seven days before coming forward?

ROXANNE
I was trying to process it all. I was scared.

AARON
The timing had nothing to do with the twenty thousand dollar reward posted online last night by the Pellegrini family?

LINDSAY
Really? They offered twenty grand? For information leading to arrest?

AARON
I don’t think arrest is what that family has in mind.

ROXANNE
I never saw any post about a reward. So are you gonna write that down.. witness thought the robbers were cops?

There’s a challenge in her looks.

LINDSAY
Would you excuse us for a moment?
(to Aaron)
You’re the local. Know any cops who might have done this?

AARON
Rob the Pellegrinis? No way. What about you? Anyone in your squad with info on the game and balls as big as the Olgas?

Lindsay shakes her head.

LINDSAY
If we put her cop comment on the record..

AARON
The Pellegrinis will come after me as the local plod.

LINDSAY
And me as the regional gaming officer.

AARON
And those guys tend to shoot first and ask questions later.

LINDSAY
That’s a quote from the Untouchables? Right?

AARON
No, it’s just an expression.

Aaron and Lindsay look at Roxanne, filing her nails.

LINDSAY
Did you hear what the Pellegrinis did when they thought their lawyer stole from them? Let’s just say, the pigs on their uncle’s farm had a strange chewy meat for dinner that night.

AARON
Was the lawyer stealing?

LINDSAY
(shakes head – no)
Turned out one of the wives had taken the money to pay for hubby’s surprise party.

Aaron loosens collar. Roxanne hums cheerfully.

LINDSAY
We need to shut this cop angle down completely, or things.. could get sticky for us.
Aaron nods and they go back to Roxanne.

AARON
Roxanne, before we continue, let me say this. I’ve had dealings with the Pellegrini family. And I know if anyone pretended to be in the pub that night when they weren’t, it would not go down well.

ROXANNE
I was there.

A pause.

LINDSAY
Really? The Amalfi bar seems a long way for you to go for a drink?

ROXANNE
I was meeting someone.

LINDSAY
Who?

ROXANNE
A guy called Rohan. He didn’t show up.

LINDSAY
We’ll need his contact details to corroborate your story.

ROXANNE
I don’t have them. I met him speed dating.

AARON
Speed dating? You?
(to Lindsay)
You tried speed dating Senior Constable?

LINDSAY
Once or twice. The job hours make it difficult for me to – (meet guys).

AARON
Ever seen anyone like Roxanne at one of those things?

LINDSAY
People tend to be older.

AARON
Yet this Rohan character didn’t even show? Rohan who?

ROXANNE
I didn’t get a last name. Rohan’s probably not even his real name. I gave mine as Jennifer Laurence.

LINDSAY
Jennifer Laurence? That’s the girl that Chef film?

AARON
(scathing)
The Hunger Games. ..So, you were meeting someone whose name you didn’t know, in a bar patronised by guys over 50, yet no-one saw you there. (Sneezes) Sorry, but I’m
allergic to bullshit. And that is a quote, from I-Robot.

ROXANNE
It’s not bullshit.

AARON
You were never in that pub.
You made up this story to get yourself down as a witness and have a crack at that reward.

ROXANNE
No, I didn’t.

LINDSAY
Then prove it. Tell us something about that night. Something you couldn’t have read in the papers.

ROXANNE
The leader of the gang was about your size, sergeant. And the Julia Roberts was similar build to you, Constable.

They look at each other – eyes wide – with horror.

AARON
Are you fucking with us?

ROXANNE
No. (pause)

AARON
Because if you are, and the Pellegrinis hear about it, they might wonder why – why you’d work so hard to send heat our way. Could it be to cover up your own involvement in the robbery?

ROXANNE
I wasn’t involved!

Lindsay gives him a ‘clever’ nod.

LINDSAY
But wouldn’t that be clever? To get the money from the robbery, then turn up here, point wild fingers at us –

AARON
Perhaps getting a few lead investigators whacked in the process.

LINDSAY
Then claim the 20 grand reward money as well.

AARON
That would be fiendishly clever. Are you fiendishly clever Roxanne?

ROXANNE
No, I’m not. Please ..don’t mention my name to them.

AARON
If you withdrew your statement, there’d be nothing to mention, would there?

ROXANNE
I could do that.

LINDSAY
And we could charge you with wasting police time.

ROXANNE
But I was there. I just can’t prove it.

A long, tense beat.

LINDSAY
The robbers said something that night- after they made you all get down on the ground. Quite a memorable phrase – a lot of the other witnesses recalled it word for word. It might have been a film quote. Do you know what they said?

ROXANNE
Oh, yeah. They said: “If any of you pricks move, then I’ll execute every mother fucking last one of you.”

LINDSAY
Don’t tell me…that’s from-

AARON
Pulp Fiction.

LINDSAY
I was gonna say Scarface.

AARON
One of my favourite films. And well done Roxanne, for getting the quote exactly right. But I’m sorry to tell you, it’s the wrong quote. What the robbers said was: “Stay down, or I’ll drop you like third period French.” Which is from…?

Points to Lindsay in invitation.

LINDSAY
..Ocean’s Eleven?

He gives her a thumbs up gesture.

AARON
..and which you would know if you had been there that night.

LINDSAY
That’s right. So my question is this: How did you know.. (shifts focus)Sergeant? How did you come up with that quote?

AARON
I read it – in the witness statements you gave me.

LINDSAY
It wasn’t in the ones I gave you. We – that is, Constable Roxanne Lawson, and I – held back the statements with that quote to see if you could come up with it on your own. And you did.

Malone realises his error, eyes wide like a rabbit.

ROXANNE
Sergeant Aaron Malone, you are under arrest for robbery and assault.

He pulls out a gun and points it at them, and starts moving to the door.

ROXANNE
Armed officers are on the other side of that door, sergeant. Resistance is futile.

He thinks about it, his gun sags, Roxanne grabs it. Lindsay handcuffs him, cheek down on the table.

LINDSAY
And that is a quote..from Star Trek.

AARON
Beam me up Scotty.

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