SCENE 1: WARREN talks about being a cop.
DMITRI PLUG: What's cooler than listening to Husk? Listening to it a week early and then walking around and having a secret that no one else knows about. Become a patron at patreon.com/abiglobal or go to our website at huskpodcast.com and click on the word “donate” in the upper right hand corner. Every bit of support counts, plus then you can walk around with that secret smile. [Whispered] Everyone will want to know.
WARREN: The one thing that you learn about cops real quick is that they’re not great at talking about their feelings, especially when they’re on the job. Sure, the odd sentence or two slips out into everyday conversation, but we mostly limit it to business when we’re on the clock. That’s on purpose. When we’re in the field, we see it all. The highest and lowest moments of people’s lives. Tears, blood, families being torn apart. It hits hard sometimes but you can’t be the one in the room that’s crying. You have to leave that to the families and friends. We stay the course and get the job done.
Now, when off duty, however, that’s a bit of a different story. A few of us make a habit of going down to Conner’s after our shift most days. Sure, it’s nice to get a drink and all, but mostly it’s nice to just be around people who have seen the same things as you. We just talk about whatever’s on tv with short stories of our day interspersed. Some days, though, the trauma comes out.
[Husk theme song]
NARRATOR: You’re listening to Husk.
MORRISON:[Drunkenly] I’m… I’m… bas-ic-cally the Oprah Winfrey of cops. You get an arrest… and you get an arrest, and yoouuuuu get an arrest.
WARREN: Okay, Morrison, I think you’ve had enough to drink there.
MORRISON: No, I’mmm fine. Just alive. Keeping the bad guys away, the Oprah Way.
GINA: Morrison, you’re not Oprah.
MORRISON: Well, well, not literally, Gina, duh. But you’re missing the point.
GINA: The point? The point is you’ve had too much to drink and you’re getting sloppy. Now give me your phone so I can call you an Uber.
MORRISON: Now, now, wait just a minute. You don’t know me. You don’t know me. But I’m gonna tell you who I am. Did I tell you why I became a cop in the first place? How I got here? How the Oprah got his wings?
GINA: I feel like you’re mixing your metaphors a little bit, but okay. Tell your story. Just make it quick.
WARREN: Awww, Gina. He’s spiraling. Let’s just take him home. I hate when he gets like this…
GINA: Awww, let the sad man tell his story and call it a night.
WARREN: Well, alright you’ve got ‘til the car gets here.
[Bar door opening]
MORRISON: [Clears throat] Are you two done bickering and ready to listen to me?
WARREN: I guess so.
MORRISON: When I was a little boy, I grew up in Philadelphia. I bet you didn’t know that. Not just cream cheese. Good ol’ Officer Morrison is also there.
GINA: Okay… go on… but quickly, and there better be a point to all of this.
MORRISON: I lived on this street. There was this little girl. She was a couple of grades younger than me. Rosy cheeks and bouncy, brown curly hair. She lived down the block from me in this two story house with a whole yard. It was the nicest one on the block. I’d always see her riding up and down the streets. Then, on the first day of winter vacation one year - I remember because I brought home all of these paper snowflakes we’d cut out in Mrs. Crockett’s 3rd grade classroom. I got home and was all excited to show my parents these snowflakes. 3rd graders, right?
GINA: Morrison. Cut to the chase.
MORRISON: No, no listen. There’s more to it. Give me a moment. I come into the house. I’m getting to it, Gina. Just let me tell by goddamn story. I COME INTO MY HOUSE and both my parents are sitting at the kitchen counter silently. Not in a fun, we got you a surprise dog or an angry “You done messed up and are about to get an ass whooping” kind of way. No. This was something different.
When I came in the door and my mom gave me this big hug and sat me down.
My dad drew in a deep breath and told me that the little girl, Marla Parker, had been reported missing earlier that day and had I seen anything at all that could help them find her. I shook my head. I hadn’t seen her since that day before at school.
The next couple of days there were cops cars on my street all day and night asking people what they knew, where they were that day. They checked bushes, searched properties, dragged chains up and down the irrigation ditch. The whole deal. Her parents went on the news and did a tearful play. You know, all of the stuff out of the kidnapping playbook. They made all these posters and I’m pretty sure they stuck her on a milk carton at one point.
The whole neighborhood kept pushing and pushing. There was a big fundraiser to raise money to buy billboards all around the city. They got five of ‘em. It didn’t bring her home though.
That winter, the whole neighborhood was out in full-force, constantly calling her name. Marla, Marla! We walked in lines. Finally, the police told us that maybe something, a clue or whatever, would show up that spring when everything thawed out and then that was just about it.
The fundraising money slowly ran dry and the billboards came down. All except for the one in our neighborhood. It began to roll back and fade as the months came on. Her face slowly started to disappear altogether.
From there on out, every summer there’d be renewed interest in the case. Some new suspect or property that they’d never considered. They’d rally up the community for a new search, but nothing would ever turn up. Whoever took her, they got away with it and I didn’t want that to happen ever again.
GINA: Oh wow, Morrison, I never knew it was like that.
MORRISON: Yeah, well, I don’t talk about it much, you know. But, after that I knew that this was the field that I wanted to be in.
WARREN: Well, I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Maybe someday they’ll find out what happened to her.
MORRISON: No, no. I don’t think so. She’s gone. She’s really gone.
GINA: [Uncomfortably] Okay… well on thhhaaaattttt note, should we call it a night? Don’t want you turning into a sappy drunk, eh Morrison?
MORRISON: I’m fine, I’m FINNNEEE.
WARREN:[Sighs] Well, I’m pooped and I think Gina is too, so you probably want to call it a night.
MORRISON: The night is still young everyone!
GINA: But unfortunately we are not, and we’ve got a staff meeting tomorrow.
MORRISON: Fine. See you guys tomorrow.
WARREN: See ya.
[Outro Husk theme]