This is my first flash fiction challenge. This week Chuck had us randomly find a fake mashed-up idiom and write a story that contained it. I got “No news is ever done.”
Detective Grant Fuller bounded into the station, his partner, Trenton, singing, conducting the precinct as if he were in control of their fates.
Fuller turned to his partner, said, “I’m going to tell the Captain,” and then left his colleagues to sing together, without even knowing why they were singing.
After pushing the door to Captain Hewitt’s office open, he was at the secret cupboard on the left of the room before even being asked what he was doing there. He pulled out the whiskey, poured it into two glasses, placed one on Hewitt’s desk, and then sat down opposite him.
With a touch of flair Fuller said, “We got him.”
“You got him?” Hewitt asked, more incredulous than Fuller expected.
“Me and Trenton are reasonably competent detectives, you know.”
“Of course I know that,” Hewitt said, standing up, leaving his drink on the desk and moving over to the side of the room. “It’s just that – I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this…”
Confused, Fuller laid back in the chair, trying to think about what the Captain could possibly be insinuating. He swirled his whiskey around its glass, took a long draught, and then furrowed his brow.
“Are you saying you didn’t want us to catch this guy?” Fuller asked. “This guy who murdered fourteen people?”
There was a momentary pause as Hewitt looked away from the gaggle of his officers and gave his detective a piercing stare.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Hewitt said.
Fuller gripped his glass tighter, having only taken one sip out of it. “Why?” There was a sharpness to his question; an attempt to penetrate whatever reasons the Captain had for his ridiculous statement.
“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘No news is ever done,’ detective?” Hewitt asked, seemingly off topic.
“No,” Fuller replied, begrudgingly, anger boiling in his veins at an excuse he hadn’t even heard yet.
“It means, no matter what anyone tries to do, a good story wont ever be finished – the people will keep it going even after it ends. It’s like one of those fandoms.”
“Are you seriously comparing TV shows and movies to a serial killer?”
“I am,” Hewitt responded. “Because they’re both stories. One may be real, the others may be fictitious. But at the end of the day what’s important is giving the public what they want.”
“I cannot believe this,” Fuller whispered, almost to himself.
Fuller was distraught. What was he hearing? He and Trenton had been tasked with catching a serial killer, and now he finds out that they were never supposed to catch him in the first place. They’d been hunting him for eleven months now – eleven months of hard work, of having to talk to fourteen different families, of having to sit through never-ending mourning sessions. For eleven months he’d been living in a world of despair, and he’d finally discovered the gleam of light poking through.
He shouldn’t have bothered with any of it.
“But it’s more than that,” Hewitt continued. “It’s about distracting the people. You see, they’re more interest in this story than in the election, for goodness sake! The longer we can keep the people distracted from any real troubles in the world, the easier our lives are.”
“Who the hell is we?”
The Captain responded plainly. “Everyone.” Hewitt stood up then and moved to sit on the side of his desk, looking out at his precinct again. “It’s better for everyone to forget about the things that really matter in this world. Ignorance is bliss – it’s a real thing. And the more ignorant people are, the better controlled they are. And for us, as police, that can help to keep things peaceful.”
“So.” Fuller stood up now, walking over towards the door. “What you’re telling me is that in order to keep things peaceful, you’re going to let a maniac go free, to keep murdering people?”
“Sounds counterintuitive I know, but if you think about it, it all works for the greater good.”
Fuller looked down at his glass, a thin line of alcohol still left floating in the bottom. He saw his reflection in it, waves washing over his dark hair and eyes, obscuring him from himself.
“No,” Fuller said defiantly. “I won’t do it.”
The Captain didn’t bother with needless questions of what he meant. “Yes, you will,” he said calmly, “well, you will as long as you want to keep your job, and keep your family surviving. But I don’t know, maybe that stuff doesn’t matter to you.” Hewitt actually had the audacity to smirk before picking his glass up off the table and allowing a hesitant moment of smug pleasure to wash over him before taking a hefty pull of his whiskey.
Fuller was glaring at him, hatred stinging every part of his being. He threw his glass at the Captain’s feet. He didn’t wait to watch it shatter though; turning around, he pulled the office door open and slammed it shut behind him.
He didn’t look up but he heard the singing stop and he could feel every eye in the precinct staring at him.
Fuller stalked straight past them all, shook his head and whispered under his breath derisively, “No news is ever done.”