On Wednesday, Molson was at his office sooner than ever—at eight twenty five—sitting behind his desk, freshly shaved, in his brown silk shirt, a yellow tie, and shiny brown leather shoes, with a mug of coffee in his hand—waiting for Liz to show up. The beauty salon was still close, otherwise he would have checked it on his way to work. At eight thirty sharp when he heard the door open, he jumped up and ran to the other room. It was Henry.
“Oh, hello Molson,” he said in a thick Chinese accent. “I worried. The office open.”
“I decided to come early to see if you come on time,” Molson said.
“Oh. Yeah yeah yeah. Sorry. Because I worried.”
“There is fresh coffee,” Molson said. “Help yourself.” He went back to his office. Henry followed him in.
“Where is Milsak?” he asked.
“Ma-lou-sak, Henry,” Molson said in an upset voice. “How many times do I have to tell you? Do you like it if I called you Henny?
“No, I mean yes. Sorry, Farsi hard for me.”
“What about if I call you Honey? I betcha you’d like it so much that you’d bray like a Khar.”
“Khar?” Henry went red. “No jokes in the morning for me.”
“See! You know Farsi. You know what Khar means.”
Henry didn’t argue with him. He left the room immediately. What kind of idiot had he hired, Molson thought, fifteen years in Canada and he still didn’t know how to speak English well. Molson imitated him, “I worrit.”
Kasra was late, as always. He arrived at nine-thirty, eyes puffy.
“You’re here, man,” he said in Farsi.
“I am,” Molson said, “and I’m pissed off.”
“What’s up with you? Look at your eyes. You look like shit. Wake up. It’s close to noon.”
“Wow, wow, wow, wow, easy man.” He took Molson’s face between his hands, pulled him close and kissed him on both cheeks. “I love you boss.”
Molson pushed him back. “Take your face away from me. You smell like Filipino day cream.” He hinted at Kasra spending the night with this new Filipino girl he had recently met.
Kasra poured himself coffee and lounged on the couch facing his desk. “What’s up boss?”
“The thing is that I am not satisfied with your performance. Business has been down since the beginning of the year.”
“What’s wrong, man, seriously? Don’t give this business talk to me.” Kasra winked.
“Okay. It’s about Liz, the hairdresser from across the street, Liz. I told you the Canadian girls are thieves. She didn’t return Malousak on Monday.”
“Big deal? She’ll bring it back today.” Kasra shook his lush black hair towards him, his puffy black eyes now wide open.
“The children were so upset,” Molson pouted. “I don’t trust this girl. She didn’t answer any of my phone calls. She must be into something.”
Then the door in the other room opened. Molson jumped up again and peeked out through his office door. It was a customer. He turned towards Kasra. “Go check the beauty shop across the street for me,” he said, “I’ll get the customer.”
Molson sent Kasra a few more times to the beauty shop to see if Liz was there, but every time he came back with a “No.” Liz’s cell was still off. Molson was completely desperate when the girl came in a few minutes past noon. Without Malousak though. Molson cornered her by the door. “Where is Malousak?”
The girl seemed startled by Molson’s tone of voice. She answered calmly, “Can I come in?”
Molson blocked her way. “First answer the question.”
“Molson, I don’t see why you are so mad. You’re like…you know, I thought we’d discussed about Malsak the other night.”
“Malousak, not Malsak.”
“Whatever,” the girl shrugged.
This sent Molson to a total fury. “Whatever? Really?”
The girl tried to be flirtatious. “What has gotten under your skin, Molson? You’re like…mad.”
“Where’s my dog?” he shouted. His voice brought in Kasra and Henry to the room.
“Lower your voice and let me explain.” The girl said, keeping her voice down. “I talked to you the other night. You were like, you know, you said yes. You consented to giving Malsak away to the guy I told you about. That lonely guy who likes dogs, you remember?”
“I didn’t. I don’t even know the guy.”
“You said you don’t have a place to keep the dog and were looking for a person to—”
“Yes. But I never said take Malousak and give it to whoever.”
“It’s like…It seems like a miscomprehension,” the girl caught her breath. “the things is that I gave Malsak to the guy and now I can’t take her back again. You know? It’s like…I told the guy—”
“Molson likes Malsak a lot.” Henry interrupted her. He shook his head a few times, something he did when he was anxious.
“Sorry, sir.” Henry went red.
Liz turned to him, saying, “See! It’s like… Molson likes to correct people as if they are little kids and he is their father.”
Molson turned to Kasra, “Mibini che pache varmalide iye, patiyare khanoom.”
“Talk in English,” the girl angrily commanded.
“Says who?” Kasra put out his hand on Molson’s back and stood face to face with Liz.
“I’m not talking to you,” Liz told Kasra. Then she turned her back to leave.
Molson immediately reached out and held her by the shoulders. “Where are you going? I won’t let you go until your guy returns my Malousak. ”
Liz pulled herself away and fled. “Take your hands off me. You hurt me, you freaking asshole.”
Molson ran after her. “You thief. You stole my dog.”
“Go fuck yourself,” the girl yelled.
“Fuck you and the guy you sleep with, bitch. I know you gave my dog to him.” Liz didn’t even turn back. Molson followed her and shouted after her, “I’ll call the police. You’ll see.”
“Go ahead.” The girl stopped then turned back towards him for a moment. “They should put you in jail. You harassed me. I have a witness.”
“Witness? Who?” Molson laughed frantically.
The girl pointed to Henry who followed them. “This man saw that you hurt me.”
“Me? No. No.”
Molson laughed even louder. “I’ll call the police.”
The police arrived half an hour later. There was Officer Campbell, a tall white guy with green eyes, and Officer Patterson, a lean woman with blond hair pulled into a pony tail and a serious face with no make up. Molson was pacing the yard back and forth when the police car pulled up in front of his dealership. He ran to the street to meet them.
“Hello, officers. I’m Molson. I own this place.” Molson extended his hand but neither of them shook it.
They entered the car lot. “Moo-sen Em-ami. Is that you?” the man asked, referring to a piece of paper he was holding.
“Yes. I’m Molson.”
“You mean Moo-sen. You Iranian?” Officer Campbell asked.
“What’s the matter, Moo-sen?” The woman immediately posed the second question.
“My dog has been stolen,” Molson said.
“Where are you from, Moo-sen?” the man asked.
“I am Persian, sir,” He said loudly, puffing his face. Like Molson, the man was broad-shouldered, but a head taller. Two pistols in black covers hung from his sides. There was also a baton attached to his belt.
“You mean Iranian?”
“Persian,” Molson insisted.
“Who is that man?” he nodded towards Kasra who was leaning against a Mercedes a few meters away, smoking, and talking to Henry. Molson waved at him to put out his cigarette. He obeyed.
“He is one of my workers. One of my best. Also Persian.” Molson had asked Kasra and Henry to stay nearby to give testimonies as his witnesses.
Before the Officer Campbell could make another irrelevant kharaki question, Molson put a question to him, “Do you want to know what happened to me? My dog is stolen.”
“Yes. How did it happen?” Officer Patterson asked.
“Come in and have a cup of coffee first.”
“No,” Officer Campbell replied, “we don’t have much time.”
“We can talk in my office. I don’t want my customers to get the wrong idea. This is not good for me. I am a law-abiding first-class citizen. I’ve had this business for five years.”
“I am not sure what you mean by first-class citizen, sir,” the man snapped. “Besides, we are not here to hear about your business. Just tell us how your dog was stolen.”
Molson was about to tell them the story when Officer Campbell interrupted him again. “Before you’ll start, tell your workers to go back in. They don’t need to be here.” The man looked over at Kasra with some suspicion.
Molson asked them to come in for coffee a second time, when they were done taking his statement. It didn’t take long. Officer Campbell kept interrupted him on every other sentence and reminded him to cut to the chase, and so Molson rushed. He didn’t let Molson explain how the girl had exactly tricked him. “Make it short, get to the point. We don’t need to know everything about your girlfriend.”
“She’s not my girlfriend, sir. She is the thief.” Molson felt a rush of heat in his head.
“It is us who establishes that. You just tell us the story.” Officer Campbell said assertively and then scribbled a few things in a notebook he was holding. Officer Patterson nodded in affirmation.
“I have the ownership document for Malousak in my office,” Molson said when they were done. “Please come in and have a coffee. I’ll show it to you.”
“Document for what?”
“Malousak is the name of my Shih-tzu. It is a Persian name.”
“Mr. Moo-sen I don’t need to know that.” Officer Campbell shook his head impatiently.
“I just answered your question, sir.” Molson frowned at the officer who had turned his name to Moo-sen as if he was a moose or something.
Officer Campbell interrupted his story several times. The last time was when he was telling that how much his children were fond of the puppy and how much they were eager to see their dog again. The man grunted and said, “You’re taking police time for some trivial thing. For a dog. You could have settled things by yourself in a smarter way.”
“Are you saying that I am not smart?” Molson exploded. “I have a Masters degree in Business from my country. I am the owner of this successful business. What do you think? That I am an idiot for letting a nobody to steal my dog?”
“No offence,” Officer Patterson interfered. “Officer Campbell didn’t mean that. What he meant is that you could negotiate with the lady from the beauty salon and settle things in some other way.”
“No, I couldn’t. I did my best to talk to her, but she won’t listen. And by the way this is not small thing for me. I want my dog back.” Molson tried to control his voice not to show anger, but he knew he was all red on his pale skin, Persian skin, which was as fair as Officer Campbell’s.
“This is a civil case,” the woman officer said. “If you want you should take it to the court.”
“Police don’t have much to do with these trivial things,” Officer Campbell continued.
“In my country, the police are in charge of catching thieves.” Molson fired the words at the man.
“First, you should establish that there was a theft.” Officer Campbell fired back.
In spite of another wave of heat that surged through Molson’s body up to his head, Molson tried to control his voice. The anger nevertheless came out as a bitter statement which he threw in the man’s face: “To me, the theft’s established. So I am going to be smart and take the law into my own hands, and, as you’ve suggested, solve things in a civil manner.” He moved his arms as if he were holding a sword and cutting through the air. Officer Campbell was standing alarmed, his eyes trained on him.
“I recommend you reconsider what you’ve just said, sir,” Officer Patterson said. “If there is any violence, then it’s the job of the police force to—”
“Taking someone’s dog is not violence to you?” This time Molson let his anger fly. He shouted at the woman. It was then when Molson saw Kasra walking to them. He started talking to Officer Campbell, “Can I be of any help, sir? I witnessed that—”
“No. Go back inside. No witnesses are needed at this point.” Officer Campbell ordered, his hands ready on the baton at his side.
The man stayed silent until Kasra disappeared from sight. Then he turned to Molson again.
“Sir,” Officer Campbell raised his voice, “As Officer Patterson told you this is a civil case and you’ll have to take it to court. We can’t help you.”
“So what am I supposed to do if the police can’t even help? You didn’t even interrogate that thief from across the street.”
“I recommend you to solve this problem in a calm manner. Go talk to the lady who has your dog.”
“No, it’s your job to get her to return it,” Molson insisted.
“We know our job, sir. You should mind your own business.” Officer Campbell asserted.
“It could take a long time if you go to court with a lawsuit. It would be easier if you solved it some other way.” This time Officer Patterson spoke. Her face was stiff all the time.
She moved one step closer to Molson, the serious expression in her face unchanging. “Find out where the guy who has your dog lives. Go and take back your dog,” she said in a hushed voice,
“You mean I should steal back my dog?”
“We have to go.” Officer Campbell turned around. He still had his hand on his baton.
“We’re going to get a statement from the lady across the street.”
Officer Campbell came back the next day to let him know they’d got Liz’s statement. She’d told the police that Molson had consented to give away the dog to Mr. Mac Murphy. “I don’t know any Mr. Mac Murphy,” Molson objected. He resisted an urge to call the man Mr. Mac Fuck-phy.
Molson insisted that the girl was lying and Officer Patterson could ask his workers. But the woman repeated that the case was now out of police hands. Like that male officer, she, too, called him Moo-sen not Molson —perhaps the way that thief had also pronounced his name while giving her statement to the police. “You can always take the case to court, Mr. Moo-sen.” Yes, perhaps he was a moose—an animal—otherwise a blond girl could not trick him to giving his Malousak to this Mr. Mac Fuck-phy, Molson thought.
The name rang a bell for him though. Where had he heard that name? He recalled something about an ID, a driver’s license or something, but whose ID? He had no idea. Could this Mr. Mac Murphy be one of his customers? Molson spent the whole morning going through all the files and records from last two years, but could not find any similar name.
Molson called Kasra into his office after he was totally exhausted from searching. Kasra was dressed in black the way he normally did for the night club.
“They are rednecks,” Kasra said as if it was the most natural thing. He lounged on the couch, one foot over another. He’d recently grown a goatee which suited him very well.
“Yes,” Molson said, “They’re backing up the girl. She’s the same color as they are.”
“So are you.” Unlike Molson, Kasra had brown skin and dark hair. “If I didn’t know you, I couldn’t tell you were Iranian. You look like French or Italian, I’d say.”
“You know the first question that Campbell asked me?” Molson asked Kasra.
“He asked if I am an Iranian. What do you say to that?”
“I told you the police are redneck.” Kasra said. “Didn’t you see how the guy looked at me? As if I were a terrorist or something. He looked very insecure and nervous. I am guessing he is new in police force.”
“He kept asking me if I were Iranian.”
Kasra swung his foot back and fro. “He shouldn’t have asked that question. One could sue him for that.”
“Are you sure?” Molson asked abruptly. “If this is true, I would like to sue him.” He was so excited by the idea that got up from his chair and walked up to Kasra. He stood above him and smacked his shoulder. “And you are in it with me.” Then he pushed Kasra to one side of the sofa to make room for himself.
“Me? No, Molson,” Kasra said, “Just let it go. That man is not worth the trouble.”
“It is for me.” Molson sat down.
“You’re stubborn, Molson. This is your trademark.”
“No, it is not. That officer insulted me and now he has to pay for it.”
“So you’re vengeful.”
“Any idea how to go about this?” Molson asked Kasra, disregarding his comments about him. “You’ve been raised here. You should know how things work in this country of rednecks.”
“You should file a case in the Department of Internal Affairs.”
“A case about that officer, that he asked you personal information, about race and stuff. That he didn’t pay enough attention to your concerns after he found out where you’re from. You should make it like—”
“Like what?” Molson asked, his gaze fixed on Kasra’s lips.
“An identity case.”
“An identity case? Is there such a thing?”
“I don’t know,” Kasra shrugged. “I just invented it. We should make it as though such thing existed.”
“You mean I should take the case to court?”
“No. To the Vancouver Police. They have a department called Internal Affairs where you can file a complaint against their own members, against police officers.”
“Super. I’m on my way.” Molson felt his face flushed.
“Tell them I am your witness. And so is our dear Henny.” Kara laughed. “Man you shouldn’t call him that in front of anyone. He’s pretty upset.”
“Who cares? I am the one who pays him at the end of the month. With his funny accent, he couldn’t get any other job. He should bow to me ten times a day for keeping him here out of mardoonegi,” Molson tapped on Kasra’s shoulder. Kasra looked sharp today, very smart. Perhaps he’d smoked his dope already, earlier this morning.
“Are you still seeing that Filipino?” Molson asked before leaving.
“What is it about her that you don’t like?” Kasra barked, disappointingly. “At least she didn’t steal my dog.”
“You should aim for more, Kasra. You told me your relationship with the girl is only temporary.”
“It is.” Kasra nodded.
“But you’ve been with her for more than six months and don’t see other girls. Believe me you can do much better than this. I am telling you. You’re young, handsome, and smart. You’ve got brains. It’s a shame to be with a girl who dreams of cleaning rich people’s houses.”
“You’d better go if you want to file a complaint. The police office closes at four.”
“Ok. I’ll go to ask what the procedures are. And meanwhile you write me a complaint. I am sure they’ll ask for one. Also, work with our dear Henny on the statement he has to give.”
“Do I get something for all this extra work?” Kasra tapped on Molson’s knee.
“Sure.” >>> Part 3 (last)
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