chapter - 2 after the festival (1984).
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The reason Adrian was wearing the hat, his sobbing boyfriend would later tell the police, was because he had won it at the Pitch Til U Win stall on the Bassey Park fairgrounds just six days before his death. He was proud of it.
“He was wearing it because he loved this shitty little town!” the boyfriend, Don Hagarty, screamed at the cops.
“Now, now—there’s no need for that sort of language,” Officer Harold Gardener told Hagarty. Harold Gardener was one of Dave Gardener’s four sons. On the day his father had discovered the lifeless, one-armed body of George Denbrough, Harold Gardener had been five. On this day, almost twenty-seven years later, he was thirty-two and balding. Harold Gardener recognized the reality of Don Hagarty’s grief and pain, and at the same time found it impossible to take seriously. This man—if you want to call him a man—was wearing lipstick and satin pants so tight you could almost read the wrinkles in his cock. Grief or no grief, pain or no pain, he was, after all, just a queer. Like his friend, the late Adrian Mellon.“Let’s go through it again,” Harold’s partner, Jeffrey Reeves, said. “The two of you came out of the Falcon and turned toward the Canal. Then what?”
“How many times do I have to tell you idiots?” Hagarty was still screaming. “They killed him! They pushed him over the side! Just another day in Macho City for them!” Don Hagarty began to cry.
“One more time,” Reeves repeated patiently. “You came out of the Falcon. Then what?”
In an interrogation room just down the hall, two Derry cops were speaking with Steve Dubay, seventeen; in the Clerk of Probate’s office upstairs, two more were questioning John “Webby” Garton, eighteen; and in the Chief of Police’s office on the fifth floor, Chief Andrew Rademacher and Assistant District Attorney Tom Boutillier were questioning fifteen-year-old Christopher Unwin. Unwin, who wore faded jeans, a grease-smeared tee-shirt, and blocky engineer boots, was weeping. Rademacher and Boutillier had taken him because they had quite accurately assessed him as the weak link in the chain.
“Let’s go through it again,” Boutillier said in this office just as Jeffrey Reeves was saying the same thing two floors down.“We didn’t mean to kill him,” Unwin blubbered. “It was the hat. We couldn’t believe he was still wearing the hat after, you know, after what Webby said the first time. And I guess we wanted to scare him.”
“For what he said,” Chief Rademacher interjected.
“To John Garton, on the afternoon of the 17th.”
“Yes, to Webby.” Unwin burst into fresh tears. “But we tried to save him when we saw he was in trouble . . . at least me and Stevie Dubay did . . . we didn’t mean to kill him!”
“Come on, Chris, don’t shit us,” Boutillier said. “You threw the little queer into the Canal.”
“And the three of you came in to make a clean breast of things. Chief Rademacher and I appreciate that, don’t we, Andy?”
“You bet. It takes a man to own up to what he did, Chris.”
“So don’t fuck yourself up by lying now. You meant to throw him over the minute you saw him and his fag buddy coming out of the Falcon, didn’t you?”
“No!” Chris Unwin protested vehemently.