After Richard is arrested, the police put him in an interrogation room and leave him alone for an hour. Then, an officer brings him a “bag lunch,” and Richard quietly eats a sandwich. When two officers finally come into the room, Richard has been sitting there for two hours and nineteen minutes. One of the officers comments that Richard didn’t eat all his lunch. Richard says, “I was getting a little stomachache.”
This passage highlights the fact that Richard has no appreciation for the severity of his actions, or that what he has done is even considered a hate-crime. As a child, Richard doesn’t fully understand this, and therefore he can eat a sandwich in police custody after starting someone on fire with only “a little stomachache.” His comment about having “a little stomachache” also sounds childish, reminding readers once again that Richard is still young and naïve.
The officers tell Richard “they want to keep things relaxed,” and they start asking about his life. They ask about sports and school, and when they ask about girls, Richard says, “It’s not looking too good.” One of the officers asks if there “were girls up in Redding” and if he “learned anything” there. Richard admits he did, and he has been doing good, but the death of Skeet has caused him to have “a little breakdown.” The officers tell Richard that they want to get his side of the story, but first they need to read him his rights.
This “relaxed” questioning represents the police’s attempts to get Richard to incriminate himself. The officers know that Richard is not likely to immediately ask for a lawyer, and they try to take advantage of his ignorance. As a child, Richard is not wholly aware of his legal rights, and this is further evidence that Richard should be treated like an adolescent and not an adult.