There were reasons for everything that happened. You must believe that. Everything that happened, everything I did, all the stuff nobody knows about, there was a reason for all of it. Keep that in mind. Otherwise there’s no telling what you’ll say. What you’ll think. You’ll judge me. A monster you’ll call me. You’ll never be able to face me again.
The problem with history, with any story for that matter, is that it’s written by people with something to hide. Every story is filled with gaps. Lies. We tell each other stories full of stuff that didn’t happen and in between the lines, huge epics that no one ever hears about. The story is only half a story. The picture is imperfect. The problem with any story is that they’re told by people. People lie.
The problem with this story is I don’t know what to say. Don’t know where to begin. Most stories start at the beginning. But this isn’t most stories. This story is true. Which is why we’re starting at the end.
We end at a police station somewhere in the armpit of nowhere, somewhere in some town, some place I’ve never been before. The police officer looking at me, looking at a woman with way too much red lipstick and way too much eye shadow, a woman who has no clue what to say, where to begin, a woman hoping you’ll understand and not judge.
The police officer asking questions she can’t answer.
Can I have a smoke?
Police officer pulls a cigarette out of a battered pack and gives her a light. Woman inhales smoke deep into lungs. Sticks the filter between lipsticked lips and inhales the smoke deep into her lungs. Blows smoke in the police officer’s face.
He turns on a tape recorder. Asks questions she can’t answer. Not without lying.
Can I go soon?
“Just a few more questions,” he says. Lights himself a cigarette and says “Just a little while longer.”
The problem with this story is that it’s true. Which is why I can’t answer these questions. In my mind I glance over everything that happened like stories in a glossy magazine. Then I lie.
I (26) don’t tell the police officer (37) about a gravel driveway that crunched underneath high heeled shoes underneath pantyhosed calves underneath a moderately short skirt underneath a decently fancy jacket underneath a heavily made up face underneath stiffly sprayed hair. No mention of a suitcase swung lightly at her side. Not a word about a polished fingernail on a finger pressing a doorbell playing a few notes from a classical piece. Nor the red sports car in the driveway in front of a huge garage.
In the interrogation room I don’t tell anybody about Manny answering the door. He didn’t know her then. Looked at her questioningly, said nothing. The woman flashed a red smile and showed herself in.
The foyer had gray tiles. Pricey. Inside the front door a gray rug. He probably thought that was cool. Rug matching the tiles, like the bumpers on a nice sports car matching the paint job. On the wall, a picture of Manny with the car. Sort of like some people hang wedding photos.
Manny stared at me, dumbfounded. Too surprised to kick me out
The woman with the fancy clothes walked into the dining room and got some whisky from a liquor cabinet. Thirty years old. The price of a small car. The glass was plain glass. Probably a cheap one, from a hardware store. Not sure. She put a cigarette into her killer smile and lit up.
Finally Manny came to, at least partially. “Hey,” he said. Said “Hey, don’t smoke in here.” The woman blew smoke in his face. Grinning. Sat back in a comfy chair and put her feet on the coffee table. Not as ladylike as before.
“?” Manny said and stared, confused. He looked a bit like a cod out of water. Skinny face and wispy goatee. Gaping mouth. Choking on air.
You don’t know me, the woman said. Know nothing about me. But I know everything about you.
Might as well sleep in the tanning bed.
And you’re a meth dealer.
I do my homework.
The cod stared. The woman smoked and emptied her glass.
Oh, one more thing, she said. The cops are on their way.
Manny started laughing. Like he suddenly understood the punch line of an old joke. Like the situation suddenly came knocking. Like it was all a big joke. He laughed. The woman crushed the cigarette into the chair upholstery. He didn’t stop laughing. Made a move to throw me out.
Then he heard sirens. The smile vanished. Mine grew.
“What the fuck…?”
He grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the chair. He was wearing too much cologne. The living room was painted blue. Like, all four walls. I’m sure he thought that was cool.
Manny dragged the woman behind him out of the house and threw her into the car. She remained lady-like the whole time. Crossed her legs in the passenger seat and waited. He started the car and put it in gear. The woman reached over and killed the engine, looked at Manny, calm as a summer’s day.
“What the actual…?”
Zen as fuck.
Manny looked around, confused, then realized. Ran inside to get the bag. He had to put it in the trunk because the car was way too small. And way too fancy. He had trouble fitting the bag in there. Tiny fucking vehicle.
The sirens came closer.
Manny finally managed to shut the trunk and hurried into the car. He was sweating. The smell of his cologne was worse than the BO, though.
The tyres squealed as he took off out of town. Lucky he didn’t know the difference between police and fire engine sirens. He drove like he was late for a tanning appointment. I can’t be sure, but I think he forgot to shut his front door.
The city rushed by like a collage of concrete blocks.