Archive for the ‘Post 4.7’ Category

Monday, March 26, 9:47 p.m.

“Hey. It’s me.”

I’ve got to throw my cell phone away! My household has a good five or six dead pay by the minute cell phones that I could resurrect. They’re sitting in a box a few feet away from me, awaiting donation to the domestic violence shelter. We’ve delayed dropping them off for fear of identity theft, but I’m starting to think it might be great if someone else was Katherine for awhile. I’ve got to get off the O’Lies clan’s radar.

“Hi Jack,” I say. “What’re you doing?”

“Nothing much.”

“Drinking?”

“Yeah.”

“A lot?”

“My share.”

“Nice. On a work night.”

“And you aren’t.”

“Not yet.”

Given the day I’ve had with his daughter, his interruption while I was on deadline, and this unanticipated follow up call, I’m sure I soon will be.

“How can I help you?” I inquire professionally.

“You still have my car keys,” Jack says. “And my driver’s license.”

Damn it!

“Oh damn it, I forgot!” I exclaim. “Why didn’t you just take them when I kept trying to give them to you on Sunday? You sure took your damned cigarettes no problem! Damn it!”

“What’s the big deal? Come over and drop them off.”

“That’s the big deal—that right there. Do you realize how long of a drive it is from my house to your place? Why don’t you drag yourself up here and pick them up? No, no, don’t do that,” I amend quickly.

I do not want Jack to know where I live. He’ll start dropping by unannounced and drunk, I have no doubt.

“Fine, I’ll drop them off. Crap. We’re going to press tomorrow. How soon do you need them? Crap. Damn it!” I say.

In between one “crap” and a “damn it,” I do indeed uncork a bottle of red wine and self-pityingly pour myself a glass. I detest driving south to Seattle. The stop and go traffic makes me feel homicidal.

“I need to talk to you,” Jack says.

“Lucy told you what happened at school today?”

“No. She’s holed up in her room with Christopher.”

“She’s so gonna get pregnant,” I mutter.

“What?”

“Nothing,” I say. “I’ll bring your keys and license to your work. How about that? When? I need to go grab my planner.”

“I looked at his autopsy file today.”

“Whose?” I say.

“The floater from Lake Washington.”

“Oh.”

“It was right before I called you at work,” he says.

“Oh. How was it?” I inquire idiotically.

“It was…the first since my wife’s.”

“You read your wife’s autopsy file?”

“Harry let me. That’s where I got the photo of her.”

“Why? Why would he do that to you?” I say.

“He’s my friend. I asked him to.”

“There’s no way I’d have given it to you,” I say. I take a drink of wine and recall that I’m not Jack’s friend. Is that what friends are for? Giving each other their dead spouse’s autopsy file?

“You read her whole file?” I say.

“Yeah,” he says.

“Didn’t they need that crime scene photo of her for the trial?”

“They had over four dozen shots. Nobody missed it,” he says.

“God, Jack…I don’t know what to say.”

I usually don’t know what to say, but that doesn’t stop me. My method is to babble until comprehension is achieved on the receiving end. Jack has this uncanny ability to shut me up. It disturbs me no end.

“Do you want to tell me about it? Is that why you called?” I say.

Jack audibly inhales, then sighs.

“I don’t know. No. Yeah. It’s just…I knew the floater from Lake Washington would have a tattoo of the Star of David on his left heel, and he did. I knew his nickname was ‘Big Boy’ and then, boom, they found it penned in blue ink on the inside of his right wrist. How did I know that?”

I shrug, forgetting that he can’t see me.

“Life’s been off kilter ever since you came along,” he says.

“What does that mean? I don’t have time for this, Jack. It’s late. My paper goes to press tomorrow. I need to get up early.”

“My wife bled to death. You know that, right?”

“Yes, Jack, I know.”

“He tortured her in the woods.”

“I know.”

“He raped her so many times. Harry couldn’t even tell how many. He mostly did it with that blade he made.”

“Jack—I don’t think I’m the person you should be talking to about this. Have you got a counselor or a psychiatrist, or—”

“He cut her face and her body up slowly, like the old Chinese torture. The death by a thousand cuts. And…I shouldn’t tell you this. Right?”

“Right. You shouldn’t. I’m not trained for this.”

My Washington State Registered Counselor card expired years ago. I haven’t taken this kind of unpleasant confession in years.

Jack sighs long and slow. Pain flows through the phone into me.

“Will you please talk to Lucy tonight? Before you’re too drunk? She was so upset about that girl from her school who got raped,” I say.

“She doesn’t talk,” he says.

“What?”

“To me. She won’t. Could you?”

“Could I what?”

“Talk to her. She really likes you.”

My silence, which lasts nearly two minutes, contains several phrases, including:

1)    “Jack, are you nuts?”

2)    “On what planet does Lucy, the future nun, like me?”

3)     “Are you really that drunk?”

I settle on a neutral query: “What makes you think she would talk to me?”

“She took you to that Career Day thing today, right?”

“Yes, she did,” I say.

And gave me no copy! No copy! I silently add. And gave me a guilty obligation to her, because I took her home, looked at the picture of her dead mom, and tucked her into bed after her freak-out at school.

Damn these lies…O’Lies, I mean.

“Look. How about we just—” I begin.

My cell phone’s call waiting beeps.

This never happens. I’m not that popular. I glance at the caller ID. It’s Jack’s home phone number. I answer it, accidentally hanging up on him.

“Hello, Lucy,” I say.

She and I have such a chat.

I learn so much about her. Including:

1)     She believes that rape is a punishment for slutty thoughts. That’s the phrase she uses: “slutty thoughts.”

2)     She believes that rape is a purifying act, like martyrdom. For the victim—not the perpetrator. The perpetrator will reunite with Satan to burn in the fires of hell forever.

3)     She has been buying her own underwear since the age of eleven, when her dad humiliated her by taking her to the lingerie department of the J.C. Penny at the mall, where he loudly requested a training bra for her. And she wanted to die, because he made a jovial joke, likening it to the bicycle training wheels he’d once bought her at the same J.C. Penny. Ever since this humiliation, she has refused to wear a bra.

4)     The kids at school are making fun of her for not wearing a bra. They accuse her of doing so for slutty reasons, rather than shame.

5)     She has zero sexual interest in Christopher, The Future Priest. Zero.

6)     She is very much ashamed of having chestile regions that require a bra. That’s the phrase she uses: “chestile regions.”

7)     She will never, ever have sex. She hates boys because they’re all future rapists.

8)     Could I help her buy a bra tomorrow?

Oh Lord, I’ve got to throw my cell phone away!

 

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Monday, March 27, 4:43 p.m.

The thing is, I think I saw that nurse, too.

I think I saw her on the bus.

I think it was during the last complex swap of press cars that occurs each week at my newspaper office. I think I saw her on the gloomy, twilight bus ride home. I think she stared at me like she knew me.

I also think I’m susceptible to suggestion. And that I need to stop talking to Jack O’Lies.

 

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