Part 1, Part 2
A whirlwind of screaming beckoned. A tremolo effect that saw a roar of life and death set in peaks and valleys turned sideways and then shifted backward into yesterday; stretching forward into tomorrow. The world was a blur of dizzying light and chaos. A veritable vista of vibrant views that now played upon a viola at three thousand decibels and slowed down to one seventieth its natural speed.
The earth was nothing but quakes and quivers and my legs were very much the same. My heard pounded like a timpani beneath the world’s most aggressive arms playing Tchaikovsky in the world’s most extreme orchestra.
Life was a wall of death that spanned millennia. Death was a dot on the horizon that called like a siren song. Sang a tune of sweet nectar that flooded my ears with the warmth that might have just been blood.
Trepidation stayed my feet while curiosity moved my arms. Doors parted like the red seas before Moses. The person at the front was hidden behind a sheet of glass that only reflected my face – some unknown entity that made me think of the Wizard of Oz. It was like trying to exchange pleasantries through a glory hole.
Name? Why was I there? Who did I need to see? Take a seat.
Life in a standstill.
Eventually, I heard the buzz. Saw the man enter. Clean shaven, all blue and black and brass. Said to follow him.
T.V. always made it sound like you walked in and just asked for the detective. This made it feel like I was turning myself in. I started to wonder if that’s what I was doing.
We entered a room that actually looked a lot like T.V. shows seem to depict. Desks and shitty computer monitors, towers that were probably still getting Windows Vista updates. The door closed with a heavy thud – like a gavel hit from an annoyed judge.
Suddenly, I felt like all eyes were suddenly on me. It was that creeping sensation like when you wake up from a night where you’ve clearly drunk too much and you’re waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Waiting for that one person to finally say, “So…how you feeling today?” with that look in their eye that says they know more about what you did than you do.
I walked past desks until the officer points forward to an actual office.
“Detective Harvel,” he introduced himself. “Have a seat.”
My heart is a hive of hornets. My skin is nothing but goosebumps and sweat.
He pulled out a bag and put in on the table. My heart stopped and my ears dreamt a million accusations and a great blank space of rebuttal. My mouth hung open like a fish gasping for air. I barely heard his words.
Life in slow motion.
“You okay?” he asked.
I gave him one of those, “Huh?” replies that I imagine cops love so much.
“These are yours, right?” he said with a tone that implied he was repeating himself.
I looked over the contents. Wallet, movie ticket stub, key to my high school locker. Why the fuck do I still keep that? Oh…yeah…I suppose that…
“You need some water?” he said. “Coffee, maybe?”
I didn’t understand.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m just…” I just…what? “I’m having a hard time processing this…”
“Well,” he said, “these appear to be your things unless that license belongs to your twin…who also has the same name as you and lives at your address and has your same phone number.”
“Right,” I said, “I…I mean…I get that,” I half-lied, “but…”
“Like I said,” he said, “we found it on some guys down in Allensville.”
I looked at my hand. I thought about my injuries.
My desire for an inquiry was buried beneath a hesitation that said that too many of the wrong kind of questions would make me a suspect. “Uh…I…uh…” I eloquently replied.
“Look,” he said, “we got a call. Intersection of Marvin Boulevard and 36th. Get there and we got three dead. Still not sure what the hell happened. Turf-related, maybe. We’re still trying to sort it out. We found your wallet on one of the guys, a…” he flipped through papers while the silence spread out like an old afghan on a cheap bed, “a….Mr. Timothy Wallers, alias T-Wall. Ringing any bells?”
I shook my head.
“I was…” I paused, measuring my words, “I got mugged about a week ago. Wrong place, wrong time kind of thing.”
“And what were you doing in Allensville?” he asked.
“Stopping for gas,” I lied. “Guys came out of nowhere. I gave ’em what they wanted and limped on home.”
“And why didn’t you report it?”
“Group of random guys that I can’t describe in a bad location who took a wallet. I might not be a cop, but I know that the odds of that panning out is pretty slim.”
“Didn’t happen to be there last night, did you?”
“I was at home last night.”
“Anyone able to corroborate that?”
“I…I mean…I live alone, so no.”
He gave me a mile long stare. He sat silent for just long enough to make me feel more uncomfortable than I already did, and then he kept going for another minute.
“Well,” he finally said, “glad to get your belongings back to you.”
“Yeah,” I replied as smoothly as a man who doesn’t know if he’s guilty or not, “thanks.”
I went to leave while I stuffed my wallet back in my pocket. It felt out of sorts. It felt like there was something in it that didn’t belong. I knew I’d have to wait until I got home to find out what.
“Do me a favor,” the detective said, “don’t leave town for a while. In case we have more questions.”
“Roger dodger,” I said, knowing that I sounded like a fucking moron shortly after saying it.