--THOUGH WE LIVE ON THE AMERICAN DOLLAR, YOU AND ME WE’VE GOT OUR OWN SENSE OF TIME
…It’s a brisk but beautiful day here. Are you staying warm? Happy about the weekend?
…I’m heading off to play some shuffleboard in a couple of hours. Love that game and could play it all day.
…Here are the first two stories I ever had published, both a little creepy, which appeared in a lit zine appropriately called Micro Horror:
She called me that, curling the word around her lips the way a fox unfurls its tail. I kept my eyes on her; afraid she’d disappear or leave me for good. It felt old-fashioned and real the way our love broke through the nasty crust of this world.
She said, “Can you get me a drink?”
When I returned from the kitchen with an exquisite mojito featuring crushed peppermint leaves she was gone.
I spent the day awaiting her return. I read every magazine on the coffee table, even her pornographic copy of last year’s Cosmopolitan.
I fell asleep on the couch, rubbing the spot her ass had sat on. The fabric was no longer warm, but still.
I couldn’t force myself to leave, even when the urge to urinate overwhelmed me. What if she came back to retrieve some inconsequential article?
I might have dreamt of her. At around three in the morning I started having visions. The phone rang several times but there was only dead air on the other end.
I waited until noon to call the police, which is harder than you think, getting a living breathing human on the phone. I suppose I could have dialed 911 but as I said, I wasn’t thinking too clearly.
I told them I needed to file a missing person report but they said I’d have to come down to the station. “There’s a protocol. We take that kind of thing very seriously.”
“So do I! Why the hell do you think I’m calling?”
“Sir,” the female officer said.
She went missing last Tuesday. The press started showing up yesterday when someone leaked the fact that Stacey’s blood was found in the trunk of my car. What kind of idiot do they think I am? That I’d kill the woman I can’t live without and then stage her disappearance?
My lawyer says it’s all circumstantial and our case is strong, but he tells me to start taking better care of myself, grooming and bathing. He says the press is portraying it as a ploy, a stunt so that I come across as burdened and tragic. The gamesmanship involved in this kind of ordeal is extraordinary. If I wasn’t living it I wouldn’t believe it.
So, Stacey, she was the love of my life. You’re probably wondering why I said “was”, aren’t you?
An expression I hate is when people ask you a question and then they answer, “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” It’s trite and overused but in this case it fits. I’ve done it once, I could do it again.
Now you’re wondering, “What first time?” aren’t you? My lawyer’s advice is to keep mum. He says if I play my cards right there could be a book here, or a movie deal. Maybe Stacey isn’t around anymore, but I’ve got some ideas for who’ll play her. She thought she could leave me. Stupid bitch, she should have known better.
A rumor went around that Holly threw her fetus into a waste basket on prom night. The kids at Jefferson H.S. recognized similarities between what they’d heard about Holly and a news story that had really happened, like, four years ago, but rumors have a way of imbedding themselves, surpassing all else.
After Homecoming, Holly got heavy overnight and gossip named it post baby fat. Her acne doubled, which seemed impossible unless you considered less conspicuous areas such as her torso and legs. In the halls no one even bothered hiding their stares, their scorn and identity-butchering. “Wait it out,” Holly’s mother advised. “It’ll all blow over.”
Holly had seen something comparable happen the year before with Emily Rosedale. Gossip had Emily making love to her own thoroughbred. Things got so ugly that Emily quit school midway through and the Rosedale’s moved to Montana, which is half a continent away.
Holly had never been popular to begin with. She had always seen high school as a burden to get through, coincidentally, much the same as she imagined the brutality of childbirth. Now the make-believe fetus-in-the-garbage-bin story bloomed and tagged her as irretrievably damaged goods, so it was nothing for Holly to burn down the school one night and do what she did to her mother the same evening, her mother being the one that had started all this by giving birth to Holly in the first place.
You might even say she was bored, waiting for the police to show up, because Holly had seen this movie before and she knew how it would end.