Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Office Story--Part 2

A week later, he did go to the police. He spoke to two detectives in a white, windowless room and was struck by how much the detectives reminded him of the detectives on a TV show—not any specific TV show but every TV show about police detectives he had ever seen.

One of the detectives was young and handsome and the other was older and handsome. The young one was blond and the old one had white hair. The young one’s face was smooth and the old one’s face had deep lines.

The detectives offered him coffee in a paper cup. They sat across from him at a table and drank their own coffee from white ceramic mugs.

“Does your wife do this sort of thing often?” the younger detective asked.

“I don’t know what this sort of thing is,” he said. “I don’t know what she’s doing. That’s why I’m here.”

“Does she disappear often?” the older detective asked. “That’s what we mean by ‘this sort of thing’. That’s what we’re asking you.”

“Not often,” he said. “No.”

The older detective leaned forward. The man could see the butt of detective’s gun in the shoulder holster under his arm. The butt of the gun seemed very dark and heavy and the leather of the holster reminded him of a horse’s harness. The gun looked like it was straining to get out.

“But she has before,” the older detective said. “That’s the thing, right?”

“A few times. Not often, though. I wouldn’t say often.”

“I would consider my wife disappearing a few times a few times too often for me.”

The young detective smiled with half of his mouth and wrote something down in a small notebook.

“And she’s been gone for about a week,” the younger detective said. “Is that right?”


“Has she ever disappeared for a week before.”

“No. Not really.”

“No or not really?” the older detective said.


They asked him a series of other questions, and the more they asked the more he felt as if he had done something wrong. His answers sounded evasive and unsatisfying to even his own ears, and when he felt an itch on his nose and scratched it, he wondered if that too was the sort of gesture a guilty man would make.

When they were done they asked him if there was anything else he would like them to know about her, but he could not think of anything—not anything important. So he said: “She called me old shoe.”

The two detectives looked at him.

“I called her honey and she called me old shoe.”

The younger detective looked down at his notebook but didn’t write anything down.

“OK,” the older detective said. “Duly noted.”

He went home. He looked at some of her things that she kept on the bedroom windowsill. These were the things she loved: a tiny porcelain squirrel; a souvenir crystal boomerang from a vacation to Australia five years ago; a masonry jar painted to look like a snowman. It was then that he noticed the piece of paper sticking out of the masonry jar. He pulled it out, unfolded it, read the carefully written letters several times over.

The note said: “Your wife is safe. She is comfortably ensconced in chic surroundings, so there is no reason to worry or follow. Sincerely, The Phantom Coalition.”

It did not look anything like his wife’s handwriting.


Blogger Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Where's part three, dude?

10:19 AM  

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