In my previous post I told you all that I wasn’t going to give anything away. However, the jelly doughnut that I refer to as my mind has changed. I would love to have your thoughts on this.
The last thing I recall was going to sleep – in my bed – next to my wife. Now I’m sitting behind a cold metal table on a chair made from the same material. My hands are chained to bolts on each side of the table, and other than a robe of black terrycloth, I was naked. The robe was not mine. My hair, cut short – was wet and dripping water down my face and collecting at the small of my back.
The man on the other side of the table wore a grey suit that needed to be pressed. The jacket was covered in dog hair and smelled even worse. Funny, he looked more like a cat person. He had short wavy brown hair and smoked heavily and I wanted one. He knew this. He could see it in my face. He watched my nostrils flare as a plume of smoke wafted towards my face. He looked younger than I; maybe in his late 20’s.
After he put out his cigarette he began to ask me questions. I was nervous and scared, and it was cold in that concrete room. At first the questions seemed benign, harmless even; like a survey. Then the man adjusted his Target Clearance-Rack tie and asked:
“Where’s your wife Rudy?”
Rudy! I said it to myself a number of times. That’s my name. Rudy.
“My wife?” I held my breath for only half a second – crawling on my hands and knees through my memory banks in search of the answer that would make him want to give me a cigarette. “My wife should still be in bed. Could I have a cigarette, please?”
Well, well. It appears to be just that simple: say the magic word and all that. He plucked one from his pack and handed it to me. His hands were unnaturally hairy and his breath reeked of onions and something else. From a lighter, he brought the flame to my face before he sat back down.
Julia, my wife of thirteen years. Her black hair falling on my face like a wig in some Halloween shop. She was half an inch taller than me and usually proud to say as such. The last thing I recall, I was in bed; her arm uncomfortably wrapped around my neck.
The man chose to probe deeper. “Are you sure, Rudy? Are you sure she’s at home in bed?”
I nodded and expelled a gash of grey smoke happily from the side of my mouth. At that moment, I realized that the top of my left hand was irritated and itched worse than a vagina in a whorehouse. My apologies; that was a bit vulgar. Yes, but quite true.
“Should we call her?”
I nodded again.
Wouldn’t they have already called her? Was this some kind of ruse? The man – whom I’d assumed by that point was a police officer – extracted a cell phone from somewhere beyond my line of sight, dialed a number and placed it face up on the table in front of me.
I told him. “She despises being woke before she has to be.”
“Then I will apologize.” He smiled at this, like he knew some cataclysmic information that I was unaware of.
He dialed Julia’s number. We heard it ring once through the speaker on the officer’s phone. Only one ring then it picked up. I felt the soft caress of relief. Of course, she would pick up. She sleeps with her phone on her nightstand directly next to her head. Soon it would all be over. She would come bail me out and bring me home. She would be angry with me for sure but it would all be settled with a smile. Then perhaps a morning romp through her panties. I scratched the back of my hand and listened for her unhappy greeting.
The cellular number you’re trying to reach is no longer in service. Please check the number and dial again.
The officer pressed a button on the phone and ended the call. The phone quickly disappeared to wherever it came from. The smug grin that had been hot-glued to his smartly shaven face was gone. In its place was disdain, displeasure, and even a pinch of amusement.
“Where’s your wife Rudy?”
This time I had nothing at all to say. Confusion. Frustration. My mouth was dry and I stammered for something tangible. Something that I could wrap my mind around. Where was Julia? Why has her cell phone been disconnected? Then it hit me like a wild pitch. I looked at the officer. What did he know? Why was I there? He pulled out a pen and a cliché mini-notebook; as if anything I had to say might be relevant. Where was my Julia? But more importantly at the moment:
“Why am I here? I asked. “Why am I in chains?”
The last thing I recall was feeling her under me. She was warm and wet. Her legs wrapped around my waist tightly. A high-pitched moan was manufactured with each thunderous thrust.
The officer kindly provided me with the rest of his cigarettes and I frowned. Clearly, it was going to be a long night. He set a digital recorder on the table and hit the play button.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“My husband is holding a gun to my head and is forcing me to call you.”
“Try and stay calm for me okay? What’s your name?”
“Julia Simms. My husband is Rudy Simms.” There was a pause as the dispatcher recognized my name.
“Do you know why he’s doing this to you Julia?” There was some static on the line.
“He says that if you don’t get here within the next ten minutes, I’m going to die.” She cried into the phone like she was in pain. My Julia never cried.
“Julia, tell him that a unit is on the way. Julia? Stay on the phone with me, Julia.”
There was more static and then nothing. My eyes were burning. The metal door sprung open and another officer walked in. This one was older and seemed more experienced. Perhaps he was taking over. I craned my neck to the left to catch a glimpse of any activity beyond but there was no movement or sound – like walking into an empty gymnasium. I reached for another smoke, flicked the lighter and took a long pull. From a yellow folder, the older officer pulled out a photo – black and white. Why do cops refuse to use color film?
“Is this your house Rudy?”
The photo depicted a three-gabled home constructed mostly of two-inch pane security glass. Julia loves windows, and she loves the view from the hill. I always thought it to be a housekeeper’s nightmare. The front lawn was impeccable thank you very much. Julia had continuously demanded that I hire a gardener but my stubbornness was an entity all in itself. So, against her will I chose to do it all myself. The older officer stepped towards the table and smiled at me.
“When the unit arrived at your house Rudy,” He paused here – leaning on the table with both hands – for dramatic effect. “The doors were unlocked and the house was empty.”
The confusion I felt after hearing the 911 recording had now intensified. I shook my head vigorously – as if this would dispel any evil demons that happened to be in hiding. I was unable to comprehend what was happening to me. I looked up at the older officer pleadingly.
“Where am I?”
Both officers – who, at that point were leaning against the wall adjacent to the metal door – glanced at each other.
“Rudy,” the younger officer took his turn, speaking in almost a whisper – attempting to calm me, I guess. “What made you put a gun to your wife’s head?”
Once again, I searched my memory. Did I really do that? Why would I do that? Wait a goddamned minute here; I don’t even own a gun.
“There’s no way that I did that.” I told them both.
“Is that your wife’s voice on the recording?”
The older officer snickered. “Did she do something to piss you off? Women can be like that.”
“No!” I shouted. They had become accustomed to my subdued demeanor. “I wouldn’t do that. I don’t even own a gun.” This had been the cue that they were waiting for I suppose. The older officer winked and stepped out of the cold room without shutting the door or even caring that he left it open. God, I wish they would get to the point. Or tell me their names at the very least. Again, I tried to see activity outside the room I was in but there was nothing. Alone now, the young officer sat down across from me and lit a smoke. I followed suit.
“Where’s Julia, Rudy?”
I took a deep drag. It felt good.
“Like I told you: I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know what I’ve done. And as far as I know, Julia is at home in bed where I left her an hour ago. And when she wakes up and finds me gone she’s gonna think I’m cheating. No, my wife is at home.”
The older officer quickly returned with a zip lock bag held tightly in his hand. He set the bag down in front of his counterpart. Inside the bag was a gun and I froze.
The last thing I recall is sitting at the breakfast table, alone. Though it was not breakfast time. There was a folded newspaper sleeping soundly on the table in front of me but I wasn’t reading it. I’ve never been a fan of books or reading. It wasn’t something I did for fun. If I wanted the news I’d turn on the television.