The day was gloomy and the rain fell like thin sheets of plastic film over snap shots in a photo album. I saw Dempsey staring up at the window of my apartment. He was in the park by the rose bushes that bled all over the fake green grass. The city had put that crap in to replace the real grass that harbored bugs. Those bugs ate the roses the city was so famously known for. In this time and day everyone knows what’s best for you, laws and ordinances are passed to protect you, whether you want to be protected or not.
He was just staring up at my window.
I wanted to scream, “Fuck you Dempsey and your cow of a wife and the two little monsters your sour semen spawned!”
But you can’t speak that way to a man of the law, no matter if he’s hounding you for real good reason. And you can’t shoot him in the head ten times and chop his body up, throw it in a Christmas gift box and mail it to his cow of a wife. Even if he’s taken the law into his hands, beaten you to a bloody pulp, rendered your right leg useless when years ago you used to be a marathon runner.
Dempsey showed up at this very apartment a year ago. His short stout body marched right in with all the arrogance only a police detective can carry from years of abusing the law. I didn’t ask him in. I am not a man who endorses their activities.
“Are you Barry Sodenburg,” He flashed his credentials quickly so I couldn’t catch a name or a badge number. He was shifty like that.
“Uh…yes,” I had told him, stunned this man in a rumpled gray overcoat that was much too big for him didn’t even say hello or introduce himself.
“I need to ask you about Amanda Coles.” He barked, walked in circles around me.
“I don’t know who that is--”
“Don’t lie,” He said.
“I’m not lying. Why would you---”
“I noticed your upper lip is twitching.’
“That hardly makes me a liar--”
“You know Amanda’s parents don’t you?”
“No. I barely know them…they lived across street from my mother---”
“Exactly.” He smiled.
‘I don’t follow… Detective…?”
“Ahhh….you know who I am. You read that on my I.D. You know everything. Nothing gets passed you, Mr. Sodenburg. Not even the fact that her shoe fell in that mud puddle the day you took her from the backyard of her parents’ house! You went back, oh, yeah, you went back and retrieved that yellow and white slipper that only fit’s a ten year old girl. You didn’t think on April 3rd, at two a.m., on Amherst Street, no one would see you. Everyone in bed. Not this little old lady walking her dog. She thought it was strange a man sneaking around the scene of a crime. So she called the cops.”
I stared at him for a few moments. Not even blinking. “That’s bogus, Detective Dempsey. I was with my girlfriend on April 3rd at two a.m. She lives in Baltimore. How can I be a hundred miles away and here, at the same time?”
Dempsey laughed. “Bogus…” He laughed again. He opened the door of my apartment, went through the doorway, and closed it half way. He stared at me, laughed again. “Bogus…I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time.” He slammed the door behind him.
They couldn’t prosecute me but they persecuted me though. No real evidence I took Amanda Coles. My girlfriend Becky was the hole in the prosecution. There was no body either. Amanda was gone. Disappeared into thin air, as they say. A whole year of tabloid news articles, interviews, newspapers ruining my life. Damning me, for no information. Ah, Dempsey didn’t quit.
Four months ago.
Three men pushed open my front door. They were wear black hoods and carrying led pipes. I backed away, tripped over the ottoman.
“What do you want?” I screamed.
“Barry Soddenberg….you are guilty of a heinous crime!” The man spoke in a gravelly voice. He was big, like the other one beside him. But the man that stood in the background was small. I knew him by his scent. He wore too much old spice. I knew it was Dempsey. “Because of you,” my attacker continued. “Amanda’s family will never have peace.”
The pipes came down hard and frequent, breaking several bones in my arms, shoulder and right leg.
I tried to sue the city. I couldn’t prove it was Dempsey. He has kept his job. That’s why he’s out in in pouring rain watching my window. Obsession is a wicked thing. That’s why I’ve turned to the Bible. Jesus is helping me cope with my obsessions. I wonder if it would help Dempsey.
I hear a knock on my door. I looked out my window. Dempsey was gone.
“This must be it,” I told myself. “Our final showdown.”
I opened the door. He just stood in the doorway, dripping all over the hallway. Everything about him looked sad. I’d like to introduce him to Jesus.
Dempsey sighed. “Can I come in?”
I smiled, bowed.
“Thank you,” He waltzed in, same arrogant bastard I met a year ago. He sat in my leather chair, the one that belonged to my grandmother when she lived in France during the occupation. He fucking knew that. “I quit the force today.” He lit a cigarette. He also knew I didn’t allow smoking in my apartment. “They don’t see eye to eye with me about your case.”
“Well, my case is closed. I was never prosecuted.” I told him.
“Oh. I agree the case is closed. But I will have you in front of a judge again.” He produced a .45 from his coat. “God will be your judge, Soddenberg. I know you took Amanda Coles. I know you did foul and disgusting things with her body, because you couldn’t help yourself. Any last minute confessions, bud?”
“No,” I began to laugh wildly.
“What’s so fucking funny, asshole?” Dempsey screamed.
“Only that you worked so hard on this case and she was right under your nose the whole time.”
The point of the knife pierced his back and the tip appeared from his ribcage. Blood formed around his soaked dress shirt, then began to run like a mini river down his midsection. Amanda came from behind the leather chair, giggling, and a wild animal look in her tiny brown eyes.
Dempsey never screamed. He just gurgled, reached out for Amanda. His eyes rolled in the back of his head, his jaw relaxed. The .45 fell in the pool of blood on my carpet.
Amanda turned to me. “Did I do alright, Barry?” She ran to me, hugged my legs. “Now can we get married?”