Tuesday, May 30, 2017

an overheard conversation


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it all began on the rainy afternoon that emily discovered that glen was a murderer.

emily had always trusted glen completely, and paid no attention to the other women in the office, with their lurid tales of the mischief stay at home husbands could get into.

one afternoon emily was feeling unwell - probably from the terrible chicken croquettes she had had at lunch with a client - and she went home early.

when she got to the apartment she recognized a car parked on the street as belonging to glen’s friend richard, whom she had always found a very polite and pleasant individual.

she had described richard once to her friend at work marcia , and although marcia had never even seen richard, and had met glen only once or twice, she pronounced that glen and richard were “absolutely” lovers.

how ridiculous people were!

nevertheless emily decided to enter the apartment as quietly as possible, so as to “surprise” glen and richard at their no doubt innocent conversation. and put the silly insinuations to rest once and for all.

emily turned the key in the front door lock and slipped noiselessly into the carpeted front room.

she could hear richard’s voice in the kitchen - surprisingly loud and a bit grating. the two men were probably sitting at the kitchen table. drinking beer? talking about football?

but if they were in the kitchen they weren’t making love, were they? so there!

emily crept a little closer toward the kitchen.

“then she really started crying,” richard was saying, “and i told her, baby, there is nobody out here to hear you, nobody at all…”

and glen laughed, as emily had never heard him laugh before, and said “yeah, they get that way, don’t they, especially when they know the end is near…”

emily listened some more, and it got worse. much worse.

somehow emily found herself back outside the apartment. she got down the stairs and out on to the street, and the cold air and light rain slapped her in the face.

waking her up? had it been a dream? a hallucination?

no, it had happened! she had heard what she had heard.

glen was a serial killer! maybe a member of a cabal of serial killers.

emily hailed a cab, and went to see her best friend, jeanette.

jeanette was married to a junior hedge fund manager, and spent her mornings practicing karate and her afternoons baking chocolate chip cookies which she sold on the internet.

jeanette went on calmly ladling freshly baked cookies onto china plates as emily told her tale.

“what do you think?’ emily asked, after describing what she had heard. “do you think - do you think - they were maybe playing some kind of role-playing game?”

“they might have been,” jeanette said, “or running through a screenplay - guys with nothing to do are big for writing screenplays - but i wouldn’t count on it. “

“should i - do you think i should i confront glen?”

“no, don’t do that! that’s the last thing you want to do! what you need, babe, is a lawyer. get a lawyer, and then go to the police. let them sort it out, they are professionals.”

“but this is so awful! how can this be? how can such a thing be?”

“well, you’re not the first woman something like this has happened to.” jeanette finished putting the cookies on plates and checked her oven to make sure it was off. “it is all just part of the general misogynistic malaise of the planet. men, as you may have noticed, are not taking kindly to the revolt of women against them, and this is all just part of that.”

“but - but what can i do?”

“i told you, get a lawyer. you must know some lawyers, from your job.”

“yes, but they just do taxes and stuff. i don’t know any real lawyers, like perry mason.”

“you could find one online.”

“but how long will that take?” emily slumped down in jeanette’s kitchen chair. “no, i think i will just - go to the police and get it over with.”

“i tell you what,” jeanette said. “i will drive you to the station. then i have an appointment, and when i’m through i’ll come back to the station and see how you are doing. maybe i can pick up a lawyer on the way. jeffrey knows a million lawyers, there must be one who can help you. how does that sound?”

“all right,” emily agreed.

jeanette dropped emily off, and emily entered the police station by herself.

inside, the station was quieter than emily had expected. a young woman in uniform was seated at a front desk.

“can i help you, ma’am?”

“yes, i think my husband is a murderer. probably a serial killer.”

“please have a seat. a detective will be with you shortly.”

emily sat down on a bench. there was nobody else on it. the station was dreary enough, but not nearly as sinister or bustling as one in a movie or tv show.

how had it come to this?

emily remembered when she was young , and how her mother and dad had aways seemed to just get along. the closest they ever had to a disagreement was dad grumbling about having roast beef for dinner every single sunday afternoon.

what a nice world it had been.

how she wished she were back in it!


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