Posted on February 24, 2016
Short Story While Avoiding Work
“I’m going to disappoint you, Larry, but you knew that already.” Cheryl said as she approached the desk sergeant sitting behind bulletproof glass.
Sergeant Larry Deckard, Cheryl’s brother, looked up in surprise at the pleasant sound of his sister’s voice. She had married her high school sweetheart against the wishes and good sense of her family so Larry saw a lot her at the station.
“Hey Cher, what are you doing here today …” the smile melted from his handsome face as the object Cheryl carried registered in the front part of his brain. “Oh, sweet Jesus,” he made the sign of the cross and stood.
From her right hand, fingers entwined in the thick black pelt of hair, a gift from his Italian grandfather, dangled the severed head of his brother-in-law, Cheryl’s ill-chosen husband. Marry in haste, repent in leisure was an adage his beautiful sister had chosen to live every day for 9 years. Until today.
Larry watched drops of blood splash on the terrazzo tile as they fell intermittently from the stump of Robert’s neck. The cut was jagged and dirty, as if Cheryl had dropped him in the dirt, or perhaps, after departing the rest of his body, it fell into the dirt. She would not want to do that kind of work indoors. The mess would make her psoriasis flare. Larry felt the floor come up to greet him. His head bounced on a rubber mat covering the floor. He hoped his head wouldn’t roll away.
The stench woke him immediately. Sputtering air and shoving at the pungent odor, Larry sat up, too quickly. The world rolled twice over, slowly. “Cheryl, dear God, did you see … ?”
Martinez and Wolawitz helped him to his feet. “Dude, you gotta sit down, put your head between your knees or some shit.” Martinez retrieved the rolling chair and tried to push Deckard into it. It squirted out from under wobbly knees and hit the desk with a loud bang. Deckard landed on his ass, pain shooting up his spine. Later, much later, after an MRI, a radiologist would point out a fracture of the coccyx. Deckard grabbed the desk and levered himself upright, planting one foot and then the other, he rose in silence from behind the desk like an Asp from a Swami’s basket.
Four officers, guns drawn and pointed, surrounded his beautiful sister. Her mouth forming words without sound, speaking a language only she and Larry shared, as they had shared their mother’s womb, her single egg, split by the genetics of their father’s DNA. ‘I love you, sorry about the mess. Feed the dog, he’s in his kennel.’
Unreality threatened to ground Larry again, his vision narrowed to a single point. Harsh florescent light glinted off the door handle. It broke as he shoved it downward. He ripped fingernails of both hands prying open the heavy steel door. He shouldered the door open and skidded around the wall as blasts from high-powered weapons shattered the silence. One second behind the wall, skidding around the corner shielded him from bearing witness to his sister’s accidental murder.
On hands and knees, ears ringing, he crawled to her. A gun, a .45 caliber model 1911 Colt clattered to the ground before she collapsed. He had given her that gun. Taught her to use it. Drunkenly suggested she divorce Chicago style.
The severed head wobbled as it came to rest face up near her outstretched hand, Cheryl having released it as 9mm ammunition tore through her flesh at close range. The bullets whinged and ricocheted off the block wall painting a Pollack of gore.
Larry reached his sister and pulled her into his arms, oblivious to the officers staring at him, still in shock, four uniformed officers of the apocalypse.
Wrapped safely in his arms as she lay dying, Larry asked, “but why did you bring him here, for the love of God, I would have helped you.”
Scarlet bubbled between her lips, frozen in a beatific smile, she answered in their shared language. “I want you to put him, you should put him in the den, with the other trophies.” The light died from her eyes and she left him.