Colors Ch. 07byJoe Wordsworth©
Colors (1981) - Pt. 7 - Fall
Took half-second, watched it in slow motion in head. Always the way with falling, isn't it? Seems like it takes forever.
Been ten years, three months, since last time. Know what you're thinking. Thinking "ten years? not eons?". Nope. Nature unpleasant--sure I've mentioned that before. Try my hardest, but nature tries harder. Can't deny what we are. Never compromise with excuses, never forget. So, yeah, ten years and three months. Only know that because Artie reminded me last week. Like drug addict in recovery, like drunk in program--except when I fall, others do, too. Fell today. Quiet parts of me ask "Why?"; louder parts ask "When next?". Locked in middle is me and body of suspect in most recent job. Body is innocent. Found out two minutes ago.
Ten years. Three months. Two minutes. Half-second. Body and me sitting on bench in Macall Bridge Park, all the time in the world.
Make no excuses, tell no tales, no shifting blame. Mauled innocent kid, tonite, based on bad info. Stalked and preyed and dropped on Body... Body didn't deserve it, Body didn't do anything wrong. Could cry about it. Could get choked up. Lose focus. But choking up, losing focus, doesn't help find guilty people. Every minute wasted on introspection is another minute Guilty gets away. Another mile down highway in stolen car. Another quarter spent on phone calls to friends for help.
Should be out there looking.
But, two minutes with Body is least I could do. Two minutes to collect self. Apologize. Two minutes to spend on weakness not too much to ask at times like this. Pull out Body's wallet. Body needs name. Culprits, crooks, criminals, crankheads, call girls... all get pet names. Each gets nickname. Seperates me from them. Takes familiarity, humanity, out of equation. Easier to drop Whorehopper off overpass than Paul Jenkins. Easier to break Dope-Pusher's neck than John Smith's.
Body's name is Thomas Coffee. Sixteen years old. Blue eyes. Black hair. Driver's license expires two days short of one year from now. Means Body... Thomas... means Thomas got driver's license Tuesday. Address, Social, height, weight... and picture of open eyed smiling Thomas. Should stop there. Quiet part tells me to stop. Loud part wants to know more.
Screams in shrill tones in head "Thumb open wallet and meet Thomas Coffee."
Three dollars in the fold, gift certificate to skating rink. Letter with flowery writing signed "love, julie"--talks about being in love forever and how beautiful he is to her. Apparently, last two months on school this year were "most wonderful two months of my whole life with you". Picture of Thomas with friends. Picture of girl, no name on back. Picture of differnt girl, younger, still no name--looks like Thomas Coffee, but feminine. Twin? Picture of Thomas with older Coffee-looking man. Father? Back of picture says "happy 14th birthday, Tommy".
Body is Thomas Coffee. Thomas Coffee... is Tommy.
Friends and family say "Tommy". Hope you don't mind me calling you "Tom". Not your friend, but we're close now. Last thing you saw before you died. I'm end of your world. Makes us close. Call you "Tom".
Tuck Tom's wallet back into Tom's pocket. Tuck Tom in with my coat, lay him on bench. Picture of Tom and father mine now. Soft spot. Looks like Tom's sleeping on bench, from far away. Closer and red marks offend blue splotches and streak across black patches. Caved in side of head, put on bench. Can't see unless close. Make call to police in two more minutes. They find Tom. Take him home. No prints. No weapon. No way to find me.
Pay visit to Tom's twin tomorrow. Tell her "sorry". Tell her what I can. Tell her "undertand mad, understand sad, understand... want me dead, want me hurt". Tell her to take ten years, three months, and two minutes. If still feel that way then, won't stop you. Won't defend self. Won't fight. Tell her she has word. Tell her "expect me, then".
Not many people know how long they live. Roll the dice. Take chances. Hope to see Christmas this year. Have a bit more than ten years, three months left, clock starts ticking tomorrow. Fell in half-second, today--felt like eternity; have ten years, three months, and two minutes left--the numbers seem to run so fast, now.