THE DORLEY CYCLE
“Still nothing on the Chief?”
“No. It’s a fucking nightmare out there, I tell ya. The blood sample from his house tested out negative for a second base, but it matched with the one from the trunk of the car that was found outside of the trailer park.”
“They ran a check on that?”
“Aha. It’s registered to Desmond Dee Ross in Belmont, who reported it stolen last year. Ran a check for any references on the name, and get this, his son, Jackson Dee had some trouble here in Dorley in 2012.”
“Yeah? What kind?”
“Pulled off some crazy stuff after almost drowning in the old coast. Got admitted to a clinic for a while. Been missing since then.”
“You reckon he has something to do with the Chief?”
“Heck, I don’t know, but I wish it were that simple. Then we’d have something to chew on, a name, a motive maybe. But it don’t sound about right. Files all messed up from the leak and what was in the computer is the clinics report, which now has stamped him as deceased. Says he’d been possibly assaulted, admitted to hospital, three days later admitted to the mental institution with signs of schizophrenia, had two suicide attempts. He didn’t use no credit cards, didn’t rent no cars after 2012. He either ran or is dead.”
“Could it be the work of some passerby then, the Chief?”
“Hella, I don’t know. First these two kids get killed, then the FBI shows up followed by every single news channel in the state and now Chief’s missing, and I tell you that much blood I saw spilled all over his carpet, I sure don’t want to think what it might mean.”
“Yeah. He was a great guy. Can’t think of what sad son of a bitch will see a badge and shoot, and above all, here in Dorley. World’s gone to hell. “
“That much it is. Listen, I don’t mean to bother you, I know you’re on patrol next, but I have this guy in cell 3, no ID on him. He was brought early this morning passed out near the parking lot. I had to call on Robb and Stevie to hold him down so I can sedate him. He sure gave us a fight, rambling about some fellas all the while. Haven’t run prints on him yet. You think you might clear him up for me? Doug’s taking my shift for a couple of hours, I promised Linda I’d take her to the hospital myself.”
“Yeah, yeah sure. I’ll check if he’s responsive and send him off. I don’t need another drunk, junkie, damn tourist right now.”
“Don’t bother Jim, you get on your patrol and I’ll send the fucker home.”
“Ah, Deputy Kevana comes to the rescue. Much appreciate it Kevana, much appreciate it. Well I’ll be going then fellas. Say hi to Linda from me, Pete. Hope her leg heals soon.”
Kevana’s footsteps were light, squeaking against the freshly cleaned floor. I heard him clear his throat and my jaw clenched with pain. His key chain rattled against the bars.
“You feeling less feisty fella?”
I turned around and slowly stood up, patting dust off of my jeans. I had listened to that entire conversation, thinking of how easy was to lose someone and have him dead, how easy was for him to believe it and feel dead. The officer stared at me blankly, his hands at his belt, right one near the gun. How easy it had been for the sea to wash away the leftovers of a person, his name, his face, his motives, and bathe his naked body in its dark and deep waters, scrapping at the pink flesh, till it bleeds and the salt burns inside it so the body can be clean. Then he can come out new and unknown with the taste of corrosion on his lips and the breath of the desolated depths in his lungs. Then, only then after what was done to him, can he understand what needs to be done by him.
I smiled at the officer, but didn’t feel Jackson smile with me, because Jackson was obviously dead somewhere I didn’t care about. I cared about what was to come after.
“Yes officer, feeling grand already.”
“Yeah? Gave my colleagues a helluva time.”
I shrugged and smiled again.
“Drinking never did any good for me officer.”
He looked at me for a moment too long and pulled back the key from the lock. Kevana had a bully look on him, like the kid everyone wanted to hand around with because they were too afraid they’d get beaten up otherwise.
“Seems you came in with no ID. ”
I scratched my cheek. I didn’t remember how I got away from Guy and Paulie, didn’t remember how I stumbled through Dorley in my hallucinating state. I was alive and that was enough. I was a nobody to them and that was enough.
“You remember what happened to you…?”
“Victor. Got out for a walk from my rental, see been here looking for a summer job, but no luck…anyways, I bought some booze, cheaper, you know, got a little too drunk, made a scene with some locals. Got punched”, I touched my forehead and my jaw, “I guess after that I passed out officer.”
His face changed and the key slipped back in the lock and turned.
“You stay out of trouble and make sure you stick around. Nobody leaves town. Be sure to mention you got your documents stolen. Faster to get them back that way. ”
“I will officer.”
I halted my steps letting him walk past me and catch his smile.
“Enjoy the rest of the town.”
I slipped into the daylight, giving time for my eyes to adjust from the 24h sleep and greyness, and scanned the parking lot outside the police station. Every space was taken by either a black SUV or a sharply dressed lady facing a camera and gesturing towards the station. Every now and then a suited badge with a serious look would walk past me, carrying the weight of sleepless nights and unsolvable crimes. I pitied that. Then I saw someone pitying me with a gloomy look and a sleeve on his mouth, wiping away the tears of his disease.
“Jackson? What are you doing here?”
Damn that kid.
Turning around I grabbed Eli and swung an arm over him, pressing him closer to me, ignoring his protests. I glanced back but Paulie wasn’t there anymore.