National Poetry Month, Day 20

Have you ever seen an interrogation room without hi-contrast lighting, where shadows hung over eyelids like the upper deck at a late afternoon ballgame? Cigarette smoke cuts the air. The camera starts wide–that way you can see the back of the interrogating officer–and slowly zooms in. The Witness has long, greased, curly hair. His pinstriped purple button-up cradles a couple modest gold chains, and just as he’s about to start spilling it he lifts his right arm, takes a drag, and props his elbow on the table so he can use the hand to gesture while he talks. Just once I want this scene to play out more like absolute nonsense.

*

“Does it work?” Frank exclaimed from beside the urinal. “I got her to confess to shit she didn’t even do!

*

I feel like the elements exist in a simultaneous state. I’ve caught myself trying to explain from three different points now, and each time I realized that’s not how the story really started.

*

We’d moved back to the city. For me it was back, for her it was the first time. The new place was on the hill, and we were on the fifth or sixth floor, and I remember understanding the places on the floors above us were much nicer, and that our landlord had been hesitant to show them to us from the minute we walked into her office.

No, see she was going to commute three days a week. Somehow we were fine with that. I mean, I know I was fine with that. This girl I had on the side, this blond chick, that’s usually when we’d hang out. Chick had this wonky scooter thing with a bad motor and practically no brakes, but for some reason she liked it when I towed her around town on it.

*

But I haven’t even brought up the Russian. That was the building next door. The entrance felt more like a hotel though, with a doorman and everything.

Can I explain why I was there? No, and I couldn’t to the doorman either. But he knew.

“Here for the Russian, huh?” This guy was big, by the way. Maybe he was more of a bouncer than a door man. “Take the elevator. Corner suite to the left.”

I asked him which floor I should take, and he laughed.

*

That one time at her place we got careless. This shit hole abutted an offramp, one of those windy ones. One day some crooks were driving a stolen semi truck (who steals a semi?) and they tried to escape the chase by banking down this ramp. They took the corner too fast, and crashed into the side of the building. But this was years afterwards.

I just remember us lying in bed, and that for some reason she got the urge to look out the window. I looked with her, just in time to see a man drop his camera and peel out of the parking lot.

*

Did I ever see the Russian?

You know, I think that was just something different altogether.

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