“I knew something was wrong for a long time, but I couldn’t admit it. Not out loud anyway.” She sighed, picked up another cigarette out of the pack sitting on the table in front of her, lit it, and took a deep drag sighing again as she exhaled a thick plume of smoke. She’d been chain-smoking since she got into the fluorescently-lit, cold interview room, but those were the first words she’d spoken. She stared at the two-way mirror on the wall across from where she sat. She wanted her observers to know she realized they were there.
She pushed her honey blonde hair behind her ear and leaned back in her chair. She was too thin and haggard, dark quarter moons punctuating her sunken eyes. It was obvious that something had been weighing on her for quite some time, but it wasn’t impossible to see that she was beautiful—high cheek bones, oceanic eyes, a creamy complexion with a button nose and a smattering of freckles across it that kept her looking young even though she was pushing 40 despite how worn she looked in those harsh lights wrapped in a thick cloud of her own smoke.
The bulbous detective seated across from her gave her a long, silent, sterile stare. It was intended to make her talk, but she was tough. She returned the stare with an unrivaled iciness that told everyone behind the mirror that she wasn’t putting up with any shit. Not today. Not here. Not from them.
He was the one to break the silence first. “What do you mean you knew something was wrong?”
She shook her head seeming both absolutely exhausted with all of this and amused at the question all at once and barked a short laugh.
“I know why I’m here and why you’re the one that’s ‘interviewing’ me instead of some young, fresh-faced guy with half as many wrinkles that hasn’t seen as many tragedies and still has some warmth left to his eyes. If it were that guy, I’d be getting the sympathetic ear of someone who understands I had no involvement in what my husband has done. But, it’s you in here with your stony glares, all attitude and demands and a face hardened by too many long nights dealing with dead kids beaten lifeless by their own parents and rape victims thrown out of cars and left for dead in ditch somewhere like their mothers’ worst nightmares come true. You sitting right there with your arms crossed and that grimace slashed across your face tell me that you already suspect I might have known all along and helped that piece of shit with his handiwork. Am I right?”
“I’m right. You don’t even have to say it.” She blew the smoke from the last drag of her cigarette out the corner of her mouth, stubbed it out into the too full ashtray sitting in front of her, and immediately lit another one. She tapped the lighter over and over again on the surface of the table staring straight ahead, gaze never wavering.
He huffed and shifted his considerable weight on the chair, but he didn’t say anything. He stared her down yet again attempting to wait out her explanation.
More or less, it was a Mexican Standoff.
A half hour later, the rest of her cigarettes gone, she asked for another pack.
He huffed again but this time he leaned forward tapping his finger onto the table gruffly and stated matter-of-factly, “You can fucking forget it until you talk.”
“Listen, Porky, you can get me those cigarettes or we can sit here all fucking night. The choice is yours. And, I’d recommend, if I were you, sending them in with someone who isn’t such a dickwad because as long as you have the attitude you came in here with, you’re not getting shit from me.”
He sat back, red-faced. She figured if she spit in his face right then, it would sizzle, steam rising into the air above him. He grumbled unintelligibly under his breath but pushed his considerable weight out of the chair. His knees nearly gave out on him but he straightened up and made the short walk to the door slamming it behind him.
She looked around the room bouncing one knee needing another cigarette. She rarely smoked anymore, but she could not take this pressure right now without a nicotine rush. It would take forever to get the smell out of her hair. There was nothing remarkable about the four walls. A few paint chips. A spider web in one corner. The tile needed buffing. But all in all it was pretty depressingly whitewashed and bland. She supposed it was intentional to keep people from getting distracted or from distracting themselves anyway. The feeling of being watched wouldn’t change though even if there were a mural of fluffy bunnies and rainbows painted on the walls.
The door opened and a female detective with auburn hair pulled back in a tight bun waltzed in and sat the pack of cigarettes on the table between them before taking a seat. The detective pulled the chair in close to the table and gave her a long look. There was nothing assuming or pretentious in that look though which put her at ease a little.
“Listen, Mrs. Parker, we’ve got to make progress here. We’ve been here for hours. You’re tired. We’re tired. Can you please explain what you meant by your earlier statement that you knew what was going on but couldn’t admit it?”
“First of all, get it right, okay? Let’s set the record straight right now. I said I knew something was wrong. I did not ever say that I knew what was going on. Get it down. Record it. Make sure all those motherfuckers back behind the glass have it written down because this goes nowhere. No. Where. Until that’s straight. Got it?”
“Does that mean I can record this and you’ll give your written permission for that?”
“Sure, if that ensures you’ll get the story straight instead of screwing the shit up the way you assholes always do. Bring it out. Tape recorder. Video recorder. I don’t care. Do what you need to do.”
The detective turned abruptly to the mirror told them to set it up and made a hand motion. A young uniformed cop brought in a sheet of paper and sat it on the table. She took it and looked it over. “Give me a pen…”
The female detective obliged pulling a plain black bic ballpoint pen out of a pocket inside her blazer.
She took the pen, signed the paper with a huge superfluous signature.
“Thanks, Mrs. Parker. Now, why don’t we start from the beginning? What exactly is it that you couldn’t admit?”
Of course, this has been another edition of Sunday Confessions with More Than Cheese and Beer. The prompt this week was admit and since I'm so fucking obscenely candid on this blog at times, I have no real admissions to make so here's some fiction. Hope you enjoy and as always let me know what you think!
You have such a gift. You ensare your readers and when we get to the end we hunger for more!
Great use of the prompt and yet again what an amazing piece of fiction.