For the past year I’ve been freewriting short-short stories via Steemit’s #freewritehouse, and it’s so much fun to see all the various and unexpected characters who spring to mind when you set the timer for 5 minutes and start writing with no pre-planning and no idea what’s gonna happen next or who’s gonna show up. The 5-Minute Freewrite is the brainchild of @mariannewest, whose resume is so long, I won’t post it here.
I don’t know what prompted me to say it
but after years and years of hearing Sarge complain about his wife, I said maybe you ought to do something already, rather than vent about her to me every day.
She wasn’t a bad-looking woman. No sir. Highlighted hair, manicured nails, Botoxed face, pouty lip-filler lips, and a personal trainer who kept her looking half her husband’s age. Sarge wasn’t bad-looking either, but men get more of a free pass. Shaved head. Gray beard stubble. Knife-edge cheekbones, and those cold, pale, Aryan blue eyes. Sure, he could lose a few pounds, but it was “all muscle,” he said, and a lot of bad-asses have gone down under those Popeye forearms. He limps like an old man and lurches when he runs thanks to a thug with a sawed-off shotgun, but there isn’t a young man on the force who out-fight Sarge.
Big Brother to countless kids from the wrong side of the tracks, he’s always been a gentle giant. When he’s not chasing down drug dealers, he’s taking their kids bowling or out on nature hikes.
The wife turned out to be an anomaly. High school sweetheart. Moving to the big city was a promotion for him and some kind of inspiration for her. She laughed every time the waiters mistook them for Dad and daughter. I never liked her, but I never knew her as the small-town girl he loved since junior Prom.
The 9-1-1 call from their granddaughter who found her took the city by surprise, to say the least. School got out early due to another bogus bomb threat, and Grandma’s house is this girl’s usual go-to, but her bombshell grandma wasn’t usually dead in the water. Literally, the bubbles were still like foam mountain peaks, and the smell of Green Tea with Rejuvenating Ginger lingered in the air, and that blonde babe had her hands on a Bluetooth thing with a Mindfulness tape playing mindful nature sounds to keep her looking calm and youthful. A nearly empty crystal wineglass, the crazy-expensive kind, stood on the mosaic tile rim surrounding the whirlpool.
“Was it something I said”
is a common phrase, but the consequences of saying some lame cliche can be pretty uncommon.
Then again, in our line of work, a lot of cold cases stay cold because there’s just no evidence to prove foul play.
And nobody, I mean NOBODY, would imagine Sarge could stage a scene like his wife’s final act.
The insurance policy wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover her credit card bills. He didn’t kill her for any windfall, that’s for sure. About all he’d accomplish was plugging the steady drain from his bank account.
If he did it.
I’m the only one in Carson City PD who might conceivably raise the question of whether that electrocution in the bathtub was really only an accident.
Does he have an alibi? We were at the bagel shop that day, but can I honestly say I can account for every minute of his afternoon?
He didn’t complain to anyone but me because I’m the quiet one, the man who listens without judgment, who tosses out an occasional one-liner to break the tension.
What prompted me to say “Do something already” in that mafia mobster voice–it had been weeks since I watched “Goodfellas” on Netflix.
Sarge is a stoic, so it was especially moving to see him blinking back tears at the funeral home visitation, but ya gotta wonder.
“Maybe you ought to do something already…”
Maybe I’ll never shoot off my big mouth again.
Anyway, she was home alone and it was an accident, and I have more than enough drug dealers, missing persons, and cold cases already without opening up a whole new can of worms.
That’s my story. Ain’t no one gonna prompt me to do anything about it already.