Sorry for the break. The shit that went down in Augusta well, it bothered me. I needed to lay low for a spell; get my bearings as it were. The box has mostly remained untouched, continuing its slow rot in the corner of our office, occasionally visited and slept upon by Laura’s cat when it isn’t growling and hissing at imaginary mice.
Sleep, there’s something I haven’t been getting much of these days. Laura, for her part, just keeps on snoring away, curled in a ball, her back to me. And there I’ll lay, nearly every night now, for the past three weeks. Exhausted but wired, like a runner on mile twenty-three, slumped over, some haggard expression writ upon their face and a limp in their step. But, where am I running? And which mile marker have I passed?
I’ve avoided it till now, till tonight. I’ve been firm and forced myself to remain in bed; sometimes till the sun is up, till the alarm goes off, till the next dawn or the one after that.
Work has sucked. Especially so after I got caught using the copier on the clock.
I’m afraid of something happening to these documents; a natural disaster, a forgotten cigarette, an embittered and vengeful Laura. So, I’ve been trying to copy the entirety of the find, during lunch breaks, at least to start. But, Rob the floor manager caught me upstairs.
I was lost in the flash of light, slicing its way over the papers followed by the sound of the rollers and the smell of burning toner, when the door was parted from its frame behind me.
I wanna write that he had cleared his throat but, it wasn’t quite that. Really, it was more like he had started to speak but, phlegm had slid down his throat threatening to penetrate his windpipe and eliciting a protective response from his body.
So, Rob kinda cleared his throat from behind me. Hearing it brought me back to middle-school, with my step-father’s “polite” reminders that I was where he wanted to be and where I needed to not be. I mean, that clearing of his throat didn’t bring with it any fear or surprise from me. No, rather it was that meatier sensation of anticipating, maybe even preparing for, an argument. The tension crept across my shoulders winding them up into a mess of knots like the string bound up in my junk drawer. The scar on my hand was just barely containing the beating blood behind its cracked and crusted surface.
And then he just stood there, resting on that sickly noise as the entrance to a telling off. I wanted to ignore him, after such a pitiful start, if he wasn’t man enough to broach the subject openly, he wasn’t man enough to warrant a response. So, I kept on scanning, ignoring the knots forming in my back and the presence in the room. He didn’t allow that to continue for much longer. Three more daggers of light sliced their way across the room before Rob stepped nearer and asked, “What ya doing Henry?”
“Copying.” I replied.
“Ha. No shit. Do I need to be more direct about this? Lunch ended half an hour ago.”
“I’m nearly finished.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Have I interrupted your important work here? All while on the clock.”
“I don’t have a scanner at home.”
“Henry, I don’t care that you’re using our copier, especially when you’re not actually printing anything but, I don’t think it unreasonable to expect you to work while at work.”
I mumbled something like an acceptance of his perspective and he left me there to finish the last few pages I had brought in. That was nice of him, I suppose.
But, yeah, I think I’ll need to be more careful in the future. I don’t need that kind of hassle and I need to ensure my ability to get these documents copied.
Enough about that. While going through these papers, this particular one stood out to me. I don’t know how this is related to the Coopers or if it just got stuck in the shuffle but, I’ve been drooling over this report for the last hour. Not really reading it so much as just falling into the ink, letting it pull me into its black embrace while Laura snores on.
Despite the insomnia, I am pretty tired, I can feel myself slipping, extra mistakes, slouching, eyes coming in and out of focus. So, let’s get the facts out there before I fall out of this chair.
Right off of the bat, these reports don’t seem related to the rest, as there’s no mention of the Coopers. However, they’re here and they were written by Anna and Clarence so, maybe they’ll have some relevance to a future report. Interestingly, this event has a third reporting officer, Mark Hutchinson.
Near as I can tell, it was one of those old-as-time type stories; a lover comes home to find the worse, their better half lost in the embrace of someone else and act as expected. I don’t know if I would have done it any differently, if Laura was with someone. Well, at least in the early days—a few years back—before the bickering took the place of the passion. Now, if I walked in on something like that I’d be less than surprised, maybe even a little relieved to tell the truth.
Mr. Simpson though, he cared. He cared so much he shot the poor bastard dead and followed that with an assault upon his cheating wife. Like I said, an old story and it didn’t end well. Fionnbarra and Biron showed up, attempting to calm him down while he shouted and spat all while keeping a gun to his wife’s head. Those attempts didn’t go very far.
That’s when officer Hutchinson showed up and shot Mr. Simpson. Shot him in the throat. He died whispering, gurgling through blood and torn flesh, some final words to Fionnbarra.
That sucks. Just think about that day from his perspective; you come home to find your wife fucking some guy, you become a murderer, brain roasted in rage and by the end of the day you’re shot through the throat. You were the cheated one, maybe not the “good guy” but, definitely not the baddy here. I don’t know. Just doesn’t seem fair, somehow.
The bit that sticks out the most for me is in Biron’s report. He quotes Fionnbarra. She was talking, negotiating I guess, to Mr. Simpson trying to gain control or calm him down, trying to do something. Whatever her goal was, Biron quotes this one line from Fionnbarra to Mr. Simpson, regarding his beaten wife, “she got what she deserved.”