Here is Chapter 9 of Marcello’s Revenge, and the second to last one for part 1. I will be posting the last chapter of this part shortly. This chapter contains a poem which I have posted on this site as well titled Drinking My Boyfriend. Other installments can be found:
It turned out that Emma was something of an amateur artist. In her purse, which was really no more than a large white bag, she had three notebooks full of her writings, sketches and doodles. Well, two were full, the third was about three-quarters complete. Mainly they contained poems she had written since leaving her boyfriend a year prior. Being her only true possession, she carried them everywhere and never left them behind. She wrote a poem that day, and read it to Francine and me after Detective Porter had left.
The meeting between me and the inspector went well, a friendly discussion that, unfortunately for him, did not reveal any more than what I had already previously stated to the police on the scene. He is a nice man, bald and dark-skinned, on the short side with a graying goatee, and he kept the knot of his tie loose, the top button of his shirt left unfastened. Francine greeted him kindly when he arrived, and nonchalantly escorted him to the back patio where he and I alone conversed, sipping ice water and eating baby carrots and celery. Emma was in what had been the spare room, but on that day officially turned into her own.
The detective attempted to probe me a couple of times, rephrasing a couple of questions in a different fashion in an attempt to see if I would trip up, seeking for anything that I or the initial investigation may have overlooked. Yet I had left my story simple, that I went into the room to use the bathroom, discovered the body, and called the victim’s father. I proceed to call Emergency when asked to do so by Jacob.
“And why didn’t you call 911 right away?”
“I felt it best to notify the parents of the situation before police sirens alerted them to it.”
“There was still a chance that the murderer was still on the premises, or that evidence could have been tampered with, unintentionally of course. Also, what if he was still alive? Couldn’t the call have saved his life? Why not call them right away just in case?”
“I did as I thought was best. And I could tell that he was dead, detective. Having an ambulance would have benefited no one.”
“How could you tell that he was dead?”
“Have you seen the body?”
“Yes,” he said in resigned tone, signaling the end to this line of questioning. The smashed head was enough to tell that Matt was quite dead, and a pulse, or an EKG, or a brain scan, or whatever did not have to be taken to verify this. “You haven’t asked if we had any information, or leads? Most people generally do.”
“If you did, would you tell me?”
“No. He he. A lot of the people, I think, get their ideas from the movies, or crime shows. What is it that you do, Mister Mentor?”
“I am a finance investigator.”
“Hmm. You like it?”
“As they say, it pays the bills.”
“You married? Was that beautiful, young woman your daughter?”
“No. She is my girlfriend.”
“Oh, I’m sorry…”
“Not a problem, detective, don’ t worry yourself. I was married, but we divorced years ago. That was the only time I have been on the marriage carousel.”
“Once was enough, eh?”
“So far it has been.”
“Well, you sure got a cute one there. A real keeper. You might want to think about locking her down.”
“Perhaps,” I replied pondering the various implications of his statement, my mind racing around with the possibilities. Lock down. “Locking her down.” Like Francine was a football player, an all-star receiver maybe, that the team simply had to sign before her contract expired and another team had a chance to swoop her up. Or she was in school where some unclear yet present danger posed a threat so lethal that the campus had to be secured, allowing no student to leave until the situation was resolved. And, of course, there are the sexual possibilities that the term may bring to mind. But here, of course, the detective referred to marriage, and related it to locking, an extreme act of binding, of capturing, sealing, shutting in. Near to words like tying (such as in tying the knot), or holding (to have and to), closing, or even zipping, but, in my opinion, a bit more desperate . My guess was he used the phrase due to being a police detective. It could be that in his line of work he was overexposed to it, being loosely thrown around the precinct, or he had genuine experiences with locking up, and it made me wonder.
“It’s been nice getting to know you, Mister Mentor,” he said disrupting my lock up musings. “Thank you for your time.”
“Please call me Robin. And the pleasure, truly, has been mine.”
“Well, thanks, Robin. And you can call me Jerry, if you like. I might have some more questions for you later on. If that’s okay.”
“Fine by me. And I do appreciate you calling ahead of time.”
Jerry swallowed down what was left of his water in three big gulps, and taking a handful of carrots he departed in his silver Lexus. Being outside, I went ahead and got the chair out of Francine’s van. She has a Honda Odyssey that she had taken the rear seats out of so she could transport her costumes and, such as in this case, various items she may have picked up from a yard sale, or an antique or thrift store. I placed it in the room by the window as she requested. Perhaps with a new coat of paint, and a major overhaul on the furniture and decorations, it would look nice. But as it stood then, what with the current rose white walls and the rest of the room in dull grays and blacks, it clashed horribly. For the chair, in contrast, was covered in a Persian style fabric, a washed out red background, with faded gold patterned images of elephants on the march.
Once complete with all of the tasks I had for the day, and feeling terribly wearied by them and by the previous night which I had yet to recover from, I decided to call an early night and went to fix myself some tea. Taking it to the front room I found Emma and Francine seated in deep discussion with Fox News playing softly unnoticed on the TV in the background. I turned off the TV and went to sit down.
“Dearest,” Francine said, extending her hand to me, “what did you think of the chair.”
“It is lovely. Once you have redesigned the room, I am sure it will be quite nice.”
“Oh, did you know that Emma is a poet?” I took her hand and she pulled me next to her on the couch. “We were just speaking of it. She even just wrote one. Isn’t that charming?”
“No, I didn’t know that.”
“Oh yes, she is. You will read it, won’t you Emma? The one you had just written?”
“Well, I don’t really like to read out loud. You can read it though, if you want.”
“Oh please read it to us. I love poetry, but detest to read it. It is so lovely when recited though. And never more so than when it is by the author.”
“We would be honored if you do so, but please feel free to do however you like,” I said.
“Okay,” she said and opened her book and was about to read it, but paused. “It’s just that, when you were making coffee this morning it reminded me of something that happened a while ago. I don’t want to, you know…I mean, the poem is not about you. That’s all.”
“I understand. It is perfectly fine.”
She began to recite it, and Francine was correct. Having a poem read out loud is much more satisfying and enjoyable than reading one. Hearing the tender pauses and the emphasis of certain words has an enchanting effect. It is like the difference between being at the beach and smelling the salt water, watching the waves crash along the shore, listening to their thunderous roll; and that of hearing a recording of waves lapping the coast of an unknown, distant land. Some of it I did not really understand, such as the part about the pliers, but overall it was not to difficult to comprehend the meaning. It is a sad poem, and when she spoke the room was filled with a melancholy hopelessness, a soft, twisted type of longing, and I found the poem to be quite moving. But then what do I know, really, about poetry? All I can say is that I enjoyed it, as did Francine, and Emma seemed to brighten when we clapped at her completion of it, and complemented her on her talent. The poem read thus :
Drinking My Boyfriend
You were grinding coffee beans
on the kitchen counter beside the crisp apples rotting in the pie,
saying you would not drink it any other way.
You also said that you hated nine AM.
But you seemed to hate so many things;
wearing your hates like ribbons, medals on a brash soldier’s uniform.
Yet you love apples, and fresh ground coffee,
They were so scattered and few, your loves,
and I would take them,
secretly collecting them in a vase, a small bouquet of delicate flowers with
So I poured myself a cup of your coffee, freshly ground and brewed,
deep, dark and reflective,
and I drank it, like I drank you.
like I drank your hates and loves,
your laughing, twisted face, your gaping, drooling mouth as you slept.
I drank your ten PM caresses, your three PM beatings.
I drank you,
your blood, your urine,
your saliva, and your seamen,
but not your tears. Those you kept, remember. They were stored in the closet
in a box next to my shoes and the pliers.
I drank you,
so that I could become drunk on you, sucking you into me,
because the thirst I had was cavernous,
and all I owned was a broken cup.