Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
He didn’t know what time it was when his cell rang and rang.
“Hello?” he answered groggily.
“Mr. Stevens? It’s Detective Val Alverez. I would like you come down the station this morning.”
“Right.” He sat up on the couch scratching his belly. His entire body itched. “What time?”
“As soon as you are able to.”
“Okay. A threatening note was left on my door the other night.”
“Yeah, when I got home from the hospital last night.”
“You mean Wednesday night. This is Friday.”
Harris shook his head to clear it. “Oh. Those pain killers did a number on my sense of time. Wednesday night and I found something else too.”
“On your door?”
“No, the recycle bin. An invitation to Frances Green’s wedding.”
“Interesting. Bring it in with you.”
He got dressed. He figured the tee with the non-exploding planet Krypton was subtle enough for offical questioning. Had couple of vanilla fudge walnut Pop Tarts and was ready. He opened the apartment door to leave and broke into a cold sweat. What was waiting for him out there? He should have had the police send a car for him, for his protection, to protect the evidence he had with him. He went back to the kitchen, grabbed a spoon, opened the freezer and ate half a litre of chocolate raspberry ripple ice cream.
He checked his shoulder bag to make sure he had the envelope with the note and invitation. His hands itched. He went to the bathroom and peed again. He went back to the kitchen and wolfed down a couple of hand-dipped chocolate marshmallow cookies. He went back to the door and opened it again.
He locked it behind him and walked quickly to the elevator. No one got on with him. He was safe. He raced to the subway. Kept his sunglasses on for the ride. Got off, stopped at the Tim’s across the street from the police station. Large triple triple, a danish and an apple fritter and he felt he was ready to cross the street.
When Detective Alverez was told that he was there, she came out and took him to her office.
Harris passed her the envelope, that had both the wedding invitation and the note that had been taped to his door.
Det. Alverez nodded. She read the note. “Seems pretty clear who this came from right. Do you know how he got into your building?”
“The Pazzoni’s own Mamma Pazzoni and Son Pizza. If you’ve ever ordered before you are in their system. That’s what we caught him for before – delivering more that pizza.”
“I usually order from them. Just the other day. Their spicy garlic bread isn’t bad.” He could visualize their TV ad Mamma Pazzoni smiling at the camera and Son behind her with his thick arms crossed.
“And this?” she tapped the wedding invation.
“I have no idea. Really.”
“Mr. Stevens I asked you down here to put your mind at ease by telling you that you are no longer a person of interest to us. Your DNA cleared you as the subway assaulter.”
“I was a suspect?” Harris glanced around the tiny office to keep from scratching. Grey steel file cabinets. Pictures of policemen at picnics, riding bikes; of her shaking hands with the mayor, a past prime minister.
“Oh yes, very much. You were there around the time the last attack happened.”
“Let me show you.” she flipped open a lap top. “This is from the security cameras at the Greendale south exit.”
She turned it to face him. Figures came in and out. The time, down to the second jerked along in the corner of the picture. A man exited. She stopped the picture.
“Anyone you recognize?”
“Hey! That’s me. I look a bit wasted, don’t I. On my way home from Story.”
She let the picture advance a few more frames till he was stopped by a woman. The woman spoke to him.
“How about her? Nice of you both to stand perfectly still for the cameras.”
Harris peered at the woman. “Oh my God! It’s her. Frances. The pictures on the flyer didn’t do her justice.”
He sees himself take out his cell phone to check on it. Next he points to the other side of the subway.
“Am I giving her directions?”
“I think so.” she stopped the picture and tapped the mouse. The picture zoomed into his hand. “The angle isn’t great but looks like you googled a map for her. Actually we know you did – we checked your phone records.”
The woman squeezed his arm and he moved away from her. Another man bushed past them. Her purse seemed to get caught on the man’s elbow.
Detective Alverez froze the picture again.
“You recognize him?” she let the picture move allow more of the man’s face yo be revealed. A brief glance of it as he turned to them.
“That’s Darrell Jones. Not too long after he passed you he was killed.”
“This puts you at the right place and at the right time.” She let the picture continue.
He and the woman walked a few steps talking together. They stopped. They kept talked. She touched his arm again then showed him her credit card, quickly put it back in her wallet and took out her cellphone.
“I don’t remember any of this at all.”
“Seeing it doesn’t bring anything back to you?” Detective Alverez sounded as if she didn’t believe him. “Doesn’t jog your memory at all?”
“No. Like, she’s attractive enough but …”
The woman wrote on a piece of paper and put it into his hoodie pocket.
“So that’s where that came from! The invitation.”
He walks out of camera sight. The women talks on her cellphone she she walks out of camera range. Detective Alverez fast forwarded to about ten minutes later when the woman is seen walking quickly past the station. Another fast forward and the woman is seen again entering via the north exit at Dewar.
Harris was stunned.
“Yes, she did get on. Whatever happened to her you are in the clear. There was DNA evidence in the attack on Darrell Jones. It doesn’t match yours. We don’t know about her’s. Now that we know who she is we’ll contact her.”
“I guess I’m relieved. So that’s how I got the wedding invite with her phone number.”
The Detective started the loop over again.
“You positive you don’t remember anything.”
“Not much after I left Story. Honest. It had been a long day at work. I was finishing up work on an online catalogue for Santa’s Sex Toy Shoppe.” He never got tired of saying ‘Santa’s Sex Toy Shoppe.’
Detective Alverez laughed. “I can see how you might remember that.”
“It was a hot day and I dropped into Story for a couple drinks.”
“Only a couple?”
“Yeah a few beers and shooters. It was happy shooter hour.”
“Do women often usually stop you in the street to give you their names and phones numbers?”
“I suppose.” Would she understand the family curse? “I often discover them in my shoulder bag days later. Names and numbers of women I can’t recall.”
“But one on an invitation to her own wedding?” Alverez shook her head. “No wonder women get bitter with guys like you around. Are you aware of how much nerve it can take do what she did. Only to have you not even remember her. You are such an asshole.”
Harris was started. “That’s off the record I presume. It’s not as if I asked her for it.”
“Yeah. Now, about David Pazzoni. It should surprise you but he has a record. He’s done time and charges against him will be pursued. You want me to add this …” she motioned to the threatening note “to the case against him?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry his gal ditched him but I had nothing to do with that.”
“You’ll probably have to testify. The defense will have access to this security footage.”
“Which only proves I spoke to her. Right.”
“Correct though it proves you have a bad memory. They love witnesses with bad memories.”
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