Chapter 39. A Very Special Episode

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"I already know," I announced, feeling Sam could definitely tell how badly I wanted him gone, but the thought of a plan up and ready was too tempting for him to question me. "We do nothing." 

Sam looked up to show off his confusion. While he was anxiously fiddling with the stuff on my drawer, I thought all of it through without his help. I didn't want his help anymore.

"That's a tad pacifist, don't you think?" 

"I'll talk to Uncle Mal when he gets back and tell him everything, he'll help find a way to get this information to the police in a credible way - without letting them know we were involved."

"And what do we do with Charlie in the meantime?"

"As I said, nothing," I repeated. "If we act normal, he'll think we're really off the case. He's already gotten his will, his family is gone, and he's got the big house to himself. He won't do anything unless he has to."

"What about your brother?"

"Isaac still believes Shadrach did it, not Charlie. For the time being, I'd rather let him believe there's a killer in the woods than a killer across the street."

Sam was considerably more worked up than usual but gave up on trying to question me. Knowing him, though, I had to make sure he got the message. 

"We'll get this to the right authorities and have Charlie locked up for good, only then can we pretend this never happened and never have to talk to each other again," I said. "That is if you can try not to do anything impulsive." 

My solution must have sounded so dissatisfying, I got that. No legal procedure and anonymous tips would avenge how humiliated we felt. I thought that's what Sam was pondering as he stood there, continuing to be discrete. Until he finally said something.

"You never wanna talk to me again?" He asked carefully.

"That's the general idea."

"You know... I didn't mean to hurt you," he said, after some consideration. "I've been doing some bad drugs, I'm gonna quit, I swear."

"I know about the drugs." 

"You do?" 

"I'm not that stupid, Sam," I revealed. "You don't think I ever noticed? You don't think people talk about it?" 

It sure came as news to him, that his nose-bleeding, cold-sweating, mood-swinging drug addiction was so obvious. 

"Why didn't you say anything?" 

"I was too scared to ask," I admitted. 

"But... that means you understand, right?" Sam wondered, standing there with his head hanging down. "You get that I didn't mean any of those things I did..."

"Maybe," I answered. "But it doesn't make it any easier to look at you."

Sam shook his head in compliance, he wasn't going to argue about it anymore. I appreciated the certain extent of respect that implied. 

I wondered if he got the sense that there was thinking about more than I let on, or if he was too preoccupied with himself. 

I went to open the drawer under my desktop, where I kept sixteen years' worth of Hallmark cards from friends and family. I used to look through it when I was short on cash, hoping a great uncle or a third cousin had handed me a dollar bill or two I had forgotten about. At the very bottom was the card my Aunt Abby sent me for my Bat Mitzvah, it was where I kept the stack of cash Charlie gave me. Out of the $1000 I had taken for myself, only $700 remained, the rest having gone to utilities, guest house stays, gas, and food. I hurried to count them up, slipped $100 into my pocket, and left the rest in my hand. 

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