23. Aftermath

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23. Aftermath

The door opens. We stop talking and observe the tall detective who explained the conditions of my interview before. From my position in the low plastic chair, he’s a giant, filling the door-frame completely. The officer looks tired, face bloated with exhaustion, balding head covered in sweat. He forces himself into the tiny room and slams the door shut behind him; Mr. Aschen jolts in shock at the sudden sound.

“Do you think this is a game?” the detective asks, his crotch uncomfortably close to my face. “We don’t have all day, kid. You need to understand the decisions you make now are some of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. This isn’t a counseling session. This isn’t time to work out your issues with your girlfriend. There’s a good chance you won’t leave this jail until a jury of your peers decides your fate. We need to know what happened to David Bloom.”

I look up at him and meet his bloodshot eyes with my own. “I promise that if you let me tell my story, by the end you will know who killed David Bloom. I am a unique and complicated creature, Detective. I am still coming to terms with what I know. Let me talk through it with this man, please. You’ll get your answer, I promise.”

The police officer locks eyes with Mr. Aschen. Complex signals are sent and received through rods and cones within the eyes of each man; data is transferred through the light waves between them and something is understood. The cop shakes his head, running a hand through his thinning hair, then opening the door and walking out, slamming it shut. This time, Mr. Aschen’s pen flies all the way into my lap.

It’s heavy. A nice pen; I hand the writing utensil back to him.

“Thank you. I apologize for the intrusion. Now, where were we?” he asks.

I thank him and begin again.


Senior Year, January

I woke up at ten to the sound of our trailer’s phone ringing. I reached for it out of reflex, hoping not to wake my father on a weekend. We’d been up fighting all night.


“Jacob?” a voice asked.

“Yes?” I replied. “Who is this?”

“It’s Geoff.”

“Oh. Hi, Geoff. Long time, no talk,” I said, wincing. Definitely not a good time. Besides, now I knew I was going back to KHS and talking to him felt awkward. “What’s up?”

“Where you been, man?”

I paused before I blurted out, “Crazy busy. My sister—you met her, right? Well, she came in, and she’s been taking up all my time. Plus me and my dad are fighting, my car got stolen, you name it.”

“Sounds ridiculous man, you’ll have to tell me about it some time. I got a car actually, a piece of shit station wagon, but it runs.” He began to blather on about the vehicle.

“Geoff,” I interrupted him. “I actually need to be going right now; my dad and I are in the middle of World War Three. But, call me again some time, I want to catch up.”

“Oh, all right,” he said in a way that was obviously not ‘all right.’ “I was hoping we could hang out…but I can see you’re busy, so anyway, I’ll let you get back to that.”

I sighed and hung up. I heard my father’s sheets shuffling in the other room and didn’t want to fight anymore. I’d been trying to convince him not to call the cops on Emily—with no luck.

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