Saturday, January 20, 2018

(11) I am what I am


I woke with a raging headache. The problem was I had no clue why I had it. I remember going to one of the clubs in the area, needing to relieve the stress after dealing with the therapist. Even the pleasant supper with Bonnie hadn’t managed to do that. I also remember meeting someone at the club, his propositioning me and my leaving with him. And his wanting me to do something.  

I remembered cuffs and a gag—and shivered as I crawled out of bed and headed to the bathroom for a hot shower and a dozen aspirin. Okay, maybe not that many but damn…

Half an hour later I was feeling marginally better. I sat at the kitchen table with a big glass of orange juice and some toast, glancing over when Bonnie came in. She took one look at me and shook her head.

“I heard you sneak out.” She gave me an amused smile. “From the look of it you probably crawled back home.”

“No, I walked. Just had a couple more than I should have.” I wasn’t willing to admit to her that I didn’t even remember the end of the night because I didn’t want her to worry about me. Hell, she’d probably insist I go back to the therapist if I told her that. And that creep was history as far as I was concerned.

She patted my shoulder then asked if I was feeling well enough to go to work. I assured her I was and went to get dressed.

By the time we got to the diner my headache was pretty much gone, which was a good thing because it was one of those days when it seemed everyone and their brother decided to come in for either breakfast or lunch, or both. By the time three o’clock hit, both of us and the cook, who was Bonnie’s business partner, were dead on our feet.

“Right now, if I never see another burger it’ll be too soon,” he grumbled as he cleaned the kitchen while Bonnie and I went through the normal closing procedures.

“I’m with you on that,” I agreed, reaching up to shut off the small TV in the corner. We kept it going all day for those regulars who liked to know what was happening in the world.

“Hang on a minute,” Bonnie said as one of those special bulletin things flashed on the screen. A very sober-faced reporter came on to announce that some man, who had apparently been murdered last night, had finally been identified as a business man from out of town who had been staying at a hotel a few blocks from the apartment building where his body had been found. And a few blocks from the diner, I realized, although of course that wasn’t on the news. A blurry picture behind the reporter showed a man of about thirty-five, I’d have guessed. He looked vaguely familiar though I wasn’t sure why, so I shrugged it off, figuring maybe he’d been in here at some point for lunch.

I asked Bonnie if he looked familiar to her and she shook her head. When I said I thought maybe he’d come in for a meal she nodded. “Hard to tell, but then he’s pretty average looking so if he did, he didn’t stick in my head.”

At that point the story was over and I shut off the TV. Whoever he was it wasn’t our problem. As Bonnie commented, he was just an unfortunate victim of the rising crime rate in the city.

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