Sunday, July 15, 2012

Criminal Archives: Tape 39

"Please state your name."

You already know my name.

"Please state your name. For the sake of the record."

Angela. Angela Hubbard.

"Please proceed."

Alright well. Here goes. Let's see. I guess I should start by saying that I shouldn't be proud of what I did. I know I should feel bad. That I should feel sorry. But in all honesty I won't be apologizing. Because I don't feel like I did anything wrong.

"Your caveat has been noted. Please. Proceed with the obligatory confession."

Well it was last winter when I met him. You know, one of those cloudy wet Oregon days when the light sort of diffuses through the clouds and make the whole sky glow pale white. Yeah real wonderful weather for meeting someone, right? Anyway I was meeting my friend Gian at the cafe like usual. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary ad I saw him sitting by the small table with his head buried in a book about Cadver Dog Training. But that should have been my clue. It's always when things are too ordinary that things happen that you least expect.

"Proceed to the description of the victim."

You already know what he looks like.

"Proceed to the description of the victim. For the sake of the record."

Fine. Well he is, er, I guess was, a little taller than me, wearing grey boots,faded jeans and a blue flannel shirt. His face was scruffy. His eyes half open and yet seemed to glint like he was hiding something. Some personal joke you would only get later. He had that whole scruffy laid back cowboy feel that makes anyone go weak in the knees. But yeah I had a boyfriend so, you know, look don't touch.

"Describe the exchange."

Fine but you'll have to stop interrupting. I can't think when you keep telling me what to do. So anyway I walked over to Gian and he nods behind his book to let me know he saw me but he doesn't look up. So I sat down and slid my purse ever so slightly under the chair. I was glad I hadn't decided to wear my white skirt today.

"I'm glad you could make it", he spoke from behind his book, "You remember Mark."

"Ummm." I glaced at the cowboy next to Gian and found another twinkle in response. "Actually I don't think we've met before."

"What?" Gian actually looked up from his book for a moment, "No, I'm sure I introduced you at my Christmas party."

"The costumed one?" I asked rolling my eyes at the thought.

"Yes, that's the one. We put up red streamers."

"Gold streamers. And I was the one who put them up, thank you very much."

He seemed to be lost in thought for a moment.

"We did meet." This deep resonating voice from under the sleeepy eyes was shocking.

And the shock brought back a string of memories. There I was, setting up the golden streamers as Gian was reading aloud "On a History of Christmas Decorations". His girlfriend at the time came in and offered us sandwhiches. I liked her. Used to anyway. She handed me my grilled cheese and then forced her way in between Gian and his chair. She sat, watching him read before she spoke.

"Hey, babe. I was thinking. We should head up to the mountains this weekend." She waited for his response but he merely kept reading. "Gian! Are you even listening!"

"Sorry, are you still talking?" He looked up with an annoyed expression.

Uh oh, I thought as I suddenly became very interested in the streamer I was hanging.

"You always do this! You don't pay any attention to me! All ever do is read, read, read! Well, I'm getting tired of always being second place to a dusty old book!"

Gian's eyes had a glaced look as he watched her. "Fine. Then we can go to the mountain this weekend and snowboard or something."

She was all smiles and wide eyed as she said, "You're doing this because you want to too, right? Not just for my sake, right."

He sighed and put the bodown with a threatening thud. That was not a good sign. If he still had it open it meant he was still humoring whoever had interrupted him. That he was still willing to give them what they wanted in order to get rid of the unwelcome interruption. But the closed book. This meant bussiness. This meant war.

"Do you honestly think that I would enjoy that?" The disgust could not be clearer.

"Well you could at least try." She was making her moping face again. "You never want to try new things with me."

"I hate to disappoint but this isn't just about you." His book lay forgotten. She should have known this would happen. I wanted to feel sorry for her. But I didn't as I heard him continue. "The Greeks had a saying. Carved over the entry pillars to see the Oracle of Delphi. Know thyself."

"What's the supposed to mean?" She pouted and didn't wait for a respose, "I'm tired of you lecturing me like I'm just a kid!"

That was when it happened. I heard the door open I thought that must be Sidney. My boyfriend. The arguement was escalating and both were shouting when it happened. She jumped up and ran out, slamming the door. She used so much force that the potted plant on the side table gave a half hearted threatening wobble. I reached to steady it and my foot slipped. Basic physics. Klutz plus ladder equals concussion and broken china plates. There was the sickening moment of freefall when all was air around me. And then he caught me. Like I didn't even way a single pound.

And if that weren't enough he was wearing a dark suit straight of james bond or maybe pride and prejudice. And the mask. A black mask. Covering the top of his face. Leaving the bottom free to make that crooked smile of his as he asked.

"Am I early for the party?"

"That was you!" I turned on the sleepy cowboy in the chair in front of me.

"Yip." Was all he said as those hooded eyes twikled back.

"But then that means. After you caught me. And then later when she. And..."I blushed to my roots.

"Ah, so you do remember Mark. Good." Gian said, his book still raised. "And do you remember the promise you made that night? Because we do. We all do."

I swallowed hard but my throat was dry. I remembered that night all too clearly. There were a lot of things that I wished could be undone. Unsaid. But wishing didn't make changes. People did. And I had tried to change a lot since then. But as the smirk crossed my lips I knew I hadn't changed nearly enough. After all, that was the night when everyone found out about...

"The accused will desist from further testimony until a new tape has been loaded."

Fine by me.

"Silence will be observed or further punishement will be deliver for contempt."


  1. First of all, I love that this is set in Oregon. I felt the same about "That Morning at the DMV."

    Secondly, the narration format is compelling, and so is the protagonist voice. And of course, the mystery and simmerings of romance are irresistible. This is definitely a book I'd be intrigued enough to take to the check out :)

    Is this another novel you're working on??

  2. Unfortunately no. It was an idea to play with and a sort of practice in voice... But who knows I may revisit it someday and make it into my next best seller! :S lol