“So you said this man approached you.”
The room was all white, with glass chairs, and a table shaped like the yin-yang symbol. It looked like something out of a sci-fi flick. Only this was Christmas Eve, 2009.
“Yeah, he was drunk obviously; otherwise I doubt he would have said a word.” Said “Rick”.
“Are you sure he just wasn’t confessing? Something of that magnitude is hard to keep inside forever.”
“Hah! Confess? Right.” Rick put his left leg over his right and relaxed.
The interviewer sighed and leaned back in his chair. “Are you sure he wasn’t just plain crazy? I mean after all… you know what happened to him.”
Rick waved his hand in dismissal. “Not at all, though I could see how you’d think that. I think what happened was that it became too much, what he did.”
The interviewer took out a sheet of paper and a pen from the drawer below the table and set them down.
“Could you recount the night please?”
Rick shook his head slowly, “Sure thing.”
Alright, so my name is Rick, the rest you don’t need to know. I was on my last drink at my favorite bar when this guy comes in and sits down a few seats besides me. He orders a drink and leans back, taking a deep breath before drinking.
I stared at him for a good amount of time I’m sorry to admit. He was intriguing to look at. Short blonde hair, strong build, black trench coat and world’s most interesting shoes, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them for the longest time.
“Excuse me, do you need something?”
“What?” I looked up to find the guy staring back at it. I shook my head, completely embarrassed. “No, sorry.
I poinedt down at his shoes. “Those are nice.”
“Really?” he says. “They’re kind of old.”
Could have fooled me. “Where did you get them?”
He shrugs and takes another gulp. “I can’t remember, sorry.”
“Eh, no big deal.” I take another sip from my bottle.
He motions to mine. “Yours are pretty nice too. Where are those from?”
I look down at my feet. Compared to his they weren’t much, but to each his own I suppose. “I had them made. There was this nice old guy who used to live up on Harpers Street.”
“Wow. He does good work.”
I laugh and take another sip. “He definitely did.”
He got the hint. “What happened to him?”
“Oh man, I’m sorry.”
I shrugged again and took a sip. “Yeah… damn Germans.”
I look over to him. “Sorry?”
“Did you say Germans?”
Slip of the tongue, damn it. “Yeah, it’s an in-joke between a friend and I, sorry.”
He waves it off and orders another drink. “What’s your name?”
“Rick” I answered.
“Dan.” He said in response.
I raised my bottle and realized it felt a little too light. “Nice to meet ya, Dan. Another, bartender.”
The woman, Chloe, nodded her head and took the bottle from me and gave me two. She always was a step ahead of me.
I took a gulp before saying, “You’re not from around here are you?”
Dan shook his head, “I just… got in a few hours ago.”
Dan looked off to the side. “Not exactly.”
“So you’re saying he didn’t tell you how he arrived in town?” the interviewer asked.
“No, he avoided the subject entirely actually.” Rick said, taking a drink of water.
The interviewer cleared his throat. “Let’s move on to where he was starting to tell you everything.”
“If you wish.” Rick said, leaning back and yawning.
“So what do you do for a living?” I asked him. At this point we’re at a booth and Dan was on his eighth. I had stopped after the second refill Chloe brought me because I still had to get home or somewhere. Dan on the other hand, clearly had nowhere to go.
“I work as a reporter,” he paused to catch himself from falling over. “Part time.”
Then, out of nowhere, he leans forward. “And you wanna know what else I do?”
If I had been drinking something when he said that I probably would have spit it out at him. “What?” I said bewildered.
“You heard me.”
I decided to play along since he was so drunk and I didn’t feel like getting punched.
“Not really,” Dan said, taking yet another gulp. “It changes things, every time. Sometimes it hurts people it shouldn’t.” He sighed, “It sucks.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, say, for instance. You save some dude’s life when he was a kid, and because of that, he grows up and becomes a dangerous serial killer. To me, it’s like, why did I save him?”
“When are you from?”
Wow. Unfortunately I didn’t get say anything more to Dan. He promptly got up and went up to Chloe, asking her the year. She told him and he nearly tripped over himself trying to get out of the bar. I was still amazed he could walk.
“You might want to make sure he’s alright.” Chloe said to me. I was already ahead of her and nearly out the door.
“So that was it? You found him dead?” the interviewer said, setting down his pen.
Rick shook his head, and wiped his eyes. “It was terrible, I couldn’t believe it.”
“And you still believe him?”
Rick shrugged, “I guess now that I’ve retold the story, perhaps he was crazy. Just to kill himself like that though… There was so much blood…”
“There was nothing you could have done. I would like to thank you though for giving us this information. You’ve just cleared a cold case for us. Just one last question.”
Rick yawned again, running his fingers through his hair and shaking himself awake. “Go for it.”
“Why did you only come to us with this information now?”
“I had more pressing matters, no offense to Dan. But he would understand no doubt. My job is very… Time consuming.”
“Well, once again, I’d like to thank you for your cooperation.” He stood up and held out his hand.
Rick stood as well and shook it. “It was a pleasure; I only hope that now his family gets some peace.”
The interview pointed down at Rick’s shoes. “Nice shoes.”
“Thanks.” Rick pushed his chair in and leaves the room. He closed it quietly and smiled to himself as he walked down the hall, thankful it was over.
Outside it was wet and dark, but no sign of Dan. He was gone. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see him, because even if I couldn’t, I’d be listening to him puke his guts out.
I stayed out a few extra seconds, just to make sure. By then though, I had already known what happened. Dan was gone, back to his job, whenever it was. I smiled, knowing he’d be ok and doing his part in the world, like we were meant to.
I turned and went back into the bar. Chloe smiled at me, “Do you think he was for real?”
I nodded and smiled. It was time I left.