Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing Again

Okay, I'm turning in the loan documents today. James is recovering well (he was in the hospital for 12 days, nearly died, but is rebounding with the resilience of youth). Work is insane, but it always is. I'm trying to get back into writing, so I was playing with something this morning. For want of anywhere else I want to put it at the moment, it is going here.


I was up on a ladder trying to fix the light above the pool table when Arnie walked in. It was enough of a shock that I nearly fell---would've fallen if I hadn't made a wild grab and clung to the chain suspending the stained glass shade from the ceiling.

"Easy Jenny. You don't need any medical bills." His voice was like grinding gravel. Huge hands steadied me at the waist until I regained my footing.

"What in the hell . . ." I looked down at the man standing next to the ladder. Not much down, mind you. Arnie is a former linebacker for the Cleveland Browns. He's six-eight and built square. All of it's muscle. He may be graying, adn enarly bald, but he's still damned imposing. And he still has to buy his clothes from the specialty shops.

"Corrine sent me. She wanted you to hear the news from a friendly." His expression was sober. "You'd better sit down."

I took him at his word. Arnie's been around the block more than a few times. If he said I needed to sit. I did. I climbed down, seating myself at the nearest table for two. He sat across from me, his massive form dwarfing the chair. He was obviously acutely uncomfortable, and not from the seat.

"What's up?" I forced the words out. My mouth was dry, my pulse pounding. I hadn't heard a word from anyone at Layton, Walker, Simpson and Burns since I'd gotten fired . . . excuse me, resigned (with extreme prejudice) and been blackballed in the local legal community. Sending Arnie here could get them both fired. It wasn't something Corrine would do lightly.

Arnie squirmed, causing the chair to creak in protest. "The old man decided to add a couple of new associates, so we were moving boxes from the storage room up to the attic. Paul, the new intern, tripped and fell into the drywall. It broke." He paused, not for drama, but to figure out how to best phrase what he wanted to say. "There was a fake wall. Behind it there was what was left of a body wrapped in heavy plastic sheeting."

I felt the blood drain from my face. The world swam. If I hadn't been sitting, I'd have fallen. As it was, I tucked my head between my knees and tried to breathe deeply. I didn't want to hear what he was going to say next. I was afraid I already knew.

"It was Derek."