January 30, 2022

Ropes

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Rated: AA

I like ropes. That’s what Donald said the day before he killed Sally.

He laughed and said that he just loved ropes and then the crazy bastard winked at me like he and I were both in on some kind of joke. I remember thinking what’s so funny about ropes. But Donald was always saying stupid shit so it was hardly my fault that I didn’t pay much attention when he said it. Like the time we had gone white water rafting and he said he liked deer after seeing one onshore as we went whizzing by. How was I supposed to know that he was going to hunt one down with his giant ass Rambo knife and drag it back to camp while the rest of us got ready for dinner. It was crazy. But we all knew Donald was crazy. That wasn’t new.

But killing Sally with a rope was a whole new level of crazy. I liked Sally. Everyone did. She was the kind of lady that brought out the best in people and made you want to work harder to earn her respect. Sure, she could be crass and maybe a bit overbearing, but sales had gone up under her leadership and she managed to keep us all on the payroll when other companies were downsizing and rightsizing and throwing people out of work. Even Donald. Even after the deer. Even after we had all told her he was crazy and that sooner or later he would go postal. He just had that way about him. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. We all know that guy who is just a little too enthusiastic about the latest John Wick movie. The guy who laughs just a bit too hard at some office joke and who gets just a bit too defensive over some perceived slight. That guy. Donald was that guy and we all knew it. But I think Sally must have felt sorry for him. She would always say he was an excellent salesman and that much was true. No one doubted that. Donald loved to sell and loved to work a deal. Still, there were lots of good salesmen and plenty that were good without being crazy. But Sally didn’t think it would be right to fire him just because he was peculiar. That’s the word she would use for him, peculiar. Me, I call it how I see it and Donald was lots of things but peculiar didn’t even begin to scratch the surface. But Sally was in charge and she made the decisions. And now she was dead.

I heard the news about Sally as I was driving into the office. I don’t normally pay attention to the news. It’s always about bad shit happening to good people or bad shit done by bad people. Occasionally you hear a nice story about Betty the waitress winning the lottery or Peter the plumber getting some award but mainly it is just bad news. So I tune it out cause I don’t like all the negativity. My motto is positive thoughts bring positive results. But I guess I was still half-listening after singing along with Mariah when the reporter broke in with her breaking news. I was about to turn the channel when I heard her mention Sally. Heard her say something about an accident. I was stunned. I nearly crashed my damn car after hearing the story. Since I only caught half of it, I fiddled with the dial trying to find another station that was carrying the news but there was nothing. Sally was dead and the rest of the world went right on singing.

But not me. I couldn’t just go on and pretend like I hadn’t heard the news. The reporter said it was an accident but I knew it wasn’t. And I knew that sooner or later I was going to have to face up to the fact that Sally was dead and that crazy motherfucker Donald had something to do with it. So I clenched my fists on the wheel and drove myself over to the office. The cops had blocked off the building and were parked all over the street, just like in all those police shows. Only the lights were flashing but nobody seemed to be doing any actual investigating. Lots of cops standing around, drinking coffee, and talking about last night’s game. Talking like nothing had happened. So I parked my car and I marched over to the first cop I saw and demanded to know what was going on. He looked me over like I was nothing to nobody and tried to brush me off. But I told him I knew Sally and I wanted to know what happened. He told me he couldn’t tell me what happened so I left him and went looking for the next cop. And I got the same story. Nobody wanted to tell me what happened to Sally but I knew what happened to her and I wasn’t going to let Donald get away with it. So I kept pushing my way forward towards the door and I was almost at the building when I spotted him.

He was sitting on one of those ambulance beds being examined by an attendant. He wasn’t saying anything that I could see but he wasn’t in handcuffs either. I debated whether to keep going into the building or walk over there and confront him and tell him I knew what he had done. As I was standing there deciding, a cop walked over to him and started talking to him. I watched for a minute waiting for her to pull out her handcuffs and lock him up but instead she started laughing. Sally was dead and Donald was telling jokes. No way was I going to stand there and let him tell jokes. I was going to put an end to that. So I marched over to where they were standing and started yelling at him. Telling him that I knew he had killed Sally. Him and his ropes. It wasn’t any accident. But as I was walking and yelling the cop intercepted me and grabbed me and told me to calm down. She told me that it was an accident. Told me how Donald and Sally had been engaged in some kind of boisterous sex play and that Sally had gone into some kind of shock and run out of air. Told me Donald wasn’t a killer and that I needed to calm down.

I stopped struggling and stopped yelling and stopped listening. I was focused on Donald and focused on his eyes and trying to see if he had told the truth. I watched and I thought, maybe it was an accident. Maybe he didn’t kill her. And just as I was second-guessing myself, and just as he was being put in the ambulance, the crazy bastard winked at me and smiled. And the doors closed and I stood there open-mouthed as the ambulance drove away.

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