Anzzia Magazine Summer 2019 Volume #31 - Page 24

"It's not what she did Phillip, it's what you did."

"What do you mean, what I did?"

"I mean, someone killed her. You were the last one to see her alive. So, you tell me."

"You can't be serious," Phillip said. "She was fine when I left."

"We found empty wine bottles, crushed-up pills, and two glasses on the coffee table. One with your prints on it. So what am I supposed to believe?"

Visibly shaking now, Phillip asked, "How did she die?"

"Someone, probably you, smashed her head into the bathroom mirror. We found her, face down in her own blood. Her face completely destroyed."

"No way," Phillip said, backing away.

"Get your shoes Phillip, you're coming with me."

"But...I didn't do anything."

"Yeah, I get that a lot. Get your shoes."

Phillip started toward his bedroom, when the detective said, "Where do you think you’re going? Put those on," pointing to the work boots by the front door.

Phillip still hadn't eaten. He could hear the rumbling of his stomach, over the chattering of his teeth.

Lentz finally showed up with a tray of food,

"It's not much, but it'll fill you up."

"Lotta pepper," he said.

"It's not pepper," Lentz said, "It's sand."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"Nope. No joke. This way you get your vitamins, and your minerals at the same time."

"Really?"

"No, not really, dumb-ass. No wonder you're in trouble. Come on, you're moving."

Looking over at the stripe filled benches, Phillip asked,

"How come, I'm not in one of those?"

"Do you want to be?"

"No, I was just curious."

"Stop asking questions."

The detective hustled him past the curious stares of jump-suited men, and left him in a small cell. Alone. Cold. With sandy greens.

'Stay here. I'll be back later."

"Where am I gonna go?"

Hours later, Lentz drove across town and parked in the rear of the building. He took the elevator to the second floor and stopped at her door. She opened on the first knock and said, “Did you teach that loser a lesson?"

"Of course, I did. I always keep my end of a bargain," Lentz said.

“So do I," Melissa said, grinning mischievously.

Once inside, Lentz said, "Why don't you put on something a little more...celebratory, and I'll fill you in."

"Okay. Don’t miss me too much."

Lentz took notice of the bottle of wine and what looked like the remains of white powder on the

coffee table. Taking a fresh wine glass from the kitchen, he walked to the beat-up couch, poured himself a glass, and topped hers off with the wine and half a baggie of white powder.

Melissa came out wearing very little. A pair of black thong panties and a skimpy see-through blouse. Phillip hadn’t been wrong, she was hot. And crazy.

"Come, sit with me. Time to pay up."

She giggled like a little school girl and jumped onto his lap. "Not yet Melissa. Let's have a drink first, then I'll fill you in."

Impatient as ever, she slammed her glass of wine and said, "Now tell me."

"Okay. I woke your boyfriend up at 3:00 am, and..."

"He's not my boyfriend."

"Anyway," Lentz said, "I grilled him at his apartment and listened to him lie a couple times, then I took him to the station."

She interrupted again, "Where's he now?"

"Patience."

Silence.

Lentz said, "I ran his prints and learned a few things about your boyfr..., about Phillip, that you failed to tell me."

"What are you talking about," she slurred.

"He's been in trouble before. More than a little actually. Seems he was the prime suspect in his first wife's death. The cops questioned him for days until he snapped. Turned out he was innocent, but he ended up institutionalized for 14 months anyway. If I knew how unstable the guy was, I never would have left him alone in a cell. With his boots on."

"Why" she slurred again, worse this time. "How did I get so high?" "Maybe it was the four oxy's I put in your wine."

"You what? Why?"

"Because Melissa, your twisted little games forced me to book a corpse. Do you understand what I’m saying? Your boyfriend hung himself in his cell. I’m sorry, but you only left me one way out. And you’re it.