(This is the first chapter to a novel-length story I’m working on. Title is very tentative, as is this chapter. And I need to make a real picture, rather than some random one from Google.)
I never actually wanted to be a detective when I was a kid, I always had more of an interest in cats. Not like a hobbyist’s interest or a sexual interest, but rather a metamorphic fascination. I actually thought I might grow up to become a cat and get to spend my days leading the typical cat life: wake up when I wanted to, jump from ledge to ledge, lick my own nuts clean every few hours. It just seemed to make sense, especially considering I had already mastered two of those three activities (and had arguably the most well-kept nut-sack this side of New York). Sure, I had fallback positions—to become either a lion tamer or a Stegosaurus, depending on which college I got into—but detective was never one of them. That didn’t seem to matter, though. Apparently when my mother would say, “you can be whatever you want to be, Frankie,” she actually meant, “you’re probably going to be a disappointment to yourself. You think I wanted to be a waitress and a single mother?”
Despite fourteen long years on the force, it has not gotten any better. Sure, some days aren’t that bad—like a soul in Hell who actually kind of likes “Tennis Racket in the Rectum Wednesday”—but that never made it any easier. Perhaps if it had been my decision to become a detective, or a cop, or anything that had become my god damn life, it’d be more enjoyable. Instead, I was graciously swept up against my will and slapped into the glamorous life of pretending to care about domestic abuse and assaults, all while trying my best to get fired. Doesn’t matter what I do, though, they won’t fire me. My little “gift” makes me too much of an asset.
I don’t know when or how it began exactly—maybe it always was and I simply never noticed initially. What I do remember is the first time I kissed a girl. Well, she was still a boy at the time—no older than twelve. I don’t know what drew me to her. Him. I don’t know what drew me to him. I just remember being completely infatuated with him. Or her—I’m just going to stick with “her.”
I met her outside of her middle school as she waited for her mother to pick her up. She was tiny, yet her Adam’s Apple had already begun peeking out of her neck. I could tell she would begin growing a full beard before long. I didn’t usually have an interest in people younger than I, let alone ones under thirteen, but it was different this time. She was so dissimilar from the other girls, so masculine yet so feminine. A perfect mixture for me, yet I worried if it was legal to date somebody so young.
I was an aging man of fourteen years old and knew, despite the faux pas, that it was love at first sight.
Her name was Richard. She told me right off the bat, soon as I walked over. “Hey, I’m Richard.” I don’t think I’d even said anything to her yet; she was always so friendly, so approachable. We became inseparable right away, yet for me it quickly turned to infatuation. We’d do everything together—weekends spent wandering around the mall, warm lunches on my front porch, nights at the theater watching anything and everything—yet it was never enough for me. When she’d go home for the evening, I’d do nothing but think of her. The curve of her neck, the bend of her legs, the thick mustache slowly growing in above her upper lip. She was all I wanted.
And I did get her—for a single, fleeting moment, I got her.
We were at the movies, alone and vulnerable at a premiere showing of James Bond: Goldfinger. I don’t know why I said it, I don’t even remember doing it, but I asked her then and there if I could kiss her. I didn’t give her a moment to respond, I just leaned right in as the opening credits rolled and gave her a kiss square on her burgundy lips. She recoiled.
I’d always thought my first kiss would be romantic, that it would be beautiful and timely and perfect, yet what I got was far from ideal, although it certainly did change my life. I still remember the words she said: “No. This is weird, I probably shouldn’t be kissing boys. Why does he taste like ball sack?” She said it as we kissed, her eyes wide and locked on mine. Her mouth never moved, yet the words were enunciated perfectly. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, didn’t make sense immediately, but I still stormed out of the theater without a second thought or another word.
She stopped by my house later to ask why I had ran, to say that she didn’t mean to be so quiet. I stood just outside the open door to see her; I wanted to shout at her, let her know she had been anything but quiet. She said she was sorry for being caught so off-guard. I asked her if it had felt wrong, staring at the beautiful curve of her Adam’s Apple, at her complete absence of any developing breasts.
She was the one that leaned in this time, eyes closed, and kissed me.
Again I heard her speak, her mouth not moving yet the words perfectly formed: “Yeah, no, this is weird. I’m definitely not supposed to be kissing other guys. Do all boys taste like ball sack? It’s definitely ball—” her voice stopped as soon as the kiss did. I told her I had to leave then closed the door to my own house, the two of us now standing on the front porch. I said goodbye, then walked around the house to the unlocked back door.
I guess that was the first time that I realized what I could do when I kissed someone. It changed my—
“Detective,” Miss Marley said.
“Sorry.” This was the third time I’d stopped mid-sentence in an hour period to reminisce about the past. I made a mental note to consider saving the longer thought-breaks for when I didn’t have clients two feet from my face. “What were you saying?”
“I said I brought my husband so we can just finish this shit. You told me to.” Her amber hair bounced as she spoke, the curled ends of her otherwise straight hair rising and falling against her shoulders. Her blue eyes never ceased to amaze me, it seemed almost unfair to have something that distracting permanently installed on one’s face, not to mention when paired with completely flawless, pale skin. I didn’t usually find my clients so attractive.
“Right,” I said, trying to remember why I asked her to bring her boyfriend. Or did she say husband? Didn’t matter, I had no idea why the guy was here. “Just for legal purposes, can you please repeat into this recorder why you brought your boy fr—significant other to this meeting?” I didn’t have a tape recorder, so I grabbed a small, navy, leather-bound book and placed it under her scarlet lips.
“That’s a tape recorder?”
“Yes,” I said, nodding my head slowly. “It’s for undercover work.” I was proud of my lie, it was much better than the original excuse I had, which was to call her an idiot then dodge the question by insulting her fashion-sense. I pushed the book closer to her face, then nodded once again. “Please speak into the recorder.”
“You told me to bring my husband to find out whether or not he was cheating on me with my sister. You said you’d find out for sure if he came here.”
Right, she was the one with the cheating husband, the piece of shit swindler. I couldn’t stand cheaters, hated them more than any other of the scum I had to deal with. I had for years now, ever since I was caught cheating on my ex-wife with her friend Pam. If it hadn’t been for all of them, my wife would’ve never gotten so suspicious and ruined the great thing I had going with Pam.
“Thanks,” I said, lowering the book. “Please bring in your husband.” She nodded, then stood and walked out of the room. I stared at her ass as she left, it was pretty hard not to. The skin-tight black dress did little to conceal it or convince my eyes to look elsewhere. I couldn’t understand why anyone would cheat on this beauty—I would’ve paid good money just to be caught cheating with her.
The man she brought back in the room was clearly undeserving of her. Fat, balding, probably ten years older than she was. The wrinkled, stained, red Polo shirt didn’t really do much to improve his image, nor did the sandals and socks he wore. I wanted to pinch his nipples, but knew it would be unprofessional to do so.
“You the therapist?” he said. I looked to Miss Marley. She nodded.
“Yes, I am the therapist. You can call me Frankie.” I didn’t know why I said Frankie, considering my name actually was Frankie. I just kind of panicked. I had to amend the situation to remain anonymous. “Detective Frankie Lombardi,” I said, staring at my commendation on my wall made out to “Detective Frankie Lombardi.” Shit.
“You’re a detective?” said her husband.
“No, that’s my first name. Detective. My friends call me Madonna.” Shit, god dammit. Fake names were never my strong suit.
“What? Whatever. Look, Marley said you wanted to speak with me.”
“You mean Miss Marley?” I said.
“What? No, Marley, my wife.”
“Her first name’s Marley?” I said. I had always thought her last name was Marley. Why had she never corrected me? I felt a bit foolish for having been calling her Miss Marley for so long, as if I were some immigrant house keeper with limited understanding of naming conventions.
“Yes. Why did you want to see me?”
I stood up and walked over to the man. His aroma was pungent, even from a few feet away. I couldn’t quite describe it, but Doritos and stale beer came to mind.
“I would like to ask you one question, is that all right?”
“You dragged me all the way out here, might as well ask.” I could already smell his breath. This was not going to be enjoyable.
“Mr. Marley,” I said. “I mean, Mister—uh—something. Sorry, I don’t know your last name. What’s your last name? Wait, that’s not the question I invited you here to ask, but I still want to know,” I said.
“Glass,” he said.
“Mr. Glass, my question to you is this: Have you cheated on your wife?”
“Have I wh—“ I lunged forward, lips puckered and hands outstretched. Before he could finish his sentence, I was on top of him, our mouths locked together like two enamored teenagers left alone for eight seconds.
“Not since this morning, although I wouldn’t mind getting in on that secretary outside this room. Couldn’t keep my eyes off her. God damn does this taste like nut-sack,” he said, his lips motionless against mine yet his hands struggling to be free. Not a word had slipped out, just as had happened with Richard all those years ago. A simple question lead to the truth, and my kiss always forced it out of them.
By the time he pushed me off, I had gotten all I needed to know.
“Thank you,” I said. “That was not very enjoyable for me, but what is done is done.” He looked angry, I didn’t need another kiss to know he was considering how punchable my face was. And I’d heard it was very punchable from numerous people. “Miss Marley,” I said, staring at her. She didn’t look pleased with me, although she never really did. I could tell she also wanted to measure the punchability of my face, yet I would have no issue kissing her to find out. God damn was she beautiful. “Your husband definitely cheated on you, although he hasn’t done so today—yet.”
“Oh, and Mr. Glass,” I said, “my secretary is a lesbian.”