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You have to understand that it wasn’t my fault. You can’t take me in for something I haven’t done. Have you seen my hands? Do these hands look like they could grip a knife, or hold a gun? My hands are smooth, unblemished. Not a day’s work visible in them. I take very good care of my hands. They are much too gentle and kind to carry out the vicious acts you accuse me of. Look at them. Not a single wrinkle, scar, or dry patch. Two slabs of rosy pink flesh, full of vigor and beauty. They are the culmination of human evolution, twofold perfection packed into five precious fingers, twice over. To squeeze the handle of a knife, to stain my skin crimson is to throw my life’s work down the drain. Look at them. Look. Not a speck of dirt or grime, not even under the nails. Did I tell you I trim my nails daily? I trim my nails daily. They are an exact length, the perfect length. Two millimeters from the pink, smoothed and filed to a flawless parabolic curve. Thirty steady years of careful, precise work. That is dedication. That is what my hands are. I cannot grip a weapon in malice. Case closed.

My wife? What about my wife? She’s dead, gone, kaputt, nill, murdered, left for the great beyond. Can’t you see this is a sensitive subject to me? You’re going to make me cry. I loved her, and now she’s gone. My only friend in this unfair world. The only one to understand me and to care for me. We never argued. Can you believe it? Never was a voice raised in the household. We never disagreed on what show to watch on TV. When we ate out, we knew exactly where we were going. We understood each other, inside and out. We were perfect, inseparable, ‘till death do us part. She’d tell you the same if she were still here. She’d give you a piece of her mind. She’d back me up. I know she would. That’s the kind of person she was. Strong, smart, gentle, and kind. You know what? You’re none of those things. You don’t know me. Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t kill anyone, especially not her. She passed away years ago. I just told you I loved her. Look at my hands. Look into my eyes. My wet brown eyes. Wet with grief. Can’t you see I’m telling the truth?

How did we meet? Well, we knew each other since we were kids. My father knew her father. They used to be classmates in college, wonderful friends. Best man to each other’s weddings. They were both there at our wedding. They saw how much we loved each other. They saw us say our vows. It was true love, overseen by a pastor and a reception of thirty. It was a smaller wedding, but it was what we wanted. We both agreed it was what we wanted. There was no argument, no fuss. The wedding cake was also superb.

Can I go? It’s obvious I didn’t do it. I didn’t kill my wife. God, just the implication of saying that makes me feel ill. Sick to my stomach. My poor, dear, Abigail. Gone too soon. Can’t you see you’re wasting your time? I’ve told you all I know. I told you everything I know. Go find the killer. It’s not me. I told you my alibi. I was at work, at the office when they found her body. The timelines don’t add up. It’s as simple as that. I was at my desk, typing up a report. It was about the expenditures and revenue for the third quarter. Some of my finest work. The company logs my time when I work, and those logs go back years, and those logs are exact. Exact to the day, hour, and minute. You can check those time logs. I was at work. It’s just not possible.

I can’t believe I’m still here. I still have a house to take care of, and I’ve been down a wife to help me with it. No one else lived with us. It was just the two of us, in that great big house. Now it’s just been me. Her job was the cleaning. My job was cooking. It was a simple agreement we both liked. We didn’t even have to discuss it. It was just how it was. No one could be happier. We never made any fuss about it. It was perfect.

Who cut the vegetables? Didn’t I just tell you I did the cooking? I cut the vegetables. I dice the broccoli and I slice the tomatoes. I julienne the carrots and I peel the potatoes. I’m the cook of the house—of course I cut the vegetables. I cut them with precision and speed. I’m a workhorse in the kitchen. With a knife? Yes, with a knife. What else are you going to use to cut vegetables, a blender? That’s absurd. It’s not like I don’t use my hands to do things. I have to get around life somehow. I just take great care in keeping my hands unblemished. Just look at them. Look at these graceful fingers, and the smooth, soft skin. Every joint and knuckle bends with grace and purpose. I take great pride in my hands. It’s one of the only things I have left. I’m very careful with everything I do. I’ve never cut myself in the kitchen, and I never plan to. That’s just how I am. You think just because I can cut up vegetables I can cut up my wife? Why don’t you go question the butcher shop? They cut meat for a living. I cut vegetables for dinner.

Look officer, isn’t there a—what do you call it? A reasonable time frame? A statute of limitations? Doesn’t that apply here? She passed away—what, two, three years ago? It’s clear to me that it’s a dead-end case. You guys keep bringing me back in for questions, and to be frank, I’m sick of it. I’m trying to move on with my life, and you just keep pulling me back to the past. Let me tell you something: not a night has gone by where I don’t think of her. Not a night where I don’t miss her presence. It hurts. It hurts everyday. Officer, I just want to move on. I want to stop dwelling on the past. I know it’s what she would have wanted me to do, because it’s what I want to do. I hope we’re done here.

Time’s up? Good. Hold on, you’re taking me back to where? I live on 3992 River Drive, in a house with my late wife. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 2500 square feet. She used to do the cleaning, and I did the cooking. I told you that right? She did the cleaning, and I did the cooking. A perfect duet of housekeeping. Our own little worlds, yet so intertwined together.

This isn’t my house. You can’t close the door and leave me in this stuffy concrete box. I don’t live here. I know for a fact I don’t live here. I live on 3992 River Drive, in a two bedroom, two bath, 2500 square foot house. No, I don’t understand what you’re saying. I’ve never seen this room in my entire life. That’s my bed? Those are my sheets? Do you really expect me to believe that? No, I don’t think so. I know what my own bed and sheets look like, and they don’t look like that crumpled mess of fabric. I make my bed every morning, and fluff my pillow every night. I’m very familiar with how my bed looks. Look at this stain on the mattress. This brown blotch of impurity. How could I have done that? Besides, this mattress isn’t even memory foam. My mattress is memory foam, and I know that because my doctor recommended I get one—and I did get one. It’s softer than anything you could ever imagine. I remember hauling that cushy beast from the front door to the bedroom. Glad my wife was there to help out.

Have you seen this bathroom? Disgusting. All this yellowed tile and porcelain. I don’t think this toilet even works. Just look at the angle of the flush handle. Nice try with the dim lighting, but it can’t cover any of the grime. I have a sharp eye, and a sharper mind. I see right through it all, deep into the tainted soul of this filthy, mistreated bathroom. In my house, my bathrooms are spotless, free from the shackles of mold and mineral stains. You know I had to pick up the cleaning after she was gone because who else was going to do it? I scrubbed, dusted, and vacuumed each and every corner of my property. My house is a spotless house. A clean house is a clean soul. Can’t say the same for this bathroom, if you can even give it the honor of calling it that.

Officer, where are you going? Don’t close that door. Don’t leave me. Take me home. Take me to my house. It’s on River Drive, number 3992. You know I live there. You know I don’t live here. I don’t belong here. This is not my bed, and this is not my bathroom. This is not my table or chair. This room bears no connection to me. Please, I don’t think you’re a smart man officer, but I don’t believe you’re this obtuse. I know you. Don’t go, officer. You can still open the door. Please.

Listen. Officer, did you feel that? Did the ground just shake? I swear it did. I swear I felt the ground rumble. Yes, it’s true, I felt it. This city’s above a fault line, if I can recall. A rather earthquake prone area. There it is again. Officer, with all due respect, shouldn’t we evacuate? It’s really picking up now. Just look around. It’s snowing dust and concrete in here. I don’t know about you, but I’m really not looking to get flattened anytime soon. The walls, the bed, the everything—it’s all wobbling and jittering like mad. You feel it too right? That’s what I thought. I don’t think this building can stand this for much longer. If you’re not going to budge, I’m going to close my eyes.

It stopped. I can’t believe it stopped. I’m going to open my eyes now. I can’t believe this room is still standing. I can’t believe we’re both alive. I don’t know how long it’s been, but it felt like forever. The sounds… you must have heard the sounds out there. The fervent rattle of destruction. Steel and concrete pulled apart like paper. Absolutely terrifying. I have been shaken to the core of my very existence. How are you holding up, officer? Don’t you think we should go outside and see if everyone’s okay? I can hear the sirens and the screaming. I know the emergency response in this city has been short on staff these days. They’re going to need some able-bodied citizens to help out in this disaster, able-bodied citizens like you and I. This door stands in the way of moral duty. It inhibits my inner righteousness. We must help them! Officer, where’s your sense of human obligation? Has cynicism truly frozen your mind and spirit? Don’t just walk away, come back and open this door. Let me help out. Let me go home. I won’t repeat the address, you know where I live. Officer, please. Please.


You get the Ramirez shift again? Swear he comes up with something new every time. Ever wonder what actually happened to his wife? Believe it or not, he used to be married. Heard it was pretty gruesome though, but not my job to know. Don’t think I’d be half as entertained with what comes out of his mouth if I knew the details. What’s the point of bringing them out for questioning every week? Eh, fresh air, human decency—take your pick. I mean, most of ‘em seem pretty pleased to talk to someone. Well, maybe not Smith, but you know how he is. Dullest three hours of anybody’s life. Ramirez ’ll talk your ear off, but at least he doesn’t just sit there and stare at his thumbs. Look, I’m not the one who writes the rules here in society. I doubt any of what we’re doing changes anything. And that’s the end of my shift. Catch you tomorrow, Frank.

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