by Arnold Snyder
Unfortunately, the morning caught me off guard.
I was drinking my coffee, half-watching the TV news and half-working a sudoku puzzle in the living room. I saw no patterns, nothing out of the ordinary. No trails. The flashback was over and done.
Then an item on the TV news grabbed my attention.
A big mystery in Oakland today has the Oakland Police Department baffled. Two police officers, including their patrol cars, seem to have vanished yesterday. Patrolman Michael Torsden, a veteran of 4 years with the department was the first to disappear yesterday afternoon. Then two hours later, Sergeant William Corcoran, a 15-year veteran, also disappeared.
A spokesperson for the police department says that in both cases, dispatch lost the GPS connection to their squad cars and simultaneously lost radio connection with the officers. Neither officer ever returned to the station last night. Their whereabouts are unknown.
The Chief of Police made a brief statement to the press this morning but took no questions from reporters:
“We’ve never seen a situation like this. Although the officers disappeared at different times and from two different locations, we have to assume at this point that there is some connection between their disappearances and that some kind of foul play was involved. That’s all we can report at this time as our investigation is continuing. If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of either of these two officers, we request that you call the department immediately. That’s all. Thank you.”
Photos of the two cops were side-by-side on the screen with the OPD phone number flashing over them. That was them. The two cops that I’d made disappear yesterday.
This was a disturbing development. Was I now hallucinating what was on the TV news? Could I be certain of anything at all?
“Don, the sink is clogged again!” Bev called from the bathroom. “The Drano didn’t work!”
“Okay, I’ll fix it!” I yelled back.
I went out to the garage to get the electric snake from my tool bench.
That’s when I discovered that my car was gone. I ran outside and looked up and down the street. It was nowhere to be seen. Then I remembered that I’d never actually driven it home. The last time I’d seen it, it was parked outside Dave’s Coffee Shop.
Jesus fucking Christ. That didn’t make sense because how did I get home last night? Oh, I remembered sitting in Dave’s with Flash, and closing my eyes and saying I wanted to be home sitting in my bathtub. And then, suddenly that’s where I was.
But the only logical explanation to me was that I’d never actually left the tub. I’d never gone to Dave’s. I’d never done any of that crazy shit that had happened the day before. It had to have all been a hallucination. That was the only thing that made sense.
So, where the fuck was my car?
I went back into the garage.
“Where’s the car?” Bev said. She was standing in the doorway. Dressed up. I always liked her in that tight blur skirt. Sexy. She’d fixed her makeup and hair. Damn, she looked good. How did I ever lose the ability to fuck her? I wanted to jump her bones right now.
“I said, where’s the car?” she repeated.
“Oh. I parked it out front,” I said. “I’m going to wash it.”
“Well could you please fix the bathroom sink first?”
“I was just getting the snake.” I grabbed the snake from the shelf over the tool bench and went back into the house.
I went into the bathroom, There was standing gray water with hair floating on it in the sink. I touched the trap beneath the sink and the water immediately rinsed down the drain. I turned both faucets on high. The water washed down with no problem. I didn’t need the damn snake.
I went into kitchen. Bev was nuking a cup of coffee.
“I’ll be back later,” I said. “I’m taking the car to get it washed.”
“Can you please do the sink first? I have to brush my teeth.”
“The sink is fixed. There was just some soap scum caught in the trap. It came right out.”
“I probably won’t be home when you get back,” she said. “I’m having dinner with Armando.”
The microwave dinged. She removed the coffee cup out and took a sip.
“No problem, I said. “I’ll see you later.”
She sat down at the kitchen table and sipped at the coffee for a minute, then said, “I may not come home tonight.” She patted her mouth with a napkin, then looked at the light lipstick stains on it. I had an urge to kiss her. She looked up at me like she was waiting for my response.
“Fine,” I said. “I’ll fend for myself.”
“There’s another package of peppers in the freezer.”
“Great. I’ll see you later. Or tomorrow. Or whenever.”
I took the snake back to the garage and put it away. Then I went outside and started walking down the street. It was two miles to Dave’s but I felt like walking. I had to try and figure this mess out.
Go to Chapter Six