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October 3, 2005
”911 what’s your emergency?”
“She’s dead, it was an accident, but she’s dead! I can’t reach her, she’s trapped and—“
“Sir, please calm down and tell me your location.”
“It’s dark I can see the water we just got off the highway. I did this I know I hurt her please save her, hurry. Oh god my angel!”
September 1, 2010 Present day-
“Tom, TOM, what are you doing? Tom, answer me right now!”
“Sorry I lost a lot of sleep last night. Please excuse me boss it won’t happen again.
I honestly wish this woman would get out of my space. This cubical can barely fit me much less her in addition. She just spit on me. This hangover is lasting a bit longer than the last. Or it’s just this woman’s voice ringing in my ear.
“Tom you need to get it together some of your co-workers are wondering why I am letting the new guy slack his second week on the job. This is unacceptable. One more slip up Tom and you will be out of here. I don’t care what you need this job for. Tom did you slack off like this in your last job. Is this why you have no place to live? Jesus Tom, you stink! Take a shower and shave your face. You wonder why I don’t have you working with clients“
It’s only 12:16. I have to work until 5:00. I have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing. I hate clocks. I hate the sound of them. This is why I never had an office job. The only noise being made is by the gears of a clock moving the hands each hour, each minute, each second. Or when a telephone rings to be answered by a blank monotone voice that clearly has no interest in what is being said. And the heels of my over weight boss slapping the floor with each massive step that seems more of a vapid tread than a walk. I can feel my pulse. My hands are moist from my own body heat. Tonight I am going to need a double or maybe three.
“Hey Tom, rough day?”
What does it look like Denise? Do I look alright, because I don’t feel alright. Please woman, just take the hint.
“Tom, the boss is right you look like, well yeah. Is something up? Late night, marriage problems, just can’t sleep?”
“I’m fine. I just did not sleep well. Nice speaking to you Denise.”
“But wait, Tom I was just wondering if you would like to come out with a few of us from the office. Nothing big, just dinner. Well actually maybe you should go home. You really don’t look great. Are you sick?”
Jeez woman you talk way too much. Don’t answer her questions and maybe she will go away. Hey say you have to use the bathroom.
“Denise, if you would please excu—
“Hey Tom, what brought you all the way out here to Frontier, Washington? Tiny town, where did you say you came from?”
“I didn’t and Denise if you don’t mind I have to use the restroom, so please excuse me.”
“Alright, I’ll wait.”
“Denise its alri—“
It’s pointless. Why do I bother? I’m not sure this is even necessary anymore. But I do need to use the bathroom. Plus I’m almost done for the day. One hour, twenty-two minutes.
Only six minutes left. My hands are trembling. My heart has just started racing. Everything started a bit early today. I usually can make it to the last stop light before the withdrawals get this bad. It’s only been 15 hours. I’m getting worse. But who cares. It’s just me, and that may be my fault but who cares. I really do need to take a shower. I haven’t taken one in... I don’t even remember. It’s almost time to go. I can barely think straight. I have a little bit of Jack in the car but only for emergencies. Maybe I’ll stay home and drink tonight. Two minutes. I’m going to be sick. I don’t just want to go anymore, I need too.
“Good bye Tom, don’t forget to take a shower.”
“Will do boss.”
October 3, 2005
“Sir, please try and tell me what happen. How many people are hurt?”
“Only one. Where are the police, please send the police. Daddy’s sorry baby, I’m so sorry angel. Please be okay.
“Sir the police are on there way. Please remain calm until they are there. Can you tell me how old your daughter is? It is your daughter right?”
September 1, 2010
I’m getting worse! I’m panting. My heart is racing.
“I didn’t even hit you!”
I can’t focus. My mind is drifting. Last stop light. I can see the place dead ahead to my left. My parking spot is open. It’s always open at this time. All of them are always open when I leave. Everybody in this little town is so perfect and I’m here to ruin it. I drink. I smoke. I sleep. I curse. There I’m not perfect.
I think I’m only getting one drink, well that’s until I get home. But I can’t make it another thirty minutes to the motel. No Tom, this is what you’re going to do, stop at a convenient store buy a bottle of Jack and go home. You moved here to get away. Pull up here.
“Sir, will this be all?”
“No give me two packs of Kools XL.”
“Okay sir your total is $25.68”
I do stink. I can smell myself. I will take a shower tonight. Maybe shave my face. I should sleep. I guess it doesn’t even matter. I just need to get up tomorrow. This motel sucks. I need to pull it together just long enough to get a different job or a house, which ever one happens first. But for now it’s time to drink. I just need a few.
September 2, 2010
“Good Morning Tom. You smell better today. But you still look pretty bad.”
“It’s raining today, but the suns out. Better than other days when the sun’s not out and it’s all stormy, just makes it so boring in this little old office. Everyone seems a bit gloomy on days like that, wouldn’t you say?”
Is there a polite way to tell this lady that I’m not in the mood?
“Well, it’s sure nice seeing a new face everyday, not saying there is anything wrong with the ones we had, just nice to see a new one. “
“Thank you Denise, but now if you—”
“Tom, are you married? I mean I see a ring, but heard you tell the boss that you were currently living out a motel. So um, are you?”
“But the ring, you wear a ri—“
“I’m not married, end of discussion. Denise, it was nice talking to you but I have work to do.”
“Tom, you don’t have to do anything until the phone rings, and you and I both know that nobody calls before seven, but I will stop talking to you if that’s what you want Tom.”
Yes I would enjoy that. But are you going to?
“I just have things to do.”
“You are just like Stephen in the front office, he just isn’t good at holding a conversation this early either. It’s okay Tom. We can just go talk at lunch, sounds good?”
NO, why would it? My head is pounding. I was thinking about going get some coffee at my lunch break. So no Denise that does not sound alright!
“I wasn’t planning on taking a lunch break today but—“
“You will today. Everyone needs to eat and from the looks of it you didn’t eat breakfast either.”
“I never eat breakfast Denise, it upsets my stomach. Plus, I have somewhere to be at lunch, but thanks for the offer.
My head is pounding. This is not a pain I can get used too. And today I feel like crying. I am a man but today I’m not sure if I care. I know I lost everything, I am living out of a motel, I am alone, and I just don’t know how much more I can take of this. I have the same routine every day; get up, go to work, leave work, go drink, maybe take a shower, and then go to bed. Sometimes here and there I pick up dinner but most of the time I’m too drunk to notice when I’m hungry. I do not need a wife or a counselor or my boss to tell me I have a problem because I know. I KNOW. I know I’m sick, or have an illness. I’m an alcoholic. I’m older and I ruined my life and now I will end it how I please. Dying isn’t something I want. I simply want to live my life with no more troubles even if that means dying this way. It just seems that right now I get a bite of reality.
Twenty minutes until my lunch break and after the way I’m feeling I need the break. Maybe just walk. I will go get a coffee and clear my head. I mean I do have a few more hours until I’m out of this place.
October 3, 2005
“Sir, please stay on the line until the police get there?”
“She won’t talk to me, why won’t she talk to me?”
“Don’t touch her, you might make things worse.”
“The police are here. I need to go…”
“Help her please help her! Why isn’t she moving? I can’t get to her! I can’t reach my baby. ANNABELLE!”
“I need you to step away from the car now. The fire department is going to cut the door off so they can reach her.”
“Annabelle, this is Chief Morales, can you hear me?
She isn’t responding. Let’s get the door off and get her out. Let’s try and be quick guys. WATCH HER NECK!”
“She isn’t breathing. We need to get her in the ambulance.”
“That’s my daughter! Where are you taking her?”
“We’re bringing her to the hospital. She’s unconscious and not breathing she needs a doctor. Do you see that laceration, it’s deep and she is going to need serious medical attention if she makes it. But for now I need you to go speak to that officer over there in order to find out what caused this accident.”
“No I need to go with her. That is my baby.”
“Sir, do you have a wife we can call?”
September 2, 2010
Why would Sheila be calling me? I am still on my lunch break.
“Hi Boss. What’s going on?”
“There is a man here to see you. Says he’s Officer Roger Samanie from Seattle’s police department. I told him you were on your break. He said he would wait for you.”
“I’m down the street.”
So much for getting away. Everything is supposed to be behind me now. See how well that worked? I hate this. I can’t believe he would come and ruin my new life. My god what if he told them? Is he even allowed to say anything? I mean I do have confidentiality rights, or does that not apply since I’m a “criminal”?
“Why are you here?”
“It is my job to come and check up on you. You only got off probation a year ago.”
“Well now you have so you are free to leave at any time.”
“Come on Tom you know the drill. Let’s go back to your house and talk there, how’s that sound?”
“Then we will talk here.”
“Can we at least go in the parking lot?”
“Of course we can.”
I hate the way they stare at me. As I walk down the hall with my probation officer I wonder if I will ever be respected again. I can’t do the whole pick up and leave with no money ordeal. It’s too much. I just wanted a new start. I am sorry. I killed my baby girl. It was an accident though. I would never put someone else’s life in danger unless it was my own. I hate this man. He is simply here to mock me. He’s one of those cops that can’t even be called a cop, Pigs a better name for him. He knows that I am sorry, though it means nothing to him.
“Tom I’m just here to make sure you know that you can go back to jail at any time if you are caught on the streets or roads with alcohol in your system. You don’t get to go through the ticket and fine. Nope, you skipped that step. Now you go right back to jail.”
“That’s what you’re here to tell me? I was starting over! I was trying. I went to jail and did my time. I did my 500 hours of probation. Now I got a job and I’m making money. How could you come here and try to ruin it?”
“Now Tom, you know that’s not what I’m trying to do, just doing my job.”
“Well now I need to go do my job, so if you don’t mind Officer.”
“Fine Tom I will go but just remember what caused your little accident.”
How do I explain this? How do I explain that I killed my daughter? Will it click in their heads that I’m a drunk. She never did a background check. But why should she in a little town like this? People shouldn’t have to and I wasn’t hurting anyone. Maybe I was adding a little bit of imperfection to it all but not hurting anyone. I wonder if I will lose my job. Maybe they don’t want people like me hanging in their town. I will start by apologizing. Then go from there.
“Boss I’m so sorry. This isn’t something that should have been brought on the job. I made a mistake a few years ago and that’s why he was here. He was just checking up on me.”
“Alright Tom, please just don’t bring your personal life on the job.”
It’s not as if I invited the guy. I don’t want him here either.
“Yes Boss. Once again I’m sorry.
I can’t believe this. She’s not going to ask me anything. But is it my job to tell her. I don’t want to be looked down on. It’s not even that I love this job but this place is a place where I can start fresh. Well could have started fresh. Maybe I still can. I can’t think straight. I have so many things going through my head. I really want to leave here. I don’t even want to work. I miss everything. I guess I didn’t love my other life that much but it was a bit of what I wanted. Now this life doesn’t even reflect me. I look in the mirror and that’s about the only thing that still makes me Tom Varsage.
“Tom, can I speak to you?”
“Denise, I don’t know if now is the best time.”
“Tom, you’re going to talk to me. Or at least listen. I’m thirty-seven years old. I’ve spent my entire life here. I have never witnessed anything traumatic or life changing. But Tom I do know that something has happened to you. And I know that you can’t live your life running from it to a little town like Frontier. It seems easy, but look at how it found you. Something clearly has to change. Tom, tell me what happened.”
“It was five years ago. I was living in Seattle. I was married and had a daughter Annabelle. My wife and I both worked a lot. I worked in construction. Right after work everyday I would go to a bar and drink. One day my wife was working late and I completely forgot. I worked an extra hour that day and then went to the bar. I left around eight o’clock. Annabelle was sitting on the porch when I got home. Her mom still wasn’t there. She told me she had parent teacher conferences that night and a teacher needed to talk to us. I didn’t think about it. How could I, I was so drunk I couldn’t think straight. But it didn’t feel any different to me. I knew right when we hit the highway that I shouldn’t be doing this. I went to get off the highway and I guess I swerved and hit the side of the railing and it managed to make us spin and we ended up flipping a few times. I got thrown out of the wind shield but by that time it was already broken up. Annabelle didn’t make it. The airbag crushed her lungs. She also had severe head trauma. I killed my daughter. I did not mean to hurt anyone but I did. And I pay for it now. My wife left me and that was it. I came here to start over.”
I really hope I didn’t screw things up. My head is spinning. I’m so confused. This feels like a big slap in the face. I was trying so hard to start over and now look. I need to pull it together. I’m not sure what more I can do. But I do want to leave. Maybe I will sleep tonight. My head is killing me. This is more than a hangover. This is stress, reality, flashbacks, withdrawals, all put into one big heap of pain in my head.
“Hey Tom, before you leave I wanted to tell you, everyone deserves a second chance.”
I honestly don’t want to like this woman. But she tries so hard. Maybe I should try. I don’t really show her much respect anyway. But maybe I will try.
“Thank you Denise.”
I needed to be away. I really needed to get out of there. That was ridiculous. That is just too much for one day. Uhh, I really need to get home, now. I think everything is just getting to be way too much for one day. I can barely get home fast enough. I pull up to that last stop light I give in. As I wait for the light to turn green I reach under my seat and pull out my bottle of Jack, twist the top off and take a swig. It may be my worst enemy but at the end of the day it’s also my best friend.