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Three Days Laid Waste
I slept for three days straight. I wasn't sick, or dying. I was simply exhausted. Ever felt your body give out on you and shut down on its own? Well that's a fight I never win. So it took over for three days and then I woke up to find that my dog had been kidnapped, my house had been robbed and I was short five grand. From that I think it would be reasonable to punch anyone who decided to tell me good morning. Why hadn't I woken up? Surely the criminal or criminals had caused some sort of alarm? Or maybe they were professionals? And the neighbors? Well, it's like I have none.
The first sort of movement I made caused my neck to make a sickening crack, causing pain to shoot down my spine. Never sleep for three days without moving. You'll forget how to walk, and any sudden movements will only make things harder. Slowly but surely, I rose from my resting place. By the way, I had slept on the couch, without a pillow. Genius idea. It only complicated the situation further. Sleeping for three days in a bad position is asking for trouble. For all I know, the perpetrators could be in my home at this very moment. I didn't own any weapons besides kitchen knives and scissors. I did have a chainsaw in my garage, but if anyone saw me going from my garage into my house with a chainsaw, it would certainly draw unwanted attention. Not to mention those unhelpful neighbors, but then again, they didn't care about what I did, as long as I didn't walk on their grass or some crap I didn't care about. By the time I saw that I was missing five grand, I had already called the police. It was later that I had noticed my dog, Nat, was missing. My flat screen plasma TV was M.I.A as well. Lousy neighbors. The police had questioned them and asked if they had seen anything, but apparently they had all been either out of town for business, or on vacation. That was bull if I had ever heard any. The old couple in their early sixties next door never left the house. On my right was your typical “I drive a Porsche so I'm better than you” neighbors with all the trophies to show to their friends who probably only hung around in desperate hopes that some fortune would rub off on them. Who were they kidding? The houses across the street were too busy partying it up to care about my desolate place, but they made up things like “oh well I thought I heard a crash around this time of night”. “Yeah it was probably the drunk girls and boys tripping over themselves as they left your house”, I thought. Sighing as the cops recorded the useless information, I yawned and stretched surveying my front yard. My front window had been broken, but the neighbors lied and said they hadn't noticed. Like I said, no help. Something stuck out about the window though. It had been broken in a precise manner. As a matter-of fact, it looked as though whoever cut it out had done it with a laser to create a perfect circle. Like in the movies. I walked up to the glass while my neighbors and the police continued to chatter behind me. Oil? The glass had been cut using oil. I decided to investigate this further later on. I told the cops but they simply said they needed legal experts and a whole bunch of other crap that I didn't want to hear. Basically, they weren't gonna do anything about it. Lovely. As I like to say “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself”. And so I did.
My useless neighbors extended their fake apologizes to me, like they cared. One of them had the audacity to say, “Well it was silly to fall asleep for three days and leave yourself open to something like this”. Like if I had been awake, they wouldn't have even thought twice about robbing me. A naive thought. Luckily the people who did it weren't looking to kill me. I had concluded that it was more than one person because, you'd have to be pretty freaking strong to lift a plasma TV by yourself. But what did they want with my dog? Nothing actually, I found him skinned alive with dried blood pooled around him in my shed one morning when I had decided to start my investigation. Of course this discovery left me mortified and I had to stall my plans. He had been with me for ten years, and he still had a few more years left on him. Still, finding him only fueled my determination to find out how the glass had been cut. After I was done mourning him, I took the window pane to one of my good friends. She was an expert in the forensics field. I never thought that I'd be needing her for something like this. But hey, it can happen to anyone. Lucille Carmelo, my Guatemalan savior.
“I'm sorry about Nat,” she said calmly. She wasn't the emotional type, but I could tell she truly was sorry. Nat and Lucille had a strange relationship. They say you're not supposed to stare into a dog's eyes because they take it as a challenge, but Nat didn't mind having a staring contest with Lucille. Whenever she came to my house he would salute her, literally, and then proceed to stare at her for five minute before retreating to his doggy bed. She in turn would set her belongings down and greet me as if everything was normal, as if she had not just been having a silent telepathic conversation with my dog.
I would look from Nat to Lucille and back, like a confused baby when you make stupid faces at them. It was moments like that that I cherished the most. Lucille looked at the glass with her magnifying glass, swabbing samples of oil and placing them onto a glass dish. I was at the local laboratory with her, reading websites about how to cut clean through glass. I read article after article of “how to cut glass with scissors”, “using a power drill”, or “your hands”. Most of these involved water, so my guess was that whoever had cut through the glass had used a professional glass cutter. “Hey Trent, I found something!” exclaimed Lucille.
“Beautiful,” I replied. I sounded bored but I was eager to see what she had to reveal.
“There, she said spying through the magnifier, a piece of skin is floating in the oil.”
“Gross,” I commented, as she moved aside to let me view the skin.
“It seems to belong to a woman,” she explained slowly. “Do you have any sadistic ex-girlfriends who want to rob you and enjoy skinning dogs alive?” Her tone was killing me, she said it in a manner that was half joking and half serious.
“No, the last girlfriend I had was a year ago and she moved to Africa. Besides, we're still friends, and she's still out of America.” I replied
“Anyone one else?” she pondered.
“Well before my last girlfriend was the girl I dated in high school for about a year, until I...uh accidentally spilled punch on her prom dress,” I said, remembering the image of the girl yelling at me angrily and calling me a worthless idiot. Yep, good times those were. “Do you think she's still mad at me for that?” I asked smiling. Lucille smirked back.
“Nah, she should have gotten over it by now, unless it was a really nice dress” she teased.
“Well I don't have any other girls that might be mad at me, they've all moved on with their lives and I scarcely see them.”
“Hmm, alright, then for now, this person is anonymous” Lucille concluded.
A week went by. All the neighbors moved on like nothing happened. The jerks. The old couple continued to whine if someone went on their lawn. The rich snobs continued to put their trophies on their windowsills and the houses across the street continued to party day in day out. My five grand was recovered due to my burglary insurance claim, and my window was replaced. The police didn't recover my plasma screen TV though. They said they wanted to wait and check to see if anyone had started selling the same brand recently. But my dog could never be replaced. About two weeks later, I heard some useful information about the people who attended the party across the street. Most of them were on drugs when they went into the parties and knocked out or just too high to communicate with by the time they got out. I started to watch the party guest. Could it have been one of them? I had seen some of them eying my plasma TV through the window once, but that was no reason for paranoia. I asked the police what they thought. They said that plenty of criminals are usually right under the victim's nose. They allowed me to investigate. I decided to go incognito and bring Lucille along as my “date”. Despite her stereotypical science nerd appearance, this girl knew how to dress up. She had medium length brown hair and light brown eyes that glowed like fire behind her glasses. A skirt and red blouse along with some contacts, and curling of her hair and she was ready. I decided to go for a street drug dealer appearance. I laid off the sleep to get the dark circles under my eyes to deepen and got a mud colored hoodie, baggy jeans and a t-shirt with a marijuana leaf. Last but not least, I added some suspicious shades to my get-up, not low enough to cover my dark circles though. I appeared under dressed, but it was common for the chicks to overdress themselves while the dudes would simply go casual. We arrived at the party at 11:00pm, which is early for the kind of gig we were getting into. The early arrivals eyed us suspiciously but decided that we were just some other party animals looking for a “good time”. They undressed Lucille with their eyes while I undressed their girlfriends with mine. Once they saw me doing so they grabbed onto their respective girlfriend's waists and walked away with them while glaring at me. Lucille stalked towards a corner of the room and I followed. We sat on some stools where I was sure that people huddled to snort coke together. I didn't want to get involved in the drugs; I was simply looking for a lead as to where my thieves might be. The party started to liven up after two hours and at one am I caught a glimpse of a woman and a man who looked like they were dressed a little to extravagantly and weren't even accustomed to the richness of the clothes they were wearing. I poked Lucille who had been watching a group of druggies pass tablets, of who knows what around, and later passing out simultaneously. We headed towards the basement where the man and woman had headed along with two other people. There was a crowd of twenty people downstairs. The man and woman were commanding everyone's attention with their “nice clothes” Now it wasn't your fancy elegant party wear, but the clothing was definitely worn more by the richer crowd and not people who spent their nights buying and selling drugs and wasting away in someone's basement. They sat showing off their new threads and that's when I heard it.
“So where did you guys get all this money” asked a girl in a not so quiet voice.
“Shh!” the man and woman hushed the girl in unison. They then proceeded to say.
“Let's just say we 'ran' into some money,” said the woman deviously.
“Oh lucky, did you like win the lottery or something,” asked the clueless girl. The man and woman turned and smiled to each other. The man replied first.
“Not exactly, but it did come with a flat screen plasma TV,” commented the man shamelessly. Lucille quietly gasped and I could feel her eyes fall on the back of my head. She knew what I was thinking. The owner of the house happened to be in the basement too and had overheard the conversation.
“Hey, shut up, both of you” he said in a hushed tone walking over to them.
“My neighbor has been searching for the culprits and I won't have you two bringing the police in my house because you want to steal from people who live right across from me!” he finished angrily.
The couple glared back annoyed, and went upstairs. They passed us in the stairwell and briefly eyed us and then continued upstairs. I had half a mind to punch both of them right in the face, but Lucille held me back.
“Not now” she warned me. I waited two hours until I asked someone who was pretty drunk about the two people who had been nicely dressed.
“Oh Drew and Haley” said the drunken man a little too loudly. They're big shots, they are” said the man as his speech started to slur. “I, I, I....” he stopped abruptly trying to think. “I think... the- they live around.... da.. da..Albacore street dow....town.” The man suddenly stopped talking and passed out on the couch.
“Too much alcohol poisoning” said Lucille with both pitiful and frank look on her face. She didn't pity the man, but rather the people who would have to deal with him if he had to be taken to the hospital. I had all the information I needed. I waited a few days before I called the police. In that time I had mapped out the area of Albacore. It was moderately decent area to live. Some people tend to think that the druggies live in the poorer areas, but that wasn't always true. Lucille and I decided to spend the day around Albacore in our disguises. Around four in the afternoon, the woman whom we presumed to be Haley came out of one of the buildings carrying a bag or trash. I briefly wondered if it could be carrying the glass cutter that cut through my window, but didn't search their trash because I needed a search warrant. She spied us and seemed to recognize us from the party.
“Hey” she said walking up to us. She was wearing a pretty expensive looking watch which she told Lucille was new, when she caught her looking at it. I was getting pretty heated at that moment. The people who had robbed me and skinned my dog were right within my reach, but the law kept me from taking action. Lucille, who was very good at reading my emotions, saw my boiling anger and impatience, and excused us from Haley who was taken aback at our abrupt decision to depart. “There's another party tonight at twelve am, we'll be there around two am,” she said smiling. Sick little witch. How could someone smile at you so sweetly yet, at the same time be capable of robbing you blind and killing your dog? Two-faced people stunned me. Lucille held my arm as we walked back to my car. She looked frightened. Not because of Haley, but because she was afraid of what I might do. She drove us to my house and called the police, explaining that we had identified the potential criminals. Seven pm was when the police arrived on Albacore, bursting into the apartment owned by the thieves. Drew was stunned and in his bath robe and Haley, just as equally surprised, came out in handcuffs, furious and confused. How had they been found out? I wasn't wearing my disguise this time and I looked dead at the criminals walking up to the police car where they were being held. They didn't recognize me, but they recognized Lucille who sidled up behind me.
“Hey you guys were here earlier, tell them that we didn't steal anything!” said Haley furiously. I, who had enough of letting Lucille do all the talking, went into a barrage of insults and curse words for all the neighborhood to hear, while Haley sat stunned in the back of the cop car. Once I had finished, I was surprised to hear that Haley denied having anything to do with the crime. I was beyond listening to lies at that moment and said another few nasty words to her before turning to go talk to the police.
Haley and Drew were held in prison. They had stolen something from someone but that neighbor hadn't been me. It had been those fools who lived next to me, showing off all there stupid trophies and money. It seems that that particular crime had occurred while I was asleep. Lucille tested the skin that she had found in the oil, but as it turned out, it didn't match up with Haley's DNA. The pompous neighbors thanked me and offered their own stolen plasma screen TV to me as some sort of reward, mentioning that they could easily buy 200 and still have money left to go on nine cruises. The real culprits weren't found until a few years later. I had asked Lucille to marry me in that time and had gotten a cat instead of another dog this time. It was Saturday night, during the news when the reporters announced that two men and a women and been caught in someone’s backyard, carrying an expensive painting. They were sadistic looking enough to be the criminals, not that people who didn't look crazy couldn't be capable of skinning a dog and leaving it to rot in someone's shed. It was those people that you had to watch out for. Lucille smiled and kissed my cheeks, happy that the criminals had been brought to justice. I didn't care; I just wished I had gotten to see Nat one last time. Why had I been so exhausted that day? Lucille asked me that question a few years ago. I had been working for three days straight building that same shed that Nat died in. I might as well have been building his grave.