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Alone on a Pier

Alone on the pier

The sunlight cascaded upon water below, reflecting off the stunning white of the concrete surrounding the pool. Children played with earnest, laughing all the while. Their parents sat near some reading books written by authors who had long since given up ambition now subscribed to a formulaic plot, or magazines with famous people smiling blankly. Greg took a step back and his faint reflection greeted him on the smudged window. He picked up his pants from the night before and rummaged around the pockets before finally coming across what he was searching for, pulling out a slightly crushed pack of Pal Malls. Greg pushed back the top and glanced down, only one butt was left, turned upside down. Behind him was a women passed out from a night of binge drinking, elicited drugs, and of course consummation of feelings so to speak, her golden hair obscured her youthful face. A face Greg had not looked at since having it forced upon him this morning. To him this girl was no stranger; to him she was Andrea.

Was it only yesterday that we set off on this grand adventure? Greg thought to himself. The day before had from the beginning been a whirlwind, more clear than the blurry visions of the night which lead to Greg bedding his best friend but barely. Andrea the daughter of divorced parents Alex White an alcoholic accountant and Rachel White a cutthroat reality television producer had always been the type to live on a whim. So when she called Greg up and invited him to Atlantic City he wasn’t taken so much aback as he questioned how she intended to afford such an adventure.

“I’m a little short on money” He said “Well to go on a road trip anyways,”

“Do you really think,” she said “That I’m going to make you pay?”

“I don’t follow Ann,”

“First you know I hate that you call me that”

“Ann Ann Ann,”

“Fine you don’t have to come,”

“I’m just teasing, but seriously what do you have in mind?”

“My mom is going to pay,”

“Bullshit she’s going to,”

“Well she doesn’t know she is, but she is,”

“Did you steal her credit card?”

“Not exactly, sit tight I’ll be right over”
Greg undid the plastic seal on his newly purchased cigarettes, tapping the scarlet pack on his hand three times. The kitchen was like that of any other suburban house, clean save for the dishes stacked in the sink, his parents were both at work and his sister was at a summer camp until later in the afternoon. He went to open the window behind the sink, it had a tendency to stick but with a herculean effort it budged. Hiss… hiss… hiss the rope on his zippo caught a blaze; once the flame reached the dark white paper it licked hungrily. Smoke rushed into his lungs, nicotine breaking the damn of irritation he felt up until this moment. Slowly he exhaled, looking into this back yard. Vines had begun to take over the tree house he once spent months convincing his dad to build for him. The structure hadn’t seen use since his friend Mark received a used Honda civic on his 17th birthday, the vehicle became the new go to place to smoke weed for their group.
There was a knock on the door, faint at first but growing with every second it remained shut. Greg made his way hastily to the door turning the nob and being met with a mane of golden locks. Andrea barely managed to get a hello in before passing him and making her way into the kitchen.
“Uhm…” he said “hi to you too,”
“Are you ready” she began “for a journey of perils and conquest,”
“I thought you said we were just going to Atlantic City,”
“We are I just thought that sounded more exciting,”
“It does, wait so your mom is paying for this, how?”
“Okay so remember that guy who my mom was dating, from work?”
“Yeah Hurwitz or something?”
“Yeah, well they broke up,”
“Aw, what happened?”
“His wife found out about them,”
“Oh… that’s terrible, wait did your mom know he had a wife?”
“She says she didn’t but how could you not, anyways they were working on this new production, it was supposed to be a new Jersey Shore type show about Atlantic City coming back to life after that hurricane destroyed the board walk,”
“Okay… so?”
“So my mom decided that she doesn’t want to be any part of it,”
“Still not following,”
“Would you let me finish?”
“Sorry”
“Where was I… right, so the other night he calls and is pissed that she isn’t working on this project anymore, I was listening in from the other room and they went at it pretty bad, I guess the hotel room is already paid for, so she says that she is going to go because it wouldn’t be unprofessional of her to drop out last minute and hangs up on him, and this morning takes off to L. A. to interview for a position at her friend’s production company anyways,”
“Okay, but where does that lead to us going to Atlantic City?”
“Well today a guy from Hurwitz’s company drops off all of the information to the hotel and what not,”
“So?”
“So! There is a room at the Trump plaza hotel just waiting for us!”
Greg is silent for a few moments, trying to digest everything Andrea has shared with him.
“Alright,” he says “Let’s go,”
“Really?” she responded
“Yeah, I don’t see a downside to this, why not go and have some fun?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying!”
Andrea hugs Greg and turns on her heal heading towards the door. Greg looks down at his cigarette the paper has burned nearly to the butt, only a fragile stack of ash was left. The moment he lifted his hand it collapsed falling onto the tile. Within minutes he was in Andrea’s car, having packed as quickly as he could and scribbled a note about going camping with Mark for a few days and securing it with a pizza place’s menu magnet to his fridge. The drive to Jersey was an uneventful one the pair talked about life and how college was going, what classes they would be taking in the fall, argued about whether Taylor Swift was actually a talented musician or just a whiney girl stuck in her teen years, Greg never was able to convince Andrea otherwise, and finally around 6 pm they arrived on Morgan street. With sunglasses and a large hat no one could tell what age Andrea was, and since she shared the same hair color and body type with her mother no one thought twice about letting her into her hotel room as Rachel White. After a quick shower and change of cloths they set out to experience the nightlife, after this not much is clear.
A noise behind Greg brought him back to the present. Andrea had woken up, after looking around the room and seeing that she was nearly completely nude she had only one word to share with him.
“F***!”
“Apparently,” Greg said “we did,”
“Didn’t we promise each other that we’d never do this,”
“Yeah, a while ago, not until we’re forty anyways,”
“I promised you we’d get married if we’re both still single then, not that we’d have sex,”
“I’m sorry I thought those too things went hand and hand,”
“Well you, like my father before you, are sadly mistaken,”
“Very funny, so now what?”
“I’m in the camp of pretending it never happened,”
“I think that’s probably for the better,”
There was a long pause where neither party knew what to say. The silence was only broken by a knock on the door.
“Oh s***,” Andrea begins “I think that’s someone for my mom,”
“Miss White,” a firm voice from the other side says “Miss White, we’re going to have to ask you to open the door.
“What do we do?” Greg asks
“Let me think, Uhm… Just a minute, I’m getting dressed,”
“Miss White, it’s the police, we’re really going to need you to open this door,”
“The f*ing police, Ann,” Greg says
Andrea is now up and out of bed throwing on the cloths she wore on the drive down.
“Miss White open the door this instant!”
“F***… hold on,”
“Ann,”
“Shut Up!”
“Okay, break it down,”
The doorframe splinters and five men rush in, forcing Andrea and Greg to the ground, and securing handcuffs around their wrists,”
* * *

Fluorescent light drenched the small interrogation room Greg had been forced to occupy, the walls painted white and even the table and chairs had an egg shell pallet. The only company he had was his own reflection, much clear than earlier in the day. He thought of Andrea, whether she was in an identical room, whether she was being question, and most importantly what she would be questioned for. The long metallic handle on the door rattled and then went horizontal. In walked a very muscular man, his dark skin a welcome change from the white hue of the room. His brown eyes locked with Greg’s for a moment before taking a seat across from him.

“So mister Dowd,” he begins “I must be honest this doesn’t look very good,”

“Uhm…. What exactly doesn’t look good?” Greg asks

“Well the fact you and Miss White were hold up with a bag of prescription pills of course, none of which were your prescription,”

“There were no drugs in that room,”
Though Greg was almost certain their were no drugs in the room, even he had to admit that statement was hardly convincing.

“Really, no drug, so if I pulled out your d**k right now and forced you to piss in a cup that sample would come back clean is that correct?”

Greg shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“That’s what I thought, now you are in a very unique position Mr. Dowd,”

“How is that?”

“See you have the opportunity to say that it was all her idea, that you had no clue that she had any drugs on her,”

“You want me to snitch on my friend,”

“Snitch, tell the truth, the line is very fine,”

“Why wouldn’t you offer this to her?”

“Who is to say that I didn’t offer her this same deal?”

“Did you?”

“All I know for certain is my department received a call about a wild party in the room above theirs, I’ve seen this before a young guy falls victim to a powerful girl, they have some fun, but usually they get caught, and the boy goes from prince charming to a frog in a slowly boiling pot of water… he’s cooked,”

“Andrea would never do that to me,”

“Who is to say she hasn’t already, for all you know she’s in there singing like a bird, if by chance she isn’t and you do, well I mean you could be on your way home this very afternoon,”

“I can’t,”

“The way I see it, you can be a knight in shinning armor and take the fall for Miss White, or you can be smart about this and be on your merry way,”

To this point in Greg’s life, no one could accuse him of being as honorable as a knight.

“So what’s it going to be Mister Dowd?”

The sun caused his pupils to dilate; he stumbled for a moment before everything came into focus. The sea breeze calmed his nerves a bit, breathing in the salty air prompted him to reach into his pocket, and pull his last cigarette out. Behind him the door to the police station opened. Greg rolled the three-inch carcinogen infested stick between his fingers. From behind him he a man spoke.

“Hey man, can I bum a butt?”

The man was ragged, sickly almost, dressed in cargo shorts and a band t-shirt, a winter hat on his head despite the summer heat.

“Oh,” said Greg “Sure, I don’t deserve it anyways, so what were you in lock up for,”

Greg hands him his last cigarette.

“Me,” the stranger began “I wasn’t in lock up, not this time, in fact my life is turning around,”

“Said the man who just emerged from a police station,”

“I told you man,” he said lighting the paper “It wasn’t me who was f*ed, but can you keep a secret?”

“Sure,”

“I was being a witness for the cops, had to tell them this blond b**** bought some pills from a guy at a bar I was at last night, she didn’t, but this big guy name like Hertz or Hurwitz or some s*** wanted me to tell them she did, I guess she broke his heart or something, I can relate Micah has had his heart broken many times, anyways I met him at the bar last night and he says if I do this for him, I can be in this show he making, pretty cool right? So that’s what I did,”

Greg tried to organize the hundreds of thought vying for his attention; one word came out of his mouth.

“Andrea,”

“Andrea, naw I think her name was Rachel, anyways I’m going to be on TV, thanks for the butt,”

Micah walked away smoke trailing in his wake, Greg stood there for a long while, alone on the pier.
THE END



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