- Kathryn Patterson
Short Story: A Disaster of a Trip?
Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip. “Why did I want ice cream and a movie?” she whispered to herself, letting her head drop backwards on the bench. The gray drop ceiling blurred in her vision, an old water stain almost resembling an old woman in a hat. She scooted down a bit, wrapping her arms around herself for warmth as the cold wooden bench started to put her butt to sleep again. Chris only just kept herself from looking at her watch again - the chattering of the other people in the police station belied the time, and Chris wanted to believe it was earlier in the evening. “Ms. Wright?” a deep, bass voice rumbled through Chris’ head as she sat up with a start. “Sorry if I woke you up. I didn’t think anyone could sleep through this chaos.” Chris rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands. “That’s okay, Detective Morris, I wasn’t really sleeping,” she said, stretching her arms and legs straight out in front of herself. “I was just wondering if this place ever quiets down.” Detective Morris chuckled as he stood at parade rest, “Ma’am, we always get a rush at midnight, when the movies let out, then another rush at 3:30am, right after the bars close. Why, 2:00am is the quietest you’ll ever find it.” Chris finally settled back in the bench, as she raised her left eyebrow at the detective, “Seriously?” “Ma’am, I am always serious,” Detective Morris smiled, “In fact, I am here to seriously tell you that I need one final statement from you, and then you can go home.” Chris groaned, but stood up. “Lead on, MacBeth,” she quoted, waving her arm down the hallway. Detective Morris led Chris past paper-filled desks, cubicles with calendars and photos pinned up haphazardly, and, as her mother used to say, “those sort of people”. Chris smirked, thinking about the horrified look her mother would give her when she told her this story. Finally, they went into the same interrogation room as before, where Chris sat down in the exact same chair, in the same position as the other three times she sat in it. At least it’s warmer that the hallway, Chris mused to herself. “So, what exactly do you want me to tell you this time?” Chris asked, trying hard not to sound as whiny as she felt. “How about this,” Detective Morris began, as he sat down, opening up a worn manila folder. “I’ll read you your version of tonight’s incident, and you either correct me if I get something wrong, or you okay it. Sound fair?” “Sounds fair to me,” Chris replied, willing to agree to almost anything at this point. “Good,” Detective Morris pulled out his reading glasses, then began reading from a piece of paper. “Last night, around 9:00pm, you decided that you wanted to rent a movie titled “Addicted to Love” and eat some Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Chunk ice cream. Is that correct?” “Yes,” Chris huffed. “Hey, a single working lady is entitled to some fun on a Friday night.” “Yes, you are, ma’am,” Detective Morris replied, as the corner of his mouth twitched. “So you drove to the Piggly-Wiggly, and found it closed.” “It closed at 9:00pm on the dot.” grumbled Chris. “I mean, who closes that early on a Friday?” “Then you drove to the IGP on the other side of town, and discovered that they do not carry Ben & Jerry’s ice cream,” Detective Morris continued, ignoring Chris’ small rant. “So then you drove to the big Wal-Mart super center, just outside of town. There, you found and bought your ice cream.” “Finally!” “Well, then you headed back into town and went straight to the Video Mart, on the corner of Main Street and 10th Street. You arrived at 10:47pm, parked your car, and tried to enter the establishment.” “Only the doors were locked!” Chris slammed her fist on the table, irritation at the entire incident overwhelming her apathy. “I mean, they advertise that they are open until 11:00PM!” “ Yes, ma’am,” Detective Morris worked to not smile, but failed somewhat. “May I continue?” “Yes, you may” Chris slouched back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest. “You knocked on the door at 10:47pm,” he rushed ahead, “13 minutes before closing time, but the employees indicated to you that the store was closed.” “Losers,” Chris muttered under her breath. “Then you knocked harder, a verbal argument ensued, you displayed your displeasure at the employees by banging on the door, and the employees called the police.” Detective Morris put the paper down and stared at Chris. “Is that your version of tonight’s event’s, Ms. Wright?” Chris nodded, “Yes, it is.” Detective Morris nodded back. “Okay. May I ask you a question, Ms. Wright?” Chris nodded but managed not to groan out loud, “Sure.” “Why?” Chris sat up a bit straighter. “Why? Because my boyfriend of umpteen years left me last weekend for the secretary at his office, with the excuse that he sees her more. I mean, he’s the workaholic!” Chris stopped when she noticed Detective Morris chuckling softly to himself. “Okay, what? You’re the one who asked why.” Detective Morris smiled, a genuine warm smile that made Chris relax a bit. “I apologize, Ms. Wright, but I was not asking why you wanted to get ice cream and a movie. A lady such as yourself is allowed to have fun on a Friday night.” He sat back in the chair, folding his empty hands on the table. “I was asking why you were so offended by the store employees, why you let a couple of teenage boys get under your skin like that.” “Oh,” Chris did not quite know how to respond. She rubbed her hands on her legs for a moment, before answering, “Well, after running out of luck all night because I kept arriving after a store’s closing time, I felt cheated that the movie rental store was closed even though I arrive before closing time. Plus, one of the boys made a rude, umm, comment to me through the closed doors.” Chris looked at her hands, then at the walls, anywhere except at Detective Morris. She felt the flush run up her cheeks at the memory, her heart pounding at the comment and what it implied. Detective Morris lost the smile, but gently replied, “Don’t worry about those boys, Ms. Wright. The owner of the movie rental store answered his phone around 1:00am, came round the station about 1:30am, and not only insisted that he did not want to press charges, but he told me that those two boys have been fired for their treatment of you this evening.” Chris jumped a bit in her seat, surprise startling her into looking back at Detective Morris. “Seriously, Detective?” “Yes, ma’am,” Detective Morris smiled again. “The owner also wanted me to tell you that you will be getting free movie rentals for the next six months, as an apology from him for the bad treatment you received.” Chris’s eyes widened, as her mouth hung open a bit. She shut it with a snap, blushing a bit at her reaction. “Thank you for telling me this, Detective Morris. I must admit, I worried about what would happen to me. But now...” “But now you have the ability to watch however many movies you want on a Friday night,” Detective Morris finished her sentence. “I hope that doesn’t mean you won’t want to go to a theater.” “Huh?” Chris wondered at her sudden loss of vocabulary, but the twinkle in Detective Morris’ eyes left her speechless. “Would you like to accompany to dinner and a movie next weekend?” Detective Morris asked, his brown (were they always brown?) eyes suddenly warm. Chris managed to speak again. “Yes, I would like that, Detec.. Do you have a name other than Detective Morris?” The detective smiled, “Yes, my name is Christopher. But my friends call me Chris.” Chris returned the smile, “Well, then, it’s very nice to meet you, Chris.”