It is that limitless time. It's that plateau amid the infinite slope, rising ahead to a height that spins your head, to those ambitious dark, damp cliffs. Just behind, you see the uncertain, undecided depth of recent times, stray facts, flotsam and jetsam of revelation trying to drift across the line between recentness and history. History, that stretches beyond this, beyond all else, like an unending, non-changing dream hanging in the horizon, blurring under its shadow all faces - familiar yet vague, singular in multitude.
It was that time, in short, when age-long wisdom withers, people look at people through the corner of their eyes.
Change and turmoil, suits me fine. I belonged to that time. Not just in body, but also in mind. This is the town that has seen me grow, has engulfed me from head to toe in the harsh wisdom of the hard pressed time. Something that stands like a stained glass wall between me and you. My father.
A whirlwind of events, as confusing as a revolving door. That's what I see when I look back, my dear father. Not a path, I'm sorry, not a damned path as you had always wanted me to see. Instead I have been treading these bushy causeways for the last 20 years of my life. And it all started in that plateau-time. Obviously, it was after your time. Way after your time.
Today, when I look at a case, I don't think how you would have dealt with it. No way. But I have to admit, that was not the case the first time. A fool, I have been. A fool who rushes to his folly. I remember the morning. A rare sunny one, in the torrent of the gloom. I remember the face. A sunny one.
It was Jennifer the lackluster beauty. Yet beauty she was. I stoked the end of my cigar. The hanging ashes gave in. How in this impossible world, I am sitting opposite this face, this voice I asked myself, without answer. The voice of my secret well tended love. Jennifer.
You remember, father, how she used to be my playmate. All those youthful days. Then she drifted. Drifted in a way, that all things drift away. Drifted as if in a dream. Or in the wake of the dream. Across the jagged surface of our mutual battlefields, she calls my name even today. The Fool.
She says she's surprised. Who wouldn't be, in her position. Born to riches, married to riches. Twice. Then you have The Fool of your childhood sitting across your desk and you are supposed tell him your deepest troubles. Who wouldn't be surprised, I ask you.
I play with the piece of wood sitting on my desk with my own name written on it. Ray Simmons, Private Cop. I toy with it in my hands. I was not listening. Random words drifted past my ears. Something to do with Dawson. That plush guy who smells of bad money. Someone wanted her killed.
This is where you came in. I remembered something about Dawson family. I remembered something you told me. I couldn't quite place it. But I didn't show. I somehow wanted to help her. The poor little widow. The love of my dawn. I was desperate to show her, I have got a hold already. And she looked surprised. She said so.
I was so desperate, I thought of you and your methods. Vainly thought of your deductions and logic that never clicked for me. What would you have done here? Start as a start, you always said. I chose a start. It was a wrong one.
I started looking up the history of Dawsons in the local police files. She talked about a murder somewhere near this grisly town of mine. I forgot the name of the victim. Clumsy me, too busy looking down those blue eyes. But I know this has everything to do with Roger Dawson. He is the push for a man who is leaning dangerously. And that man is me.
But that's for later. As I rummaged through the unkindly memoirs that only a cop can keep, I found the name of the Dawson family thrice. The bastards are not clean. I always knew it. First the Godfather of them all, Francis. Selling dopes to innocent kids. This was in fact your time. Those straight jacket crimes, forthcoming criminals. Served 2 years in the hellhole of the town, Cracked Rock Jail. Saved a man from another. Released.
Second time, they make a entry, it is the turn of the preacher Roger himself. What a lewd. Raped a girl when he was 23. Arrested but bailed. By whom, is something not recorded. I start to see the silhouette of a hand of power. But I ignore that. Too big for me. Too big for anyone who cares for life.
Third one caught my attention. It's about Sammy. Sammy Dawson, the heartthrob of the town. Talented and tainted, as much as it comes. There is no record of the crime. No punitive action, no sentence, Just the name like a ominous sign.
But that leads me nowhere. I just feel a bolstered ego. I am coming for you. Sooner than you think.
On the way back from the Police station, I took a deliberate walk around the town. I tried hard to remember what you had said about the family. One thought battled with hundreds of others in my mind. I found it hard to concentrate. Oh Jennifer...
It was a bright moonlit night. Not a sign of wind, not a faint rustle of leaves. It's a queer night, a dead night. I turned the corner of the Gray Street and cast a long obscene shadow on the pavement. Suddenly, another shadow crept behind. As I turned and looked up, I only got a glimpse of a bar or a baton blocking the moon. It's silhouette fresh in mind.
I lay there in a pool of bloody red, oozing onto the Gray St.