Crime Drama Thriller

Dead Man Dialogue

“Okayyy, it’s obvious something’s bugging you. What is it this time, let’s get it out.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Well figure it out. I’m not gonna guess.”

“I don’t know who you are, Teddy.”

“Here we go. Let me apologize yet again, Kate, for not being able to read your mind.”

“Something has happened. You have something bad you’re hiding.”

“What? I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about – as usual! I hate it when you start off a conversation in the middle and expect me to catch up!”  

“I’m talking about this.”

“What – that envelope? What’s in it?”

“It was left on our porch – addressed to me.”

“What’s in it?”

“A picture. An old picture. Of you.”

“Show me. Let me see that.”

“What did you do before we met? What kind of person were you – are you?”

“I’m the same guy I’ve always been! I’m your husband, the guy you’ve been married to for over thirty goddamn years!”

“Stop! Where’s this photo from?”

“Give it to me so I can see it!”

“I’ll hold it for you. Go ahead, get out your reading glasses. Take a good look, Teddy.”

“I don’t need my glasses. That was… in Louisiana when I lived down there. It’s at a party… on the bayou.”

“Who are these men you’re with?”

“Just guys I knew in New Orleans. One of them invited me to this swamp party. We were messin’ around.”

“The guy in the middle looks like he’s dead. Is he dead? Look at his face!”

“No, noooo! He was just drunk. Passed out.”

“You’re lying. Look at his face. He’s a corpse. He’s dead!”

“He’s not dead.”

“This is bad. And you don’t look too happy either. Who took this photo?”

“Some guy I met at the party – they thought it was funny to hold him up and take a photo of him passed out. Give it to me.”

“You’re lying. I can see it in your face.”

“I’m telling the truth.”

“Something bad happened here. And someone wants me to know it. How do they know my name and where we live?”

“I’m not sure.”

“You’ve done a lot of stupid things in your life, Teddy, but this is beyond…”

“Honayyy, come on…sit back down. I’ll take care of it.”

“Take care of it? What is it? I don’t trust you, I don’t know you.”

“Wait, Kate, don’t go! Honayyy, come onnn. Where are you going?”

“I’m leaving! And I’m taking this photo and envelope. It’s addressed to me!”

“Don’t go! Come onnn, honey! Come back! I can explain it! Okay, okay, yes he was dead! But I didn’t kill him, I swear! Jesus Christ, what more do you want!? Yes, turn around. Come back inside and sit down. We can talk about this. I’ll explain. Do you want some water? Something to drink? Okay, okay, don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Do you need a tissue? Breathe easy, relax…”

“I’m scared.”

“I know, don’t cry. We’ll be okay, we’ll be okay.”

“Start talking, what is happening?”

“Geez, where to start. When I lived in New Orleans I met a guy who connected me with a group of other guys called the Agency. They were ex-cops mostly and bounty hunters and they would do favors for people and get revenge and stuff from bad dudes who deserved it. I got forced to take photographs of the revenge activities to prove they had done it and then they’d be paid. I didn’t know they did all this, I promise. The night I met them they killed this guy in the photo and then forced me to be in the photo, so they could use it as leverage. They said if I didn’t go along with them I could easily end up in Angola. You know Angola, right? The prison, not the country.”

“Yes, of course, so what did you do?”

“I went along with them, for awhile. It was mostly small injury stuff. Sometimes just pranks. Like one time we put a baby alligator in a bed, tied it under the sheets, for a guy and his girlfriend to find, he was cheating on his wife, having an affair. His wife hired us for vengeance. That was really funny, we taped a note to the gator that said next time expect a bigger gator. Wish I coulda seen his face. He was supposedly some big-wig with a Mardi Gras krewe.”

“Who are you?”

“They paid well but I knew I couldn’t do it so I left town and moved back to Montana, hoping they’d never try to find me. They didn’t. Somehow they found me here in Portland, I don’t know how.

“They found us.”

“Right, they found us. But it’s me they want, not you.”

“How do you know? How do you know I’m not in danger?”

“Well, they contacted me a week ago and demanded that I help on a job in Portland, taking photos again like I did before. I said I wouldn’t do it. Flat out refused. But they threatened me, said they knew where I live. Where we live. And now, dropping off this photo for you, they are tightening the rope.”

“My god, this is unbelievable. So this is why you’ve been so on edge lately?”

“I guess…”

“What are you going to do?”

“I thought it over and I have an idea.”

“Here’s a better idea – go to the police!”

“No, I could get in a shitload of trouble. Crimes from before would come up. I could end up in prison. Even Angola, like they said. No, I have an idea though. A good one. Don’t look at me like that!”

“I’m looking at a dead man. You are a dead man, Teddy. Even if alive.”

“Don’t say that. You don’t think that. We’ve always figured things out. Right? Right?”

“Just shut up.”

“I will. As soon as I tell you my plan.”

“Lord save us.”

“We won’t need the Lord’s help, not with this plan.”

“Does it involve alligators?”

“That’s why I love you.”

February 18, 2023 23:20

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