matt pond PA

April 10, 2018

Fake Detective Part 1.

I’m on a new case. It caught me off guard like a summer storm, weightless, then suddenly stung by the earth’s electricity.

With my inbred insomnia in bed beside me, I couldn’t ignore the knocking at 3am.

Downstairs, I cracked the door, grumbling. “It’s a little late for the mail.” The slight-figured apparition brushed past and inside as though my impatience were some kind of colloquial invitation, as if she were the one paying the mortgage.

Except for the ugly hour of her arrival, she was a class act, through and through — pure cut glass topped with wavy bay cilium. White gloves popped out against the backdrop of her slim, short navy dress, two glowing paws nearly floating in the near dark — the vague collaboration of dim lamplight, moonlight and streetlight.

She mistook me for one of my dream personas: the private detective trying to make ends meet in the sleepy seed of a rusty upstate crossroads. A landscape coughing up suburban houses, further and further across the countryside.

“I’ve recently lost my husband,” she said without introduction. “In the sense that he’s dead and the dead tend to stay that way.”

“Pardon my naiveté, but it appears as though you’re searching the wrong tomb.”

She extended her hand into the space between us. “Mrs. Richards,” she said. Then, quickly, the hand rescinded and lit a cigarette. “I guess I can eliminate the Mrs. now. Maybe even the Richards. I guess you can call me Pamela — Pam.”

“I don’t smoke in the house, Pam.”

She drew on her cigarette again and flicked the ash into the empty fireplace. “My husband had many friends. Most of them were the type that wanted him dead. Maybe that’s how everyone is these days. Do you have many friends?”

“Oh, I would say almost all my friends these days exist electronically. All that matters is that we always agree and never see each other.”

She sighed. “You’ve exposed the motive before I even dished the scoop. Maybe you do know how to put words together without a thesaurus.”

As much as I enjoyed a little predawn gambol, I wasn’t primed for wordplay. I went into the kitchen, poured myself a tall whiskey without an offer to my uninvited guest and returned. “Mrs. Richards — Pam. Is there a reason you’ve driven me to imbibe past my bedtime? I’m generally pretty strict about my wanton behavior.”

“I would apologize if I thought it truly necessary, Mr. Pound. But I think you can handle what’s happening here and now. In fact, from your reputation I believe you could even be pleased by the sincere and abrupt reality of my visit.”

I finished half the glass in what I trusted was an elegant gulp. “Go on,” I said.

“Mr. Pound, my husband was a political activist. But he took no sides, in that he accepted money from all sides. His intention was to agitate the masses out of their assertions. Both left, right and the middle. An instigator, a rabble-rouser, ultimately attempting to bring the narrative back to a semi-civil conversation. Somewhere along the line, out among the online, he agitated someone capable of murder. I want you to find out who killed my husband. More than that, I want you to find out why.”