“Brett, Brett!?” My voice quivered with panic as I ran to his side. “Oh my God, man, are you okay!?”
But I could tell that he wasn’t.
“Don’t touch him,” Corinne said. That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone, and that the girl of my dreams was suddenly caught up in my worst nightmare. I felt all kinds of emotions–fear, confusion, nausea, and, above all, guilt for dragging her into
“Okay,” I said with a deep sigh. Suddenly, the panic resurfaced: “I need to call the cops!”
“Deﬁnitely,” Corinne said. Then, taking my hand, she added, “But maybe you should look around ﬁrst and see if anything is missing. Maybe it was a robbery? You should probably check before the police arrive and start asking questions.”
“Maybe you’re right.” My head was spinning; I couldn’t even remember my own name, let alone look through the apartment and see if anything was missing. “Thank God Corinne is here,” I thought to myself., “She’s so amazing.”
“I’m going to look around out in the living room,” she said. And with that she walked out, clutching her dress. Turning back towards my fallen roommate, all I could think about were the fun times we’d had and all the plans we had for this year. My heart sank at the thought of our Spring Break trip to Vegas. Hailing from Reno, Brett always made fun of my inability to comprehend blackjack and how easy it was to take my money when we played poker…
Pushing those thoughts aside, I combed through the room but found nothing out of place. What felt like an eternity was really only three or four minutes, but I couldn’t ﬁnd anything out of the ordinary. Finally looking down at Brett one more time, I noticed a small piece of plastic in his outstretched hand.
I bent down to get a better look. It looked like a small charm from a bracelet, and had a very familiar shape. Breaking every rule of forensics I’d learned from my obsessive CSI marathons, I picked it up. Turning it over, I was surprised that the object in question was a small Hello Kitty head. I’d always found Hello Kitty’s empty stare unsettling, and uncovering those cold soulless eyes in this grisly scene made her gaze that much worse. I carefully placed the charm back where I’d found it, and just stared at its lifeless eyes as it sat in Brett’s lifeless palm.
“Hey, Tony…” I jumped. Corinne’s voice echoing from the living room snapped me back into reality.
“What?” I asked. Seeing Corinne’s dress balled up on the couch surprised me as though I’d nothing to do with how it had gotten there. “You should put this on,” I said, holding it out to her and adding, “You look cold.”
“Thanks, you’re right. I’m just not thinking straight.” She took a step closer to me, and broke into tears. “I’m just so scared!” she sobbed. Unable to see her so upset, I pulled her in tight and held her, trying to reassure myself as much as her. Then suddenly, she looked up at me with her shimmering eyes and pressed her lips against mine.
Confused by everything and still convinced that this was all just some drug-induced nightmare, I put up no resistance. She stepped further towards me and slipped her ﬁngers inside the waistband of my jeans, and tugged me close to her. I gasped involuntarily at
her sudden advance. Before I knew it, Corinne had undone the buttons and unzipped my jeans. Her ﬁngers started wandering, tracing around my boxers.
I found myself ﬂexing my hips into her palm as I closed my eyes, relishing her touch. Before I knew it, we were on the couch; I’m completely under her spell. I ﬂexed my hips against her. “Yes. Right there,” she murmured. She ran her teeth along my chin, eased back, and continued–so slow, so sweet, so tender— her body pressing down on me. Then I took over and
thrust my elbows and hands on either side of her face, pulling her towards me. We rhythmically continued. She moaned, “Oh, Tony” as she let go. Not far behind her, our tempo increased and seconds later we both found our release.
When we were done, I didn’t quite know how to feel. Rage, sadness, guilt, and confusion were all welling inside me. “That was wrong,” I said. “Holy crap. This was bad.”
“I’m sorry, I just got carried away,” she replied.
“Me too. But oh my God, we can’t call the police now. I’ve got his blood still on my hands and we just had sex with my dead roommate in the other room.” My gut dropped as I muttered it aloud.
“You’re right,” she said, looking as dazed as I felt.
“Okay, I need to talk to Mike. His dad is a cop and maybe he can help. We’ve already waited too long to report this.”
“Where is he?” she asked.
“Ok, I live in Henle, too. I’m going to run back to my apartment, change clothes, and meet you there,” she replied.
“Okay, that sounds good,” I said, and with that Corinne ran out. Collecting my thoughts, I splashed some cold water on my face and headed off towards Henle. Then I remember my fumbled handling of that ﬁendish feline in Brett’s palm. I quickly doubled back and marveled at the cold efﬁciency with which I carefully pick it up again, wiped it clean, and returned it to its special, cold, unfeeling spot. I shivered at these thoughts, breathed a shallow sigh of relief, and calmly left the apartment.
On the way to Henle, the world seemed mostly silent, sleepy even, as on a quiet Sunday morning when everyone is still asleep or in a lingering stupor; until on the outskirts of campus I heard the squeaking of an un-oiled wheel. Looking up, I saw the old homeless Wingo’s guy. None of us knew his name, but he was a bit of a campus ﬁxture— celebrity even. He never spoke; just handed out
coupons all over campus.
Seeing his oversized, soiled shirt; tattered, teal shorts; and mismatched, ratty neon-pink and aggressive yellow ﬂ ip-ﬂ ops added to my strange sense of calm, as though an old friend were nearby to tell me everything was going to be okay. He was pushing his cart, as usual, and, in the basket was an old radio—his prized possession—scanning through the stations. He hummed to himself as he passed me, but it was what he didn’t say that got me. From the cart, I could hear Johnny Cash saying, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch
That lyric pushed Brett back into the forefront of my consciousness and sent goosebumps through my whole body. I moved quickly
now to meet with Mike.
As I continued walking, almost at my destination, I reminded myself how lucky I was that Corinne was here to help me through this, but the strain of thought was interrupted by the radio again. The Wingo’s guy was walking in the same direction, and though I’d passed him long ago, or so I’d thought, the treble sound was still audible and vaguely clear, and from afar, I could hear Bon Jovi’s
refrain, “…and you’re to blame; darling, you give love a bad name.” Focus retook me.
I quickly arrived at Henle, only to realize that I had left my GoCard back in Vil B. Fortunately, Corinne appeared behind me.
“Hey, I just saw you walking over,” she said.
“Oh, great. Can you get us in? I forgot my GoCard.”
“No problem,” Corinne replied.
Finally, we entered the building and I ran up the stairs. I pounded on Mike’s door before I notice it’s already open. I threw open the door and ran inside. “Mike! Mike!” I shouted. Corinne entered shortly thereafter. As we searched I entered Mike’s bedroom, where a new horror awaited me. Looking up, I found Mike hanging above his bed, apparently strangled with his favorite Doctor Who scarf. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I noticed a note taped to his foot:
Seeking the aid of your friend,
Caused his untimely end,
You were warned little dove,
Know I do this for love,
So alone in this you must fend.