Author: Michael Ray
Fill in the Blanks’
I’d had enough. And it was getting dark. And he was still talking.
“They have no concern for our well-being. Why should we? After seeing that. You saw it, right? What are we supposed to do?” he said.
“What we are supposed to do,” I said, “is climb down from this water tower before the sun goes down. And it looks like rain.” It probably wasn’t going to rain, but I was reaching here for anything to get this sad sack back on this ladder and down to the ground. Why had I agreed to this?
“But you saw the man, Anna. It is Anna right?”
“But you saw the man. He said he would be in touch and then when he turned…”
When he turned. Something wasn’t right with his head and neck when he turned. The didn’t connect the way you’d expect them to. I think our mind usually fills in the blanks when we see things we shouldn’t. I think men like our visitor only let you see it, to see if you see it, or see if you fill in the blanks. Well, I saw it, but I’m used to seeing it. This guy here, not so much. He should have filled in the blanks. He was still talking.
“You know, you think you know things, and then you see something like that and you realize you don’t know anything.”
“Look, Bob. It is Bob, right?”
“Look, Bob. I understand that you’re a little unsettled and that you think you saw something out of the ordinary. And maybe you did. Is climbing the water tower and staying here the answer?”
“How am I going to just climb back down? After seeing that? And…”
He was off to the races again. I had seen this plenty of times. A normal catches a glimpse of something he shouldn’t and, well, he loses it. I had no interest in this guy, but it would do me no good to be involved in a fatality if he jumps, or to be seen leaving the area, even if he doesn’t. I become a person of interest. It’s important that no one has an interest in me, well, besides Mr. My-neck-isn’t-quite-right and he’d find me soon enough.
“Look, Bob,” I interrupted,”This is how things are going to go. In about 10 minutes you are going to get arrested for trespassing and probably taken to the Mental Health Extension when you start explaining what happened here. In a locked cell. In a secure facility. And Mr. Disappears-as-he-walks-into-the-shadow-of-the-building can visit you any time he likes and you have no chance to get away. Or you come down the tower with me and you let me do the talking about how we did this on a lark on our first date. We walk away, we never see each other again, and you try hard to forget this ever happened so that you don’t go slowly crazy?”
“Secure facility is bad. Your name is Anna, right?”
“Yes, Bob. You go down first.”
It seems I am going to get out of this. For now.
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