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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1852315
Contest Entry - Someone must explain why he was falsely arrested, and make it believable.
Explaining All Day

A large man sat in a tiny cubicle and stared straight forward. The walls to each side of him were white and short. He folded his hands on the table in front of him, but otherwise did not shift or fidget.

A woman walked to a seat across from him. She wore a frown before she sat, and it deepened as she faced him. Both reached for identical phones with identical movements. They were divided by a thick sheet of glass.

The woman tried to speak first. “Jonathan - ”

A smile formed on his face, and Jonathan did not let her finish.

“Lindsey, it is so good to see you. You don’t know how glad I am.”

Her response was barely loud enough to be heard on the other side of the phone. “I’m sure.”

“I’m so sorry about all of this. You know that, don’t you? Yeah, you do.”

She tightened her hand around the phone. “Jon, I don’t know what to think right now.”

She took a breath to continue, then stopped and closed her mouth to grind her teeth.

“This is all just stressful for you. It will be cleared up in no time. How could people do this? I’ll tell you one thing: I’m going to sue after this is all over. Big mistake. Big, big mistake.”

“A mistake.”

“You don’t actually believe that I killed someone, do you?”

The woman moved the phone an inch away from her ear and turned her eyes to the side.

He filled the pause. “We’ve been married for five years! I’m offended. I’m absolutely offended. You don’t trust me. You never have.”

“Of course, I’ve trusted you. But there is…there is…they say there’s a lot of evidence.”

“There are a lot of liars in this world, that’s what there is,” the man replied. He placed a hand on the glass dividing them.

“Then what’s the truth?” she asked. She looked down and traced patterns on the table in front of her. She paused only to wipe a tear from her cheek.

“The truth about what?”

She moved to hang up.

“Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!” he said, knocking on the glass with one finger.

She paused for four seconds, then looked at him, bit her lip, and brought the phone back to her ear.

“So, listen to this Ok? Just listen.”

“I’ve been listening,” she said.

He nodded and leaned forward. “You’re too kind. Too kind.”

“You’re not explaining.”

“So, you remember when I was living in um…Washington?”

She raised an eyebrow. “That was before we were married. I don’t remember that.”

“But you remember me telling you. Of course, you do. Well, when I lived in Washington, I got on the bad side of one of the cops for turning in one of them. That is why I had to move, you know? Well, you know how these people are. Corrupt, all of them. These guys heard about what I did over there, and now they are trying to get back at me.”

“That is ridiculous!”

“Exactly! Too much power. That’s the problem. We give the authorities too much power.”

“Oh, please.”

“Married, remember? Married. You’re supposed to believe me. It was in the vows.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“Well, it still isn’t all that supportive, is it?”

The woman set the phone down without hanging up and rubbed her eyes. Without moving to pick the phone up once more, she put her head in her hands.

“Pick up the phone, Lindsey,” he said.

She couldn’t hear him.

“Pick it back up, right now. I don’t have all day.”

She picked the phone up and slammed it against her ear. “You’re being charged with murder. Don’t you get that! They think you killed someone. Someone you don’t even know. You don’t know him, right?”

“No, of course not.”

“And you can’t even come up with reasonable proof you didn’t, and you were supposed to be at work.”

The last part was said faster than the rest as she leaned closer to him.

“I didn’t want to tell you that I’d been fired. I didn’t want you to worry. I almost have another one. Well, not anymore, but I did.”

“But where were you!”

Before he replied, she slammed a fist into the glass where his face would be without the separation.

He answered immediately. “I was walking the dog! Same as every Tuesday!”

Her voice seemed flat as she next spoke. “You were walking the dog.”

He replied almost before she could finish the last word. “Yes.”

“We don’t have a dog.”

The man shook his head rapidly.

“Yes, of course. I was walking the neighbor’s dog. Where do you think our money was coming from? I was fired - no money from that. ”

She went quiet and looked away. Her mouth stayed closed.

“No one is trying to get you for any stupid thing in Washington, alright?”

He lifted his chin, but did not nod. Instead, he took a deep breath. “Sure, dear. Sure.”

“This will all be fixed soon. They can’t convict you if you didn’t actually do it.”

“I didn’t. Of course not.” There was a pause before he continued speaking. “I love you, dear. Go home. This will all straighten itself out.”

“Alright. I’ll believe you.”

“Don’t forget to get me a good attorney.”

She only nodded.

They finally did put the phone down, and she left. She had barely been gone for five seconds when the phone beside him began to ring again. He picked it up.

“Jonathan Brown, you have a second visitor. She says she is your wife.”

He formed a small smile, then sent it away. “She is. Send her over.”

He put the phone back and folded his hands on the table in front of him.

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