He puts down three glasses in front of me.
He holds out his hands, palms upward, gesturing over them.
“Have a drink.”
“Do I have a choice?”
”Of course you do. You get to pick which one to drink.”
I lean across the table, getting as close to him as I can. My tape recorder’s still going in my pocket.
“And then you’ll tell me who killed Becca?”
“What if I choose not to drink one?”
He crosses his arms.
“Oh, that would not be a good idea. Not choosing is often the worst choice.”
“But what’s in them?”
Instead of answering, he takes the middle glass and downs its contents.
“You took too long.”
“What was in that one?”
“Hot sauce mixed with water.”
“And the other ones?”
“Find out. Make a choice, detective.”
I pull the other two glasses towards me, so he can’t drink them, and stare down into the liquid. The one on the left is dirt brown, and thick. The right is bright pink. The left smells like candy, while the right smells like motor oil.
Yes, you read that right.
“I’m not comfortable with either.”
“Sometimes you have to make choices that you don’t like the options for. Doesn’t make the drink any less there.”
“Is this a metaphor?”
“Metaphors reflect life, detective. It’s only fitting that sometimes the other way’s true.”
“Did you poison them?”
He fingers his ear, the multiple severed cartilage moving underneath his hands.
“I didn’t put poison in them. That would be cliché.”
“But are they poisonous?”
“You’ll find most things in life are a tad poisonous. Even the air kills you: it takes about eighty years.”
“You’re dodging the question.”
He adjusts his jacket, the feathers in his collar moving in the air-conditioned breeze.
“And you’re dodging your drink.”
I pick up the pink one and take a sip of it. I’m about to put the glass back down, when his hand comes up underneath the glass, pushing the liquid into my throat. I swallow a gulp before I push him away.
“Commit to your decisions, Detective Erwin. The cat is alive, or it is dead. It’s not both, regardless of the box.”
I cough. The liquid tastes foul, coating my throat.
“What was that?”
“I ordered her dead.”
He picks at the outside of his nose. Sniffing the air, hard. I stare at him, my stomach doing knots.
“Yes, yes I did. You weren’t making a decision. Dump her, or marry her. I can’t stand your wishy-washy-ness. You have to commit to your decisions. Regardless of the consequences.”
“You killed her just to make a point?”
He stands up and takes the brown drink, slurping down its sludge texture. He smacks his lips.
“Yep. And I killed you for the same reason. It’ll look like an overdose. Liquefied pain meds. About a hundred in that glass.”
I feel my heart-rate picking up.
“And what was in the last one? The one you drank?”
My head feels foggy.
He throws the glass at my chest. I feel it shatter and I topple over backwards in my chair. His face disappears from view and all I can see is the gray ceiling.
“Your cat, detective. Turns out it was dead.”
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