In a descending cycle
Instead of waiting for the police to come to the house asking questions about Father Fidel, I decided to go and talk to them. I had to assume that their investigation would bring them to my house anyway.
I told them he was one of grandma’s best friends and I mentioned about all the donations my grandma had provided to the church and to him personally. I had bank receipts and cashier check copies. I told them about the thirty thousand dollars in cash that he had asked for, to build his boy’s club. I said we gave him the money when we invited him for dinner last Friday. I lied. I withdrew the money and I had the receipt. Of course, I never gave him the money, because it’s useless in hell. The money is in the house, and now I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t re-deposit it, because it’s part of my alibi. I might be able to make small deposits at a time, but for now, I’m stuck with that cash.
I didn’t mention he was a pedophile, I’m sure they’ll discover that during their investigation. I didn’t give them any negative information about him. I never talked about him in the past tense, that might have given the impression that I knew he was dead already. I referred to him as if he was alive and he’d show up any minute. And I told them another lie, that he had mentioned a general contractor from the L. A. area that he might hire. This could be just a little distraction that could keep them away from my butcher shop.
I told the same story to Joy and Sadie. Either they believed my story or were troubled with the other option: that somehow I got rid of him. In any case, they didn’t say a word after I presented my version of the facts.
Two days later, two detectives came to ask a few questions to my grandma, but they didn’t speak Spanish. I bet they believed everything my grandma “said”.
The church offered fifteen thousand dollars as a reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Father Fidel, and the City of Visalia put up another fifteen thousand dollars, for a total of thirty thousand dollars. What a coincidence, the same amount Father Fidel had at the moment of his disappearance, ha!
The entire week Father Fidel had been on the front page. Then, one day the police found Father Fidel’s ring in a pawn shop. Apparently a homeless man had pawned it, and he claimed it had appeared in his hamburger. They didn’t believe him and put him in jail. Since the cops had a suspect in custody, news of the priest went to the second page and things settled down a bit for a while.
I went to visit my shrink again, her name is Jennifer. She’s in her mid-forties. I like her style and taste. She wears her dresses with grace. The smell of her perfume is discrete and subtle. I wonder how it feels to kill a person so smart, elegant, and professional.
Since we were interrupted in our last meeting by her following patient, I had decided to always have the last appointment.
I don’t know if the treatment is effective, but I enjoy our meetings. We talk about depressing things, phobias, obsessions, disorders, and other unpleasant mental dysfunctions. I feel relieved when I express my fears, (which are now fewer than ever) and the irrational panic I used to have when I was in the proximity of the opposite sex.
I know nothing about her, and she knows so much about me. Sometimes I think that I underestimate her professional capacity, and even regret having talked so much afterwards. I shouldn’t call our dialogues or discussions “conversations”, since I’m the only one exposing my soul in our sessions.
“Have you realized that you are not shy anymore Angel? Why do you think your introverted personality started to change?” she asked after greeting me with a few polite words.
“My dad had my mind imprisoned. The day after he retired to Mexico, I began to breathe again. Every day that passed, my self-confidence increased. I’m definitely another person now.” I felt proud of myself, after saying those truthful words.
Having turned into a murderer to become a normal person, sounds like a contradiction, but I know I’m becoming a normal person now. Killing people also has given me self-confidence, because for the first time in my life I could be the one controlling the situation. Consequently, my miserable romantic life, also improved. Killing my father was the best thing I’ve done in my whole life.
“What would you do if he’d return tomorrow?”
-I’d kill him again- I really wanted to say what I was thinking, but I didn’t.
“It would never be the same, never. I would never go back to be the person I was.”
After I finished with the previous statement, I really felt like a crazy person because I knew he’d never be back, and still, I sincerely imagined he could, and it made me go insanely mad. Deep in my mind, I wished he could come back. I’m sure I would kill him again.
“Do you consider yourself a violent person?” she asked.
Damn, I don’t know where she’s going with that.
“I know I could defend myself if the situation arises.” I replied.
“What I mean to ask is do you think you’re capable of killing somebody?”
Damn, where is she going with that?
“I think I could be, but only to defend the three persons that I love the most in the world, my grandma, Sadie and myself.”
I didn’t have to be sincere with my response. I know I killed Fredo and the prostitute without a reason, but things have changed. Now, I wouldn’t kill anybody without a motive.
“How old is your girlfriend, Angel?”
“How old, Angel?”
“I think she’s twenty. Why?” I lied again.
“I saw you with her the other day; she was pushing your grandma’s wheel chair. She appeared to be only sixteen or seventeen years old.”
“I said she’s old enough. Can we change the subject now?”
“I’m sure you know that having sex with an underage girl is a grave crime. It’s a felony, and you could go to jail. I’m here to give you advice, and that’s what I’m doing.” she kept insisting.
“It feels like you’re conducting an investigation, this is not a conversation, it’s more like an interrogation.”
“I’m sorry if you feel that way, Angel. But my obligation is to help you in any way I can. And for that, I need your complete collaboration.”
“Did you read the newspaper today, Angel? There was an article about some people that have disappeared near the Oval Park, right around the area where you live. I’m sure you know about it, having contact with so many costumers in your butcher shop,” then, she grabbed the newspaper from under her desk, and she continued, “The list includes an old lady named, Ana Suarez, a sixteen-year-old girl named Leticia Gomez, Alfredo Lugo, whom they believe was gay, and of course Father Fidel. Should your father be considered disappeared also, Angel?”
My face was hot and probably red too, and I was sweating like a pig. I couldn’t avoid feeling guilty. I’ve never been good at faking or hiding my feelings. I felt like a child again. I wanted to run to my room, and hide under my bed. I was convinced that my attitude was revealing my guiltiness.
“Of course, I’ve heard about all those people, in a meat market you hear about all kinds of stories, but if you’re implying that I have anything to do with the disappearance of those people, you’re wrong. It seems that you are accusing me of those murders, and that’s completely unjustified and unfair too.”
“I never said anything about murders. Do you think they were killed? Because the authorities are investigating disappearances not murders. They’re missing persons, if they’re dead, they haven’t found their bodies.”
“I don’t know if they were killed, and if they were, I don’t care at all. I didn’t even know any of them.”
I’m feeling trapped. I can’t compete with an expert, especially if she’s right.
“Well, Ana Suarez was your neighbor, she lived all her life right behind your house. And Leticia worked for you in the butcher shop. You’re contradicting yourself Angel, there’s no need to be nervous. Oh, and another thing, about the homeless man who claimed finding Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger, didn’t you feed and serve those hamburgers to the poor people in the park? And weren’t you the last person to see Father Fidel alive? I believe he was in your house the night he disappeared.”
“Apparently you’ve been following this case very closely, but everything you mentioned is public knowledge. Ana Suarez lived in the house next to mine, but we never talked to her, she was a recluse. And Leticia worked for me for a few weeks, but then, she went to Hollywood to look for fame and fortune, her mom knows about it. In any case, it feels like you’re accusing me, and it hurts me deeply.”
“Most of what I know is information that you gave me during our conversations. My obligation as a psychiatrist is to take care of your mental health, and by the way, your improvements have been remarkable. Part of the treatment is to question your behavior in society. I need to get inside your mind to know you better and be able to help you even more. About those missing persons, they’re just that, missing. If they don’t find the bodies, there’s no crime to follow. I just want you to talk to me openly about any subject. And if you know anything about those people, you should talk to the police. And one more thing, my intentions are to help you, not to hurt you.”
At that moment, we were interrupted by her secretary to let us know she was leaving. I seized the intrusion to excuse myself too. I was exhausted. She had thrashed me.
Sadie had never stayed in my room overnight, maybe out of respect for Joy and Grandma, but we make love several times a week. Without a doubt, she’s been my savior and one of the main reasons my sanity is under control. I don’t know what I would do without her. Sometimes she helps me cook and stays for dinner.
The day after my shrink shook me and crushed me unmerciless and made me realize about my fragile situation, Sadie also came out with some shocking surprises. After we closed the shop, she said that we needed to talk.
First she said that Joy had finally accepted Pablo’s marriage proposal, and that they had plans to move to L.A.
“Joy wants me to go with them; she insists that I must go to college. And I think she’s right.” she said.
“No, she’s not right, you belong here with me. L.A. is three hours away from here, if you go away, I’ll lose you forever. If you want we can get married. But you can’t go; my whole world would crash without you.” I replied with words coming from the heart.
“No Angel, I wouldn’t know what to do if I was married, besides, I really want to go to college. I can come and visit you every month, and you can visit me too.”
“No Sadie that would never work. I know that if you leave, I’ll lose you forever. If you leave, you’ll change for sure and forget about me. Long distance love could never last; besides, you’ll meet a bunch of guys your age. Please don’t leave Sadie, I beg you.”
“I don’t know Angel, I love you very much, and it breaks my heart to leave you, but I can’t be without Joy in my life. Joy is like my mother to me, she’s better than my mother. It’s a tough decision, but I’ve made up my mind already. You’ve been an angel to us. We will always be grateful to you. It won’t be easy to say good bye to grandma either, especially since I won’t be able to call her on the phone. I’m really sorry Angel. We can visit each other as much as we can, let’s not consider this the end.”
“You’re killing me Sadie, you really are.”
She had finalized our relationship, and it seemed that she had ended my life too. My legs were trembling; I felt a desolated emptiness inside my body. I had no reason to continue breathing. I felt numb, I felt dizzy.
But she wasn’t done with the bad news.
“There are a few more things I need to tell you Angel. Joy and I believe you killed Father Fidel. He was a real monster, but as bad as he was, there was no need to kill him. I don’t need to know whether you did it or not. Also, we've heard some rumors in the street about you and the disappearance of other people. They say that you were involved with Leticia, the young girl that used to work for you. They say she disappeared the day after she stood you up on the dance floor, the night you went with her on a date. They also mention a hooker and a thief that used to hang in the park, and some of them believe you had something to do with their disappearance.”
“But that’s absurd Sadie, if they disappeared, that doesn’t mean they were killed, they never found the bodies. If there’s no body, there’s no crime to follow.”
“That’s the other thing Angel. They believe you’ve been feeding them with human flesh, especially since they found Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger. Things are about to explode Angel.”
“Is that the real reason you’re leaving then? Tell me Sadie, you really believe in those rumors?”
Then, a terrible thought crossed my mind. At that moment, I knew I had lost her. She was a million miles away from me now. I wouldn’t dare to cause any harm to her. She was the love of my life, the only love I will ever have. I will always love her. But her love had disappeared too. I remember a thought I had, when I was about to kill Leticia. Guys like me could never be happy. God wouldn’t allow it.
“No Angel, the reason I’m leaving was decided when my mom left us. Joy made me promise that I would go to college. And I never forgot about that promise. And to answer your second question, I don’t believe in those rumors. And I will always love you, and that’s a promise too.”
Then, I asked her to spend the night with me, and she gladly agreed. And that made me immensely happy, because we both knew that that night would be our only night together. And we cried and we made love, and we cried and we made love, sometimes simultaneously, all night long.
Lancaster, Ca. 11-08-2014