“You evil creature. You don't want him back. You didn't want a dog. You said that a dog would just stink up the apartment. You don't love him and you don't want him. You just want to take him because I love him.”
“Be that as it may, I'm going to take him. Don't make me take steps.”
“Take steps. You cunt.”
She hadn't even turned around. She stood, still looking out of the window, while she told me that she expected me to give up my dog. Like she might have expected me to give up my alarm clock, or my orange juice pitcher. Another accessory. I'd managed to close my jaw, but now I stood working it, not able to find anything to say. I looked around. At her desk. The chairs that were just upholstered enough that you wouldn't mind sitting in them, but that wouldn't allow anyone to be comfortable. And she still wouldn't turn around to look me in the eye.
“If you've left the key, you can go. I think we're through, here.”
I was looking at the award, or whatever it is, from the bar association that sat on her desk. It was one of those lead-crystal diamond-shaped things that seem to be on everyone's desk, these days.
“You're right, Carolyn. You're through here.”
I picked up the lead-crystal diamond and, with her award for legal brilliance, caved her skull in. I don't know if she saw it coming, but I hope she did. She didn't scream or protest or threaten a suit. She did have a surprised look on her somewhat-damaged face, surprised that I'd had the audacity to kill her. There was a gout of blood and she fell forward, almost noiselessly, slumped against the window. From the size of the bloody dent in her mean-spirited head, there was no chance she'd survived. A smear of blood,where she'd slid down, was already drying on the glass, thanks to the efficient air vents beneath it.
I ran out of the office and there was the elevator waiting for me, and then there was the earthquake, and there I sat almost an hour later, waiting for them to come and get me. And then for them to really get me.
The voice on the other end of the intercom came back a couple of times to check on me. I was still fine, I reassured the voice. And I was, more or less. I had to pee and I had just murdered my recently-turned-ex girlfriend, but I was fine. Just when the emergency light was starting to grow dimmer, the voice came back. It seemed that the building's systems were safe enough to run and the power would be coming back on. Thank God for that, I thought. This whole mess was bad enough without having to sit in the dark. The lights flickered back to life and—damnit--so did the piped music. Outside, I heard voices and a variety of noises that sounded, I suppose, like rescue workers doing their job. The elevator moved downward a little bit, probably only about fifteen feet, and the doors cranked jerkily open.
There was a group of people outside the elevator doors, waiting for me—some maintenance types, fire and rescue workers, and three Richmond city cops. I was trying to decide what I should say. By this time, somebody had to have found Carolyn. My guilt was obvious. But the cops said nothing. Once I was out of the elevator, they lost interest and walked away. I overheard one of them saying “OK, that guy's out. I think we've still got a couple of people trapped upstairs, let's get this rolling.” An EMT walked up to me and told me where to go so they could check me out for any injuries. I reassured him that I was fine, just fine. He looked a little skeptical, so I told him that a staple had poked me in the ass on the elevator floor, but really I hadn't been hurt. He told me that I'd have to sign a waiver, though, in case anything seemed wrong later, that I'd refused emergency care, and waved me toward the front desk, which seemed to be their command center.
The woman handling the paperwork was still wearing her gear and was clearly exhausted. I told her that I was fine but that I was supposed to file a waiver. She gave me a couple of triplicate forms. I asked her how bad it was outside. She told me that it looked worse than it was.
“It's damn lucky this happened on Saturday, or it would be hell out there. Every window in this building blew out.” I looked outside and, indeed, the lobby windows had shattered. There were a couple of ambulances on the street.
“A lot of casualties?”
“Not really, thank the Lord. One poor guy down Main street, he got hit by a big chunk of marble that fell off the Mutual Building. And oh dear sweet Jesus, the marquee on the Empire Theatre collapsed and crushed a bunch of poor souls just waiting for the bus. Lots of people hurt by flying glass but nothing too serious. One in this building though. There was a woman who must have been looking out of a window when it hit, she was way upstairs. When the windows blew out, she fell. She must have been pretty far up, because...well, there's not much left. Poor thing...bless her heart.”
I, who knew who it was, did not bless her heart at all. I finished filling out the waiver and walked out onto 10th street. I had to get home and take Rusty for a walk.