As part of a March writing challenge I asked for suggestions on what to write. The first suggestion was the rather cryptic, “I”M SO IN!”- the results are below
“I’M SO IN!”
That’s how the words had rang out on that night. This was what everybody clamoured to tell him. The I.O. knew these words weren’t important, he knew they weren’t even peripheral to the case but he had to know what they meant.
It was the digressions that had drawn him to police work after all. The devil in the details was the only one that tempted him. He had always felt that God’s reality was only divine because it could be followed on a tangent to a pit that led past the centre of the universe and on to the infinite.
It couldn’t be counted as official, these questions, but everyone held police work in sufficient mystery that they quickly provided answers to anything asked, never thinking that half the questions were the muttering of an idle mind.
“So what do you think he meant, that shout?”
He was asking the downstairs neighbour. She was pretty in that head-turning way that he’d so desperately wanted to possess until he did and realised that even that kind of beauty was a mask. A face, any face was filled with craters and pockmarks, small scars and mementos from mother earth’s glory. He liked those things ordinarily but faces this beautiful obscured them, he could remember the smile of the girl before as this one spoke to him, how it would loom large over everything else, how he wouldn’t be able to see any of these details for the complete whole they put together, how for a time he was ok without the details, and how finally he couldn’t even see that she had been sleeping with someone else. So he distrusted it and listened to her words instead. Her voice piped high. Maybe it was excitement but it grated on him, distracted him from the rest of her,
“He was strange. I said hello to him a couple of times and he’d greet me happily enough but never give me more than a sentence. Always in a hurry I guess, so strange. People around here are usually so friendly so I never understood, maybe it was me he didn’t like. Anyway, my boyfriend was just fine with that- he’s very jealous you know…”
“So on that night?”
“Yer so I was home. I was reading actually just about that time. I remember that there was an incessant tapping on my roof, his floor. Tap tap tap tap. But that was always there, it was so constant that sometimes I thought I couldn’t sleep without it. This time though it distracted me, the book wasn’t very good. Oh, God, I’ll miss that about him, that noise it always told me if the book I was reading was worth going on with, if I could stand it good book, if not… Well there was a knock on his door at about eight. I had given up and put on something to watch, caught the news previews that’s how I knew the time, someone knocked on his door. That in itself wasn’t very strange, he always had a lot of visitors which is another thing that made me wonder what he didn’t like about me. It started raining soon after that.”
The I.O. could remember the rains. Flash floods that had dropped out of nowhere onto parched earth and dry streets. Rains carried down with wind and hailstones. He could remember the size of the hailstones, smaller than a coin, and the sound they made skittering on the streets. He fingered the welts on his hands caused by him putting them out that day just to feel them, shivered a little as he remembered how cold the effluent had been.
“That’s when I heard him shout. I don’t know if his visitor had left yet can you tell me? Actually, can you tell me why you’re here?”
“Yeah, sure pass me your number and I’ll keep you informed of the investigation.”
There was a glint of disappointment in her eye, she could tell when her charm hadn’t worked apparently. Well, at least she had her books, and he pondered the fact that a little rejection can make beauty shine brighter.
The sounds of some of his men at the door continued. The apartment blocks belonged to some big-shot politician, one of those who got recycled between cabinet posts no matter who was president. Some men considered heading a parastatal a major demotion, and when you went to those men’s places you knocked with a light feather. The IO approved of his men testing their lock-picking skills though. He knew at least 5 thieves in a kilometre radius who would have ensured he’d been in long before that woman thought mention of a boyfriend would pique his interest.
He climbed the stairs just in time to see the door turning. His men had finally got the door open. Darks shadows crowded inside. It looked like the mouth of some monster from the deep, one of those things with three or four rows of teeth, arranged concentrically around…even more teeth. The creatures that proved nature was always out for blood.
A torch was shone in and he saw the house was stock-full of different kinds of clothes. He was impatient to enter, to shine a light in and see what was held at the back, what was being hidden. But the crime they were investigating meant he couldn’t just blunder in. Procedures had to be followed at this point. Guard dogs and machines used to detect faint traces of the chemicals used in explosives. Could someone have so callously acquiesced to the bombing of a church. “I’M SO IN.” This is not what you shouted before heading out to destroy so many, but he couldn’t be sure, he could never really be sure. Maybe this is what they all said. Maybe the pull of death was an ecstasy. A feeling akin to sex, to breaking through the different forms of resistance-cultural and social, biological and financial, to finally enter, to finally go home. Maybe that’s what he meant, a kind of homecoming in his future.
They were dragging out the clothes now. He could see the quality and thought that had been put into the suits held by his men. They were all of different sizes yet there was the same love poured into them. The wapt and wefts met and left, interweaved and interlocked in an endless struggle of creation, a brimming tension of discovery, a replaying of the age-old lesson that only opposites give birth to beauty. He remembered his home-science then. He could remember how he’d been completely unable to thread a needle for a time. All the hours he’d spent whittling down thread to its fine points, sucking it and chewing it off. How his hands had trembled whenever he’d approached the hole, completely unable to go in. He’d been more religious back then and the words of Jesus always played in his mind, a camel through the eye of a needle. And so, as he trembled back in school he’d wondered why that particular metaphor. What made the image of a camel so special, the humps? The fact that sometimes they looked like thread hang from them instead of fur? Whenever he’d succeeded he remembered his utter joy, the cry that came from inside his heart as he lifted up the thread and pulled it taut, as he remembered this he looked up to see his men carrying down tailors apparatus, he quietly thought of the tap-ta-tap he’d been told about and smiled a little at the solution to one of the mysteries,