This fictional writing contains graphic depiction and language that may not be suitable for younger readers. Discretion is advised.
August 11, 2013
I knew something was wrong the moment I rounded the corner at 10th Street. I could sense it, something amiss from my usual walk from work three blocks over. I looked up the stairs to the door of my second floor loft. Covered with old ivy strings and patches of grass sticking out from the tiny cracks in the historic concrete, I noticed my flower pot holding the only green thing I had ever managed to keep alive knocked to its side. Dirt and leaves from the pot were scattered down several steps. That’s odd, I thought.
I made my way up the steps to my door and found it slightly open. Okay, this isn’t right, I said to myself as I gently pushed the door open the rest of the way.
My apartment was in disarray. Couch cushions lay on the floor, my coffee table flipped on its back, drawers open and hanging from their home in my kitchen, my entire life open and exposed for what I assumed was a thug from the west side. If only he had thought to ask if I had anything of value. I’m a twenty six year old barista working at a struggling coffee shop in a dying downtown, of course I don’t have anything of value. Except one thing, actually. The sterling silver bracelet lined with diamonds and engraved with the phrase “For my Natalie, Love Mom” was truly the only thing I ever held dear. My mother had died eight years earlier on this day after a long, bitter battle with cancer. This day was always hard for me, but now I had something to keep my mind busy.
Back down to ground level I went, grabbed my cell phone out of my pocket and dialed 911.
“911, what is your emergency?” asked the operator.
“Uh, yeah, my name is Natalie Miller. My apartment has been robbed,” I said.
“Ok, Natalie,” said the operator, “What is your address?”
“1002 West 10th Street, in the loft apartment,” I replied.
I gave her the spill about how I had come home, entered my apartment and found it in a wrecked state. No, I can’t tell if the door has been kicked open. Maybe? I’m not sure. No, I’m not injured, just really sad. Yes, I will wait outside for help to arrive.
It was 11:02 pm when he pulled up the curb where I was standing. Dressed in standard police uniform, he came around the car with a strut that screamed “above the law” and a look that told me he could care less about my ravaged apartment. He glanced up at the 1002 hammered into the concrete, then looked at me for the first time since he got out of his car. The look of boredom left his face as he took a good look at me, starting from my black slip-on shoes and up to my wrinkled Guns and Roses tee I had grabbed out of the clean laundry basket that morning. I had left my long, brunette hair down for most of my workday, but once I had called 911, I flipped it up into a messy bun, stray hairs dangling down past my chin.
He was tall, maybe 6’2″, with broad shoulders and dark, thick hair. A scruffy beard helped to hide his masculine and chiseled cheek bones, coated with a misty suntan like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Legends of the Fall. His arms filled every inch of his uniform which made him seem uncomfortable as he walked. I would guess he was at least ten years older than myself, if not more. He was attractive, but not like Ben. His manly essence was emphasized by his badge, whereas Ben was blessed with naturally good looks. Ben was often told he resembled Paul Walker, and he did.
“I’m Officer Thomas,” he said as he approached and stepped on to the curb, “Did you report a robbery?”
“Yeah, like an hour ago,” I snapped, irritated it had taken him so long to drive over just a few blocks.
He wasn’t amused. Pulling out a small note pad, he asked me a few routine questions. “What’s your name?” he asked.
“Natalie Miller,” I said, also unamused.
“So, tell me what happened,” he said with a grin on his face.
I went through the spill yet again. No, no one else had a key to my apartment. Yes, I had stupidly walked around inside before I called police. It’s a good thing, though, because even if the guy was still there, I wouldn’t have had help for over an hour. It would have been an hour until Officer Thomas had discovered my newly rotting corpse, in which case the call would have gone from a simple robbery to a murder. Would he still care less then?
“Okay, stay here a minute,” he ordered, “I’m going to make sure its clear.”
He walked up the steps past the downed flower pot and into my damaged apartment. He pulled out his gun as he searched through each room, then came back to the door and called me up.
“Is there anything of value that you notice has been stolen?” he asked.
I sat on the edge of my bed and stared at my jewelry box. Lid open, the remnants of my cheap costume jewelry I had gotten from Body Shop were sprinkled along my night stand. The only item missing was my silver bracelet, as I expected. “Yeah,” I said holding back tears, “a silver bracelet with diamonds on it.”
The sadness in the room could be felt like a cool breeze on a summer’s day. It flew by my cheek and pulled the tears out, accompanied by a snotty nose and a deep, manly cough. Officer Thomas stood at the doorway and jotted down a few notes on his pad. I quickly gathered myself. “I’m sorry,” I said, “It’s the only physical thing that matters to me.”
“It’s okay,” he said, almost friendly, “I’ll put it in the report that it is missing.”
As he wrapped up his note-taking, I began to pick up a few items lying in the common walkway of my apartment. “Uh, are you going to take fingerprints or anything?” I asked, “I can clean up now, right?”
“Nah, no fingerprints,” he replied, “I’ll be honest with you. We probably won’t find this guy unless he commits another crime and injures someone.”
“He injured my heart, does that count?” I asked with an attitude.
He laughed as he closed his note pad and placed it in his pocket. “Unfortunately, no,” he said, “but, if it is any consolation, I am really sorry this happened to you.”
I stood on the stoop as he sauntered down the steps and back to his car. He turned to look up at me once he reached the bottom, gave a quick smile, and hopped in his patrol car. I closed the door behind me, pressed my back and head against the door, and slid down to the floor.
The tears were flowing steadily now. I wiped my eyes, forgetting I had thick eye makeup on, and reached for my cell phone in my pocket. I dialed Ben’s number. After a few rings, he answered, “Hey babe.” I don’t think he realized how late it was.
“I need you,” I cried.
“Oh Nat, what’s wrong?” he said, concerned.
“The bracelet’s gone!” I screamed, hoping he knew I wasn’t screaming at him, “My apartment was robbed!”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he said before he hung up.
I could always count on Ben, no matter what. In high school, he had been like my older brother, making sure I had a suitable prom date that wasn’t just looking to get laid. If I didn’t have lunch, he gave me his. He was the first call I made when I wrecked my first car in a ditch while trying to record N*SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” off the radio with my new cell phone. I knew, after so many years, that he would be there for me the second I called. No matter how many months it had been since we had seen each other, I knew he would come. He loved me as much as I loved him, and no matter what I asked, he would do it.
Probably even murder.