I Try to Be Cordial

September 3, 2008

So the cop says to me,

“Did you do it?”

And so I say, “No –

I didn’t do it.”

And he looks around my place – not a large place –

and he asks,

“Can I use your phone?”

And so I ask, “You don’t have a cell phone? They

don’t make you…?

And he feels around his jacket

real quick

and he says, “Yeah, yeah, I have one.” 

I fucking grimace and slightly shrug (Use it then – I think).

He looks at me and says,

a bit embarrassed, “I sometimes use that tact

to take a quick look around.” 

He chuckles, and I just stare at him,

nodding. Just nodding. 

My eyebrows are up.  I remind myself to do that.

I try to be cordial.

“I could have shown you around the house had you asked,”

I say.  “But now I’m not sure why.” I say it a bit jokingly.  


And I start to realize

he just opened himself.  He told me what

he wanted to do – in my own fucking house. 

And it takes just a bit – just a bit –

but I’m thinking,

Are you a fucking rookie? 

Is this guy a fucking rookie? Is there an audience

Outside my window?  A camera or something?


So I ask him, “Do you always come to

people’s homes in civilian clothes?” 

He looks down at his jeans, shuffles.

“Not normally.  I just wanted to talk, ya know. 

Come over and talk as just

a couple guys; just…”

And so I figure at this point,

I might be above this guy’s pay grade.

But I try to be cordial so I say,

“I don’t have anything more

to tell you other than what I told you

last time.” 

He nods and looks over at my desk and computer.

“You work from home?” as asks.

I glance over.

“No, I just do some writing—in my off time.”

He continues and asks what I write about.

I tell him.

He nods and then laughs. “Whew! 

That’s a tough haul” he says,

rolling his head. “You sure you’re not just a little too late

starting that career?”

He squinces his fingers for effect, and raises them

to his eye to look through. 

More effect, I gather.

Hmm – I think – yeah, this guy’s a fucking asshole.

But I try being cordial.

So I say, “I think I’ll be okay.”  I’m nodding,

a bit sharply now. 

“Any more questions, Officer…?”


“Officer Clark.  Any more – questions?”

“No.  No, I don’t think so.”


He stands and I walk him to the door. 

In the hallway he stops, turns,

And says, “Jeez, I wouldn’t imagine you

a writer.  You sure you got it in you

to do that?”  He has a shitty smirk.

I open the door.

“That’s a fucked up thing to say,”

I say cordially.

“Oh, you think I’m fucked up?” he asks,

his tone slightly changed, his eyebrows raised.

“No, I just think it’s a fucked up thing to say.”

I look out the door, inviting him to go.

I notice the street lights on now.  The wind

is blowing snow dust from the roofs.

When I look back he has his gun to my head,

and as he cocks it slowly he says,

“Tell me how fucked up I am.” 

I try to be cordial.


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