Ongoing Story: Hang the Pundit Pt. 4

Here we go again. This time from a first-person perspective, Jacob Marlowe takes us for another twist in our ongoing story. Marlowe’s world is going the same way as his blown up apartment. Here’s the fourth instalment in our five-part series.

Click article to view print version.

Click article to view print version.// Illustration by logancipparone

The crushing grip on my throat loosens and I take in the biggest gasp of air my lungs can manage. That face, his face… I see it every time I close my eyes. The sounds of the street become distant as I struggle to recognize that cold, hard looking face. What have I ever done to him?

The sirens wake me from my daze and my thoughts turn to the young, slender police officer emerging from the cruiser. He approaches almost in slow motion through the flashing blue and red lights. With one hand hovering over his holster, he says something to me.  I labour to make out the words over the deep, tribal thumping in my chest. He repeats himself.

“Mr. Marlowe, put your hands up where I can see them, sir.”

Confused, yet relieved to finally see an officer, I hurl myself towards him.  My mind working faster than my lips, I stammer while trying to explain everything that’s happened since this morning’s strange call.

In a split second, his right hand unclasps the button on his holster and I’m staring down the barrel of a 9mm expertly pointed between my eyes.

“PUT YOUR HANDS UP NOW!” The blood drains from my head and I drop to my knees.

The next 45 minutes go by as a blur. From the backseat of the cruiser, I drift in and out of consciousness. The blood running from my nose drips down to my lips and the taste of rusted salt reminds me of the porterhouse steak I’d been daydreaming about since I woke up this morning. 

I also begin to daydream about that sexy intern that flirted with me at the station and the kind of conquest she would be. Starting out in the business, I would have given anything to have a fox like that throw herself at me. In fact, I would have sold my soul to the devil himself to get where I am now. Luckily, I have everything that I wanted back then, and more, no thanks to the horned one. 

The cruiser brakes hard and I come to at the police station. Finally, someone will be able to help me figure out this ungodly mess.

We arrive at the precinct and I recognize some of the weathered faces as I’m escorted through the maze of desks. Some are enemies, others are worse – an occupational hazard of an opinionated man, I muse.

The officer that unceremoniously greeted me on the street now hands me off to another just before we take an abrupt left turn. A door whips open in front of me and I catch the scent of blood and sweat dried up on the floor. Behind me is the trademark large window of an interrogation room. 

The thumping in my chest begins again as I’m not-so-gently nudged into the room by the second officer. What am I doing here? I pound the two-sided mirror with both fists and make a pathetic plea to the person standing on the other side to explain what’s happening. 

The same door flings open again and a large gorilla of a man walks in. As a stark contrast to his beastly frame, he places the beige envelope from under his arm softly on the table at the centre of the room. Again, I beg for someone, anyone to tell me why I’m here. Before he introduces himself, he pulls out a bracelet with a small silver J charm from the envelope and places it on the table.   

“Mr. Marlowe, I’m Detective Cliff Howden. Please take a seat.” Stammering again, I tell him about this morning’s call, my apartment being blown to kingdom come and the man whose face I can’t escape. 

He silences me with a dismissive patting of the air with his palms. He points at the bracelet and asks me how well I know Janice, my former sociopath one-night stand.

I tell him I spoke with her briefly earlier on, causing his eyebrow to arch. He continues to poke around about my relation to her but interrupts me as I begin to describe our short-lived fling. The thumping in my chest quickens and my stomach begins to turn as I wonder why he keeps asking about Janice. 

“Well then, Mr. Marlowe, we’re well aware of the situation with your apartment. We’ve got teams there right now trying to piece together what happened.”

I expect to be relieved hearing this but the relief never comes.

“But could you explain, Mr. Marlowe, why this bracelet and its owner were found in your apartment after the explosion?” In one swift move, Detective Howden pulled out of the envelope and spread out photographs of Janice’s mutilated and charred remains on the table.

I turn away from the table and vomit all over myself. I feel grief, guilt and disgust at the sight of Janice’s lifeless torso on my living room floor. Howden’s meaty hand swats a light switch on the wall and my reflection on the mirror is replaced by a roomful of men watching me through a dark window.

“Mr. Marlowe, why is Janice dead and scattered throughout your apartment?  We’re all ears.” My guts churn again and I realize that this bastard, whoever he is, could have killed me at any time tonight, but he didn’t. That’s not what he’s after. He wants me to rot away in a cold cellblock, alone. I offer Howden nothing more than a blank stare. 

I begin to dry heave and while writhing, one face in the crowd on the other side of the glass stands out to me.  It was his face, smiling mockingly among a sea of gnarled lips and squinting murderous eyes. 

Oh Jesus, he has me right where he wants me.

text by jillremulla

A version of this article originally appeared in February’s Sex Issue.

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