the sound: Phil Collins – In the Air
I’d spent virtually the whole day at the police station, going over and over my statement with the police…with several police officers in fact. To be sure, in the impeccable words of my father, that I had my bloody story straight.
Late in the afternoon 2 officers came in and held a heated whispered conference with my father. Today had been the big “staff appreciation” party at the hotel. Everyone that I knew would have been there. The police raided the party and arrested Bennie and Frankie.
At the time Frankie had a plastic bag in his pocket with 160 eight balls in it. Bennie (true to his name) was carrying several hundred black beauties in a bag down the front of his pants. Both of them were being charged with possession with intent to traffic as well as armed robbery and expulsion of a firearm within the city limits. Charges over Amelia’s baby were pending.
As the only person on staff that was not there at the time, the only person that had been involved in the robbery that was not there at the time, the only person whose father was a cop not there. Two plus two equals four…..so everyone pretty much knew immediately that I’d been the one to blow the whistle. Apparently the act of arresting them had been rather stellar, I heard whispers of riot gear, clubs and pepper spray.
I hung my head. “How ever would I live this one down?” I was pretty sure that my days in my particular line of work, or with my so called friends were numbered.
At dusk we returned to my parent’s house. I was surprised to see that there were still officers there. But better safe than sorry my mother said. We (the family) bedded down for the night as the officers settled in for the night watch.
Over the next week we had officers at the house or outside it round the clock and we settled into some sort of bizarre routine. By the end of the week yet another whispered conference was held and the officers left us alone.
The following week my brother and sister returned to public school. On the Thursday my seven year old sister came home in tears. A “big bad man” had pulled her off of the street and into the bushes on her way home from school. He had threatened to kill her if I didn’t “shut the fuck up” and then he cut off her beautiful long blonde hair with a “big scary knife”.
The police came back for another week and then left again when nothing happened. The day they left my mother received a phone call from a man with a deep mean voice….”don’t let your boy go to school tomorrow if you want him to return home a boy”.
The police came back. Finally it was suggested that I should go to Toronto to stay with extended family a while so that my immediate family could get a life. I did as I was told and packed a bag to go to the airport.
I was escorted to the airport by my father, who’d spent most of his time on the drive there telling me what a failure I was as a human being. I was at the height of anxiety; I was scared, ashamed of my breach of trust of all my friends, worried about my kid brother and sister, and just plain scared to get on that plane by myself.
I got out of the car and watched as my father came around the car to escort me into the airport. Side by side we walked into the small town airport terminal and walked towards the counter. My father picked up my ticket at the counter and handed it to me. He admonished me once again and sent me on my way towards airport security.
The little airport was teeming with people…a plane from Winnipeg having just arrived. I remember watching people greeting family members and friends as I walked towards the security check. I looked down for a moment…just in time to see a hand holding a knife coming towards my right abdomen…just below the rib cage.
I noticed a braid of beautiful blonde hair hanging from his dirty jean vest.
I looked up and into the brown crazed eyes of the man holding the knife.
I had a moment of complete clarity.
I recognized him as one of Frankie’s cronies as he pushed the knife into my gut and started to pull up….
I heard someone screaming.
It was me.