The November Criminals

The November Criminals by Sam Munson

Book: The November Criminals by Sam Munson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sam Munson
Tags: Fiction, Humorous, Coming of Age
to Kennedy. Which I’m beginning to think more and more is probably one of the more responsible decisions I’ve made.”
    He was looking at his knuckly hands, twisting his wedding band around his pillar-like ring finger.
    “If you have something , some kind of description of this guy, some rationale, or if you want to give me more information about your friend, the source, we can move forward. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave. We’re going to have to treat this as not worth checking out. I’ve never heard of this Lorriner guy. And you’re in fucking high school.” Baltimore nodded, giving me a bulgy, skeptical eye.
    Huang took a showy breath. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let my temper show. But Addison, you’ve got to help us here. You say you want to help us. Do you have a description? Do you have something for us?”
    My palm, wet now with the sweat of imminent failure, farted against the attaché handle.
    “No, I don’t necessarily have a description but—”
    “But? But? There’s no but here, Addison. All right? This is not some negotiation. You seem like a smart kid. But it’s time for you to go. Okay? Baltimore can’t sit here all night, and I’m not even supposed to be here, at the moment. Do you understand that? I have a family, too.”
    I gripped the handle harder. My sweat was copious, warm and tacky. Like fresh, still-drying blood. Huang looked at me with pissed-off expectancy. “Come on,” Baltimore was already drawling. I stood up, yes. But just as a delaying tactic. I had one play left. I would tell them about the death threat. That would move them, I figured. It would have to. I had a vague idea that death threats were illegal. I opened my mouth to speak. And then, ladies and gentlemen, I underwent what at the time I regarded as a major illumination. I thought of a better story . I mean, if they didn’t care about Lorriner, why would they care about his making a death threat? It was all just some game to them. So I changed my story. At the last possible second. I decided to try a more personal tone. As though I were the one suffering. I have a daughter that age , Huang told me. A point, I thought, of vulnerability. Your family makes you a hostage to circumstance, right? Baltimore clamped his magnificent hat down above his pointy ears. Huang gave me a curt wave good-bye. So I said:
    “He was a friend of mine.” My throat sort of clenched. My palms were soaked. This vacuum coursed through my innards as soon as the lie was out.
    “Who? Who are you talking about?” Huang shouted. “This alleged murderer? Who? Who do you mean?”
    “Kevin.” I’d wanted to put a throb of fake pain into my voice, but it had gone sawdusty. My statement produced a long silence from Huang. I was suddenly too miserable to take any satisfaction in it.
    “Addison,” said Huang, after several rapid blinks. “Addison, I understand why you’re here. We both do. You want to help. But this is not helping. If anything, it’s making the problem worse. Because it confuses the real issues, and it distracts us from doing our job. I know what it’s like to lose a friend. I know that you’re probably desperate for answers. I hope you never have to go through it again. But the simple fact is that the investigation is ongoing, we’re doing everything that we can, and I assure you that we will catch the people who did this. Whoever they are. Have you tried grief counseling? I can give you the card of someone who specializes in that. Okay? I think you should go. I think you should try not to think about it so much. Okay? Is there someone you’d like us to call?”
    I had no idea what to say. I’d just told, I was realizing, the single worst lie, morally speaking, the most profane lie I’d ever told in my life. You see why it’s so terrible? Why I should have stuck to the death-threat story? You see how bad it is to claim a friend posthumously? Is that even indexable on any normal scale of

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