Carla’s eyes gape wide and blank. One-hundred percent dry. Looking each person in the face, but not seeming to register those presence, not even mine. A zombie trance of unbelief; she must’ve woken up into the same melodrama. Much less Ken-looking male opposites. No flat-packs and front hair waves here. A bad, bad dream.
But. If not. If not, It’s the ice stare of a serial killer’s birth, new found joy in blood and pain. She shuffles closer to the side of my bed, fixated on the bandaged arm, reaching out to touch…I feel my breath catch in my throat, my brain trying to force my arm to move. But, I am stunned in the headlights of fear.
“Ma’am. Could I ask your name and relation to Mrs. Pealson?” The officer attempting to bring everyone back to the task at hand.
“Not Mrs.” Jason corrects. Bless him and his fluffy slippers.
“Ma’am? Your name?” Carla comes a little back to herself, but ignores the question. She looks back up at me, eyes widening. In that look, I am positive she is saying, What happened? What did I do? I am so, so sorry.
I try to show back, no big deal. I am alive, aren’t I? More later, but first we have to deal with the macho squad over here. My eyes draw her gaze toward the group of three men still looking more and more unimpressed as the silence draws on. Machine beeping out my heart rate.
“Where were you this morning? Approximately two hours ago.” The note-taking officer asks. His partner doesn’t like that, clears his throat and gives a slight shake of his head. Don’t overstep your boundaries pal.
Carla nods and straightens up, this is her manager-in-meeting stance. The authoritative shoulders, broad and forward, facing the employees to decree the orders of the day. “My name is Carla Sorun. This morning Ms. Pealson and I went for a 12 km run. We are preparing for a half-marathon, which will take place in two weeks.”
The private, or lower ranking officer, or whatever he is, is noting everything down. His partner leaning forward and rubbing his thumbs together. Jason’s eyes have narrowed and threaten Carla. They look like inquisitors taking a confession. Carla’s confession. Was Jason right? Was she a psychopath who would do worse or had done worse? Bodies under the lilac bushes in the garden, great mulching that made them bloom so full every year. She would finish me off and plant rose bushes. Where all her previous running partners had ended up, root feed for gardening. “We returned to my house where we began to prepare breakfast.” It was a shame because I liked her. Never had a friend before who understood the addiction that is running. The need to race, the high. Finding each other was like finding that kindred spirit. “It all happened very quickly.” A sheen from the corner of her eye draws my gaze from the accusers. Carla is crying. Well, not crying exactly, but for her…Any kind of tear formation was a big deal.
I have to stop this confession. My voice races out ahead of her, uncomfortable and too loud in the little room. “Yes, it did happen quickly, and Carla won’t remember much. You see she has this problem with blood.” The officer in charge tucks his arms up underneath over-expanded pecs almost at the same moment as Jason. Jason, who has caught me in every white lie, pink like and black lie I’ve ever told, saying I have a dead giveaway which he refuses to reveal to me. Jason who advised me never to play Poker or we’d go broke. And he was right. I always lost all my chocolate candies or pennies in college. This insight has thrown off the big cop, because little cop speaks first. “Really? Blood problem? What do you mean?”
All three men refocus on me, and away from Carla-mouth pressed to a firm line. But it is Jason I talk to, him I have to convince. “Yes. Seeing or evening talking about, imagining blood can cause her to pass out.” Everyone eyes the almost empty bag of O positive draining its way into a tube attached to my arm, then turns to Carla. Whether she’s acting or having a genuine reaction to the situation I don’t know. Her eyes go soft and roll back a bit. She sits hard on the doctor’s rolling potters chair. “Of course NOT always, but especially in shocking situations. So what happened was, I reached my arm out suddenly to grab…something…being a bit tired and clumsy and all. And Carla sliced my arm…on accident.” I smile hard.
Carla rests her forehead on one hand. Looking broken down by the story. Jason stays silent, but I can read his mind loud and clear, yelling through the lemon cleaner air between us. BULLSHIT.
“That’s the story?” says lead cop.
“Yes, officer.” My normal voice has returned. “So you see…I mean I am very sorry you came out all this way, but there is no need. No crime to report here.”
“Hmh.” He stares well into me. Then Carla, but her face is part hidden by pale hands. Back to me. Back-up waits for his partner, pen tip on paper. I look him back head on, keeping that smile up. Jason’s bullshit hangs around my ears, which I can feel turning red. Five minutes must pass, the door swooshes back open. A nurse. I gulp back a sigh.
The officer does not look happy. Perhaps feeling his time has been wasted, to make something of it. He launches into a soliloquy of knife safety. The need to stay aware of kitchen dangers at all times to avoid injury and possibly even death. He even pulls some statistic out of somewhere to bolster up his speech as he addresses the room. The whole while Jason nodding, Carla peeking at me from behind her hand, and the nurse fussing with the blood bag and checking my blood pressure. He winds down and shuffles the lower officer out of the room. I motion Jason to wait outside as well, making our hand signal for coffee.
When everyone’s gone, including the nurse, Carla stands again and looks at the blood bag. “I did actually feel a little faint, but I don’t think anyone believed that story.”
“It doesn’t matter.” And this is the moment, she reveals a hidden knife from her pocket to end it now. Cut at the jugular and race out of the hospital past my unknowing husband. On the run, across borders, to murder again. But, none of that happens of course. Not Carla. No. Carla begins to laugh, beginning at a giggle and moving to a full belly chortle. Contagious. We both must go at it for a few minutes, til I begin to go weak myself.
“I am so sorry. Really. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe upper management suggesting anger therapy wasn’t half-crazy.” She extends her hand out to shake. “Still running partners?”
I take her hand for a very formal agreeing shake.
“I promise never to quip about meat again. But, maybe you should consider those anger management classes?”
“I swear it, will take my company up on their offer first thing.”
Her grip tightens and smile slides into a toothy grin.