Me Being The Detective: Fiction by Shane Kowalski

Me being the detective in the family I am always uncovering things that perhaps looking back didn’t need uncovering so much as unfinding. Yes! Ha ha! That is the true nature of the detective: unfinding things. Mona says I am just a dweeb who should go make out with her books and dinosaur puzzles and be dumb, but she does not know the things I know or have done. Things like for instance: that time I staked out in her closet, between her perfume-y smelling dresses, the kind Mom and Dad would not let her wear out if they saw her in them, and me sitting in a pile of shoes, thinking how Mom and Dad would say: Molly, why are you sitting in your sister’s closet? Have we not discussed with you the vagrancies of trespassing? But I am a detective, Mom and Dad, I might say, and such is the life of one who answers the call of Inspection and Curiosity! Alas! Alas! And Mom and Dad would just sigh real deep. I believe many a mom and dad of detectives everywhere in the world are often sighing, thinking why their daughters and sons have taken up the ill-lived and vagrant life of detecting!

Pondered this for a while, sniffing the gum-smelling, old purses of my sister. Then, thought, due to their quantity, that maybe I could have one of those purses. Made mental note to ask Mona later on about this. I continued to sit there for what seemed like hours without end, butt hurting from way I was sitting on shoes, until she came in, came in with whom you ask? With the licentious Tommy Morda. Notes indicate: captain on football team at high school, big shoulders, big enough to do all kinds of things with me over his licentious head, wavy hair, what older sophisticated women might call a tall drink of water. And here he was, this libidinous yet also maybe handsome villain, in my sister’s bedroom, with my sister! My sister, notes indicate: starry eyed, woozy, always touching her hair, making it go this way and that, body restless and curling in on itself and then back out, strange, strange. After an awkward silence: their faces locked. That of my woozy sister and the lewd-shouldered Tommy Morda. Their faces pressing against one another, making them soft. Notes indicate: wet, wettish, gross. Hands moving and then not moving.

Mom and Dad, if they were the detectives, if they saw what I was seeing, might not approve. Scratch that. They’d remove the issue entirely. Exeunt stage left as my friend Fran, who played Olivia in the school play, says. Out with you, you libidinous drink of water! Mom would say (as Mom is always kidding Dad about leaving him for a younger man with less mustache). Then they’d give Mona and probably me for good measure a lecture on being alone with boys. Believe me, Dad might say, we are terrible when left with alone. But sitting there, being not Mom and Dad but in fact being the detective staked out in her own sister’s closet, I did not do anything. I watched. In the silence in the dark of that closet. Sometimes from behind fingers of sweaty hand. Why? Why had my hand unconsciously tried to cover my detective’s eyes? Made note of this. Puzzled it. Then waited for it to be over.

Rocked back and forth a bit weirdly on shoes. Notes indicate: bored, the sound of rain outside maybe?, a drawing of dinosaur eating a man screaming for help, tried on Mona’s Sperrys, desperately wanted own pair of Sperrys. Had that feeling I get sometimes. The kind of feeling I get when I go to a fair or carnival: I am so excited, delirious even, and I want to do everything—-the teacups! the tilt-a-whirl! the bumper cars!—-but then I get so tired, so exasperated, all I feel like doing is sitting down and filling my mouth with funnel cake until I get sleepy. In this regard Mom and Dad say I need more self-control. Like my older sister. But how? But how? Notes indicate: drawing of funnel cake. I rocked back and forth a bit more. Waited for the one last peck on cheeks, hands holding other hands, fussing with buttons, etc. All these—cheeks, hands, buttons—-could have been my own. I was placeless, spotless in my spot, an accident of scenery and information. And long after they both left the scene of the crime, I waited there still, very still, as if I was removed from time, existing in the silence time leaves in its absence until it was just me, the detective, surveying the empty bedroom for clues, seen and unseen, uncomfortably perched on that pile of heels and sneakers, trying to unfind the mystery that brought me there in the first place.

Shane Kowalski lives near Philadelphia. He does