Thursday, September 13, 2012

Scent of Innocence (Scenes from the Attic): Fiction



Scent of Innocence


            A breeze lingers before my window and on it the faint scent of innocence.  It’s a slow moving, salt laden breeze and oh, how I’ve missed it—the breeze, not the innocence.  I’ve been away from home for six months, long enough to forget how it makes my hair frizz; long enough to forget the slick feel it adds to everything it touches; long enough to forget a lot of things—but not to forgive them. Soon it will be time to get dressed in the black dress my grandmother picked out and out of respect, at least for her, I will wear.  She thinks it will give me the aura of mourning not reflected in my eyes: I, for one, doubt it.  I cannot mourn the death of a man I did not know in life.  Well that’s not true; I’ve mourned the deaths of innocents everywhere.  I’ve even mourned the loss of my own innocence, though I can’t remember it.  It’s not even true that I didn’t know him; I just didn’t know him as one might expect under the circumstances.  So I mean to say I won’t mourn this particular man at this particular time, particularly—and this my grandmother does not know—because I killed him, well almost. 

            So when I say I haven’t been home for six months, I mean I haven’t been in the home I was raised in for the past six months.  I have been in Atlantic City since then and because that was not a trip of leisure, I didn’t notice the breeze. I visited my father the last time I was here; even then knowing he would die but not that I would be the one to kill him.  A few weeks before my visit, I got a call from a colleague that someone was offering $75,000 to have my father killed and I wanted to know why.  Not why someone wanted him dead, but why anyone was contacting me about wanting him dead.  In the nature of my business it is common courtesy to contact an agent before trying to kill a member of their family.  Not only is it good business sense, its good common sense—I’m known to have a bit of a temper. But no one knew we were related. 

            Anyway, my plan was to confront him in his living room, imagining his surprise to see me, since I didn’t have a key. He would talk about his problems: how apparently he owed money to some people I knew, which in my experience isn’t why they wanted him dead. He would tell me he told them I was his daughter and that I would kill them if they touched him.  Turns out he knew from a friend of a friend about my career and thought namedropping would save him.  And it would have.  They were still in the planning stages and hadn’t ordered a hit; they were waiting to verify he knew me—which my visit would prove. I didn’t like being put in a position to help him and even as I slipped in through the living room window, I hadn’t decided I would.

            I knew right away something was different, not wrong but different.  In my line of work you know death when you meet it and it was staring me in the face and using my father’s eyes to do it.  Damn.  Now I’d have to find out who killed him and just how they planned to make it up to me.  

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