|She saw now that Bill's car was parked behind hers and further down the|
darkened street the night was punctuated by two soft beams.
Part I: Fibonacci's Numbers
Her first instinct was to duck. Her car sunk, then, without much effort on her part waddled level again. The car halted. For about three seconds she remained still. The world was quiet. She released her arms from her stomach and peered up to see what damage had ensued. Both airbags had deflated so she couldn't see past the thick, grey plastic. She felt the side of her mouth and rubbed the thick swelling that had grown there. Her mobile was lying next to the gas pedal. She wiped her mouth wanly. "What the fuck?" she thought.
The tapping annoyed her. Feeling as if she was going to vomit, she pushed open the front door. She stumbled out of the car. The night air stilled her. She touched her fingers to her lips. She was bruised. She looked up and saw Bill standing there. "What are you doing here?"
She saw now that Bill's car was parked behind hers and further down the darkened street the night was punctuated by two soft beams. "Alice and I followed you home. You insisted on driving yourself. So we followed you. Do you realize you hit a tree?" she turned to look at her car. Sure enough, it was huffing smoke, inserted into a nearby tree.
The realization that she had totaled her Toyota Sentra had not completely become a reality for Aggie. Bill was clearly agitated. He was asking her to leave her car. "you can pick it up tomorrow," he said.
Gathering her papers, Aggie stumbled to Bill and Alice's car. "Wait!" Bill called out. "something's been hit." Sure enough, underneath bedraggled front tire was the remains of a mangled mutt. The streets of New Found were accustomed to such things.
Part II Fibonacci's Numbers:
Almost as if on cue, the night patrol officer released his foot from the brake and eased his vehicle alongside Aggie's wreck. "What's going on here? You ran right into that tree. Flew into the air, really." When he spoke his belly ventured closer as if it were a large fed serpent.
Surely, Aggie figured, all of this is a nightmare. The patrol officer raised his eyebrow. "you're lucky that dog isn't a body," he remonstrated. "And," pointing to Bill and Alice, "what you doing letting her drive?"
Derek removed himself from the patrol car, the two headlights sour luminescence. He wrapped his sausage fingers around his waist and poked the corpse, "Yeah, you killed it, lady." Aggie, still quite not with it, unsure if it was alcohol pumping through her system or adrenaline, pushed her glasses deeper into her face, mimicking a child playing games way over her head.
She pressed her firm finger to her lip once again to both ascertain the damage and to also confirm her situation. The dead dog's face was crushed beneath her front tire. Damn, she thought, I really need to get that replacement hubcap. Derek, by now, had probed her with a breathalyzer and deemed her semi-intoxicated. In a strange intervention in which she was partly cognizant, Bill, Alice, and Derek huddled in the middle of the street to commiserate and decide her fate.
Aggie stared at the dead canine. Fucker, she said, Sticking out ger middle index finger.
I did that? Aggie half mused out loud. Yeah, you did that Derek said, putting the breathalizer between his knees to light a Natural American Spirit. Yur going to jail lady. What! Bi and Alice said in almost perfect unison. In fact, all three of you are going to jail. It's Saturday and you won't be getting out until the papers can be processed on Monday. Local tax cut fired weekend temp work and the man on our animal bereavement unit is in Tacoma whale watching.
We thought you were going to let her go, Alice quipped, the first time that night she had exerted any authority. Bill squeezed his lips tighter and his eyes twitched violently. Aggie crouched next to the mutt and cradled her knees. Yeah, Derek said, you shouldn't let her drive. State law says knowledge of a drunk driver on the road without intent to hinder carries the same weight as a DUI. You told me yourself that you let her get in the car. Now that tree is scrapped and I think that dog belonged to Sawyer Gurney, the sweetest little boy you ever did see. You think I feel like shit, having to tell him the tragic fact in the morning? The crushed dog still laid there, a silent witness to the evening's carnage.
The street was still eerily still. A car had not passed since Aggie had leveraged that dogwood. Her car, for a brief moment,
had flown into the air and Alice had been reminded of a scene from Back to the Future II. Aggie promptly vomited that night liquor onto the street. Bill helped her up and Alice thought it prudent to offer the officer her own Marlboro Slims.
In an effort to mollify the officer, Bill patted the burly man's shoulders, assuring him, "no one was hurt besides the dog. We'll take Aggie home and in the morning contact the pup's owners. No need to throw us in jail!" sticking the breathalyzer beneath his legs, so he could continue to smoke, Derek the patrolman ordered Bill to blow in between his legs to test for intoxication. At this point, Bill on his knees!, Alice crying, now and Aggie having serious hallucinations, a stylish Dodge Charger pulled up, overshadowing Detek's puny go-cart.
You're not drunk, damn it, so you can stand up. You three stand over there so I can discuss this problem with my partner, Seargent Smalls. Smalls bullied over, spitting what appeared to be Skoal Wintergreen. It was nearing three in the morning, coalescing into a freaky, criminal version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Aggie was the blonde girl who faked pregnancy and Bill and Alice were George and Martha. It was no kidding too because all three were University professors. Alice taught sociology and Bill was in immunology. Aggie was an untenured English prof, having everything except the dissertation. Her dissertation was going to be on the bisexual Byronic hero on prime television during the Persian Gulf War, but her advisor said it wasn't couth enough.
"Wait," aggie cried, suddenly. If you take us to jail, I have to find my phone first. It's in the car. Hold up, officer!" Alice and bill looked as ill as Scarlett O'Hara pulling turnips. Bill had unbeknownst to his wife had been jails as an adolescent for stealing a car radio with his chums. Alice enjoyed watching prison shows on cable. Aggie, while never incarcerated herself, was a fan of Kiss of the Spiderwoman.
She found her keys while looking for her phone. She had trouble opening the car door, but with some oommf she managed to pry it open. From the outside, she looked like the car was trying to eat her. Her upper body was in the car and her legs dangled from the car's lip.
She found her phone. The glass touch screen was shattered. It looked as if the phone had been crushed by her own feet. On all fours, the policeman still determining their fate, aggie prayed a silent prayer to Lord Byron. He would have loved this she thought, that silly motherfucker.
The tragedy, it seemed, laid in the way it all came to this point, thought Aggie.
Look, Aggie, Bill finally said; I'm not going to jail. Alice and I decided that it's in our best interest to just leave the scene of the crime."
Crime? Aggie said. What crime? The dog, Aggie, the dog. They're going to pin that dog's death on all three of us. You know now, with the law changes. Alice is frightened she'll lose her credentials at the SPCA and frankly, Aggie, ummm, I can't let that happen.
Aggie knew she shouldn't if taken that extra shot. The conversations at the lounge had been so interesting. She had felt lonely for such a long time: she thought maybe a drink with her colleagues would have eased the pain.
The two officers who had been talking on the side of the road suddenly stopped and turned their gaze to the three. By this time Alice was in the car rubbing her temples. Bill was looking at Aggie with a look of utter desperation. The whole scenario had been botched from the beginning.
Aggie smoothed her linen dress pants with her better hand. Gonna need a shovel, I think, Aggie heard the officer say. Got one in the truck. At that moment a van pulled up. In the entire time since the crash, no cars had come down this street. The homes were palely lit. Even with the disturbance, no one was awoken. With the new laws in place, most people stayed indoors after eight.
The smell of the street was fecund as the two cops escorted the three into the patrol car.
The civility that had held together on the street came undone in the patrol car.
You've got us in a fucking mess. Shit, Aggie. Who the fuck do you think you are? You might have been able to get away with this when the laws were lax like a year ago but times have changed. I've even heard that husbands by law will need to verify now. Can you believe this? Now, you killed a dog.
And you know what that means? You know the laws, don't you? And Alice and I are being drugged with you. How do you think Alice feels? She was one of the local SPCA board members.
I know, aggie said. I'm sorry. I think I blacked out at the wheel. I was fine when we left. Then, at the intersection I thought was almost home and the next thing I remember is you talking to me.
Among the number of citations, the six bottles of gin will surely bring me to the slammer, thought Aggie. Alice had become still and did not say a word. To clarify matters, ever since new statutes had been created by the legislature, people lived in fear. Aggie was among the few intelligentsia who wished to rise up. The part she, Bill, and Alice had attended was designed to rouse up support against the new regime. It sucked that she ran into a tree and killed a dog, possibly a capital offense.
Part III: Fibonacci's Numbers.
The frustration that builds slowly in your body and causes a tremor is exactly how patrol officer Howard felt down at the Fibonacci station. One of his men was taking too long to detain a client. The sweat beads mimicked parcels. The air was thick.
What is that thought a person has that is convincing enough to be true even though it is most definitely false, thought Officer Howard. The persistence of a thought did not guarantee its authenticity. He had assumed too much in the investigation. Now that an unexpected turn of events had occurred, it appealed to his more rational sensibilities. He rapped the hard table once, then twice. The phone rang, trilling as if on fire.
"What about the dog? Should we tell the family?" The day had broken into sunlight, barely. Howard's men had cleared off the debris from the street, but what about the kid's dog? Killing a dog was a capital offense, punishable by death in some precincts ever since the invention of Groome's nomenclature certain animal species were, how do you say it? Exonerated?
Legal processes had quickened to give human rights status to dogs and in some quarters even bears. But bear's never seemed willing to draw up their own statues as willingly as dogs. The nice thing about digs, thought Officer Howard, was they still wanted to be man's best friend.
Officer Howard had received a dispatch last night that an enemy insurgent had been apprehended on the corner of Pious and Sugar. It had been a simple DUI call bur upon further inquiry one of the group members had been tagged in the database as an intellectual co-operative.
Howard knew Aggie was dangerous. She had been videotaped last fall carrying a World Almanac leaving her classroom. This coupled with her frequent emails to odd and sundry organizations know to be adverse to the current political regime.
When the three arrived at police lockup the protocol was insane. Complete body checks and inquiries into their personal lives. Officer Howard looked on from the observation deck. Maggie Reynolds and her grandson were also present, having learned of the death if their border collie Aster.
The police complex featured a glassed promenade were spectators watched from five stories above into the core of the complex. Situated in the center of the city, all crimes re-centered here.
If this was a dystopian world -- different than the United States of freedom and independence and heinous war crimes gone unpunished -- then Aggie knew the world had changed. In a world where a car wreck could spiral out of control -- she still had the image of that night in her sorry head -- Aggie had begun to feel ill at ease as she rubbed her temples. She had been separated from Alice earlier on in the night. They had taken her for questioning, and Bill was sent home, the lingering smell of scotch still on his breath. Today, Aggie remembered was the University Family Fair. She had been called upon by the steering committee to give a talk on Virginia Woolf, but now, stuck in central lockup - her mind was awry. "You'll have to file an official report of murder," the ensign had told her. Her hair a rollicking mess; her clothes torn from her, she wore a beige jumpsuit without numbers. She wanted her sunglasses even though the corridors were dim.
For most people, incarceration is a frightening prospect. But, for Aggie, she seemed bolstered by this outrageous outcome. The guards ushered her into an antechamber where an older woman and a little boy stood together.
The woman stood upright when the prisoner entered the room and the boy continued to stare distantly out the window.
Aggie remembered the dog had been buried. She laughed heartily for secretly she was sick and tired of crass upper middle-class intelligentsia coupled with rigid draconian law. The boy quivered at the sight of the police photographs. The canine had also been his music instructor. He was going to teach me the drums the boy cried. The grandmother went on a staged prescription about a boy's best friend. Aggie felt no guilt. She knew she had reason to crash that car.
If it were me, thought Aggie, they all deserve to die. She would have slaughtered all of 'em. She even thought that the first time a dog attended her Virginia Woolf lecture. The buzz was they were reading Flush: A Biography. It was just when dogs had formed a class. Their voice boxes were primitive. The way one Irish setter garbled coarsely about stream of consciousness upset Aggie. It had brought a foul taste to her stomach. She had wanted to rip the bulky voice box from his throat.
The reason canines had been chosen over primates, Aggie had instructed her class, was that dogs are more easily manipulated. This terse remark had been the first time she had been thrown in political prison and had met Bill before he had met Alice. While Bill had tempered his radical views, Aggie was relentless. It was soon time for her to give a statement.
Aggie stood in the middle of the antechamber and addressed the crowd. The grandmother scowled and muttered under her breath, "killer!" aggie remained poised and said, "I am guilty of killing a canine. But I have no remorse." she stepped backward and the guards shielded her from the brewing violence.
"Let the boy speak," said a voice in the darkness. The tenor of its pitch was electronic. The circle of people who had gathered swell. A dog came to the front. The voice belonged to a huge Dog who seemed even on all fours to be elegantly human.