One Picture7 mins 283 7 mins 283
I've been sitting in this interrogation room for at least an hour now. The clock on the wall across from me says so at least. To be honest it isn't so bad in here aside from how cold it is. The metal cuffs on my wrists don't make it any better, but nothing can really be done about that. As I sit there, I think about how comfortable the roof of the warehouse was along with the wonderful view of the clouds above that it presented me with.
My thoughts are quickly interrupted by the man of honor himself finally arriving. The door swings open and closes just as quick. His face displays a mixture of frustration and determination under the cold and tough look that every man of his suit tries to mask themselves with. I can't help but smile in return. It doesn't help my situation at all, his response is even harsher than it would have been had I not provoked him.
"Something great happens in here while I was gone?" He intently stares at the restraints around my wrists. I don't really know what would give him that impression aside from my smile. Still, it wasn't devious or scheming. The smile was the sort you would give as a warm welcome to an old friend you haven't seen in a good while.
"Nothing bad happened in your absence so isn't that something to enjoy?"
"I'm not here for some enjoyable conversation. This is an interrogation, not a night out with a buddy."
"I don't see why it can't be both." His grimace began to show even more as he reaches into his pocket. Three photographs are without their slim covers and are now on the table. His eyes stare into mine with a hardened glare.
"What do you see in these?"
I lean over and gaze at each photo. All of them seem relatively important, especially considering where and when they were taken. I remember each one and try not to smile. Then again, wouldn't someone smile when they reminisce about a day that went well for them?
"Well- sorry but I didn't catch your name?"
"First or last name?"
"Last. I don't see why it matters." I must refrain myself from pressing and explaining to him that even in such serious matters like these, politeness and being punctual has its place. My eyes still focus on each one of the photos as he says that. Finally, the corner of my mouth can't hold back anymore and curls into a fond smile.
"Well, in each one of these I see an important event that's happened over the course of history."
"Oh. You're asking to be about what they all have in common. The three are from events people could consider tragedies?"
"Are you insinuating that the horrible events captured in these pictures are something to smile about?" Investigator Gill’s eyes almost look like they're going to catch fire from the burning glare they've cast on me. "The first is from the Battle of Normandy. The second is from JFK's assassination. The third is from a mass shooting that happened a month ago. Do you mean to tell me that when you look at those events, you get fucking enjoyment out of them?"
"Considering the fact that I look like it in every one of them is content, yes. Is there a problem with enjoying your day even though something awful happens on it?" There I stood, somewhere in the pictures. The first surely must have never seen many eyes before mine. Despite how stormy and muggy it was on that day in France, I still enjoyed the stroll I took. The gunfire and shouting were slightly annoying, but it died down a little after a few hours.
"That's right. Somewhere in these, you're somewhere. Taking a casual walk in the middle of a war. Happily looking at the clouds right before Kennedy's motorcade passes by. Posing with the happy family that got shot and killed not five minutes after they took that picture. I want to know what you were doing in those, and I want to know it here and now."
"You answered that question before you asked it, didn't you? I was taking a stroll, trying to find a turtle-like shape in the clouds, and being a good Samaritan to a family that thought I looked lonely. In all of them, I'm clearly doing no wrong." His fist slams into the table as he stands up and begins to shout.
"You were around for every one of these tragedies and you're on cloud nine while it happens around you! You HAVE some connection to all of them otherwise you wouldn't be at all three. What pisses me off is the fact that yes, you ARE innocent in all of them. None of them is something that a goddamn happy sap like you BELONG in though! None of it makes sense. You don't make any sense, and your coy bullshit isn't working!"
"Now detective, please. Just sit back down and we can go back to talking about this like two civil men. You have every reason to be confused and upset, but you're a professional man" Gill sits down and doesn't say a word. I'm not wrong and I know he hates that. I take no pleasure in that fact at all. Being away from the scents and calming sights of the warehouse roof is starting to put a minimal damper on my mood.
"Cut the crap. You're there in all three of them. You aren't only there just to walk on sunshine. You sure as hell also don't look like you were alive in '63. I don't care if I lose my credentials or reputation for this, I want the truth from you. No matter how insane or batshit bonkers it is. . ." I lick my chapped lips as I answer his less than earnest request. There's no harm in being honest.
"Gill, you aren't wrong. Every photo I appear in is one where death or loss happens. In all of them I'm happy, but don't get that misconstrued. I'm less of a force of cause and more of a harbinger."
"Some could interpret my appearance in these pictures as the grim reaper waiting for his next harvest, or an angel of death looming over. Others might say I'm bad luck. You think I'm a 50-year-old terrorist that secretly orchestrated all these events into somehow occurring. None of these guesses are wrong or right. Since you don't have anything you can charge me for, I'm afraid you also won't be able to keep me here much longer. Due to that, I cannot explain this to you fully, but also due to other reasons. One is that you simply wouldn't understand." the detective goes silent as he looks my way. His eyes no longer show the rage and bad cop glare they did when he first came in. They were confused and lost. He wanted to believe what I said, but to him, it just sounded crazy.
"That's impossible. Some random person just being around during these events as some warning is insane."
"I happened to be around before they happened, but no one takes as many pictures before a horrible event as they do during or after, do they? I serve as a warning in some way. Sometimes people believe it, and other times they don't. It's not my job to prevent something from happening, just to act as an alarm for it. Coal miners used canaries as alarms decades ago, didn't they?" I gave him a gentle smile. Even though my hands were still uncomfortably cuffed in front of me, I can care less.
"..." His silence is not a bother to me. The people I meet sometimes can't find words to express their reactions, it happens. He takes out the key from his pocket and removes the cuffs. In return, I take the missing picture from my own. He's even more confused than before as I set it on the table in front of him.
"Do take care of yourself, Detective Gill. You're a tough man for the right reasons and no there's no doubt that you could save lives with that rare trait." Gill slowly picks the photograph up. As I walk out of the interrogation room, I already know what the picture is off, even if the protective cover has been on it. My eyes have never laid sight upon it, but I still know. The image is his sprawled corpse lying on pavement inside an abandoned warehouse. A gunshot wound from a wanted drug dealer and gangster has blown a clear hole right above his eyebrow, but the view of the clouds in the corner of the photo shows the most beautiful sunset I'll see in three days’ time. Finally, though, is the final key detail of the picture. I'm visible through a hole in the warehouse roof, smiling at the palette of oranges and reds mixed with fluffy white in the sky above.