My Cousin tries (and fails) to Arrest Me

My cousin, like a lot of cousins, is a racist city cop. He’s got a couple acres on a pond they call a lake in a whole nother’ county. I went to a party at my Cousin Ronny’s when I was thirteen/fourteen. He was in his early twenties. I saw some shit that night.

This is another night though. I put the thing that happened up there in the title of the story, so I don’t get too high and forget what I meant to tell you. I’m twenty-three or twenty-five this night. I’m walking around downtown, after a punk show lets out at Pablo’s. It’s four blocks to Big Dave’s. He said I could crash. We’ll watch Fletch again. It will be great.

First up though I run into Amanda in front of the hotel on Cherry Street. The chances of my cousin reading this are basically zero, I’m sure.

I have to be sure. I love my cousin. And family and god and America and the troops and fox’s transformer nfl graphics and cold wet beer and jet skis. My fuck I love jet skis. I’ve never ridden one. I’m scared to love a thing. It hurts to love a thing, almost regardless.

Amanda’s got herself in a situation with some guys and some money and some coke. But she’s scared to go up alone. She only met them that night. Three of them, but there’s always more inside. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Wake Forest University. Rich Medical students. It’s my fault things are real?

I’ve never been big. I’ve always been unsteady. I have always been unstable. I disarm you with my weakness, not my strength. I took the elevator up with her. When we got to the room, she hid me around the corner. I stared at a corporate painting of a seascape for fifty-five minutes. I memorized the ridges of the red (with blue triangles, there must have been hundreds. they were strewn on the hallway like glittering stars in a sea of blood) carpet. I did not move. I still watch pornography. When you are asked about the cowardice of men.

One of them was a cop, undercover. Fifty-five minutes. The one of them that was a cop that was undercover was my cousin Ronny that racist city cop with that pondtrailer I was telling you about. There were several of them in there. Five or six, it must have been. Fifteen, sixteen in my darker moments.

Apparently, he only brought one pair of handcuffs and no one else thought to bring one as a toy because only she came out with her hands tied behind her back. The rest of them, heads down, giggling, April tans, izods, probably your wife’s gynecologist now, took their ride down the elevator and into the night like the fickle, wispy wind that brought them to a scene in a fictional story in a hotel on Cherry Street in 2000, green eddie bauer ford explorer.

Ronny looked at me and laughed.

“No fucking way.”

“Don’t fucking dude me. You know this whore?”

I knew that whore.

“I’m Going to Fucking arrest you.”

I said no you’re not and I said it real cocky and I walked off like the stage directions said to like the narrative arc demands like the conventions of storytelling require like a night in early spring, in 2000, outside the cherry street hotel, my cousin tries (and fails) to arrest me.

Derek Maine is a fiction reader/writer living in North Carolina.
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