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The Lies
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[Continuing story of two brothers. One trying to straighten out his life (Merrill) and the other searching for their dead father (James, here).]

I don’t know how long I’ve waited. I refuse to look at my phone. Anyway the stream of humanity begins to filter into the police station and I got plenty to listen to and look at and be grateful that I’m only looking for my dead father and not a missing child on a pink bike. Or trying to spring my best friend for some minor infraction that costs way too much.

Mid-morning, I know that much because the coffee smell coming from behind the plexiglass starts smelling burnt. The woman behind the barrier dealing with all this shit calls my name.

“Your luck day, sir.” I’ve been called sir more times today than ever in my life. “The detective just happens to be here. And he’s willing to see you. He’ll be out in a sec.”

The “sec” takes another hour, I’m guessing because the coffee now smells barbecued. A man, who if I could take a big guess backwards in time was the same guy who came to our door those days after dad died, opens the door beside the plexiglass wall and the woman.

“Mr. Dunn? Detective Swartz. I understand you’d like to talk.”

I stand up quickly and walk as respectively as I can toward him. He offers a hand and I shake it. A policemen’s hand. Worn, used to shaking the hands of those he’d rather not. Including me. He asks me to follow him back, so we wind our way through a big room with desks and people on phones and stuff hanging from all the walls. Like Netflix cop shows. Pictures of the bad guys and girls on the walls. The detective opens the door to a small room for conversations such as the one we’ll have.

“Come in and sit down. Can I get you coffee?”

I shake my head no.

“So tell me why you want to talk to me, specifically.”

I have a hard time getting going. He’s changed a lot, grown up. Of course that is me too. “Do you remember me? My father who you said was dead, Wyatt Dunn. My father. 2014?”

He had been slumped in his chair but now he sits up and I can see he’s trying not to look too alert. “Missing persons. Presumed dead. Presumed murdered. You’re the kid.”

I nod. I think all those things are lies. Presumed. When do they get to be presumed. How hard did they work on this? They worked really hard on telling me and my brother that there was nothing, except that our father was probably dead. But now I’m older and more than curious.


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