Episode Twenty-Six Describing Demby
“And you came to Demby? I’m rethinking our coffee date tomorrow, Big T! Now there’s no doubt in my mind that you’re a little crazy. The entire population of Demby borders on comatose. This place was the inspiration for Stepford. There is nothing going on here at all to investigate. There is no crime. There is no jail or no local court. No divorces, no cheating spouses, no strip clubs. No speeding, no hit-skips, and no moving violations. The police department stopped buying bullets long ago because they got rusty, the bullets not the cops. They’ve all been issued flyswatters instead. The high school principal says the students are too unmotivated to want to cheat. All the drunks walk home quietly in an orderly fashion from ‘The Bleak Horizon,’ the only bar in town, and by the way, the name of the bar here says it all. The only mystery in town is what’s in the coffee shop meatloaf.
There’s one legal office, and city lawyer is never busy. He’s hardly ever out of the office. I know, because he’s my landlord. He spends all his time making up more stupid, ridiculous rules for his rental apartments. No loud music. No jumping, hopping, dancing, or running in the apartment. No singing in the apartment. No parties. No heavy houseplants. No space heaters. No filling the bathtub over half full. No members of the opposite sex in the apartment. No pets. No candles. No overnight guests of either sex. No noise of any kind after eleven. And I practically have to gift-wrap my garbage before bringing it out to the garbage can, complete with my name and date.”
“Molly! That’s all ridiculous. You should move!” he advised.
“I can’t!” she giggled. “The same slumlord lawyer owns all seven of the only available apartments for rent in this armpit of the nation, so it wouldn’t help me.
“If it’s so dull and grey and boring and restrictive here, why do you stay here?”
“I stay because of my job. I love what I do. It’s hard to describe. It’s a giant, all-encompassing, multi-level mental jigsaw puzzle. Distances times miles per hour. Gas prices times speed limits. Federal regulations. State regulations. Conditions of the road minus conditions of the vehicle. Traffic patterns by the day of the week. And when I roll all the variables in place, I get lost in it and don’t come up for air until I’ve come up with the best possible solution. Nobody bothers me, my days fly by, and I don’t want to go back home.”
“There are many, many other options besides here and back home, Molly,” he laughed.
“Well, we’ll have to talk about those other options tomorrow, because here we are. This is it. I live here. Upstairs apartment. Thank you for walking me home.”
“It was my pleasure. I’ll wait here until you get upstairs and safely locked in for the night.”
“Good night, Tarek,” she smiled at him. He kissed her hand.
“Good night, Molly. Until tomorrow. Don’t forget, okay?”
She bounced up the steps and unlocked the door. She turned and waved to him standing below, looking up at her like she was the sun in his universe.
“I won’t,” she said. He waved back. She went in and locked the door. A light went on in the only window in the apartment, on the side of the building. He stood there for a moment, just looking up at her lit window. It was a small window above the kitchen sink. He knew because he had been inside her apartment. One day a few months ago, he waited until she left for work in the morning before he carefully and quietly let himself into her apartment and systematically went through all of her belongings. He was looking for clues, clues to her personality, as to what kind of person she was, and who she really was. Was she really the cruel, vain Princess Isabella of Robesson?