I am now sitting on my white leather sofa with my head in my hands facing John. I just filled him in on what happened last night. Beginning with me meeting Mitchell at the club; to Mitchell and me leaving the club to go get coffee and just talk; to the both of us coming over to my condo; and then finishing up with me waking up, finding Mitchell dead in my bed.
“Whew, you sure got yourself in some shit today, buddy.” John says between sips of coffee.
I look up and say, “No shit, Sherlock!” Just as I said it, I knew I was wrong. “John, I’m sorry. As you can tell this is causing me much stress and I’m snapping at everyone. I even told my mother off before you came by.”
“Hey man, don’t sweat it, I can just imagine how you feel. If I woke up with a dead body beside me I guess I would be a bit bitchy too.”
That’s one thing about John, no matter what we’ve been through he is always on my side; he never judges me. It’s something I’ve always appreciated about him.
“Well T, the first thing we’ve got to do is get the coroner to get this guy out of here. I’ll assign one of my best boys to the case and keep close tabs on it so not a word leaks out to the press.”
I begin to relax a little, knowing that there was someone on my side to help me.
“Listen John, I really appreciate your helping me out here. It really means a lot to me.”
“Like I always say buddy, don’t sweat the small shit.” Then he says with a smile, “You might want to go back up stairs and take a shower and put some clothes on.”
“What?” I say and look down to see I’m still in my briefs. “Oh yeah, I guess you’re right. I’ll do that now.” As I proceed to walk upstairs John gets up and walks towards the kitchen.
“Look Trevor, don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything. Hey why in the hell haven’t you been shopping, it looks like my fridge in here.” He laughs while peering in my refrigerator.
Lord knows I don’t need this today. I’m back in my bathroom for my second shower of the day and I am so numb that I can barely feel the hot water coursing over my body.
I think to myself that maybe my life would have been better if I had played the “safe” and “straight” role and married Kasha. Yeah right, oh that would have been a smart move.
Kasha and I were engaged to be married a year after I entered the force. I mean, though I loved Kasha with all my heart, my being gay would have been a marital problem that no counselor on this earth could have helped us with. Though I knew for the longest time that I was sexually attracted to men; it took me awhile to accept the fact that I was gay. I realized, though, that if I was going to fully accept and love myself then I needed to accept my sexuality and not “play undercover”, like a few people I know.
When I did finally accept it; like anything else regarding my life, I refused to have to explain myself at every turn to Kasha, my mother, my father, or anyone else for that matter. And that was what I ended up doing. There were so many fucking questions.
My father wanted to know how could I do this to him. My mother wanted to know if my being gay was caused by her breast-feeding me for too long, and Kasha wanted to know what she was doing wrong, what I was doing wrong, why I didn’t find her sexually attractive, why I prefer men over women. I mean didn’t these people watch television? There’s always some After School Special about gay lifestyle. You’d think I was the spokesperson for homosexuality or something. And it was just pissing me off. It got to be more than I wanted to deal with, which is why I called off the wedding three months before the actual day.
Kasha still wanted to marry me however, even after I told her I prefer “beef’ instead of “fish”. God knows she tried to change my mind. I mean the woman actually showed up at the door wearing nothing but Saran Wrap. I really didn’t mean to hurt her, but what do you do if Mr. Winky doesn’t stand at attention. And why is it that women think that their pussies are so powerful anyway. I know I hurt a lot of people, but I was not going to be miserable just because some people happened to not like the way I live my life. I mean, it is my life, isn’t it?
There is a knock on the bathroom door. “Trevor? Hey man, the guys are here. I thought you might want to come downstairs while they take him out.”
I exhale heavily. “Uh, sure, I’ll be right out. Give me five minutes.” Oh boy, let’s get this over with. I jump out of the shower and quickly dry myself off. I really didn’t want to go back into my bedroom, so I just put the same briefs back on and reached behind the door to get my bathrobe and used the other door that leads to the hallway and walked downstairs.
As I reach the bottom step, John introduces me to this very handsome white guy. I mean this guy was really good looking. And I’m not particularly attracted to white men.
“Trevor, this is Matthew Lirday. He’s handling the case; so he’s going to take care of this shit for you, ask you some questions and, hey you know the drill.” John says.
“Hi, how are you?” I say. As I shake this guy’s hand; something about him looked awfully familiar but I just couldn’t place the face. Which bothers me because I never forget a face, but I couldn’t figure out where I knew this guy from.
“Mr. Morrows, I just have a few questions to ask you regarding the victim.” he says. “Please sit down.” I say to him. As I point him to the sofa, I look at him with such intensity that he must have felt it, because he turns around and says,
“Uh, is everything ok Mr. Morrows?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to stare. You just remind of someone.”
“I get that all the time.” he comments. “Some people say I remind them of a young Sean
Connery. But I don’t think I’m that handsome.” We both laugh.
As I sit down across from Matthew a crash comes from upstairs, causing me to jump back up. “What the hell are they doing up there.” I yell at John who has helped himself to a ham and cheese sandwich.
With his mouth full he muffles, “I’ll go check it out.” As he runs up the stairs I look at
Matthew and the face almost clicks with my memory, but then it slips away.
“OK” I sit back down and exhale slowly, “What information do you need? As ifI don’t already know.”
“Well, first off, what is the victim’s full name?” “Mitchell Urbans.” I say
“What is your relationship with the victim?”
I look at him with confusion on my face. “Didn’t John explain the situation to you?”
“No. I’m sorry he didn’t. Is there something I should know?” he looks at me with puzzlement.
As much as I was not ashamed of my life, it caught me off guard that Matthew didn’t know.
“Well I just assumed you knew that Mitchell was, uh, my lover.” “Oh I see.” Matthew said a little nervously.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“No, no, not at all.” He immediately added. “It’s just...” “It’s just what?” I asked.
“Nothing. Excuse my surprise. I was just not aware of your relationship with the deceased. How long have you known him?” he continued.
“Well, I guess for about four years.”
“Do you know if he has any living relatives?” “Yeah sure, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Urbans.” “Do you know how we can contact them?”
I think for a moment; trying to remember if I had their telephone number. Though,
Mitchell and I broke up, his mother and I remained close. She always told me I was the best thing that ever happened to Mitchell. She had never seen him so stable and focused. Though Mrs. Urbans had six children of her own, she always treated me as if I were one of hers.
Her husband, Mitchell’s father, on the other hand, couldn’t stand me. Eugene Urbans had the audacity to accuse me of turning his son gay. Where he got that idea from I will never know. I mean I know my shit is good; but as my grandmother would always tell me; “Baby, you can’t rape the willing.”
And now I’m going to have to face Mr. and Mrs. Urbans with this news. That their oldest boy died in my bed. I swear this day is getting better and better by the minute.
“Uh, excuse me, Matthew, is it?” I ask. “Yes.” he replies.
“I know it’s routine for you guys to contact the next of kin. But, since this situation is as strange as it looks, I would appreciate it if you would let me handle speaking to the family. I know them personally and it would be best if the news came from someone they knew.”
“That should be no problem and I’m sure you have a lot to do, so if I could just finish the rest of these questions, I’ll be on my way.” Matthew replies
“Sounds good to me.” I say. At that very moment the guys from the Coroner’s office bring Mitchell’s body from upstairs on a stretcher. John is right behind them.
“Nothing to concern yourself with Trev. They just knocked over a vase on your dresser.” he says. “But, it did break so you can send the bill to the Coroner’s office.”
I sit there staring at his body, even though it’s covered in a bag. “Come on Trevor, snap out of it.” John interrupts my private pity.
“Hey, I’m fine John. You know me, always deep in thought.” I look towards the front door. As the guys are just about to leave; the taller one, who is pushing the gurney, slips on the belt used to strap bodies down. In one quick moment the gurney flips on its side and Mitchell’s body lands on the floor with a thud.
Yes it did. As much as I wanted to beat the shit out of both of these incompetent assholes, I just couldn’t move. This was straight out of some ridiculous Three Stooges skit. All I could do was laugh. And laugh I did. I laughed so much my side hurt. Lord forgive me, but I knew if I didn’t laugh, I would have hit the fucking roof and that is not what I wanted to do. John and Matthew looked at me as if I had two heads.
They finally got Mitchell off the floor and I calmed down. Anything and everything that could go wrong was going wrong.
“Mr. Morrows, did you say that the victim overdosed on crack? Matthew asks from the kitchen.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I was so wrapped up in what just happened that I completely forgot he was still here.
“Detective Langston explained to me that you felt the victim died of an overdose.” Matthew repeated with a touch of flippancy.
“That’s right” I say. “The pipe is right on the counter and the vial in the garbage.”
“This one you mean.” Matthew says as he holds up the vial. “Well, I don’t know, but this vial is still full and it looks like the pipe was never used.”
“What! I exclaim. He hands them both over to me. Like he said, the vial was still full. This doesn’t make any sense. If Mitchell didn’t die of an overdose, then what? And why in hell didn’t I notice this before? My eye for detail has always been impeccable. As I stand here pondering how I could have possibly missed this very big detail, Matthew and John are conversing quite secretly in the living room. Though I can’t quite figure out everything they’re saying, I catch a few pieces of the conversation. I can’t make out exactly what is said, but it seems evident that Matthew is beginning to feel that there is more to my story than what I told them. As if I had something to do with Mitchell’s untimely demise.
“Uh, excuse me, but would you two care to include me in your little conversation?” I say quite heatedly.
Looking bothered and confused, John asks, “Trevor, could you go over again what happened last night?”
“What for?” I snapped. “Didn’t we go over this earlier? Look, I’m in the dark as much as the both of you about this. I suggest you both have Forensic do an autopsy and find out what exactly killed Mitchell; ifit wasn’t an overdose, instead of standing there looking at me as if I’m Charles Manson or something. John, I can’t believe you would even let it seep in your head that I could have something to do with this.”
I went off, which I have the tendency to do when I get upset.
“Please Mr. Morrows, don’t tell us how to do our job.” Matthew snaps.
“E-Excuse me?” I ask with fire coming from my eyes. I was getting ready to open up an industrial size can of Whoop Ass.
“Look, Trevor,” John interrupts, trying to calm me down, “No one is saying you had anything to do with this.”
I stopped him. “Hold up John, you fail to remember that I was a cop and not only was I a cop, but a very good one, for which I was one of the youngest detectives to walk the halls of NYPD, so let’s not pretend that I don’t have a clue as to what you guys are thinking.”
“Alright, alright Trevor. Damn! Just do me this one favor and let Matt finish his report and we’ll get out of your hair. But you do know, before we do an autopsy, we have to have the next of kin authorize it, so the sooner you can get in touch with his parents or whoever the sooner we can put this to bed.”
Of course I’m still fuming, but all I can say was, “No problem, I’ll get on it as soon as possible.” How dare these motherfuckers suspect me of killing Mitchell.
Matthew finished interrogating me and they were both about ready to leave when John stops and adds, “You know the routine, Trevor. I wasn’t trying to pin this on you. But you have to admit this doesn’t look good for you if foul play is suspected.”
I just look at him with awe. This man must be off his rocker. He has really changed from our years on the force together. “Whatever, John.” I said and then added rather nastily. “Just get out of my house and do your job.”
As soon as they left I sat back down on my sofa and do what I always do, think. What if Mitchell really didn’t o.d.?
What else could have done him in?
Heart Attack, stroke, what?
What the hell did John mean if foul play is suspected?
If something questionable is found, will they suspect me? What am I going to tell his family?
Maybe John’s right for questioning me. I mean, I did call him first, it does look like I was trying to cover-up something. And then there’s the situation with the pipe and that vial.
He was just doing his job. Damn, why am I always like this? I blow up because I’m pissed off about something and then after I’ve calmed down, I always regret it.
I look at the clock above my television. Damn, I didn’t realize how long those guys had been here, it’s almost one o’clock. Know what, first things first. I’m going to get dressed, go over to Mitchell’s family’s house and tell them what happened. Though, I’m not looking forward to this, I need to get it over with. Besides I did need to get the
Urbans’ permission for the autopsy. I definitely needed to get out of this house or I would go nuts.
I rush back upstairs and decide to wear my gray suit. As I’m putting my socks on, the phone rings. I decide to let it ring. Whoever it is can leave a message. I need to get this over with as soon as possible.
“Trevor, it’s me Marcus. I hope everything’s ok. I’m sorry for trying to read you earlier, you know me, there’s always got to be some drama in my life. Anywho, a couple of us are going to the beach tomorrow, as hot as it is out there, it sounds like a great idea, I just thought maybe you would like to go with us. And no Miss Thang, I’m not just inviting you just because you have a jeep. You’ll be happy to know that I’m going out today to get a car of my own. Anyway, Chile, call me later. Bye!”
I laugh to myself. The world could be coming to an end and that boy would know what to say to put a smile on my face.
I walk out the door of my condo and just as I’m about to lock it, Mrs. Liu, my nosy next door neighbor, peeks her little Asian head out her door.
“Hello Mrs. Liu, how are you?”
“I see ambulance, everything ok?” she asks.
“Oh yeah sure, Mrs. Liu everything is just fine. Nothing to worry about.” I reply, but keep on walking.
“Who dey bring out on stretcher.”
“Sorry Mrs. Liu I didn’t hear you.” I say, as I bound down the stairs to my jeep.
The heifer hardly speaks English, but if being nosy was a language, she would speak it better than her native tongue.
It takes me a good half hour to get to Mitchell’s parent’s home. As I pull up in front of their two story Tudor house I notice that there are two cars sitting in the driveway.
It looks like the both of them are home.
“Damn, my luck is just not going to get any better today, is it?” I mutter under my breath. I was hoping to just speak with Mrs. Urbans and not have to deal with her husband, but I’m just going have to bite the bullet.
Margaret Urbans is a retired music professor, who still gives vocal lessons in her home. Eugene Urbans, a retired captain in the military, owns his own auto mechanic garage in Verona, New Jersey. Why his ass was home today was beyond me. When I was dating Mitchell, he was never home.
As I walk up the stone pathway, the front door opens and Mrs. Urbans greets me with a huge smile. Man, I’m going to hate doing this.
I try to put on the biggest smile that I can muster. When I finally reach the door, she gives me a big hug.
Now Mrs. Urbans is not a small woman, so when she hugs you, she really hugs you. To produce a son as big as Mitchell, you would have to be big yourself. Mrs. Urbans, a robust woman who (at least what was told to me) is 5’11 and weighs (no, I’m not going to go there); let’s just say she’s a big woman and leave it at that.
“Hey baby, where’ve you been hiding yourself? I haven’t seen you in what.. over a year now?”
“Hi, Mrs. Urbans, how are you?” I say.
“Fair to middlin baby, fair to middlin. Come in, come in sweetheart.”
When I step in I realize it has been a long time since I’ve been here. The last time I was here, the living room was painted an eggshell white with borders the color of sunflowers. And now the whole room was painted in sky blue.
“Well you’ve really redone things haven’t you.” I say to her.
“Oh yes. I have to have change. I get tired of the same old style, you know.” She answers. I nod my head in admiration. This woman really has good taste. There are different pieces of art all over the room. There are also quite a few paintings decorating the walls. All of which, I notice, have an African theme to them.
“Mrs. Urbans, you know, I’m very jealous of your artwork.” I say
“Baby, I know. Aren’t they beautiful. I love them all, but this one is my favorite.” She points to one in particular. The piece she points to is a portrait of a black “Madonna” cradling a black baby “Jesus”. It is breathtaking.
“I can see why, it’s magnificent. Who’s the artist?”
“Well that’s just the thing, I don’t know. There’s no signature. Mitchell got it for me for Mother’s Day.”
When she mentions Mitchell’s name, I’m jolted back to the reason I came. “Mrs. Urbans...” I start to say.
“Now Trevor, we’ve been over this before. I told you to call me Margaret. Come into the den, Eugene’s in there watching TV. This is the first Saturday he’s taken off in God only knows when.”
I follow her past the kitchen into their huge den where they have everything you could possibly want for entertainment; a big screen television, a pool table, a Ping-Pong table and even an arcade size video game of Mortal Combat. Evidently not all of their children have left the nest.
“Honey, guess who’s here.” Margaret says to her husband.
“Who?” he asks as he turns his head towards the doorway and then back to the television. “Trevor, hey. What brings you this far south? And why are you wearing a suit? You look like you’re ready to go to a funeral.”
“Not yet.” I think to myself. I sit down on the sofa next to the leather recliner Mr. Urbans is sitting in. Margaret is standing next to him rubbing her husband’s ever balding head.
“Well.” I started. “When was the last time you saw Mitchell?” I ask the both of them. They look at each other with confusion.
“About a week ago, why? What has that boy done now?” Mr. Urbans asks.
“Um, this is not an easy thing to say, but uh, Mitchell has passed away.” I say very quickly.
Mr. Urbans jumps up, “What!” he yells. “What happened, where is he now.”
Mrs. Urbans looks like she is about ready to collapse, so I ignore Mr. Urbans’ little drama and promptly help her sit down in the chair her husband abandoned.
“Are you OK Margaret?” I ask while holding her hand.
“My baby, how could this happen?” she as her tears flow freely down her face. “Trevor, I want you to tell me everything that happened. I knew that boy was going to end up dead one day, the way he kept playing with death. He just didn’t know when to quit.”
“Shut up Eugene!” Near hysterics Margaret yells at her husband. “You don’t know what happened.”
After calming them both down, which was no small feat, I realized that being a cop had it’s advantages. In my years on the force I’d had to calm what seems like hundreds of people after telling them that a love one was dead. Consoling them as much as I could. It was never easy. Though my experience helped me, this situation was different. It hit home. Between Mr. Urbans’ tantrum and Mrs. Urbans’ tears, I almost broke down myself a couple of times. But I remained strong.
I gave them an edited version of what happened to Mitchell, leaving them with parts of the truth. I did let them know there was a possibility he died from a drug overdose, but the police department needed to do an autopsy to be sure.
“What the fuck was he doing over at your house? I thought you two weren’t with each other anymore.” Mr. Urbans asked nastily.
“Well,” I began.
I knew this was coming. This man can be such an asshole.
Nervously I continued. “As I said, we just happened to see each other at a nightclub last night and we got to talking and we decided to go up to my condo.”
“Were you two still fucking?” he asked.
I had to stop to catch my breath. The man had balls as big as church bells. I couldn’t believe he came out his face with some shit like that.
“Look Mr. Urbans, I know this is as hard on you as it is on me, but you need to accept the fact that I was a part of your son’s life. Whether we slept with each other is irrelevant. The important thing here is the fact that he is dead”
“Just answer the question.” He roared.
“Eugene, leave the boy alone. Trevor loves Mitchell as much as we do, probably even more. What difference does it make if they made love or not. Anyway, it’s none of your damn business.” Margaret said putting her husband in check.
“Thank God for female logic.” I thought to myself.
I stayed with the both of them for about an hour, trying to be there for them emotionally as much as I could. As soon as Margaret got her bearings I told her I had to leave.
“I’ll call you later on today, to see if you need anything.” I told them both.
“Trevor, thank you so much for stopping by.” Margaret said still sobbing. “Yeah Trevor, thanks for stopping by.” Mr. Urbans mutters.
As I was about to leave he stopped me at the door. “Listen Trevor, uh, I’m uh.”
“Don’t worry Mr. Urbans, you don’t have to say it. This is going to be difficult for all of us, but I do want you to know that no matter what; I loved your son very much and I do care for you and Mrs. Urbans, and I will do whatever I can to make this easier for all of you.”
All he could do was nod. I could see he was on the verge of tears, so I place my hand on his shoulder and left.
Leaving them was one of the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I had to get to the police station.
As I’m sitting in my jeep at a traffic light listening to Phyllis Hyman, one of my favorite tracks is playing, “This Too Shall Pass”. I just sit here listening to the lyrics.
“Well, I hope you’re right Phyllis.” I say out loud.