Finding Albert Redwine
December 1, 2003
His kid sister had a thing for me
by Jon Boilard
smoked crack before they called it that. This was Los Angeles. I had a good job delivering the mail and a house that I shared with my Marine buddy Danny. We hated the Lakers more than anything. We were throwing a party to celebrate another Celtics victory. Larry Bird got a triple double and he was like a god. It was mostly guys from the post office and the beach-side basketball courts where we played pickup games. And there were always some pretty ladies around. I got so fucked up I couldn't even stand.
People were starting to leave because it was late and it was Wednesday. Danny's kid sister tried to pull me off the couch. Her name was Beth and sometimes I called her Betty Boop, after that cartoon. She had a thing for me and so I was nailing her behind Danny's back. It started by accident and then I couldn't stop. If he found out then we would have had to fight. He was Golden Gloves but I don't know who would've won because I'd been in my share of scraps, too. In the Corp nobody used to mess with either of us.
It was wrong of me but most of what I did was wrong. She was old enough so that it was legal but still. Danny was face down in the kitchen where he puked. Beth sneaked us into my bedroom. I begged her to leave me alone but once she took her clothes off it was all over. She had bleach-blond hair that was cropped short. I broke up with her last Christmas and she tried to overdose. In the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital so they could pump her stomach she told me that next time she'd do it right. I held her hand because I didn't know what to say. She told me I could never leave. After that the sex was always violent and exhausting and beautiful in its primitiveness. I usually felt bad about it. She was petite but sometimes I called her the featherweight champ.
I was walking my route. There was that haze hiding the sun somewhat. I wasn't supposed to find him. His name was Albert Redwine. His garage door was open and I needed a signature so I went inside. He didn't own a dog. That much I knew. I said his name two or three times. Then he was swinging there in a little breeze. He'd used an orange extension cord looped over a ceiling beam and his face was blue. I didn't know what to make of it because I had never seen a dead person before. Not outside a funeral home. Even in the Corp we got gypped out of any action. Too young for Vietnam and too old for Bosnia. I sat for a few minutes on an overturned bucket, probably the one he had used.
He didn't leave any note in an obvious place. His mail was mostly bills and the package was from Phoenix, Arizona. It smelled like he shit his pants and I'd heard about that. He was tidy and his jeans were creased in the middle and there were goose bumps on my forearms. I didn't know what could make a person go through all the trouble. He must have had a plan. His eyes were open and looking at me as though in judgment.
The Lakers beat the Celtics in game four and Danny smashed the television in the street. Alejandro was wearing a Magic Johnson T-shirt and so Danny busted his lip. Somebody pulled out a gun until the cops showed up and stuck Danny in the paddy wagon. Beth cleaned up the house a little. Then I pretended to be asleep but she was smarter than that. I told her about finding Albert Redwine and she wondered what it felt like so I put my hands around her neck and I squeezed her windpipe but not too much. She was scared. She got on top of me and I could see her emptying eyes by the trembling light of a candle.
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