The needle had just traversed passed the last few bars of Hotel California when the knock at the door came. The record continued spinning, onto the next track, and I got up to answer.
I unlocked it and pulled it open. Behind the storm door stood Constable Rivers and another young policeman. The sky was overcast and grey, full with heavy clouds. It looked like it had been raining. The wet smell came in through the wire grill of the metal and glass barrier between me and the two officers of the law.
Pushing the door open, I greeted the Constable with a bright smile on my face.
“Tom! Hello! What brings you down to this neck o’ the woods?” Rivers’ expression remained deadly serious and he did not smile in return. The officer behind him, a lanky white kid with tufts of black hair peeking out from beneath his cap, looked nervous.
“Good afternoon, Chuck. Surely you’ve heard about what’s going on down at the quarry?”
“Of course, why everyone in town has! Terrible business what happened – that poor hiker finding the body washed up like that – or at least that’s what I heard.”
“Yes. You see, that’s why where here.” For the first time I noticed that Tom was holding something in his hand, it looked like a small scrap of paper.
“What do you mean?” My mind raced with thoughts about what the body in the quarry could possibly have to do with me. “Is this something you’re telling the whole town about? Some sort of community outreach?”
“No, Chuck, though I must say, I do wish that were the case.” Rivers’ face remained grave as a mortician’s. “You see, Andy and I here just came from the city morgue. We’re going to need you to come back with us, and then to the station, to answer a few questions.”
A hand grabbed my heart and squeezed. “Tom, surely… I… what’s happened?”
He held out the scrap to me, and I took it from him. I saw now that it was a Polaroid. It was pale and ashen, but the face of the corpse was one I recognized instantly.
“It’s you, Chuck,” Rivers said. “The body in the quarry was you.”