By Andersen Richards
May 3rd, 2016
“What happened to your ear?” Sam asked as I stepped out the detention facility and onto the sidewalk.
“What happened to you eye?” I asked in return. She was still very beautiful, but looked a bit more like me than anyone should. Her left eye was swollen a bit beneath the brow, her orange skin color yellow and green about her cheek and forehead. Based on the fact, and I share this because Sam shows no interest of ever reading any of this, that even two months later it’s still swollen and lifted from the other side of her face, my guess is the bone had been fractured.
“I brought your Bronco,” she said. “I left the windows down the last few days to let out the smell of body odor.”
I’d spent two nights in jail. They took their time charging me. They didn’t charge me with a DUI, but they had the warrant for assault. That wasn’t anything I could get out of. So after two and half days in jail, I wasn’t thrilled to be getting hygiene review as soon as I hit the sidewalk. But my biggest concern at the moment was to just start walking as far as I could from the jailhouse.
She’d parked the Bronco around the block at an expired meter.
“Thank you…” I said to her, opening the door. She climbed into the passenger seat. “For everything.”
Adjusting the mirrors, I noticed things were organized a bit differently. There was a pillow neatly set on one end of the backseat, instead of my wadded sweater. “Where am I taking you?” I asked her.
She looked away from me, over her shoulder towards oncoming traffic.
“Have you been staying in my car?” She didn’t respond.
Sam had placed my key in the ash tray where I keep it. I only lock the doors when I’m in it. Otherwise, there’s a small part of the window that opens inward that I leave unlocked so I can reach in and unlock the door when I need. Carrying my key when I routinely get jumped and chased seems reckless.
And anyone who cares to steal my beat up Bronco probably has a worse life than I do.
The engine turned over. A crack in the manifold makes for a roar like a proper tank. I backed into traffic, wondering if I had enough change in the ash tray to buy us a cup of coffee.
I had savings at the start of the week. I was getting close to being able to rent a piece of crap studio in a bad part of town. That all was going to go into my bail, until my bail was set too high for me to pay. So, I called Sam to tell her I wasn’t going to be getting out of jail anytime soon. I asked her to park the Bronco somewhere it wouldn’t get towed.
Then she paid the difference.
I didn’t even know her last name at the time. Admittedly I still don’t, or at least she doesn’t think I do. I took a look at her driver’s license while she was asleep. She doesn’t want me to know it. She’s made it really clear that she doesn’t want to know mine… accept for the fact that she has learned through social media at this point.
Had it not been for Sam I might be still be in jail, sentenced or awaiting trial. My life may not be incredibly luxurious but don’t believe that shit you see on TV or in movies, those characters who say, “I can do a five-year stretch in county, no problem…” or “I spent a few nights in jail…” Jail fucking sucks.
My name is Andersen Richards, people try to either eat me or sell me, and I’m telling you, it’s all better than jail. Have you ever had a roommate you hate? Have you ever had ten of them at one time? Have they divided themselves into racial groupings and started trying to kill one another?
Have you ever resented that your roommate has the bigger bedroom? Have you ever slept on fucking concrete beneath the bench where your roommate is sleeping?
Have you ever had a roommate twice your size use the only toilet paper roll as a pillow? So when you have to take a shit… because you can’t possibly hold it any longer… you’re doing it in front of your ten roommates and not wiping afterwards? Have you ever tried to act tough when the other guys knows you have a shitty ass?
Forgive me, because that’s all just the beginning and I could go on forever.
If you wander why I spend my time with Sam, if I ever wonder why I spend my time with Sam, it’s because if it wasn’t for Sam, I’d be shitting in front of ten men right now and not getting to wipe my ass.
Let’s just all keep that in mind.
I’m sorry, let me calm down a second.
She and I went to a little place called Soleluna, far enough from the downtown jail that I could let down my guard and take a breath. I could say there was a lot I didn’t know about Sam until that day but, honestly, before that sit-down I knew her name was Sam, she had tattoos and either aggression made her horny or horniness made her aggressive.
That last bit still explains a lot, now that I think about it.
Now, since last Friday night and my talk with my sister, I’ve given a lot of thought to… why I am what I have become. Certainly, it started a lot of places, but it also started in Sam and her relationship with Dennis.
That first night she fucked me, that night that I met her? That was unsurprisingly about things that had nothing to do with me. That was about how Dennis, her boyfriend, wanted to her to stop seeing her family. He’d told her he didn’t like them, that he wasn’t going to continue to let them be any part of his life. I guess Sam doesn’t much care for her family either but had enough sense to know it was a fucked up thing to say.
So she said they were finished.
He said they were not finished. That he would tell her when they were finished.
So, she fucked me, went back and told him they were finished.
He said, “have it your way” and laid her out.
They had lived together for years. They shared a car.
After that she had a gym bag filled with clothes, slept at the gym where she works.
Until I called and told her there was a car going unused.
Sitting on the patio of the cafe, looking over the city that had offered so much misfortune, it was easy to commiserate with her. I told her about Becky, what had gone wrong in the relationship. How Becky’s boyfriend Rob had been the one to take a bite out of me before the whole thing went viral and ruined my life. I told her how when I went to visit her, she had a group of guys come over which is why I was in jail for so long.
So Sam made me a deal, a strange deal even among the many strange and morally ambiguous deals we’ve made together.
“You beat up Dennis and I’ll kick Becky’s ass for you.”