Neighbors: Part One

“Could you repeat that, sir?”

I tore my eyes away from the body being wheeled out of my neighbor’s condo and turned back to the police detective standing outside my door, notepad in hand.

I cleared my throat. “He said he just wanted to borrow some milk.”

She checked her notes. “That would be David Ericson, correct?”

I nodded.

“Did he say anything else?”

I closed my eyes for a second, trying to remember. “No, not really.”

The cop looked up at me. “Not really? What does that mean?”

I sighed. “Nothing important. I mean, I asked him what he was cooking, that kind of thing.”

“Everything’s important. What’d he say?”

“He said he was making dinner for his wife again, forgot a few ingredients. Said the milk was for his almond-crusted chicken.”

“And that was the last time you saw him?”

“Um, no. Actually, he came back a little later for some flour. Traded me a glass of elderberry wine for it.”

The cop glanced up again. “Elderberry wine, huh? Any good?”

I shrugged, not sure it mattered. “Yeah, I guess.”

The cop flipped her notebook closed, then pulled out a business card. “Thanks for your help, Mr. Cook. If you think of anything else that might be relevant, just give me a call.”

I took the card. “Will do, detective. Thanks.”

She nodded and strolled back next door.

I stepped inside and pushed the door to.

My neighbor was dead. Not ten feet from where I slept, another human being had died. How fucked up was that?

At least she’d died in her sleep. That’s what the cop told me, anyway. Maybe she said that just to make me feel better. They don’t really know these things till later, do they? Don’t they have to do an autopsy or something first?

I realized I didn’t want to be alone. I called up Brian, convinced him to meet me at Shakespeare’s.

I really needed a drink.