“What is it?” asked Kelly.
As a cop, Dean had many times notified the victim’s next of kin of their loss. This was different. Dean bit his lip hard enough to taste copper.
“Dwayne is dead.”
“What? Say that again?”
“Dwayne is dead.”
“He got shot by gangbangers who thought they were shooting me.”
“What do you mean?”
“We swapped jobs for a day and they shot him that same day. They shot him thinking they were killing a cop.”
“You’re a cop?”
“I was. Now I’m Dwayne, cause, I can’t tell anyone this, except you, so you have to swear to keep this absolutely quiet, cause, if anyone finds out who I am, I’m dead.”
Kelly knew she should cry, but, surprised herself that she really wasn’t in the mood. She knew as her role of girlfriend, she should be bawling her eyes out, but, Kelly didn’t feel up to it. She’d only been dating Dwayne a couple weeks. He never told her about his brother, or his work, she wondered how much more he had kept from her.
“Ok,” Kelly said after a long pause to process all this information.
“Ok? You promise? You won’t tell anyone? Not a single person? You understand how important this is?”
“Ok. I get it. I can keep my mouth shut. That’s what Dwayne liked about me most, I’m sure. That and my terrific tits.”
Dean fought not to lower his eyes and confirm that she did indeed have terrific tits. “Thank you,” he said, “for your silence on this,” he added, so she wouldn’t get confused and think he was thanking her for her terrific tits.
“Sure. And goodbye.”
“Can I see you again?”
“So you can show me what I’m doing that gives me away. I need you to teach me how to be Dwayne. Please.”
“You want me to teach you how to be my dead boyfriend?”
“It could save my life.”
“Right now, before I go back to face his brother Angels. What do I need to do?”
Kelly felt like she was being ordered, so she gave a long pause before answering. After a loud and lengthy exhale she said, “You stand up too straight, for one. Dwayne would lean back when he talked to you. And you don’t smell like Dwayne at all. That was probably the first thing that gave you away, your smell.”
“What are you saying, I stink?”
“In a word, yeah. I mean, I don’t want to be mean, but, I’m trying to help you.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
“Are you being sarcastic? Cause, if you are, we can call this off right now.”
“No, no, I do, I do,” Dean said, though he had been sarcastic, still, he didn’t want to lose her.
“If you do, why you repeating yourself twice like that? That’s the tell of a liar.”
“Sorry, I just. I’m a little frazzled. Really, I usually have so much confidence, but, that was as Dean. As Dwayne, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Please, help me. Teach me to be Dwayne.”
“I’m not free, you know.”
“I’ll pay you, I’ll pay you.”
“Again with the double talk. Why don’t I trust you?”
“Here, here’s $200 up front. It’s all I got on me. I’ll pay you $100 an hour to teach me to be like Dwayne.”
“$200. And do you wanna be like Dwayne? Or do you want to be Dwayne? Cause there’s a difference.”
“Let’s start with like.”
“Well, then, I’m sorry, but I can’t teach you, cause there’s nobody like Dwayne. Dwayne was a special kind of guy, your brother was a real character.”
“Please give me some examples.”
Kelly only held for a mini pause, cause he had said please. “The way you talk. You’re not funny, are you?”
“I can be funny.”
“I don’t think you can. Not like your brother. Dwayne was funny. If Dwayne was one thing, he was funny. I can’t teach you that.” Kelly’s eyes misted at the memory of Dwayne dancing about the bedroom doing the most ridiculous striptease she’d ever seen.
“I’ve seen you chew your nails.”
“No I don’t.”
“Why you lying? I’ve seen you. Dwayne had great nails, and he didn’t lie. Look at your nails, did a dog get to them? Did you feed them to a wolf?”
Dean knew she was right and wished he could will his finger nails to grow faster.
“What else? Wait, just a second, I want to get a pen and paper.”
“Do you mind if we do this in a room where there isn’t a dead body?”
“Here, follow me to the kitchen.”
After an hour, Kelly left Dean to consider his next move. The body and the blood. He put Glen in the freezer and would figure out a permanent resting place later. A good mop and five bucket changes later, and the hardwood was sparkling clean.
Next he knew he had to go to the Hell’s Angels clubhouse and admit killing Glen, calling it what it was: self defense. He splashed on some of Dwayne’s cologne, got in the car and drove back to the clubhouse that could make him pay his dues.