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Confession Time

Trust Fall; Line up.

By Willem IndigoPublished 4 months ago 11 min read
Confession Time
Photo by Derek Owens on Unsplash

He’s typically not up this late. Pulling into the driveway, Chelsey pondered if he couldn’t make it to the bedroom again and would be found sprawled on the sofa. Except muffled music pounded the closed blinds like it instead of the breeze fluttering her wind chimes. If he didn’t have a terrible day, it would do wonders for her to arrive so close to moon light after the decision that she was not cooking tonight. Plus, Ben sat on the front porch in one of four chairs, putting out one smoke and holding another between two fingers without lighting it. Maybe he did have a hard day, she thought. He texted with thumbs on fire but tossed the phone on the table like the cheap tool that it was when he was done. She waved after making eye contact with him. He only nodded. Hood barely giving her eyebrows. She was surprised he knew she was standing before him. Went to kiss him on the head to the statuesque response of his refusal to look up, that it until she went for the door. Chelsey’s claim that there was a Scandals episode calling out for her he grabbed her arm. He had never been so rough before. It didn’t hurt but startled her to a life once lived that almost courted a harsh retaliation, but his grip was limp, even with a little caressing with his thumb. “Please sit; they’re almost here.”

She noticed more smokes on the table, sloppily rolled and spread around the Spencer’s Gifts ashtray. It's difficult to tell if rolling one for the pregnant woman was out of reflex or malice, but it became clear he would possibly smoke enough for the both of them. Her attempt to ask about the vague emptiness in his stare at the flowers in bloom opposite the porch railing was interrupted by the arrival of Jacob and Brenda. No little Nicky and Shaun, so they must have a babysitter. Now she was confused beyond speculation. Their skidding tires caught the attention of at least one nosey neighbor, and Brenda was also in vehement disagreement with Jacob’s driving. The argument wouldn’t help. Jacob could see without a wrinkle of doubt that the 911-ish text was not to be taken lightly, far faster than Chelsey liked, and he grabbed a seat. She was almost jealous that he was on board from a look but their fourteen months together can only yield so much. “What’s going on? Chelsey asked.

“You know Tyler,” Ben started, tone refusing to match his obvious angst. “Every simple task as a ‘creative’ A, B, C, attachment equally as important. I hope it’s after he picks up Rosa.

Stoic sure, but nothing has ever kept Ben from filling a Tyler induced silence with a crude comment on his behavior. It took months to get him to curve that talk when Tyler is around. The guy had no sense of common decency, he’d say; a gypsy too idiotic to know what he’s rebelling against. She found herself missing the way Ben filled the silence like it hurt not to. Jacob had to confirm that this was an emergency call and figured she wasn’t included because she would’ve been here regardless. Yet his ten minutes of pretending his Home Depot clearance patio furniture rocked naturally, refusing to address her beyond the ‘how was work’ and ‘did Kieth give me any more shit’ felt aimed at her. Jacob and Brenda returned to something about a remorseless teacher refusing to respect their son’s creativity. She’d never leave Tyler out of something that felt this tense if she could avoid it. The problem with the invitation was who sent it. They knew where each other’s bodies were buried, sort of speak, and Ben caved in, letting him in his life with heavy stipulations on personal space and flamboyant outbursts at his garage. Why be so excessive when a request would suffice, Ben often asked her. With no sun to speak of, she patted Ben on the back to alert him to Tyler and Rosa’s arrival, for which he shot out of his chair, temporarily delirious and gave Rosa his seat. He’s typically not up this late.

“Help yourself when you see it necessary because it’s—” he paused for a much-need inhale followed by a thrust of an exhale aimed off into the distance. “—it’s truth time. Due to certain threats I have received and foes planning very vicious vengeance against all of us, we need to be on equal footing. We all have secrets, and all of them are connected, as I have so recently discovered, thus we need to prepare for what’s to come. Our lives are in danger, I must be clear about that, but it can be weathered together. Some are small, and others don’t even know they have them, but we have to be together on this,” he said.

“Babe, what are—”

“Also, I’m aware of all of them. Right, Rosa? Who wants to start us off?”

Gazes swapped partners for a minute, each pulling a soul out with their sudden attempt to save face. “Fair enough, I figured I’d be starting anyway. The one they don’t know. Jacob got me arrested, which is how I gained the shop’s deed.”

“Shut up, what? When did you get arrested?”

“When you sent me to Jeminez for that engine block, he tried to sell me one from a stolen car. I refused but the sting took the Feds so much prep time, apparently, they took us both in anyway. The deal followed. Worse, his connections nearly got me killed for knowing too much. So, should we go counterclockwise or….”

“Bro I—I didn’t—” Tyler grabbed a smoke off the table and Ben threw him his Bic.

“That doesn’t add up,” Rosa stated.

“You’re right. Are you going next?” Ben asked. Silence followed.

“Wait, you said they are all connected. We’re being toyed with?” Tyler asked.

“If someone doesn’t speak up, Rosa’s gonna get another clue?”

“Get your friend,” Brenda interjected, “my private life is just that. Keep mine out of your mouth, and I’ll—” Her speech continued in this fashion for some time, long enough for her to be cut off by the text alert. A lot of privacy jargon backgrounded by New Person Same old Mistakes by Tame Impala. On any other day, Ben would agree tenfold but as he made eye contact with her, managing to put his phone in his sweatpants pocket by the time hers rang, she checked the message. She did so, barely missing a beat in condemning this conversation as a witch hunt. It only took a moment.

Her hand cupped her mouth and a brief attempt to keep Jacob from seeing it she sat her phone. “Yes, that’s--the guy; he’s connected to this?” Her inadvertent chuckle at Ben’s nod hid the sniffling beginning to take over her nostrils. Ben reached under the table and grabbed the box of tissue inside the cabinet under the ashtray, next to the outdoor candles and bug repellant. Jacob took her by the hand, keeping his attention on her every tear—but the adhesive stripe began to itch. “Those weekends I’ve been doing overtime—no, I was having an affair with a guy I met. He’s why we got that new grill when you were out of work last year.”

“No you—” the lump in Jacob’s throat cut him off. Like the screaming ‘what the fuck’ was mixed with the cookouts he has hosted since then and thorough grasp the point behind speechlessness.

However, “What the fuck?!” It took a solid minute, maybe two, to remind him that the neighbors were not a part of this. “And you knew.”

“Only recently when I realized the threat it posed. If this wasn’t included, I would’ve put this off for way longer.”

“Why are we out here—why not do this inside?” Jacob asked.

“Rosa—yes, no.” silence followed.

“Fine, yours is easy anyway—”

“Alright, you’re not outing me,” Tyler started. “I ‘borrowed’ a few hundred thousand dollars from the D-bags who tried to kill us. Loan sharking bitches. So you’re trouble brought them here, and now we’re found out, right? Huh?”

“Worst than that, but I like the critical thinking. Good work. I’m trying to give the guilty party a chance to speak. Want to keep this fair.” His darted stare hit Chelsey as she comforted Brenda.”

“Maybe we should take a break—”

“Great point, Chelsey, I’ll go again. My get-out-of-jail-free care came from an infamous organization known as *BLEEP*, who got all my charges dropped and, to save the shop and its basement from closure, signed it over to me. Property and all.”

A collective woah fired from everyone but Rosa. Calls for Ben’s insanity to be checked rang louder than Pink Floyd’s Money.

“What happened to Jeminez?” Jacob asked.

“That makes way more sense,” Tyler said.

“Innocent or not, you should’ve chosen jail over spitting in the devil’s face and posting the selfie on his feed as it drips,” Brenda said.

“Car parts, huh?” Rosa asked.

“This is exactly what I try to avoid, Ben. Are you a dealer? Am I a drug dealer’s girlfriend?” Chelsey asked.

“From the top.” Ben started. “I was told not to worry about him anymore. Ever again, in fact. I’m not that bad of a mechanic. *BLEEP* doesn’t hurt in the States if there’s no need to. Drop the interrogator schtick; it’s not cute out of uniform. I sell legally bought car parts, so I don’t know about the rest. And no. you’re not a drug dealer’s girlfriend again.”

“Are we safe?" Jacob asked. This is when Ben’s warning set in, and they understood his flagrant disregard for their sensibilities. Thus, Ben lit his smoke, then gave the lighter to Jacob.

“Chelsey, you’re holding us up,” Ben said.

“I came here to turn my life around. In the past when have I ever shown a want to—to be a part of the Detroit madness I left? I escaped with nothing, and I need to know how you’re going to end this. Cut ties—get a new job—”

“You bitch, you promised. The fuck is wrong with you?!” Tyler exclaimed, half ready to flip the table constricting his leg movements. Ben started texting after her first sentence. This time Brenda received the zoomed-out version of the previous photo with the words, show Tyler, underneath. While shoving the phone in her face, another message appeared, which he glanced at to a jaw-dropping degree. “The ICU stints. The burning down your mother’s house—he took everything from us. Every beating you came crying to me after—the couple I had to take—we said never again, didn’t we? DIDN’T WE?”

“Yeah—yes, but—”

“But what?”

“Confession three; I may step on some toes. My connections were the reason he could get this close. Brenda opened the door, and now he knows Rosa is a Fed; better hope my boss doesn’t find out without picking a side, Agent. That being said, he never would have been strolling around Burnside Mall if you didn’t let him. I was keeping Jack off Tyler’s scent until you…..”

“You fucking led him here?!” Tyler said. “We’re fucked—what the fuck, Chels?”

The night’s solemn chill swept in with a stillness that struck them all. A turf war was imminent, and Rosa could appreciate the Smoke’em if you got’em mentality this meeting started with. “I—I guess this is more than getting caught up, huh, Chelsey?” Rosa asked.

Chelsey tried repeatedly to close the bowl filling with tears while staring at the wind chime Ben gave her a few months ago. her eyes cascaded tear drops onto the tissues as she went for them. Tyler considered taking them, almost wanting to see the smeared sad mime she’d become if her eyeliner ran any harder. His thinning patience was her silence was illustrated enough as he mumbled about being worried about some sad loan shark problem. Ben’s photo Dump to Tyler nearly put his phone in danger of becoming a smashed mess, whether from the window it went through or the wall it shattered against would be anyone’s guess.

“How do we handle this?” Brenda asked.

“Not until she speaks. My next one is a doozy.” The gruff grumble in his smoke-idled voice rang from a twitchy upper lip and a long, blinkless stare.

“I wanted to know why he was here—what he wanted. Why would you? Please take the last—what, fourteen months into this and think. This is major, and I promise I’m here for you—I love you, okay? We can figure this out—”

“Fine, you’re crazy, not dumb. And a sucker for slick back hair and devilish grin. The floor is yours.”

“What do you want from me,” Chelsey asked.

“For you to stop breaking my—” Ben paused, feeling the climbing volume reaching levels of a domestic disturbance call. Janis next door was a light sleeper. He took a hit and stood at the edge of the steps. “Disgusting, putrid kind of monstrous Dollar Store Disease, you said about Jack. I even told you I know. I—”

“We’re family, right, Chels? It’s okay to let it out.”

“What good would explaining do? There is a war that we’ve become centered in, and what are we doing about it? I say, Rosa—”

In unison, the five said loudly, she’s an undercover Fed. “She’s the Fed that bugged the house. I was in the Garage when you broke in. I just silenced the ones in the bedroom, laundry room, and landline. No drugs. I just fix cars.”

“Kind of.”

“Tyler!”

“I don’t deal in that criminal life anymore; it’s not me. How could you do this to me? We have so much together—we’re going to have a child, and you want me to cave on some gang activity when you're neck deep in *BLEEP* shit—”

“You know, Tyler,” Ben started sending one last message But Chelsey’s phone is on silent. “I felt so cold hearted for have—for wanting this to be streamlined. How could I be so quick to conclusions? I could’ve saved you a second trip.”

“By doing what?”

“Having her bags packed by the door. Now she’s got to come get them tomorrow.”

“Ben, no—come on—”

“I told you all I already know. Let me—let me know when you all are free and we—we can discuss strategy. Tyler, umm, she’s going to need a place to stay tonight or for a while—come back to get her things when I’m home.” Ben grabbed the tissues, went into the house, and locked the door.

Music off. Doors locked. Lights out. In the car heading to West Albuquerque, Chelsey checked the group chat. Ben’s last message: I’m sterile.

Short StoryLoveHumor

About the Creator

Willem Indigo

I spend substantial efforts diving into the unexplainable, the strange, and the bewilderingly blasphamous from a wry me, but it's a cold chaotic universe behind these eyes and at times, far beyond. I am Willem Indigo: where you wanna go?

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