Harry went to the parlor. He sat on the sofa and scraped a pile of things off the coffee table, planted his ashtray and bottle there and brought two glasses in. He stared into the flames. He looked up every time the small glow of headlights came down the street. He would know when Denzel would arrive ’cause he always cranked the handbrake on.
Strangely, he imagined that Mary was cooking in the kitchen. Little noises coming from her moving things around and singing a little. She’d pop her sweet face round the door and say, “You coming in, honey?”
Then he’d go in and squeeze her beside the sink and she’d giggle.
After forever Denzel’s car crunched to a halt and the brake went on. Harry sprang to the door and Denzel walked straight in by the fire, didn’t take his coat off. Harry was low in the sofa, his tie loosened off.
“Talk to me, Harry.”
Harry told Denzel all the crazy thoughts in his mind but tried to keep it going like his cop self; he was getting mixed up now between detective and husband. He told the facts straight but kept interjecting with how worried he was too. Mixing up the time in his narrative he was moving around between this morning, their wedding, the coat, her doing these damned errands, their holiday. He tried to say it straight but the booze was talking too now and Denzel had to coax him to get some things straight.
Denzel stood tall and looked down at Harry seriously. You could see his mental notebook recording everything.
A few times Denzel interrupted him and Harry got cross.
“This is bad. Bad, bad.” Denzel stood quietly and seriously for a while. Then added, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me, Harry?”
Harry jumped up and went right up to Denzel’s face and looked like the devil had got into him.
Denzel held up a calming hand and Harry moved back and started pacing.
“Sorry, Harry, but I have to ask that; you know I do.”
Denzel poured a drink and sat opposite Harry. Harry knew Denzel’s thinking face and just looked at him.
“Come on, man, we should start work fast, you know.”
Denzel drank and smoked for a moment. His breath settled.
“We’d better ring the station. But you know as well as I do that they’ll want to interview you.”
“I don’t care, Denzel. I just wanna get Mary home; she may be stuck somewhere and need us to fetch her, you know. If we ring the station at least we can get some cars out to look for her.”
“Let me ring, Harry. You’re too riled. Let me just speak to the desk sergeant and say it like it is.”
“No! I gotta do it,” said Harry getting up. But he half wanted Denzel to make the call. He wasn’t thinking straight. He didn’t want to think; he just wanted to act. It was nearly eight o’clock already.
“Just get yourself together, Harry; I’m going to call the station. You get yourself together. Get some dry clothes on or something.”
Denzel was just giving him something to do, to keep him busy. He wasn’t going to be any use in this state.
Harry suddenly felt tired now, his legs hurt, his head was spinning a bit and suddenly with Denzel there he let go a bit, just a bit. He wanted to act fast and right now; Denzel could just make the call.
Denzel looked worried. He really cared about Harry. They weren’t just partners; they were brothers. And he really cared about Mary; he’d always cared about Mary too. Denzel took the phone.
“Hello, Alex, is that you? This is Denzel. It’s urgent, missing persons, just log that, it’s Mary, Harry’s Mary. Now put me through.”
Denzel turned his back to the parlor but Harry could still hear him clearly.
He could hear the rasping voice of the lieutenant, not the words but the tone. He could tell Denzel was getting an earful. Denzel was real assertive. He could hear the chief’s voice less and less. Denzel was still rushing along; he wanted this sorted out.
Harry heard every word but a creeping feeling came over Harry that there was a little formality coming from Denzel. It riled him. Just get on with it. He’d be like that if it was the other way round; they were cops first, always cops, and sometimes you just had to accept that. But right now Harry just wanted to do something. He needed to fucking do something. Mary could be out there needing him.
While he was listening to every word that Denzel said Harry went upstairs and quickly got a bag, a hat, leather gloves, a sweater, throwing things aside to find what he wanted. He grabbed stuff from the kitchen, a rope from under the stairs, another torch, a small tool bag. The roads were dangerous in this wet; he didn’t want to get stranded too. Mary’s green coat in case she needed it, her blanket off the couch. He jammed in some food from the larder. Last but not least two more bottles of bourbon. In case …
“You ready? How do you wanna play this?”
“Let’s drive to the woods first, and track back to the house.”