Speed Of Light
“Too fast for me,” thought Michelson. He had never been on a water slide before and with an already heightened sensitivity, was frightened.
“Probably a heart attack,” said the forensic lady. “There’s no water in his lungs,” and then added as forensic ladies are supposed to, “I can’t say anything more definite until the post mortem has been completed.”
Sergeant Morley, reporting to Superintendent Smith next day could not resist a typically wry comment that it was an odd way for a middle-aged accountant to finish up.
“Was anyone with him?” Smith asked.
“Yes a fellow golfer who says Michelson had suggested going to the local pool instead of golf because of the hot day. His name is Noel Nitty and he drives a truck for a company that has a haulage contract with the Lite Chocolate factory. That’s where Michelson worked.”
A constable knocked and entered the room. “Sorry to interrupt sir but I was told this is urgent.” He handed Smith a message and left.
“Well well,” said Smith. “They found one of those synthetic hallucinatory drugs in Michelson, one that has a narrow dose gap between the desired effect and death. You had better pay a visit to the Lite Chocolate Company and ask some questions. This could be serious. Get there as soon as possible.”
“Speed of light Guv, you know me,” said Morley.
The factory manager Noah Nash was expecting him, having heard that Michelson had drowned. “Terrible business,” he said. “Terrible business.”
“Yes,” said Morley, “The circumstances are unclear and we wish to ask his co-workers if they know anything that might help us.”
“Feel free,” said Noah. “I can tell you that he was a competent chief accountant and was recently investigating the disappearance of several consignments of chocolate. I’ll introduce you to our operations manager, Lily Lightbody.” Morley noticed with appreciation the hint of availability in her manner.
“Well I can say this,” she said. “Michelson seemed to be spending a lot of time lately in the loading bay talking to Leah Lindsay. She’s the so-called dispatch manager. Maybe it was just something personal”.
Morley wandered to the loading bay taking in as much of the factory activity as he could. When he arrived, Leah was recording on a clipboard the loading of boxes into a truck. Finding he was a policeman, she stopped the line and asked what she could do to help. When he explained, she said, “Oh that bitch sent you. She’s got the hots for Michelson and she’s as jealous as hell. Michelson’s not a bad sort and it’s no secret he’s investigating pilfering. She knows why he has been talking to me but can’t resist seeing more in it than there is. He is nothing more than a co-worker to me”.
Nitty stepped out of the driver’s cabin and came over to them. “What’s up?” he said to Leah.
“This is sergeant Morley, he’ll explain.”
“I hear you were at the pool with Michelson when he died,” said Morley.
“Yes poor coot, came out of the slide at a good pace, splashed into the pool and didn’t come up. They tried to revive him but he was gone.”
“So,” said the Superintendent, “It looks as if any one of them could have a motive for killing him, three for their involvement in the pilfering and one for jealousy as well. Better start over again with Lily Lightbody.”
Back at Lite Chocolate, Morley came straight out with it. “Lily, traces of a new synthetic drug were found in Michelson’s body. Would you have you any idea how they got there?”
“Oh yes,” she said. “A very clear idea. He used to be a chemist, made the stuff in his home laboratory and often used it himself. He gave me some once. It had a pretty weird effect, not bad, but who would know how much to take? I can tell you this now that he’s gone – he started selling it. A young guy on a motor bike used to pick up a packet left on the fence here. I’ve heard him referred to as Sunbeam.”
At that moment a motor bike screeched to a stop beside them and immediately took off again. It was over in a second.
“That’s him,” she said.
“He’s fast,” said Morley.
“Nothing’s faster,” she said.
At 3pm near Boise a truck loses most of its onions.
Waste more than accident, the frolic
of husked white orbs across the meridian
reminds me to look for the moon.
Early autumn in farm country
it finds its place over the fields an hour before
it finds its place over you. For us, this is unusual,
separated by miles and marriages
and now mountain time.
You see, we have this thing about the moon,
more like sailors on the same ship
than lovers divided by time zones, each of us
in charge of a harness, a sail, an ocean wave
like the waves on a vaudeville stage,
shaped from wood then painted blue,
one of us on each side creating
a movement that mimics the tide. It feels like cheating,
to see the moon before you, you who know
its phases so well you reintroduce me, each night,
to a heavenly body I grew bored of decades ago,
one too many listens to Pink Floyd
and one too many boys promising
to keep their hands to themselves among
the wetness of early morning grass,
the moon I shut my eyes to the same moon
you fucked and fought under in a time zone
as foreign to me as the fabled dark side
none of us will ever see.
You aren't the first man to remind me
about a coming lunar eclipse, whispering words
like "outer penumbra" through a phone pad.
You aren't even the first man today
to implore me to stay awake, scan the sky,
that thing about the second star to the right
and straight through til' morning,
my ship of Lost Boys you almost know about,
a half-dozen Peter Pans who keep their hands
to themselves just because you asked me to ask,
the ones who text as I wait to hear from you,
the ones who say, do you see it, the bandage
pulled off, the blood moon, the moon
whose lunar seas turn red while you sleep?
Sea of Crises, Sea of Tranquility, Ocean of Storms,
Sea that has Become Unknown, Sea of Nectar,
and we forgive each other for not being able
to ever be in the same place at the same time.
Without you I abandon the moon,
my memory of the eclipse I watched alone
while your dreams took you far away from me
but brought you closer with each exhale.
How I stood on the porch in all that shadow
and wished for your long fingers to know
my body so well the novelty of my small waist
would give away, in the darkness, to a new syntax
created from the way your hands would read
the Braille of all my considerable bones.
Sometimes I know when the phone will ring
but I could have never predicted this
and sometimes I study the ring around the moon.
The old myth of bad weather coming,
a sailor’s warning. The new myth
of Sisyphus, both of us pushing the moon
up the sky to only have it fall back at our feet.
What a heavenly marble, what moony white blisters
on our hands from knuckling down, wounds
that would heal if we could only stop pushing.
In the dim dusk of early morning, I wait
To see if there will be a crack of light,
Creeping slowly round the edges of the door frame
Like a halo hanging lightly on the old scratched wood.
If they come, the tiny pinpricks, photons and particles,
That slip and slide across the wood and through the cracks
To dance and play, reflecting on the whitewashed walls,
If they come, today will be a day for singing in the street.
For running through puddles looking for rainbows
And twirling like dervishes under cherry blossom trees.
I lie still, not moving, downy covers pulled to chin
And wait to see if the light will creep
And shuffle and illuminate the patina and knolls
Of my old oak door. If light will illuminate me.