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September 13, 2018

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The Loop

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Waking up in a ditch was hardly an ideal way to begin your day, you think as you roll up from lying atop the refuse slowly leaking from the sewer pipe. Wiping your shirt, you look around for any sign of where you might be. Thinking back on the night before, it all seems a blur. You can’t remember what happened last night, or even yesterday afternoon. Rubbing your temple, you try and will away the pounding headache that wracked within your head, but you couldn’t do anything to slow its dull throbs any more than you could change the weather, which was dismal.

 

Walking out of the ditch, you look both ways before crossing the street and moving over onto the sidewalk, your left leg asleep from the odd position you’d been sleeping in. Noticing a lack of people walking the streets, you patted down your jeans for your phone.

 

“Of course, I don’t have it on me,” you grumble, irritably throwing your hands in the air. Looking ahead, you see a young woman walking down the sidewalk, idly texting away on her cell phone.

 

You move in front of her, startling her for a moment. “Pardon me, but could you tell me the time? I seem to have lost track of it.”

 

The girl looked at him strangely before looking down at her phone. “April 14th, 9:03 AM,” She replied, moving to walk around you. You thank her, but she seems more interested in getting away from you than hearing your platitudes. Walking along the street, kicking your leg out every now and again in an effort to get the feeling back you finally see a police station.

 

“Ah, finally! I should be able to call my wife from there and get her to pick me up.” You say, heaving a sigh you hadn’t realized you were holding in.

 

Walking over to the police station, an officer holds the door open for you, which you thank him for doing. He just stares at you.

 

Weird, you think, but maybe I remind him of someone he knows?

 

Walking up to the front desk of the busy station, you wait for the officer sitting there to finish writing on a notepad before he looks up at you. His eyes widen slightly and he sets down his pen. The phone he was holding, the person still speaking quickly on the other end of the line, fell limply in his grasp before he had the wherewithal to hold it up.

 

“I’ll call you back,” he said, hanging up the phone unceremoniously.

 

“Hello, my name is Samuel Briones, and I was wondering if I could use your phone?” You say as politely as you can.

 

“I know who you are,” the officer said, his voice slightly on edge. “And like I told you yesterday, the joke is getting old. Now don’t make me have Jameson lock you up!”

 

“Yesterday? Sir, I woke up today not even being able to remember how I got where I was in the first place.”

 

“Listen, buddy, cut the crap! We’ve got a grieving widow that you’ve called three times now, and I’m not going to let it be a fourth. Jameson! Cuff him!”

 

A burly officer with a “Semper Fi” tattoo on his forearm walked over, grabbing your the wrist before slapping a pair of handcuffs onto them. Sputtering, you follow along as you're led to the back area where they have holding cells. The burly officer unlocks the door, before throwing you into the single, windowless room without a word, slamming the door and locking it audibly.

 

“This is just absurd! I’ve never been here before in my life!” You yell, pounding on the door with clenched fists. After spending a few minutes doing this, you move over to the chair in the room, sitting at the table. You wiggle your leg a little more, trying to get the feeling back in it, but it just remains numb.

 

After perhaps thirty minutes, an officer opens the door, coming in with a folder under his arm. He’s an older man, with gray streaks in his dark hair and sunken eyes. He looks at you and just stares as he moves to take a seat across from you, setting the folder down gently before crossing his arms.

 

“So, what’s your name?” He finally asks, breaking the silence.

 

“Samuel Briones, I told your colleague this earlier! If I could just get to a phone to call my wife I could be out of your hair within minutes.”

 

“Briones, eh? Not a common name around here. Listen, do you like to go on walks after you’ve been drinking?”

 

“Walks? Drinking? What do you mean, what does this have to do with anything at all?” You demand, your patience growing thin.

 

“Just take a look in the folder.” The officer says, leaning back in his chair.

 

Looking down at the plain manila folder, you pick it up and open it to the first page; a crash report, with one pedestrian struck. It happened on the 9th, at roughly 8:50 PM. A truck struck a pedestrian crossing the road, flinging him into a ditch where he suffered massive contusions and bled to death on the scene, his leg and skull broken. Flipping to the next page, you go wide eyed as you stare at an image of yourself lying in a pool of bloody mud, your leg bent at an awkward angle, your neck twisted around as if it were made of rubber. Looking up at the officer, he merely nods.

 

“You see why we have some questions,” the officer said. “Every day for the last three days you’ve wandered in at exactly 9:11 AM, and asked to use the phone. And every day we’ve let you. You call a grieving widow and tell her who you are, and she shouts through the phones threats and angry words. You hang up, and march out of here in a daze.”

 

“I’ve been doing this for three days?” You ask, rubbing at your head. The headache hasn’t gotten any better.

 

The officer nods. “I’ve seen you each day, including the day we had the coroner take your body away. Said you were intoxicated by the looks of it.”

 

“But… but this just isn’t possible!”

 

“I know,” the officer replied. “That’s why we’re going to hold you until you tell us who you really are. We’re going to have you moved to a holding cell in a matter of minutes, a private one. We don’t have a lot of crimes here in Harrisburg, so you should be fine alone for the remainder of the day.”

 

“You can’t do this! I have rights! Just let me call my wife, please!” You plead, standing up slowly as the officer grabs the folder, closing it. “Please, you don’t understand. I don’t know where I am! I just want to go home…”

 

“Well, Mr. Briones… you can go home as soon as we sort all of this mess out, alright?” The officer gives you a tight smile, before standing up and grabbing you by the interlinking chain between your handcuffs.

 

Leading you from the examination room, you see the whole department looking at you, some with open disgust while others just seem mildly curious. The officer takes you back to a set of cells, one of which he opens up before looking at you. “This is a drunk tank. We’re just going to put you in here until you decide to cooperate, alright?”

 

“Please officer… just let me call my wife.”

 

“Into the tank you go,” the officer says, ignoring your plea, shoving you in before turning off the lights. Sitting in the dark, your head pounding as if there was a tiny man trying to claw out from behind your eyeballs, you just start to cry, weeping openly for someone to let you call your wife. This continues until you eventually drift off to a fitful sleep.

 

+++

 

Waking up in a ditch was hardly an ideal way to begin your day, you think as you roll up from lying atop the refuse slowly leaking from the sewer pipe. Wiping your shirt, you look around for any sign of where you might be. Thinking back on the night before, it all seems a blur. You can’t remember what happened last night, or even yesterday afternoon. Rubbing your temple, you try and will away the pounding headache that wracked within your head, but you couldn’t do anything to slow its dull throbs any more than you could change the weather, which was dismal.

 

 

Looking down at your wrists, you rub at them as the skin seems sore for some reason. Odd… but not the strangest thing I’ve found this morning, you think as you limp up and out of the ditch. Your leg seems to have fallen asleep from the way you slept last night, and it just won’t wake up beyond the pins and needles running over your cold leg. Gotta find a phone, have to call my wife… you think as you look both ways before crossing the street, limping slightly.

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