I was standing in the middle of a highway next to a dead body in the rain. I was pretty sure it was my car that killed it. Killed him. I think. The head was a mess, but the body wore men’s trousers, button up shirt and tie, and a black, long overcoat. But enough about the corpse. It’s not about the corpse.
It’s about her. Cause this is the story of how I met her, and how she saved my life, and made it a lot more fun over a short period of time.
You know what I’m talking about.
A car was coming fast towards us. I had stopped in the middle of the road when I felt that sickening bump, and the awful thump the body made as my tires gave it the once over.
The headlights blinded me, and I instinctively put my hand up in front of my face even though it did fuck all to help. The rain made everything worse. I could see the car stopped. I heard a car door slam.
And then there she was. Just her outline as she stood in front of her headlights. I couldn’t see any detail, but the detail I saw was enough to make me forget the rain, the blinding light, and the corpse bleeding all over my shoes.
Then, just to make it all the more interesting and improbable, there was a flash of lightning and thunder. I saw a flicker of a face, but it’s the full lips I noticed.
“What happened?!” She had to shout it over the rain.
“I think I killed him!”
She only nodded. “You want a lift to a phone to call the police?”
It took me a minute to swallow that she didn’t seem concerned at all that a man got crushed to death.
In her car, which was a sweet little roadster, I asked her name. She said, “Rosemary” with an emphasis on the R, and weighting the S into a Z, which made my palms sweat.
I forgot my name.
I figured out later why she wasn’t so concerned about it. After all, the dead man wasn’t going to get any worse. She drove me to her house to use the phone.
The one in her bedroom.
The phone in Rosemary’s bedroom was on a table next to her bed. The entire room had a rose theme. The furniture a white wood, with carved vines running up the legs. The bedspread was also covered with bright red roses with giant thorns.
I sat on the edge and picked up the phone to all the police. It was white, and one of those models from the twenties where you had hold the ear piece to your ear and speak into the base.
The line was dead.
That wasn’t much of a surprise. The storm was going harder than before. Lightening and thunder came in quick succession.
I guess the corpse on the highway, the man I hit with my car, would have to wait out the storm. I doubted he had anything better to do.
Suddenly, there was a drink in my face being held by a hand with long tapered fingers. It was the left hand and on the ring finger was a ring throwing a giant party and invited every expensive jewel in the world.
“You like rocks?” I said, taking the drink. Our fingers brushed on the glass. Mine were still wet from the rain. She didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m a passionate collector,” she said with a wide smile.
“Rocks, flowers, butterflies,” Rosemary said, and sat in a large, plush chairs across from me. It was one of those really comfortable chairs that one puts in one’s bedroom and never sits in. Maybe this was why it was there: to sit in when one entertained a stranger who just killed a man, and the phone went dead before the police could be called, and there was a drink in one’s hand, and a moment of hesitation: do we go into the living room, or do we stay in the bedroom and see how this scene plays out?
I guess Rosemary wanted to play this out. When she crossed her legs, the white material of her dress cascaded and tumbled around her legs and I felt the bottom drop out of me.
I took a long drink of whatever she gave me. It was very sweet, but very good.
“What is this?”
“Ambrosia. Nectar of the gods. Cheers.” She took a drink.
“No, seriously. You haven’t poisoned me, have you?”
Rosemary laughed, and recrossed her legs as if giving me another chance to see what I might have missed before. I didn’t. And the second showing gave me a bit more to see.
“It’s ice wine. Very rare, very expensive, and very special.”
“Is this a special occasion?”
“Well, one doesn’t kill a man in the street every day.”
“That’s not actually funny,” I said.
“You didn’t kill that man.”
I blinked at her. What was she talking about? My car ran over him. I felt and heard thumping and sickening cracking.
Then she smiled widely and refilled our glasses, explaining as she did so, “From what I examined of the body, you ran over his legs. His head had already been crushed in. He was dead long before you got there.”
This was a tremendous relief. “Are you absolutely sure?”
Her hair was long, curled at the ends, swayed about her sweet face like billowing curtains. I wanted to reach up, but I managed to behave myself.
Then, Rosemary decided to misbehave and tucked a lock of my wet hair behind my ear. Then she said something that changed the mood. “I ran him down long before you go there.”
Cue the lightning and thunder combination and me shivering. I finished what was in my glass, gulping the sweet, expensive nectar of the gods.
“It was my husband,” she said as answering my question. Maybe I asked one. I don’t remember. She refilled my glass. “I kind of need you to take the fall for this, though. Don’t worry,” she said, sitting next to me on the bed, her lips brushing my ear. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
I had no doubt.
I'm Lady Ristretto, writing under a pseudonym. My pseudonym has a pseudonym.