There she was lying on the pavement, cyanotic and covered in blood that started to form a coagulated little pond. He heard a popping sound as she hit the ground under the screeching tires of the fast running vehicle. He watched the flickering light vanish in the darkness as he was coming out of the woods where he hid for the whole icy morning away from the detectives he thought were following him. There was a warrant against him. His girlfriend is occupying his studio with a kid she had showed up and accused him of being the father. The damn kid screamed all night; he threw the pillow at him; his girlfriend threw the pillow back at him with all her force and started yelling that he wanted to kill her baby. So, he ran away. Later, a neighbor he met as he was roaming the streets told him that the police were looking for him.
She gurgled and rattled for a minute or so then went still. He grabbed the bag the shock had thrown a few meters on the curbside. He looked at the girl: “ Still dead,” he said and took out the content of the bag. A sociology book, Principles of Sociology, a notebook for English, an Introduction to College Algebra textbook and an Iphone. There was no money, not even a cent. “Damn!” He cursed but did not feel bad. She is dead while he is alive. He checked the pulse once more and let the now getting rigid hand drop.
He put the Iphone in is pocked and delved into the forest. The frozen woods, twigs, leaves and ice cracked under his feet. He heard distant sirens. The killer must have been assailed with pongs of ill consciousness and called for pick-up and delivery. Darkness encroached as his shadow faded in the barks. His jaws hardened and his skull felt as if it were a brick of ice. He reached to the bar of chocolate he had wrapped in a plastic bag in his pocket. He tied the bag tightly around his head and sank his teeth in the chocolate piece.
What would a hunted tracked animal do in a cold evening like this? He pushed aside the brown leaves and tapped the ice with the steeled front of his boots. He soon created a trench. He lied supine with his hand crossed on his chest in the ice-covered-casket-like ground. He would have thought the chances of winning the jackpot likelier than sleeping in this frozen wild. Yet, he did sleep. It was six in the morning when he woke up. The weather has remarkably warmed up. He was wet but not cold. He decided to walk home and whatever happens happens. “ She left,” shouted his neighbor with an angry voice as he was opening the door to his studio.
Yep. There was no trace of his girlfriend. He almost panicked at the idea that she might have left the baby. She did not. He could not have been more grateful. He prepared himself some noodles and decided to take a shower. “ What a night!” he said as he caught a glimpse of his messy appearance in the mirror. He reviewed last night’s event: the girl that has been run over and her bleeding cold body on the pavement. He did not feel a thing. He was stoic. “ She did not suffer,” he said in an affected compassionate tone as if a professional offering condolences. He felt the phone in his pocket, took it out and started browsing her call history and the settings. Many happy pictures: all very young. He laughed loud as he mumbled: “ No oldies.” Did she fight with a girlfriend or a boyfriend, threw a tantrum then decided to walk home. “ Why the Highway?” He wondered. It could have been for the same reasons he had taken the Highway: to be away from the crowd. It is possible. He listened to the greeting message: “ Hi! I am Chicketa; leave me a message,” it said. She must have wanted to sound sexy and cool. The voice sounded one of an innocent timid young girl. He uncomfortably remembered how almost made a career in standup comedy imitating celebrity voices in junior high. “ Hi,I am Chicketta, leave me a message,” he repeated again and again tile sounded identical to the dead girl’s voice then lashed out loud: “ Hi, I am Chicketta, leave me a message!”
Strangely enough nobody called that morning. Later in the afternoon, the phone rang. He did not pick up; the answering machine was quicker. He heard an undecipherable clatter of voices. Yet, he could get a few words. “ it must have been lost in the woods,” a distant voice proffered. He felt drunk. He noticed only a few drops were left in the red wine bottle. He grabbed the phone went through the contact list and dialed Mom’s number.
“ Hello! Who are you?” asked the anguished voice.
“ Hello! Mom? It’s me Chicketa”
“ Hon,” replied the grieving woman weeping
“ Mom, I look funny, I don’t know what’s happening to me. I am in an Asian male body,” He said chocking an involuntarily laughter as he was looking at his image in the mirror.
“ Hon,” came the lamenting voice.
“ Who are you? How did you get this phone” yelled an angry male voice at him. Jason hang up abruptly and laughed hysterically repeating the words he has just repeated to the grieving woman between peals of his maniac laughter. He couldn’t be prouder of his acting performance. He was a fourth generation American Chinese and he still looked as if he had just come out of a Chinese human factory package, he always loved to repeat to his friends. He does not speak or write a word of Chinese and neither do his parents.
Next day, he headed towards the unemployment office. He was asked to appeal the office’s decision within ten days. Chicketta’s phone rang while he was in the office. He did not pick up the call. This time, it was the police. No signs of his girlfriend and her baby. No news is good news, they say. He would have used her help to share the rent, groceries, and he could have used her car to run his errands. No way, he thought aloud. He was not raising a child that was not his. She said he was. Well , they could run a DNA test or go to Maury’s show, that way he would avoid paying for the testing cost. No way, he vigorously refuted his logic. It was way too soon for settling. He laughed aloud as his dream scheme unfolded in his mind. Now, he knows how he will make it to fame. It was crystal clear. He will call Mrs. “Chicketa’s Mom”
“ Hi Mom I am Chicketa, I am in Asian body. I don’t know where I am.”The police will instruct him to to go outside, spot a road sign, or a name of a street or a store, They would want to know if he/she is in danger or held against his/her will. They will be with him in no time. Then “ Boom” every body will hear about the dead girl in the Asian boy’s body. Maury will line up to make it to his list. He remembers there are some flaws with his scheme. It will be all attributed to the paranormal. Chisketta’s soul is in his body. He said in an affected affectionate quivering voice. They would want to know how he got the phone. It was his. It has all his contacts. Mom is on speed dial. That is how he/she dialed when she suddenly found herself in that awful place in the awful Chinese body. They would want to test his Spanish/Portuguese. He was sure that the girl was a Latina from her contact list and her greeting were indicators. He knows only a few Spanish words. Well “ Chicketa” might also know only a few words of Spanish if she has grown up in USA. Besides some of them even pretend not to be able to speak their original languages to pass for a native born American. If, by any chance, chicketta was a fluent Spanish speaker, he would still pass the test: her conscience must have mixed with his somehow.
Every thing will be attributed to the paranormal. Most Latinos are very religious and superstitious. He knows it first hand. He has known many on his previous jobs. Besides, science has not cracked it all. Life is still jealously cajoling some of its secrets. Next, he will be really pampered, feared, cherished and petied. Mrs. Chicketta’s mom will take care of her dead nina. “ And … Hello hollywood” He . satisfactorily rejoiced at the hilarity of his ideas. He dances his way to the bathroom, made a cute face: “ Who would not believe this?” He joked. He spent hours rehearsing for his first physical encounter with the Chicketta’s family and the police. He ignored all incoming calls to Chicketta’s phone.
“ Mom, I am Chicketta, I look funny. Help me, Mom!” he went on and on mimicking the dead girl. He had to sound very convincing.
“ Mr. Wang, open up.! Boston Police Department!!”
The door suddenly flung open “ Mr.Wang, you are under arrest for the murder of Jessica Bradly, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say…
A short story by J.Hamilton