jody was surprised after waking up and discovering that nikki had left during the night, leaving a note on the kitchen table that said,
"jody i am sorry to leave so suddenly but - " the note had been placed under a half empty beer bottle and the moisture from the bottle had made the rest of the note illegible.
jody was delighted. the month's rent had just been paid. there was no need to look for a new roommate for almost three - well, maybe two - weeks. jody knew some people who might be interested - in fact, a couple of people who were desperate.
unless the obscured words in the note made some reference to nikki getting back the half of the rent already paid.
but there did not seem to be enough words to say that.
and even if there was, tough shit. it wasn't jody's fault that the note could not be read.
if nikki called, time enough to worry then.
meanwhile - at least two weeks before even looking for a new roommate.
how good could life get?
2. the phone call
jody was lying in bed, reading a stephen king novel.
five days of the two or three weeks had passed.
like a dream.
suddenly the phone rang. this was unusual. jody took maximum precautions against junk calls.
"is this jody? jody garrett?"
"yes. who is this? i don't want to buy anything."
"this is alma bonney, nikki's mom."
"how do you do?"
"i am doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, thank you. you sound very polite. nikki always said you were very polite."
"i try to be."
"i assume nikki is not there."
"no, nikki left a note five days ago and disappeared."
"with no indication of a destination?"
"that is correct. the note gave no indication of a destination."
"that is what we expected."
"i should tell you that the note was a bit smudged. there might have been something i couldn't read. but it was only a few words."
"that is the first glimmer of hope we have had. i hope you did not throw the note away."
"actually i did throw it in the trash."
"but i have not emptied the trash, as tomorrow is weekly trash day."
"oh, thank goodness!"
jody thought "thank goodness" was a curious expression, but was too polite to say so.
"i will let the police know," nikki's mom went on.
jody felt a sudden panic. "the police?"
"yes, they should be in to see you some time today."
jody groaned inwardly. "was that really necessary?"
"we certainly thought so. we are very worried about nikki."
"but it has only been five days."
"five days of worry."
"but - but - people just like to disappear sometimes. you know how it is."
"no, i am sorry but i do not know how it is."
"people just like to - to kick back and get away from things - blow off a little steam."
"that sounds like a terrible, cynical thing to say. you may be polite, but you do not sound like a very nice or sympathetic person."
"i am sorry. i was trying to be helpful and supportive. in my way."
"very well, then. i accept your apology. it is just that we are very worried about nikki."
"i will hang up now. please dig the note out of the trash and have it ready for the police when they arrive."
"do you know when the police are going to get here?"
"no, they did not give us a detailed itinerary of their investigations."
"they are contacting all of nikki's friends and acquaintances , and everybody that ever had any contact with nikki."
"everybody who ever had any contact? that sounds like a tall order."
"they are the police. they have their resources. i am sure they will do a very thorough job."
"i suppose they will."
"as you may have been the last person to see nikki, i would suspect you would be one of the first on their list. but of course i can't make any promises."
"i will hang up now, unless you have anything else to tell me."
"i am sorry, i don't."
"goodbye." jody switched the phone off.
what the fuck! couldn't the fucking world ever leave you alone?
fucking nikki! jody hoped the police would show up soon and get this sorry ass business over with. otherwise worrying about it would ruin the whole beautiful two weeks of freedom.