Within Close Range: An Evening with Officer Guildemeister

I’ve been sitting here for hours.

Staring at the damn floor.

Finding haunted, frightened faces in the contours of the dark slate below my restless, anxious feet; not knowing whether to be relieved that the last person who came through the door wasn’t Dad.

Officer Gildemeister keeps checking on me through the sliding glass window that separates the lobby from the rest of the station.

Like I’m a possible flight risk.

Asshole.

I know he’s just doing his job, but is all this really necessary? Dragging me in for a lousy can of beer? For God’s sake, I don’t even like beer. It was just handed to me.

Hadn’t even taken one, horrid sip before all hell broke loose.

Everyone saw the cop car enter the St. Mary’s parking lot. Everyone but me and the guy who got busted with his bong.

But even he’s been released… Where the hell are my parents?

And why isn’t there anything to read in here? Anything to stop the constant rewind in my brain: the bright headlights, beers flying, friends fleeing, and voices shouting for me to run. But I’m frozen and can’t see a thing with the squad car’s headlights now shining in my face.

All I can think to do is hide the full beer behind my back… they’d never find it there.

Idiot.

Why did I ever agree to leave the dance?

Shit. Shit. Shit.

I should have just stayed inside and listened to the band. It’s why – NO, Chuck is why I went to that stupid dance in the first place. And for what? Just to be a familiar shadow in the crowd?

“Still no word from your parents. Is there someone else I can call?”

Fuck. Who else can he call?…

“The Villates.”

“The Villates?… You are aware they have to be adults?”

“Dr. and Mrs.” (Asshole.)

He thought I was talking about Rick and Bob. Of course he knows the brothers. And I know what he thinks about them. I can see it in his soulless, pitiless, squinty, little eyes – dirty, hippy, punks – with their long, dark hair, ripped jeans, big, cocky smiles and cockier laughs. With their fast cars and motorcycles – especially Rick’s cherry red Moto Guzzi – which roars and rumbles, announcing his arrival minutes before he can be seen.

I can just see Officer Gildemeister’s sneering face each time my sister’s boyfriend rumbles by him in town…

But if he wants to be rid of me and end his shift, the Villates are his only choice.

Please, Mrs.Villate… please be home.

___________

That’s got to be her.

Unmistakable.

A tiny, fast-moving figure, topped in a tousle of blonde, darting through the doors with a tremendously generous and forgiving smile just for me.

Enter Officer Iceberg-Up-My-Ass.

Standing next to the big man with the gun, Mrs. Villate is nearly eclipsed. Her smile instantly disappears in his shadow.

“Well… are you going to tell her why you’re here, young lady?”

(Because you’re an asshole who couldn’t just slap me on the wrist?)

“I-”

“-She doesn’t have to tell me anything she doesn’t want to.”

Silence.

Did Inge just take down Officer Gildemeister?

He’s flustered. Can’t even look at her. She’s staring him down – or rather up – with a half-raised smile. Knocked out with one blow by a wee, little, German woman in a bad, blonde wig.

Don’t smile, Anne. Just look at the ground and suppress urge to hug Inge ’til later.

“I’ll be contacting your parents tomorrow, young lady.”

I’m sure you will, Officer Asshole.

Let’s get out of here, oh smallest, greatest and by far, very sweetest of all people.

You’re about to get a very tearful earful.

Author: Anne Celano Frohna

I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil in hand and would not feel complete without it. And I actually made a meager living at it (and as an editor) for 25 years. I worked for newspapers and magazines, in graphic arts and advertising, and wrote several local history books. But I have also taught English in Japan, been a Nanny in Italy, worked in and for museums, and was an Airbnb Superhost for four years. After moving to Arizona with my family in 2010, I completed a series of different writing projects, including two books of creative non-fiction: Just West of the Midwest: a comedy (Based on journals I kept during my two years as an English teacher in rural Japan.) Within Close Range: short stories of an American Childhood (Short stories and poems about growing up as the middle of five children in suburban Chicago.) I've also written children's stories and continue to write short fiction, but have recently found my voice in poetry. And when I'm not moved to write, or research a large piece of fiction I'm formulating, I focus much of my energies on running my Etsy shop, ChannelingNonna (channelingnonnavintage.com), where I sell vintage clothing, folk art, books, and a trove of other items I have found and continue to bring home from thrift stores, barn sales, yard sales, estate sales, etc., whereever I roam. This blog, however, is where my greatest passion comes alive. Thus, this blog, where I post my creative non-fiction, short stories, a couple of illustrated children's stories and a comedy I wrote about two years I spent teaching English in rural Japan (NOT a story for a child.). I am also a mother of two wonderful girls, Eva (23) and Sophia (21) and wife to one wonderful husband, Kurt.

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