Read Shards Online

Authors: Allison Moore


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For my family


He wants to take a
shower so I make it ready for him, turning the stiff chrome handle until the water is perfect.

Everything, everything has to be perfect for him.
If he doesn't like the temperature of the water. If I add too much cream to his coffee. If I don't weigh exactly 116 pounds.

The consequences are never the same. I would love to know that when I fuck up I will just get the shit kicked out of me, but every time is different. Sometimes it's just a beating. Sometimes I have to face the wall while he whips me with a rubber hose. Other times, my head in the toilet until I can't breathe. Or this: brushing my teeth with Mechanics hand cleaner while he grabs my throat so I can't swallow.

This time I am careful not to fuck up. I only need a few minutes. Just enough time to go downstairs for the gun. Most of the weapons have been hidden away except for the revolver he keeps in
the shop for protection. He never sells from the house, but sometimes he'll negotiate there.

He has a name, but I can't speak or even spell it. I'll call him my dealer.

While he's in the shower, my job is to get his clothes ready, make his coffee, load a bowl with dope, bring everything into the bathroom, and stay there until he is ready to get out.

But not today. Not today.

My plan is to kill him, then kill myself. I'll get him coming out of the shower.

I walk down the stairs and go into the shop. I don't know if it's morning or night and I don't even care. I'm on tweaker time. I've been up for days.

The revolver is exactly where I know it is, in the back of a drawer in his worktable, in a FedEx envelope addressed to his friend Joe. A Ruger .38 with a black handle and wood inlay, disassembled.

Putting together a revolver isn't difficult, but only if I remain calm. I move into work mode. In recruit school we had this saying:
slow is smooth and smooth is fast
. If you're trying to rush putting a mag in your firearm you'll fumble it up. If you take your time it goes faster in the end.

I insert the cylinder, then the trigger guard, steady, thinking clearly. I'm not shaking. Except for my hands, I'm completely still, focusing so hard on listening. I can still hear the shower going, the water running through the pipes down to the basement.

I've thought about leaving a note for my family, for Keawe, but I have been too scared the dealer would find it or see me writing it. For me there are no hiding places in this house, no secrets from him. I figure I can write to the people I love after I kill him, before I kill myself. I have thought a lot about what I want to write, but all I can really say is that I love them, and that I'm sorry. I'm not
going to try to explain anything. There is no explanation for what I have done and what has been done to me. Just
I love you
, that's all.

Will they ever see the note? Who will even find us—the dealer's friend Joe or one of his drug groupies? Will they bother to call the cops?

How will they even know who I am?

I push these thoughts away. I need to stay focused.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
I insert the hammer and the hammer pin, then the spring. I have a little trouble with the spring, but it doesn't faze me. The handle, the wood inlays, then the pin that you push in to hold it all together. Once I put the inlays in I grab the last piece, a screw that holds the inlays and the handle together.

The shower stops. I should be there with his clothes, his coffee, the bowl of dope. In a minute he'll come looking for me, but it's okay. I'll get him coming down the stairs.

I cannot change my mind now, and I don't want to. In my heart I know I will die in this house. I want to die. I want to take him with me, but if there's only one bullet, I'll use it on myself.

I have to finish turning the screw—I have no tools, so it's going slow. I want to load the gun first. I look up from what I'm doing, shaking the envelope.

I can't find the bullets.

There are no bullets.

He's the master of hidden compartments—meth in the hollowed-out leg of his kitchen table, coke in the recessed lighting. If there are bullets, they could be anywhere, and I don't have enough time.

My body collapses. I tell myself,
You have to move, because when he gets out of the shower he's going to come looking for you

I look wildly around the shop for tools I can kill him with, but he's taken everything dangerous from the house, even the kitchen
knives. He knows I want to die. I have told him so over and over again.

Even if I do manage to kill him now, how will I find a way to die?

My hands no longer steady, I start to disassemble the gun, to put the parts back in the envelope and into the drawer before he gets to the shop. But he'll know anyway. There are cameras hidden all over the house, in every corner of every room, in the recessed lighting, the air vents, the electrical sockets. If he watches the footage he'll know what I was trying to do.

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
I'm rushing now, I'm fucking it up. I need a hit.

His footsteps on the stairs—I hear them.

He's coming down now, to find me.

I'm living in hell and I can't even die.


I never intended to become
a cop.

To be honest, it had never crossed my mind.

Growing up, I adored soccer and always wanted to go pro. That was my little girl dream, my teenage dream even, but once I let it die, I didn't bother to replace it with anything else. After high school, I took off, first going on the road with my motocross boyfriend, Vin, and then drifting between my hometown of Albuquerque and where my sister lived in Seattle. After a broken engagement to a high school basketball coach, I settled in Maui, taking science classes at the community college until I determined I wasn't going to make it as a premed.

I loved Maui. My family had spent summers and Christmases there during what I look back on as my perfect childhood—before my dad left us; before my mom started drinking; and before my sister got into the car accident that would cost her a leg. I felt
embraced by the friendliness and openness of Hawaiian people. All my life I had held people at arm's length, throwing myself full-force into anything—soccer, anorexia, obsessive relationships—that would help me forget how isolated I was. On Maui, my life felt different. Now I needed a purpose, a way to make an impact on the Hawaiian community I had grown to love. I saw an ad in the newspaper for the police department and, on a whim, I applied.

I didn't hear back from the department, and I forgot about it. I took a waitressing job at Lulu's in Kihei, and started to date a new boyfriend, Dalton. Starting in high school, I had had a series of long-term boyfriends, poor attempts to fill the void left in my life by my father. I felt Dalton was different. He was very Southern, very polite. A fun-loving frat boy taking a break from college. We went snorkeling and scuba diving together; we camped on the beach; on weekend nights, we built great bonfires in the sand with all of his friends around. Dalton had a lot of friends that became my friends, and he had created this life for himself that I believed was my life also. I had a terrible history with men, starting with my father, but my relationship with Dalton felt normal and healthy.

A couple of months into my relationship with Dalton, MPD contacted me, wanting me to proceed with the interview process.

I told Dalton about it one lazy afternoon at Keawakapu Beach. He worked as a pool bartender at the Grand Wailea, but it was his day off, and I didn't have to be at Lulu's until five thirty.

“You know how I'm always saying how much I want to be part of the community here?” I asked him.

“Yeah, though I can't say why.” Dalton was from Miami and a bit of an East Coast snob. After just a couple of months on Maui, he had come to hate the island culture and the pidgin. He felt the locals had no education, no drive. He was ready to go back home, but he was staying because of me.

“I applied for the police department, and I've got an interview,” I told him.

He laughed, and then realized I was serious.

“What? Come on, everyone hates cops.”

“Not everyone. You don't hate cops. I don't hate cops.”

“I'm sure it would be very easy for a blond
girl to become a cop on Maui,” Dalton said, condescending and sarcastic.

“Why?” I said, starting to get annoyed. “I'm smart. I work hard.”

He ran his warm hand along one of my biceps. “And you're in fantastic shape, darling,” he said. “You would get those lazy Hawaiian mokes off their asses.”

“I think I'd love it,” I said. “I never want the nine-to-five. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I just am.”

“I guess you can't be a waitress forever.”

“Thank you for sounding like my mom, Dalton.”

I had loved waitressing at Lulu's when I started, shooting the shit with the locals, flirting with the tourists, hanging out after work with the other girls who worked there. It was a fun restaurant near the water, and many nights Dalton came in with his roommates and closed down the place. But my mom had been on my back to do something with my life, and with Dalton planning to return to Miami soon, I felt the pressure to move on.

Could I really be a police officer?

Did I stand a chance?

My mom called from Albuquerque the next morning and I didn't even tell her about it.

“So Alli,” she asked, “are you signing up for any classes at MCC next semester?”

“Mmm,” I said. By this time, I had concluded that college wasn't for me. I was smart enough, but I couldn't sit still in lectures and was very lazy about homework. “We'll see.”

“Because I think we can come up with some money if you need it,” my mom was saying. “Your grandma—”

“No, that's okay,” I said, pushing her off. “I'm making good money. I'm supporting myself.”

“I know you are, Alli,” my mom said. “But you can't—”

Be a waitress forever.

I knew.

I went back to snorkeling and working out and getting tan and concentrating on Dalton. Unlike all the other guys I had gone out with, Dalton was a great boyfriend. A real Southern gentleman. Not a jerk. Not someone who would ever let me down.

•  •  •

All I'd ever wanted from Maui was a new life, completely different from my old one, and now it looked like I was going to have it.

My childhood was wonderful—soccer games, barbecues, a big and loving extended family. Fun, artsy mother, sweet older sister, and my father, Ian. My hero. My role model.

I was a daddy's girl. While my sister was into cheerleading and gymnastics and dance, I spent my childhood following my father everywhere. Whatever he did, I was by his side. I spent hours in the garage, helping him restore old hot rods. As soon as I was old enough, I started working out with him at the gym. At holidays and family gatherings, while the rest of the family chatted and cooked and did dishes together, he would take a nap on the couch and I would fall asleep beside him. My father had an uncanny ability to detach from all around him and in this, too, I tried to copy him.

My father was an architect, and he had designed and built our house. He loved vertical gray brick and put it everywhere, inside and out, adding lots of sliding glass doors, high windows, and angles. There wasn't a square room in the house. Mom, an artist,
couldn't stand
painting and redecorating, and our house was a constant battle between the architect and the artist. She carefully painted the dining room walls to create a Tuscan feel long before that was popular. She designed abstract wire sconces for the walls. She was always sewing slipcovers and pillowcases, forever redesigning, rearranging, sanding, painting—anything she could do to create a home. The house was full of Mom's paintings, my father's photographs and woodwork, Granddad's paintings, and Grandma Mimi's pottery, almost in competition.

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