The Altercation

August 1997

It was about 2 weeks prior to Dani’s disappearance. I’d come over one evening for Scrabble and wine, but by the end of the night I surrendered my car keys & crashed in the guest room. The next morning, I descended the stairs, ready to raid Dani’s supply of eggs and bacon.I paused at the top of the staircase when I heard Dani’s voice. I could see her backside in the front door frame & only a sliver of the man who stood on the stoop.

“I gave you the Adderall, I don’t know what else you want,” she said.

“You promised me coke.”

“I didn’t promise you anything. I did what I could.”

“If you did what you could,” he said, “I’d have a baggie of fresh powder in my hand right now. Instead I have your tiny little wrist in my hand; your weak little pulse in my grasp.”

“Listen I don’t know where you got your information,” she said evenly, “but I don’t sell the hard stuff. If you want Adderall, I can get you that – For an excellent price, I may add. But if you want coke, you’re going to have to go somewhere else.” I heard a clunk & a gasp as, I imagine, one of her limbs collided with one of his body parts, then she continued, “And if you ever touch me again, I’ll make sure the only drugs you take are fed to you through hospital tubes.”

She slammed the door and I heard his strained voice holler through the door, “I’ll be back. And in the meantime you better get your s*** together because I need that coke.”

Dani turned back into the foyer and I ducked down. What would I have said? How could I even begin to confront her?  Instead, I crawled over to the window that overlooked the driveway. A man slivered down the driveway & before he disappeared out of my view, he turned & looked back at the house. He didn’t catch my eye & I didn’t catch his, but that glimpse was enough to memorize some basic facial features.

Fast forward  to that Tuesday in September when Dani had been MIA for 3 days – As I stood in the doorway of Brant’s office, holding the car seat, I didn’t want to detail what I had witnessed at her house. If I didn’t say it out loud, it would be as if it never happened.  But I had to tell him. I needed his help. “Brant,” I said. “I think Dani’s in trouble.”

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