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Vol. 1, No. 3

Gamberge & Silky
by David Attoe

~

Gamberge was reading about Monkey Woman when he thought he heard a voice. He closed the book.
      -Mr. Gamberge.
      -Silky! How did you get out? You went to see that bitch, didn't you?
      -No, I did not.
      -Liar.
      -I'm not lying to you.
      -So where the hell were you?
      -With your mother.
      -My mother?
      -You heard what I said.
      -You're pissed with me, aren't you? What did you talk about?
      -You mostly. So why is it, Mr. Gamberge, that you don't visit your mother? That you have me make your excuses?
      -I have my reasons.
      -Is your brother the reason?
      Gamberge's face turned funereal.
      -She's a drunk, Gamberge said. She makes things up. She's senile. Don't pay any attention to her crap.
      -She made Max up?
      -Don't listen to her.
      -Max was your brother, wasn't he?
      -Did she show you a photo of him? Did you see any photos of Max down there?
      -No.
      -You know why? Because there aren't any. None.
      -Max was your identical twin, wasn't he, Mr. Gamberge?
      -Shut up, Silky.
      -I'm talking now. Why do you keep me from having my own life? Why can't I be with Emily? Tell me. Does it have something to do with Max?
      -Leave me alone.
      -Is it true you killed him? Did you kill him?
      -Stop it!
      -Did you smother him in his sleep? Did you kill your own brother because your mother loved him more than she loved you?
      -You're crazy, you know that? Crazy. Crazy as a. . . .
      Gamberge grabbed his own neck with both hands and squeezed. Silky did not let up.
      -Max existed all right. Not for long. But long enough for you to-
      -Enough! Enough! Gamberge continued, in a softer voice. It's not what you think. We played this game. I'd pretend to be Max and Max would pretend to be me. We'd confuse our mother that way. Answer to the wrong name. She'd been drinking when she came into the bedroom to turn out our light. I smell her now. Max and I had switched places in the bed. She thought Max was me. There was terror in her eyes. She took a pillow and held it over Max's head. It's a game, she kept telling me, thinking I was Max. He stopped wriggling after a while.
      -You knew what she was doing, didn't you?
      -I don't know.
      -Why didn't you try to stop her?
      -I wanted her to love me. The same way she did Max.
      -I see. So for all these years you've made me go out-
      -You're finished, Silky.
      Gamberge picked up the phone, hesitated for a moment, then called the precinct. He told the cop on the desk that Silky the pickpocket was in his apartment, and gave his name and address.

 

~

When the cops arrived they burst in, three of them, hands on their guns. Except for the detective, who came in behind them.
      -Where is he? the detective asked.
      -In there.
      Gamberge pointed to the door at the end of the living room.
      -Is he armed?
      -Silky, armed? Gamberge laughed. No, he's not armed.
      The cops made for the other room. Their guns drawn.
      -My name's Rugg, the detective said. What's your connection to Silky, Mr. Gamberge?
      -I've known him a very long time.
      -You're friends?
      -We grew up together.
      -Here in New York?
      -Yes.
      -You were close all that time?
      -Close? He never leaves me alone.
      -What made you decide to turn him in?
      -I want to be able to live with myself.
      There was banging and crashing as the cops stormed through the apartment.
      -Were you aware of what he did from the beginning?
      -Oh yes. But that didn't make it any easier.
      -I understand. I'm glad you called us. I've been trying to nail this guy for more than five years. He's very slippery.
      Rugg looked around at the paintings on the wall.
      -You have an interest in art, Mr. Gamberge?
      -Not so much anymore.
      -These are quite some paintings.
      -Nineteenth century.
      The cops returned. Their guns were lowered. Fuseli, the senior cop, waved Rugg to one side.
      -There's no one here, Fuseli said.
      -Okay, you wait outside, Rugg told the others. Fuseli, you stay here.
      The cops trooped out.
      Gamberge had taken a seat at his desk. Rugg went over to him. Gamberge stood up.
      -He must have got away, Rugg said. If you hear from him again, please let us know immediately.
      -Of course.
      -We have a profile of him. Prints and all. We'll get him.
      -He left his prints behind?
      -Only once.
      -I am surprised.
      -He likes to leave his name on the scene, Rugg said.
      -He nearly always writes it in lipstick. Prefers dark shades. That was never in the paper. He slashes a pillow. You didn't allow that in the paper either.
      -He's tall. We know that from a grainy shot on a surveillance camera.
      -About my height, would you say?
      -Yes.
      -Those fancy cameras you're using now, are you getting better results?
      -Definitely. Well thank you, Mr. Gamberge. Like I said, if you do hear from him again. . . . Here's my card.
      Rugg headed for the door.
      -Aren't you forgetting something, detective?
      Rugg turned around. Gamberge was holding a watch by the strap, swinging it from side to side. Rugg checked his wrist. His watch was missing.
      -Are you aware your Rolex is a fake? Gamberge asked.
      -You know what detectives make? Rugg said.
      Gamberge smiled, continued to swing the watch.
      -Would you mind accompanying us, sir? Rugg said. We need to ask you a few more questions.
      Eager to apply the handcuffs, Fuseli closed in on Gamberge.
      -Could we leave those off until we get into the car? Gamberge asked. The doorman's a friend of mine.

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