The Art of Tetman Callis Night Boat Moon Cops Couple Kill

Night Boat Moon Cops Couple Kill

First published in Hobart, September 15, 2022. Copyright 2022 by Tetman Callis.

          I came out. I don’t remember what I had been doing.

          It was dark out. The sky was black. I saw the moon rising over the lake. A full moon in a black sky.

          Clouds went by in front of the moon. They would move in front of the moon and block its light, and the sky and the night would get very dark, then the clouds would move off.

          There was a breeze, but not strong. There were trees close in front of me. The swaying branches and leaves sometimes blocked the moon and clouds and lake.

          The lake is at the end of a short street around the corner from my house.

          The clouds did this: some of them blew by in front of the moon as if they were a backdrop painted on a stage set. I’d never seen clouds do that before. I didn’t know what to make of it, if I was seeing right or was distracted a moment, or maybe I was asleep.

          Walking in my sleep.

          Maybe that’s why I can’t remember what I was doing before I came out.

          But it was nice to be out and see the lake and all. It seemed like weeks had gone by, or maybe even forever, but that can’t be—anyway, it seemed like a long time, and it was nice to be out.

          On the corner I was at, where I stopped and stood looking down the short street to the lake, there was a house. A bungalow, raised up off the street a bit, with concrete steps going up one side to a small porch and a front door. The windows were open and there were a couple lights on and I could hear the people inside, see them moving around.

          The windows were the casement kind with lots of panes. I was down at street level and looking up.

          The people were a young couple and they were talking about their drugs, all these drugs they had, like cocaine and I don’t remember what all, but they were talking and laughing and they were pretty loud, not shouting but I could hear some of what they were saying and I thought it was foolish of them to be talking so loud.

          They seemed happy. They were going to do drugs and sell drugs and feel good and have fun and buy things and their friends were going to like them.

          That’s what they said.

          A boat chugged by along the shoreline, pretty close. It was a motor launch, old-fashioned, nothing fancy, with what sounded like a diesel engine. The launch was low in the water and rolling on the waves, which were cresting a few feet high. I wasn’t sure what kind of boat it was but thought it might be a police boat. I don’t remember if I thought that before I saw the cops or if it came to me after.

          The cops, there were two of them. One was uniformed and one was plainclothes. They came up the short street from the direction of the lake and they climbed the stairs up to the young couple’s porch and they knocked. I didn’t hear all that they said, but I heard enough to know that the cops were there because they knew the young couple had drugs and were going to do deals.

          The young couple answered the door. They didn’t sound scared. In fact, they got confrontational and told the cops that no way were they going—no way were the cops going to be able to do anything about it.

          The next thing I knew they were fighting, the two cops and the young couple. I don’t know why the cops didn’t pull their guns or their Tasers or something, but they didn’t.

          Too bad.

          The young couple were vicious and they were beating the hell out of the cops, all four of them practically falling out of the house and ending up on the far side of it, over by my house, where they were rolling around in the dirt of the parkway, the dust all puffing up in the moonlight, and the couple were—they were doing more than beating the cops up, they were killing them.

          I couldn’t move. It was like my legs turned to water or something and I couldn’t move, I just watched.

          The guy picked up a big rock and he held the plainclothes cop down on the ground underneath him and was beating him to death with the rock, while his wife—if they were married, I don’t know if they were or not—was rolling around with the uniformed cop—who was bigger than she was, but she was a wildcat—she had her hands around his neck and was strangling him. Finally he stopped thrashing about and I guess he was dead, and by this time her husband—if they were married—had finished off the plainclothes.

          All this time I was just standing there.

          All I had come out for was I wanted to be outside, see the sky—I didn’t even know there was going to be a full moon. It was nice to see it and the lake and the weird clouds, which I don’t think I’m ever going to figure out.

          But I hadn’t wanted to see the rest of what I saw.

          And I even more didn’t want the young couple to see me. They didn’t seem to have noticed me. I stood on the corner, mostly in the dark, keeping still, waiting to see what would happen next.