It appeared I was in a hotel room in Columbus. I was unsure exactly what I was doing there, but I was sure of one thing: I had a serious problem. I had discovered a dead body under my bed. For some reason, at first I thought it was the body of a 5 year-old girl, but now I realized it was definitely the body of my friend from El Salvador, Salvador Ibarra. It seemed as if I had taken a glimpse of the body and it had appeared to be all bloody and mutilated. Right now it was wrapped up in some kind of black garbage bag. It was really upsetting. In fact I was feeling downright sick about the whole matter.
It seemed as if I had complicated the matter, because the body had already been there a couple days, and I just hadn't been able to bring myself to do anything about it. Now I was sick with worry about the matter. I had to do something. At least I hadn't noticed any smell from the body, which seemed a bit strange, considering how long it had been stuffed under the bed.
The problem was that I was afraid if I went to the authorities they would accuse me of the murder. I was positive I hadn't committed the murder. I couldn't explain how I had gotten into the mess, but I did know I surely hadn't killed anyone.
It had only been a few days since I had been sitting in a restaurant talking with Salvador. In fact I thought during the conversation we had talked about exhuming corpses in criminal cases to determine the cause of death. Now here he was dead, and his body would have to be examined to determine the cause of death. It was really frightening to think that I had just been talking with him and that now he was dead. It could have been me.
Well, I had decided. I was getting the hell out of there and I wasn't going to tell anyone about anything. It seemed as if maybe someone at the front desk of the hotel knew who I was, but I hoped not.
It had been almost a week since the murder, so I guessed about 5 days since I had left the body behind. Today for the first time I heard a report on the radio about a body being found. It seemed as if they said it had been the body of a 5 year-old girl, but I knew it was the same body I had left there.
The matter was more complicated. While I had been in the hotel room, I had also had a large, black garbage bag full of marijuana. There must have been 15 kilograms of marijuana in the bag. And I had just walked off and left it there. So even though I hadn't killed anyone, I was still concerned about being arrested for the marijuana. This was really maddening.
I had complicated the matter even more, because while I had been in the room with the body and the marijuana, I had rolled up a joint and smoked it. When I had smoked the joint down to a roach, I had put out the joint and had thrown the roach in the garbage bag with the rest of the marijuana. Now my principal concern was that some of my fingerprints were on that roach. I had recently read somewhere how fingerprints could be lifted from objects like that. Not to mention that my fingerprints were probably smeared all over the garbage bag containing the marijuana. It seemed I might be somehow able to explain that, but the fact that I had sat up there and smoked a joint while a dead body was in the room was going to be difficult to explain. Who was going to believe I hadn't had anything to do with the murder?
I didn't know where I was right at the moment, but there were a lot of people around there and some people were in a line. I knew my friend, Jon, was supposed to be there and I was thinking I might be able to talk this matter over with him a little. He was a lawyer and maybe he could give me a little advice. Then I saw him.
He looked somehow different than usual. I knew he had just recently been in an important trial and I asked how he had done. He said he had lost. He tried to explain a little why he had lost. We continued talking and I felt a little uncomfortable. I wasn't sure Jon was going to be able to help me.
Finally I realized Walls was also in a line there and I saw him. I walked over to the fellow and then felt as if he wasn't really Walls. I said, "I was looking for Walls."
He looked at me strangely and told me he was Walls. But he looked so different. He looked young, and strong, and healthy. It seemed as if I might be able to talk this matter over with him. I knew he was also a lawyer.
I saw a black policeman nearby. Where exactly was I? And then I saw an overweight police officer who was apparently in charge. I seriously considered going to them and telling them I had information about the murder that had been described on the radio. Finally I did confess to Walls that I knew something. I felt as if I were going to be able to trust him, but I still didn't know how I was going to extricate myself from the mess.
I was especially concerned about the marijuana. If I were convicted for possessing the entire garbage bag of marijuana, it would be a felony and I could lose my license to practice law. But the more I thought about it, I wasn't even sure the stuff I had had in the bag was actually marijuana. It seemed as if someone might have ripped me off by selling me something which was supposed to be marijuana, but which wasn't. Even when I had smoked that joint, I didn't remember getting high. Maybe that was a way out -- it wasn't even marijuana to begin with.
But what was that body doing there?
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