The Little Sleep

The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay Read Free Book Online

Book: The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paul Tremblay
have to sit. At least if I have an attack I’ll be sitting.
    We sit. The chair is a hug and my body reacts accordingly; the tremors cease but crushing fatigue rolls in like a tide. It’s undeniable.
    New plan. I don’t care that I’m breaking client confidentiality. Given the clientele, I doubt word of my etiquette breach will get out and ruin my little business, taint my street cred. I want to see the DA’s reaction. I want to know why she’d drop these photos on my desk and not on Daddy’s.
    I yawn big, showing off the fillings, sucking in all the air. The DA looks at me like I pissed in the dinner wine. I shrug and say, “Sorry, it’s not you, it’s me.”
    I open the envelope and hand him the two photos. Definitely taking a chance on bringing him the originals. I didn’t think to make copies; the negatives are in my desk. Anyway, I want to see what his reaction is to the real photos, not copies.
    The DA takes the pictures, looks at them, and sinks into his chair. The pictures are a punch to his stonewall stomach. He loses all his air. I feel a little bad for him. Gotta be tough to have someone else’s past walk in the door and drop nudie pictures of your kid in your lap.
    He holds up both photos side by side and is careful to hold them so that they cover his face. He sees something.
    The DA says, “Who gave you these pictures?”
    “I told you. Jennifer. Try to stay with me, here.”
    “Who sent them to her?”
    “I don’t know yet. That’s the case. I’m good, but I do need a little time to work my mojo.” I meant to say magic, but it came out mojo.
    He says, “Who else has seen these?”
    “No idea.” This is a rare occasion where telling the truth is easy as Sunday morning.
    “Have you shown them to anyone?”
    “No, of course not. What kind of private investigator do you think I am?”
    He looks at the photos again, then me. The look is a fist cracking knuckles. He says, “I have no idea what’s going on here, Mark, but the woman in these pictures is clearly not Jennifer.”
    Not the response I was looking for. I squirm in my seat, which is suddenly hot. I’m bacon and someone turned on the griddle. I fight off another yawn and push it down somewhere inside me, but it’s still there and will find its way out eventually. I have bigger problems than a yawn. I ask, “What makes you say that?”
    “It’s not her, Mark.” All hint of politics gone from his voice. He’s accusing me of something. He’s in attack mode, getting ready to lawyer me up. This isn’t good.
    I say, “It’s her. Jennifer was the one who brought me the goddamn photos. Why would she need me if the photos aren’t of her?” I’m getting mad, which is not the right response here. Shouldn’t be ready to throw a tantrum because someone wants to tell me there’s no Tooth Fairy.
    The DA focuses. I’m his courtroom. He says, “There are physical inconsistencies. Jennifer has a mole on her collarbone, no mole here—”
    I interrupt. “That’s easy to Photoshop. You should know that.”
    He holds up a stop hand. “Her hair is all wrong. In the photo there’s too much curl to it, and it doesn’t look like a wig. That’s not Jennifer’s smile; the teeth are too big. This woman is smaller and skinnier than Jennifer. There’s a resemblance, but it’s clearly not Jennifer, Mark. I’m positive.”
    All right. What next? I say, “Can I have the photos back?” Christ, I’m asking permission. I’m a pathetic Oliver Twist, begging for table scraps.
    The DA doesn’t give them to me right away, and my insides drop into my shoes. I’m not getting the photos back—or my insides. I couldn’t possibly have fucked things up any worse if I had a manual and followed the step-by-step instructions on how to screw the pooch.
    He does hand the pictures over. I take an eyeful. The hair, her smile, all of it, all wrong. He’s right. It’s not her. My big mistake is getting bigger. I scratch my beard, then put the photos

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