Irene Plax and Rob Hunter

Rob Hunter
Inspiration piece

Irene Plax

Two police officers came to the door looking for my wife. They were smug but in our community people respect the cops, and we have enough money to be respected back. I stood behind my wife to her right while the officers spoke.

They found a woman’s body, wrapped in rope, tied with weights, at the bottom of the Sawktachee River upstate.

The weights used to sink the body, the officers explained, were lead blocks that came from a nearby barn. An insignia on the body’s blocks matched those of blocks found inside the barn when detectives were searching the site near where the body was recovered.

The barn belongs to my wife’s family. Of all the remaining relatives, she lives closest to it. She owns a knitting company and goes upstate twice a month to purchase wholesale yarn that is made locally. She takes the highway that passes the barn. It’s important to her to buy locally.

She agrees to help the police further if she can. Absolutely, she tells them, you can call on me.

After the police leave we go into the kitchen. My wife begins to unload the dishwasher and I think about the barn. I can see it clear as a photograph. I always remember it in one type of weather, the way some people are forever in my memory wearing one outfit. It’s a little bit cloudy; a storm might be coming, and there are patches of weeds on the grass. The doors are closed as they always are.

I notice my wife hasn’t said a thing. I notice her hands pulling plates, glasses, a heavy metal butter block from the dishwasher. I notice her hands look strong. In my memory of her hands, they are strong from knitting, but not like this. I try to remember the inside of the barn but the closest I can come is a dark little window. My wife does not look at me.


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