Colfax and Dead Part 3 chapter 1
I woke up slowly to being shaken. Distantly I could hear, “Daniel wake up, Daniel! Wake up!” The faint voice grew in volume and urgency as I was slowly coming out of my usual sleep coma. Funny I thought the only person who calls me Daniel is my wife or my daughter.
Forcing myself to wake up I opened my eyes to see a young lady shaking me. Her light brown skin was in contrast to the myriad of colors streaking through her hair. For a moment, my wife’s name was on my lips but the memory of her death brought down the tower of hope I had already started building. Looking at my daughter, who had both concern and anger in her eyes. I pushed myself into a sitting position.
“Did you pass out here?” Karen shook her head as if she didn’t want an answer. “Never mind, look I need your help.” She stepped back from me, not sure if she did it to give me room or because she cannot stand being around me. I slowly sat up stretching each muscle as I could, they tended to get stiff when I rested. I looked around for something to drink and Karen spoke up, “theres no beer here.”
“Was looking for a drink,” I started to say but she interrupted me.
“There is no alcohol here.”
“Water?” I asked while still trying to get my mind working. Whenever I wake up I run through a list of things, what day is it, where am I, was this a time I slept because I wanted to or did I fall asleep waiting somewhere? The area around me looked familiar, grass, some trees, little farmhouse, and a barn that is almost falling down. The farmhouse was a faded blue and looked to be something built a long time ago. I knew that farmhouse, I grew up here, I was at my parents house, must have been sleeping in the garden. I looked to my left knowing what I would find but wishing it wouldn’t be there. The headstone for Elizabeth stood there staring me down. “Oh shit.” I whispered. I couldn’t remember why I had came here to sleep. While my parents old farmhouse was vacant most of the time, I knew Karen crashed here when her other arrangements for her fell through. I also tried to not sleep on my dead wife’s grave as it never helped fill in the hole of her passing.
“I’ll see you inside. Don’t track any dirt into the house, either. Gran will skin us both,” Karen said with a little touch of disgust in her voice as she started walking towards the faded blue farm house. My mom always threatened to come back to Colorado from her little apartment in Tucson but I doubt she ever will. She likes the sun and hates traveling anymore. Standing up I brushed myself off the best I could, even took off my worn jacket and shook it a few times. Then I followed my daughter to the back door of the farmhouse which lead to the kitchen.
Briefly I stood outside and took off my shoes and again brushed my legs and what parts I I could reach behind me in order to ensure I wasn’t bringing in more dirt. A little part of me wondered if it was more the fact the dirt was from her mother’s grave more than angering Gran. The light in kitchen was already on and Karen was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee. There was a second steaming cup of coffee on the opposite side of the table.
“I’m sure Gran would appreciate it if you didn’t pass out on Mom’s grave.” She said in a scolding tone between sips of her coffee.
“I didn’t pass out.” I replied while sitting down at the chair across from her.
“BULLSHIT!” Karen yelled as she set down her cup of coffee and she stood up, “I CAN SMELL THE WHISKEY!” then she closed her eyes and unclenched her already clenched fists and took a deep breath before sitting back down. “Sorry what you do is your business, I would appreciate it if I didn’t find you passed out on Mom’s grave.” She finished in a more controlled tone.
I opened my mouth to explain to her the whiskey was from someone but closed it as I doubt she would believe me. “You said something about needing help. What’s wrong?” I said and then reached out and grasped the coffee cup. Karen had placed some sugar and creamer on my side of the table but after a recent discovery I skipped the additive and drank the coffee black. Karen’s lips tightened into thin line, she then glanced into her cup.
“My bassist Tony is missing. Tony is more than just a friend to me.” Karen told her coffee cup. I waited a minute to see if there was anything else she would say but she kept silent.
“Are you sure Tony isn’t just unreachable?” I asked while also fishing out a notebook from my jacket. Once I had the notebook out I patted around my jacket to find a pen but couldn’t find one. I stood up and walked over to the counter to snag one from the junk drawer. From behind me Karen continued.
“Tony and I…” she mumbled as I found a pen, “the heart and soul for ‘Signs of Danger’. We had a gig two nights ago and we had to cancel because Tony didn’t show up.” She said her voice getting strong as she talked. “I tried everything, cell, Facebook, Snapchat, friends, even went to the apartment…” and her voice drifted a little as some sobs mixed in and choked up her words.
“What about the apartment?” I asked now sitting at the table taking notes.
“The door was closed but not locked, it looked like someone kicked it in.” She replied the tears starting to fall into her cup of coffee. I snagged a paper napkin from the holder in the middle of the table and slide it towards her. She dabbed her eyes with it and wiped her nose. She saw me taking notes and saw I was taking this seriously, she gave me the address, an apartment near E 17th and Cook street, the Pioneer Respite apartments.
“Nice place. Little pricey, cause of City Park but still nice.” I commented as I wrote down the address and info about the area. I jotted down info that she didn’t say like Pioneer Respite, expensive, more than band would pay, doorman with a question mark. Sometimes initial thoughts about something are important when you are reviewing notes later. Karen ignored my comment and continued.
“The inside of the place looked like someone was searching for something. They didn’t rob it cause the TV and laptops were not touched.” Karen paused and titled her cup of coffee as if trying to decide of the little bit left was worth drinking before setting the cup down and looking straight at me. “I do not have much money but I can pay.” She pulled out an envelope out of her coat and slid it across the table. On the envelope I saw my handwriting “Karen - Good Luck with the tour.” Written on it. I shook my head and pushed it back towards her.
“I’ll do this pro bono.” I told her to which she shook her head. “No really, I don’t need money for this.” I tried pushing it back towards her and she didn’t respond.
“Heres a number if you need to reach me, after two weeks I will cancel the service. Also are numbers to the band members.” She slide across a a band photo and a piece of paper with with several names and numbers written on it. I started to open my mouth to saw something, anything that would express to her my feelings but she stood up abruptly before I could say anything. She took her cup over to the sink, quickly rinsed it out then walked towards the coat hangers near the back door. She put on her coat and turned to look at me. “Two weeks, then I don’t want to see you again.” I still couldn’t say anything in response as she opened the door and stepped out of the house. I could hear her hurried footsteps across the driveway gravel as she jogged from the back door towards the front of the house. Then a car engine started up, loud and guttural, I recognized the sound of the big V8 in the ’73 GTO I had given her mother as a gift for our tenth anniversary. The engine roared and the tires threw some rocks down the driveway as it sped off in the night.
I was left there with my cooling cup of coffee, some notes, and an envelope with fifteen grand in cash. At one time, the money would have cheered me up, but I had given it to Karen to ensure she would not end up on the streets. I sighed as I pulled the envelope towards me and counted the money. It was almost all there, a hundred dollar bill was missing and replaced with four twenties and an IOU for $20. I smiled a little knowing at least I made some difference in her life.
Standing up and stuffing the envelope and notes in a pocket I rinsed out my cup likewise and headed towards the door. Turning off the light and locking it behind me I started walking towards Denver. No matter my relationship with my daughter I now had a job to do. If I was going to make some progress tonight I needed to hurry so I started jogging towards the interstate. Muscles complained a little but I didn’t want to let my daughter down again so I pushed through the weariness and pain. There is a Love’s truck stop and from there I can get a ride into town. Tonight, was going to be a busy night.