“I don’t know, John. The whole thing seems pretty suspicious to me.”
Marsha stood behind her husband as the two watched through their picture window. Her arms were wrapped around his midsection, hugging him tightly as tears leaked from the corners of her eyes. Outside, and just a few houses down, two police cars still sat in front of the Robinson house. They lit up the entire street with spinning lights of blue and red.
“I mean, why would he be up on the roof in the middle of the night? I thought that his arthritis wouldn’t let him climb on ladders anymore?”
He sighed, shaking his head from side to side as he did. There was no explanation for why his friend would be on the roof. The last time that he had felt the need to be up there, he had come over and asked if he could do it for him.
“It wouldn’t,” he answered softly. His words were choked, and it took every ounce of control that he had to keep from losing it himself. Like most of the residents on their street, he had known Davie for most of his life. They were about as close of friends as two could be, without being blood, and there wasn’t much that he didn’t know about the other.
There was a soft knock from the side of the garage door, and when John looked up, there stood his long-time neighbor; Davie Robinson. He was bundled heavily against the bitter cold, but the look in his eyes showed he drew no comfort from the extra warmth. He could see the pain in them, poorly masked by the smile he wore on his face, just as he could see it in the way he carried his hands; curled and close to his body.
“John! Cold as shit today, huh?”
“It’s fucking miserable,” he answered, returning his friend’s smile. “Care to step in for a few? Maybe have a shot of Bourbon to warm your bones?”
Davie looked once over his shoulder before answering; “Sure, I think I have time fer that,” he said. “But just as long as ya don’t tell the missus!”
“Deal,” he laughed. As Davie warmed up by the space heater, he walked over to the cabinet where he stored his liquor. A moment later, he returned with a glass for each of them, three-quarters of the way full. After a friendly clink of their glasses, both downed their drinks and set the empty container on the counter.
“So, how is the missus doing?”
“Ain’t happy unless she bitchin’ bout somethin,” Davie countered playfully, then; “Oh, she doin’ fine, as always. Keepin’ busy.”
“That’s good, that’s good. What about you? How are you holding up?”
“Not one of my better days,” he answered with a sigh. “Actually, that’s why I’m here. You mind helping me with somethin’?”
It had been just last winter when they had shared that drink together. Davie had come to ask if John would help him with his Christmas lights. It had taken a couple of hours, give or take another break in the garage, but he had been the only one on the roof that day. Davie’s rheumatoid arthritis had been so bad that it was all he could do to even pick up a hammer.
The continued to stand before the window, long after the police had gone, drawing comfort from each other. Neither of them noticed that there was a shadow out-of-place across the street. They didn’t see the dark figure as it blended further into the shadows, nor did they observe it climb the same stairs that Davie had climbed not too long before.