ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Veronica An
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Zachary C. Bush
   Tony Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   HélÚne Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Terry Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Ashley King
   Robert S King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   Pete Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
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   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
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   Agnes Marton
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   Lee Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
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   Leslie Monsour
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   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
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   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
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   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
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   Robbi Nester
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   Martina Reisz Newberry
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   Chika Onyenezi
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   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
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   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
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    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
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   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
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   Kasey Ray
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   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
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   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
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   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
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    Sasparella
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   Anthony Seidman
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    smzang
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   Daniel Suffian
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   J. C. Sullivan
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   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
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    The Unarmed Man
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    TJungle
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    tolbert
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   A. TOMIC
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   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
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   Ms. Veronica
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   Rev. Dave Wheeler
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Victor D. Infante
November 2014
   

 

Unwinding the Crash

    News whatever cable TV insinuates relies on facts. The fact is two cars collided on a Sunday morning, about 2:30 a.m. One car was driven by a 19-year-old stripper, the other by a cop. Every lie or shadowy truth in the matter, eventually, devolves to this.
    Ive imagined the crash from every angle, and there are still holes in the narrative, dialog and motivation wholly hypothetical. These are the parts left unreported a collage of conjecture and anonymous tips, bald-faced lies unproven.
    Facts can be unsatisfying beasts, impoverished things that whimper to be fed. In their deprivation, facts can bite you. In the time since the crash, Ive taken to stacking the facts in different patterns, and still the jigsaw doesnt entirely fit. So I examine the obstacles between myself and the facts, but they only mire the picture further.
    The first obstacle was innocent enough, a matter of journalistic ethics. The columnist came into work Monday morning, bouncing with excitement about a tip she couldnt share from her policeman husband. An impossible situation, I understand, for which I have sympathy. Especially now. She said wed know soon enough.
    But we didnt know until Tuesday afternoon, and already there were days between ourselves and the truth. Sometimes I wonder if that day would have made a difference. It probably wouldnt have. But relief washed across her face as she eavesdropped on my conversation with an anonymous tipster one whom I recognized as a police officer about the accident, how the cop had left the scene of the crash with the girl comatose in the car. How the cops father a retired policeman himself had met the police at the scene. Nothing on the record, of course. No name for the other driver, no make of the other car. Just enough to start.
    Another reporter got the same call, at about the same time, also anonymously. He bounded joyously to my desk, but deflated when he realized I already knew. But it dawned on me there was a thin blue lie in place, a secret the police couldnt resist sharing, even if none were brave enough to go on record. Cops are like that, sometimes. When it comes to their own, most want to do the right thing, but prefer that someone else do their dirty work. A few calls, a trip downtown to look at the police log, told me nothing. The cop at the window told me there was no log to examine, which was an outrageous lie, but one that would take me weeks to unravel with a public records request. I knocked on the cops door, but no one answered. Same with his fathers house.
    I changed tactics, and begin asking around about the cop. Former gang unit, almost all of whom have serious disciplinary problems. Hes no different: a string of police brutality dings which never came to anything, a divorce, rumors of a drinking problem, which makes sense. His old man has a drinking problem, too. Ive seen him close down more than a few bars. There are rumors he was dishonorably discharged from the Marines a while back, and that his dad pulled strings to have his record changed, so he could get the police job. Not sure how much I buy that.
    A source at the towing company the city contracts with told me, off the record, the make and model of a car that was brought in Sunday morning, as well as the license plate number. Thats a chit I know hell cash someday, and Im OK with that. The license plate number gives me a name, but by that point, it was too late to do anything with it. I left a message with the police departments information officer, whos gone home for the night, mentioning the girl and the cop by name, aware that the message is a ticking bomb. I hear a ticking in my head, too, a clock counting down to when the police get to write the official version of this story, when the thin blue lie becomes accepted fact..
    I slept fitfully Tuesday night, waking in the middle of the night and finding myself standing in the doorway of my daughters room, watching her sleep. No matter the truth of the crash, the blame will be pinned on the girl.
    Wednesday morning was brighter. A stop by the station on the way to work had the police log where it was supposed to be, noting the crash investigation, with no details, no explanation for its earlier absence. A police report faxed from the information officer said much the same, but now we could report the crash online, at least, even if its days late. The story on the website was tragically thin, but it was something. Its even unclear whether the cop was given a breathalyzer test. No luck reaching the cop himself, or his father, and the girls number just rang. She lives a half-hour out of town. I wondered, absently, what a 19-year-old girl was doing so far from home at that hour.
    Finally, I reached the girls landlord, who told me the girl was in the hospital, and that her mother hasnt left her side. He didnt know which hospital, though, and when I ask if he knew where she worked, he hesitated before informing me she was a stripper, but that he didnt know at which club. I must have sighed audibly, because he apologized. I said something professional, but I could already see the reader reaction, how the blame immediately fell away from the respectable cop to the disreputable dancer. And maybe thats the case. I barely had any facts at all to work with, and already I was preemptively criticizing the readers for prejudging, when in fact Im doing the same damn thing. For all I know, these cops calling us have it in for the guy, or are trying to start trouble for the chief. No ones a reliable narrator until they go on the record, until theyre willing to stand behind their words.
    The newsroom seemed smaller than usual, claustrophobic. Now that I had the police report and knew where the accident was, I drove to see it for myself. Its only a few minutes from the office, really, and there was still some evidence of the crash. The stripper had been driving on the main drag, which arcs around in a curve, limiting visibility. The cop came off a side street, and had a stop sign. There were still skid marks on the road, and it looked like the strippers car was hit hard and went flying, but Im no expert, so thats conjecture. Presumably, the police have a more detailed accident-scene report. Presumably.
    I began knocking on doors, to see if a neighbor saw anything. An old woman living across the street from the crash site said she heard the accident, and saw the police talking to the driver, and that he looked drunk. She said she remembered it, because she couldnt believe they let the man leave. She said she didnt remember seeing them give the man an alcohol test, but she refused to talk on the record, so none of that was usable in the story. She said she didnt want any trouble with the police, and the distance between the accident and tomorrows paper elongated. Already the storys changed, some. He either never left, or left and came back. I dont know which.
    Cold calls uncovered which hospital the girl was at, but they couldnt share confidential medical information, so I instead tried narrowing down her workplace. There are a dozen strip clubs in the area, but Google Maps only has two in the vicinity of the crash. I got lucky on the first try, and the person on the phone told me that the girl did, indeed, work there, but that they didnt know anything. I go down, and realize this is the first time Ive been inside a strip club in more than 20 years. Its better lit than I thought it would be. Friendlier. The manager wasnt in, but the bartender tells me the girl had only worked there a few weeks, and that he didnt know her well. She was nice, though, he says. A good kid. At this hour, the place is mostly just a bar. There are no dancers on stage, and very few customers.
    Back at the office, Im completely shocked to discover that no one in the entire newsroom has any contacts in the stripper community. This seems unlikely. Finally, the rock critic admits he knows someone, and puts me in touch with her. The girl seemed sharp, and friendly. She wished she could be more help, but didnt know the girl at all. She knows the bar, though, and tells me its part of a corporate chain. I asked her if its likely the bartender was letting her drink underage, and she said, Doubtful. Its, like, the 7-11 of strip clubs. They run a very clean shop.
I find the girls Facebook page, and her wall is filled with comments about partying, including one that says, I was so drunk I drove home on the wrong side of the street. That became a verifiable fact, and went in the story. And because the girls blood-alcohol levels were checked at the hospital, there was no way to know yet if shed been drinking that night.
    The story I filed that night was unsatisfying, and left me thirsty. But usually, once you get part of a story out there, other pieces emerge. Thursday brought a handwritten letter talking about the crash, the writer saying he was out walking his dog, and that he saw the cop speeding up the side street at 60 miles per hour. The letters unsigned and, not for the first time, I wonder why anyone who saw the accident didnt stop to help the girl. Maybe they were afraid. Maybe this guy is just making it up. I dont know why people look away when things like this happen, just that they do.
    I got a call from a guy I know off the record, again telling me he was drinking with the cop that night, and that the cop had knocked down a lot of beer at a bar, beforehand. At this point, Im frustrated with no one talking on the record, but argue as I might, no one wants to get involved. The car crash is someone elses problem.
    The bar was pretty empty when I arrived a few gangbangers eyed me suspiciously when I walked in, but quickly returned their attention to their drinks. Its kind of a sleazy joint, not one Id ever drank in before.
    The bartender is a pretty woman in her 40s. Too classy for a joint like this, as a noir detective might say. Her answers were polite, and terse. I asked her if she knew the cop is, and she said, Yes. I asked if he had drank there that night, and she said, No. I asked him if he drank there regularly, and she said, This really isnt a cop bar. Shes right about that. I asked how she knew him, and she simply smiled wryly, slightly shaking her head to indicate that thats a secret shed not reveal.
    In the movies, reporters and detectives have all sorts of clever tricks to get people to talk on the record, but this is real life, and if someone doesnt want to talk, theres really no way to make them. I work for a newspaper, not the police. I dont have any special powers. In the movies, the detective comes up with some clever trick that unveils the truth, but in reality, truths a thing you mostly only get a glimmer of, a peek, before it vanishes entirely. Secrets are more commonplace, and even the acknowledgement of the secrets existence does nothing to drag the truth into the light.
    Back at the office, I received a call from the strippers aunt, on behalf of the family. She gave me a little background, about how she was a nice girl and helping to support her single mother. Theres that word again. Nice. Its essentially meaningless. The girls aunt isnt going to speak ill of her, nor will her work acquaintances. I pushed on, asking about her injuries, learning that she was still comatose, and that her face had been horribly scarred. She told me there was a chance of permanent brain injury, and the way she said permanent made me realize that she was parroting the doctors words exactly. She didnt know anything about the accident, and obviously, the girl couldnt tell me herself.
    I thanked her, and tried another round of calls to all the remaining players the cop, his father, the information officer but received nothing but answering machines. I filed another anemic story, and though Id wrung a little sympathy for the girl, the silence had done its job, and the paltry facts inevitably slanted the story toward the cop.
    I filed the empty thing and left, anxious for a drink.
    It was a whim that took me to a cop bar. The place was busy, but not crowded, and I recognized a lot of police. Most days, Id find gossip and banter, but not that day. The looks I got were chilly. I wasnt surprised to see the cops father holding up the bar. Like I said, hes got a history.
    He didnt say anything when I took a seat next to him at the bar, just sipped his beer and watched the baseball game on the wall-mounted television.
    I sipped my beer, too, and said nothing, feeling dozens of eyes on my back. Questions burbled in my mouth and faded, succumbing to silence.
    With his last sip of beer, he got up from the stool, nodding goodbyes to the other cops as he gathered his coat.
    But before he left, he stopped and turned to face me, leaning in close.
    Youre a piece of shit, he said, calmly, before leaving. The stares from the police lingered interminably, and were eventually replaced with low chatter.
    I stared into my mug, not speaking, bone-certain that the story was done, but still replaying the facts in my head: Two cars collided early on a Sunday morning, about 2:30 a.m. One car was driven by a 19-year-old stripper, the other by a cop. Beyond the facts, there is only conjecture, and a tacit admission that a secret exists.
    And that admission? It gives me nothing.

copyright 2014 Victor D. Infante