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by Susan Tepper

"I hear you bear an astonishing resemblance to the victim," that reporter had said over the phone.

The way he put it - it sounded so ridiculous. Like some corny line out of film noir. "I guess so," I finally answered him.

That reporter had pressed on. "What exactly do you look like?"

As I held the phone to my ear, my palm began sweating. I found myself wondering if he was writing things down? Or if he had one of those photographic memories that sucked information onto some pulpy disc in his brain?

I repeated back to him: "What do I look like? Oh, you know - medium-brown eyes, medium-brown hair, medium height, medium build. I guess I'm one of those medium types."

The reporter had wanted more. He cleared his throat into the phone. "What exactly went on that day in the park?" he said.


That inexplicably cool day, during the worst dog days of August. It seemed to materialize out of a dream. Crisp blue sky. High puffy clouds. For some lucky people, I guess, a day of high expectations. Even the dried-out August grass seemed freshened, shot with a new burst of life.

I had gone to the park that day because my own expectations were not high. Because I was lower than low: lower than the lowest beast who crawls along the ground. The park I had thought; it was pulling at me the way heroin must pull the addict. I had to have the park. A safe park, just blocks from my house. Actually a perfect park. Wide sweep of grass wedged between two good roads - quiet roads. A park shadowed by a low mountain, with two roads that made for easy access in and out and around its edges. And the mountain - which in any truly mountainous region would have been called a hill, or a rise - proudly held claim to the name Clear Mountain.


Copyright 2007 by Susan Tepper

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