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Detective X: Epilogue by Shirley Pesto

It was a sunny day in Los Angeles. The air was quite warm, but there was enough of a slight breeze that made it bearable. John had all the windows in his apartment open and was relaxing in his bedroom. Music was playing on his computer speakers when he heard a knock at his door, which he ignored. A few moments went by and there was a second knock. Thinking it was probably his landlord, he rolled his eyes and paused his music before he got up to see what he wanted.

After swinging the door open, he was almost blinded by the direct sunlight that hit the west-facing entryway. He saw the outline of a backlit person standing on the other side of the threshold. It wasn’t his landlord. He didn’t immediately recognize this person. As John’s eyes were adjusting to the light level, he could see that the person was an Asian man, maybe in his sixties, that had unkempt hair.

“John!” The man exclaimed, with a big smile on his face. He opened his arms and walked forward to embraced him.

John patted the man’s back as a polite reciprocation, but still wasn’t quite sure who he was. He looked down and, upon closer inspection, realized the man was wearing a messy brunette wig.

The man backed up and said, “I’m a hugger! What can I say?”

After a moment of uncomfortable silence, John finally remembered who it was. It was one of his students from when he worked as an English teacher in Japan. “Oh my god… Tom?”

Tom’s big smile grew even larger as he nodded affirmatively. From behind his ear, he took out a cigarette and clamped down on it at the edge of his mouth. He methodically patted each of his pockets until he located the one that had his lighter.

John was about to speak but the act of Tom casually lighting his cigarette rendered him silent. After his cigarette was lit, he let the flame of his lighter flicker a little before capping it. He put it away in a different pocket than the one he had taken it out from.

After exhaling, Tom calmly asked, “Aren’t you going to let me in?”

Leaving the door ajar, John turned to walk the short distance to his couch and sat down. He sat quietly with his back straight and his hands lightly resting on his knees. Tom entered the apartment and closed the door.


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