I fell hard to the closet floor.
My head hit the carpet. My arms just kind of flopped where they wanted.
I lay there, wondering what’d happened.
The carpet in this Seattle hotel smelled like it’d been shampooed recently. I used to be a hotel maid, so I know about carpet smells.
I stared at the ceiling for a bit. There was a black spider in the corner, moving its legs slowly, like it was doing yoga or something. I tried to mimic its movement, but couldn’t get my arms to respond.
My head hurt a little. I closed my eyes, I swear, just for a moment.
The next thing I knew, a cop bent over me. He stared for a minute, then put his gloved hand on my shoulder and rolled me up slightly.
I guessed he was looking at the back of my head.
He settled me back down on the floor, then leaned over and brushed my long hair away from my face. He smelled like stale cigarettes and had kind brown eyes.
My wallet appeared in his hand. “Junie. That your name, honey?”
I heard movement beyond him. The room outside the closet suddenly seemed filled with people, snapping pictures, going through drawers, talking on their cell phones. Saying things like “next-of-kin” and “keep the media out”.
Didn’t make much sense to me. Who’d care, anyway?
The cop yelled out the closet door. “Hey, Jimmy! Get the boss on the phone.”
Then another cop, Jimmy presumably, entered the closet and handed a cell phone to Frank.
“Why don’t you get yourself a phone, Frank?”
“Why should I when you’ve always got yours?”
Jimmy left the closet in a huff.
“Yeah, hey boss.”
His eyes strayed to where it’d landed when I fell. “Nah. Nothing to do here. Get the crew over.”
Frank snapped Jimmy’s phone shut and stuck it in his shirt pocket.
He stood, looked down at me, shaking his head. “What’s your story, Junie?” He lingered over me a moment longer, then turned and walked out of the closet.
I heard him give orders to those in the room, to get this wrapped up. The scurrying intensified, doors and drawers slamming. Then it was quiet again.
Just Frank, studying me from the closet doorway.
My story? You don’t really wanna know, Frank.
I could’ve changed things. Put that in your report.
- Perhaps consider one more sentence to give a sense of the injury that’s occurred (as it sounds like something far worse than just falling on carpet).
- Perhaps consider a brief sentence in the closet describing the iron/ironing board or clothes/robe hanging – just something that might reveal whether this is a seedy hotel, a motel 6 or a more up-market hotel…
- Possibly clarify time period as it sounds like it’s the 90’s (e.g. Frank snapped Jimmy’s phone shut) but I wasn’t totally sure.
- This could also be important as I didn’t quite believe Frank wouldn’t have a phone these days (definitely would believe it if it was the 90s) – otherwise I was going to recommend changing “why don’t you get yourself a phone, Frank” to “why don’t you ever have your phone with you, Frank”, if it was contemporary.
- I wasn’t quite sure how Junie could see the room outside the closet from the floor (she’d settled back down after the officer had originally rolled her up slightly). Maybe just have some movement (turned her head, or her eyes saw over the officer’s shoulder…something like that…)
- Finally, I didn’t love the title ‘Falling Free’ – although without knowing more about the book I can’t really give good input, except to say that my initial reaction to this title was ‘meh’:)