Serial Poem: Poem Noir Conclusion

Part XII

T.C. Brown presses his ear against the door.
A wind whips leaves over the grass,
the trees rustle in determination,
T.C. curses the weather,
the curse is absorbed by the wind.

Behind the door, he hears soprano,
a cackle (of course),
he hears her voice,
he hears baritone,
he hears distress
he hears threat,
he hears a denial,
a roar, a shriek,
the breaking of a vase.
The wind roars by his ear.
He hears despair, pleading,
disbelief, the shatter of glass,
the scraping of a chair.
The wind bangs his eardrum.

He turns, slowly, the handle.
He hears her footsteps,
the heavy pounding of a heavy man,
the door is locked.
He hears the sting of a slap,
the wind stinging his face,
and he remembers the darkness of the cellar.
He hears a cackle, a gasp, a stern command.
He hears two gun shots.
The wind exploding through the trees.
T.C. explodes through the door.

It is the calm after the storm.
On the floor,
two men,
pools of blood grow from their bodies.
Client is sobbing,
gun in hand, shaking.
There is glass on the floor.
Her face is bruised,
tears slowly falling.
T.C. holds her.

“They threatened me.
They accused me.
They had a knife.”
“Calm down, it’s all over.”

“They stole my diamond.
My husband told them to.
An exchange for money.”
“I know.”

“But someone killed their courier.
They said it was you,
and you had the money,
and you had the diamond.
They came here to frighten me,
They thought with you gone,
it would be easy.”

T.C. holds her and rocks her.
He smells her perfume
and feels her calm body.
He looks at the gun,
and recognises it –
the same as his.
T.C. Brown pulls away.

Client looks at him –
T.C. Brown looks at her –
And he hates them.

“You did it,”
he says,
“You shot them.”
“I had to.”
“Not the hoods,”
says T.C.,
“Your husband,
your sister,
you shot them.”

“How can you sat that?
After all the love,
the nights we shared –”
“All lies!” says T.C. Brown.
“But I helped you.
I held you,
I loved you.”
“All lies!” says T.C. Brown.
“What makes you say I did it?”
“The painted nails on the case,
your sister didn’t have painted nails.
Two visas to Paris,
why wasn’t he taking you?
The diamond robbery, you said nothing of it.
But you knew of the exchange,
someone told you, maybe your husband,
maybe your sister, but you knew.
The courier was shot, your sister was shot,
a gun similar to mine,
the police told me that.
The gun in your hand
is similar to mine.
You shot the courier, you shot your sister.
You have the diamond, you have the money.”

Client’s face hardens
her grimace turns downward,
the tears stop falling.
She raises the gun towards him.
“You’re right.
I did it.”
He backs away,
turns to face the open doorway, outside.
Client backs to doorway and traps him.
“We used to love each other once,
my husband and I,
but people change.
He wouldn’t give up without a fight.
I wanted it all,
the diamond,
the money,

“I told my sister,
we hatched a plan.
She would be his lover,
convince him to have the diamond stolen,
claim all the insurance,
then leave the country.
And he fell for it.”
T.C. Brown remembers the card,
“With Love,
From Mary.”
Yes, he fell for her,
in a bad way.
“She was to kill him,
get the money,
and we would leave the country.”
“But you wanted the diamond.”

“I wanted it all.
I arranged the meeting,
and claimed the diamond.
I shot the courier.”
“With a gun like mine.”
“With a gun like yours.”

“Down in the street,”
says T.C.,
“Why’d you shoot your sister.”
“I wanted it all.”
“But she was your sister.”
“She was my half-sister,
no love was lost.”
“Not even on me.”
“Not even on you.”

“I hired you,
to frame you.
I noted your gun
and bought it.
The police would suspect you.
The police would accuse you.
The law would convict you.
I would go free.
But you were released.
I had to watch you,
I had to control you,
in case you found out.
T.C. Brown grimaces,
he curses himself for
falling for her.
He mourns the loss of her lips,
the feel of her flesh.
And he hates the fact that
now he hates her.

“Goodbye Trenchcoat Brown,
you were a good P.I.,
you were good in bed,
but you weren’t good enough.”

Close up eyes –
Close up gun –
trigger squeezing.
Close up smoke
curling from the barrel.
Close up face –
rude awakening of everlasting sleep.
Close up withered rose –
petal falling gracefully.
Close up outstretched arm
opening hand, releasing
a gun.
Close up shoes.

Pull back to reveal black trousers.
Pull back to reveal black jacket.
Pull back to reveal Angles,
gun smoking,
Client on floor,
pool of blood,
growing from her body.
“I heard it all,” says Angles,
a grim look on his face,
“I hate hearing confessions,”
he says.
“I know,” says T.C.,
“So do I.”
T.C. Brown hides his feelings
from Angles,
from himself.
“A gun like yours,”
says Angles.
“A gun like mine,”
says T.C. Brown,
“One difference,
I had a full barrel.
Never trust a loaded gun.”


Grey lamppost.
On the other side,
hidden from light,
brown trenchcoat,
T.C. Brown –
watching shadows
play in windows.

T.C. Brown remembers Client,
falling for her,
holding her,
hating her.
Never again, he swears.
He remembers her sister,
her cold hand holding the invisible knife.
He remembers the hoods;
Soprano’s laugh, Baritone’s slap.
He regrets nothing.
He remembers the kitchen.
He regrets nothing!

Maybe he should get back with Ace.
He remembers her pain,
and the light,
now absent from her eyes.
Now his memory becomes all shadows.

T.C. Brown watches the building.
Curtains down,
the show is on.
This time he sees the shadows
join and dance around the window.
This time he sees the knife.

March 91, copyright Simon Lenthen


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