“Who’s dead?” I asked.
“Your girlfriend? What happened?”
And he told me everything. Not everything, but an abridged version of his newly discovered fetishes. He told me all about his plans to break into the adult film industry discreetly until he was old enough to do it legally. He dragged me into his room and slid down against the wall, looking too shocked to cry. Gloria was lying on his bed, completely naked, motionless, blind folded and bruised heavily around her neck. At the foot of his bed was a tripod with a digital recorder still rolling.
“How?” I turned on him.
The nausea was back in full force. I was terrified. The whole time I had schemed, I planned on being furious with him if I caught him in the act. But I was petrified. My son was in serious trouble.
“I got a ski mask and kidnapped her earlier,” he said in a monotone kind of drawl. “I didn’t want to rape anyone, so I got her because I figured I could take the ski mask off at the end and she would know she wasn’t raped because it was just me.”
“You fucking idiot,” the words came out before I could stop myself. “Rape is rape, Matthew.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, looking up at me from the floor.
The weak way he said sorry, and the pitiful, helpess look on his face reminded me of all the times I had heard it before. It reminded me of the first time that I told him his mother went off to Heaven after having given birth to him. At 10 years old, he looked up at me and said, “I’m sorry, dad,” as if it was his fault. Now, scared out of his mind on the floor, I did not hear the apology of a murderer. I heard the apology of that same boy from years ago. All I could do now was help.
“It’s okay,” I said as softly as I could. “We’ll fix this.”
And we did. We waited until midnight and wrapped her up in sheets and carried her out to the car. We drove for miles out passed Henderson towards Search Light. Halfway there, I cut left and went down a long dirt road I had never seen before. It must have been a dirt bike trail or something. And that’s where we buried her, in the middle of the desert.
We did not speak another word to each other until we were heading back to Vegas, covered in dirt and sweat.
“Well,” I said, just to hear myself breaking the silence. “I guess you’re going to need a new girlfriend now.”
He smiled back at me. Suddenly everything was okay again.