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131. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 21

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28 June 2011

– Well. I don’t know. It’s pretty much a dead issue now, isn’t it?

– Nobody can really do anything about it, no matter what happens. He’s gone. Nothing will bring him back.

– What do I wish? I guess that—I just wish that true justice existed on this planet.

– And I mean, not the type of justice that this country prides itself in—where they base judgments off of tangible evidence, facts that you can see and make calculated decisions or whatever. I’m talking about true internal justice. Cosmic justice, if you want to get all corny about it.

– The type of justice that would make a guilty man go insane with remorse before he even committed the crime in the first place.

– I wish our positions in life were based off of our present-day character and not what we’ve done or haven’t done in the past.

– I don’t know. Maybe if things were that way, Tony would still be here with us right now. Francisco’s father would be here to help raise him—our child, with me.

– Maybe he wouldn’t have had to die the way he did.

– No. Earl did what he meant to do. And I don’t wish anything on him but justice. Not revenge, justice. I hate him for what I know he did, but there’s nothing that can be done about that anymore. And, sucks to say it, but if you look at it realistically there are a lot more elements at fault than just him.

– I’d say genetics. Its human genes primarily that are at fault when anything like this ever happens. We’re all screwed up from birth, when you get down to it. Tony was human, and I’ll always remember him like that. For what he was, and what he wasn’t. That’s the closest thing to true justice I can give him.

– Sure, I have one in my wallet. I like to show it to Francisco so he can see what his father looked like. Don’t want him not to know. [Ms. D’Amico pulls a picture out of her purse] He was so handsome, this one doesn’t do him justice.

– Yeah, he was pretty tall, even though it might just be because I’m short, I don’t know.

-Well, about your height actually. And your build.

– He had strong hands from all that drawing and painting, lots of veins showing, like how you have those veins on the back interweaving? They were kind of like that. Wide like that too, and the same skin texture, darker than you though, from working outside I guess.

– Matter of fact [Ms. D’Amico frowns, scratches her thigh absently] If you shaved, cut your hair—and if that little bump on your nose weren’t there, your mouth was a little wider, brown eyes—are those contacts? [Ms. D’Amico stands suddenly, taking a step back and squinting then putting a hand to her mouth, eyes wide] No—

End Interview

127. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 20

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28 June 2011

– No problem. Just glad to get it all off my chest.

– It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, I admit that. Not anymore, at least. I love Frankie, our baby. I see a lot of Tony in him sometimes. Other times I see a lot of me. Both make me happy.

– He’s too young to understand it now, but I promised him the day he was born—lying in the hospital, holding him in that huge blanket they give you—that he’d grow up to have everything I could possibly give him. His father left us enough, what with the money in the mail and the exhibition and all.

– Yeah, a few days after he died I got a package, no return address. It was his handwriting, opened it up and there’s—let’s just say it was enough to take me through the pregnancy and those first few months.

– Found out a few days after that Tony had put me down as the benefactor on his contract with my aunt, so we got all the sales from his paintings too.

– It’s not a fortune, not enough to live off forever. But it’s enough to give our son a semi-normal upbringing, minus any hardship.

– And, I mean, I’m back at work now obviously. Gave up bartending for a full-time position at my aunt’s gallery as her assistant. Pay’s good, I get to be around a lot of art, and my boss is a family member so it’s fun. Most of the time. When she’s not being a Nazi. And, to tell you the truth, I think things are as normal now as they’ll ever be.

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115. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 19

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28 June 2011

– When I left the police station I spent the car ride back to my apartment trying to forget about my visit there. Forget about everything actually, except just convincing myself it was over.

– Kept telling myself the whole way home, he’s dead, Cathy. Dead. Gone, for good. I repeated it to myself over and over the whole way, told myself I would never see him again, that I’d be raising this baby by myself, that it didn’t matter how he died or who did it, he was dead. No coming back. I told myself to admit it, deep down, and everything would be okay in the long run. I just had to repeat it, understand it, embrace it.

– When I got home, I searched my apartment for anything and everything that had any connection to him. A sweatshirt I’d taken from his place, a couple of t-shirts he’d left at mine when he spent the night. A box of pictures, the few times he let me take some of him. And that was about it. And that’s when it all hit me, everything I’d been feeling as far as the mysteriousness of Tony for our entire relationship.

– I remembered what Detective Fletcher had just told me—come back when you have something concrete. And I thought about how I never really had anything concrete when it came to Tony. I never really knew him at all, actually.

– Searching for signs of him around my apartment, all I came up with were a couple of memories and a seed in my stomach. And, I thought it would be hard, to admit to myself that this man I barely knew had barged into my life, stomped around, then left just as swiftly. And it was hard. But it was doable. I cried when I lay in bed that night, but for the first time in over a year it wasn’t for Tony. It was for me.

– It felt good. As good as it could at that moment, at least. Which was something.


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112. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 18

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28 June 2011

– No, I don’t think it was suicide.

– I know it wasn’t, I don’t care what they say [Ms. D’Amico pauses then sighs] I don’t know why I cared so much. About the investigation, I mean, not Tony. He was already dead, nothing I could do about it then. But I went to the police station anyways, on the verge of hysteria, and asked—demanded—to speak to whoever was assigned to Tony’s—Les’s—case.

– They sent me to Detective Fletcher’s office, and he looked at me so—bored. Like the moment I saw him I knew he wasn’t going to help me or listen to me or believe anything I had to say about Earl.

– I explained to him who I was, ended up having to tell him that I was pregnant with Tony’s—Les’s—baby just to get his attention. First person I’d told besides Tony himself, and even then Fletcher still didn’t give a shit. Didn’t know me from Jane Doe, and I knew it was pointless but before I could stop myself I’m spewing all this stuff about Les already having everything so hard and he was just coming out of it and this is ridiculous, that they’re not even investigating. Then I just blurted it out, that he didn’t kill himself.

– I don’t know. He didn’t believe me. He’d already made his decision, I could tell, I could see it in his eyes. God. And I couldn’t have looked like a very credible witness, with my nose running and my eyes all red and puffy and smeared makeup and all.

– “Really?” That’s what he said to me. “Really?” In this mocking tone, then “If he didn’t, then who did?”

– I wanted to tell him Earl did it. I wanted to tell him everything actually. But right then I saw how he was looking at me, expectantly, but in a scornful way, like he was waiting for me to tell him a stupid joke, so he could patronize me. And I knew then this man didn’t have Tony’s best intentions in mind. Then I thought about how I’d be betraying Tony anyways if I told this man anything. I had sworn to Tony I wouldn’t tell anybody about his situation and—I don’t know. He had just died, and it hadn’t really hit me yet that he was gone.

– In my mind, he was still sitting in his motel room, painting, or maybe working on somebody’s house or something.

– I couldn’t tell anybody what he’d been through. That would be admission that my promise to him didn’t matter anymore, which would have been admission of a lot of other things I didn’t want to deal with.

– So I told Detective Fletcher I didn’t know who killed Les Palmer. I just know he didn’t kill himself.  He got kind of suspicious at that, at my hesitation I guess, asked me if I had any evidence, at which point I got kind of frustrated because I knew where this was going.

– You see it happen all the time in movies and on TV: the cop asks if the person has any evidence and  the person always says no and then the police say come back when you have something concrete, which the witness usually goes out and gets at some point, on their own, almost getting killed in the process, which is the whole point of the film. This wasn’t a movie though, and I knew it would dead end in that detective’s office.

– I mean, it’s cliché, I know, but I allowed myself a little bit of hope anyways. No point to it, but I still told Detective Fletcher that I didn’t need evidence, I was just absolutely sure Tony—Les—did not kill himself. He just needed to investigate it.

– He sighed, ran a hand over his head and told me to come back when I had something concrete.

– Another cliché, I guess. Everybody knows there’s no point in screaming at detectives once they say something like that, all they’ll do is have you kicked out. But I did it anyways.

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109. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 17

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28 June 2011; 14:32:

– I feel like I must have known what had happened, felt it somehow.

– I mean, on some level at least. I don’t know, it’s just weird how things happened.

– Well, after I stormed out of Tony’s show I went straight home and curled up in bed, turned off my phone and fell asleep almost immediately.

– I was drained, emotionally, physically, still feeling the effects of morning sickness and Tony’s appearance and—just overall pretty miserable.

– So I slept, but I kept waking up the whole night, for no reason. And seeing things, weird objects in the semi-darkness of my apartment with the street light shining in through my window casting shadows across everything.

– One of the times I woke up, I could have sworn there was blood on my sheets, like a big puddle of it near my lap. But when I jumped up it was nothing but another shadow and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Besides the obvious, but that didn’t explain why I was so jittery, like I was scared somebody was going to attack me or something.

– I lay in bed like that most of the night, drifting off for a little then waking up abruptly, sweating through the t-shirt I was wearing—one of Tony’s actually,  I remember—and I just couldn’t stop thinking about losing the baby. The thought terrified me, which is why I say I must have known what happened to him.

– Because I knew Francisco—the baby, I mean, he wasn’t Francisco yet—was the only part of Tony I had left.

– Yeah. Another thing. When I finally gave up and got out of bed at six, I walked straight to the TV.

– I never watch TV in the morning though, ever. I usually eat breakfast and read a little, shower, blow dry my hair, call one of my friends or just leave, go to work, go somewhere. I don’t like staying around the house during the day.

– But, for some reason, that morning I wanted to just sit on the couch and watch the news. And also, I wasn’t surprised. When I turned on the TV and heard them talking about him, I wasn’t surprised.

– It was a short report, ten, maybe fifteen seconds, and all I heard was something about a gun and a fire and then they flashed Tony’s face with the name Les Palmer under it across the screen twice, a pretty bad picture someone had taken of him screaming into a microphone.

– The only thing that surprised me that morning was when I heard the words “apparent suicide,” and I immediately thought of Earl.

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102. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 16

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26 June 2011

– No, didn’t see him once. And after two days, I was pretty pissed.

– I mean, it was wrong to tell him how I did, but I didn’t think it was worth him just disappearing like that.

– So I convinced myself that I was done. Showed up to work those two days looking half-dead, told my friends about everything, soaked up their responses, really had myself convinced Tony was, like, the Antichrist.

– Told myself, no more. I. Am. Done. I’d rather raise my baby alone than be with his or her psychotic, unreliable father.

– But it was all bullshit. The whole time I was telling myself and my friends all this, the only thing I wanted was for Tony to show up at my apartment door.

– I was worried about him. I hadn’t realized until then that I’d felt like his protector all this time. Knowing he was out there, wandering around aimlessly, it made me sick to my stomach. I just wanted him to come back to me, to safety.

– But he didn’t, and I cried about it and after the anger faded a little, I pretty much cooped myself up in my apartment until the night of his showing. I would’ve stayed in that night too, actually, if I wasn’t such a mess over him. I even told myself—when I did decide to go—that I was only doing it to help out my aunt. But I wasn’t. I hoped that Tony would show up, wished that he would.

– I waited around that whole night, watching the people fill up the main room and look at Tony and the other artist’s pieces. Watched them get restless late in the evening when Tony’s part of the presentation was delayed because he hadn’t showed yet.

– My aunt, high strung as she is, handled it pretty well. Considering. She hissed at me a couple of times, told me if Tony didn’t show she’d make sure nobody ever saw so much as a stick figure drawing of his ever again.

– I stayed in the back, away from the crowd, watching and waiting.

– Then? He just showed up.

– I was standing there upset, all alone. Then I felt this brush of air and looked over and there he was. Standing next to me and staring at the crowd as if he’d been there the whole time. I was so shocked I couldn’t speak, so I just stared at him. He looked beautiful too, I remember. And, I mean, I was so relieved I couldn’t even be pissed. Then he turned to me, looked me in my eyes and brushed my cheek—God [Cathy pauses for a moment, her eyes welling up. She sniffs and starts picking at her nails]

– He looked at me and… he looked at me and then looked at my stomach and said…”take care of him.”

– Those exact four words. Then he walked into the main room.

– And, I mean, the way he said that, it hurt. A lot. Me, I thought he’d basically just told me he wouldn’t be there to help me raise our baby. That he didn’t want to, actually, and therefore he wouldn’t. That he’d given up on me and us and was going off to bigger and better things with this Les Palmer bit and his paintings and all that. Travel the world and revel in success and—I got all of that out of just those four words.

– I didn’t want to be there anymore after that, so I left and went back to my apartment. If I had known that was the last time I’d see him alive, I might have stuck around a little longer. Or not. No way to know for sure, though, is there?

– That’s the funny thing about death. [Cathy shakes her head and sniffs] When it comes to that, there is no retrospect.

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100. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 15

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26 June 2011

– Well, I had to tell him. Couldn’t just hide it, that would have made things worse later on.

– But see, while I was trying to figure out how to tell Tony I was pregnant, there was something going on in Tony’s head I didn’t know about either.

– He’d started acting really weird the closer it got to his showing. I mean, weirder than usual. Really paranoid. And after I found out I was pregnant—before I told him—he got downright crazy.

– Like, he’d be sitting there with me on the bed watching TV or something and I’d be racking my brain, telling myself to tell him now. Tell him your pregnant now. And it’d seem like he knew I had something to tell him, something he didn’t want to hear, because all of a sudden he’d hop up from the bed and say he changed his mind, he didn’t want to do the art show, he needed me to call my aunt and cancel it. Then, five minutes later, he’d change his mind again and ask me for reassurance, ask me if I really believed everything would be alright. It was so weird to see him like that, like one minute he’d have the resolve of Ghandhi and the next he’d be like a twelve year old foster kid.

– Well, like, one afternoon, about three days before the showing, we were getting ready to go get something to eat and he pulled the same stunt again. Just said, calmly and without any anger, that he wouldn’t be doing the showing anymore. It was about the fourth time he’d done that in as many days and, once again, right at that moment, I’d been about to tell him I was pregnant. It was the breaking point, you know?

– Too much pressure, I just snapped.

– I turned around and yelled at him to stop being a little bitch. That he was under contract with my aunt, that she had a lot of people coming out to this thing and he couldn’t back out, no matter how many times he changed his fucking mind, not if he ever wanted to sell so much as a scrap of paper with his name on it ever again. So stop bitching about it and pay attention to somebody besides yourself for once.

– I remember he looked at me so surprised, then his face got really dark and he started grinding his teeth. He always did that right before he went off. Only this time I beat him to the punch, just kept on ranting, let out all the animosity that had been building up in me. Told him I was tired of his crap, tired of this flip-flop thing he kept pulling with everything, told him I needed somebody stable, somebody willing to commit, somebody willing to be a father. And when he looked at me kind of confused, I yelled, “I’m pregnant you son of a bitch” [Cathy chuckles, her eyes gleaming] and immediately felt like shit so I ran out of his room and hopped in my car and left.

– Yeah, definitely not the way I wanted to tell him.

– I don’t really know exactly how you’re supposed to tell somebody like Tony something like that though.

– But that didn’t feel right. It felt shitty, actually. Really shitty.

– To my credit, I drove around until I cooled off and then went back to apologize. That was my intention at least.

– When I got there it had been about an hour since I stormed out, and I knocked on Tony’s room door but there was no answer. I waited outside that room in my car for most of the afternoon before giving up and going home. Tony never showed up.

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