The Appointment


The Appointment

Automatic traslation from the original story in Spanish. Not checked manually

The carpenter needed 48 nails to close the wooden box.

He was a young, thin man, who would not stop sweating while he did the work he had given him.

I was watching how he did it conscientiously and I would say almost like a ritual.

At the end, the light in my apartment disappeared and so did the man after paying him.

I sit on my sofa and think about the corpse in the box.

Everything that can be obtained on the Internet seems incredible. And on the Dark Web, even how to dispose of a body.

The doorbell rings. Extreme punctuality.

Three men go up to look for the box. Without names. Without receipt. €12,000 in cash and a problem solved.

They are loading the box and I think: “will they throw it into the sea?” “Will they leave it in a field?” From the accent they seem from Poland. Perhaps it will end in Warsaw.

It’s already night. They’re all gone. I pour myself a martini and sigh as I view the Empire State from my window. Illuminated, as always.

Floor 48, door 24, I didn’t think I’d have to come back here again.


The elevator is empty. I go up alone. And I don’t mind. I have never been afraid of elevators.

When I arrive at the place where I left, promising that I would not return. I hate my psychologist.

She is stupid, banal and I think she has never understood me. Or do I hate her because she understands me better than anyone?

There are thousands of psychologists in Manhattan. I shouldn’t have come back if I didn’t want to.

When I called her on the phone this morning, she seemed happy, I would even say exultant.

Anyway, I’m already at her door.

She opens herself.

—Come in, Ingrid.

—Hi Chloe.

The office hasn’t changed in three years. I sit on the white sofa and she sits in a wicker chair.

—You want a drink?

—Water please.

I watch her as she pours me the water. She is still extremely attractive despite her age.

I drink the water in small sips and look at myself in the large mirror in the office. I don’t have the face of a murderer. My blond hair and my blue eyes disguise me as an angel. It is an advantage.

—How is your mother?

I see Chloe trying to break the ice between us. You won’t like the answer.

—Dead. —I say this without believing it too much because, although it’s true, I still don’t believe it.

—I’m so sorry Ingrid, what happened?

I look at her and take a while to answer. I look at the plants in the office and the Klimt painting.

—A heart attack. Suddenly. She was watering the plants. They found her there, among the gardenias and lilacs.

I realize I’m not in the consultation. I have moved to the day of the call. Hospital. The white sheets. The coldness of the bags. I will never see her again and that, she makes me unbearable. I don’t understand how others get along so well.

—What do you think, Ingrid?

—On how tough she was. My brother was in Paris, with his doctorate. My sister in Finland. Me alone, there with the frozen smile of the makeup they put on. I think that when I saw her, she was no longer her, she would not caress her hands, nor would she call me every day. The worst part is that I can’t call her. One day I called her phone, you know?

Chloe has leaned into me imperceptibly and I continue.

—No one came. I thought maybe she would, that it was all a mistake. But no… have you seen the Donald Sutherland movie?

—The one about the Invasion of the ultra-corpses?

—No, a current one, from now, I think it’s called “Mr. Harrigan’s phone”. It is based on a Stephen King novel.

—Tell me. I’ll take it down.

—Well, you see, he’s a young boy who works as a reader for a millionaire. He dies.

-The millionaire?

—Of course, he’s not going to be the young man!

Chloe smiles and looks at me affectionately, I continue with my explanation.

—Before he died, the boy had given him a cell phone, to communicate with him. When he dies, he leaves her phone in a pocket. Arriving at her house, she receives a call, a message from him.

—But he’s already dead, how do you send him the message? From the grave?

—There’s the grace Chloe and I won’t tell you more in case you see her.

—And you, would you like to talk to your mother in the same way?

—Of course

—And what would you say to him at this precise moment?

—The same thing I came to tell you.

—And what is?

—Mommy, I killed someone.

The phone in the office next door rings, although no one answers it. A shock of three seconds, makes me react. Maybe I shouldn’t have come. But then, I remember the letter. Yes, I am in the perfect place to tell my story. The stories if they are not told, they remain encysted and succumb to neuroticism.

—Why would you tell him that?

—Because it’s true. The body was taken from my apartment today. Did you know that you can hire services to make them disappear for 12,000 euros?

—Euros? Don’t they charge in dollars?

They are from Poland.

I laugh, but she remains serious, pale and expectant.

—Who have you killed?

—His name was Jacques Truffaut.

—How the director?

Chloe laughs, I guess she’s starting to think I’m making this up. And to clarify it she adds.

—This is all a lie, isn’t it?

—No, why do you think so?

—Let’s see, three years ago you came here. you are one of the nicest that I have known You wouldn’t be able to do something like that.

—We are all capable, as you say, of doing something like that. Even you, if the events that I had to experience arose.

—Tell me, we have all afternoon, Ingrid.

Chloe turns off the clock and unplugs the phones.

She pours me water again and she fills her glass again.

—When I came here, I was dating Marc. As you say he was a good person. My mother lived. The depression I went through was cured after several sessions.

—But you dropped out of therapy.

—It was fine Chloe. I think I’m over it. She needed to live, travel, make up for lost time. And I left Marc.

—Did you leave him? If you were totally in love…

—Yes, I was. But I met another man in Istanbul.

—And you went with him?

—Exact. It’s very hot, isn’t it?

Chloe gets up and turns on the air conditioner. She takes off the cardigan that she is wearing on her shoulders. For my part, I leave the yellow scarf that I wear on a small table next to the sofa.

—Are you now whit him?

—No. In truth he is dead.

—What do you mean? The Turkish man is who you killed?

—Killing sounds very strong. Poisoning is more subtle.

—And because? What did he do to you?

—He humiliated me, he hit me. It made me feel so small, Chloe, that I didn’t even recognize myself.

Suddenly I realize that the psychologist has looked at my forehead. Not even the bangs I wear can cover the scar.

I still remember the blows, the plate that gave me this scar. Her blue eyes that I fell in love with so much, were full of anger, of hate. That day he planned to kill me. That day I thought about killing him. He didn’t make it. I do.

—Why didn’t you let him?

—Don’t know. You never have an answer to this question. First is a slight blow, a sentence. Then everything goes out of control and you don’t know what to do anymore.

—Why didn’t you ask for help?

—I have already told you. My brothers were out. My friends have enough with their problems. Nobody suspected anything.

—And his family?” Will no one suspect?

—He has no family, they died in an earthquake.

—And friends?

—It has one. I have already told him that he has abandoned me and that I don’t know where he is.

—But what about coexistence? People will have seen you.

—No, he lived with me. He just came to the apartment. Our relationship was purely sexual. This is what got me hooked.

—Normal, with your heroin past.

—That I thought. It’s like heroin. And one day I put an overdose in the glass. Well, actually it was a cocktail that was recommended to me by a friend I still have from the past. A camel.

I’m telling him all this and I remember how he was crawling on the carpet. He died little by little, suffering, as I wanted. But I don’t tell Chloe.

—And how do you feel now?


—But, let’s see, Ingrid. You know that something like that I will have to tell the police.

—No. You will not do it.

For the first time Chloe looks at me differently. How to take me seriously.

—Why won’t I? I will continue helping you… You will go to a centre. We can allege psychological reasons, transitory dementia.

—The corpse is already gone. Nobody knew we were seeing each other. Nobody even knew that it existed. I was working online for a scam company. Nobody will care that he died.

—Me, Ingrid.

—To you? What the fuck do you care?

—There is an ethical, moral code…

I throw the water on the carpet. Shout. I insult him and finally tell him the truth.

—I didn’t come here for therapy, Chloe.

—And then?

—I’m here looking for an alibi.

—What alibi? Didn’t you say that no one knew it existed?

—Just in case, Chloe.

—Just in case what?

—The day and the hour that I killed him, I was here, in your office. You will be my alibi.

—But let’s see, what did you believe Ingrid?

I see Chloe upset, sweaty and for the first time… ugly.

And I don’t answer him. I open my bag and leave some photos on the table.

Intimate… of her and me, together, naked…

She had told him that I broke them, but I didn’t.

I watch Chloe crying. That could cost him her career. It was just one day… we had been drinking, we met outside the office, but I was still her patient.

She got me up, but not before telling her:

—I came here on March 23 at six in the evening. oh! And don’t save me any more visits. With this I have already fixed everything.

I’m leaving her office and her life. As Stephen King says: “with empty pockets”.

The Appointment – Short stories series – Copyright ©Montserrat Valls and Juan Genovés

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