Connor was dead. I was the one who found his body. It was lodged at the bottom of a paper cup in what looked like latte foam. I knew he was dead when I poked him with a straw and he didn’t move.
Normally, Connor stood six feet tall, but lately he had been getting shorter. I was surprised a few days ago when I realized my eight year-old was looking down at him. Still discovering how tiny he had become was almost as bad as discovering he was dead. For a moment, I considered pretending that it was just an empty paper cup and tossing it in the garbage. But that wouldn’t be right.
The cup had been sitting beside his bed, his night-time drink, I supposed. How he had managed to fall into it, I could not imagine. Still I knew what I had to do: call the police for it was a sudden and unexplained death no matter how miniscule. I only hoped they would not think I had murdered him. After all I had poked his body with a straw and my finger prints were on it. I would just have to take my chances.
My call was transferred to female officer. I said someone had been found dead. I didn’t specify the size. She said she would be right over.
By now the household was stirring and I needed to inform the others. “Connor has died,” I said. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the horrified look on the face of my 8 year-old son. I turned my attention to him. It was some time later that I realized the officer was in the house talking to my daughter who had, apparently, provided her with coffee. I went to greet her, trepidation in my heart. How to explain?
“What lovely paintings you have,” she exclaimed and set about examining the artwork. “Did you paint these?” I could tell what she was doing, building background, which would be useful in case the death involved foul play.
“No,” I replied, indicating which of my family had painted each. “Well, I painted this one,” I admitted, “but I’m more of a writer.”
And then, as my creative writing students used to say where there should have been a climax, I woke up.