THE DEPARTED (2006) is a Martin Scorsese film about the malleable identities of a mole and undercover agent.
12/08/09 | Film

The Departed

by David Erlewine

A minute after my wife drives off the phone rings.

“The basement has a flood, can you come over?” I grab my keys and walk next door to Alison’s house, the third time this past month. Alison points at the far right corner, by the TV. “It’s so wet there, I know a flood is coming.” I squat to my knees. The carpet is dry. “Seems okay to me.”

“That’s strange,” she says, laughing. My left knee gives when I stand up.

Later that night, after my wife is snoring, I recall getting drunk at the last block party and hitting on Alison. It was only a few months after her husband had died. One of the guys from down the street had pulled me aside before I got too carried away. But I had already whispered to Alison about being only thirty feet away if she ever needed to talk or a massage or whatever.

Before I fall asleep, I decide I won’t see Alison again.

Three days later, on a hot Saturday morning, Alison calls. “Someone is screaming in my attic.” I hesitate then say, “Give me a minute.”  In her attic, I look around and then climb down the rickety steps. “Only a few spiders.”

Before I can swing the attic door up, she has unzipped my pants. “Is this what you want?”

I nod. As I’m on the verge of coming, she looks up at me. “Can you even imagine dying in a plane crash? Have you ever given it any thought?” I make a sound meant to indicate sorrow, empathy, and the unfathomability of it all. When she keeps staring, I say, “Must be just awful, and yes I most certainly have.”

On the walk back home, I think about her dead husband John, how I probably said ten words a year to him, how my waves to him weren’t even full ones. Later that night, I remember it was Jim, not John, and how his plane crashed last year only a mile away from the airport where it was supposed to land.

Again, Alison calls. “Come to my basement.” She hangs up before I say anything. On the walk over, I decide this is it. One more time and then I’m going to sever this for good.

Her front door is open. She is naked on the basement couch, her back to me, ass thrust in the air. Something rests on it, possibly a coconut. “Jeff used to laugh at how obvious you were staring at me. He said you’d eat anything off my ass.”

I don’t move.

“Get over here, down on those old knees.”

She looks over her shoulder at me. “It’s durian, you’ll love it.” She reaches back and squishes my face deep into the custard-smelling fruit which soon tastes and smells like a heap of marathon shoes. As I come, the durian juice drying on my face and hands, I think about that day, about how Alison was probably already parked at the airport, waiting for Jeff, wondering what the explosion was.