Monthly Archives: November 2018

Blogging My Murder; chapter ten, part three

Chapter Ten; Part Three

Wait a minute. Julianna left me all her money. Uncle said it was around three-quarters of a million dollars. If I invest carefully, I should be able to quit my job right now. Well, once the will goes through probate. I quickly Google how long it takes to process a will and find out it can take anywhere from a few months to a year. If someone contests the will, which I’m sure Eric will if he’s able, then it can take longer. In other words, I can’t count on that money any time soon. Then again, I have a healthy bank account, and if I’m very careful—I suddenly realize that I’m focusing on the money left to me by my murdered best friend. I start gagging, but nothing comes up. How could I be such a callous bitch as to spend my murdered best friend’s money? I put my face in my hands and weep. Onyx and Jet meep in protest, but they don’t follow me as I get up. Instead, they move together as one and curl up into a ball. I grab my smokes and go outside. I try to light one, but my hand is shaking. I steady it and light my cigarette. I take a long pull off of it and hold the smoke in my lungs. I deserve the punishment for being so cavalier about Julianna’s death. What’s more, I haven’t Googled anything else about it in a day. I made a promise to Uncle that I’d find Julianna’s murder, and I’ve been lax.

I go back to the couch and pull my laptop onto my lap. I Google Julianna’s murder and read a dozen articles. I don’t learn much that I don’t already know. She was killed in the wee hours of the morning by having her throat sliced and her tongue cut out. I learn that she was probably killed by some kind of hunting knife which the perp brought with him. Or her. I shouldn’t be sexist, though that kind of ferocity is more a dude thing. There’s a new tidbit—she was tied to her bed with her own scarves. Four scarves, one for each limb. The article lists the kind of scarves, and I realize I gave one to her for Christmas. It was a cashmere scarf from Nordstrom, and now it’s ruined. I brush that aside because it’s not relevant. OK. The perp planned ahead by bringing a knife, but he didn’t bring restraints? I’ve watched enough Criminal Minds to know that’s weird. Says to me that this person was, what? Impulsive? The person wanted to commit the murder, but didn’t think it through. Also, how did he know Julianna would be alone? Coincidence? I highly doubt it as Ramona had just left. Wait a minute. I sit up straight. The perp was watching Julianna! That had to be how he got her just after Ramona left. I scribble several notes to myself, my mind reeling.

Who would hate Julianna so much that he would stalk her? Who would have the time? Her ex-husband would have the time, probably, but not the means, I don’t think. What was the name of that woman who had plagiarized Julianna’s style at the Minneapolis Slammin’? Paula…no, that’s not it. Pamela…no. She’s a Latina…oh, right. Paola! I plug in her name and Minneapolis Slammin’. I come back with hundreds of hits, most of them related to her slam poetry. Her last name is Escobar, and she’s from New Jersey originally. She came here because the slam poetry scene here is second to none. Her boyfriend, Joey Simmons, came with her. This was three years ago, and they live in Loring Park in a two-bedroom apartment. He’s some kind of businessman, though there’s nothing explicit there. I raise an eyebrow at the fact that they have a yacht. A fucking yacht? He must be making bank for that kind of shit. What does she do? Not much. She claims to be a freelance writer, but I can’t find anything current written by her, at least not with a cursory search. That means she had plenty of time to stalk Julianna. What about Ramona’s husband? She said he didn’t work as hard as she did, and she was definitely lying about him being home that night. Goddamn it. This isn’t narrowing down my search at all. What about Eric, Julianna’s brother? On impulse, I call him. To my surprise, he answers.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter ten, part two

Chapter Ten; Part Two

My phone beeps. It’s a text from Rembrandt. “You left again. You keep doing that.” I can’t tell if he’s pissed or hurt or what, but I want to nip this in the bud. Then again, it is kind of rude of me to leave like that, so I start with an apology. “Sorry. I prefer sleeping in my own bed. Plus, I missed my cats. You pissed?” I hold my breath. I don’t want him to be mad, but I’m also pretty set in my ways. I’m not going to change just because I enjoy fucking him. It’s several seconds before I receive an answer. “No. Just hurt. I don’t understand.” I sigh. This is another problem with being unconventional. Most people assume that women want to move in, to be committed, to get married, whatever. I’ve had this problem many times. Guys who are at first upset because I don’t want to commit. Then, they get resentful, and finally, pissed. Do I even want to bother? I shouldn’t immediately put Rembrandt in the same boat, but that’s all I seem to run into. “Look. This is too complicated to text about. Can we talk about it? Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday night?” “Why not tomorrow?” The immediate response. Goddamn it. I hate it when people can’t respect my boundaries. “I’m busy.” My text is terse, but I’m not in the mood to make nice. This is why I don’t do well in relationship; I hate having to justify myself to someone else. I count to one hundred before Rembrandt responds. “Tuesday. Six. Where do you want to meet?” Not good. A step back might be what’s needed, though. “Grumpy’s. Washington Ave.” I’m sending my own message. Grumpy’s is loud, so intimate conversation isn’t easy. It should be OK at that time, though. I guess I’m hoping it’ll be loud, though. “Fine.” I decide not to answer that text because we’re going to spiral downwards from here. I set my phone aside, but it beeps again in a minute. It’s Rembrandt. “I hope you have a good night.” Some of my irritation melts. He’s a decent man. It’s not his fault that I’m not a decent woman, not in the traditional sense, anyway. “Thanks, Rembrandt. You, too.”

With that, I toss my phone onto the bed and sigh deeply. Two black lumps join me on the bed, snuggling into my sides. I ruffle their fur, taking comfort in their presence. Why do humans have to be so uptight about our relationships? Why can’t we just sniff each other’s butts and be done with it? Then again, I’ve read how cats have sex, and I don’t want any part of that. My cats have really cushy lives, but do I really want to just eat, sleep, and play with another cat? That doesn’t sound half-bad, actually. I think back to my text messages with Rembrandt and wonder if I could have handled it better. Hell, I know I could have, but I just didn’t have the patience. Let’s face it, if I wanted to avoid unpleasantness, I would have just spent the night with Rembrandt. Time for some hard truths. Do I want to date Rembrandt, or would I prefer if he was just a booty call? Truth to be told, I would be happy if he cooked for me two to three times a week before thoroughly fucking me, then I could go home and chill with my cats. I want Netflix and chill, but I have a hunch Rembrandt wants more than that. If that’s the case, should I just cut it off now? It wouldn’t be fair to him to fuck around if he’s wanting more. Then again, I like him. Not just to fuck, but talking to him and being with him. Maybe I’m sabotaging myself by nitpicking at everything, but I can’t help how I feel.

On the third hand, I have a tendency to overthink things. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but right now, it’s mostly a negative. Three days ago, I was looking forward to my date with Rembrandt and having sex with him. Now, we need to have a talk, and we’re not even a week into whatever this is. People like to joke about how women always want to talk, but I find that dudes want to do it more often than do chicks. Something about sex makes them think they own me or that I owe them something. Am I weird for not wanting to spend the night with him right away? My guess is that most women probably would stay the night, but I’m not most women, damn it. I hate being defensive over my preference of sleeping alone. It’s something I’ve taken shit for my entire life. Well, at least since I started dating. I’ve had to break up with more than one partner who didn’t believe that I didn’t want to move in with them. Let’s not even talk about marriage. Or kids. I am disgruntled, which means it’s going to be hard for me to get to sleep. I pull up my website and start a post.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter ten, part one

Chapter Ten; Part One

“Taiji is not just of the body, it’s also of the mind.” Lydia is lecturing on the principles of taiji, which I am sorry to say, I tune out. I’ve heard it a million times, and my mind is fractured today, anyway. I try to focus, but my thoughts keep drifting towards Julianna’s murder. Every time I put it to the back of my mind, it rushes forward again. I take several smooth, slow breaths as I try to remain on an even-keel emotionally. When I check back in, Lydia has moved on to the first section of the Solo Form. I hurriedly catch up to my classmates, not wanting to be caught daydreaming. After we finish the first section, it’s break time. I slump in a chair and drink water from my iced water bottle. I don’t want to talk to anyone, and most of my classmates seem to have gotten the memo. One of them, however, Betty Bowser (really, that’s her name), blithely ignores the strong ‘stay away from me’ vibes and sits next to me.

“That was a good workout!” She wipes her face with a towel, though I don’t see any sweat there. She’s wearing a fuchsia-colored sweatshirt that says ‘Girl Power’ and matching sweats. She even has a matching headband, for fuck’s sake. Of course, she’s wearing a full face of makeup and brand new Nikes, also fuchsia. Her fingernails match as well, and I’m getting nauseated just looking at her.

“Yes. It was a good first section.” I keep my tone brusque, hoping she’ll take the hint. She doesn’t.

“Your form looks so much better than mine. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good!” Betty fluffs out her (dyed) blond curls and cuts her eyes at our classmate, Kirk, who is chatting with Lydia. Kirk is barely twenty, but an ex-baseball player who was slated to go pro until he tore his ACL three times in two seasons. He has dark brown hair and warm hazel eyes, and I can understand Betty’s attraction to him. She’s almost twice his age, however, which is Mrs. Robinson territory in my book. Anyone under thirty looks like an unformed blob in my eyes. They can be physically attractive, but there’s no there there. I like my partners to have some mileage on their tires and to show that they’ve been on a journey.

“You’ve only been studying a year, Betty. I have six years on you and countless hours of practice. You’ll get there.” My tone is perfunctory. The last thing I want to do is hold this neurotic woman’s hand.

“But your form is so fluid. Mine is herky jerky!” Betty is still looking at Kirk who is blissfully unaware of her scrutiny.

“It’s because you have more information than your brain knows what to do with,” I say crisply. It’s something I’ve heard Lydia say countless times. With newbies, you can only teach them one thing at a time, namely, the postures. If you try to correct them on every little thing they’re doing wrong, they’ll try to fix all the things at once, which means they won’t be able to concentrate on anything at all. So, it’s best not to mention form problems unless they’re actively hurtful to the person  practicing. Unfortunately, that means that bad habits can become entrenched. I’ve had to work on not pushing my knees too far forward because I didn’t realize it was something I was doing for years. It’s a pain in the ass, and sometimes, I despair I’ll ever be able to correct it.

“You’re saying I’m stupid?” Betty looks at me, anger in her cornflower blue eyes.

“No. It has nothing to do with intelligence.” My voice is sharp. I’m at the end of my rope with Betty, though I’m trying to keep my temper. “We all think we’re good at multitasking, but we’re really not. That’s why it’s important to focus on one thing at a time. If you want to know more, ask Lydia.”

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Blogging My Murder; chapter nine, part two

Chapter Nine; Part Two

“Megan! Where are you?” It’s Jasmine. I don’t say anything, naively hoping she’ll go away if I don’t answer. It’s stupid, of course, because she’s not going to leave until she searches the house, but I still don’t have the will to answer. “There you are.” Jasmine sweeps into the living room, turning on all the lights. I blink as the lights flood into the room, and the cats meow in protest. They don’t move, however, the lazy bastards. “You’re brooding. You have to stop doing that.” Jasmine moves Jet to the couch before grabbing me by the arm and hauling me up into a sitting position. “Do you think Julianna would have wanted you to react this way?”

“I don’t know because Julianna is dead,” I retort. “I’ll never know what she wants again, will I?”

“That’s childish of you, Megan,” Jasmine says crisply, fluffing the pillow behind my back. “You know Julianna would be yelling at you right now for being self-indulgent.”

“Well, fuck her. She went and left me, so who fucking cares?” I can’t stop the horrible words from leaving my mouth.

“You don’t mean that. You know you don’t.” Jasmine clucks her tongue as she fusses over my clothes. She straightens them as best she can, but there’s not much you can do with sweats. “It’s the anger talking.”

“You’re fucking right it’s the anger talking. How could she fucking do this to me?” I am screaming by the end of the second sentence. “How dare she do this to me?” I throw a remote across the room, startling the hell out of my cats. I stroke their fur to calm them down, which allows my anger to dissipate somewhat.

“Megan. Listen to me.” Jasmine turns my head so I’m forced to look at her. “I know this is hard. I know you’re hurting like hell, but you cannot give in to this, you hear?” I don’t answer, so she shakes me once. “You went off the rails when Mom died. I do not have it in me to put you back together again for the second time.”

“Jasmine, I appreciate all you’ve done for me. I really do.” I pause as my eyes fill up with tears. She was the one who bought me pads when I first got my period. She was the one I confided in when I had my first serious crush—Ricky Stanton—I was fourteen years old. She was the one who bought my prom dress for me when Billy Jones asked me to prom my junior year. And she was the one who took on a second job so she could help cover my tuition at Carleton College when I could only get a partial scholarship. And when our mother killed herself with drink, it was Jasmine who held my hair back as I puked for three days straight. It was grief combined with too much booze. I couldn’t handle it, and she made sure I didn’t kill myself as well. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to repay you.”

“You can start by fucking living.” Jasmine says. I blink because she is not prone to swearing. I have a feeling she did it just to get my attention. “I did not nurture you this long only to have you give up now.” She touches her hand to the back of my face, and I tear up once again.

“I love you, Jasmine.” I say, my voice choking up. “I just don’t know if I can do this.” I pause and add, “I don’t  know if I want to.”

“I know.” Jasmine stares at me hard. “But, you don’t have a choice. You have to live for me, for your cats, for your friends, but mostly for me.” There it is. She’s calling in the chip I have owed her for so long. There is no way I can say no, and yet, I resent her for cashing it in. Then again, she’s playing for some pretty high stakes, so I can’t blame her for fighting dirty.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter nine, part one

Chapter Nine; Part One

“Hey, I woke up, and you were gone. L.” I wake up to a text from Rembrandt. I feel guilty for slipping out, but I irrationally feel irritated as well. We’ve only had one date, and, yes, the fucking was phenomenal, but still. He doesn’t own me, and I don’t owe him anything. Then again, he did just give me the fucking of a lifetime, and that means something.

“Sorry. I sleep better at home with my cats.” I text back, struggling not to feel defensive.

“No prob. Would love to see you again soon.” I pause. Do I want to see him again this weekend? My pussy says yes, but my brain is ambivalent. I don’t like spending too much time with any one person, not even loved ones. Perhaps especially not loved ones. I decide to throw caution to the wind and agree to see him again, but not tonight.

“Tomorrow? Dinner? And dessert?”

“Sounds good. I’ll cook. Unless you want to do it at your place?”

“You cooking sounds great.” I stifle the guilt at leaving my cats for another long night, but I can’t turn down a home-cooked dinner. “I like Thai, Italian, and Taiwanese. Chinese.”

“Lasagna, garlic bread, and tiramisu for dessert?”

“YES!”

“Can’t wait.” With that, I get out of bed and take a quick shower. Then, I check my phone and see that I have two dozen responses on my latest post. Most of them say that I was fortunate to have someone like her in my life. MNsnowbaby says, “I met her once at a Picasso show at the MIA. She was so vibrant and intense. We only talked briefly, but I’ve never forgotten her.” SayItAin’tSo comments, “I have a bestie who I would die for. Or kill for. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I’m so sorry for your loss.” BasalTemp adds, “Fuck. What a waste. RIP, and may you find your peace.” QueenBee writes, “Know you are not alone. I will always be here for you. Always.” I frown. That’s a strange thing to say for someone who’s never met me. Unfortunately, there’s a weird thing that happens when you’re in the limelight in any way, even in such a small way as I am. People who read my stuff on a regular basis think they know me better than they actually do, and it can lead to some awkward moments. I had one guy declare in emails that he was in love with me from reading my blog—my old one. When I had to break it to him that I didn’t feel the same, and what’s more, it was inappropriate of him to say that to me, it got ugly. He emailed me twenty times a day, declaring that he couldn’t live without me. After my initial response to him, I didn’t answer any of his emails, but it didn’t deter him for weeks. Just as I thought I might have to take more drastic measures, he stopped. I was relieved, but I couldn’t help being curious as to what had happened to him. I Googled his name and discovered that he tried to kill himself by eating the business end of his gun. He somehow missed anything vital, but it messed him up pretty badly, obviously. This was a year ago, and I haven’t heard from him since. He’s the reason I closed down my old blog, and I’m wary of having the same thing happen again.

I sigh and shut down the browser with my website. I’m feeling morose, and I don’t quite know what to do about it. I perk some coffee and pour myself a cup. I sip at it while it’s still boiling because I like to burn my mouth. It’s a weird thing, I know, but I find it pleasurable, as long as it’s not permanently damaged. I drain the cup in three gulps, then refill my cup. Onyx and Jet stare at me hopefully, wanting more treats. I’m in the kitchen, so it should be treat time, which is probably their thought process. I give them each three Temptations before taking my cup of coffee to the living room. I peruse the news, but I can’t read much about politics because I start freaking out if I do that. I watch a couple Maru videos instead—one of the cutest cats on the internet. I follow that up with Shironeko videos—one of the calmest cats on the internet. Both of them live in Japan in impeccably-kept houses. Watching Shironeko chill with a cabbage leaf on his head is perhaps my favorite cat video ever. I feel better after watching it, and I decide to do a quick taiji set to keep the mood going. I do a Sword Form and the third section of the Solo Form, plus some stretches and single posture drills. It takes fifteen minutes, and I feel even better once I’m done.

I decide to go for a walk, so I pull on my tennis shoes and a pair of leather gloves. Even though it’s October, it’s been unusually mild, so I don’t need a jacket. Once I step outside, I realize that I don’t need my gloves, either. I stuff them in my purse as I walk at a brisk place. The sun is shining, and I inhale the fresh air. Suddenly, the hair on the back of my neck bristles, and I feel as if someone is watching me. I whip my head around, but there’s nothing out of the ordinary. Yes, there are people walking around, but nobody looks suspicious. I start walking again, but I still feel watched. I scan the area as I walk, catching a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. I whip my head around, but I don’t see anything. Feeling uneasy, I pick up the pace. I don’t feel as refreshed as I once did; now, I just want to get home. When I do, Onyx and Jet are waiting for me. They follow me upstairs and wait while I take a quick shower. After I get dressed in fresh sweats, I go downstairs to check my website again. More comments. More condolences. More shared stories about meeting Julianna. It’s enough to warm the cockles of even my cold heart. I decide to write a quick post of thanks.

I’ve been overwhelmed with my grief. It’s such an isolating and singular thing. I try to go about my day, but then I remember Julianna’s dead, and I break down again. I have people in my real life who have been invaluable to me these past few days, and I have you guys. I want you to know that I’m very appreciative of the support I’ve received from my readers. You guys have warmed my heart with your stories and your well wishes.

I don’t know how to thank you other than to straight out say it: thank you for supporting me. Thank you for metaphorically holding my hand as I grieve. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read your loving comments when I’m feeling despair.

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