Monthly Archives: January 2021

Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter six, part one

I sat in the darkness, welcoming the solitude.  Matt was out with his college buddies at my insistence because I needed time alone.  When they called right after the cops left, he had been reluctant to go out because of what was happening and because it was a Sunday night.  When I impressed upon him that I really would like the place to myself, he left, albeit grudgingly.  I couldn’t help sighing with relief after he was gone.  I loved him dearly, but sometimes he was too close.  I needed time to think about all that had happened, and to decide what—if anything—I wanted to do from here.  Even though I had promised Matt that I would see this through, I was having second thoughts.  Talking to the cops had reinforced my doubts, and I tended to agree with them that this was a case best left to the professionals.

I fucking hated wasting my time, and that’s what this endeavor seemed to be to me.  Kayla wouldn’t know the truth if she fell into it or if it hit her over the head.  Every instinct she had told her to lie, manipulate and connive her way out of a situation.  I didn’t think she trusted anyone, including herself, so what motivation would she have to tell the truth?  If my mom was right and Kayla didn’t even care if she got Danny back, well, then, all bets were off.  Most mothers valued their children’s lives more than their own, but this mother seemed to be the exception.  If Kayla couldn’t be prodded by the disappearance of her son, what would yank her chain?  The only answer I could think of was endangerment to her livelihood or her freedom.

“That’s it,” I said, bolting upright.  I had enough in my hands to fry Kayla if I wanted.  I was sure the cops would be more than eager to read Kayla’s secret stash.  In fact, the interview this afternoon didn’t end on the best note because dumpy Detective Daily had been convinced I was hiding something….

“You’re a psychic,” Detective Daily repeated, the scorn evident in her voice.  They had been interrogating me for over an hour in my living room—Matt had been banished to his room—and there had been little variation in their patter.  Neither could quite believe my claims, though I told them what I’d told Kayla.  “You know what I think?”  Detective Daily asked, leaning forward until she was in my face.  She had frizzy brown hair that framed a dead-white chubby face.  Her eyes were small and hard while her lips were thin.  She had the singularly most unprepossessing face I’d ever seen in my life, and she did little to enhance it.  “I think you’re a con who preys on people involved in tragedies.  Psychic!”  She almost spat out the last word, landing spittle on my cheek.  I stared at her in distaste, wanting to tell her to polish her hard-ass act because she wasn’t impressing me.

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Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter five, part three

I kept myself ramrod as I marched to my car because I knew better than to show fear.  Once I had driven out of eyesight of the detectives, however, I allowed my body to sag.  I cursed Kayla under her breath for running to Matt with her problems, Matt for beseeching me to help out, and me for being such a sucker than I couldn’t say no.  Everything about this case felt wrong, not to mention icky, and I wished I’d never agreed to help out in the first place.  This wasn’t like Without a Trace where the problem of a missing person was solved in an hour with everything falling into place.  No, this was like a serial that got canceled before the finale was shown.  I had a hunch that there would be many twists and turns before the truth to this sordid matter came out.

“Well?”  Matt asked the minute I walked into the apartment.  Ignoring him, I went to the kitchen to see what was in the fridge.  It was one in the afternoon, and I was starving—Matt’s pancakes notwithstanding.  There wasn’t anything appealing, so I fell back on my last resort—a frozen Healthy Choice dinner.  “What happened?”  Matt asked as I placed the tray into the microwave.  He had a look on his face that said he wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I began telling him what I’d discovered along with my little run-in with the cops.

The whole story sounded more convoluted as I told it to him than it had when Kayla had told me, but that was probably because I’d had time to let it sink in.  I was struck by the obstacles in this case, such as not knowing Alexander’s last name.  Sure, I had his number—if Kayla hadn’t been lying about that, too—but what good would that do?  All he had to do was refuse to talk to me, and there was nothing I could do to force him to do so.  I could tell him I had his stuff, but he would see through that in a minute.  I wondered if the FBI would be getting involved with the case, but I didn’t give it too much thought as there was little I could do about it.  Just as I was about to tell Matt about Digger, my cell phone rang at the same time the microwave binged.  As I answered the phone, I stirred my food before popping it back into the microwave.

“Scarlett!  How are you?”  It was my mother, of course, the only one who called me Scarlett.  Rather, she was the only person I allowed to call me Scarlett without making a big deal out of it.  “I have the feeling that something bad has happened to you.  Am I right?”  My mother had a touch of ESP herself which she attributed to being brought up in the old country.

“Not exactly,” I said hesitantly.  Matt was making faces at me, but I waved him away.  This was my mother, damn it, and she usually had good insight.  I spilled the story as concisely as I possibly could, waiting to hear her words of wisdom.

“Oh, that was the front-page story of the Strib,” was her disappointing first response.  I was about to say something acerbic when I realized that I had neglected the first rule of thumb—look it up on the internet.  I cursed my self for my stupidity and made a mental note of it.  “This is Matt’s old girlfriend, right?  The crazy one?”

“Yes, Mom.  Hold on a sec,” I said, walking into the living room.  Matt followed me, so I kept going to my bedroom.  He looked as if he were going to follow me there as well, but I shut him down with a frown.  As soon as I closed the door to my bedroom, I continued the conversation.  “She’s bad news, Mom, but I promised Matt I’d help her out.  It’s his son, too.”

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Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter five, part two

“I’ll see Danny room now,” I said, abruptly standing up.  Kayla got up as well, dashing her eyes with her arm.  I followed her down a hallway until we reached the very last door.

“Here it is,” she said, opening the door.  I blinked in amazement at what I saw.  There was a big-screen television as well as a DVD player and a CD player, more expensive than the ones I had.  Every toy known to kidkind seemed to be on the floor while there were very few books on the bookshelf.  Not even two rows were filled, which was sad to me as I was an avid reader.  A three-foot long stuffed pig sat in the corner of the room.  “That’s Reggie,” Kayla said, pointing at the gigantic pig which looked as if it was about to jump up and play.  “That’s Beans,” she added, pointing to another pig which was slightly smaller but just as spry.  “And that’s Corkscrew.”  Another pig.  Unlike the other two, this pig was brown with a white stomach.  “Danny liked—likes pigs.”  That was obvious as there were roughly fifty pigs in the room—made of all kinds of material—including clay, porcelain. and plastic.  I recalled the pig I saw Danny holding while in captivity, and it made sense seeing his room.  I also noted that Kayla had used the past tense when talking about Danny—not a good sign.

“I need a few minutes alone,” I said, not glancing at Kayla.  I was too busy scanning the room to pay her any attention.

“Ok,” Kayla said meekly, stepping out of the room.  Immediately, the air around me expanded so I could breathe freely again.  I looked at the pigs, wondering how a boy of two came about a pig-obsession.  Perhaps he saw Babe one too many times; it certainly wasn’t because Kayla read Charlotte’s Web to him.  The walls were a light green which gave a cozy feeling to the room.  There was a crib—what the hell was Kayla thinking leaving her boy outside alone?  He’s hardly more than a baby—certainly too young to be alone even for a few minutes.  A scene flashed before my eyes, but it went by too quickly for me to grab it.  I vaguely recalled Kayla looking at her watch, but that was it.  Wait, what was she looking at her watch for?  It happened while she was outside with Danny, right before she went back in.  Chances were, she was just checking to see how long it’d been since her last fix.  Even junkies had rules, as fucked up as those rules might be.

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Out of Sight, Into Mind; chapter five, part one

It had started three months ago when her coke supplier—who had also been a bouncer at her club—decided to move to Florida.  He was sick of the Minnesota winters and figured he could do a booming business in the tropics.  Kayla didn’t know why he thought that, but she begged him not to go.  He was the only supplier she knew of, and she didn’t want to break in another one.  Nor did she want to go outside the club as it had been convenient with her supplier at her workplace.  Her supplier wouldn’t listen, but he gave her the name of another guy who said he’d come to her place of work if she gave him a freebie.  Kayla wasn’t in any position to argue, so she agreed reluctantly.  She was smart enough to realize that dealing with a supplier she didn’t know could be dicey business, but she needed the junk.

The next day at work, a white guy who looked as if he had been a frat boy in college approached her during one of her breaks.  He was wearing a gray Armani suit and a real Rolex.  He had his Oakleys on, even though it was nearly pitch-black in the club, and he was the walking stereotype of a pimp or a dealer.  Kayla cringed at how obvious he was, but she was desperate.  She took him to one of the back tables and did a lap dance for him for free.  Once she was done, she waited for him to show the stuff.  She had made a couple hundred in tips that night, and she needed that fix like yesterday.  Instead, he pointed to her skimpy top which showed more than it covered.  It seemed as if he wanted to see her boobs.  That was usually more than Kayla gave, but Kayla did it.  The guy crooked his finger, indicating that she should lean closer.  She did, and he slowly sucked her nipple while watching her face.  She flushed as he took his time, doing it more to degrade her than because he got enjoyment out of it.  At the same time, he ran his finger under her G-string and rubbed her pussy.  She flushed, but took her medicine like a good lamb.  When the man who had yet to give her his name had his fill of fun, he leaned back in his chair.

“How much?”  He asked, eying her like she was a piece of meat.

“I got a hundred,” Kayla answered, feeling soiled.  Though she did much more with her ‘dates’, it was usually under her control.

“Here.”  The guy flipped her a small bag that contained a gram of coke and held out his hand.  Kayla handed him the hundred, tucking the bag into the pocket of her diaphanous robe.  Even though the robe was see-through for the most part, the pockets were not.  He made a shooing motion with his hand, but Kayla remained where she was.

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