Category Archives: Murder Mystery

Blogging My Murder; chapter two, part two

Chapter Two; Part Two

“Mrrrrrreow!” Onyx weaves her way through my legs as I stand up, almost tripping me in the process.

“Onyx!” I scold her, but my heart isn’t in it. How can I be mad at her when all she wants to do is love me? She butts her head against my shin several times before I scoop her up in my arm. I grab the mug and the bowl with my other hand as best possible to take them into the kitchen. I set Onyx on the counter before washing the dishes. I go to the living room and flop on the couch. I should write my post on NE Minneapolis eateries, but I’m suddenly tired. Sleep is spotty for me. Sometimes, I get seven solid hours a night, and other times, I wake up every other hour and give up after four. Last night was one of the latter, in part because I was waiting for Julianna to text me—which she finally did at five in the morning. She didn’t give me many details because she’s not the type to kiss and tell, but she did let slip that she had a date with Ramona tomorrow, now today. Julianna is a slam poet with plenty of family money to back her up, so she doesn’t have to work a nine-to-five like us plebes. To be totally fair, I don’t really have to work, either, but I like having a schedule that gets me out of the house five days a week.

I drift off on the couch, my dreams filled with malevolent fairies. For some reason, they want to bite all my flesh off, which is agonizingly painful, believe you me. I wake up in a cold sweat, my heart racing. Jet growls in protest from his seat on my lap as I jostle him out of his nap. Onyx doesn’t move from her spot mashed into my right thigh, so I poke her to make sure she’s breathing. She remains inert, so I poke her again. This time, she hisses sleepily before coiling tightly into a ball. I lift Jet from my lap and set him next to Onyx. He wraps himself around her and falls asleep again. I ease myself away from her and tiptoe into the bathroom. I feel grimy, so I take a shower, leaving the bathroom door open. By the time I’m done, both cats are sitting on the counter, staring at me in concern. It cracks me up that this is their reaction to me taking a shower. I can only imagine that they’re thinking, “Why does she take off her fur and allow water to splash all over her?” I could swear they’re shaking their heads minutely as I towel off, which cracks me up. I stick my tongue out at them before pulling on a fresh pair of gray sweats and a red Obama t-shirt. I turn the faucet on a crack so Onyx can lap at the water. Jet turns his attention to her and is now looking at her as if she’s crazy. He cannot stand water touching his fur at all, so it fascinates him that Onyx will stick her  paw in the stream and lick the drops off it.

“Treats?” I quirk my eyebrows at my cats, and they hop off the counter with alacrity. It’s one of the words that they know, and it’s guaranteed to spur them into action. They race towards the kitchen, and I follow at a more sedate pace, wrapping a scrunchie around my hair. I open the fridge and pull out some salmon. I give them each a healthy chunk, and they gobble them down. I toast a bagel, smear some cream cheese on it, then add some salmon on top of it. It’s a decadent treat that I don’t eat very often, but I enjoy every bite when I do.

I hear a ping on my Nexus 5X, and it’s an email from Rembrandt. He says he’s thinking of me and hoping I’m doing OK. I reply that I am and ask how he’s doing. I enable my chat on Google so we can message, and I spend the next hour finding out more information about him. He’s the oldest of three boys, whereas I am the middle sister, also of three. My older sister, Jasmine, lives in Minnesota as well, whereas my younger sister, Vivian, fled the state the minute she turned eighteen to attend art school in Boston and never came back. Rembrandt’s thirty-two, which is thirteen years my junior. That makes me a little uneasy, but the fact that he knows his Toni Morrison from his Maxine Hong Kingston assuages my doubts a little. He’s a huge Vikings fan, which is fine with me. I can watch a ball game and comment on it knowledgably, even if it’s not something I’d choose to watch myself. I’m always happy for Minnesotan fans when the home teams do well, but I’m not devastated when they lose. I remember the season in which the Vikes went 15-1. They made it the NFC championship against Atlanta and was widely expected to take it easily. They lost in the last seconds, which was especially heartbreaking for local fans. At the beginning of the next season, the news interviewed a guy dressed in Vikings gear, who talked about how crushed he still felt about the loss. I wanted to shout at him to get a life, but who am I to judge someone else’s emotions? I’m still mourning the death of Alan Rickman, and I never even knew him in real life. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would scorn my grief and say it isn’t real. I don’t pretend to think what I feel for the loss of Alan is anything close to how his loved ones must feel, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter two, part one

Chapter Two; Part One

“Hey, Megan. How’re you doing?” Lydia’s rather saturnine features light up as I walk into the studio. She’s five years older than I am, and yet, she looks twenty years younger. She claims that it’s all thanks to taiji—she’s been studying for twenty-two years—and I can only hope it has the same effect on me. I’ve only been practicing for seven years, so I still have a ways to go. Her sandy blond hair is pulled back in a topknot, and her horn-rimmed glasses frame her green eyes perfectly. I’m the only one at the studio except for her so far because I can’t help but be fifteen minutes early to any appointment. It’s a result of being Taiwanese and perpetually arriving at events a half hour late, only to find said event hadn’t started yet.

“I’m OK. I met someone last night.” I smile at Lydia as I set down my weapons bag on the floor.

“That’s great! Did you get a piece?” Lydia smirks, her thin lips curving into a smile. She’s rather reserved with strangers, and her countenance is placid, but she has a raunchy streak that can rival my own which she only displays when she feels comfortable.

“Nah. I decided to wait. Delayed gratification and all.” What I don’t tell her is that I’m a bit gun-shy about being with a guy again. It’s been nearly ten years, and it’s very different than sexing with a woman. In my past, guys have been more critical of my body with an extra thirty pounds than have women. I find sex with women to be more collaborative, whereas guys either want to dominate or be dominated. I’m fine with some roleplaying, and I’m a switch when it comes to top/bottom (much like being bi), but it’s not something I need to do in order to be aroused. Tessa wasn’t into BDSM at all, and I didn’t miss it while I was with her. I have to admit, however, that the idea of having sex with someone new makes my pulse quicken. There is something almost reverent about approaching a new body and figuring out its likes and dislikes. And, I have to admit that Rembrandt’s ass looked perfect for squeezing. “What’s new with you?”

“I have a new private student,” Lydia says, her voice alive with excitement. She’s always looking to add to her income, so it’s no wonder she’s happy about having a new student. “He’s a coworker of Roger’s who’s going through a messy divorce.” Roger is Lydia’s husband, and he’s a construction worker with a great body. Hey, I’m a woman with healthy sexual appetites, and there’s nothing wrong with looking at the candy in the window, even if I’m on a diet. Which I am in this case because I most emphatically do not fuck around with my friends’ partners. “His name is Liam, and, man. The stories I could tell you about his ex would curl your hair.”

“No, they wouldn’t,” I retort. “I’m Asian.” After Lydia’s laughter subsides, she opens her mouth, but then shuts it again. She’s not given to gossiping about her students because she takes her position as teacher very seriously.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter one, part two

Chapter One; Part Two

When I open the door to my house, I hear a steady, high-pitch meowing, intermittently punctuated with lower growls. I slip off my three-inch, ruby-red heels and wince in relief once they’re off. I have wide-ass feet, and even the most generous shoes feel better off than on. I follow the sounds up the stairs until I reach my bedroom. Both my cats are staring fixedly out the window. Onyx, a tiny five-pound fluff-ball is the one doing the high-pitch mews. Jet, her twenty-pound litter brother who is all muscle and her protector, is standing behind her (his normal position), emitting the low growls. I flip on the lights, and they don’t even blink. I stare out the window, seeing a small white bunny rabbit twitching its nose at my cats. Onyx reaches a paw towards the bunny, claws out, but I don’t reprimand her because there’s no chance she can harm the bunny through the window.

“Hey, kids! I’m home.” I ruffle the fur on Jet’s neck, and he slowly turns his face towards me, his eyes slit into a predatory stare. They dilate normally as he tucks his head into my palm. It barely fits, and I marvel as always at how panther-like he is. “How’s my big boy doing?” Jet purrs in response before I turn my attention to Onyx. “How’s my baby girl tonight?” She abandons her prey and scurries over to me, leaping into my waiting arms. I know by now to have my arms outstretched when she comes my way because she launches herself at me whenever the mood hits her. I adopted my cats eight years ago, when they were six months old. For the first day, Jet sulked in a box I had placed in the closed off dining room, only venturing out to use the litter box. He refused to come out to eat, so I eventually placed a food bowl and a water bowl in his box. He was content to stay in that box, his enormous gold eyes shining in the dark. Onyx, on the other hand, wandered around the dining room, sniffing everything she could reach. After a half hour, she was sitting at the door, meowing to be let out. I had read that they should be kept in a closed area for twenty-four hours, but Onyx never got that memo. I spent about an hour with them before going to do other things. When I returned and opened the dining room sliding doors, I was greeted by a tiny ball of black fur hurtling through the air. I immediately reacted and caught her, thankfully, but that was the beginning of a lifelong pattern that continues to this day.

“Mrrrrreow!” Onyx trills as she turns her heart-shaped face up towards mine, her emerald green eyes full of sleep. I call her my princess, and she does everything she can to live up to that name. I drop a kiss on her satiny nose, and she closes her eyes before promptly falling asleep. I set her on the bed without waking her, and she curls up in a tight ball. Jet hops up on the bed next to her, wraps his body around her, then falls asleep as well. I watch them for several seconds because they are the true loves of my life, and it warms my heart that they are so devoted to each other. They were actually part of the friction between Tessa and me. She was solidly a dog person and didn’t care for cats at all. I like dogs, but I know myself well enough to realize that I would be shitty for any dog living with me. I work eight hours a day, and by the time I get home, all I want to do is curl up on the couch, blog or read, and then drift off to sleep with my two cats. It wouldn’t be fair to a dog to be forced to live that kind of life, and I would resent a dog if I had to walk him or her every day. Tessa used to complain that my cats didn’t like her, which was actually true. The first time she met them, Onyx hissed at her and wouldn’t let Tessa pet her. Jet muscled up behind Onyx and simply glowered at Tessa. He allowed Tessa to pet him, but he didn’t lean into it as he normally would. To be fair to them, it was clear that she was uncomfortable with them. Plus, she patted Jet instead of petting him, which most cats don’t enjoy.

I tiptoe out of the bedroom and make my way back downstairs. I’m hungry, so I open the fridge to see what I can find. I tend to forget to go grocery shopping until all I have in the fridge is a rotten onion and a container of spoiled milk. However, I had replenished my stock a day or two ago, so I have plenty of choices. I take a minute and ask myself what I want. I have a history of eating disorders, so I try to ask my body what it needs before eating. Unfortunately, my body is a three-year-old child, and it usually tells me what it wants, not what it needs. What it wants is tons of chocolate. What it needs is fruits and vegetables. I make myself a ham sandwich on whole wheat bread with spinach, mustard, and sliced tomatoes. I pour myself a glass of Diet Coke before taking my snack into the living room. I settle down on the couch, pulling my laptop onto my lap.

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Blogging my murder; chapter one, part one

Chapter One; Part One

“I am too fucking old for this,” I grumble, lifting my Diet Coke to my lips. I glare around me at all the gyrating bodies, pissed off that they are oblivious to my plight. I had recently turned forty-five, and I am feeling every year of it.

“Lighten up, Liang!” Julianna shout in my ear over the blare of Purple Rain. First Ave is doing yet another Prince tribute, which seems to happen once a week since he died. “You’ve been an utter bitch since you broke up with Tessa. I thought getting your groove on would cheer you up.”

“Don’t mention that cunt’s name to me,” I say, my face darkening. It’s been three weeks since I caught my long-term girlfriend in her bed with her dog walker, and it still stings as if it had happened an hour ago. “I want to forget that I was ever stupid enough to be with her.”

“That’s why we’re here. We’re gonna hook you up with some cutie to fuck the pain away.” Julianna is scanning the crowd as she talked, which gives me a moment to check her out. She’s my age, but a good four inches shorter than my 5’7”. She has to be fifty pounds lighter as well, which sometimes makes me self-conscious about being around her. Her cropped black hair hugs her delicate features, and her large brown eyes sparkle with mischief. She’s ascended from Japanese royalty, whereas I’m from hardy Taiwanese peasant stock. I’m unhappily aware of my chunky thighs under my maroon mini-dress with spaghetti straps. Julianna is wearing a clingy sapphire blue mini-dress that accentuates her slenderness, and she is garnering several longing glances from people of all sexual orientations. Any time I bring it up to her, she counters with how jealous she is of my hourglass figure and my lush, waist-length hair. Our mutual appreciation society is one reason we’ve been best friends for twenty years.

“Dude. I can’t even think about fucking.” I finish my Diet Coke, wishing it were something stronger. I’m past my days of imbibing, however, as it made me do stupid shit I always regretted in the morning. I got my first tattoo—a yin-yang on my ass—in that way, and while I didn’t regret getting a tattoo because I’d wanted one for years, impulsively getting one when you’re drunk at nearly midnight isn’t recommended. It turned out horribly, and I was glad it was in a place where I could easily hide it. As soon as I could afford it, I had it covered with a melting sun a la Dali.

“Don’t lie to me, Liang,” Julianna retorts, her eyes laughing at me. “You can always think about fucking.” She slams down a gin and tonic before picking up her next one. She pauses, sets it down, and sips at her water instead.

“Well, it has been almost a month,” I snicker, looking around the room. “The problem is, anyone under thirty looks like an unformed peach to me. I know it’s prejudiced of me, but I have no interest in what they have to say.”

“Not everyone is under thirty,” Julianna says. She points in the direction of a Latina with curves to rival mine. “She looks closer to our age.”

“She’s also grinding on that guy who’s obviously her boyfriend,” I say, nodding at the bald black guy with a passing resemblance to Ving Rhames who is grabbing the Latina’s round ass and pulling her close as Prince sings about how he would die for us, but only if we want him to.

“Girl, you know that don’t mean a thing.” Julianna is a firm believer that it’s each woman for her own, and she wins that fight more often than not.

“I’m not like you, Araki. I have morals.” I stare at Julianna, then we both simultaneously burst into laughter. This is an old joke between us, and it cracks us up every time. “Besides, that guy could mop the floor with me without breaking a sweat. I do not want to mess with him.”

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Trip on This: Epilogue

Epilogue

In a rare occurrence, the sun is shining all across San Francisco.  There are throngs of reporters camped out in front of the mayor’s home, hoping to catch a glimpse of Sam Davies’s family since they don’t have access to the man himself.  Television, newspaper, magazines.  Regional, local, national.  Patricia, Sam Jr., and Eddie have become prisoners in their own home.  They don’t dare to go out except to run to Safeway in the middle of the night, not even to attend school.  Patricia’s mother has moved in with the family to take care of her grandchildren.  None of them will speak to the media about what’s happened, not even to make the obligatory ‘no comment’ comment.

“In a stunning turn of events, the mayor has been arrested for the recent murders…”

“He’s charged with framing an innocent woman…”

“The mayor, his lawyer, several of his men, the chief of police, the editor-in-chief of the Chronicle have all been charged…”

“A kidnapping/pedophile ring…”

“The city is besides itself…”

“Special election…”

“Emergency election…”

“Photographs, documents, DVDs…”

“The mayor raped and murdered his own daughter five years ago…”

“His lawyer taped it…”

“Delilah Wire is completely exonerated…”

“Victim of a malicious plot…”

“I’d advise her to sue…”

San Franciscans are shocked by what’s being revealed on a daily basis.  They can’t believe that Sam Davies could have been involved in such heinous deeds.  Since the chief of police is involved as well as other cops and since it’s a federal case, the FBI have taken over.  No one trusts the SFPD to take care of the mess—a mess in which they had a hand in creating.  People aren’t talking about anything but the scandal on the streets of San Francisco.  The Republicans are quietly gloating, of course, but publicly, they restrain themselves.  Even the most ardent right-wingers, however, would never have wanted little girls to come to harm in order to further their cause.  People are shocked.  No one can quite believe the magnitude of the situation.  An evil like that should be able to be felt, to be seen, to be scented.  It’s beyond comprehension how the evil had been allowed to exist in their midst so peacefully for so many years.  They will continue to ponder this for a very long time.

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Trip on This: Chapter Sixteen (Part Two)

Chapter Sixteen (Part Two)

“Where the hell is he?”  Mowgli grumbles, his right leg bouncing up and down as he sits on the bed.

“He’s got ten minutes,” Trip reminds him, looking pointedly at her watch.  “Chill, Mowgli.  I’m going to check on our friend next door.”  She slips out of the room and enters next door where she left O’Reilly.  He is apparently sleeping or resting or dead.  “Hey, Caleb,” Trip says, poking O’Reilly’s bloodied temple with her finger.  “You still with us?”  His eyes fly open and dilate in terror.  There is a strong smell of urine and shit, and the skin around the makeshift gag in his mouth is chafed.  “Still with us, I see.”  Trip prods his temple again, and he flinches away from her.  “I’ll be back, big guy.”  Trip salutes O’Reilly, turns off the lights, and leave the room.  She isn’t worried about him being found because she’s left explicit instructions that the room not be entered during her stay.  A crisp hundred dollar bill had ensured that her request would be honored.  She goes back into the room where she’s to meet the mayor.

“Well?”  Mowgli is puffing on a cigarette, even though it’s a non-smoking room.  He ashes on the floor, not seeming to notice or care.

“He’s still with us,” Trip says, holding out her hand.  Mowgli hands over the cigarettes with reluctance.  “You don’t smoke,” Trip states, sliding a Camel out of the pack.

“I do now,” Mowgli says simply, sucking on his cigarette as if it were an oxygen tube.  Five minutes later, there is a knock on the door.

“Show time,” Trip says, stubbing out her cigarette in a glass.  She opens the door cautiously, making sure it’s just the mayor and Andretti; it is.  “Welcome, Mr. Mayor,” Trip says, gesturing the mayor to enter.  “DiCalvo,” she adds, staring hard at the man who is the cause of her misery.

“Andretti,” he corrects her nervously, his face already sweating.  “Lucien Andretti.”

“I believe you have something of mine,” Davies says coolly, looking at her in disdain.  He is taller and skinnier than he appears on television, well over six-feet with no spare fat to be seen.  His skin is the color of mahogany, and his black hair is streaked with gray, but neatly clipped.  It’s hard to see his eyes behind the Ray-Bans he’s wearing, but the best bet would be that they’re not smiling.  He is wearing a suit, and he looks around him in contempt as he steps into the room.

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Trip on This: Chapter Sixteen (Part One)

Chapter Sixteen (Part One)

“The cop on the case is clean,” Mowgli informs Trip late Monday morning.  “I managed to finagle a meeting with him, and he’s not one of the assholes.”

“You sure about that?”  Trip asks, rubbing her eyes.  She hasn’t slept well all week, and it’s beginning to catch up to her.

“As sure as I can be,” Mowgli says with a sigh.  He’s not as certain as he’d like to be, but he doesn’t let Trip know that.  “He wanted the evidence right away, but grudgingly agreed to wait until this afternoon.  He said if he doesn’t hear from me by four o’clock, though, he’s tracking me down.”

“Did he suspect who you were?”  Trip asks, standing up to stretch her back.  Suddenly, she feels ten years older than her actual age, and she’s itching to do something to change that.

“I’m sure he did,” Mowgli says dryly.  “I’m not easy to disguise.  When I first walked into the station, he had his hand on his gun but as we continued talking, he eased up.  The photos I showed him of his chief helped.  He hates the prick.”  Showing the detective pictures of the chief raping little girls was a calculated risk, but one that both Mowgli and Trip had felt would reveal pretty quickly where Detective Beauregard stood.  After all, if the cop had been bent, he still would need Mowgli free to get his hands on all the evidence.  That was what they had been banking on, anyway.

“So he’ll play it our way?”  Trip asks, looking out the window.  The sun is shining, but she still feels cold.  She rubs her arms to perk up her circulation.

“Reluctantly.  He wanted me to go in with a wire, but I told him I had it covered.  He really doesn’t like not knowing where the meeting will be going down, but I made like a clam.”  Here, Mowgli presses his lips together to show his crustacean imitation.

“Does he know I’m involved?”

“Not explicitly, but he’s a smart boy.  I’m sure he figured it out.”  Mowgli pauses and breaks out into a smile.  “He’s cute, too.”

“Mowgli, this is not the time to be thinking about your love life,” Trip scolds, picking up the ‘room service’ menu and scanning it.

“I’m not,” Mowgli retorts, sliding an arm around Trip’s shoulders.  “I’m thinking about yours.  The detective bats for your team, not mine.”

“Even less relevant,” Trip blazes, sliding out from under Mowgli’s arm.  “We don’t have time for that nonsense.  Besides, I’m a fugitive from justice, remember?  And in my day job, I’m a repo man.  Cops and robbers do not mix.  What do you want to eat?”  They drop the topic of cops as they wait for their food to be delivered.  Neither particularly feels like venturing into the cafeteria or, God forbid, out of the hotel for something to eat.  They are focused on the job at hand and if everything goes right, it should all be over this afternoon.

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Trip on This: Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

Sunday night.  Trip and Mowgli have to wait until the day after viewing the pictures and discs because they needed to do some prep work.  This is not a situation that they want to walk into without carefully planning what they’re going to do.  Both recognize the volatile nature of what they’re about to do and want to try to account for all the ways things could go wrong.  Neither of them will admit to nerves, but they both know that the odds against the two of them are infinite.  The only thing on their side is that they have the element of surprise.  As long as they hadn’t known who was in charge of the whole operation, they had been at the mercy of the assholes.  Now, the worm has turn, and the hunters have become dead meat.  They work in grim silence, not wanting to jinx the expedition with needless verbiage.  Once in awhile, Mowgli would start to say something only to be cut off by a glare from Trip.  She is used to working solo, and it’s bothering her to have to rely on someone else, even if it’s Mowgli.  Finally, it’s time.

Trip plays a version of a con to find out where O’Reilly is—she has Mowgli call him on his cell phone, pretending to need a lawyer, panicked.  At first, O’Reilly doesn’t want to talk to Mowgli, but Mowgli manages to convey the urgency of his situation.  He accomplishes this by sheer volume—O’Reilly finally decides to talk to Mowgli simply because it’s the most expedient way of getting Mowgli off the phone.  After Mowgli babbles for ten minutes about some made-up legal situation, he manages to finagle where O’Reilly will be and elicits O’Reilly promise to meet Mowgli for ten minutes.  As she might have guessed, O’Reilly will be at his—and Andretti’s—favorite watering hole—Tosca’s.  It’s not Trip’s sort of place, but she’s willing to put up with it if it nets her what she wants—O’Reilly.  Of course, Mowgli gives O’Reilly a fake name and of course, Mowgli isn’t going to show up, but O’Reilly doesn’t know that.  Mowgli and Trip high-five after Mowgli hangs up the phone.

For the occasion, Trip is wearing the shortest white leather mini-skirt she has, a bright purple leather halter top that securely covers her tattoo, thigh-high leather boots the exact same shade as her top with three-inch heels and a long, white leather trench coat.  She also has on elbow-length gloves the same color as her boots and halter top.  It is a look that worked well for her when she was on the streets and by the admiring glances she’s garnering at Tosca’s, it’s still a look that works well.  She’s wearing the platinum wig, but has made up her face—read, her eyes—to look ‘extra-Oriental’ just for O’Reilly.  The only thing marring her look is the oversized plum-colored bag she’s toting, but it’s a necessity.  She is confident that she looks nothing like her normal self nor the other self that shadowed O’Reilly the other day into this very bar.  To prove her point, she smiles widely at Seamus who is working the bar and obviously doesn’t recognize her.

“Wow, aren’t you the vision now,” Seamus grins at her, discreetly checking her out.  “What’ll you be having to drink, darlin’?  First one on the house.”  Trip is at the end of the bar nearest the door whereas O’Reilly is at the far end, drinking what looks to be a martini with three olives.

“White Russian,” Trip says in a little-girl’s voice.  She bats her eyelashes at Seamus who is loving her performance.  The healthy dose of cleavage doesn’t hurt.

“Aw, darlin’, you don’t be wanting that,” Seamus cajoles her.  “How about a Irish coffee?  It’s what we’re famous for, you know.  And I, being Irish, make it the best of anyone.”

“Why not?”  Trip coos, tilting her head to the side.

“What’s a girl like you doing by your lonesome?  I’d think the boys would be busting down your door.”  Even though there are Irish coffees lined up on the bar, Seamus ignores them to make one fresh. He places it in front of Trip with a flourish.

“Sometimes, a girl just wants to be alone, you know?”  Trip says, sipping daintily from the Irish coffee.  “I love boys, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nice just to be.”

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Trip on This: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

They have it—the evidence needed to nail the mayor.  Sam Davies—the fucking hypocrite and so much more.  First, there’s Blanche’s final note written a few days before she died.  She finally uses his name instead of calling him ‘sweetie’, which, of course is not proof in and of itself.  She writes how if they have this letter, then she really is dead, and her lover, Davies, is the instigator behind it.  She implores the reader to ‘do the right thing’ and make sure that he’s stopped.  It seems that Blanche had an attack of conscience as she prepared to meet her maker.  The last sentences are smudged, most likely by her tears.

 

He is a monster.  I didnt want to believe it, but now I finally do. 

 

Trip and Mowgli fortify themselves before viewing the DVDs.  They know that this is the end of the line, which means that whatever they are about to see will most likely be even worse than the photos.  The sleeves are labeled ‘Wild Nights’ and are dated, ranging over the past five years.  Chances are she stole a selection of DVDs which—hopefully—indict everyone involved.  Trip and Mowgli sit and stare at the discs dumped on Trip’s bed for perhaps five minutes or longer.  Neither wants to actually play one of the damn things, but they know they are only prolonging the inevitable.  They pop the first one in and prepare to be disgusted.  Initially, it appears as a scene from some frat party with a shot of ‘the boys’ getting ready to go out on the town.  O’Reilly and Peters are starring in this one.

The DVD is more of the same depicted in the photos but worse because now there’s movement and sound.  Even though they keep the volume on low, the screams and cries fill their ears until Mowgli reflexively covers his.  He is squeamish and can’t watch some of the gorier torture, but Trip forces herself to watch every minute of the two-hour DVD, her eyes wide open.  She doesn’t flinch at the graphic images and piteous sounds, but there’s a tightness around her lips that hadn’t been there before.  After it is finished, she pops the next one in before Mowgli can protest or ask to take a break.  She wants to get the viewing done as soon as possible and even if Mowgli bails on her, she’s determined to watch every single damn DVD to see exactly what they’re up against.  She has to sit on her hands from time to time so as to not turn off the disc or at least pause it, but she makes it through the second one.  By this time, Mowgli has turn green and is only watching sporadically.

“Break time,” Mowgli says firmly as soon as disc number two, starring the editor-in-chief of the Chron and the chief of police, is over.

“One more,” Trip replies just as firmly, popping DVD number three into the machine.

“Gotcha,” Mowgli says softly as the mayor’s familiar and photogenic face fills the screen.  “It’s show time.”

After watching the third disc is finished, they do not speak.  Without a doubt, Sam Davies is the vilest man on earth, and he needs to be exterminated like the pestilence he is.  In this DVD, he does things to the eight-year old girl that no one should ever have to experience, and it seems more like a blessing than anything else when he finally kills her by strangling her with his own hands.  Yes, kills her.  Not accidentally, either, in the midst of passion, but coldly, once he has finished his fun with her body.  It is clear that she is not there voluntarily, nor does he handle her with any care.  Only after he kills her does he tenderly stroke her skin, as if to say good-bye.  There is a wrinkle in the middle of the DVD which indicates he’s watched it several times as a DVD is harder to make skip than a video—he is an even sicker man than O’Reilly.

Still not saying a word, Trip ejects the DVD and hurls it across the room.  Fortunately for both of them, the DVD doesn’t shatter.  Trip and Mowgli stare at each other, their faces bleak.  Both of them are children of the streets and have seen the horrible things that humans do to each other, but after viewing that DVD, they don’t consider Sam Davies to be a part of the same species as themselves.  He obviously doesn’t hold himself to the same standards as mere mortals as evidence by the damning disc.  Trip and Mowgli both acknowledge that they are willing to sacrifice everyone else—in other words, allow them to escape—if it means nailing Davies.  They don’t need to discuss it; they can tell by looking into each other’s eyes that it is so.  Ideally, they would love to nail every single one of the bastards pictured, but Davies is the one they’re focused on.

Still not talking, they speed through the other discs in order to determine that hizzoner is featured on more than the one—he is.  Though none of the other footage is as vivid nor as damning as the one of him committing murder.  After discovering that yes, indeed, the mayor is prominently featured on the other discs, Trip puts all the DVDs—save number three—into Mowgli’s bag.  The special disc resides in lone splendor in Trip’s bag.  Now, they have to decide what they’re going to do with the DVDs.  They talk about it, but neither has any concrete ideas.  They are demoralized by what they’ve immersed themselves in.  Mowgli rises abruptly and goes into the bathroom.  Soon, the sounds of the shower running are heard.  Trip stares out the window, though it’s too dark to see anything.  She waits patiently for Mowgli to scrub the slime off his skin which seems to take an inordinate amount of time.  Then again, he still has the sling which might be the problem.  When he returns, he still has an expression of disgust on his face.

“We have to put the DVDs somewhere for safekeeping,” Mowgli finally says.  “And the last packet of pictures.”

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Trip on This: Chapter Thirteen (Part Three)

Chapter Thirteen (Part Three)

“Mowgli, bring the key here,” Trip orders, rising to her feet.  She brushes the dust of her jeans as she waits for her partner in crime.  Mowgli ambles over, key in hand.  When he sees the suitcase, he begins to laugh.

“Bigger than a breadbox,” he snorts, slapping his thigh.  “How the hell did it take us so long to find this thing?”  He slips the key into the lock and it turns.  He throws back the lid, and photos start tumbling out of it.  The thing is stuffed with bundles of pictures of all different sizes.  Trip picks up a bundle and glances through it.  What she sees there causes her to take a closer look.

“What the hell?”  Trip asks, bringing the pictures closer to her eyes.  Mowgli is looking at a few pictures as well, his mouth set in a harsh line.

“Let’s grab this and get out of here,” Mowgli says abruptly, throwing his pictures back into the suitcase with revulsion.  “We’ve been here long enough.”  Trip agrees and tosses in her pictures as well.  They close the suitcase and lock it before Trip stuffs the key in her bra.  Mowgli grabs the strap attached to the handle and starts wheeling the suitcase behind him.

“Hey, what’s your hurry?”  Stanley asks them as they rush by.  His brother, Thomas, has joined him while Trip and Mowgli had been excavating.  Thomas is a carbon copy of his brother except with darker hair and three inches more height.  The difference is, he doesn’t talk unless he is forced to.  He nods amicably at Trip and Mowgli then returns to whatever it is he’s doing.  “Don’t have time to chew the fat with an old friend?”

“No,” Trip says, brushing him off.  Mowgli doesn’t elaborate as he’s hot on Trip’s heels, all thoughts of giving Stanley Trip’s number vanished.  They hop in Trip’s car and zoom back to the hotel, careful not to go more than five miles over the speed limit.  It wouldn’t do to get pulled over by the cops with the suitcase full of pictures.  Neither of them say a word as Trip drives, too sickened by their discovery.

“Dump it all out,” Trip orders as soon as they return to the hotel.  She has locked the door to ensure that no one will be walking in unexpectedly on them.  “Every single last filthy picture.  The shitheads!”  Mowgli does as he’s told, spreading the pictures across both his and Trip’s beds.  Then, even though neither wants to do it, they look at the pictures.

Little girls—lots of them.  Mexican girls who can’t be more than fourteen years old, tops.  Naked, mouths parted in silent screams, squirming under the weight of full-grown men.  Girls doing things they shouldn’t even know existed, and being tortured to boot. Girls’ bodies, limp and lifeless.  Dead or unconscious is unclear, but disturbing either way.  Different places, different settings, same stories.  Trip and Mowgli flip through picture after picture, not saying a word.  There is nothing to say that won’t diminish the monstrosity of what has been done, that doesn’t pale besides the reality of evil incarnate.  There are tears running down Mowgli’s face as he looks, but look he does.  These girls deserve to have someone pay attention to their shortened lives—even if it’s only to mourn their passing.

Fortunately, the men were arrogant enough to allow their faces to be photographed except for in the snuff pictures.  Arrogant enough, or sick enough because they wanted trophies of their conquests.  There are Peters and O’Reilly and, oh, shit, the chief of police.  There is the editor-in-chief of the Chron as he holds a girl’s head to his cock.  He is grinning, mugging for the camera as if he’s going for a walk in the park instead of raping a little girl.  DiCalvo or Andretti or whatever his name is, is not pictured, so he must be the clean-up man.  He might also be the photographer. The pictures are in color, which makes the degradation even more vivid.  There is one series of stills of O’Reilly doing unspeakable things to a girl who can’t be older than ten.  Mowgli bolts to the bathroom from where retching sounds can be heard.

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