Tag Archives: chapter eight part one

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter eight, part one

I arrived at the park a few minutes late, but I didn’t care.  I wasn’t even supposed to be at work, but I had to find out what was happening with the park.  There was an unfamiliar car parked in Eddie’s usual spot.  I wondered who had the gall to use his space.  I glanced at the license plate which said PHILLIP.  There weren’t any employees named Phillip as far as I knew, and besides, none of the employees could afford a vintage Jag.  Black.  Very well taken care of.  Whoever had bought it obviously had money and time.  I admired it for a few minutes before reluctantly deciding that I better get inside.

“Bea!  Thank God you got the message,” Antoinette said to me, gushing as I entered the green room.  “You’re ten minutes late, but that’s ok.  Oh, isn’t it terrible about Eddie?  I’m just all broken up about it.”  She didn’t look broken up to me, but what did I know?

“What message?”  I asked, scanning the room.  All the characters were there, as well as one man who I didn’t recognize.  I gave him the once-over, liking what I saw.  He was almost six-feet tall with dark, wavy brown hair and ice-blue eyes.  The cleft in his chin and the smile on his face warmed his whole visage.  There was a ruggedness about him which I associated with the outdoors.  He appeared to be in his late thirties or early forties, which put him at the outer edge of my age-range.  He was dressed sharply in a nice suit, however, and I couldn’t help but notice the Rolex on his wrist.  Whoever he was, he came from money.  I gave myself a mental shake.  What was I doing drooling over a guy I didn’t know when I had a great boyfriend at home?  Besides, he had a wedding band which made him firmly off-limits.

“I left a message on your cell!”  Antoinette squeaked, looking at me disapprovingly.  “Don’t you ever check your messages?”  Actually, I didn’t.  I hated being a slave to my cell phone.  Antoinette didn’t wait for me to answer, but waved in the direction of the stranger.  “That’s Phillip, Eddie’s brother.  He’s taking over the business.”  I gulped, sneaking another look at Phillip.  This gorgeous creature was related to the repellant Eddie?  I found it exceedingly difficult to believe.  Wait a minute.  Phillip?  Of the Jag Phillip?  Phillip with a Rolex?  If Eddie was so hard-up for money, why hadn’t Phillip loaned him any?

“Um, what’s the meeting about?”  I finally asked, once I wrenched my mind away from the fascinating Phillip.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter eight, part one

I have to go back to the gym tomorrow to find out more about the blond, not to mention try to find Billy.  I ask what Lyle found out about Ursula in order not to have to think about returning to the gym.  Mirabelle did a search on Ursula because she loves doing research, and she knows a few people in the biz.  Turn out, Ursula had exaggerated about her financial assets.  She’s worth about ten million, not the twenty-five or whatever she told us.  Also, she just returned from a weeklong five-state tour.  It was a Midwest swing.  Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and one of the Dakotas.  Lyle and I both shudder with the insularity of true Californians, not able to imagine why anyone would live in the Midwest.  Lyle resumes his narrative, informing me that Ursula’s latest book has been postponed twice.  Her publisher is furious with her, according to Mirabelle, and is threatening to sue her for breach of contract.

Her situation sounds grim, but far from dire.  I clarify that she has money, that she’s not broke, which she isn’t.  However, she won’t be able to spend money at the rate to which she’s rapidly become accustomed.  Lyle lowers his voice to impart the gossip that Ursula has a lover somewhere, but that’s all that Mirabelle knew.  I am taking notes as he talks because it helps me order my thoughts.  Lyle is moody as he finishes reporting because we have all this information and none of it fits together.  Ignoring his temper tantrum, I tell him that the blond girl is the key.  I am beginning to realize that he doesn’t react well under pressure and that it’s nothing personal.  A huge yawn nearly splits my mouth, making me realize that I sleep.  It’s nine o’clock.

“I think I’ll hang here a few more hours, then go home for the night,” I say to Lyle.  “I suggest you do the same.”

“Can I come over to your place?”  Lyle asks, a puppy-dog look on his face.  “I don’t want to be alone.”  I can understand that, as I am feeling the same way.  I nod, then we both go back to the waiting room.  My mom is awake and chatting with the Jensons.  Mr. Jenson is back to impersonating a martinet while Mrs. Jenson is dissolving into a ball of weepy nerves.  Mr. Jenson is patting her stiffly on the back, obviously uncomfortable with attempting to console her.

“Why don’t you guys go home?”  My mother says, shooting me a meaningful look.  When I don’t budge, she adds in Taiwanese, “They’re ready to snap.  You need to get Lyle out of here.”

“Let me just see Paris really quick first,” I say, slipping away.  The officer looks up from the magazine he’s leafing through and nods.  It’s a different officer this time, so I have to give my name again before he lets me inside.  I take my accustomed chair and gaze at Paris for a minute.  Open your damn eyes, I urge him silently, but there isn’t even a flicker.  I vaguely remember something about the chances of recovering being reduced drastically if the victim does not open his eyes in the first forty-eight hours following his trauma.  It’s been about that much time, which means we’re entering the danger zone.

“Don’t you dare leave me,” I whisper, unsure if I’m speaking loud enough for him to hear.  Even if I’m not, I have things I need to say.  “Paris, you’ve been my best friend forever.  I love you more than almost anyone on this earth.  I can’t thank you enough for having my back.”  I pause, not wanting to be melodramatic.  I am stroking his hand which has no feeling to it.  “I promise you, Paris.  I’m going to get the bastard who did this to you.  If it’s the last thing I do.”  I sit, not saying anything else.  My heart is speaking to his, and I’m sure he can hear that message better than any I might vocalize.  I allow myself to feel the pain of his pain.  I relinquish the death grip I’ve had on my control for the last few days.  It’s only in his presence that I feel safe enough to be vulnerable, knowing he won’t take advantage of it.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter eight, part one

“It’s about time, girl!”  Paris coos into the phone.  “I was getting performance anxiety waiting for you to call.”

“Don’t flip out on me,” I caution him as I walk to the well-lit corner of the street.

“What?  Oh my god, you’re hurt!”  Paris screeches theatrically.  He only turns on the camp when it’s the two of us as it is now.  “Miss Thing is probably walking as we speak, ignoring what Sister Paris done told her.”

“Paris, I need you to pick me up.”  I read him my street coordinates, not in any mood to joke.  “Please hurry.”

“I’ll be right there.”  Paris drops the act and clicks off the phone.  As I wait for him, I keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.  I’m afraid the car will come back to try to finish the job, but nothing happens.  I’m able to relax by the time Paris comes barreling down the street towards me in his black Honda Accord.

“Hey,” I say as I drag myself into the car.  I feel as if it ought to be three in the morning rather than nine-fifteen at night.

Of course, Paris wants to know what happened.  I ask where Lyle is and am informed that he’s waiting at the apartment because Paris wanted alone time with me.  He still hasn’t started the car, and I know he won’t move until I give him an explanation.  I take several breaths before blurting out that someone tried to run me over.  I quickly amend the statement, saying that perhaps the person was merely trying to scare me.  Paris, who had started to pull away from the curb as soon as he saw I was going to speak, nearly runs into a lamppost.  I implore him to keep his eyes on the road while I tell him my pitiful saga.  The more I think about it, the angrier I get.  Why is someone trying to run me over?  It’s not like the last time when I actively took a part in the investigation.  I’m trying to keep out of this investigation, but am being targeted just the same—first by the cops, then by the murderer, if that is who tried to run me over.

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Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter eight, part one

“Let’s go,” he says when he appears, forty-five minutes later.  He is looking straight ahead, his lips set in a thin line.  I buckle myself in as he takes off with a screech.  Paris is a good driver, but when he’s angry, he becomes more aggressive.  I wisely keep my mouth shut as I do not want to aggravate him further.  Most of the time, I can jolly him out of a mood, but even I know my limits.  Neither of us speak the entire way home.

When we reach our place, he shuts his door with a slam and marches up the steps to our apartment in silence.  I follow him meekly, not wanting to set him off.  Inside, I head for the fridge and grab two Molson Ices.  I pop the tops and hand one to him.  He strides into the living room and sits on the couch, flicking on the television and rummaging through the channels.  He presses angrily on the remote at the rate of three clicks per second.  I sit next to him, but abandon any hope of actually watching anything.  We sit in silence, drinking our beers.  I sneak glances at him, wondering if I should say something.  I want to be supportive, but I also don’t want to get into his business if he would rather I butt out.  We have been friends long enough for me to know that talking things out is not always the best thing to do with him.  Sometimes he needs to brood before he feels able to discuss the problem.  I let him ruminate all he wants, giving him a wide berth.

“You know what pisses me off?”  Paris finally says, settling on MTV where there is some asinine reality show on.  “The assumption that I took advantage of a lonely older woman, that I’m nothing more than a gigolo.  That damn inspector actually thinks I tried to swindle Max out of her money!”  Paris’s eyes reflect the hurt he’s feeling.  An easygoing guy, he really gets steamed when his niceness is called into question.  Because he is so impossibly good-looking, people have a hard time believing that he could be interested in someone less than gorgeous-looking her/himself.  It’s a stereotype Paris has had to fight all his life, and it ticks him off every time.  The fact that it’s true for the most part doesn’t make it hurt any less.

“Did she say that?”  I ask cautiously. I  don’t want Paris to think I’m questioning his interpretation of events.

“Over and over.  She asked if I was in Max’s will, if I thought I should be, if I was angling to get put into Max’s will, if I knew the contents of Max’s will.  The way she was harping on the will, you’d have thought I wrote the damn thing.”

“It’s her job,” I counsel, wanting to calm Paris down.  I glance at the VCR clock and see that it’s seven-thirty.  “Shit!  I promised Emil I’d go over to his place at eight.”  I jump up from the couch and hurry into the kitchen.  I’m starving, and I want to eat something before I skedaddle.  I grab a Tupperware and open it.  Paris made fajitas for lunch, and there are two left over.  I heat them up, then scarf them down.

“You have one hour,” Paris says sternly as I pass by the living room.  “If I don’t hear from you in an hour, I’m coming after you.  Understand?”

“Are you ok, Paris?”  I ask, pausing.  I hate to leave him while he’s in such a state, but I need to talk to Emil.

“Go,” Paris orders me.  “Now.”

“Let me give you Emil’s address,” I sigh.  I scribble it down along with Emil’s number in case Paris threw away the number and hand the scrap of paper to Paris.

“One hour,” he reminds me, shaking a finger in my face.  I give him a look that tells him what he can do with that finger.  It’s a fifteen-minute walk to Emil’s place, and I savor the night.  Some people refuse to walk in the Mission District by themselves at night, but I relish it.  I like seeing the diverse population that roams the streets—so different from the increasingly homogeneous crowd that litters the Mission during the day.  The tourists still haven’t infiltrated the Mission, but unfortunately, the yuppies have.  However, the Mexicans are loud and proud as well.  I hope they keep the upper hand, but I am doubtful that they will be able to live in peace.  I make it to Emil’s place with five minutes to spare.

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Parental Deception chapter eight, part one

“Meow!” Onyx hurtles through the air, and I catch her as if she’s a football thrown by Fran Tarkenton. Back before he became a Republican asshole, but that’s neither here nor there. She tucks her head under my chin and purrs loudly. Jet saunters over and whaps my shin with his paw. He immediately follows it up with a gentle rub of his head against the same shin, so I allow the hit this one time.

“Time for treats!” I carry Onyx into the kitchen with Jet trotting behind us. I set Onyx on the ground before giving her and Jet their Temptations. I grab a Diet Coke from the fridge before bringing it to the living room. Then, I go upstairs to change into sweats and heave a sigh of relief. It’s been a lot of interaction over the past few days, and I’m happy to be on my own again. With my cats, of course. Who are prancing around me in glee now that I’m home. We go back to the living room, and I check my blog. There are several heartwarming stories of family reconciliation and reunions. BearlyThere writes, “Before this year, I hadn’t talked to my brother or sister in over ten years even though we all live in Denver. Our family fell apart after my mother died because we all felt we deserved certain heirlooms that our mother promised us. Unfortunately, she promised a particular painting to all three of us—not out of maliciousness, but because she didn’t want to disappoint any of us. Unforgivable words were said by all three of us, and we all went our separate ways. A few months ago, my sister called me and said that she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. That shocked the hell out of me because in the back of my mind, I had all the time in the world to reconnect with my brother and sister. I didn’t, and we had Thanksgiving together for the first time in ten years. It was awkward and sad, but also heartwarming and joyful. I got to meet two nephews and three nieces I’d never met before, plus my sister’s wife and my brother’s girlfriend. It was fucking amazing.”

SinsationalShivers reminisces, “I’m from a large Italian family. Our way of showing love is to shout at each other. I’m married to a Norwegian woman, and the first time I met her family, I was floored at how quiet they were. Afterwards, I asked my honey if her family hated me, and she just laughed and said that’s how they are. Conversely, when she met my family, she was wide-eyed as they screamed back and forth. It’s taken five years for us to truly understand each other’s family and by extension, each other. This year, we had a mixed Thanksgiving with her family and mine, and her uncle hooked up with my cousin.” PizzaHo adds, “My mother walked out on us when I was eight. My father told my brothers and me that it was because she hated us. Not him, just the kids. It wasn’t until this year, fifteen years later, that we found out it’s because he was terribly abusive. She always meant to come back for us, but any time she tried, he beat the shit out of her. It’s only because he died a few months ago that she was able to reconnect with us. I couldn’t be happier.” BetterOffTed shares his story as well. “I grew up dirt poor, the fifth out of seven kids of a single mom. Our father died when I was six, and my mom worked three menial jobs just so we could eat—barely—every day. My oldest sister was the mom around the house, and she did all the cooking, cleaning, and tucking us into bed. My oldest brother has had a job of some sort since he was a paper boy at age eleven. We didn’t have much in terms of material goods, but what we had was a shit-ton of love. My mom remarried this year to a man who treats her like a queen, and she’s finally able to take a breath now and then. They’re going to London for a three week vacation, and I could not be happier for them.”

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Blogging My Murder; chapter eight, part one

Chapter Eight; Part One

I sit in the car and check the comments on my latest post about dating. There are a few comments about dating not being worth it, but there are many more that urge me to take a chance. MNborn writes, “After my horrible marriage fell apart, I told everyone who would listen that I was done with men. My ex-husband had been abusive and cheated on me. He was constantly lying about his affairs, and I was a shattered woman by the time the divorce was finalized. Fast-forward three years, and I was in a Barnes & Noble, browsing through the Sci-Fi section. A tall, weedy ginger started talking to me and convinced me to have coffee with him. Coffee progressed to dinner which progressed to dessert in his apartment. Within a week, we had moved in together, and we’ve been together ever since. That was eight years ago.” NoFussNoMuss says, “Dating is bullshit, but spending weekends with my honey is everything. So I put up with the bullshit to get to this place. And, I overlook her flaws by in part by reminding myself that I never, ever want to endure the bullshit of dating again.” SeedSawed gives his opinion as well. “After a bad relationship, my brother took me out to the clubs every weekend over my objections. If it were up to me, I would have stayed home and brooded. So, while I cussed him out at the time, I’m grateful to him now, especially since I met my wife during one of those nights out.”

I shut down the browser and drive to Pinky X’s parents’ house in Plymouth and ring the doorbell. Nobody answers, but I hear rustling inside. I wait several seconds before ringing the doorbell again. I can definitely hear someone. I knock sharply on the door, refusing to go away. I know from experience that Minnesota Nice will kick in sooner or later, and whoever’s inside will open the door before long.

“What?!” The door is yanked open, and Pinky X is before me in the flesh. She’s a solid six feet tall with magenta dreads and ice-blue eyes. She’s slender, but shapely, and she’s wearing torn jeans and a multicolored tank top. A dozen bangles on each arm, and half a dozen earrings in each ear. She’s glaring down at me, but there’s fear in her eyes. I’m puzzled because I’ve never met her before, so why is she afraid of me?

“Pinky X? My name is Megan Liang.” I hold out my hand, but Pinky X just stares at it. I let my hand drop and try not to take it personally. “I’m looking for Simon. Do you know where he is?”

“No. He’s nothing to me. Leave me alone!” Pinky X tries to shut the door, but unfortunately for her, I have my foot in the way. Unfortunately for me, my toes get caught in the crunch, which fucking hurts. Her words suddenly click in my brain, and I understand why she’s so afraid.

“I’m not after him for money. I don’t care about that.” I smile reassuringly at Pinky X, and her shoulders relax a fraction of an inch.

“Come in.” Pinky X opens the door and gestures for me to come in. I take off my shoes and leave them in the hallway, glancing around me as I follow Pinky X into the house. The walls are austere, painted a hospital white, but decorated with impressionist paintings. “Would you like something to drink?” Pinky X asks, her voice polite.

“Diet Coke if you got it?” I ask, taking in as much of the environment as I can without being too obvious about it. The furniture looks fancy, like mahogany or something, and I’m afraid to touch anything. There’s an air of sterility in the air, and there’s no living creature other than us in the house.

“Of course!” Pinky X opens the fridge, grabs two Diet Cokes and pops the top of one of them. She pours it into a crystal glass, adds three ice cubes, and hands it to me. She does the same for herself, adds rum to it, then leads me into the living room. The couch is red suede, and I’m afraid I’m going to spill on it. I sit on the couch and carefully set my glass on a coaster on the coffee table. Pinky X sits in a leather recliner across from me and puts her feet up on an ornate ottoman. “Why are you looking for Simon?” The flash of fear in her eyes again.

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Trip on This: Chapter Eight (Part One)

The morning comes too quickly for Trip’s taste.  She spent a good hour after returning from the Tenderloin watching infomercials to clear her mind.  She hates returning to her stamping grounds because it makes her feel as if she’s only one step away from where she’s trying so hard to leave.  This morning, her head is thumping with the dull regularity of a hangover—which is something she never has.  The again, she hardly ever drinks as much as she did the night before.  She lies in bed pondering her plan for the day.  She needs to talk to Blanche outside her natural habitat, but has a hunch that Blanche will not be as eager to talk to her.  Trip knows that Mowgli is right when he says Blanche will talk to him before talking to her, but Trip needs to be the one to talk to Ms. White.  She wants to do it as soon as possible, but reluctantly admits that it would be better to have Mowgli present when she does so.  It grates her ass to have to rely on someone else, but discretion is the better part of valor and all that.

O’Reilly needs to be talked to as well.  He definitely is in on the bigger picture, however reluctantly.  Trip knows that her ultimate goal is to get to Andretti, but she wants her ducks in a row before she tackles the big man herself.  She wants to make sure that there’s no way the man will slip through her fingers once she tracks him down.  She hauls herself out of bed and takes a shower.  She drinks some juice as she ponders what to do in the morning.  She doesn’t want to barge in on O’Reilly at his place of work, but she wants to make sure she nabs him.  Does that mean following him again?  She sighs at the thought of such tedium.  Today, she is aiming for blending in with her environment and pulls on a pair of jeans, a beige sweatshirt, and sneakers.  She flattens her hair so it hangs around her face in forlorn tufts.  She dabs on makeup to make her face look sallow and unattractive.  It’s not enough.  She goes into Vandalia’s room, and sure enough, there are wigs.  Trip thought she had seen them when she was in Vandalia’s room yesterday. She picks a blond wig cut in the pageboy style and pulls it firmly over her hair.  She nods in satisfaction at her image—nobody would look twice at her.  She slumps over slightly and shuffles her feet as she walks.  After stopping at an ATM to withdraw some cash, she is on her way.

But to where?  Does she really want to stalk O’Reilly again?  She wishes she could talk to Evelyn, but quickly dismisses that thought.  She doesn’t live in the past, and there’s no use regretting what she hadn’t done.  That’s a selfish luxury that she doesn’t have time to indulge in.  She parks her car across from O’Reilly’s office and waits.  As she thinks of what has happened, she grows angrier.  It’s bad enough that this Andretti killed Angel for his boss, whoever that may be, most likely because the girl was having an affair with him, but to kill Evelyn to stop her from divulging what she knew steps firmly across the line.  Trip has a hunch that Blanche will be added to that list if she doesn’t spill her guts.  Blanche probably thinks she’s safer not telling what she knows, but she’s wrong.  It’s up to Trip and Mowgli to convince Blanche to talk to them before O’Reilly and Andretti decide it’s easier to permanently shut Blanche up than it is to continually intimidate her into being quiet.

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