Tag Archives: chapter eight part two

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter eight, part two

“Ms. Chen?”  It was Detective Bradley, and he was with another officer who wasn’t the other detective.  “Detective Bradley and Officer Johnson.  May we come in?”  The detective was glowering at me, though it seemed a bit perfunctory.  The officer, on the other hand, kept his face bland.

“This way.”  I gestured for them to follow me into the living room where my parents and Rafe were sitting.  I introduced everybody, then waited.

“Everybody here knows what you discovered?”  Detective Bradley barked at me, his tone hard.  When I nodded, he grunted in frustration.  “You should have called us right away,” he said, struggling to keep his tone even.  “The less people who know, the better.”

“We won’t tell anyone, Detective,” my mother said stiffly, her hackles bristling.  Anyone attacking her cub had to answer to her.

“You better not,” Detective Bradley rumbled ominously.  “This is police business, you know.”  I couldn’t believe he actually said that, but he didn’t seem a man of great imagination.  We all agreed not to mention what we’d found to anyone, and he had to be satisfied with that.  He still looked disgruntled, but he let it go.  “I’d like to speak to Ms. Chen alone,” Detective Bradley said, his eyes on the giant mouse head.  “Officer Johnson will be taking notes for me.”

“Ok, but we’ll be right in the kitchen,” my mother said, frowning at the detective.  Rafe glared at Detective Bradley as well before following my parents out of the room.

“Now, tell me what happened,” Detective Bradley said as Officer Johnson pulled out a pad and a pen.  I invited them to sit down, which they did in the hardback chairs.  I sat on the couch, then immediately wished I hadn’t.  It put me at a serious disadvantage.

I plunged into my narrative with a bit of judicious editing.  I told the detective what Mrs. Rodriguez had said to me and how I figured out what it meant.  I assured him that there was nothing in the Daphne head, which was what led me to believe that Lydia had hidden whatever it was in my head.  By this time, I had almost forgotten the officer taking notes and focused my concentration on Detective Bradley.  After some hesitation, I told him about my conversation with Tommy and handed over the pictures.  Detective Bradley leafed through them, expressionless, before passing them onto Officer Johnson.  The latter wasn’t quite seasoned enough to keep his face blank as he looked through the pictures, but he’d probably acquire that in time.

Continue Reading

Plaster of Paris; chapter eight, part two

When I do return to the living room, Lyle is ready to take me to the mat.  I can tell by looking at him that he’s itching for a fight.  It saddens me because I like him very much, and I don’t want to ruin our budding friendship.  He demands to know why he has to hear from the inspector that I’ve fucked his boyfriend, and while I understand his pain, I’m not about to roll over and play dead.  If he has a beef, it’s with Paris for not telling him as I haven’t slept with Paris in years.  I hope that Lyle will let it go, but he won’t.  It’s not enough to know that Paris and I haven’t slept together in a long time; he has to know exactly when was the last time I had sex with Paris.  He also insists on knowing how many times Paris and I have slept together, which is even more of an asinine request—order.  I press my lips together; I’ll be damned if I let Lyle browbeat me into ‘confessing’ my sins.

Lyle throws a fit when I refuse to answer his questions.  I suggest that he get over himself because whatever happened between Paris and me is in the past.  Furthermore, perhaps Paris was right not to tell Lyle seeing how he’s reacted to the information.  I dress him down completely, the tension of the past few days suddenly releasing.  I know I’m not saying the right things nor am I being tactful, but I’m tired beyond belief and cannot control what I’m saying.  Lyle starts ranting that the inspector is right about me fucking anybody if I’ll fuck my own best friend.  That does it!  Any vestige of guilt or pity I have for him because he hadn’t known about Paris and me has vanished.  He’s acting like a prima donna over something that happened a lifetime ago, and it’s beginning to piss me off.  I bound across the room and slap him soundly across his face.

“You listen to me, Lyle Kingston, and you listen good,” I hiss at him.  I’m fed up with his pettiness.  My best friend is in the hospital, and I don’t need to dig up ancient history.  “Paris and I have slept together, yes.  It’s not something I’m ashamed of, but it’s not something that I flaunt, either.  We know we are not good partners; we know we are infinitely better as friends.  You want to know the last time I had sex with Paris?  The night he watched Brett die, that’s when!”  Lyle’s face changes, and he tries to speak, but I won’t let him.  He wants to hear the gory details, then he’s going to hear them.  “The last year was total agony, but I expect you know that.  Paris had to do everything for Brett and didn’t dare leave him for more than an hour at a time.  You remember that, don’t you, Lyle?  How absolutely draining it is to watch a lover die from AIDS?  Little things like changing the catheter?  Big things like waking up in the middle of the night afraid your lover is dead?  First the body goes, then the mind goes until he’s nothing more than a walking corpse.  He should have died six months before he did, but his body just wouldn’t give up.  Paris was there every step of the way.  I helped out as much as I could, but it wasn’t enough.”  By now, there are tears running down Lyle’s cheeks as well as my own.  It had been so hard to stand helplessly by and watch my best friend go through such excruciating pain.  I see that same pain on Lyle’s face and wish I hadn’t reminded him.  However, I knew he wouldn’t be able to understand about Paris and me if I hadn’t put it in the proper context.

Continue Reading

Rainbow Connection; chapter eight, part two

I slip into the building.  The receptionist is on the phone and she holds up her finger in a one-minute gesture.  I look around me and spy a list of numbers on the receptionist’s desk.  It’s the phone numbers for all the employees of the clinic.  I don’t know how to snag it without her knowledge.  She turns her back briefly and without thinking, I grab the sheet of paper.  I walk quickly to the bathroom and lock myself in a stall.  I scan the list to see if anything sparks my memory.  I dismiss the men’s names outright which leaves me with twenty or so names.  I concentrate on the last names and don’t see anything until I hit the ‘T’s’.  There is a Leticia Torres.  The name rings a bell.  It’s the woman I saw interviewed on television, the sister of Rosie.  The piece of paper says she’s an outreach worker.  I snort at the catchall phrase, but I pull out a piece of paper and a pen from my purse and scribble her name and number down.

I return to the lobby where the receptionist is still on the phone.  I slip the sheet back on to her desk without her noticing.  I wait for her to get off the phone, thinking of a cover story in the meantime, hoping I don’t run into Carol.  I am too wired to sit and wait, so I look at some of the reading material.  There is literature for different social services, none of which seems very interesting.  There are a couple of children’s magazines as well, and these are well-thumbed with pages missing.  I look at the corkboard on the wall closest to the door.  There are advertisements for roommates, for therapy with sliding scales, for safe places.  I wonder how many of these services get used.  Despite the unrelenting cheeriness of the place, I sense an underlying sadness which isn’t easily chased away.  There is a woman in the lobby who hasn’t looked up once since I entered.  A white woman with straggly blond hair, thin to the point of anorexic, with an eye so blackened, it’s swollen shut.  She looks to be in her early twenties, but has already given up on life.

“Lou Ellen Barker,”  The receptionist calls out in a clear tone.  The white woman starts, jumps up from her chair and hurries over to the desk.  Her voice is too meek for me to hear, but she’s ushered into the back office area in a manner of minutes.  The receptionist turns her attention to me.  “Ma’am.  How can I help you?”  Ma’am?  I swallow my outrage at the form of address and smile at her.

“I’d like to see Leticia Torres, please,” I say with my best diction.

“Why?”  The receptionist does not smile at me.  She is a thin, black woman with exquisite cheekbones.  Herr eyes are hard, however, and her lips are set.

“Um, it’s about her sister,” I stutter.  I wasn’t expecting a hostile response to my request, and I’m thrown by it.

“Uh huh.”  The receptionist is not giving an inch.

Continue Reading

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

“I’m not really sure.”  He still won’t look at me.  “She wouldn’t talk to me after that.  I assume Moira told Annie I confronted her.”  The truth, but not all of it.  He is sweating again, so I push the issue.

“What did you talk to Moira about the night before the party?”  I have definitely caught him off-guard.  There is a look of panic on his face, and I haven’t even asked him about the supposed attempted rape.

“Who told you I talked to her then?”  The words tumble out of his mouth before he can stop them.  “The bitch!  I wouldn’t have thought she’d have the nerve to tell anyone.”  So it is true.  I look at him expectantly, hoping he’ll fill in the blanks.  It’s a well-known trick of the cop trade to stay silent, forcing the perp to talk.  It works.  “It wasn’t enough that she seduced my daughter, oh no.  She couldn’t be satisfied with just that, could she?  No, she had to do more.  Moira did cocaine once in a while.  Crack.  I bet you didn’t know that.”  I didn’t, but I keep quiet.  Now that he’s finally talking, I don’t want to do anything to stop the flow.  “She only did it recreationally.  I think she thought it made her cool or something.”  I see where this is going, but I want to hear him say it.  “She gave some to my Annie.  Imagine that!  The girl is only twenty-three, and this barracuda gets her hooked on crack.  ‘Just try it,’ she says.  ‘It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt before.’  So my Annie, my innocent daughter who is so in love with Moira, does what she is told.  Before she knows it, she’s shooting up daily.”

“How did she get that kind of money?”  I ask.  Crack, while cheaper than its glamorous cousin, cocaine, is still not cheap if being done every day.

“My ex gave it to her before she realized what Annie was doing with it.  Once it became clear that Annie was using, Ginny—my ex—refused to give her any more money.”  A font of information up to this point, Emil stops.  He doesn’t want to tell me anything else, but I wait him out.  There’s no contest, and he breaks.  “Annie started hooking to make the money to feed her crack habit.”  It is what I’m expecting to hear, but saddens me, nonetheless.  Any residual good feelings I had for Moira drain away; I’m glad I never went on that date with her.

Emil hadn’t been able to put Moira’s treachery out of his mind which is why he met with Moira the night before the party.  He had been brooding about his daughter almost nonstop for three months, and he couldn’t take it any more.  His work was suffering from his lack of concentration; he was having difficulties sleeping at night; he’d lost ten pounds because he couldn’t eat.  It was one reason he was taking a sabbatical next year.  He had to talk to Moira again, if only to give him peace of mind that he’d done everything he possibly could to help his daughter.  He said Moira wasn’t so high-and-mighty when Emil threatened to tell the department about her conquests.  In fact, she looked absolutely panicked until she realized that she had something to threaten him with, too.  She told him she’d turn Annie in to the cops if Emil ratted on her.  Emil’s nostrils flare as he starts breathing harder.  His skin is ashen, and he is panting slightly.  I worry that he will have a heart attack in front of my eyes.  I won’t be able to handle the guilt if I send this man into cardiac arrest.

Continue Reading

Parental Deception: chapter eight, part two

I am still thinking about it as I drive home. I list all the reasons it’s a bad idea, but there’s a small voice in the back of my head saying, “I don’t care. Fuck his brains out.” I try to shut it up, but it refuses to be quiet. Should I even mention it to Rembrandt? I mean, if it’s just going to be one night, why bother? I know I’m rationalizing, however, because I don’t want to deal with the drama of discussing it with Rembrandt. The fact that I want to fuck someone else only a month after starting to date Rembrandt suggests that maybe I need to cool things down with Rembrandt. I’ve already started to feel restless after spending three nights with him, so maybe this is a sign.

“Meow!” Onyx launches herself into my arms, and I catch her effortlessly. I snuggle her to my chest as I slip off my shoes. Jet bumps his head against my shin, and I reach down to ruffle the fur on his head. I’m having dinner with Liz at Sen Yai Sen Lek at six, which means I have to about fifteen minutes before I have to leave again. I’m excited to see Liz because I haven’t seen her since she left for Philly a year and a half ago. I give my babies their treats and lots of fuss before taking off again. I arrive at Sen Yai Sen Lek at ten minutes to six, which means I have to wait for at least ten minutes, and probably twenty. Liz is perennially late for social events, and it’s something I tease her about to this day. Fifteen minutes later, she walks in. Her red curls are swept up on top of her head, and her emerald eyes are sparkling behind her glasses. She’s wearing a deep green dress that brushes her knees, and she looks fantastic.

“Megan!” Liz calls out, a wide grin crossing her face.

“Liz!” I jump up, run over to her, and hug her hard. We both start babbling at each other as we make our way to the table I had already snagged.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” Liz asks as she studies the menu.

“Surprisingly good,” I reply. I’ve already decided on my order, so I don’t pick up my menu. “I met Rembrandt’s mother and brothers plus partners and children for lunch, and then I brought him to Jasmine’s for dinner. Which was fine except that man was there. How about you?”

“Thanksgiving was fantastic! It was my family and Frankie’s family, which was about fifty people. Hey, he’s Italian, and so is my mom.” Liz sets her menu aside, and the server rushes over to take our order. Once she’s gone, Liz continues. “Day after Thanksgiving with my father wasn’t as fun because we flew out at the crack of dawn to LA, and he was stinking drunk. I think he was nervous being around Rosa for the first time in a few years.”

“Sorry. That must have sucked.” I sip at my Diet Coke, then at my water.

“I was glad to leave, I can tell you that much.” Liz drinks her Thai iced tea and sighs. She’s had a rocky relationship with her father since he left her mother for another woman when Liz was ten years old. It’s one of the things we bonded over—our fathers leaving our families.

“I bet.” The server comes with our appetizers, fried tofu and chicken skewers. We both take a few minutes to heap our plates with both.

Continue Reading

Marital Duplicity; chapter eight, part two

“Hello, Megan. It’s so good to see you again.” Reverend Yang clasps one of my hand in both of his. He’s wearing a nice Armani suit, black, and he’s quite a dashing figure. I’m wearing a black dress, but one with a high-cut neck. It falls well past my knees, and it covers most of my assets. I have my hair up in a severe bun, and I’m wearing gold studs in my earlobes. I’ve taken pains to look as plain as possible, but it doesn’t stop the gleam in Reverend Yang’s eyes. I sigh internally. I was hoping to do this the easy way, but, no.

“Reverend Yang. Yes.” I shake his hand before extracting mine. I sit on the couch and put my purse next to me. Whatever else he might be, Reverend Yang is not stupid. He pulls up his chair and sits across from me. I soften my tone a bit and say, “I keep thinking about what we’ve talked about. My relationship. The troubles. You know, my sister and her husband have been my inspiration as far as relationships go. They’ve been married thirty years.”

“Oh, yes. Bob and Jasmine are marital role models to us all.” Reverend Yang’s smile is forced, and his eyes are grim. “May we all be so lucky in love.”

“I know you can’t talk about your counseling sessions, but you must know Bob is missing.” I pat Reverend Yang’s hand, and he reflexively squeezes mine in return.

“As you said, I cannot talk about what is revealed to me in my counseling sessions,” Reverend Yang says. His presses his lips together tightly, and I realize I’m going to have to ratchet up the pressure. I start by unbuttoning the top button of my blouse, and Reverend Yang swallows hard.

“I know, Reverend.” I caress Reverend Yang’s hand. “But, it’s just, Jasmine and I are so worried about Bob. Anything you can tell us about it will really help.” I feel a flash of distaste at my methods, but whatever will get me the information I need.

“I really shouldn’t….” Reverend Yang’s voice trails off as I undo another button. I am not above using my feminine wiles to get what I want, even if I don’t like doing it.

“It’s rather warm in here.” I smooth my hair down and unbutton one more button. I better get what I want soon otherwise I’ll be topless. “I don’t want you to breach confidentiality, Reverend, but I’m at a dead end with my research. I need more information, and I would bet you knew him better than most.” I mop my chest with my handkerchief, and Reverend Yang can’t keep my eyes off my tits.

“Yes, well.” Reverend Yang clears his throat several times before continuing. “I really can’t break a confidence, but I can tell you he was having problems with alcohol.” I blink. I know that, but it’s not what I was expecting. I’m also not sure it has anything to do with Bob being missing. “He admitted that once he starts drinking, he can’t stop. I was trying to help him create a plan to combat that.”

“Is there anything else you can tell me?” I lean forward, giving him a healthy glimpse of my cleavage. He definitely appreciates that, and it takes him several seconds to respond.

“I can tell you he was having a personal problem at work. With a woman.” Reverend Yang places a hand on my thigh, and I let it stay there for a minute before pulling away.

Continue Reading

Trip on This: Chapter Eight (Part Two)

Chapter Eight (Part Two)

“I feel pretty, oh so pretty,” Vandalia is singing as I enter the apartment.  “Why, hello, Trip!  Isn’t this a glorious day?”  She smiles at me in the manner of one who’s just been thoroughly fucked.  “Who would have thought young Greeley would have had it in him?”  She giggles as she waltzes around the kitchen.  “By the way, nice disguise.”  I have shed the wig, but I still look drab in my ‘I’m trying to blend in’ ensemble.  “That’s my wig, isn’t it?”  Vandalia asks, spotting it in my hand.  “Oh well.  It didn’t suit me, anyway.”  I hate talking to people in lust.  They think everything they do, say, and feel is so profound when it’s simply inane.  Without fail, sex brings out the stupid in people—that’s why I tend to stay away from it except as a strict physical release.  Who needs the complicated shit that accompanies romance?

“Got anything to eat?”  I ask, opening the fridge.

“Yes, and thanks for asking how my night was,” Vandalia says waspishly, but quickly regains her sunny mood.  “Can you believe we did it four times in five hours last night?  I feel as if a train has plowed its way through my thighs.”  She giggles again as she continues to hum and sidestep around the kitchen.  “Girl, there’s nothing like a good loving to cure what ails you.”  She flicks her eyes up and down me.  “You look as if you could use a good fuck.”

“What I could use is Andretti’s and O’Reilly’s nuts in a vise,” I growl, pulling a container of egg salad out of the refrigerator.  “Then I’ll work on getting laid.”  The bartender from Tosca’s flits through my mind, but I can’t remember his name.

“Girl, you know what they say,” Vandalia drawls, pointing at me.  “It’s gonna plumb dry up if you don’t use it.”  It’s irritating that Vandalia has seemed to appoint herself my big sister, but I am beholden to her because she’s letting me stay in her apartment, so I keep my mouth shut.

“I’m going to check the news,” I say abruptly, taking the egg salad sandwich I made into my bedroom.  I power up the computer and wait impatiently for my Yahoo! homepage to show its sweet face.  I zip over to the Chron’s webiste, and grit my teeth in anger.  The news I’ve expected to see is there billed as breaking news, and it’s worse than I thought.

“Cops Get A Break!”  The headline screams.  The story goes on to say that a witness has come forth with the information of seeing an Asian woman breaking into the building of one Angelica Sylvian the night she was murdered.  There is a fairly detailed description of me along with a police sketch that, amazingly, looks eerily similar to the real me.  ‘The police state that this woman, placed in her early twenties, is at the very least a witness and at the most, a suspect.  They would like to question her, so she should do her civic duty and turn herself in.’  I have to laugh at the last statement—why in hell would I voluntarily turn myself in knowing what I know?  The writer must be smoking crack to think that I’m going to pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, this is the woman seen breaking into Angelica’s apartment.  How may I help you?’  Even if I don’t show up at the cop shop, they can trace where I’m calling from, and besides, my interactions with Andretti and O’Reilly have convinced me that they have connections in high places, most likely including the cops.  It’s a no-go on me turning myself in, thank you very much.  I check the Examiner as well, which carries the identical story, except, they emphasize even more strongly that I’m a suspect and not just a mere witness.  I curse under my breath, then stop.  Why now?  It’s Thursday, the third day after the murder.  What do the Handy Man and Silver Tongue have to gain by alerting the cops to my presence now?  Is it because they know I’m dogging their every move and are worried that I’m getting too close, or is it something else?  I know they set me up to take a fall for Angel, but what about Evelyn?  What is going down tonight, and am I going to be blamed for that as well?  I find the timing of this ‘news break’ odd, but I can’t figure out what the reason for it is.

“Vandalia?  Can I talk to you a minute?”  I walk out to the living room where Vandalia is watching the soaps.  Instead of sudsy activity, however, there is—you guessed it—breaking news.  She’s watching with rapt attention as the composite sketch of my face appears on the screen.

“That’s you,” she says needlessly, her mouth dropping open in awe.  “I mean, I knew you were in trouble because Roberto told me so, but I never expected…”  Her voice trails off just as my cell phone rings.  I find my bag in the kitchen and fish my phone out of it.  It’s Mowgli.

Continue Reading