Tag Archives: chapter one part one

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

“Bea, get your ass out there,” Lydia (formerly Linda before she changed her name) Wilkerson barked at me, poking her head in the tiny dressing room.  “You know your shift started at eight.”  She’s a friend of sorts who has higher aspirations.  I didn’t feel very friendly towards her when she pulled her mother superior act on me, I’ll tell you that much.  Fortunately, she usually mellowed after a good dressing down, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to even tolerate her.

“In a minute,” I snapped, procrastinating the degradation of pulling on my giant Maisie Mouse head until the last possible moment.  The heads were basically football helmets with gigantic outer shells attached.  There was so much padding in one of those things, it felt like sticking your head in a basket of towels.  I looked in the mirror at the appalling taffeta skirt sticking straight out from my body.  It had red polka dots sprinkled over a white background and matched nicely with my red t-shirt.  I wore black tights and black patent-leather Mary Janes as a final insult to my dignity.  Yes, my character was patterned after the more-famous mouse who shall remain nameless for litigious reasons, and yes, I had a ‘mousefriend’.  His name was Marvin Mouse, and he looked just as ridiculous in his costume which matched mine except he didn’t have taffeta or polka dots.

“Now, Bea,” Lydia stared meaningfully first at me, then at her watch before pulling her own head back on.  She’s Daphne Duck, but liked to pretend she was the stage manager or something.  Most of the time, we got along just fine.  Once in a while, however, she really chapped my ass.

“It’s Trish,” I reminded her sharply.  For someone who insisted on being called Lydia instead of Linda, she certainly didn’t extend the same courtesy to me even though I hadn’t changed my name.

My mother named me Beatrice after the Beatrice Quimby in the Ramona series.  She loved those books so much, she committed each one to memory and would drive me and my younger sister—yes, named Ramona, but she calls herself Mona—crazy by quoting bits and pieces of the books to us in what she deemed appropriate situations.  My brother Howie—he goes by Owen now—used to plug his ears when mother got on one of her rolls while Henry—Hank, please—would carol at the top of his lungs, but Mona and I were never that daring.  A sunny-natured woman, my mother would explode in wrath if one of us kids dared to suggest that perhaps she could give it a rest.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter one, part one

“Wake up, Rayne.”  I am being shaken, and it’s not a pleasant sensation.

“Go ‘way,” I croak, vainly attempting to elude the hands that are shaking me.

“It’s almost noon,” the voice persists.  “Get up!”  I open one eye to a concerned Paris.  “Saturday.  March,” he adds.  This has been our ritual for the past few months, ever since I’ve been attacked by two murderers in two separate cases.  Every time I awake, I need to be told the time, the day, and the month.  After the first case, Paris would have to awake me from nightmares as I was screaming and thrashing.  Following the second case, I merely oversleep—no dreams.  I’m lethargic, however, no matter how much sleep I get.  Frankly, I prefer the nightmares to this sluggish state.

“I have to go to the gym in half an hour.”  Paris is a personal trainer as well as a part-time model.  He doesn’t do much of the latter as he’s more focused on taking care of me, his time at the gym, and his relationship with Lyle, his boyfriend.  “You should come work out.”  I used to work out daily before the first attack.  Ever since, I haven’t worked out hardly at all.  Paris is trying to ease me back into it, claiming it’ll help my soul as well as my body.  Even the name, ‘N Sound Shape on Valencia is meant to be soothing, though I find it more irritating than anything else.

“I’ll try,” I say lamely.  We both know I won’t go, but we keep up the pretense.

I look at Paris with real fondness.  He has been my best friend since our sophomore year in high school in Oakland when he chanced upon me cowering away from a group of black girls who were intent on beating me up.  One of them claimed I stole her man, which was a laugh.  I was virgin with men until college when Paris helped rid me of that burden.  We’ve slept together a few times since then, but we’ve both realized that we make much better friends than lovers.  He’s seen me through hard times such as my father dying in a horrible car crash our sophomore year in college as well as the recent spate of murders.  In turn, I’ve helped him deal with his mother who is highly religious and disapproves of his ‘lifestyle’ as she phrases it, the death of his lover from AIDS, his recent discovery that he was adopted, and the more recent death of his baby sister.

“I’ll have brunch made by the time you get up.”  Paris gives me a look, then disappears, not quite closing the door behind him.  I sigh and sit up—no use trying to go back to sleep.  My stuffed pig, Wilfred, whom I’ve had since I was ten—a birthday present from my parents—who has the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen is lying next to me.  I use him in times of distress, though he usually sits on my bookshelf.  I kiss him on his snout and set him back on the bookshelf.  I get out of bed and stretch.  I am wearing sweats, though I prefer to sleep in the nude.  Ever since I’ve been embroiled in two murder cases, I’ve slept in sweats.  I’m hoping to go back to nude one day.

After my daily ablutions, I stare hard in the mirror.  For some reason, the aftermath of the second murder case hasn’t been as traumatic as the first, but I still don’t look as good as I normally do.  My ear-length black hair has regained its luster, but my eyes are guarded.  My lips rarely curve into a smile these days, not without extreme provocation.  I have kept the twenty pounds off that I lost during the trauma of dealing with the first murder case, and lost five more after the latest one.  The first ten pounds were fine to lose—the last fifteen make me look anorexic.  I still am having trouble eating, as most of what I ingest seems to want to go out the same way it goes in.  I was making headway before the climax of the last murder case, but I’m back to square one.  I have various scars on my body as reminders that it’s not a good idea to get involved with killers.  Only my tattoos—a yin-yang on my right breast and an ankh on my ass—as well as my navel piercing make me happy.  They have remained intact.  I idly consider adding another tattoo—perhaps a phoenix rising from the ashes.

After I solved the first case—mainly by the killer trying to kill me—I became somewhat of a local celebrity.  During the investigation, I had dreamt of seeing my face on television, of seeing my name in the papers.  The publicity I garnered after the first case made me rethink my priorities in a hurry.  After the second one, I began to positively loathe the media.  They hounded me at home, at my job, when I went to the store, and any other time they could find me.  Half the stories were speculations about my possible involvement in the killings with the police covering up my role.  For what purpose, I don’t know, but the media doesn’t always make sense.  The other half of the stories hailed me as the ‘Charlie Chan for the new millennium’, gushing about my talent for detection.  Puff pieces.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter one, part one

Ed. Note: I wrote this nearly twenty years ago in memory of my time in San Francisco. It’s the second of a trilogy, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Let’s see how well it’s aged, shall we?

Paris runs his hands down my body, taking his time.  He stares in adoration at my generous curves, even though he usually prefers his women a bit more waifish.  I’m short, which he likes, but curvier than his usual suspects.  He licks his lips in anticipation as he peels off each piece of my clothing until he finally uncovers my naked body which is waiting for him to touch me.  Every nerve is crying out to him as he lovingly picks up the chainsaw resting by his hand.  My eyes widen as he starts it.  I try to move, but my arms are tied to the bed.  He turns on the chainsaw and raises it high in the air.  He is grinning savagely as he lowers the chainsaw, his wide-set green eyes dancing with maniacal glee.  My struggles increase as the chainsaw bypasses my head and nears my breasts.

“What the fuck are you doing?”  I shout at Paris, my best friend, only the words are stuck in my throat and can’t be heard.  I scream as the blade bites into my left breast.  Paris acts as if he hasn’t heard me, so intent is he on the task at hand.  I cannot believe he is doing this to me; we have been best friends for fourteen years, and he’s going to hack me apart with a chainsaw?  He pauses, lifting the chainsaw.  Chocolate syrup is oozing out of the wound.  He leans close to my ear.

“Rayne, Rayne, wake the fuck up.”  What?  Why is he saying that?  I struggle to get away from his hot breath, but he won’t leave me alone.  “You’re having a bad dream.  Wake up!”  I listen to what he’s saying, but it makes no sense.  He is shaking me, leaving the chainsaw to the side.  I slowly realize that I’ve been dreaming, and I allow myself to be roused from my sleep.

“Paris?”  I open one eye and see my best friend’s face filled with concern.  “What time is it?  What day is it?”

“It’s six in the morning.  Saturday morning.  February.  You were screaming so loud, I could hear you from my room.”  His green eyes, the same ones that had tormented me in my dream, gaze at me with concern.  I stare at him, his eyes, the blond hair, the muscular frame, as if I’ve never seen him before.  He sits on the edge of my bed and gathers me in his arms.  We have done this nightmare things so many times, we have it down to a science.  He has to repeat the same information to me after each episode.  Time of day, what day, what month.

“Paris, it was horrible.  You had me tied down and were cutting me apart with a chainsaw.”  I huddle against his muscular body, feeling the fear I hadn’t allowed myself to feel in the dream.  He is almost a foot taller than I, and I take comfort in his bulk.  It’s been this way for the last month, ever since I almost lost my life to a killer with nothing to lose and everything to gain by killing me.  Paris is a part-time personal trainer, and one of his client’s girlfriends was killed at a party Paris and I attended.  The client herself  was killed shortly after.  Paris and I were suspects until I cleared our names, almost losing my life and my faith in humanity at the same time.  A month later, I am nowhere near recovered.

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Parental Deception; chapter one, part one

“I know Thanksgiving is this Thursday, Jasmine,” I say, pacing my living room floor. “I can read a calendar as well as you can.” Onyx and Jet, my two black cats, sister and brother, pace alongside me. Onyx is mewing at me, and Jet is watching her back, as always. Onyx is five pounds of fluffy attitude, whereas Jet is close to four times her size and pure muscle. He’s content to take a backseat to his more vocal sister, however, which has been their pattern since I got them eight years ago when they were six months old. I fan my waist-length black hair away from my neck as I’m suddenly hot. Perimenopause is no joke, yo.

“You’re delegated to make the pies—whatever kind you like.” My older sister has been in charge of family functions since we were kids, and she’s not above bossing me around.

“I’ll make one pumpkin and one sweet potato. How many people are going to be there?” I make a note to myself because I’ll forget if I don’t. It’s my passive-aggressive way of getting back at Jasmine for being such a control  freak.

“Me, Bob, Coral, Jamal, the twins, Jordan, Joanna, and their three kids as well. Vivian said she’d try to make it, but she hasn’t booked her tickets, yet.” Vivian is our younger sister who lives in Boston and is an artist. She has no concept of time or responsibility to others. It’s not that she’s thoughtless, but that she’s focused on her art most of the time. Bob’s sister and her family lives out of state, and I’ve never met any of them. Jordan and Joanna live in NYC, so they must be flying out for the holiday. Jasmine’s other two kids, Robert Jr. and Michael, live in California and Florida, respectively, and won’t be able to make it this year. “Oh! Bring that guy you’re dating. It’s about time I met him. I want to make sure he’s a good match for you.”

“I’m not sure about that,” I demur. “We’ve only been dating a little over a month, so I don’t want to spook him.”

“You’re not getting any younger, Megan. It’s time for you to settle down.” Jasmine’s eight years older than I am, and she was a second mother to me after our father left when I was three, and my mother started quietly drinking herself to death. That’s why I put up with Jasmine talking to me as if I’m an idiot, but only for a limited amount of time.

“It’s been a month,” I reiterate, keeping my voice even. “He probably wants to go to his mother’s, anyway.”

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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: Chapter One (Part One)

Chapter One (Part One)

Getting funky in The Mission!

“Ms. Trip, uh, Trip Wire?”  The man holds his hand out, an uncertain smile edging his lips.  It wavers even further when the slim, Asian woman stares hard at him but doesn’t take the proffered hand.  “Um, I’m Fenwick Harrington.  You may call me Fenwick.”  He leaves his hand hanging for a beat longer before letting it fall limply to his side.  He is a thin man though quite tall, and his clothes look as if he bought them off the bargain rack at Target.  His dead-white skin, badly-cut brown hair, and the nervous tic in his left eye do nothing to inspire confidence.  Only the Rolex on his left wrist hints at the wealth he is rumored to have.  He’s one of those nouveau riche who’d rather look like a street bum than flaunt his wealth.

“Won’t you, uh, please, sit down?”  Even though they are meeting at his office, he feels at a disadvantage.  Since his business with her is delicate as it always is, he thought it would put him one-up to make her meet him at his office, but that is not the case.  The Asian woman stares at him for a minute longer, her lithe body showing the benefits of religiously working out with her sculpted muscles on proud display beneath a black tank top and black jeans.  Her long black hair is pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail, and there isn’t a trace of makeup on her round face.

“Ms. Wire, please.”  He ushers to the seat opposite his desk.  He can’t sit until she does—it’s now a matter of honor.  She glances around the office with the slightest sneer on her rather-full lips, then focuses on him, narrowing her eyes.  She has not spoken to him in the five minutes she’s been in his office, and he’s already sweating.  His eyes slide away from hers, unable to engage in this duel of wills.  Satisfied, she sits down, crossing her legs.  She is wearing black boots, of course—it’s only fitting.  She wears no jewelry except for a red thread around her neck with a gold pendant on it.  It has some kind of Asian character on it, but Fenwick Harrington has no idea what it represents.  One look into those flat eyes of hers, and he knows he’ll never ask.  Expelling a breath he hadn’t known he was holding, Fenwick Harrington sits as well.

“Well, Ms. Wire,” he says, trying out a smile on her.  Her face might as well be carved from granite for all the emotions she is showing.  “I’m sure you’re wondering—”

“How did you get my name?”  The voice is husky and deep, without a hint of accent.  There is a smokiness that sounds whiskey-induced.  The woman implacably watches Fenwick, following his every movement with her eyes.  Otherwise, she is completely still—something which unnerves Fenwick.
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