Tag Archives: chapter one part two

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

“Hey, girls!”  Delia Booth bounced over, and I do mean bounced.  She wasn’t wearing a bra as usual, and her thirty-eight double-Ds were very happy to see us.  She’s the newest edition to our happy animal family, and she’s still perky after working at this shit-hole for two weeks.  She must either be lobotomized or strung out on Valium.  Her dark brown hair was perfectly in place as was her makeup, even though she had just finished the same shift as Lydia and me.  She smiled a thousand-watt smile while covertly studying herself in the mirror.

“What’s up, Delia?”  Lydia asked in a bored tone.  I continued to primp, not bothering to greet Miss Homecoming Queen 1996 of Salinas High, thank you very much.  It was the first thing she told me when I met her right before informing me that Salinas High was somewhere in the great land of California.  I told her that even in Minnesota, we had geography lessons.  That had sailed right over her head.

“Just wanted to see if you girls would like to grab a drink?”  Delia had her hand on her slim hip and an expectant look on her face.  “I know it’s a school night, but I thought it’d be fun to get to know each other.”  I detected a hint of loneliness underneath the good cheer, but I decided to ignore it and take her words at face-value.

“Sorry, I got a hot date tonight,” I said, grinning evilly at her.  “When I get Rafe for the night, there’s no going out for us.”

“You are bad, girl,” Lydia said admiringly, slapping palms with me.  “Though I’m the same when I ride the Brian express.  No stopping that ride.”  We smirked at each other, ignoring the bewildered look on Delia’s face.  Lydia and I were not exactly friends, but we had more in common than most of the regulars.  “Not me, Del.  I have dinner at Mother’s tonight.”  She grimaced, unable to hide her distaste.  She told me that one Christmas, her mother stood on the table and did the can-can in honor of the movie Moulin Rouge.  Of course, this was after three or four highballs or whatever the hell it was that she drank.  Mrs. Wilkerson was a functioning alcoholic by day, a raging alcoholic by night.  Lydia has accepted that her mother was going to die fairly soon at the ripe old age of fifty-three.  I didn’t see how she could accept the news with such equanimity, but I admired her for it.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter one, part two

“Rainbow!”  She greets me warmly, using my given name instead of Rayne which is what I prefer.  She and my late father were hippies and named me Rainbow Freedom Liang and my sister who is three years younger—almost to the day—Liberty Moonbeam Liang.  Or is that Liberty Justice Liang?  I can never remember her middle name, but I think it’s Moonbeam.  She goes by Libby.  She was also a birthday gift, but not a welcomed one.  She is three years and one day younger than I, and I used to think my parents did it on purpose.  “How are you?”  My mother has given up many of her hippie ways since I was almost killed the first time, but she refuses to compromise on my name.  We speak in English most of the time with Taiwanese interspersed in the conversation.  When we don’t want people around to know what we’re talking about, we switch to Taiwanese.

We chat in a laidback sort of way because that’s the kind of person my mom is, though she’s been more engaged with me the last few months.  She calls almost daily, and I see her once a week.  She lives in Berkeley, of course, which makes communication easy.  We talk about Libby—Liberty, as my mother calls her—who just emailed my mother asking her to fly out a month early for the wedding.  We are both amazed as our Libby loathes to ask for help from anybody.  Also, my mother is involved in many committees not to mention still teaching classes.  Plus, she’s a painter.  It would be difficult for her to take a month off from her various duties.  Libby lives in New York City where she’s a big pooh-bah on Wall Street engaged to a stock broker.  She’s also a major bitch.  I thought she’d be nicer after 9/11, but she’s pushed it out of her mind and refuses to talk about it.  Oddly enough, it’s the wedding which is making her act slightly more human.

My mother can’t go a month early, as we both know.  She hates to disappoint my sister, however, as she asks for so little.  How like Libby.  She doesn’t ask for anything for years then when she does, it’s over the top.  My mother goes on to inform me that Libby has requested that I get a move on with my itinerary for the wedding.  I heave a sigh.  Although she’s eased up on the dictums in the last month, she still tends to bark out orders as if she’s the general of an army.  Among them—I lose ten pounds, not get a new tattoo or piercing, shave my legs, and get a manicure and pedicure.  Not to mention the indignity of having to wear a pink fru-fru dress.  Pardon me, mauve.  The weight is gone, but not through any effort of my own.  I will get another damn tattoo if I feel like it, and as for the other stuff—we’ll see.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter one, part two

“Just that she’s sorry.”  Paris’s cold tone indicates what he thinks of her apology.  “She kept saying it.  Like she always does.”  He pauses to flip over whatever he’s making.  “As if that makes it all better.”  I sit there, tears silently dripping from my eyes.  Paris turns around and sees me.  “Oh, honey.”  He rushes over and pats me on the back before returning to his cooking.  “I could kill that girl, I really could.  What was she thinking?”  He shakes his head, giving me time to regroup.

“She thought she was protecting a friend,” I say, sniffling up some snot.  I know I must look a mess, but there isn’t much I can do about it.  “She was doing what she thought was right.”

“Then how come you’re not speaking to her?”  Paris asks, not expecting an answer.  He knows that even though I think Vashti did what she thought was best, she still severed the fragile ties that bound us.  I have no idea when—if ever—I will be willing to try to trust her again.

“How’s Lyle?”  I ask, switching subjects.  Yet another thing to feel guilty for.  Paris’s new love who has been getting the short shrift because Paris has had to spend so much time with me.

“He’s fine.  We’re getting together tonight, if you think you’ll be ok on your own.”  Paris glances anxiously at me, trying to gauge where I am mentally.  It saddens me that I have been reduced to this—my best friend tailoring his dates around my mental condition.

“Go.  Have a good time.  I insist.”  I don’t give a damn what I’m feeling like—Paris deserves a normal life.  In the past month, he’s gone out with Lyle four times, rushing back home before midnight each time.  They talk on the phone all the time and meet at the gym frequently, but it’s not the same.  No more.  “And this time, spend the night.”  I look hard at Paris to show that I’m serious.  Unfortunately, his back is to me, but I feel better, anyway.  A tiny step towards feeling more like myself.

“Here we go.”  Paris sets a plate in front of me.  It has an omelet on it along with a chocolate croissant.  My mouth waters at the heady aroma.  I cut into the omelet, watching the aged sharp cheddar cheese ooze out.  The omelet is bursting with ham, onions, broccoli, and red bell peppers.  I pop a tiny bit into my mouth and chew it slowly.  I don’t want to make myself sick, so I masticate the bite thoroughly.  I wash it down with a sip of milk and wait anxiously to see if it’ll stay down.  It does.  I take a bite out of the croissant.  Pure heaven with the melted chocolate running down my throat.  Encouraged, I take a bigger bite of the omelet and immediately start retching.  Dropping my fork, I race to the bathroom and kneel by the toilet.  I am able to lift the seat in time just as the food forces its way back up my throat.  It doesn’t taste nearly as good going up as it did going down.  I have tears in my eyes as I finish gagging.

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

Over the years, our friendship has been forged through fire as well as through happiness.  He was there for me when my father died in a car accident.  A drunk driver plowed into my father’s car at three in the afternoon.  The driver had eight previous DWIs, but hadn’t spent any real time in jail.  Killing Dad netted him a year behind bars.  A year!  He took away a man’s life, and he got a year.  It was disgraceful.  I was a sophomore at Berkeley and almost went insane.  I had been Daddy’s girl since I was born, and his death hit me hard.  If it hadn’t for Paris, I would have been in horrible shape.  He was the one who held my hair—it was waist-length then—while I puked night after night of heavy drinking.  He would go to the parties with me, though he rarely drank himself, making sure I didn’t get myself into trouble.  He’s the one who kept telling me that it was going to be all right when I felt as if I had no more heart or will to go on.  He was the one who stopped me from slashing my wrists at one especially low point that year.  My mom adores him.

In return, I was the one who ran interference between him and his mother.  She sent him letters every week while we were in college just as she does now, but he wasn’t as inured to them then.  Each letter would upset him for days.  Unlike me, he didn’t realize he was attracted to both males and females until he was a junior in high school.  His mom caught him kissing a boy that year.  Ever since, she has been preaching to him, trying to save his soul.  After reading each letter, he would rush to our apartment and sit in the dark for hours, not moving from whatever position he was in.  Paris became so distraught after one letter—where his mom wrote she’d rather see him cut off his testicles and become a eunuch than for him to fornicate the way he did—he refused to speak for days, even in class.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  His mother’s letters arrived on Friday without fail—I wouldn’t put it past her to have calculated when she’d have to send the letter from Memphis to get it there on Friday just so his weekend would be ruined.  I intercepted the next one and opened it.  I refused to let him see it, then read the innocuous parts to him such as how his mother was doing.  That’s how we read the letters until Paris felt strong enough to read them on his own.  I was also the one who kept him together after the love of his life died from AIDS, but I don’t like thinking about that.

“What are you thinking so hard about?”  Paris asks softly.

“Family,” I reply.  “Us.”  I take a deep breath before continuing.  “Do you ever think how much easier it’d be if we were a couple?”  We’ve talked about this before, but it’s a subject we revisit from time to time.

“Yeah, no doubt,” Paris sighs, ruffling my hair.  I move so that I am in his arms, rather than lying in his lap.  It’s not like we haven’t tried.  Paris was my first kiss from a boy.  I had been very unpopular in high school, more teased than dated.  The only physical contact I had was when a boy snapped my bra then ran away.  I messed around with female friends from time to time, but boys left me strictly alone.  Paris was popular, but had been gallant enough to take me to our junior prom.  When he dropped me off for the night, he kissed me on my front porch.  My parents had left the porch light on, but that hadn’t daunted Paris.  In some ways, it’s still my most cherished kiss.

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Parental Deception; chapter one, part two

“Hello, Megan. Didn’t we just talk?” Jasmine’s voice is mellow, unlike it was while Bob was missing.

“Yes, but something weird just happened.” I breathe smoothly and softly before adding, “A man claiming he’s our father was just here, and he’s on his way to your house.”

“What?!!” The ease leaves Jasmine’s voice, and she sounds like I did when the man made his announcement. “Are you making a joke, Megan? If so, it’s not funny.”

“I’m not! This old Taiwanese man showed up on my doorstep and said he was our father. He had a letter he wrote us to prove it. Mom sent it back unopened.” I blurt it out, not wanting to hold anything in.

“I can’t believe this,” Jasmine says, her voice taut. “I do not need this right now. Not after the last few weeks!”

“I know. But, he’s on his way, so you better prepare yourself—and Bob.”

“I guess. I’ll talk to you later.” Jasmine clicks off, and I call Vivian next.

“Hey, Sis. What’s up?” Her voice is distracted as it often is. “You caught me at a good time; I just finished a statement piece on the horseshit that is Donald Trump.”

“Better you than me,” I reply. “Are you coming for Thanksgiving? Jasmine said you might, but that you haven’t bought a ticket yet.”

“I’m coming. Pablo knows someone who works for Delta, so we won’t have a problem getting tickets.” Pablo is her lover, and he’s also an artist. Pablo’s not his real name, though. He adopted the moniker when he decided he wanted to be an artist. His real name is Peter Jorgenson, but he refuses to answer to anything other than Pablo. You wouldn’t think he was such a diva just by looking at him. He’s six-feet tall with blond hair and dark blue eyes. He has a muscular built, and he looks as if he belongs on the cornfields of Wisconsin—which is exactly where he grew up. He’s also fifteen years younger than Viv’s forty-two years, but I’m not one to talk as Rembrandt is thirteen years younger than my forty-five. “We’re coming Wednesday afternoon, and we’re staying with Jasmine.”

“That’s great! I can’t wait to see you.” I haven’t seen my younger sister in a few years, and I’m looking forward to her visit. “I have to tell you something. A man claiming to be our father came to my house tonight.”

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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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Trip On This: Chapter One (Part Two)

Chapter One (Part Two)

Nicotine helps me think!I couldn’t stand listening to that pussy one second longer blathering about how much he regretted hurting the girl, that he really thought he’d loved her. If he knew how many times I’ve heard that self-serving shit from men who need to rationalize screwing around on their wives, he’d shut his mouth before uttering one more word. It was all I could do not to punch him in the mouth when he bleated for perhaps the twentieth time that it wasn’t sordid, Ms. Wire, oh, no, it was true love. I make them call me Ms. Wire because that way, I’m not covered in their filth. It’s enough to make me swear off men the way these idiots act like tomcats in heat. I’m sure this girl was sooo different—that’s why he’s sending me to break into her house to retrieve something of value which might link him to her. Besides, if she was sooo different, he wouldn’t have dumped her, now would he? I had had half a mind to turn him down cold until he mentioned how much he was willing to pay. Twenty-thousand, flat. A cool ten-thou resides in the back pocket of my jeans in the form of a check, and the other ten thou will be mine after I deliver the goods. That’s ten months of rent money—which is nothing to sneeze at.

After leaving his office, I return to my studio in the Mission, after detouring at my bank, of course. I don’t even bother to think about the case until that check clears. Why waste the brain power if I don’t have to? This time, however, the check clears right away. Funny, what money can buy you. I forgot to mention there’s a five-thousand dollar bonus if I finish the job in three days. ‘I really need to ease my mind, Ms. Wire,’ he had said, earnestly pushing his glasses up his nose. I can’t imagine fucking a wet noodle like him, but to each her own. If someone was buying me diamond rings and shit, maybe I’d be willing to think of my country and spread my legs, too. Hell, I did it often enough in the old days. I light up an unfiltered and inhale deeply. I quit smoking two years ago, but allow myself the pleasure when I’m figuring out a job. I have a firm rule that once I’m on the job, I can’t drink until I finish, and I’m an ornery bitch if I don’t give in to one of my vices. Since my other fave is heroin, I figure smoking is the least harmful to my profession.

I’m not an ordinary thief, mind you, and I hate being called that. I don’t break into houses for the hell of it and bust shit up. I don’t carry a piece, and I don’t kill anybody. Killing is for losers—I saw enough of that while living on the streets. In fact, it was after I witnessed someone getting killed for a couple bucks that I began to rethink my lifestyle. As fate would have it, a hooker in the Tenderloin asked me to help her retrieve something from her pimp, and when I was able to do it successfully, she recommended me to a friend. Thus, a career was born, and I’ve been thanking Cocoa every since. She got sliced and diced a year back, and they still haven’t found the son-of-a-bitch who did her. It’s some john, of course, but no cop gives a good goddamn about some Tenderloin whore. It’s just me and the girls who mourn her, and that asshole pimp of hers, Johnny Dee, except his grief is only for the loss of a paycheck.
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