Tag Archives: chapter six part one

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

“Beezus, you have got to listen to me.”  My mother was on me the minute I walked in the door.  She was on her second martini which meant it was a rough day for her.  “Frieda told Zelda that that boy you got fired, what was his name?  Your boss’s nephew—he’s pretty angry at you.  When they talked to him about it, he couldn’t stop cussing you out.  Called you the ‘b’ word and the ‘c’ word.”  It took me a minute to translate.  I knew what the ‘b’ word was—what woman didn’t?—but the ‘c’ word?  When I figured it out, I cringed.  That was one of my least favorite words.

“He wouldn’t be so openly hostile if he tried to kill me,” I said hopefully, slipping out of my shoes.  My mother ushered me into the kitchen so she can stuff me with tea and goodies.  If I stayed at my parents’ house for much longer, I was going to gain ten pounds.  I picked up the conversation where it’d left off.  “Carlos was probably just trying to scare me.”

“Frieda said he admitted to going to the park sometimes just to keep track of you.  That doesn’t sound like just venting to me.”  I went cold at the thought of Carlos watching me.  My mother must have read something in my face because she added, “Don’t worry.  Frieda read him the riot act and threatened to throw his ass—her words, not mine—in jail if he ever went near you again.  He seemed to take her warning to heart.”  I had to smile.  Cousin Frieda was over six feet tall and built like a linebacker.  When we were kids, I used to tease her that she must surely have Caucasian genes because no purebred Taiwanese girl could be that big.  It always made her cry.

“Maybe we should have this discussion after Rafe gets here,” I said, heaving a sigh.  I didn’t want to talk about it twice, and I knew that Rafe would want to hear all the details.

“Have you ever thought about moving in with him?”  My mother asked, her smile impish.  “You guys get along so well.  It’s as if you were made for each other.”

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Plaster of Paris; chapter six, part one

I am incredulous with his reaction and demand to know why it doesn’t bother him.  He thinks it’s funny, and he thinks she’s jealous of anyone I’m sleeping with.  He’s still chuckling as he reveals that he thinks the good inspector has the hots for me.  That causes me to sputter indignantly for a few minutes while Lyle looks on in amusement.  The prim and proper inspector having a crush on me?  The thought of that is so bizarre, I can’t take it seriously.  I’m nothing more than an irritant to her, forced upon her because of unusual circumstances.  I’m a suspect in an attempted murder case and have been in two past cases.  I don’t even know she’s gay, for god’s sake.  The idea is ludicrous, I inform Lyle.  He brushes aside my objections, firm in his belief that Inspector Robinson wants to get into my pants.

While I’m musing over this hypothesis, he also drops that he’s slept with women before.  After imparting that startling information, he returns to my room, leaving me stunned, but not for long.  I hurry after him, pushing open my door.  I’m not ready to end the conversation quite yet.  I demand to know what he’s talking about as he seems the original poster boy for gay since birth.  I’m also having difficulty accepting that he’s a switch-hitter, too.  Isn’t anybody just gay any more?  Yes, I’m aware of the irony, but I can’t help feeling that way.  Lyle shrugs, his attention on the computer.  He offhandedly mentions that he was a late bloomer, that he and Paris had a good laugh over the idea of Lyle with a woman, then assumes the conversation is over.  It’s not to me, and I’m hurt that this is yet another thing Paris didn’t tell me.  It seems like there are a few things he’s kept from me.  Sure, I’ve been out of it the last few months, but still.  The last thing I want is Paris to cut me out of his life.

Lyle sees that I’m not going to let it drop, so he tells me his coming-out story.  He grew up very sheltered and couldn’t fathom being with a man.  Even after he knew the truth, he tried to convince himself that it was just a phase.  It took many attempts at a relationship with a woman before he finally acknowledged to himself what he should have known all along—he was gay.  He liked women as friends, but he couldn’t love them romantically and he certainly wasn’t sexually-attracted to them.  I ask when he last slept with a woman.  He gives me a dirty look, but answers.  Ten years ago when he was twenty-five.  That’s pretty late for discovering one’s gayness, especially for a man.  He assures me with a mischievous smile that he’s not attracted to me, and for a minute, I’m hurt.  Even though I know he’s not into women, I’m insulted that he could so freely admit that he’s not attracted to me.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter six, part one

“Welcome back,” Carol smiles at us warmly, though with a tinge of sadness.  “As you all have most likely read, we are one less in number.  Let’s have a moment of silence.”  As we dutifully quiet down, I look around the room.  Everyone else has shown up, but no one looks too happy about being here, me included.  I see the distrust in each woman’s eyes.  How are we going to deal with this?  This is a trauma group, after all, and what is more traumatic than dealing with the aftermaths of a murder?

“I think this is crazy,” Jennifer bursts out as soon as Carol indicates that the minute is over.  “I think the group should be disbanded.  We have a lunatic running around.  Who knows who he will kill next?”  She quickly crosses herself which causes more than one woman to roll her eyes.

“We don’t know her death has anything to do with this group,” Carol points out reasonably.  “The police have thoroughly question me about the group, and I think they’re satisfied that no one here had motive to kill Ashley.”  From what I’ve read in the papers, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.  The papers imply that the police are hot on the trail of the killer who is a part of this group.  I look around the room again, scrutinizing the faces.  To my consternation, Maria is looking back at me.  She smiles and winks.  I look her over more carefully.  She has thick, black hair pulled back in a simple braid.  Her face is devoid of makeup, but she doesn’t need any.  Her dark brown eyes are wide-set, and her skin is a chestnut brown.  Her lips curve generously when she smiles, which seems to be often.  I can see the tops of her full breasts as they peek out from beneath her low-cut t-shirt.  I realize that I’m staring and quickly look away.

“I think we should have police protection,” Jennifer says.  “I don’t feel safe here.”

“Girl, the police don’t have no time for protecting nobody,” Sharise, the cop’s ‘widow’ says with a snort.  “They too busy catching dope dealers and busting up the ‘hood for stupid shit like that.”  It’s clear that she’s no fan of the police, even if her dead boyfriend had been on the force.  Or perhaps, because of it.

“We are perfectly safe,” Carol says, raising her voice slightly.  “As I said, there is no evidence that Ashley’s murder had anything to do with this group.”  She glances at her watch before saying, “Since this is a trauma group, let’s explore how we feel about Ashley’s death.  Who would like to start?”  The ubiquitous pen is in one hand, the pad of paper in the other.  I have to give her credit, however; she’s discreet.  I rarely think about her taking notes unless I happen to glance over at her while someone is talking.

“Shouldn’t have happened,” Tudd says gruffly, her eyes fixed firmly on something in front of her.  “So young.  So much life left.  Shame.”  She subsides after her terse eulogy.

“She was so spirited,” Astarte begins, spreading her hands to the side.  “I may not have been on her wave-length all the time, but I appreciated her perspective.”  I look at her hard.  I don’t trust someone who is so forgiving of someone who made a pretty horrible accusation about one’s husband.

“She’s in hell,” Jennifer says fiercely, daring anyone to contradict her.  “She laughed at the church and fornicated with other women.”

“Jennifer, that is inappropriate,” Carol says firmly, pausing in her scribbling.  A few heads bobble in agreement.

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

I pound on the door with my fist, demanding that Paris open the door.  Seven-thirty is never a happy time for me, especially when I hadn’t fallen asleep until one the night before.  I’m supposed to be there by eight-thirty which I’ll just make if Paris lets me in this minute.  Paris grumbles, the toilet flushes, then the door opens.  He bows with a flourish as he exits, allowing me full reign of the bathroom.  I sweep in and start the shower.  I brush my teeth and pee before hoping into the steaming water.  I like it as hot as possible without actually scalding my skin.  Paris, who prefers tepid water, shudders every time he sees the steam pouring out of the bathroom.  It’s one reason I like to shower with the door open—so I don’t seriously fog up the mirror.

After I finish my ablutions, I go to the kitchen to see what I can rustle up.  Paris is nowhere to be found or I’d coerce him into scrambling me some eggs.  I love scrambled eggs, but I’m horrible at making them.  They always turn out either overdone and rubbery or underdone and runny.  I don’t understand how I can systematically screw them up no matter how much attention I pay to them, because theoretically, scrambled eggs are a snap to make.  Not for me.  I even made them for Paris once for a special occasion.  I had to toss them into the trash and cook something completely different.  French toast, I think it was, which Paris had to tell me how to make.  Some present that was.  I open the fridge and frown.  I don’t feel like having cold cereal, damn it, I want eggs.  I can only hard-boil them with any semblance of success and that’s not what I have in mind, anyway.  I grab the carton of orange juice and pour myself a glass.  I pull out a whole-wheat bagel from the cupboard and toast it.  After it’s done, I spread some lite cream cheese on it.  This is my breakfast more often than I like to admit.  I am out the door by a quarter after eight and walk briskly to work.

“Hey, Rayne.”  Quinn greets me before I can even sip from the cup of coffee I have just poured.

“What’s up?”  I give her a perfunctory smile.  I am not wasting any charm on her until I’m sure that she’s interested.  I sit down at my desk and turn on my computer.  While I’m waiting, I keep my eyes firmly on the monitor so I don’t have to check out the perfectly luscious mini-skirt Quinn is wearing which falls to just above her knees.  It’s a deep purple, and her button-down shirt is white.  She looks good.

“Why so cold, girlfriend?”  Quinn places a hand on her hip, giving me major attitude.  Funny she needs to ask after her reaction to seeing Paris for the first time.  I practically had to hose her down, she was so hot to trot.  “I got dressed up especially for our date today.”  I say nothing, not wanting to admit that I put extra-care into what I am wearing as well.  Instead of jeans and a boring shirt, I am wearing black stretch pants with gently-flared hems and a emerald green blouse that can button up to the chin or show a little cleavage.  I plan on unbuttoning the top two buttons when we go have our drinks.

“I have a lot on my mind,” I manage to say as she stands there staring at me.  “I don’t mean to give you the brush-off.”  My computer has finally turned on, and I see that I have emails.  Several of them.  “I’m looking forward to having drinks with you after work.”  My tone is brusque, and it’s clear that I’m ending the conversation.

“Look, I know I made a fool of myself over your friend, but you have to admit he’s stunning-looking.  Don’t worry—I’m over it.”  She flashes a brilliant smile my way that does a great deal to melt my latent irritation.

“I guess it’s not your fault,” I say grudgingly.  “He is quite the looker.  I can’t take him anywhere.”  With that settled, Quinn flashes me a smile before bouncing upstairs.  I stare at her until she disappears before turning back to my computer.  I click on my inbox to see who’s giving me a shout-out.  Half of the emails are from Alicia, wanting one dumb-ass thing or the other.  I file them in my ‘to-do-much-later’ folder, then move on.  There’s an email from my mother informing me that my sister is getting married in six months and expects me to be there.

“Rainbow, don’t make this into an issue, ok?  I don’t understand why you and Liberty can’t get along.  Your father and I raised you better than that.  Peace.”  I click it over to my ‘moms’ files and have to laugh.  That’s my mother through and through.  However, I don’t know if I will be able to refrain from making my sister’s wedding an issue.  Case in point, her email to me.

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Parental Deception; chapter six, part one

“I’ll take a large latte with skim milk,” I say to the barista at Ye Olde Diamond Shoppe. “And this zucchini pineapple bread.” He sighs and pushes himself away from the counter as if I’m asking him to murder his mother.

“That’ll be six-seventy-five,” he says, a scowl on his face. He’s tall, skinny, with a scraggly blond beard and thick, horn-rimmed glasses. He’s given me attitude every time I’ve been in the café, and if it weren’t so close to my taiji studio, I would never go there. I pay him then go to wait for my latte. That man isn’t here yet, and a part of me is hoping that he won’t show up. We’re supposed to meet at one-thirty, however, and I’m five minutes early. I’ll give him those five minutes and ten minutes more before giving up. I get my latte and put raw sugar in it. As I’m stirring, that man walks in. He spots me and gives me a huge smile. He points at the front counter, and I nod. He orders, pays, then walks over to me.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this weather,” he says, shivering despite wearing a heavy coat, a scarf, and gloves. He looks at me, and his eyes widen because I’m just wearing a sweater over my shirt and no coat. I had been wearing gloves, but they are in my purse now. “Where’s your coat?”

“I don’t need one yet,” I say with a false smile. “I like cold weather.”

“You should wear one! You might get hypothermia.” He’s clucking over me, and resist the impulse to tell him to can it. I wouldn’t take that from him even if he were my father who had been present for my whole life, which he’s not—and hadn’t been.

“It’s not even freezing,” I inform him, keeping my voice even. “I’ll be fine.”

“What did you order?” He asks, peering at my cup. “I got just plain coffee. It’s hard to find these days.”

“A latte with skim milk,” I say. “I order it any time I’m at a coffee shop because I get overwhelmed by too many choices.”

“Plain coffee.” The jerk holds out the cup of coffee, a sneer in his voice. That man goes over, takes it and adds sugar and cream before putting a lid on it. I have an impulse to take him outside, but that would be cruel. I take him to the front room instead, and we sit on the couch and sip at our coffee. It doesn’t appear as if he’s going to say anything, but he’s the one who wanted to meet, so he can start the conversation whenever he’s ready. I’m content to drink my latte and eat my zucchini pineapple bread. After several minutes, he finally talks.

“My husband died two months ago,” he says without preamble. I blink because that’s not what I’m expecting to hear. “Larry. Larry Sato. We’d been together thirty years.”

“I saw a picture of you with him. At Pride!” I pull out my phone and find the image again. “Is this him?” That man glances at the pic and smiles.

“Yes. That’s Larry. Wasn’t he handsome?” His eyes linger on the phone before I put it away.

“You two look happy together,” I say, finishing my latte.

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Marital Duplicity; chapter six, part one

“Girl, it’s good to see you!” Darla Quinn, one of my coworkers flashes a smile at me as I walk into the office. I call it an office, but it’s more like a bunch of desks in an open room. Darla’s dishwater blond hair is pulled back into a high ponytail, and she’s wearing makeup for once. Instead of her shapeless shirt and pants, she’s wearing a pair of tailored beige pants and a denim shirt. Her nails are perfectly manicured instead of bitten to the quick. She looks good, which means she’s probably getting some.

“You, too. You seeing anyone new these days?” I ask, sliding into my chair. I’ve noticed that she’s smartened up over the past few weeks, and I know it has to do with a man. I thought she would have told me by now, but she hasn’t. It’s up to me to ask, which I do.

“Mmmmhmmmmmm. Jimmy. He’s six-feet nothing and a long, tall, cool drink of water.” Darla pauses before adding, “And he can go for hours. He’s Italian.”

“Like a stallion!” I chortle, and Darla laughs with me. “I’m happy for you, girl.” I smile at Darla, and she smiles back. I instinctively look around, but my stalker is sitting in jail awaiting trial. I don’t have to worry about her any longer.

I quickly check my blog, and the outpouring of love is tremendous. Many of them tell their own stories about their siblings. SeeNoEvil writes, “I’m the oldest of five boys. Five! Every Saturday morning, we’d get up before our parents, and I’d make them pancake from a box. I’d shape them like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney figures. They’d always eat the heads off first before gobbling up the rest. I made myself regular round pancakes because I thought they tasted better.” PizzaEveryDay adds, “I’m the baby of three kids. My brother and sister are at least a decade older, so I often felt like an only. Until my parents died in a plane crash when I was ten. Then, my brother took me into his family, and he and his wife became my second parents. My brother died this year at the age of fifty. I miss him every day.” GallopingTrot reminisces, “I was an only, but I had a cousin who was my BFF growing up. We would giggle over the cute boys at school, and she’s the one who held my hands while I cried over my first love breaking my heart. She now lives in Paris with her husband, but we still talk to each other every day.”

This is why I write my blog posts. Not only do they help me figure out what I’m thinking, but they connect me with other people who feel the same way. I’ve had people write me, thanking me for putting into words what they’re feeling but cannot express. It’s a big, cold world out there. It helps to know that others know what you’re going through. It makes me feel a little less alone. Nothing will ever take away the sting of losing my best friend, but this helps. I shut down the tab and concentrate on my work. Others have taken up my lists in my absence, but it’s time for me to hit the ground running. I’m one of the best workers—I sell the most Groupon coupons almost every day. I want to keep it that way. I’m willing to give myself a mulligan this month, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.

I check my emails periodically. I get one from Doug in the early afternoon. He says he’s willing to talk about Bob whenever I want and wherever I want. I Google him, and I find out that he’s in his late sixties and a widower. He’s a retired engineer, and he spends most of his time gardening. I ask him if he’s willing to talk to me tonight around eight, and he agrees with alacrity. He knows about Bob’s disappearance, and he’s concerned. He says the last time he talked to Bob was three days ago, and it wasn’t about anything in particular. I have to go, so I tell him I’ll talk to him later tonight. Twenty minutes later, I get an email from Samuel. He’s not as forthcoming, and he tells me he has nothing to say. When I mention Bob’s disappearance, he responds that it’s probably nothing. The tone of his emails is off-putting, and I think he’s hiding something. I manage to convince him to talk to me tonight, but he’s adamant that it’s before six o’clock. I agree because I’ll say anything to get him to talk to me.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter six, part one

Chapter Six; Part One

“Megan! How are you? I heard about your friend, and I’m so sorry.” Sara pulls me into a hug, catching me unaware.

“I’m fine,” I say sharply, placing my hands on her shoulders and pushing her away. I do not like being touched without my permission, especially by someone I don’t like.

“It must be so awful! Her being murdered like that!” Sara’s eyes are fastened on mine, and I get the uncomfortable feeling that she’s getting a kick out of this. There are people who thrive on misery, and she might be one of them.

“Yes. It’s not great.” I sit at my desk and turn on my computer. I pointedly keep my back to Sara so she might take the hint. Alas, she does not.

“I know you’re grieving right now. If there’s anything you need, I would be more than happy to help you. Anything at all!” Sara materializes in front of me, her hands clasped in front of her breasts. I can’t help but notice she’s wearing a black dress that is very out of character with her love for pastels. Her eyes are moist, and I look askance at her. I hate people who absorb the misery of others, ,and she would appear to be one of those people.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I drop my eyes as my computer starts chugging. I just want her to go away, but she stubbornly refuses to take the hint.

“Would you like to have dinner tonight?” Sara clasps my arm, and I glare at the offending appendage. I know it’s time to put my foot down, hard. I glance into Sara’s hopeful eyes, and I steel myself for the unpleasant task at hand.

“No, Sara, I do not want to have dinner tonight. I do not want to have dinner with you any night. We are colleagues. Nothing more. I want to keep it at that.” I remove her hand from my arm and let it drop to her side. She immediately bursts into tears.

“Why do you have to be so mean to me? I like you so much, and you hate me!” Sara runs from the room, loudly sobbing. I get the feeling I’m supposed to chase after her, but I don’t move. I’m unhappy that her little scenes are getting more and more frequent, but I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t want to go to my supervisor because Sara hasn’t done anything egregiously wrong. I don’t want her to be fired; I just want her to leave me alone.

“She’s a soul-sucker, isn’t she?” Lynnette whispers as she passes my desk. She’s a comely redhead in her thirties, and I like the way she livens up the place. “She tried to do the same thing to me a month ago, but I shut her down right fast.”

“I went to lunch with her once,” I say, keeping my voice low as well. “I think that was probably a big mistake.”

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Dogged Ma; chapter six, part one

   Chapter Six, Part One

“Margaret, may I talk to you?”  Susanne Timmons, my supervisor at work, poked her head into my office during my prep hour Monday morning.  Fortunately, I was prepared for the day so I didn’t have to panic about chatting with Susanne.  I nodded and motioned her in.  Susanne was a middle-aged woman with salt-n-pepper hair who didn’t wear any makeup.  She had a homey look to her which the kids loved.  She was like the grandmother many of them never had, but she was much stricter than your average grandma.  She cared about them, but held them accountable; it’s what made her so good with our population.  I was learning by emulating her, but empathy was something that didn’t come naturally to me.

“What’s up, Susanne?”  I asked, setting some papers aside.  I had asked my kids to write an essay on what they would tell President Bush if they ever met him, and as usual, they’d surprised me with their insight and passion.

“Margaret,” Susanne hesitated, fiddling with her pen.  “I’ve noticed that you’ve seemed preoccupied the last couple of weeks.  The other teachers have commented on it as well.  You’re more forgetful, and you’ve been late to two meetings.  That’s not like you.  Is there something you want to tell me?”

Caught, I didn’t know what to say.  I still hadn’t figured out a cover story for my impending pregnancy as I didn’t want to use the ‘one-night stand’ tale with my coworkers.  However, I couldn’t say that I had a partner, either, because they knew better than that.  I supposed I could say it was Gary’s, but even pretending that lech was the father upset my stomach.  Come to think of it, I couldn’t even say I was pregnant because I wouldn’t know yet if it were a normal pregnancy.  Damn.  Could I get away with family issues?  Maybe.  Or generic dating issues?  I hated lying, mostly because I wasn’t very good at it.

“Susanne, it’s not something I feel comfortable discussing at work,” I said carefully, not wanting to offend my boss.  “However, I sincerely apologize that my personal problems have spilled over into my work performance.  I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“It’s your fault for being so superlative the rest of the time,” Susanne smiled, standing up.  “If it were anybody else, I wouldn’t even have noticed.  I’m here if you need to talk to me.”  I nodded as she left, dropping my smile the minute she was out the door.  I knew I’d have to be more careful, and I knew I’d have to come up with something soon.

My college friends couldn’t understand how I could be a teacher, for at-risk youth, no less, when I didn’t want children.  It’s a common misconception that all women who didn’t want kids didn’t like them or weren’t good with them.  Not true.  I liked kids a great deal, and they liked me in return because I treated them like adults—no matter the age.  I didn’t pat little kids on the head or talk down to them, nor did I lord my authority over my students.  That didn’t mean I didn’t set boundaries because I did.  I just didn’t automatically assume I was better because I was older as so many adults did.  So why didn’t I want to have children?  There were many reasons, but the number one reason was because I didn’t want them.  Period.  I didn’t see why that wasn’t enough of an answer, but most people needed something more.

While I was in my first serious relationship at age eighteen, I came upon the realization that I didn’t want children.  Not only that, I realized that I didn’t have to have them.  There was no law saying to a woman, ‘Thou shalt bear children’ except for the social stricture, but I was adept at ignoring those.  People had varying reactions to my statement of not wanting children ranging from condescension—‘oh, you’ll change your mind later’—to anger—‘you must think I’m an idiot for wanting them’.  Most of all, however, people just didn’t understand how a woman could be so sure she didn’t want children.  I’d been ask time and time again how did I know I didn’t want children.  I was always tempted to ask how they knew they wanted them, but I never stooped to their level.

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Trip on This: Chapter Six (Part One)

Chapter Six (Part One)

“Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory!”  Trip jerks up in her bed, unsure that she heard what she thinks she heard.  There is total silence, then she hears it again.  “Rise and shine, and give God the glory, glory.”  Someone is fucking singing somewhere in her apartment.  Still half-asleep, Trip slides her blade out from under her pillow and is out of bed when she realizes that she’s not at home, that she’s at Vandalia’s, and that the voice she’s hearing is the hostess with the mostest as she’s taking a shower.  Trip glances at the clock, sees that it’s nearly ten o’clock and decides to stay out of bed, anyway.  She throws on a t-shirt and a pair of sweats and pads out into the kitchen.  She pours herself a glass of orange juice and is sipping it when Vandalia bounces into the kitchen five minutes later.

“Good morning, roomie!”  Vandalia chirps, her voice disgustingly perky.  She is wearing sweats as well, but a red velour set that is definitely not made for sweating.  She has that ‘I just got fucked’ glow that is so enjoyable to experience but so irritating to observe.

“Morning, Vandalia,” Trip says evenly, pouring herself another glass of juice.  She gestures to the juice and adds, “I’ll make a Safeway run soon to replenish the stock.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Vandalia says cheerfully.  “I’ll take it out in trade.  The next time I need something stolen, you’ll do a freebie for me.  Deal?”

“Deal.”  Trip nods solemnly, though she’s sure Vandalia is joking.

“What’d you find out last night?”  Vandalia pops a couple pieces of bread in the toaster to make toast.  “Want some scrambled eggs?  I’m making myself some.”

“No thanks,” Trip declines.  She doesn’t like to eat first thing in the morning, though she knows breakfast is supposedly the most important meal.

“You have to eat something!”  Vandalia burbles, cracking open a half-dozen eggs.  “Your body is like a car—it’s needs to be fueled before you can drive it.  Besides, I make the most gorgeous scrambled eggs you’ve ever tasted!  You’ll swear off sex once you get your teeth into these.”  She pauses, looking expectantly at Trip.

“No, thanks,” Trip reiterates, pouring herself another glass of juice.  “I’ll grab something later.”

“You’re not dieting, are you?”  Vandalia asks in mock-horror, clasping her own ample bosom.  “I am sick and tired of girls trying to whittle away into nothing.  Size zero!  Literally disappearing.  I mean, look at me!  I’m big, and I’m gorgeous!”  She thrust out her bosom proudly before returning to her eggs.

“I’m not dieting,” Trip shrugs, returning the orange juice to the refrigerator.  “I just don’t eat in the morning.”

“I bet you work out, though,” Vandalia says, sneaking a quick look at Trip.  “Look at those pipes on you!  Girl can take care of herself, I bet!”  That doesn’t seem to be a question, so Trip doesn’t answer.  “Well, I know I can’t get going in the morning if I don’t eat a hearty breakfast.  Screw cholesterol, that’s what I say.”  Trip says it, too, in moderation.  She’s not the type to nibble on a lettuce leaf or to have a salad with dressing on the side for lunch.  She’s a healthy woman with a healthy appetite—just not first thing in the morning.

“I gotta roll.  See ya.”  Trip is almost out of the kitchen when Vandalia’s voice stops her.

“I got the Chron if you want to read it.  It’s on the coffee table in the living room.”  Trip makes a detour to check out the paper before taking a shower.  She wants to see if there’s anything else on Sylvian’s murder, though she suspects that it’s: a) not big enough news to warrant further coverage and b) being covered-up, anyway.  She is right; there is nothing further about Sylvian’s murder.  To her surprise, however, there is another murder relevant to her sorry-ass life.  Evelyn Sato, found dead in her apartment, the police tipped by an ‘anonymous’ phone call.  Continue Reading