Tag Archives: chapter ten part two

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter ten, part two

“Lydia gave that to me for my birthday,” Brian said softly, interrupting my scrutiny.  “It’s the best thing she’s done, though not really my cup of tea.”

“Does it have a title?”  I asked, curious about the nomenclature of such an evocative piece of art.

“Willows Weeping,” Brian said, his eyes tearing up.  “It’s almost as if she had a premonition about her death.  It’s too bad, really.  The day she died, she received a letter in the mail commissioning her for two paintings.  It was someone who had seen a flyer of her work—she used to post them around town—and really liked it.  That would have been her first big sale.”  Brian looked at the ground as he talked, unable to meet my eyes.

“Brian, will you take the painting down for me?”  I asked, gesturing to the painting.  I wasn’t comfortable with his show of emotions, and I wanted to redirect his attention.

“Why?”  Brian asked, folding his arms across his chest.  He wasn’t being nearly as helpful or charming today as he had been a few days ago, but I didn’t have time to wonder about the change.

“Because,” I said snippily.  My shoulder was really starting to hurt like hell, and his attitude wasn’t doing anything to improve my temper.  “You want me to find out who killed Lydia, don’t you?”  Brian didn’t answer, but he lifted the painting off the wall and set it on the couch.  I flipped it over and carefully removed the backing.  There between the backing and the painting was a manila envelope, and it was stuffed.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Brian said, looking thunderstruck.  “What’s that?”

“Probably the evidence Lydia thought I’d be able to find,” I said dryly.  “She’s just lucky that I’m persistent.”  Brian didn’t say what was on his mind, but I had a hunch by the look on his face that he wanted to say that Lydia was dead, not lucky.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter ten, part two

Ms. Liang,” the inspector nods at my mother, then frowns.  There is the apparent problem of confusion of address with two Ms. Liangs in the room.

“You can call me Songbird,” my mother says helpfully, drawing a raised eyebrow from the inspector and a giggle from me.  “Or Susannah,” my mother adds, anxious to make Inspector Robinson more comfortable.

“How about Mrs. Liang,” Inspector Robinson says cautiously.  In this day and age, it’s more common than not to offend women by offering to call them ‘Mrs.’.

“That’s fine, too,” my mother says cheerfully.  “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“Um, no, thank you, ma’am,” Inspector Robinson says, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.  My mother has that effect on people.  “Ms. Liang, would you please show me the mailbox??”  Inspector Robinson is so bewitched by my mother that she doesn’t even protest when my mother trails behind us as we retreat downstairs again.  I remember to lock the door.

“Here it is,” I say, stepping aside to let the good inspector view the remains of my mail box, which she probably saw on her way in.  She keeps her hands in her pockets as she examines the box—there isn’t much to see.

“Did you touch anything?”  She asks, her voice laced with weariness.  My mother looks at her sympathetically, which doesn’t escape the inspector’s attention.  There’s a rap on the door which startles my mother and me.  “There’s the team.  Why don’t you take your mother upstairs and wait for me there?”

“I didn’t touch anything,” I say rapidly.  “But upstairs, the front door, there are scratches.  I touched that, obviously.”  She nods, smiles briefly, then goes to let her people in.  I can hear one of them bitching loudly, probably raising his voice on purpose for my benefit.

“Christ, Inspector, this is fucking ridiculous.  Why the special treatment?  This chick your girlfriend or something?”  Inspector Robinson’s response is immediate and scathing.

“If you object to doing your job, Donaldson, let me know, and I’ll be sure to inform your supervisor of your distaste.”  Donaldson glowers at the inspector, but stops complaining.

“I like her,” my mother said admiringly as we reentered the apartment.  I don’t bother to answer as I head for the coffee table where I keep the mail.  I leaf through it, but don’t find anything other than bills and advertisements.  “Do you think she’s a lesbian?”  My mother continues speculating.  “That comment her coworker made gives me hope.”

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Rainbow Connection; chapter ten, part two

“Did she ever tell you any secrets?”  I ask awkwardly, not sure how to continue this conversation.

“Nah, we weren’t that close.”  Maria shrugs and opens the door to her studio.  It’s tiny but filled with riotous colors.  The paintings on the wall are amateurish but quite good.

“Yours?”  I ask, indicating the artwork.  She nods happily as she gazes at her creations.

“I don’t make money doing it, but it’s my love.”  She caresses the frame of a painting entitled, ‘Los Lobos Locos’, though there’s not a wolf in sight.  I shrug.  Paris has a few oddly-named pieces himself, so I’m used to it.  “Can I get you something to drink?  Some coffee, perhaps?”

“Orange juice if you have it,” I say.  I’ve had enough coffee to last me a week.  She disappears into the tiny kitchen after indicating I should sit on the futon.  I slip off my shoes and sit, tucking my feet under me.  She returns in a minute, sitting next to me.  I feel the heat radiating off her.  I inch away so I can make conversation without wondering what she looks like under her red dress.

“It’s too bad you joined the group now,” Maria says, handing me a glass of orange juice.  “It was much better before, and not only because of the murders.  What you saw of Ashley, she hasn’t been like that in months.  I don’t know what set her off that meeting.”

“Tell me about her,” I say, settling back into the futon and sipping the orange juice.

The story is a familiar one.  Ashley had come into the group with major attitude, looking to start fights.  She jumped on everything everybody said, not waiting for someone to finish talking before attacking her.  Even Carol fell victim to Ashley’s tongue-lashing.  It got so bad, the group voted on having Carol kick Ashley out of group.  However, Carol convinced them to give her one more shot, and the group did an intervention.  Instead of striking out, Ashley listened to what they had to say before walking out the door.  The group members were convinced that she would never come back again, but they were wrong.  She was present the following week with her attitude in check.  She still had strong opinions and verbalized them, but she was slowly being weaned off four-letter words and a hostile attitude.

“That’s why it was such a surprise when she jumped on you like that,” Maria explains, tossing back the rest of her coffee.  “Maybe you remind her of somebody or something.”  Or maybe she had found out something disturbing before the group and was displacing her anger; I happened to be an easy target.

“What do you think it was?”  I ask.  I don’t have much hope that Maria will know, but it’s worth a shot.

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Parental Deception; chapter ten, part two

“Did you know?” I demand, my voice hard.

“Excuse me, what?” Understandably, Mrs. Tsai is confused. “Who is this?”

“Megan Liang,” I say through gritted teeth. “Did you know that your husband bilked my sisters and me out of our inheritance?”

“What are you saying? I don’t understand.” There’s fear in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s hiding something or because I’m ranting like a crazy woman. I take a few slow and smooth breaths so I don’t verbally slaughter her. I’m mad at her husband, who is now dead. I shouldn’t take it out on her.

“Your husband was the executor of my father’s will,” I say, my voice dangerously calm.

“Yes, I know. He said Henry had given all the money to us.” There is nothing but sincerity in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I’m sorry I’m going to have to be the bearer of bad news.

“Did you see any of that money?” I ask. I know it’s a leading question, but I need to find out what she knows.

“No. George said wills take time. Probate and all that.” It’s clear she knows nothing and that her husband had been deceiving her as well. Suddenly, I wonder if I should tell her what I know because chances are, the will is in his house. I doubt he even submitted it to probate. I’m assuming there has to be a copy in legal land somewhere, but I’m not sure. If I tell Mrs. Tsai, she might destroy the will. Then again, Mr. Tsai probably already has. I need to call a lawyer and stat. First, though, I confront Mrs. Tsai.

“Your husband lied. My father did not leave his money to you—he left it to my sisters and me. I have proof,” I say, hoping she won’t ask me what proof and how I got it. “I’m assuming you didn’t know about this.”

“No! Are you saying George lied to me? He wouldn’t do that.” I stay silent, though it’s clear to me that her husband has lied to her about many things.

“Your husband also was the one stealing money from his partners, not the other way around.” I feel as if I’m pummeling her with the information, but I have run out of patience at this point. I’m furious that her husband was a piece of shit who decided to intrude upon my life. I really wish I hadn’t heard of him, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

“I can’t deal with this.” Click. She hung up on me! I stare at my phone in shock. I mean, it’s not that surprising given the barrage of information I’d given her, but it’s very un-Taiwanese behavior, especially for an elder. Then again, she’s lived in San Francisco for most if not all her life, so she’s more American than Taiwanese. I stifle my impulse to call her back because it won’t do any good. Instead, I read about the will again, and I get angry all over again. I call Viv and wait impatiently for her to answer. I know she’ll still be awake, whereas Jasmine has probably been asleep since a half hour after we returned home.

“What’s up, Meg? I was just about to start a piece.” Viv’s voice is distracted, and I know I have five minutes at best to keep her attention.

“I found out more information about our father,” I say, stepping outside to smoke. “He left all his money to us in his will.”

“His will,” Viv repeats, her voice uninterested. Then a few seconds later, “His will???”

“Yes. He made that man his executor, but Mr. Tsai decided not to fulfill his duties.” There is bitterness in my voice, and I don’t attempt to hide it. My rage needs to go somewhere, and I know Viv can handle it.

“You can do that?” Viv is as astounded as I was before I Googled the issue at hand. The number of people who’ve bilked their so-called loved ones out of the family fortune has disheartened me. I know families can be shitty to each other, but it’s depressing, nonetheless.

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Blogging My Murder; chapter ten, part two

Chapter Ten; Part Two

My phone beeps. It’s a text from Rembrandt. “You left again. You keep doing that.” I can’t tell if he’s pissed or hurt or what, but I want to nip this in the bud. Then again, it is kind of rude of me to leave like that, so I start with an apology. “Sorry. I prefer sleeping in my own bed. Plus, I missed my cats. You pissed?” I hold my breath. I don’t want him to be mad, but I’m also pretty set in my ways. I’m not going to change just because I enjoy fucking him. It’s several seconds before I receive an answer. “No. Just hurt. I don’t understand.” I sigh. This is another problem with being unconventional. Most people assume that women want to move in, to be committed, to get married, whatever. I’ve had this problem many times. Guys who are at first upset because I don’t want to commit. Then, they get resentful, and finally, pissed. Do I even want to bother? I shouldn’t immediately put Rembrandt in the same boat, but that’s all I seem to run into. “Look. This is too complicated to text about. Can we talk about it? Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday night?” “Why not tomorrow?” The immediate response. Goddamn it. I hate it when people can’t respect my boundaries. “I’m busy.” My text is terse, but I’m not in the mood to make nice. This is why I don’t do well in relationship; I hate having to justify myself to someone else. I count to one hundred before Rembrandt responds. “Tuesday. Six. Where do you want to meet?” Not good. A step back might be what’s needed, though. “Grumpy’s. Washington Ave.” I’m sending my own message. Grumpy’s is loud, so intimate conversation isn’t easy. It should be OK at that time, though. I guess I’m hoping it’ll be loud, though. “Fine.” I decide not to answer that text because we’re going to spiral downwards from here. I set my phone aside, but it beeps again in a minute. It’s Rembrandt. “I hope you have a good night.” Some of my irritation melts. He’s a decent man. It’s not his fault that I’m not a decent woman, not in the traditional sense, anyway. “Thanks, Rembrandt. You, too.”

With that, I toss my phone onto the bed and sigh deeply. Two black lumps join me on the bed, snuggling into my sides. I ruffle their fur, taking comfort in their presence. Why do humans have to be so uptight about our relationships? Why can’t we just sniff each other’s butts and be done with it? Then again, I’ve read how cats have sex, and I don’t want any part of that. My cats have really cushy lives, but do I really want to just eat, sleep, and play with another cat? That doesn’t sound half-bad, actually. I think back to my text messages with Rembrandt and wonder if I could have handled it better. Hell, I know I could have, but I just didn’t have the patience. Let’s face it, if I wanted to avoid unpleasantness, I would have just spent the night with Rembrandt. Time for some hard truths. Do I want to date Rembrandt, or would I prefer if he was just a booty call? Truth to be told, I would be happy if he cooked for me two to three times a week before thoroughly fucking me, then I could go home and chill with my cats. I want Netflix and chill, but I have a hunch Rembrandt wants more than that. If that’s the case, should I just cut it off now? It wouldn’t be fair to him to fuck around if he’s wanting more. Then again, I like him. Not just to fuck, but talking to him and being with him. Maybe I’m sabotaging myself by nitpicking at everything, but I can’t help how I feel.

On the third hand, I have a tendency to overthink things. It’s both a blessing and a curse, but right now, it’s mostly a negative. Three days ago, I was looking forward to my date with Rembrandt and having sex with him. Now, we need to have a talk, and we’re not even a week into whatever this is. People like to joke about how women always want to talk, but I find that dudes want to do it more often than do chicks. Something about sex makes them think they own me or that I owe them something. Am I weird for not wanting to spend the night with him right away? My guess is that most women probably would stay the night, but I’m not most women, damn it. I hate being defensive over my preference of sleeping alone. It’s something I’ve taken shit for my entire life. Well, at least since I started dating. I’ve had to break up with more than one partner who didn’t believe that I didn’t want to move in with them. Let’s not even talk about marriage. Or kids. I am disgruntled, which means it’s going to be hard for me to get to sleep. I pull up my website and start a post.

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