Tag Archives: chapter thirteen (part three)

Rainbow Connection; chapter thirteen, part three

Rosie stole things from her employers, just as I surmised.  Usually silver or jewelry, but once in a while, she’d have a sheaf of papers and wouldn’t tell Derek what they were.  When I open my mouth to interrupt, Derek hurries on over my questions.  The last time he saw her, he tried to find out obliquely if she was still stealing things.  She just laughed at him and said that was penny-ante compared to what she had going on now.  When Derek asked what she meant, she explained her newest venture to him.  Venture.  He makes it sound like she was an entrepreneur or a small-business owner, not the blackmailer she really was.  She regaled him with stories of her clientele without revealing their identities.  She said one had killed her husband; one had embezzled some money; one didn’t have the credentials she said she did; one was running an apartment scam.  Things like that.

I couldn’t believe he hadn’t gone to the police, and I tell him so in no uncertain terms.  I mean, we’re talking about blackmail.  Derek doesn’t see it that way.  In his eyes, all her clients deserved it because they are all liars and cheats and thieves, not to mention a killer.  I look at him in disgust.  This is the same man who works with juvenile delinquents, trying to rehab them.  Does his attitude mean that he thinks they deserve whatever happens to them?  I don’t ask because he’s still talking.  He says the fact that Rosie’s clients live in Marin is a blackmailable offense.  By now, he’s slurring his words which means I should get as much information out of him as quickly as possible and save my indignation for later.  Besides, I’m hoping at some point he’ll realize if he had stopped her from continuing her ‘venture’, she’d still be alive.

“What else?”  I massage my forehead, feeling the stirrings of a headache.

“Um, well,” Derek stalls again, refusing to meet my eyes.  Suddenly, I get it and heave a big sigh.

“Derek, I don’t care if you slept with her,” I say earnestly, though Greta might care.  A lot.  “As long as it has nothing to do with her death.”

“No!  It’s just, um, well, we had both drank a bit, and um, I invited her back to my place, just to reminisce some more.  One thing led to another.”  I look at him in exasperation.  That is the lamest excuse in my book.  One thing doesn’t lead to another, not without help.  I don’t debate his statement, however, as it isn’t the point.

“So, when exactly did this happen?”

“The day before she was killed,” Derek says glumly.  “I can’t believe she’s dead!  We spent all afternoon in my bed talking and having sex.  She told me one of her clients would be upping her payment.  She was in such a good mood.  When she left, she told me she’d call me after the deal went through.  To celebrate.  I waited all the next night for that call.”  A call that never came.  I have a ton of questions, most of them irrelevant to the case.  I also remember the day in question at work—Derek had called in sick after taking off to see the counselor at the other agency.

“Has the police talked to you yet?”

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Marital Duplicity; chapter thirteen, part three

I go into the living room, Onyx and Jet hot on my tail. I pull up my website, and I’ve gotten a lively set of responses to my post about secrets and lies in relationships. MNborn writes, “My marriage was a hot mess of secrets, mostly on my husband’s part. He was fucking anything in a skirt that moved—but he vehemently denied it if I ever brought it up. It was crazy-making for me—I knew he was cheating on me, but he would never admit it. Talk about gaslighting! He also gambled away his earnings and mine. When I divorced him a year later, I was poorer in the wallet and in friends—because he fucked them—but richer in mental health.” NYOnMyMind muses, “My mother raised me to believe that my first and only goal was to be a wife and mother. That’s all she was, and she was miserable, though she would never say that out loud. My father was a good man, but ineffectual against her rages. He would disappear in a book when she went off on a rant, and I learned to follow suit.” CallMeJoe adds his two cents. “My father was having an affair with my mother’s younger sister. My aunt was barely eighteen at the time. None of us knew for five years, including my mother. We only found out when he left my mom for my aunt, whom he then left a year later for their oldest sister. This was twenty years ago, and me and my five siblings haven’t talked to our father ever since.” InSaneIty shares, “It was an open secret that my mother was in and out of mental institutions for most of her adult life. My father would say she was away at a cousin’s, resting or some shit, but my three sisters and I knew the truth. We could see it in her behavior leading up to the lock-up. She’d swing from mania to depression in the blink of an eye, and she tried to kill herself on more than one occasion. She died five years ago while on one of her ‘rests’. I was sad about it, but also relieved. She was hard to live with when she wasn’t locked up.”

There’s a small group of commenters who insist that their relationships are completely honest, transparent, and free of lies. The other commenters take them to task, but I don’t bother. If someone is deep in denial, it’s dangerous to take that away from them. One thing I learned in Psych 101 was that you don’t remove someone’s coping mechanism if you don’t have anything to replace it with. Even bad coping mechanisms are better than nothing. In addition, who am I to say that they’re lying? I’m sure there are relationships that are mostly honest and healthy, but I haven’t seen many of them. My friend Liz and her husband, Frankie, are as close as it gets to a great relationship. Before the last few weeks, I would have said Jasmine and Bob also had a solid relationship. Now, I know better. It’s not to say they can’t recoup what they once had, but it’s going to take work.

Speaking of Bob, I need to read his emails. The last time I asked Jasmine for his password, however, she got mad  and refused to give it to me. She might feel differently this time because she’s more desperate now, but I wouldn’t count on it. I decide to be sneakier about it, even though it makes me feel slimy. I know his Gmail account is bobcheng224@gmail.com. My bet is that he’s not very creative with his passwords. I try Jasmine, and I’m in. I make a mental note to tell him to change it later, but for now, I shake off my feeling of discomfort and read his emails. Most of them are mundane and about church or business. He doesn’t have them in folders, so it’s a slog to scroll through them. I see a thread from Hayley, and I open it up. I start from the beginning, which was three weeks ago. In her email to him, she’s whining about her husband and having to stay home with her baby. His response is compassionate and thoughtful, but with a tinge of impatience. I have the feeling that he’s heard it a million times before, and he’s getting tired of it. I would be, too, if I were him. I have little patience for people who want to wallow in their own misery.

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Trip on This: Chapter Thirteen (Part Three)

Chapter Thirteen (Part Three)

“Mowgli, bring the key here,” Trip orders, rising to her feet.  She brushes the dust of her jeans as she waits for her partner in crime.  Mowgli ambles over, key in hand.  When he sees the suitcase, he begins to laugh.

“Bigger than a breadbox,” he snorts, slapping his thigh.  “How the hell did it take us so long to find this thing?”  He slips the key into the lock and it turns.  He throws back the lid, and photos start tumbling out of it.  The thing is stuffed with bundles of pictures of all different sizes.  Trip picks up a bundle and glances through it.  What she sees there causes her to take a closer look.

“What the hell?”  Trip asks, bringing the pictures closer to her eyes.  Mowgli is looking at a few pictures as well, his mouth set in a harsh line.

“Let’s grab this and get out of here,” Mowgli says abruptly, throwing his pictures back into the suitcase with revulsion.  “We’ve been here long enough.”  Trip agrees and tosses in her pictures as well.  They close the suitcase and lock it before Trip stuffs the key in her bra.  Mowgli grabs the strap attached to the handle and starts wheeling the suitcase behind him.

“Hey, what’s your hurry?”  Stanley asks them as they rush by.  His brother, Thomas, has joined him while Trip and Mowgli had been excavating.  Thomas is a carbon copy of his brother except with darker hair and three inches more height.  The difference is, he doesn’t talk unless he is forced to.  He nods amicably at Trip and Mowgli then returns to whatever it is he’s doing.  “Don’t have time to chew the fat with an old friend?”

“No,” Trip says, brushing him off.  Mowgli doesn’t elaborate as he’s hot on Trip’s heels, all thoughts of giving Stanley Trip’s number vanished.  They hop in Trip’s car and zoom back to the hotel, careful not to go more than five miles over the speed limit.  It wouldn’t do to get pulled over by the cops with the suitcase full of pictures.  Neither of them say a word as Trip drives, too sickened by their discovery.

“Dump it all out,” Trip orders as soon as they return to the hotel.  She has locked the door to ensure that no one will be walking in unexpectedly on them.  “Every single last filthy picture.  The shitheads!”  Mowgli does as he’s told, spreading the pictures across both his and Trip’s beds.  Then, even though neither wants to do it, they look at the pictures.

Little girls—lots of them.  Mexican girls who can’t be more than fourteen years old, tops.  Naked, mouths parted in silent screams, squirming under the weight of full-grown men.  Girls doing things they shouldn’t even know existed, and being tortured to boot. Girls’ bodies, limp and lifeless.  Dead or unconscious is unclear, but disturbing either way.  Different places, different settings, same stories.  Trip and Mowgli flip through picture after picture, not saying a word.  There is nothing to say that won’t diminish the monstrosity of what has been done, that doesn’t pale besides the reality of evil incarnate.  There are tears running down Mowgli’s face as he looks, but look he does.  These girls deserve to have someone pay attention to their shortened lives—even if it’s only to mourn their passing.

Fortunately, the men were arrogant enough to allow their faces to be photographed except for in the snuff pictures.  Arrogant enough, or sick enough because they wanted trophies of their conquests.  There are Peters and O’Reilly and, oh, shit, the chief of police.  There is the editor-in-chief of the Chron as he holds a girl’s head to his cock.  He is grinning, mugging for the camera as if he’s going for a walk in the park instead of raping a little girl.  DiCalvo or Andretti or whatever his name is, is not pictured, so he must be the clean-up man.  He might also be the photographer. The pictures are in color, which makes the degradation even more vivid.  There is one series of stills of O’Reilly doing unspeakable things to a girl who can’t be older than ten.  Mowgli bolts to the bathroom from where retching sounds can be heard.

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