Tag Archives: chapter three part two

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter three, part two

The day after Ellen gave me the envelope, I returned to my apartment to find a single rose on the front step, and a window broken.  Being the smart gal that I was, I pulled out my cell and phoned the cops.  I waited for them outside my apartment building. By the time they got there, I was freaking out.  They found a picture of her, signed, along with lipstick prints all over my walls, my mirrors, my bedspread.  My underwear was strewn around the room and several panties were missing.  To top it off, she was taking a damn bath in my tub.  Her bag, which was stuffed with my panties, was resting on the floor by the bathtub.  Not only was she a nut, she was stupid as well.  The cops arrested her; her shrink came forward and said she wasn’t dangerous, just hallucinatory, and they locked her away somewhere.

“You didn’t think to call me then?”  Rafe shouted, steamed by this point.  “The psycho bitch breaks into your apartment, and you don’t tell me a thing?  What the hell is wrong with you?”

“She was apprehended without incident,” I snapped back, my own temper frayed.  I wasn’t used to answering to anyone, and in fact, had broken up with my last partner because he constantly questioned me about where I had been.  I wasn’t anybody’s property, and I didn’t like being scolded as if I were a small child.  “She was taken away and locked up.  That’s why I didn’t mention it to you then, and that’s why I didn’t want to tell you now.”

“How do you know she’s still locked up?”  Rafe asked.  “Maybe she was released.  If she was, maybe she decided the goddess had clay feet after all.  And what do you do when you’re disillusioned with a god?  You kill it.”

“I’ll find out,” I sighed, my body suddenly sagging.  It’s hard to believe that I was talking about someone wanting to kill me.  It’s such a ludicrous statement, that I had to resist the impulse to look around for the hidden camera.  Suddenly, the phone rang.  Rafe moved to get it, but I motioned him back.  Sometimes, I screened my calls when I wasn’t in the mood to answer.

“Beezus!  It’s your mother.  Pick up the phone; I know you’re there.”

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Plaster of Paris: chapter three, part two

“Lyle, honey, we’re here.”  I tap him gently on the shoulder, not wanting to disturb him.  He looks up, his eyes blank.

“Hi,” Lyle says bleakly, not even attempting to smile.  He struggles to stand up, finally hauling himself off his ass.  “Mrs. Jenson.”  He holds out his hand to Mrs. Jenson, who steadfastly ignores it.  Lyle lets his hand drop back to his side, then sits down again.

“How’s our boy?”  Even though I know Lyle would call me if anything changes, I can’t stop myself from asking.

“No change.  He’s resting,” Lyle shrugs.  “No one is allowed to see him.”

“We’ll see about that.”  Mrs. Jenson purses her lips as she strides towards the nurses’ station.  We watch as she gestures broadly to the attending nurse, a large, black woman with a shorn head and a weary look on her face.  Mrs. Jenson’s face is etched with distaste as she gestures; the nurse is equally terse in her response.

“Ten to one she gets in to see Paris,” I whisper out of the side of my mouth, eliciting a wan smile from Lyle.

“That’s a sucker bet if I ever heard one,” he shoots back, his smile wobbling.  “I’d never bet against Mrs. Jenson getting whatever she wanted.”  Except her daughter alive.  Except her son not being in love with a man.  Perhaps Mrs. Jenson is not so lucky after all.  Mrs. Jenson is still arguing with the nurse when a tired-looking doctor strides over towards them.  He is tall and cadaverous thin, with round spectacles and a brisk manner.  After listening to Mrs. Jenson for a few minutes, he says a sentence or two that seems to satisfy her.  Within minutes, she returns to where Lyle and I are watching her.

“That takes care of that,” she says in satisfaction.  “Watch my purse.  I’ll be right back.”  She hands her oversized purse to me, then follows the waiting doctor.

I try to convince Lyle to go home for a few minutes so he can eat, shower, and nap.  He digs in his heels, not wanting to leave Paris.  He points out that he is the only one with a vehicle as well, and what would I and Mrs. Jenson do without his services?  I can call Vashti or my mother or hail a cab.  He needs to take care of himself, I say firmly.  He is adamant, however, about not leaving Paris to the mercies of a killer.  He scowls at me before plunking back into his seat.  He’s sobbing again, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  I sit next to him and pull him to me.  He is stiff in my arms, but at least he allows me to pat him on the back.

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Parental Deception; chapter three, part two

“To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub.”

– Hamlet.

My version of the above quote is, “To sleep, perchance not to dream, damn it.” I’ve never been a big fan of sleep ever since I was a little girl. When I was four or five, my mother would try to put me to bed at six or seven, and I’d lie in bed staring at the ceiling for hours. When I got older and I could read, which was roughly a year later, I would put a towel in the door crack and read until midnight. Then, my mother would be puzzled as to why I was groggy at six in the morning, which is when she wanted me to get up. Of course, I couldn’t tell her what I was doing because then she’d put a stop to my late night reading adventures. I learned to live with not enough sleep at a young age, and I think it’s part of the reason my sleeping habits are so shitty now.

I have to get up for work at six-thirty. My body will not let me go to sleep before midnight, which means I normally don’t fall asleep until one in the morning at the earliest. I can survive on six hours of sleep, but anything less keeps me in a perpetual state of grogginess. I try to catch up on the weekends, but I usually stay up until four or five in the morning and get up around noon the next day. Yes, that allows me to sleep longer, but it throws my schedule off by a considerable amount. There’s the belief that people who work the overnight should stay on that schedule even when they’re not at work. I think this is wise, but I’m not disciplined enough to do it myself.

When I was in college, I used to go to bed at three in the morning and get up at seven for a seven-forty-five class. I used to drink six Diet Cokes a day to combat the fatigue, grabbing one right out of the mini-fridge the first thing in the morning to give myself a boost. One morning, I woke up late and couldn’t find my portable alarm. In desperation, I opened the mini-fridge to grab a Diet Coke, and there was my fucking alarm. After that, I set it across the room on the sink so I would have to wake up to turn it off. Of course, I could have gotten more sleep, but that wasn’t going to happen. Every time I’d go home during a break, I would crash on the first day for fifteen hours.

Sleep is a bitch. I hate it. If I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t. I envy people who enjoy sleep. I have one friend who loves to wake up and just luxuriate in the feeling of being mostly asleep. I have another friend who wakes up with a smile on his face because he’s so refreshed. I have several friends who like their dream worlds better than their real lives. I hate them all. I’m kidding, but I fear I will never have a positive feeling about sleep.

I get a solid half hour out of writing on this topic. I publish it and wait. It’s nearly four in the morning, and I’m still nowhere near sleep. Five minutes after I publish the post, there’s a response. It’s from MNborn, and she writes, “Sleep has been my nemesis all my life. I want to be friends, but it has spurn all my entreaties. Yoga, meditation, chamomile tea, melatonin—none of them work. Currently, I simply stay awake until I’m tired enough to drop dead, and then I sleep for three or four hours.” I write back, “My sister! I can’t tell you all the remedies that had failed for me. Chamomile tea, melatonin, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, hot baths, hot milk….None of it has done jackshit. I’m basically doing the same thing you are—staying awake until I’m falling over, then sneaking in a few hours of nightmare-laden sleep.”

“Hey, babe. Getting in your daily dose of chung-chung, eh?” Rembrandt materializes in front of me, yawning as he wipes the sleep from his eyes. The cats are here as well, and they’re all sleepy as well. Rembrandt sits on the couch next to me, casually placing  his arm along the couch in back of me. Ginger climbs into his lap and nuzzles his belly. Onyx claims my lap as her own, and Jet squeezes himself between us.

“It’s like crack. I can’t stop watching.” For several seconds, utter contentment washes over me. I’ve been thinking about family a lot lately, and this is the closest to my definition of the word. No, it’s not family in the traditional sense of the word. We’re not married; we don’t have children; we’re not even living together. I have trouble with us spending more than one night with him, for heaven’s sake. But, for just that moment, the two of us watching a shitty procedural with our three cats is as much family as I want to have. I drop my head on Rembrandt’s shoulder and close my eyes. I can still hear Sam Waterson spluttering indignantly in the background, and then I drift off into the ethers.

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Dogged Ma: Chapter three, part two

Chapter Three, Part Two

“What are you going to tell people?”  Ned asked, wisely dropping the argument.  He knew that I was stubborn and contrary.  The more he argued, the more I would dig in my heels and hiss at him.  “I mean, you can’t tell people that you’re carrying the next savior, can you?”

“I don’t know,” I said, suddenly struck by the enormity of the situation.  What was I going to tell people?  Obviously, I’d have to tell them I was pregnant, but I’d have to come up with a cover story, wouldn’t I?  No way in hell was I going to tell anybody that I was the Mother of God before it was necessary.  I liked my freedom, thank you very much, and I didn’t relish the thought of giving it up voluntarily.  More to the point, what was I going to tell my mother?  Oh, God.  She wanted me to have kids, but not out of wedlock.  Shit.  God wasn’t planning on making me marry someone, was He?

“No, I’m not,” God thundered in my brain.  I winced at the volume and silently asked Him to turn it down.  “Sorry.  Zeke is yakking my ear off so I can’t tell how loudly I’m talking.”  Zeke?  Talking up a storm.  This I had to see.  No, I didn’t.  I shuddered at the thought of a garrulous Zeke.  “I want you to be a single mother.  It’s part of the plan.”

“You’ve gone nuts, Lord,” I said silently.  Ned and Wind were talking a mile a minute and had no idea that I was having my own private conversation.  “What else are You going to burden this child with?  You are trying to kill her, aren’t You?”

“No, I’m not.  I just need the world to stand up and take notice.  You people need to see reason—only something drastic will do.  Oops.  I must go.  Zeke and I need to talk over a few details about the Ukraine.  For the record, I was never on Bush’s side, and he was an idiot for trusting Putin.  You tell him that if you ever meet him.  Oh, and tell him he’s a horrible painter, too.”

“Yeah, right.”  I felt God leave me, which still jolted me.  I tuned back into the conversation going on between Ned and Wind.  Predictably, they were arguing about God.  As I had had just about enough of God, I tuned them out and ate my eggs which were getting cold.  I gulped down my milk, then refilled my glass.  Suddenly, I had a craving for chocolate so I took two truffles out of the fridge and brought them into the living room.  Ned and Wind broke off their conversation to turn and stare at me.

“What?  I’m craving chocolate.  I am eating for two now, you know.”  That was going to be one of the only perks about this whole mess—I got to eat as much as I wanted.

“It’s not good for the baby,” Wind said, voicing her disapproval.  “Too much caffeine.”

“I hate to break it to you, Wind, but it doesn’t matter with this child.”  I patted my stomach as if there was something really there.  “God said I could smoke and drink as much as I wanted, so I presume that means I can eat as much chocolate as I want as well.  I better, or I’m going to be one big, bad bitch from now until this baby is born.”

“Did She really say that?”  Wind asked dubiously.

“Yes, I did,” God boomed down, this time audible to all of us.

“Will You quit that?”  I shrieked, my nerves on edge.  “I can’t take You dropping in like that!  Please!”

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Trip on This: Chapter Three (Part Two)

Chapter Three (Part Two)

The apartment building is deathly quiet and has an unlived-in feel to it.  Trip cannot repress a shudder as she presses on the buzzer.  Nothing.  Then she notices that the door is propped open.  Once again, she marvels at the stupidity of her fellow man.  Sure, it makes her job easier, but it also makes it more dangerous for the residents.  The purpose of having security is so that not just any Joe can walk in off the street.  Trip slips the piece of wood from the doorway and shuts the door firmly behind her.  She takes the elevator up to the fourth floor then gets out.  ‘Go to your left immediately when you enter the apartment,’ DiCalvo’s voice says in Trip’s mind, unbidden.  She picks the lock and slips inside, carefully shutting the door behind her.  For the first time ever, she doesn’t linger but simply flips the light switch.  She just wants to get this job over with.  She hates rushing, but something is compelling her to keep moving.  Nothing.  No lights.  She frowns and gropes her way to the left, her hands safely encased in gloves.  The light works in the bedroom, and she heaves a sigh of relief.  She looks around, hoping the jewelry box is in plain sight.  It isn’t.  She starts tossing the room, starting with the dresser drawers.  She hears the wail of a cop car faintly in the distance.

There’s nothing in the dresser but expensive clothes and lingerie Trip would kill to own.  Just because she’s a tough woman doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy feminine fripperies.  This Sylvian must be a high-maintenance gal with the thousands of dollars of clothes she has.  Trip goes through the vic’s drawers twice before concluding the box isn’t there.  She opens the closet, but there are only clothes.  She is frowning by now, exasperated that this isn’t as easy as she was told it would be.  The jewelry box isn’t under the bed or in the desk drawer, either.  In fact, Trip can’t seem to find it anywhere.  Her sense of unease grows as the siren’s wail grows louder.  She looks around the room for a hidden door or a safe or something, but there is nothing.  If there is, it’s hidden so well that she can’t spot it in a glance.

What the hell is going on here?  The siren sounds as if it’s just outside the building.  Trip’s heart stops, making her hurry to the window.  The bedroom is facing the front of the apartment, and the police car stops right in front of the building.  There are more sirens in the distance.  Shit!  Trip runs from the room, leaving the light on.  The feeling she’s had all day grows until it’s spreading throughout her body.  She can’t go out the front door because she just knows this is the apartment the cops are coming to.  She rushes into the kitchen and flicks on the light.  She nearly shrieks out loud when she sees a body lying on the floor, covered in blood.  The knife is still sticking in its—her—sternum, and her eyes are staring dully at nothing at all.  The vic must have been a pretty girl in life with her long black curls and green eyes, but now she’s just a corpse.  No longer Sylvian—just a body.  Trip’s eyes flicker to the table where there are two glasses just like the one DiCalvo offered her—one filled with whiskey, the other with water—this very afternoon.

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