Tag Archives: motives

Plaster of Paris; chapter nine, part two

“If I am not knowing better, I would think you were avoiding me.”  Vashti’s husky voice causes the anger inside of me to melt into something much nicer.  I am practically deliquescing on the street.

“Sorry, Vash,” I say lamely.  “I’ve had a lot on my mind.”

“I understand.  How is Paris?”  Concern laces her tone, and I’m grateful.  I know she and Paris aren’t the best of friends, but she’s a kind-hearted woman.

“The same,” I say, my throat tightening.  “He’s still in a coma.”

“Oh, Rayne, I am so sorry,” she sighs.  “Is there anything I can be doing for you?”

“I’d like to see you,” I say impulsively.  I can’t spend all my time working on the case or at the hospital, or I’ll go mad.

“I cannot see you tonight, but how about tomorrow?  I’ll make you dinner.”

“Sold.”  Vashti is a fabulous cook, and I have no qualms about letting her cook for me.  We agree on seven o’clock, then I click off.  Immediately after, the phone rings again.

“This the cunt roommate of Paris?”  The voice is hoarse and ugly-sounding, not the same one as the one who’s been calling my home number.

“How did you get this number,” I demand, like an idiot.  Why on earth would he tell me that?

“Don’t worry about it, bitch.  Back the hell off before someone else gets hurt.”  Before I can respond, he hangs up on me.  I immediately press *69, but with little hope.  Just as I suspect; it’s scrambled.  I call Lyle.

“Hello?”  His voice is low.  “Rayne?  Let me call you right back.”  He must be in the hospital; they don’t allow cell phone conversations in most parts of hospitals.  He calls me in five minutes.  “What’s up?”

“That bastard or one of his friends called me on my cell,” I fume.  Lyle doesn’t ask which bastard, for which I am profoundly grateful.  “Told me to back off.”

“Your cell?  I wonder why he switched?”

“To show that he can get an unlisted number,” I say impatiently.  “There are very few people who have this number.”

“We’ll talk about it and more when you come here.  I talked to Bil—Matthews.  I cannot in good conscience call a guy over twelve Billy.  Anyway, get here as soon as you can.”  He clicks off before I can tell him I’m on my way.  I’ve run out of steam, so I hail a cab to take me the rest of the way.  The cabbie is an older white gentleman who calls me, ‘doll’ and ‘babe’.  I find it oddly enduring and don’t jump on his shit as I normally would.  He tells me about life as a cabbie, something he’s been for over thirty years.  He doesn’t believe the city’s become more dangerous—we’re just more aware of it.  He has a high school diploma, but never went to college.  Didn’t really see the point.  Got out of being drafted for ‘Nam because of his fallen arches.  He is sympathetic when I tell him about Paris.  Turns out he has a friend in St. Luke’s, too—a fellow cabbie.  The guy was driving his shift one day when he had a heart-attack.  He managed to drive to St. Luke’s since he was in the neighborhood before passing out.  Zachary, my cabbie, says his friend had to have a quadruple bypass, and wasn’t that a bitch?  I agreed that it was.  I give Zachary a healthy tip when I exit his cab in exchange for him cheering me up.  I stride to the ICU waiting room where my happy band of fellow sufferers are waiting for me.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter seven, part one

I turn to the computer where there is an email from my sister.  More blathering about her wedding and what I must and must not do.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so important, and I delete it.  There’s also a nice email from Vashti just saying she’s thinking of me and to call her when I have a minute.  That one I save.  I frown at the next email because it has an unfamiliar address:  ursine@hotmail.com.  I click it open, expecting it to be spam though we have a good filter system.  It’s from Ursula.  She wants to know if I’ve figured anything out yet.  I lift an eyebrow.  It was only yesterday afternoon that I saw her, so I’m not sure what she thinks I might have accomplished since then.  I don’t have the same  antipathy towards her as does Lyle—I actually enjoyed her—but I’m wary of her strident interest.  Granted, Paris is her biological son, and she did just discover him two days ago, but the concerned mother bit is a bit heavy-handed given that she hasn’t laid eyes on the boy for twenty-eight years.

The day has a surreal feel to it as my coworkers avoid me as much as possible.  If they have work they want me to do, they either quickly drop it on my desk and scurry away, or they email me their needs.  Nobody actually talks to me unless they are forced to explain what they need.  Even Quinn avoids me, which is highly unusual.  I don’t miss the constant interruption, but I’m still rather hurt by the snub.  My colleagues are acting as if it’ll rub off on them—the murder bug.  At least, Derek, a coworker tangentially involved with the last murder case is no longer working here; that would make a bad day even worse.  Only the kids treat me the same because in their world, death—even murder—is no big deal.  I would bet that at least ninety-percent of the kids have had someone close to them die—many of them, more than one person.  So for me to be close to three murders is not unusual to them—in fact, it gives me street cred in their eyes; I have the same as experiences as they, to some extent.  Too bad I’m not getting paid to be a counselor rather than an admin assistant.

People ask me how I can work in a place like A Brighter Day with juvenile delinquents.  Aren’t you scared, they ask?  They are the ignorant ones.  The people who bother me, however, are the ones who can’t put themselves in the kids’ shoes, who consider themselves superior.  The people who can’t understand how any kid can turn to crime or live ‘the way they do’.  One particularly obnoxious person wanted to round up all the kids like the ones at my agency and put them on an island somewhere..  I finally let him have it after he pontificated for a good half hour.  I’ve seen some of the case files—I have to organize them periodically—and I’m surprised the kids aren’t more screwed up then they already are.  One has a mother who locked him in the closet every night so she could service men without him bothering her.  One’s stepfather visited her bed frequently and promised to kill her younger sister if she told.  One male was gang- raped with a broken bottle by a bunch of older girls who were high on crack..  The guy I told this to wasn’t quite so ebullient in his criticisms after I shared a few cases with him..

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Blogging My Murder; chapter ten, part three

Chapter Ten; Part Three

Wait a minute. Julianna left me all her money. Uncle said it was around three-quarters of a million dollars. If I invest carefully, I should be able to quit my job right now. Well, once the will goes through probate. I quickly Google how long it takes to process a will and find out it can take anywhere from a few months to a year. If someone contests the will, which I’m sure Eric will if he’s able, then it can take longer. In other words, I can’t count on that money any time soon. Then again, I have a healthy bank account, and if I’m very careful—I suddenly realize that I’m focusing on the money left to me by my murdered best friend. I start gagging, but nothing comes up. How could I be such a callous bitch as to spend my murdered best friend’s money? I put my face in my hands and weep. Onyx and Jet meep in protest, but they don’t follow me as I get up. Instead, they move together as one and curl up into a ball. I grab my smokes and go outside. I try to light one, but my hand is shaking. I steady it and light my cigarette. I take a long pull off of it and hold the smoke in my lungs. I deserve the punishment for being so cavalier about Julianna’s death. What’s more, I haven’t Googled anything else about it in a day. I made a promise to Uncle that I’d find Julianna’s murder, and I’ve been lax.

I go back to the couch and pull my laptop onto my lap. I Google Julianna’s murder and read a dozen articles. I don’t learn much that I don’t already know. She was killed in the wee hours of the morning by having her throat sliced and her tongue cut out. I learn that she was probably killed by some kind of hunting knife which the perp brought with him. Or her. I shouldn’t be sexist, though that kind of ferocity is more a dude thing. There’s a new tidbit—she was tied to her bed with her own scarves. Four scarves, one for each limb. The article lists the kind of scarves, and I realize I gave one to her for Christmas. It was a cashmere scarf from Nordstrom, and now it’s ruined. I brush that aside because it’s not relevant. OK. The perp planned ahead by bringing a knife, but he didn’t bring restraints? I’ve watched enough Criminal Minds to know that’s weird. Says to me that this person was, what? Impulsive? The person wanted to commit the murder, but didn’t think it through. Also, how did he know Julianna would be alone? Coincidence? I highly doubt it as Ramona had just left. Wait a minute. I sit up straight. The perp was watching Julianna! That had to be how he got her just after Ramona left. I scribble several notes to myself, my mind reeling.

Who would hate Julianna so much that he would stalk her? Who would have the time? Her ex-husband would have the time, probably, but not the means, I don’t think. What was the name of that woman who had plagiarized Julianna’s style at the Minneapolis Slammin’? Paula…no, that’s not it. Pamela…no. She’s a Latina…oh, right. Paola! I plug in her name and Minneapolis Slammin’. I come back with hundreds of hits, most of them related to her slam poetry. Her last name is Escobar, and she’s from New Jersey originally. She came here because the slam poetry scene here is second to none. Her boyfriend, Joey Simmons, came with her. This was three years ago, and they live in Loring Park in a two-bedroom apartment. He’s some kind of businessman, though there’s nothing explicit there. I raise an eyebrow at the fact that they have a yacht. A fucking yacht? He must be making bank for that kind of shit. What does she do? Not much. She claims to be a freelance writer, but I can’t find anything current written by her, at least not with a cursory search. That means she had plenty of time to stalk Julianna. What about Ramona’s husband? She said he didn’t work as hard as she did, and she was definitely lying about him being home that night. Goddamn it. This isn’t narrowing down my search at all. What about Eric, Julianna’s brother? On impulse, I call him. To my surprise, he answers.

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