Tag Archives: murder

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter three, part one

“What the fuck?”  Rafe jumped up from his chair and stared down at me.  “She was wearing your costume?”  He started pacing, keeping his eyes pinned to me.  “You sit there so calmly telling me about your coworker being murdered and don’t bother telling me until now that it could have been you?  What are you, out of your fucking mind?”  His voice had risen appreciably as he ranted.  I said nothing, knowing from experience that I had to let his machismo cool down a bit before attempting to have a rational dialogue.  I slipped on my inscrutable Asian face, folded my hands on top of the table and waited.

“Oh, no you don’t!”  Rafe growled, his face turning red.  “You’re not going to sit there and play Buddha babe with me, not now.  Talk!  Tell me how you could hold back such an important piece of information until now!  You could have been fucking killed!  Don’t you think I deserved to know that right away?”

“Rafe, please,” I sighed, my tone as even as I could make it.  “I realize that fact, believe me I do.  This reaction is the very reason I didn’t want to tell you.”

“Well excuse the fuck out of me if I’m a bit concerned that my girlfriend may be shot in the back while she’s dressed as an oversized mouse!  Why the hell would someone want to shoot you?  And did you tell the cops?”

“What?  Huh?”  Not an intelligent response, but I didn’t like it when Rafe yelled at me.  Come to think of it, I didn’t like it when anybody yelled at me.  “Why do you think someone tried to shoot me?  That’s crazy.  You watch too much Mystery! on PBS.”

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

“Rather strange coincidence, isn’t it?”  Antoinette interjected, cutting her eyes to me.  “The day you two switch costumes, Lydia is murdered.”  Although she was purportedly speaking only to me, her voice carries clearly across the crowd.  I flushed, but didn’t answer.  I figured it was better to save my words for the police than to waste them trying to defend myself.

“What the hell is going on here,” Eddie asked, huffing and puffing.  “What is Trixie doing lying on the ground like that?  Get up, girl.  It’s bad for business.”  Even though I was only a few yards away, Eddie didn’t bother to look my way.  He nudged Lydia’s body with his toe, drawing gasps from the crowd.  “What are you drunk?  I swear to God, Trixie, if you’re playing some kind of trick on me.”

“Eddie, that’s Lydia, and she’s dead,” Antoinette said in hushed tones.  It’s unbelievable to me that Eddie didn’t see the bullet wounds, but he’s not the most observant guy in the world.  “That’s Bea.”  She pointed to me.  It took a minute for it to register with Eddie what Antoinette had said.  When it did, he turned to me, a look of dismay on his face.

“Didn’t I tell you girls not to switch costumes?  Didn’t I, huh?  What did Eddie tell you the first day of work?  No switching costumes.”  Uh oh.  When Eddie started talking about himself in the third person, it meant he was losing his temper.  Granted, it’s a short way to go, but still, I didn’t need the aggravation.  Besides, the man needed to get his priorities straight.  Lydia and me switching costumes was the least of his worries.

“Eddie, Lydia’s dead.”  My voice was fierce as I tried to stem the litany I knew was forthcoming.  “This isn’t the time to worry about costume switches.  Did someone call the police?”

“I did,” Tommy said, flashing his cell phone in his hand.  “They should be here any minute.”

“Police?”  Eddie bellowed, turning white.  “What do we need the police for?”  No one was this stupid—no one.  It seemed as if our Eddie was, though.  Disbelieving looks passed between the members of the crowd.  “Let’s let our security take care of it.  Most of them are cops moonlighting, anyway.”

“It’s not that easy,” I said impatiently, not wanting to deal with this moron.  I was distracted by what he had said, however.  Where was security?  I didn’t see any.  In the distance, there was the sound of sirens roaring.

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter two, part one

“God, did I tie one on last night,” Lydia groaned, holding her head in her hands.  “It was Brian’s birthday, and boy, did we celebrate.  He loved the painting I did for him.”  Lydia dabbled in painting and could be really good at it if she put more effort into it.

“Rafe’s birthday is next week.  Maybe I’ll get you to paint a picture of me as his present,” I replied.  I’d seen Lydia’s work, and I liked her style.

“Love to,” Lydia said, beaming at me.  We took our time getting ready.  We were both early, so there was no rush.  “I hate coming here.”

“I’m glad my two days are coming up,” I agreed.  The way it worked, we each worked five days on, then two days off, in rotation.  I was lucky to have Saturday and Sunday off this week, like normal people.  “This job is for the shits.”  I brushed my hair, though there really was no need considering I’d just have to cram the stupid head over it again.

“Hey, you want to trade costumes?”  Lydia asked, her eyes sparkling.  “I’m tired of being a damn duck.

“Groovy,” I said with enthusiasm.  We put on each other’s costume with alacrity, and I must admit it was a refreshing change not to have to be that damn mouse for a change.  “Quack, quack,” I said, my voice muffled.

“Squeak, squeak!”  Lydia said in return.  We both burst out laughing.  “Eddie’s gonna kill us,” Lydia said, her voice merry.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter fourteen, part two

“We should go to the hospital,” I say urgently.  We gather our stuff, forgetting about our brainstorming session.  It’s more important we reach the Jensons and Paris before anyone else does.  As we’re rushing down the front steps, Inspector Robinson is walking up them.  She is wearing a taupe pantsuit that flatters her figure nicely.

“The Three Musketeers,” Inspector Robinson says, an edge to her voice.  “Just the trio I want to see.  Let’s go back up to your apartment, shall we?”  Despite being couched in question form, it is an order, and we all know it.  We shuffle upstairs without saying anything.

“Can I get you anything, Inspector?”  My mother asks as we enter the apartment.  Before Inspector Robinson can answer, my mom is up and in the kitchen.  Lyle and I look at the inspector, but she remains silent.  I realize that she is waiting for my mother to return, so I don’t start a conversation.  She will tell us what she wants to know, when she wants to tell us, and no amount of coercion will persuade her to do differently.  The silence is taut, but not uncomfortable.  Although the inspector is radiating anger, I don’t think it’s directed towards us.  Of course, I could be mistaken, in which case, we are in for a long night.  I look at Lyle who is staring at nothing in particular.  I look at Inspector Robinson who is perusing her notes.  I open my mouth to say something, then shut it quickly.  Now is not the time for me to be nosy or smart-assed or to use any of the  half-dozen of my usual responses.  There is one question I need to ask the inspector, however, and I voice it.

“Inspector Robinson?”  I make sure my voice isn’t tentative because I don’t want to sound like a beta dog rolling over to have my stomach scratched.  The inspector looks up at me and waits for me to continue.  “Do you think Paris is still in danger?”

“I do,” Inspector Robinson says immediately.  “Him, you, your mother, Mr. Kingston.  Possibly Ms. Meadows’ other children.  Less likely her husband or the Jensons.”

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Plaster of Paris; chapter fourteen, part one

I wake the next morning, Friday, feeling particularly refreshed.  I did not wake up screaming from a nightmare, nor did Lyle have to wake me up.  I am downright cheerful on my walk to work.  I have put on a green blouse and white slacks because I feel so good.  I even whistle a bit as I walk.  The weather is sunny with no wind for a change, so it seems as if even the heavens are smiling on me today.  At work, nobody is overtly friendly towards me, but no one pointedly ignores me, either.  I pour myself a cup of coffee before sitting down at my desk.  I drape my jacket on the coat rack, then power on my computer.  I like to execute the same movements every morning as my own little ritual.  I have emails from my sister and from Vashti as well as a voice mail message from Vashti.  There is nothing from Ursula, however, which surprises me a bit.  I decide to try to call her again during my lunch break.  I read the email from Libby.

Rayne, thank you again for the advice.  I appreciate your unique point of view.  Really, I do.  It’s so hard to do the right thing sometimes, isn’t it?  I know I love Wallace; I just wish I loved him more.  I haven’t made a decision yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

“Hey, Rayne!”  Jamal grins at me as he bounces around.  I am glad that he’s gotten over being mad at me as he’s my favorite kid.  He is munching a Snickers bar, and it’s probably not his first this morning.  “How’s your homey?”

“He’s awake, Jamal,” I say, grinning in return.  “He’s going to be just fine.”

“That’s great,” Jamal says softly, standing still for a minute.  He’s lost his grin, and there’s something wistful in his eyes.  “You lucky, you know?”  He waves at me with the Snickers before disappearing up the stairs.  I watch him fondly before turning back to my computer.  I’m immersed in my work for the rest of the morning.

“Hey, Rayne!”  Quinn McGowan, my coworker who used to be a quasi-friend until she started avoiding me like the plague because of the rash of murders I’ve been involved in.  She interrupts me just as I’m about to take my lunch break.

“Hey, Quinn,” I say pleasantly.  Even though she’s a basket case with more than a few issues, she’s still attractive.  Five-feet two with generous curves, pure green eyes and glossy dark brown hair cut pixie-style, she dresses to accentuate her positives.  Today she’s wearing a tight green sweater that matches her eyes and a short black skirt.  I’m cautious, however, as the last time she talked to me it was because she wanted me to have a threesome with her and her boyfriend.  “What’s up?”

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Rainbow Connection; chapter twelve, part one

The next morning, I awake with a start.  I impulsively call out to my mother before remembering that she had returned home the night before after delivering the edict that I was to call her if anything untoward happens.  I had retorted that everything in my life these days was untoward so I would be calling her continuously.  This morning, I awake with my heart pounding.  I had another one of those nightmares where I can’t remember anything that happened, but I can still feel the aftermath.  I stumble out of bed to get ready for work, feeling less enthusiastic about it than usual.  I start thinking about changing my job.  I’m almost thirty and have been a receptionist at one place or another since I graduated from college.  Now, it’s fine to be a receptionist at my age if in your spare time, you’re a struggling writer or painter or musician, but not if you’re just a lazy ass who has no direction in life.

I used to derive some satisfaction for a job well done, but no longer.  Each day is excruciatingly long, and my coworkers are really getting on my nerves.  I see the director of the agency sit on his fat ass all day long, doing nothing more important that decide where to go for lunch.  My immediate boss works hard, but she only puts in five to six hours a day.  Of course, Alicia, the wonder counselor strolls into work late and is among the first to leave.  It bothers me that I’m the hardest working person in the place.  I know that nobody is getting paid much money, but supposedly, we’re working for a greater cause.  Some of the counselors and teachers have been there for years doing the same thing year after year, sliding by.  In some ways, it’s a cushy job without much pressure to improve on performance.  There are no concrete objectives other than to graduate kids out of the program, which is subjectively decided, anyway.  If it weren’t for the kids, I’d find the job intolerable.

I sigh.  The idea of scouring the classifieds or surfing mega-job sites depresses me.  That’s one of the reasons I haven’t quit my job—inertia.  As frustrating as my current position is, it’s the poison I know.  There’s no guarantee that a new job will be free of the corrosive office politics found at my current place of employment.  Most days, this argument is enough to keep me, not happy, but complacent.  I trudge to work, hunkered inside my coat.  I hate San Francisco weather, though the Mission is better than the rest of the truly windy city.  Other people scurry by, grim looks on their faces.  San Francisco is more laid-back than NYC, but it’s slowly growing more uptight.  Another reason I like the Mission—it still retains some residual funk.  One such funkster holds his hand out to me, boldly staring in my eyes.

“You are truly a vision of beauty,” he beams, his dark brown eyes glowing.  His frame is gaunt with his walnut-colored skin stretched tightly over his bones, as if he hasn’t eaten in days.  I have a bagel in one hand, a cup of untouched coffee in the other.  I thrust both at him, and he doffs his hat at me before accepting.  “God will show mercy on your soul, beautiful lady,” he laughs, taking a bite out of the onion bagel smeared with cream cheese.  He closes his eyes in delight as he washes down the bite with a sip of coffee.  I hurry away, not wanting to be the target of his fulsome praise.  I make it to work with a minute to spare.

“Did you read this?”  Quinn asks, tossing the Chronicle on my desk.  She hasn’t darkened my foyer since her futile attempt to procure me as a present for her ‘roommate’ but appears determined to make up for lost time.  I glance at the front page, disconcerted to see Mariah’s face splashed across it.

“Second-generation Death,” the headline runs.  I frown.  They really need better headlines to grab people’s attention.  Although, the picture of a dead Mariah clutching a rosary is more than enough to turn my stomach.  I skim the beginning of the article which seems to be asking the question if death can run in a family, much like blue eyes or fat stomachs.  I wrinkle my nose in disgust.  There’s nothing new in the article, and it’s clear they are just capitalizing on the tragedy.  I’m about to toss the paper back at Quinn when something else catches my eye—a sidebar interviewing Carol.  She offers her condolences but takes pains to add that she thinks the latest death indicates there is absolutely no connection between the therapy group and the murders.  She goes on in this vein for some time before sliding in the obligatory mention of her book.  My mouth tightens.  I can’t believe she’s done it again.

“It’s that maid’s daughter,” Quinn explains, her eyes round.  I snap back to the present, pushing Carol’s comments to the back of my mind.  I make a note to myself to ask Carol about the article at the next meeting and not to let her off the hook.  Then I let it go.  “Remember I told you about my friend who was blackmailed by that maid!”  I vaguely remember the story.  I wonder if Quinn has any more useful information.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter eleven, part one

“You look luscious, my darling.”  Vashti smiles at me, her dark hair flowing around her voluptuous body.  She is nude—uncovering that body I so missed.  Her skin is the color of mahogany or cherry wood, or perhaps, chocolate ice cream.  She has no shame at showing me her body, all of it.  Her breasts are heavy with longing, her nipples dark with anticipation.  She has one hand coyly covering her pubic area, but there is a smirk on her face at the same time.  I am nude as well, and I am wet in anticipation.  I reach for her, but she stays my hand.  We are in a forest with only the barest sliver of a moon to guide us.  She is dark on dark—a nymph whom I worship.  I bow down to press kisses upon her polished toes, which she consents to graciously.  As I straighten up, she takes my hand in hers and clamps it to her breast.

I slip my hand between her legs and find her wet.  My entire hand slides inside her with no problem.  She plucks my hand out of her and sucks my thumb before letting go.  Without a word, we start walking hand in hand as the night grows darker.  Suddenly, the moon disappears completely.  I clutch her hand nervously as the peaceful woods turn spooky in the blink of an eye.  It is no longer comforting to be surrounded by darkness.  Vashti and I press against each other as the darkness closes around us.  We are gripping each other’s hand so tightly, our hands fuse together.  There is no separating us now, even if we so desire.  We are no longer walking as we are rooted to the spot.  My mouth is full of thorns which are pricking a thousand miniscule holes in my tongue.  I try not to swallow them as I do not want a hole in my stomach as well.  There is a howl in the distance that causes Vashti and me to cling to each other.

“Help me,” I whisper, but Vashti doesn’t hear me, so deep in her own fright is she.  Without warning, a pterodactyl swoops out of the sky and rips Vashti out of my arms.  I feel a searing pain in my hand as our grasp is severed, leaving me with a jagged wound where my hand used to be.  Vashti is moving her lips, but I cannot hear what she’s saying.  “Don’t leave me,” I moan, reaching out for her with my bloodied hand.  She reaches out her stump as well, but the pterodactyl has her firmly in his mouth and is flying away.  “Don’t leave me!”  I scream, panic flooding my body.  What will I do if Vashti is taken from my sight?  I try to run to keep up with her, but my feet are molded to the ground.  They are turning into mud as I watch Vashti fly further and further away from me.  “No!  Don’t go!”  I wave frantically, but she soon disappears.

“Wake up, Rainbow,” she says sharply, shaking me.

“What, huh?”  I jerk awake, my heart thumping.

“You were dreaming again.”  My mother has stayed with me for the week and into the weekend.  My body has pretty much healed except for remaining bruises, but my mind has become fragile again.  Mom  is looking down at me with rounded eyes.  There is concern, but also fear in them.  She’s spent enough nights by my bedside the last time around to know I had a nightmare.  When she catches me looking at her, she smoothes the worry out of her face.  “Want to talk about it?”  Mutely, I shake my head.

“What time is it?”  I whisper, snuggling under my covers.  I always feel vulnerable after a nightmare, and this time is no exception.

“Five-thirty,” my mother replies, holding out a glass of water to me.  “Sunday morning.  February.”  She knows the drill as well as Paris does.  I sit up and drink obediently, knowing that it’s a good idea to hydrate before trying to sleep again.  “Go back to sleep, Rainbow.  I’ll hold your hand until you do.”  I give her the glass before lying down again.  I slip my hand into hers, feeling a safeness I haven’t felt in years.  I close my eyes, comforted by her presence.  Soon, I fall into a dreamless sleep.  This time when I awake, I feel refreshed despite the earlier nightmare.  After performing my morning ritual, in slippers and robe, I pad my way to the kitchen.

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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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Rainbow Connection; chapter five

“Rayne!  The police!”  Paris looks at me with wide eyes even though neither of us is a stranger to the police.  During the last investigation, they talked to one of us at least every other day.

“Sergeant Grimes, Ms. Liang.”  He is over six-feet tall, rangy with a buzz cut and muddy brown eyes.  He is not prepossessing at all, except for the stare which all cops cultivate.  “Detective Brady.”  He nods at a shapely blond with a curvaceous figure not disguised at all by the black pantsuit she chooses to wear.  Her light green eyes are fringed with blond eyelashes—a contrast that should be off-setting, but is seductive instead.  Wire-rimmed glasses cover her eyes.  She is carrying a pad of paper.

“What can I do for you?”  I struggle to keep my voice matter-of-fact so he can’t read the panic on my face.  What can I tell them that won’t make me sound phony, or, worst of all, guilty?

“May we come in?”  The sergeant barges into the room, ignoring the fact that I haven’t answered his question yet.  “We just have a few questions to ask you about the murder of Ashley Stevenson.”  He pauses expectantly, waiting for me to fill in the blanks.  Resigned, I usher him and Detective Brady into the living room.  I gesture for them to sit, but they remain standing.  So do I.  “This won’t last long.  I just have a few questions I have to ask you.”  The sergeant’s voice is genial, as if he’s discussing different flavors of tea.  “Please have your roommate leave.”  Paris exits the room without saying a word.  I know he’s huddled in his bedroom, straining to hear what is being said.  “Ms. Liang, how did you know Ms. Stevenson?”

“We were in a group together,” I say firmly, hoping that will be the end of it.  Of course it isn’t, and they persist in asking me questions.  What kind of group?  Group therapy; therapy group—take your pick.  What was the group specifically for?  For some reason, I am reluctant to answer this question.  “Trauma healing,” I finally mumble, hoping they’ll let it go.  Of course they don’t.  How often does the group meet?  Who is the leader?  Who in the group didn’t like Ashley?  I finally protest as the content of the meetings is confidential.

“Nothing is confidential in a homicide investigation, Ms. Liang,” Sergeant Grimes shoots back as he looms over me.  Neither of us is sitting—he because he refused a seat; I because I won’t put myself at a further disadvantage by sitting down.  The man is over six-feet tall, so he’s already a foot taller than me.  The detective is discreetly scribbling away while the sergeant and I exchange glares.  I wish the cop from the other case, Inspector Robinson, was in charge of this investigation, but I understand that it’s outside of her jurisdiction.

“Sergeant Grimes, why are you asking me about the group?”  I stare at him as haughtily as I can.  “I only went one time.”

“You were involved in another homicide investigation quite recently,” the sergeant explains, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.  “Perhaps you weren’t as innocent in the last case as you make yourself out to be.”

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Rainbow Connection; chapter four, part three

Wednesday is uneventful, and I am grateful.  I wake up Thursday morning, cautiously optimistic.  For once, I have slept for several hours on end.  Paris isn’t up yet, which isn’t unusual for him.  He had gone on a date with Lyle last night and hadn’t return home by the time I went to bed which was a little past midnight.  This morning, I make an omelet because I’ve been hankering for one the last few days, but I hadn’t had the energy to actually make one.  Actually, I want scrambled eggs, but I’m no good at that so I stick to omelets which are easier for me to make for some reason.  I toss in some gouda cheese, mushrooms, and onions.  I am not as good a cook as Paris, but I can get by in a pinch.  I toast two pieces of bread to go with my eggs and pull out the tub of butter for my toast, not margarine.  I rarely use butter, but when I do, I infinitely prefer the real thing.  Margarine doesn’t taste right to me.  I pour myself a tall glass of orange juice and sit down to eat.

After I make a dent in my food (ok, six bites.  It’s a dent for me these days), I open the Chronicle to aid digestion.  I toss the front page aside as I save it for last.  The funnies aren’t very funny; the sports’ page only brings bad news.  After I read every other section, I glance at the headlines of the front page.  What I see makes me almost throw up my breakfast on the spot.  There is a big picture of Ashley, only she looks more like Marilyn Manson than Courtney Love.  Her hair is dyed dark brown but that’s not the remarkable part.  The knife slashes across her pretty face overshadows anything she’s done with her hair.  Her shirt is torn to shreds by a knife as well, and there are gaping wounds decorating the top half of her body.  At least, that’s my inference as the picture is cut off right above her breasts, and that part of her shirt is sliced to ribbons. Her eyes are wide with shock.  A moan rises from inside of me, forcing its way out.  My first impulse is to fling the paper in the corner and pretend that I never saw the picture, but being an ostrich is not an option.

I make myself to read the headline.  ‘Punk Princess Perforated!’ would have been appropriate, but the Chron is not that crass.  Or that ballsy.  Instead, the headline read, ‘Marin County Debutante Slain!’  Not nearly as catchy, but nevertheless accurate.  My eyes drop to the article.  Ashley Stevenson, seventeen years old.  A senior at Marin Academy.  Her daddy is a CEO with Godiva Chocolatier.  Her mommy was independently extremely wealthy before she died of cancer.  I steel myself to read the rest of the grim news.  Her body was found in the tennis courts of her school which were usually locked for the night, but were open last night for some unfathomable reason.  Her body was found by the cops who patrol the grounds once or twice a night.  They wouldn’t have noticed except the door to the tennis courts was wide open which it never was after school hours.  By the time they reached the body, she was already dead.  Stabbed.  Suspicion of drugs.  The paper hints of sexual interference, but refuses to elaborate.  “Mr. Stevenson is devastated,” a ‘close family friend’ says tearfully.  “My daughter should not have died,” Mr. Stevenson declares, looking twenty years older than his age.  “I know the police will get to the bottom of this.”

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