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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter fourteen, part one

“Father, please be with Linda as she makes her journey back home.”  The priest was droning on and on, and it was obvious that he hadn’t known Lydia as he spoke about her in the most generic terms possible.  Besides, she wasn’t a Christian, so I doubted that God would be guiding her anywhere.  Even if God were, perchance, to waive the Christian-only requirement, it was way too late to accompany her.  Her soul was wherever it had been going by now as she’d been dead for over a week.

The day was gloomy, which I felt appropriate for a funeral.  The sky was drizzly, and there were clouds covering the sun.  FunLand had been closed for the day out of respect for Lydia, and several of the employees were present at the funeral.  Phillip, of course, with Antoinette at his side.  It hadn’t taken her very long to switch her allegiances.  By the way she was clutching his hand, I’d say that she had found herself another sugar daddy.  Delia was there, too, which was sweet of her considering that Lydia hadn’t been very nice to her.  Stephen was there as well, but Tommy, of course, was not.  I didn’t know why I said of course as he was out on bail.  Turned out that he had important connections who had expedited his release.  He wasn’t allowed to return to FunLand, obviously, and I would have been exceedingly surprised if he’d shown up to the funeral.  There were also others whom I didn’t know.  I spotted the detectives trying to blend into the background, but they weren’t doing a very good job of it.

“You ok, Bet?”  Rafe asked under his breath as the preacher kept preaching.  I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.  I scanned the crowd again, spotting Brian and Mrs. Rodriguez in the front row.  While he was comporting himself beautifully, Mrs. Rodriguez was sobbing into a dainty hankie while clutching Brian’s arm.  I couldn’t help but notice how lovely she looked in her mourning dress—black, demure, but fitted—even in her state of extreme distress.  She was a beautiful woman, no two ways about it.  She made me feel positively dowdy in my own mourning black.  Even though I was wearing my best non-cocktail dress which was similar to Mrs. Rodriguez’s, I simply didn’t have the elegance she did in order to carry it off.  At least I wasn’t wearing the stupid sling any more.  I had one and a half functioning arms now, which was fifty percent better than what I had before.  Being free of the sling made me feel better about not being as attractive as Mrs. Rodriguez, though I still felt frumpy.

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Duck Duck Dead Duck; chapter eleven, part one

After all that build up, it was anticlimactic that he wasn’t at home.  I called his cell, but he wasn’t answering that, either.  Briefly, I wondered where he was, but realized that I wasn’t in the position to query as I was the one who had insisted on my autonomy.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I guess, though I really wanted to know where he was.  I left him a message requesting him to call me no matter how late he got home.  Hey, I didn’t have to work in the morning, so what did I care?  I was a night owl by preference, anyway, so being woken up once in a while was no big deal.

“Have you made up with Raphael?”  My mother poked her head into my room just as I was hanging up my phone.

“Couldn’t get a hold of him,” I said tersely, not wanting to discuss it any further.

“Well, make sure you make up with him before tomorrow night,” my mother reproved me.  “It’s his birthday.”  Shit.  I had forgotten.  Thankfully, I had bought his gifts, though I had left them in the car.  I went to retrieve them, leaving my phone in my room.

Just as I was stepping out of the house, I heard a crack, then something whizzed by my ear.  It took me a few seconds to realize that someone was shooting at me and I better get out of the way, damn it.  It took a few more seconds for the command to travel from my brain to my limbs and for me to respond.  Once I realized the danger I was in, I fumbled with the door and pushed it open.  Diving back inside, I heard another crack, but didn’t feel any pain, so I assumed that I hadn’t been hit.  I slammed the door behind me and locked it.  My heart was pounding as I sat on the floor, waiting to see what would happen next.  It wasn’t until there was a minute of silence that I thought it might be a good idea to peek out the window and see who had shot at me.  Of course, that would make me a sitting target, and I was pretty attached to my head.  I would hate to have it get blown off.  I waited another minute for good measure before risking a peek.  Nothing.  It was only after the adrenalin started fading that I realized I had banged my shoulder pretty good in my attempt not to get shot.  It hurt like hell.

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Trip on This: Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve

“Which one of you is Lolli?”  I ask, scanning the girls clustered under the light.  It is three o’clock, and the girls are showing their wear-and-tear.  I used to hate this time of night because you’re dead tired on your feet and still have another hour or so to go.  Everything is snapping your last nerves, and if you’re on drugs, you’re aching for a hit.  Plus, the johns who use the services this late at night are usually the real fucked-up, psycho-types.  The kind who decide to off a whore just for kicks with nary a qualm about it.  This is also the time the sad sacks manage to creep out of their hidey-holes, and sometimes, I hated them worse than the psychos.  All that emotional pain rolling off their bodies.  Pathetic.

“Who wants to know?”  A hard-eyed redhead who was definitely not on the right side of twenty snaps her gum at me, her hip thrust out provocatively.  I narrow my eyes and take a step towards her.

“Aw, Trip, chill.  She’s just messing with you.”  A girl with dyed black hair whom I knew slightly turns to the redhead and retorts, “Back off, Yo-Yo.  You don’t know who you be messin’ with.  That be Trip.  Ever hear tell of her?  Story goes she took a chainsaw to some yahoo from Florida who thought he be the man.  Well, he be the eunuch after she was done with him!”  The gathering burst into appreciative guffaws at the story, but the redhead isn’t amused.

“So?  What she got to do with me?  Why she gotta be asking about Lolli?”  Yo-Yo thrusts her face into mine, baring her teeth.

“Back off, Duncan,” I hiss through my own teeth.  I’m not amused by the story, either, and the girl telling it didn’t even get it right.  “I got no beef with you, but I can sure find one in a hurry.”  Even though I don’t move a muscle, something in my eyes must warn Yo-Yo that I’m not playing because she backs off.

“I’m Lolli,” a small voice says from behind the crowd.  The girls move slightly to reveal a girl who is nothing more than a child.  She is everything M.L. says she is and more.  Her face is devoid of anything but the merest trace of makeup, and her ears are not pierced.  She is wearing tiny, cut-off overalls that barely cover her butt cheeks over a white, long-sleeve t-shirt that cuts low and is cropped just below her flat chest.  There is a mournful look in her eyes that zings straight through you.  She is the picture of innocence except for the five-inch stilettos on her feet, white of course.

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