Tag Archives: subterfuge

A Hard Rain; chapter nine, part two

After saying goodbye, Leslie hangs up the phone.  She ponders what she should do next.  She writes down all the private cell phone numbers of the main suspects and family (including a few she doesn’t recognize.  Jill Brewster?  Tommy Legato?  Parker Young?  Who the fuck are these people?) from John’s files and stuffs the list in her purse.  She is not sure she’ll need them, but she would rather have them and not need them than vice-versa.  She decides a real disguise is in order.  She hails her cabbie (who offers to run a tab for her as long as she needs one), and he takes her to the nearest Target.  Leslie is boycotting Target since the CEO gave money to that batshitcrazy idiot, Tom Emmer, in his bid for governor of Minnesota, but this is an emergency.  She needs a wig, and she knows they have them.  She picks up a blonde “Marcia Brady” wig, some oversized sunglasses, a fitted gray sweater with nine buttons that she can wear under her jacket, and taupe jeans.  She buys some thermal unders so she can layer properly and stay warm.  She also purchases a pair of scissors so she can change in the bathroom.  It takes her fifteen minutes total, and then she is on her way to the cop shop—after convincing her cabbie that it really is her and not some blonde bimbo.

She knows it’s a long shot to think that she’ll learn anything of importance from the police, but she has to try.  For better or worse, they are the ones with the information on the case, which is ice cold by now.  Leslie knows she’ll have to do more research, but she’s burned out on it at the moment.  For now, she will hit the streets and pound the pavement and all those other stupid clichés.  It’s time for some action.  Once she reaches the police station, she dismisses her cabbie.  If she needs him, she can call him.  She intends to swing by the courthouse afterwards, so most of her afternoon is spoken for.  She can hail a cab on the street for that short jaunt.  Leslie pauses right outside the door so she can unzip her jacket and unbutton the top three buttons of her sweater.

“Can I help you?”  The officer at the front desk looks bored as if he would rather be anywhere than manning the front desk.  He is young—in his late twenties, and by the corn-fed looks of him, he hasn’t been on the job more than a couple of years. His name is Rex Parkinson, which Leslie duly notes.

“My name is Emily Dickinson.  I am an old, old friend of Amy Richardson’s.  I went by her house, but she’s not there.  No one can tell me what happened to her.  Do you know?”  Leslie gives the cop a wide-eyed look, making sure to keep her voice soft.  She learned at an early age that most men like to help out a woman, especially a woman who is asking for help so explicitly.

“She was murdered last year, ma’am,” Rex, the cop, says impassively.

“What?”  Leslie gasps, forcing tears to her eyes.  “You’re kidding me!”  Leslie fishes out a tissue from her purse and carefully dabs at her eyes.  “I have been out of the country for over a year, and this is the first chance I’ve had since I’ve been back to visit her.  I’m shocked!”

“Sorry for your loss, ma’am.”

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Trip on This: Chapter Thirteen (Part One)

Chapter Thirteen (Part One)

“Wake up, Sunshine,” Mowgli shakes me out of a deep but restless sleep.

“Huh, what?”  I mutter, burrowing my head under the pillow.  “Shouldn’t you be oblivious or something?”

“Get up,” Mowgli repeats, plucking the pillow off my head.  With a reluctant sigh, I heave my body in an upright position.  I yawn and rub the sleep from my eyes.  I am not a morning person, and I do not like talking to anyone after a job, and I’m hungry, and someone’s trying to kill me.  I do not want to get out of bed on this sunny Saturday morning.  It feels like it’s the crack of dawn, but a quick peek at my clock tells me it’s almost noon.

“You are disgustingly chipper for a man who’s been shot,” I grumble, standing and stretching.  If I were at home, I’d be sleeping in the nude but out of deference to Mowgli’s delicate sensibilities—hah—I had worn a long t-shirt to bed.

“I need help washing,” Mowgli says bluntly.

“Well, how’s a girl supposed to turn down an offer such as that?”  I raise an eyebrow and motion for him to follow me to the bathroom.  I help him out of his shirt and sling and with a washcloth, sponge him down.  The doctor says in a few days, Mowgli can go without the sling if he’s a good boy.  Knowing Mowgli as I do, he’ll be out of the sling by tomorrow.

“What about the rest of me?”  Mowgli asks.  “I’m feeling grimy.”

“Up to you,” I shrug, leaning against the counter.  “It won’t bother me any.  You ain’t got nothing I haven’t seen.”

“Oh, yeah, I do,” Mowgli banters, grinning.  Under his smile, however, is a grimace.  He’s in more pain than he cares to admit, but is too proud to say so.  I know better than to foist a pill of on him, so I hold my tongue.  “Help me out of my pants, will you?”  I undo his khakis and slide them off him until he’s standing in front of me in silk boxers.  That’s my Mowgli for you—nothing but the best for him.

“Should I?”  I gesture to his underwear, but he shakes his head.  I wash him as best I can within the limits.  “That should keep you from smelling, at least for today.”

“I’m taking a shower tomorrow by hook or by crook,” Mowgli mutters, looking with distaste at his body.

“Well, since I’m of sound body, I’m taking a shower now.”  I push him towards the door, but he resists.

“At least help me dress first,” he protests, grabbing me by the arm.  After I finish dressing him, I take my shower.  Normally, I’m in and out of the shower in seven minutes flat, but today I linger.  I figure I’ve earned an extra ten minutes, especially as it’s not on my water bill.  The hot water beats against my muscles, working much like a masseuse.  Of course, that reminds me of Evelyn Sato who I had met so briefly.  It would have been nice to receive a massage from her, but it was not meant to be.  I hope she didn’t suffer much during her death.  I lather up my hair and give it a quick wash.  One nice thing about having short hair is that it’s easy to wash.  Once I’m through pampering myself, I step out of the shower ready, if not eager, to face the day.

I go back into the room to change.  Mowgli is sitting on his bed, watching the television.  There is no ‘breaking news’ about anything concerning our case which is good news, indeed.  I relax a fraction at the absence of more trouble.  Subconsciously, I was expecting one of the girls to end up on the news, dead.  Of course, there would have to be something spectacular about a whore’s death to make the citizens of San Francisco give a damn about it, but I’m sure the assholes could trump something up if need be.  By now, it is clear to me that the boys will go to any lengths to make sure that whatever they’ve been doing is covered up.  By the same reasoning, it must be really huge if they’re desperate enough to kill three women in cold blood and to set up a fourth woman—me—at the same time.  My anger grows at the thought of how expendable women are to guys like this.  Not just women, but girls—little girls.

Thinking about little girls reminds me of my hypothesis that these boys are involved in a kiddie-porn ring.  I ask Mowgli what he thinks, but he agrees that the stakes would be too high for our boys to get their hands dirty in something like that.  As distasteful as it may be, there are many ways for rich, powerful guys to lay their hands on children that aren’t quite as risky.  When I point out that frequenting hookers is risky, too, Mowgli rightly counters that so far, it’s only O’Reilly and Peters we’ve been able to peg as visiting the girls.  As for going to a strip bar—well, there’s nothing illegal about that.  If the mayor is involved and if he is Blanche’s boyfriend, his only real slip up we’ve discovered—legally, not morally—is whatever evidence Blanche had on him.

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