Monthly Archives: August 2020

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter eight, part one

I arrived at the park a few minutes late, but I didn’t care.  I wasn’t even supposed to be at work, but I had to find out what was happening with the park.  There was an unfamiliar car parked in Eddie’s usual spot.  I wondered who had the gall to use his space.  I glanced at the license plate which said PHILLIP.  There weren’t any employees named Phillip as far as I knew, and besides, none of the employees could afford a vintage Jag.  Black.  Very well taken care of.  Whoever had bought it obviously had money and time.  I admired it for a few minutes before reluctantly deciding that I better get inside.

“Bea!  Thank God you got the message,” Antoinette said to me, gushing as I entered the green room.  “You’re ten minutes late, but that’s ok.  Oh, isn’t it terrible about Eddie?  I’m just all broken up about it.”  She didn’t look broken up to me, but what did I know?

“What message?”  I asked, scanning the room.  All the characters were there, as well as one man who I didn’t recognize.  I gave him the once-over, liking what I saw.  He was almost six-feet tall with dark, wavy brown hair and ice-blue eyes.  The cleft in his chin and the smile on his face warmed his whole visage.  There was a ruggedness about him which I associated with the outdoors.  He appeared to be in his late thirties or early forties, which put him at the outer edge of my age-range.  He was dressed sharply in a nice suit, however, and I couldn’t help but notice the Rolex on his wrist.  Whoever he was, he came from money.  I gave myself a mental shake.  What was I doing drooling over a guy I didn’t know when I had a great boyfriend at home?  Besides, he had a wedding band which made him firmly off-limits.

“I left a message on your cell!”  Antoinette squeaked, looking at me disapprovingly.  “Don’t you ever check your messages?”  Actually, I didn’t.  I hated being a slave to my cell phone.  Antoinette didn’t wait for me to answer, but waved in the direction of the stranger.  “That’s Phillip, Eddie’s brother.  He’s taking over the business.”  I gulped, sneaking another look at Phillip.  This gorgeous creature was related to the repellant Eddie?  I found it exceedingly difficult to believe.  Wait a minute.  Phillip?  Of the Jag Phillip?  Phillip with a Rolex?  If Eddie was so hard-up for money, why hadn’t Phillip loaned him any?

“Um, what’s the meeting about?”  I finally asked, once I wrenched my mind away from the fascinating Phillip.

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

“You have a girlfriend, Henry?”  My mother said, her eyes lighting up.  I could see the vision of plump grandbabies dancing in her thoughts.  Never mind that Hank was only twenty—if he had a girlfriend, then hope sprang eternal.

“Yup, her name is Beth.  I met her in an ethics class.”  Hank attended Century College—a local community college.

“Well?  Tell us more!”  My mother demanded, her food forgotten.  “Is she Taiwanese?”

“No, Mom,” Hank said, rolling his eyes.  “She’s white.  Beth Richardson.  Nice girl, though.  I swear you’ll like her.”

“When do we get to meet her?”  Mom asked, her eyes still shining.  Although she would have preferred for Beth to be Taiwanese, Mom wasn’t too picky at this point.

Hank promised that he would invite Beth to a family get-together soon.  They had only been dating for a month, and he didn’t want to rush things.  She was taking a few classes at Century to see what she liked before transferring to the U.  She hadn’t wanted to go to the University right out of high school, so she had bummed around Europe for a year before returning.  Her parents had agreed to help her with rent for an apartment if she took a few classes at Century and if she promised that she would apply to the U for the spring semester.  She found out that she was interested in medicine, but didn’t want to be a doctor.  She thought she might like to be a nurse.  She liked Clint Eastwood movies and all the ‘Must-See-TV’ hits on NBC.  In short, she was perfect for Hank—the original mainstream maven.  I would have bet my last dollar that she was under five-feet four inches and weighed under a hundred and ten pounds.

“Here’s a picture of her,” Hank said, pulling something out of his wallet and passing it around.  When it got to me, I had to hide my smirk.  There besides a beaming Hank was a petite woman who barely came up to his chest and who looked as if she was about to float away if Hank’s arm around her shoulder wasn’t tethering her to the ground.  The only thing remotely surprising about her was that her hair was a fiery red instead of blond.  Other than that, she was exactly as I pictured her.

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter seven, part one

“Wake up, sunshine,” Rafe said, kissing me in a very convincing matter.  “What do you say to spending a day at the lake?  It’s beautiful out.”  One of the perks to living in Minnesota was absolutely glorious summer days.

“Go away,” I said grumpily, not falling for the famous Rafe charm.  “I’m not talking to you.”  I turned my back to him and the next thing I knew, I felt him pressed against my back, his hard cock against my ass.

“Come on, baby.  I’m ready to play.”  Rafe showered kisses on the back of my neck, the exact place where I loved to be kissed.  He knew my body better than any other lover I’d had, which was saying a lot.

I tried to ignore him, but it was impossible.  His hand was between my legs as his lips were on my neck, and despite my best intentions, I felt myself respond.  He chuckled knowingly as my breathing grew ragged—a sure sign that I was becoming aroused.  Instead of turning to face him, however, I kept my back to him.  I was still mad because of his stonewalling me last night, but I couldn’t deny that I wanted him to fuck me.  To maintain my dignity, I had to make it seem as if he were the aggressor, not me.  That wasn’t hard to do as he was more than ready and willing to slip into the role.  I heard rustling behind me and assumed that he was putting on a condom.  He wanted me to get on the pill, but I told him that it would have to wait until we’d been together for at least a year.  I don’t know how I fixated on that amount of time, but it’s always been my litmus test.  I’ve never been on the pill yet.

“Come on, querida,” Rafe murmured as he nudged my legs apart.  “Show me that you want it.”  I arched my back slightly, pushing my ass out towards him.  Without preamble, he slid right into me.  I was so wet, I could have taken twice his girth—and he’s not small by any means.

After we had both come, we lay, exhausted, with him still inside of me.  I liked being linked even post-orgasm, but I soon worried about his sperm leaking out of the condom.  Reluctantly, I pulled away from him, feeling strangely bereft as he slipped out of me.  I reached down between my legs, feeling how raw I was from the vigorous fucking.  This morning and last night had been strenuous session, much more passionate than usual.  I snuggled back against Rafe, feeling his sticky cock against my back.  I turned my head so I could kiss him, and I found him staring at me.  There was a mixture of sadness, lust. and something else in his eyes—something I couldn’t identify.  I blinked, then it was gone.  He was just Rafe again, a ready smile on his face.

“What are you thinking of, love?”  I asked softly, not wanting to break the spell.

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter six, part one

“Beezus, you have got to listen to me.”  My mother was on me the minute I walked in the door.  She was on her second martini which meant it was a rough day for her.  “Frieda told Zelda that that boy you got fired, what was his name?  Your boss’s nephew—he’s pretty angry at you.  When they talked to him about it, he couldn’t stop cussing you out.  Called you the ‘b’ word and the ‘c’ word.”  It took me a minute to translate.  I knew what the ‘b’ word was—what woman didn’t?—but the ‘c’ word?  When I figured it out, I cringed.  That was one of my least favorite words.

“He wouldn’t be so openly hostile if he tried to kill me,” I said hopefully, slipping out of my shoes.  My mother ushered me into the kitchen so she can stuff me with tea and goodies.  If I stayed at my parents’ house for much longer, I was going to gain ten pounds.  I picked up the conversation where it’d left off.  “Carlos was probably just trying to scare me.”

“Frieda said he admitted to going to the park sometimes just to keep track of you.  That doesn’t sound like just venting to me.”  I went cold at the thought of Carlos watching me.  My mother must have read something in my face because she added, “Don’t worry.  Frieda read him the riot act and threatened to throw his ass—her words, not mine—in jail if he ever went near you again.  He seemed to take her warning to heart.”  I had to smile.  Cousin Frieda was over six feet tall and built like a linebacker.  When we were kids, I used to tease her that she must surely have Caucasian genes because no purebred Taiwanese girl could be that big.  It always made her cry.

“Maybe we should have this discussion after Rafe gets here,” I said, heaving a sigh.  I didn’t want to talk about it twice, and I knew that Rafe would want to hear all the details.

“Have you ever thought about moving in with him?”  My mother asked, her smile impish.  “You guys get along so well.  It’s as if you were made for each other.”

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter five

“If I were hiding something, where would it be?”  I muttered, prowling the green room early in the morning.  Eddie was around somewhere, but not in the green room.  I was glad he had been at the park because otherwise I would have been forced to scale the outside gate and to open the door with the number which I wasn’t supposed to have, but which I had seen Eddie enter once.  The last thing I wanted was to call attention to myself while I tossed the joint.  I was the only one in the green room, which made it easier to snoop.  It was Friday, but it didn’t feel much like the weekend.  I was glad I had Saturday and Sunday off to recover from the events of the last few days.

I had called the cops earlier this morning to tell them about Shannon, which made them very excited.  I talked to the male detective, Detective Bradley, and I could tell by his tone that I had just made his day.  It was obvious that they were looking at this as a case of mistaken identity.  I almost asked him if he had talked to Lydia’s mother about their last conversation, but I caught myself just in time.  It wouldn’t do to appear to interested in the case, so I practiced my golden rule—never volunteer information that wasn’t absolutely necessary to the cops.  It had kept me out of trouble thus far in my life, and I saw no reason to break it now.  Detective Bradley made me promise that I would think more about if anybody had a grudge against me.

The green room did not have many hiding places, so it didn’t take me long to figure out that if Lydia had hidden something, it wasn’t in this room.  I wondered if she had hidden it in her apartment, but I dismissed that for two reasons.  One, I’ve never been there so there was no reason for her to believe that I’d be able to find something hidden in it.  Two, it was too obvious.  If someone wanted to find something of hers, that would be the first place she or he would look.  I was pretty certain that Lydia had secreted whatever it was she wanted to hide somewhere around the park.  The problem was figuring out where, but she seemed to have faith in me.  I was beginning to think it was misplaced, but I soldiered on.

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

“How was your day, dear?”  My mother greeted me as I knocked on the back door again.  Even though there were fewer reporters out front, I still didn’t want to deal with them.  I never understood people who talked to the media in the midst of a horrible tragedy.  The only thing I’d say to those vultures was, ‘Get the hell out of my face before I kill you’—otherwise known as, ‘no comment’.

“It was ok,” I said slowly, slipping inside.  I didn’t tell her about my strange conversation with Tommy as it would just worry her.

“Your Auntie Zelda called.  She’s worried about you.”  Zelda was my mother’s sister and an inveterate brooder.

“Of course she is,” I said, slipping off my shoes.  “Auntie Zelda worries about the depletion in the ozone layer, the deforestation of the world, the extinction of exotic species, just to name a few.  I’d be surprised if she wasn’t worried about me.”

“You know your cousin, Frieda, is a cop.  She told Zelda that the consensus in the department is that you were the real target.”  My mom followed me as I walked into the living room and turned on the television.  Taking the remote from my hand, she turned it off.  I refrained from sighing at her heavy-handedness and reminded myself that I was lucky she had taken me in.

“So, tell me something I don’t know,” I replied, plopping down in the recliner.  I pushed back so the feet section of the chair kicked out.

“This is not a joke, Beezus,” my mother said impatiently, squatting next to the recliner.  I waited to see if she could find a Ramona comparison but highly doubted it.  Murder was out of the realm of the Quimby family.  “Remember when Ramona got her own room and was afraid to sleep in it because of the gorilla book?”  I nodded, knowing that she wouldn’t go on until I had responded.  “This is the opposite of that.  You’re insisting on sleeping in the room even though there’s a live gorilla waiting for you.”  I rolled my eyes.  Even for my mother, that was stretching.  “I know you use humor as your defense, but this is serious business.”

“I know it is, Mom,” I said, closing my eyes.  “I just can’t think about it too much without freaking out.”  Before either of us could say anything else, there was a rap on the sliding doors.  Mom went to let in Rafe who looked about as tired as I felt.  His countenance brightened when he saw that I was in one piece.  He hurried over to kiss me on the cheek after inquiring how I felt.

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter four, part one

“Trixie, get your ass in here!”  Eddie bellowed at me from inside his office the minute I showed up for work the next morning.  He was looking particularly repulsive as he had bits of egg clinging to his once-white t-shirt.  I stepped into his office, and he slammed the door behind me, causing my hackles to raise several inches.  I didn’t like being enclosed in a small space with a man I didn’t trust, but he was the one paying my checks.  As long as he kept his greasy paws to himself, I would put up with his odious self.

“Yes, Eddie?”  I asked, keeping my voice this side of civil.

“Tell me all you know about Lydia,” he barked.  “And what’s this about you guys switching costumes?  You know that’s against the rules.”  He made it sound like we had embezzled a million dollars from the company or something heinous like that.

“Eddie, I told the cops everything I knew,” I said, not feeling the least bit guilty for lying to the son-of-a-bitch.  “Can I just get on with my job?”

“You don’t stop copping an attitude, and you won’t have a job any longer,” Eddie said, his tone terse.  I looked at him, wondering why he was so upset.  It wasn’t as if he even liked Lydia or anything like that.  I knew murder wasn’t good for business, but it didn’t have anything to do with him.  I took a second look at him as he was sweating profusely.  I wondered if he was hiding something, something that might be connected to Lydia’s killing.  “You and Lydia were close.  Tell me what you know.”

“I don’t know anything,” I repeated, my voice harsh.  He was creeping me out, and I wanted to get out of the office.

“She must have said something to you.  Was she the one who suggested that you changed costumes?  Or was that you?”  By now, Eddie’s face was bathed in sweat, and he was giving off a decidedly pungent smell.

“I don’t remember, Eddie,” I said softly, narrowing my eyes.  “Why is it so important to you?”

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Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter three, part four

I leaned against the wall, thinking about Shannon and Aaron.  They had been a couple ever since they met at the U ten years ago.  He had been a philosophy major; she, a fine arts major.  They were one of those couples who simply belonged together.  You could tell it when you looked at them and you envied them for it, but you didn’t get in their way.  I met them a year ago at a cabaret.  I had been performing—it was an Asian event, and I did a piece on the role of Asian women in American cinema.  I was in my element, mimicking all the stereotypes foisted upon Asian women by aging white males with geisha-girl fetishes.

Aaron and Shannon approached me after the performance.  While Shannon gushed about the intricacies of my work and the implications on the dialogue between the East and the West, not to mention the Diaspora of Asians born in America who have no place to call home, Aaron stood slightly to the side and just smiled.  He caught my eye immediately as he was an intriguing mixture of African American, Cherokee Indian and Mexican.  He was over six feet tall with a tight body and even tighter mind.  His dark brown eyes, slanted cheekbones and full lips made him look like a model—which he was.  As much as I tried to ignore him, I was instantly attracted to him.  I could tell by the look in his eyes that he felt the same.

Shannon blathered on, oblivious to the growing tension between Aaron and me.  Far from stepping back, Aaron subtly egged me on.  He would smile slowly, revealing even, white teeth, then dip his head in a nod.  He was leaning against a railing, his arms casually crossed in front of him.  He was wearing a leather jacket, despite the heat.  He would interject a trenchant comment now and then whenever Shannon took a second to breathe, which was once every five minutes or so.  She paid no attention to the side dialogue that Aaron and I were carrying out, continuing to dissect my performance.  I was surprised that she didn’t throw in her thoughts on oppression and slavery while she was at it, not to mention the Chinese prostitution trade when Chinese men were first allowed in the country. I pegged her as one of those liberal white women who were fraught with guilt.  Not my kind of person, but she was nice enough.

We became friends of sort.  I saw them once a month or so for the next half year.  Every time, Shannon would shoulder the bulk of the conversational burden while Aaron and I communicated without words.  We never openly flirted with each other as that would be disrespectful, not to mention breaking my moral code.  Instead, we relied on heavy eye contact to do our talking for us.  Any time my hand accidentally brushed against his, a tremor ran its way up my arm and jolted my brain.  I found myself invented ways of brushing against him whenever I could.

How did this sordid little story end?  With Aaron and me in bed, fucking each other’s brains out, of course.  I wish I could say it was just once, that we were both drunk, and that we both felt horribly guilty after, but nothing would be further from the truth.  A month after I met Rafe, I panicked because things were going too well.  Deep down, I believed that if my life was going smoothly, something catastrophic was bound to happen.  With Rafe, we were so simpatico; I went bonkers and fucked Aaron.  I put the moves on him; I initiated the whole thing—not to say he wasn’t willing—and it snowballed from there.  Aaron was fantastic in the sack, and I kept coming back for more.  We had a torrid affair for two weeks before Shannon caught us, at my place of all things.  I didn’t know—and still don’t to this day—how she found out about us, but it was an ugly scene.

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