This is my psychiatrist's couch. Take from it what you will.
But do leave a note.
I still am a late middle aged former government worker killing time.
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Turning into the complex, the sun blinded him. Dazed and
confused, he wasn’t sure why he was here. When he left, he absolutely was
convinced it was the right time. But somewhere mid-drive the realization that a
dry run was needed came to his thoughts. The choreography needed to be just right.
This place had a cul-de-sac like the Graves and he could test a couple of
things without the residents knowing.
A space was open, good. Carefully parking the car, he turned
off the engine sat for a moment. Anticipation pushing on Control, it was tempting
just to go ahead and do it here. But It that would be like completing an
out-of-bounds pass at the Tech-Georgia game. It wouldn’t gain any yards, just lose
precious seconds on the clock. Murray would not come until after the fun, and
all there would be is a hoard of angry cops. This was not an option. But, he
could work out a couple of kinks in the process.
Focus returned. This was the place he was supposed to be.
Maybe the stupid psychic was a genius after. Who else but him knew that there
is not great genius without a mixture of madness? Opening the door, he looked
back towards the entrance to the complex. No traffic going in or out and no
people at the breezeway entrances. This shouldn’t take long.
He sang softly to himself as he went through the walk through.
"Overture! Curtain! Lights! This is it. the night of nights..."
Murray and Gomez stood just behind the corner of one of the
“So, why do you think he’s here?”
“Not a clue, but it sure is strange.”
“Ready for back up?”
“Not yet. I don’t want to blow our cover.”
Murray motioned for Gomez to go around the back of the building.
Ducking low, he worked his way along the
parked cars and took a position behind an old Mercedes. The view from behind
the roof pillar gave him a clear view and the rather bizarre antics only thirty
Pacing up and down along the passenger side of the Toyota,
it appeared that Jeremy was placing something under the car. He repeated the
motions three or four more times and then stood up and pulled a notebook out of his back pocket. He jotted something done and looked around. Comfortable in the process, Jeremy then walked toward
one building and stopped to look at his watch. He repeated this a couple more times and then wrote some more.
What was he doing? Murray still didn’t think he had PC to make
contact yet. He glanced behind him at Gomez, whose face mirrored his own
puzzlement. With a nod, Gomez signaled retreat and the detectives slithered
back the way they came. When they got back to the car, they cranked it up and
slipped unnoticed into the afternoon traffic.
From inside the door, an owl like apparition gazed out at
the detectives. She was dressed in a high neck blouse and jeans. The eyes and hair were dark and her face bore
the lines of a hard life. Their reason for being at the door was all but certain
to her. Sadness bloomed over the face. The little girl she was holding slipped
down to the floor and hid behind her, wary of the strangers. The woman
hesitated a moment, not wanting to plunge into the darkness spreading over her.
“Si, I am Maria Torres
and Diego es mi herm…He is my brother.Forgive me, my English not so good. The news…can not be good if Policia is involved.” She took a step
back. “Please come in”
Entering the apartment, the smell of fresh tortillas and
chilies enveloped them. The two men saw a neat and tidy living room.A small altar to Guadelupe, lit with candles, stood in the corner near the kitchen. A
gray sofa and table stood at along the wall opposite the door.Stopping just inside, Gomez took the woman’s
“Si, Señora Torres,
the news is not good.’ Gomez replied, measuring his words carefully, “Diego Aguirre ha muerto. Le encrotamos
tiro. Siento su perdida.”
The coal black eyes grew wide. A sound began softly and then grew loud.
She screamed and began to shake. Murray and Gomez grabbed her shoulders and eased
her on to the sofa. Her daughter began to cry in sympathy. If anything was true across the universe, it
is the reaction sudden death. It is something you never get used to.The daughter climbed into her mother’s lap
and looked her in the eyes.
“¿Mami? ¿Tio Diego es
The small voice seemed to shock her back to reality. The eyes
locked together for a few seconds. Through her tears, Maria took the small face
in her hand. Kissing the tear stained cheek she whispered in her ear. The little
girl left the room and ran down the hall. A door closed and the room became a
little calmer. Reaching in his coat, Gomez offered the clean handkerchief
kept for notifications.Kind gestures were always appreciated in this horrible
business and tended to open the grieving up. She took the cloth and covered her
face, wailing at the certainty of fate.Gomez sat next to her, arm around her in sympathy. The detectives kept
silent. They knew she had no family to speak of here and they were her only
The room became as quiet as a church, punctuated only with
the sniffles of grief. Maria rose from the sofa and approached the shrine. Taking
a tapered candle from the rack on the side, she lit one of the smaller lights
and knelt before the icon. The tears ended after the prayer. She returned to
the sofa much lighter.
“Forgive me, Señores…I…have
feared this day for a long time.”
Opening his notepad, Murray spoke up.
“Señora, I know
this is a bad time, but Diego was found in my jurisdiction. I have been
assigned to find his killer and we will need some information. When was the
last time you saw him?”
Maria dabbed at the corner of her left eye and sighed.
“A…about two weeks ago.”
She blew her nose.
“He had called me asking if I had heard from one of his
girls. Diego was…how do you say…a Pimp, always putas around him. I heard they found her on the road out here. I
became scared for him…and for me.”
“Why?” Murray was writing furiously.
Maria stopped and covered her face. The dark memories rose
up like a demon. In a whisper, she said. “I am also of those… putas. I was taken when I was 14 as payment on mi Papa’s
debt. That night plays in my dreams. My face was covered and…”
Looking down, she
crossed herself, and then continued.
“I was brought up
here. There were several moves. Houston, Dallas… I remember. Other places, I
was only there little time and not allowed to go out. The Pimp would just say,
‘pack up’, and we would go.” Her
shoulders bore the shame of the revelation.
“Was Diego working for the same people as you?”
“Si. We called them
El Potro, The horse. The leader, es llame Roberto, he came from a wealthy
family in my village. Very vicious man. One who always did what he wanted, no
matter how many people died.” She paused to dab her eyes with cloth. “He was
always tricking people into owing him money. When they wouldn’t play, he would
just kill them. If they couldn’t pay…”
“Diego, he came up after me. It always seemed we were meant to fall apart, then fall back together
again. He seemed so small when I left.”
“But he had changed. He was one of them, you know? Sauntering
about, bossing us around.But, he did
get me off the street not long after he came. He said I was too good to be with
riffraff and should be saved for better men. So, I am, I think they call it, a “call girl”.
It is better because I can shelter Beatriz and Ami from what I do.”
“Those are your daughter’s names?”
“Si, the one you
saw is Ami.” Maria smiled and looked back toward the halls. “She is seven. Beatriz
is staying with a friend and she is ten. Both good girls, very smart and
Murray smiled at that. Kids always are the hope. “You
mentioned the leader’s name was…Roberto? Do you know his last name?”
“The family name is Cardenas, but I don’t know if uses that
or his Mama’s name. I haven’t seen him in a long time. Not since Dallas. Since
Diego came here, he was my contact”
Gomez looked at Murray. They knew they had put her through
enough. Closing his notebook, he stood. But there was one more question they
need an answer for before they left. With a nod, Gomez spoke.
“Señora, we only have one more question right for you and we
will leave. Diego had a tattoo on his neck reading ‘La Paloma’. Do know what it means?”
the collar of her shirt back to show hers. “El Potro always called us The Mourning
Doves.” A look of accomplishment ran across the worn face. “A skill learned by accident not long after I
was taken. Done well, it would drive men crazy and make them want more. Happy,
repeat customers meant more money. It
was a way to, how do you say…brand us different from the other putas.”
With a repeat of the condolences, Murray gave Maria his
business card. They both agreed they would be back in touch.
As they were leaving, Murray looked towards the apartment
complex entrance.Just in time to see
the beige Toyota pull in.
Blinding light … Intense
heat flashed across her face as she turned toward the noise, a car splintering
into pieces along with the people around it. A body was hurled into the tree…
The dull thud of impact woke her, sweat pouring from her
face. The deep red sunrise peeked through the gray slatted blinds. Sitting on
the edge of the bed, Sandy ran her fingernails along the damp fabric of her
nightgown and tried to breathe normally. This one was more than vivid, she was
THERE. The images were worrisome. In all the years she had been working the
Psychic gig, dreams this intense usually were triggered by someone outside of
There had only been the one client, Jeremy. He truly was dangerous. Obsessed with his
enemies and hell bent on revenge. The Zima
she had after seeing him wouldn’t have done it, since she didn’t chase it with
any Xanax. She had learned that moderation in all things made the next morning
a lot more pleasant.
Using a floral hankie to her to wipe
the water off her face, she sat on the edge of the bed. The bodice of her nightgown was soaked, cleavage almost
fully exposed. Jeremy’s face came to her
mind while stripping the wet gown off. Slipping the panties off, she faced
judgment before the mirror.
The body looking back at her was trim, with well formed
breasts that seem to defy age and gravity. A face with only small lines and a
belly was taut and smooth all the way to the garden. A wealthy client had offered her access to
her surgeons, but she had turned it down. Jack used to say good wine ages
naturally and she was the finest vintage. Why mess with a good thing?
The small hands stroked down from ribs to nipples and she
let out a small sigh and smiled. Memories of him coming in saying “Ce qui pour
le diner” with his head traveling down made her shudder. Feather touches and
blazing passion surrounded her. The fire
still was there; maybe someday she’d find the right one.
She really needed to pee.Quickly, she stepped into the
bathroom and sat.
Human weakness and insecurity paid her bills. They weren’t
pretty enough, wealthy enough or skinny enough.People needing
assurance that either they were more special or the specialness was just around
the corner. The skill spinning stories with the Tarot deck provided that comfort
to most of her clients. As she finished
up, another thought came.
Jeremy. If he wasn’t so crazy, he might be an interesting
lay. But the quick search of his past ended any and all chances of that. Crazy
had been with her more than once with painful and violent results before she
had met Jack. She wasn’t going there again. She knew absolutely he was a
runaway train and the final outcome was going to be his death.
What scared her was that others would be taken
out with him
Instead of starting the shower, she picked up her phone.
And in the mists, Sarah smiled. They were going to be
Moonlight fell over the yard. It reflected in the green eyes
that followed Jeremy as he climbed the steps. The tuxedo coat was slightly
raised in alarm. His hand reached out to scratch on the ears, but the cat
bolted into the brush alongside the house. That’s right run. Just like those fools will when I get finished with this.
Dodging metal and plastic debris as he headed to the
kitchen, he thought maybe a little music for the background? A box marked “For the Solstice” sat with a
dust coating over the top. Jeremy’s curiosity got the best of him. He opened
and found a large number of compact discs laid out in neat rows. ”The spirits
must really be with me”, he thought.
Frowning to himself
as he picked through the pile, he wasn’t finding the one song for the work. Title’s like “Equinox” and “Night of the
Living Dregs” didn’t resonate with him. They were just so much noise, in his
book.The he saw the old Chicago album. Yes,
that was it. He remembered someone playing it at the hospital. The chant at the
beginning was mesmerizing. Could it really be true?
A small boom box was on the table in the corner of the
kitchen. Sliding the disc into the player the mechanism spun up, and sound of
the 1968 Democratic Convention riots flew out of the speakers.
“The whole world’s
watching! The whole world’s watching! The whole world’s watching…
The chant faded into a guitar solo and Jeremy smiled.
Yes, they will be watching, as I set fire to the rain and
turn passerby into mincemeat with no spice added. Everyone will know Jeremy
Alvin Allen as someone to fear and not some broken Kelpie sitting in a mental
ward. Images of Kelpies amused him. Mythical creatures resembling horse, their
power was drawing the humans in close to destroy them, just like he was about
The Toyota would be the bait. It made sense. Murray had
already seen him in it and probably had the plate. Blood would be smeared on
the passenger side window and spilled on the sidewalk outside the door. When it
is done, it should look like something horrible had happened and the body was
moved. The car would then be parked at the Graves near where they found the
girl and a 911 call placed.
And while everyone was scratching their heads, the surprise
The blood was easy. A quick stop at an Asian market netted him two
pints of pork blood. Pigs blood for pigs.
The big finish still had to be built, though.
Quickly stepping back to the work table, he picked up one of
the pipes. The first end cap had already been fastened, so all that was needed
was the power charge and blasting cap. In a few minutes it was together. Now,
how big should they be? Two sticks, maybe three? Big enough to scatter them to the winds.
The test bomb only had one and it had utterly destroyed the
stump. This time it had to make a car disappear. He could test one on the old
truck in the barn, but time is of the essence.
White pipes were filled and wires attached. He added the
detonator, then the Velcro belt he had picked up at the hardware store to
attach it to bottom of the car.
If he hurried, he might be able to get it set up for the