Friday, May 18, 2012


Standing among the press of gawkers who always seem to gather at crime scenes, all of them thinking better them than me; one pair of emerald eyes watched the activity of the police as they walked around, appearing to have no purpose other than to distract the on-lookers from the victim’s sheet draped body. A light drizzle of rain fell from the night sky, shimmering in the light of the nearly full moon and coating everything in fine dew.

She watched him crouch down by the body, lifting the sheet that clung damply to the cold flesh he looked up at the others standing nearby, motioning angrily at the body he dropped and sheet and stood. Stepping toward a plain clothes officer, he jabbed his finger into the man’s chest to punctuate each bitten off word, forcing the officer backward. With a final word he turned and stormed away, the wet leather of his jacket giving off steam from the heat of the body within.

She watched the exchange and her gaze followed his progress across the parking lot and into the black Camero, its tires slipping for a moment on the slick pavement before the rubber got traction and launched the car into the night. She made her way through the crowd, having to push people aside with her elbows; and she walked up the street in the direction the car had gone.

At midnight on a Thursday the streets were relatively deserted, making it easier to follow the tracks left by the Camero. Shoving her hands into the pockets of her jeans, she kept her eyes on the tire tracks and walked into the wind, squinting again the swirling drizzle. After several blocks she spotted the car parked at an angle in front of a small bar, the red and blue neon signs reflecting on the black paint; and she couldn’t help but smile. That didn’t take long she thought, crossing the street and pushing the thin door open. Pausing a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim interior, she scanned the occupant’s faces until her gaze locked on the hunched, leather clad shoulders in the far corner.

Pausing on her way by, she spoke softly to the tall, thin man behind the bar and waited while he poured two drinks and set them in front of her. Dropping a twenty on the sticky wooden bar, she took the glasses and walked casually across the room, her hips swaying to the rhythm of Michael Buble’s version of Moondance on the jukebox.

Setting the glass of whiskey down in front of him brought his head up suddenly and he spun around, angry brown eyes meeting the calm green of hers as she sank into the chair opposite him. He stared at her, the dew drops on her lashes and in her dark red hair catching the neon light like tiny prisms, giving the effect of jewels. Her cheeks were pink from the cold and a thin sheen of dampness clung to her skin like she’d just emerged from a sauna. His gaze roamed down her long neck to the deep V of her white button down shirt, the thin cotton material clinging to her and the sight of it brought his mind back to the sheet draped victim he’d seen only half an hour ago and his eye brows came together in a scowl.

“Go away. I’m in no mood for a quickie in the bathroom.” He snapped. Becoming even more irritated when she smiled at him, stirring the ice cubes around in her own glass with the tip of one finger. He watched as she raised that finger to her mouth and wrapped her lips around if, sucking the whiskey off her skin.

“I said, go away. I don’t have the extra cash anyway.” His voice was a deep growl and the sound of his frustration made her smile even wider. Rising from her seat, she placed her hands flat on the table and leaned toward him, forcing him to lean back to meet her eyes.

“Dance with me.” Her husky voice was like warm honey and several heads turned. The song on the jukebox ended and she walked over to it, dropping a quarter into the slot and making her selection. Turning back, her eyes made it clear that she was not going to leave him alone until she got her way. Frank Sinatra’s voice crooned out The Way You Look Tonight as she moved back toward him, stopping right in front of him and reaching down to push the heavy leather coat off of his broad shoulders.

His breath was coming too fast and he tried to slow it down, taking a deep lungful of air and letting it out slowly as she stood in front of him. Rising to his feet he expected her to step back but she stayed firmly planted and his body bumped hers. Placing one arm around her waist he took her hand as she wrapped her arm across his shoulders and they began moving together. He could feel all the eyes in the bar on them and normally he would have hated that feeling, but at the moment he couldn’t find it in him to care. Her eyes never left his and neither of them spoke; only the music and the feel of their bodies pressed together existed and the three minute song seemed to go on and on. The silence that fell when the song ended was like being doused in cold water and he tried to step away but she refused to release him, her arm holding him against her while she reached into her shirt pocket and withdrew a business card. Holding it up for him to see, she slid it into his back pocket as she leaned into him, pressing her lips to his in a chaste kiss.

Leaning back she looked into his eyes and saw the confusion there and whispered against his ear, “I know who killed her.” He jerked away as though she had burned him. Without a single look back she made her way across the bar and out the door before he could think again and grabbing his coat he ran after her. Erupting through the front door into the steady rain that had started to fall, he scanned the area and found no trace of her.

Raking his fingers through his hair he sighed and unlocked his car, dropping in behind the wheel. Digging in his back pocket he pulled out the card that she had given him, staring at the dark red lettering which read Gypsy. Starting the car, he put it in gear and drove toward home; unaware of the green eyes that watched from the shadows.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Heaven still meant something. Didn’t it? It had to, to believe anything else was to acknowledge that the day to day drudgery of mundane sameness was all there was, and that was too unpleasant a thought to entertain. Yes, there were moments of joy, elation, ecstasy and genuine happiness, but they were fleeting and vastly outnumbered by stress, fatigue, apathy, depression, anger, hatred, jealousy… the list went on and on and the scales felt unevenly tipped.

The idea of heaven gave people something to strive for, an idea that calmed the fear of death and incented most souls to be kind to one another. Of course there were those who didn’t give a flying rat’s ass about kindness and instead derived their joy from of the misery of others, but wasn’t joy still joy no matter the cause?

I had been the source of Mark’s joy for a decade. Every day he shared his joy with me: fists, cigarette burns and belittling comments magically transforming his joy into my pain when transferred from him to me. The very last time he shared his joy with me I damn near died, and as the surge of electricity delivered from the defibrillators surged through my body to pull be back from death I heard someone whisper in my mind: Don’t go. I’m waiting.

That was three years ago. That was a year of physical therapy ago. That was a lifetime ago.

The longest lasting of my scars was my thickly grown reserve. I kept my heart sheltered and my trust locked away, unwilling to share either for fear of reliving the same kind of joy all over again. I had worked hard physically, emotionally and spiritually to ensure I would never again be a victim, but that kind of impenetrable armor made it impossible for anyone to get close to me. It was both lonely and comforting.

Sitting in the corner of my favorite coffee shop I quietly sipped my honey latte as I read the latest Christopher Moore novel, chuckling to myself from time to time at his wry humor. Glancing at the clock on the wall I gathered my things and rose from the worn leather chair I’d occupied, finishing off my coffee before heading toward the door, waving at the familiar staff.

“Hey!” I heard the voice behind me but paid it no mind, it was undoubtedly one of the staff but the next time it spoke a familiar bell went off in my head and made me stop. “Don’t go.”

Pausing by the door I turned and let my brown eyes scan the various seating areas, coming to a stop on the tall man who had gotten to his feet and was walking toward me. I glanced behind me, certain he was calling out to someone else but then he stopped directly in front of me and smiled as he extended his hand.

He seemed strangely familiar as I stared from his hand to his eyes and I could feel the frown on my face, “I think you have me confused with someone else,” I said simply.

He smiled wider, hand still extended, “I’m waiting.”

The bell in my head went off again and I struggled to understand why he seemed so familiar to me. Slowly, reluctantly I reached out and grasped his hand in a firm handshake. The touch of his skin flooded my mind with the voice that had called to me the moment I’d died, his voice, and the comfortable sound turned my armor to insubstantial smoke that disappeared in a puff of tentative trust.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love Died That Day

It was an endless cycle that she was in and there was no way end it, not even if she truly wanted out. She woke every morning not knowing where she would be or what to expect. She knew she would be many places at once, she always was but she knew herself well enough to know that she would always became more involved in one case each day. Nothing and no one was ever the same after her touch.

From the moment she opened her eyes each day it was like watching a movie. Countless times over the eons she had heard that she was in control when in truth she wasn’t, there wasn’t anything she could do to affect the outcome of any situation; she was simply along for the emotional ride.

Some people were very determined to hold onto her when they really should be letting her go. Others tossed her aside as easily as a stone, having not felt her weight or her value. Grasping, needy, desperate, content, complacent, or toxic; everyone twisted her into what they thought she should be when all they needed to do was take her as she was. Unconditional acceptance and no demands to change were the things that made her rich and precious and fragile.

As her eyes opened with the dawn she saw them. They were standing in the center of a well appointed bedroom, the décor as elegant as the pair themselves. He wore tailored slacks of dove grey, sharply creased down the front and back, into which was tucked an ivory shirt of the finest silk, the Mother of Pearl buttons shining with subtle iridescence in the soft morning light. His dark hair was still damp from his shower and he spoke as he resumed moving around the room in his typical morning routine.

The woman was statuesque. Easily 6 feet tall her slender frame was wrapped in a red silk dress, flattering her figure to the fullest with a silver chain belt accentuating her waist while the sweetheart neckline framed her décolleté with a perfect balance of propriety and temptation. Ivory silk stockings sheathed her impossibly long legs and she slipped into red leather Vera Wang heels as their conversation continued.

Watching the scene unfold before her was like coming into a book only pages from the end, which had always bothered her, if she had gotten there sooner would there have been a different outcome. She would never know. And now she watched this couple dredge up past aggravations, past complaints, past hurt… past past past. Rarely was the death stroke anything current, instead past feelings were wielded like weapons quietly stored away… just in case.

She wanted them to yell at each other, to flail and rant and rave, any show of emotion was better than none. Her most common and painful killer was apathy and laziness. People became complacent, comfortable, and stopped appreciating what attracted them to each other in the first place. She no longer met him at the door in sexy lingerie, seducing him and stirring in him pleasure he’d never known. He no longer brought her flowers or told her how beautiful she was to him even when she looked her worst.

Apathy was deadly to her.

Their argument was nearing its end, after so many millennia she could sense it and she held her breath, waiting. They never shouted, never yelled, they simply agreed that they were done and as the door closed in their wake the click of the steel mechanism sliding into place was like a shotgun blast to the chest. The scene went black as she fell to the floor as she had done a millions times before; Love died that day but would blossom elsewhere from a seed called hope.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Pearl stood outside the restaurant waiting for Luke, huddling into her knee length brown coat and lifting the large collar to shield her neck from the frigid wind. Her pale grey eyes scanned the sidewalk, looking for any sign of the long legged swagger that would go a long way to make up for his lateness, but there was no sign of him.

With a frustrated sigh Pearl turned and headed south, walking directly into the wind and having to lower her face against it, her gaze focusing on the intermittent pools of watery yellow lamplight as she passed from one to the next. Her mind started making up all the shit a girl’s mind invents whenever she gets stood up: “What did I do?” “Maybe he’s not that interested.” “Maybe he’s dead in a ditch.”

Pearl chuckled to herself, the logical side of her brain knowing something very last minute had to have come up and the irrational side making up all kinds of crazy stories and she knew that the two sides needed to have a meeting.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear movement and conversation coming from the dark depths of the city’s many alleys, but this sound brought Pearl up short and she stopped, straining her ears to see if she would hear it again. She counted the passing of time by the pounding of her pulse. There it was again. In spite of not being able to make out any words there was something familiar about the voice, and turning toward it she made her way slowly into the shadows.

Her heels clicked quietly on the cracked pavement as she moved from cover to cover, pausing behind a dumpster then behind a stack of dilapidated pallets, each time pausing to listen for the voice. Pearl followed the sound like ET followed bits of candy, one by one she was drawn closer to the source and from where she crouched behind an old barrel she watched as two shadowy figures dragged an apparently less than willing third through a peeling blue door.

Like a hammer striking an anvil her mind pinpointed the strangled voice she’d been following: Luke. Once the figures disappeared from view she stood and jogged toward the building, stopping to stare at the plain white wall; there was no door.

“What the hell?” she asked quietly to no one in particular and she gasped when someone answered.

“You must see through what you see to what you can not.”

Pearl spun and scanned the area, grey eyes straining to see through grey gloom and stared as a faint light approached her. The marble sized green light bobbed and moved as though fighting a draft as it tried to hover at eye level.

“What do you mean?” she asked; she could give more thought to the fact that she was talking to a firefly later.

“She seeks what was lost.” The light said, bouncing more and more as though agitated, “Now! Go now!”

Pearl turned and stared at the wall, her brows drawing together in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

The tiny light zipped off and returned like a kamikaze pilot, dive bombing her head and she ducked and swatted at it. Splitting her focus between the insistent, cryptic helper and the wall Pearl took a few steps back and then ran at the wall, ramming it with her shoulder. She grunted in pain and adrenaline pushed her past it when the wall cracked and blue could be seen last the white.

As she backed up to run at it again the light calmed down and ceased its assaults. After three more painful meetings between her shoulder and the wall Pearl stumbled through the suddenly open door, emerging with an almost audible pop into a large cavernous room and her sudden appearance brought four pairs of eyes to rest on her.

Surprise hung in the air like a partially inflated balloon, bursting when a tall, thin woman let out a shriek and pointed an accusatory finger. As though an order was hidden in that sound a man the size of a linebacker charged her and Pearl dodged to the right just as he dove for her, his wide shoulders clipping her and knocking her to the floor.

Flipping onto her belly Pearl tried to scramble away, reaching for anything to give herself leverage, but he grabbed her leg and pulled her back and clutched her throat, squeezing with his meaty hand. She tried to pry at his fingers but they wouldn’t be moved. Spying the shoes she’d been knocked out of she reached out for one, straining her arm to its limit as her vision started to go grey around the edges.

Her fingers touched the smooth leather of her Jimmy Chu’s and she wrapped her fingers around it, cocking her arm back and then swinging out again. The sudden weight of the man’s body on her was like being pressed under a car and it took all she had to push him aside and wriggle out from under him. Climbing to her feet she looked at the shoe still clutched in her hand, the bloodied heel of her stiletto dripped with thicker things that used to be behind the man’s temple.

“And people say shoes like this are bad for you,” Pearl said, using humor to deflect fear as she stared from where Luke lay strapped to a sinister looking table to the crazy lady.

The woman rushed her, fingers curved like claws and she let out another ear piercing screech. Pearl bolted to left and ran around Luke’s table as the woman snatched up a jar from a shelf and hurled it at her, the glass shattering against the wall and spraying Pearl with formaldehyde.

“They are mine!” she screeched, “Mine to eat! Mine to love!” A jar sailed through the air to punctuate each statement, and with wide eyes Pearl soon realized that the wall behind the crazy lady was lined with shelf upon shelf of hearts, some still beating.

“Oh, fuck this!” Pearl said, lifting the hem of her coat and dress simultaneously and pulling a pistol from the holster strapped around her thigh, leveling it at the woman and firing a single shot that tore its way through her crazed grey matter.

Pearl holstered the gun and stared down into Luke’s wide blue eyes, shrugging one shoulder as she went about freeing him, “Did I mention I’m with the NSA?”