"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." -Mae West 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapter 4, cont'd: A consortium of characters.

Hello everyone! miss me? don't answer that..... it's been a couple weeks. -sorry for the wait on my next post.- But luckily for me I have a fairly reasonable excuse, I'm busy. Busy writing a blog that doesn't spout the daily minutia of my life. That's what facebook is for.... no, my blog is not for the faint of heart nor is it for folks who read blogs to entertain themselves while taking a ten minute power dump at work.

I'm adding this particular commentary because I find most blogs to be utterly dreadful. -not all- Now, I am a big foodie fan, also I love bloggers who give me good movie/tv show tips. Since I find most prime time shows to be complete garbage and equally dreadful. Not to be crass -ok, maybe I do- no one gives a rats ass about how you love to run, pictures from your last vacation or how shitty your week is going. [well, at least no one wants to follow a blog that is solely devoted to such cuck. But for the fleeting no brainers of the world] My point is, if you are going to author a blog, post something of substance, something that will entertain. Something that doesn't focus solely on yourself. For Christ sakes, write something thought provoking! Ok- that's enough of that-

Soooo, here is a continuation of chapter 4: a consortium of characters. In this part of the chapter I introduce you to Ronald and Gina Steenley. The chapter is rather long, obv. since I am posting in two parts and this is still not all of it.

With that said, I have already finished writing chapter five. In that chapter my character kills Alex. That is the first murder of the book and perhaps the most cathartic, but rest assured not the last. Again, I'm sorry because you will not know how he is killed unless you buy the book.... ahemm...

Without including the end of chapter 4, one can safely assume that Ron doesn't get a friendly pat on the head and served a chocolate ice cream cone. Soon enough you will find out, not to worry.

Right now I am tightening up what I have already written and working on new material. I have seventeen chapters for this book. It doesn't stop there, as I have said this will have to be published in a series. For now, I offer you samplings of the first book....enjoy.

share, facebook it, send along with holiday cards.... whatever your little heart desires. ciao ~b

That morning my train plummeted through the cavernous dimly lit tunnel until my destination was incoherently uttered over a speaker that clung to life by sparse wires just above my head. My morning began like many others, Jay and I would scope out drive-thrus for the shortest possible line; a girl needs her coffee. Until we received a call over our radio, then off we went to a domestic disturbance only two and half miles down the road. Merely a quick jaunt down the potholed road, where the air feel heavy with a veil of deceit, where dysfunctional dementia loomed in the foreground. Welcome to Dorchester Massachusetts; where it rains and pours.

Along the way, my mind present yet miraculously absent, my view jostled and jolted in time with the wheels that bounded through the asphalt's pits and valleys. My view along the way, swishing past my eyes, were tiny trees that seemed to consume a maze of steel. Their lifeless branches embraced a meager supply of leaves. A parade of limbless greenery sprouted from the streets and populated the median of an otherwise concrete playground. The city's attempt at beautification was transparent with a parade of frail, mangled branches consuming corroded black steel; as though the streets were outlined with the silhouettes of a hundred feeble souls. At least that's how it felt in this part of town; it seemed the trees shared the sentiment.

-Coincidentally, this was the fateful day I had met Mr. Ron Steenley. Now thinking back on that particular morning, the trees and the gloom that pierced the morning sky were certainly foretelling of his macabre fate which laid ahead. The tree's silhouettes our faithful ushers into the outermost circle of hell, and the journey had just begun.-

When we finally arrived at the Steenley's home, the smells of cooking filled the hallways of their apartment building. It seemed there were several people overpopulating this wretched building and were coincidentally home in the middle of the day; judging by the residual sounds of midday TV and the offensive odor that saturated the hallway that assaulted your face the moment you walked through the front door. I would like to think there aren't many folks amongst us who have a proclivity for cooking their garbage. That morning, standing at the entrance of one badly weathered brick and mortar hell, it smelled as though someone had done just that. Dear Lord.

Apparently for weeks now, the Steenley's upstairs neighbor was hearing loud bangs and yelling coming from the apartment just beneath hers. As it turns out the loud bangs were Gina Steenley's body being flung like a dirty dishrag against their living room wall; accompanied by the filthiness Ron bellowed through the halls. With each bounding fling, Gina's body would shake the thin walls of the building to its core; sending ceramic fruit displays and pictures blasting from their well appointed positions.

Our anonymous informant, Dawn Carritta, a single thirty-three year old woman, had done for months what she thought was best and stayed out of it. She figured she didn't need the trouble of some angry half-cocked drunk hassling her about cops nosing around.

She claimed the commotion seemed to occur almost daily until the day her three-year old son, Caleb, looked up at her and asked, “Mommy, does that man upstairs hurt that lady? Why does he call her those bad names so much? I can hear him calling her bad names sometimes when I am going to sleep at night. We should tell him that isn't nice, huh Mommy?”

Two hours after Caleb's curious admission to his mother, we received a call. As far as a witness statement from Dawn, well the history of Ron Steenley spoke for itself along with the details Ron would predictably voluntarily supply. Luckily, most criminals don't have the savvy to withhold all the varied details of their respective sordid lives. Niavely thinking we are their appointed religious counsel of sorts. Like a collection of macabre trophies, Ron's record was a blue ribbon variety, with a string of domestics, 209A restraining orders for a varied number of women - approximately three still current- an A&B kicking around for a bar fight back in 2005 and just for fun... two aggravated OUI's.

Ron enjoyed drinking, problem was liquor was not Ron's friend. He went from jovial and talkative to downright mean; like a hissing cat, mean as the dickens, freshly fished from a pool. This would lend an interesting spin on any attempt at a coherent discussion with Ron when we arrived.

As we later discovered Ron, an iron worker, was laid off from his job and was collecting unemployment. His wife Gina, was home during the day as she would bartend nights at the Bell and Hand. Of course, Ron didn't mind taking every dime of his unemployment till it ran dry. Even when the union called with work he would decline with some piss poor excuse. As the calls for work eventually thinned out, he would sail along on his Commonwealth sponsored drinking benders. Now that your caught up, this should adequately lay the foundation for our appearance that day -enter stage right-.

We ascended the building's awkwardly thin staircase with deliberate footsteps until we reached the second floor, the warped floorboards creaked underfoot and shook the loose handrail that rattled with each step. It seemed nothing was stable in these parts, a stiff wind could bowl this rathole into oblivion.

After an abrupt knock on the door of apartment 2B, a few moments passed as we stood before the white door laden with grey greasy fingerprints smeared along its surface when it swept open a pungent breeze of booze and body odor wafted into the hallway.
With an irritable intonation in his voice, as though we had interrupted his busy day, Ron asked us, “What's going on? How can I help you two?”
With a stereotypical cop like demeanor Jay answered him, “Sir, we received a call that there was a disturbance in your apartment, and we were asked to come and do a well visit. May we come in for a minute?”
Ron replied with a sniveling tone while scratching his gnarly unkept hair with one hand and pulling up his oversized pants above his prominently displayed boxer briefs with his free hand, “Well, I'd rather you didn't, but yeah come on in. I got nothing to hide.”

Upon entering the apartment's narrow hallway after a short trip down a rust colored shag rug, the room would open up to a poorly furnished living room with a large flat screen television on the wall. There appeared to be a bedroom down the hall and a kitchen directly to our right that appeared dark and unoccupied.
Immediately I noticed down the dimly lit hall, a sliver of light illuminating the rust colored pile from beneath the bathroom door and I asked, “Is your wife home?”
Ron replied, “Yes, she's in the bathroom. She will be right out. What is this all about anyway, can I answer something here?”
Ron was doing his best to put on a convincing act, but sadly failed like a puppet whose strings were being orchestrated by an inebriated puppeteer. As he struggled to keep his foothold he stumbled forward a bit while clasping his hands and making his best attempt at affected sobriety coupled with humble offerings. But his slurred speech and awkward movements just made him appear transparent and pathetic. A typical drunk, but not so typical to see prior to noon. Ron Steenley was a grade A drunk, not even the best of them have him beat this time of day.

I stood back from the now uncomfortably close Mr. Steenley and replied, “Sure, Officer Maldonado can speak to you out in the hallway. Typically we like to question both parties separately first, if that is ok with you?”

He quickly agreed and seemed cooperative...for the time being. Boy, was he in for a surprise. In approximately one hour he would leave in cuffs, and that polite demeanor dissipated quicker than a fart in a windstorm. As the story goes, Ron would leave behind a trail of obscenities clinging to the badly tattered wallpaper along with smatterings of saliva and blood from one ill advised struggle.

Ron and Jay left to speak in the hallway, as I sat waiting for Gina. Their living room was infused with a heavy nicotine scent and the walls stained a deep mustard hue. Sporadic streaks of brownish filth infiltrated cracks extending from the ceiling and dissected Ron's only treasured memoirs: tattered wall coverings and paltry drapes encrusted with thick yellow patches of nicotine. Clearly this apartment had never seen the likes of Febreeze.

Coincidentally after I left the apartment, for what seemed like days, the smell of stale cigarette settled deep within my sinuses. While waiting for Gina I quickly ascertained the culprit, one nearly overflowing ashtray sat on a badly scuffed up flea market end table. On its edge, a tiny roach, so tiny if I didn't have time to sit for a moment and inspect my surroundings it would have gone virtually unnoticed. Frankly I didn't care, at the time I was more concerned with arresting the likes of that massive dick who was speaking with my partner just outside the door. Bigger fish to fry, my friends.

During my wait I practiced my deliberate mouth breathing, and then she came out... looking exhausted and teary eyed. Haphazard crimson like patches were raised along the right side of her face with copious amounts of mascara smeared across her moist cheeks, her eyes still red from tears. Gina is a fair skinned girl, with the type of skin that would burn after five seconds of exposure to the sun. God forbid you give this woman even the slightest of pinches; it would assuredly produce a monster of a bruise. She was frail looking but had big breasts, the perfectly round and perky type; the fake looking brand of boob. I immediately noticed what looked like a long shallow scrape on her left arm.

Ordinarily Gina kept her hair straightened and groomed meticulously for work, but left with little time for grooming -contending with that morning's random unexpected blows- her hair was one blonde streaked hodgepodge. The most suiting description for Gina would be trailer trash Barbie, if there ever were one, Gina would fit the bill... in spades. Contrary to her harsh outward appearance, turns out she is very sweet and soft spoken. The girl had a certain something going for her, so it was hard to counter with the notion of why she was there, with Ron Steenley. Although Gina probably feared what most victims had, fear of retribution. An all too real fear that not even a thousand restraining orders could allay.

Gina approached me with an awestruck look, and immediately I could see pain in her eyes. It looked familiar, some were better at hiding that look than others, in the past four years I had nearly perfected this requisite technique...nearly perfected. She dragged herself across the room like a scolded puppy with her tail trailing along behind her. Her right hand clasped her left arm at its elbow, as if to hold herself together, she wore an oversized shirt, one sleeve extended beyond her wrist as she lowered her arm beside her. The sorrow displayed on her face seemed to melt beyond her sleeve and down to her trembling fingertips. Despite her hesitation to join me, she didn't seem too surprised to see me sitting in her living room.

Gina approached the coach and allowed her body to slowly slink along the armrest, slouching a bit into its corner, as far as possible from where I sat. An awkward silence filled the room as her eyes widened, and her delicate arm craned downward to retrieve a stray pack of Marlboros.

As Gina tore open the thin cellophane of her cigarettes, and shuffled for a lighter in her jean pocket, she asked in a rather cavalier fashion, “So let me guess why you're here. Did someone hear us fighting? Because this week Ron seems to have a bad case of PMS, worst than normal. I hate it when he has his man period. But honestly Officer, he does this a lot, nothing that won't pass, you know?”

I quickly dismissed her carefree approach and replied, “No, no I don't know, Gina. This isn't just a phase. Let's cut through the bullshit, because my job is to help people and I can't help you unless you tell me the truth. There is an anonymous informant in your building that claims to hear a lot of commotion coming from your apartment, almost daily. This person has no reason to lie to us, and judging by the way you look...neither do you.”

Gina began her story with a somewhat generic excuse for her husband's behavior. She alluded to his unemployment and how it “made him feel like less of a man”. -Funny, because this sentiment didn't seem to deter his affinity for continual couch surfing.- She claimed that him being at home seemed to make him a bit edgy.

She looked down at the index finger of her right hand and fiddled with an acrylic nail that was cracked down its center and was loose at its base. As she sat playing with the tiny plastic atrocity dangling from the tip of her finger she looked up at me with despair in her eyes and just shook her head. Anyone watching this exchange could easily tell how unmoved I was by her offered excuses for Ron's behavior.

After all I hadn't moved from where I sat. I didn't make headway for the door exclaiming, 'Oh is that all? Sounds perfectly legit to me!' Gina had to know that her distraught and disheveled appearance, coupled with Ron's past and the corroborating witness statement... this situation wasn't going to be easily explained away.

I extended my hand to touch hers, to offer some comfort as her body language clearly relayed her discomfort, she recoiled in her seat to avoid my touch. Once she rejected my comforts, I stood pacing the room to peruse the collection of dollar store frames that littered her living room walls. The predominant guest of honor hanging on the Steenley's wall, a little boy, about age six with squeezable cherub like cheeks and a thick crop of blonde hair sprouting from his head. In one picture, his eyes were tightly clasped shut with a smile that ran from ear to ear, in his chubby little fingers he proudly displayed a yellow matchbox truck.

I looked over at Gina and asked, “Who is this little guy in the pictures? He's a cutie.”
Gina answered, “That's my nephew, Devon. He is cute, such a little doll. I don't get to see him too often. He lives in New Hampshire with my brother and his wife. Sometimes I make a trip up to see him, but I have been real busy with work.”
Even though I had already assumed the answer for myself, I wanted to keep the conversation going, so I asked, “Do you have any kids Gina?”
Gina giggled as she pushed her snarly bangs from her face and craned her thin boney hand toward the ashtray when she answered, “Hell no, like I could take care of a child with the way my life is going. No thank you. I don't know if I will ever be ready for that kind of thing.”

I averted my eyes from their photo wall, a wall with conspicuously absent photos of the happy couple and I looked directly at her when I told her, “I am not sure you have to make that kind of decision for yourself now. You are still very young. You have plenty of time to turn your life around and make changes for yourself. Everyone screws up, don't be too down on yourself. Make changes, positive changes. Anyway Gina, how is your life? Would you describe yourself as a happy woman?”

Apparently what I had said shimmied the floodgates free and released a torrent of details, as she replied, “Sometimes I am happy. Sometimes I am very happy with Ron, work and life, ya' know? There are weeks that everything is great around here and we are very happy. Ron will just do the sweetest things. He will sometimes make us dinner, he's a great cook, and he will buy me a bottle of Merlot. He knows that's my favorite. Sometimes I will come home and there will be flowers waiting for me. He buys them just because and well, sometimes because we had a fight. But mostly because he is just a sweetheart.”

She paused for a moment and then continued. No telling how one might obstruct this virtual word cascade now pouring from this seemingly broken woman. A once recalcitrant Gina, threw caution to the wind and just let it all out. I wish I could do just that, but with my upcoming plans for Alex, I kept my secrets locked safely away in the murky depths of my mind.

She continued with her story after wiping away tears with the back of her hand which was now shaded with ebony streaks of mascara. I extended my hand and gently touched her arm as she stared vapidly into thin air while recounting the sickening details.

Through her intermittent sobs she continued, “Then somedays it's like I am living with a different person. It's like a switch goes off and he is just a totally different person. I don't understand it, I just don't get it. It will be when I least expect it too. Like you know, somedays we will spend the whole day together, and yah know everything went great. Then when I am ready to go to work he will say something about how I am dressed or how I am wearing too much makeup. You know he will say something about how I look like a whore, and not to collect too many phone numbers because he will be checking my phone later. He says it like he's joking when he says stuff like that, but I've caught him looking at my phone a few times. This is strange, I mean I tell him all the time that I think he is handsome and I love him. I am just so confused about all of this bullshit!”

Her trembling voice trailed off melding with the somber silence of the room. She only paused for a brief moment and then continued, “So this one time, a few months back an old friend of mine, John Nagel, came into the bar where I work. He's a real estate agent and I started talking to him about his business, and how I always wanted to get into something like that. You know cuz I don't want to bartend my whole life. Anyway, he gave me his business card to call him about the real estate test, told me he could give me some prep materials and point me in the right direction. I slipped his card in my bar apron and just forgot about it. I meant to call him, but I never got around to it. That's only because Ron found it when he was doing laundry, or at least that is what he tells me. Sometimes I swear he just goes through my stuff looking for things to get pissed at me about.”

There had to be more to this story, since she wouldn't have brought it up otherwise, so I asked, “What happened when he found the card?”
Gina continued with a shameful tone and her best attempt at averted eye contact, “Well, it's no surprise that he trashed the card so I never got to call John. I told him a hundred times why he gave me the card, but he don't trust me. Can you believe that I still hear about that and it happened over a year ago? God, Ron was so mad at me! He accused me of having an affair for months. I told him to call him and John would talk to him about it. I told him that he would tell him what we talked about. Ron just refused and continued to berate me over and over, harassing me about this fucking business card. Like he wanted an excuse to be mad at me about something.”

She inserted a sarcastic chuckle as she continued while leaning over to stub out her already extinguished cigarette in the overfilled ashtray, “For a solid goddamned month he made me sleep on the couch. A whole fucking month!!! One night I got brave and tried to climb into bed and he kicked me out with his foot. Left a wicked bruise for a whole week, and then once I got up I asked him if he would just forgive me. You know, even though I didn't think I really had anything to be sorry about. He told me to 'shut the fuck up and leave him alone'. That whole month, every night I would cry myself to sleep hoping that it would be over the next day. It was hell, just pure hell. Then one day, out of nowhere, he came up to me and told me he had forgiven me and told me not to let it happen again'. It was just fucking insanity. ”

The sadly sobbing Gina began to dissipate and unveil her woman scorned as she began, “You know I still hear about that shit?! The night before last he asked me if I thought of John while we were having sex. Like ok, yeah, I think about him. Sooooo not happening! That whole day with Ron went great, no issues and then that subject reared its ugly head. Honestly, I was so pissed that I just rolled over and ignored him. Of course, Ron persisted and asked me, 'Well, do you?' Like I said, sometimes I think he just likes to torture me. Sometimes I just don't get the guy?! It's like I want him to love me, because I feel like I love him. And then well, days like this I just don't know.”

She had flaunted the perfect segue when I asked, “What do you mean when you say 'days like this'?”
“Honestly Ms., I just don't know if I want to tell you what happened. You have to understand that I just don't want the hassle of court and I just feel like it would be so embarrassing. That's why I just haven't told anyone about any of this. I honestly don't know how it ever got like this.”
Then I began with my hypocrisy fraught lecture, “Gina, he needs to be held accountable if he is hurting you. It is never alright to hit someone, ever. You need to tell me the truth if he is hitting you. If you don't tell the truth, he may never learn from this. He may never change and he may become even worst than he is now.”
Although, I had never taken my own advice, I had a more simple solution than courtrooms and police reports. A solution of which Gina would eventual discover, by default.

Either way, I was determined and had already made up my mind that day, Ron was indeed, leaving in cuffs.
So I reworked my angle a bit, “Ok then Gina, let's start over. Why don't you tell me how it came to this? I mean when did all this fighting start with your husband?”
She looked at up at me from her clasped hands, “Oh, it has been like this for years. I have been with Ron since high school and it has just been a roller coaster ride since we first started dating. All our friends knew he would explode when you least expected. It got to the point, my girlfriends stopped calling me and we were spending more and more time with just each other; because no one wanted to be around him. He would get mad at me in front of people and I think it made them feel uncomfortable.”

She refrained for a moment until I prodded her to continue, when she said, “ Well there was this one time, in front of a couple we knew, he slapped me pretty hard for like no reason. My girlfriend, Tina, her boyfriend at the time got up and pushed him on the floor. They were in each other's faces yelling and stuff. It was just awful and I was wicked embarrassed. Honestly, I don't even remember why he slapped me that night, it couldn't have been anything too bad. But Ron was drinking and sometimes when he's drinking he gets really mean.”
Then for the first time since I had been there she looked me in the eyes and said, “It's always been pretty bad, but it goes in cycles. This month has been pretty bad.”

I leaned toward her and touched the long shallow scrape visible on her arm and asked, “So, what happened here?”
Without any hesitation she replied, “That is from today.”
I replied, “It looks pretty painful, how did it happen?”
With a look of concern on her face and a trembling fear in her voice she asked, “I think you probably know how it happened, and if I tell you then how do I know he won't come back home after he is arrested and hurt me again? I am afraid that he will come home and try to hurt me again. How will you protect me?”

I tried to reassure Gina by telling her a temporary restraining order would be in place until his arraignment and during that time she had better apply for a permanent restraining order with the court. With the restraining order in place, I told her not to give him an inch and call if he should rear his ugly head. She seemed a little more at ease with my response, but the truth is... no one could offer unyielding security. The sad reality is, at times the truth will not set you free. Sometimes, in fact, the truth may kill you, but not if you kill first.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chapter 4 - consortium of characters

Hello! I know it's been two weeks. Sorry. been busy busy. But busy writing on top of butt wiping and other assorted motherly duties. So here is chapter four -part of it-. In this chapter I introduce two characters, ok maybe more than two. -two bad guys, ok?-. In this excerpt I introduce Frank Olivieri... next will be Ron Steenley. They are a suckish collection of dudes.

Also, it should be noted that I am amending the title of my book to: "Dead Beats. the beginning." Turns out I need to write more than one book to include everything I have to say. There's a lot of disturbing/humorous plots prancing through my twisted little mind. So I will be sticking around for a while. ::sigh:: y'all are just gonna love me!!

As usual, comments, praise random showers of unabated flattery are always welcome. : ) Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely fall weather we are having. Looking forward to more pumpkin carving, scary movies and Halloween! ciao be well, ~b

Chapter 4...a consortium of characters.

I’m tired of you sayin’ I should be prayin’.
I know it’s me against the world, I’ve been turned out.
Been thrown down to the killing floor.

Some people say I need to pray, Feels like it’s me against the world. I’ve been turned out. Been thrown down
to the killing floor, Down to the killing floor.”- Lyrics from “Killing Floor” by: Black Stone Cherry.

After my rather unexpected furious face smashing foray, with the crazy adequately amped up, I was somehow able to numb myself to my otherwise panic riddled state; like an emotional barometer I had finely honed. With time, I mastered the technique of numbing myself to his prattling presence and pitiful pleas to work on our marriage; what a joke. But with my distance finally becoming apparent, his crazy was off the charts. I was surprised he hadn't noticed my distance till now. Truth is, this man was so self absorbed I am surprised he hadn't been engorged with his own shit via osmosis. A girl can dream. In fact, it's amazing he noticed anything but for the mirror he constantly stood before, admiring himself.

The following morning in the wake of my unbridled rage, with its dust still clinging to the air, I was met by Alex stewing with rage at our kitchen table. The air was heavy, like walking into a vat of pudding.

With a wavering intonation in his voice he pulled a seat out and begged me to sit and talk, “Please come sit next to me so we can try and talk about this, Mira? Please. I don't want to go through the day like this.”

I turned my back to him and opened the fridge looking for the gallon of milk. -fuck balls, all out of milk...I will have to stop at Nancy's market on the way to work. Milk does the body good.- Coincidentally, I was more concerned about the milk than anything he had to say. Immediately he noticed my indifference and began pounding his fist on the table, demanding we talk. A rapid progression of wood wallops were intently designed to capture my attention. I had no desire to engage him now or otherwise.

Swiftly exiting the kitchen I went to grab my backpack from the hall closet, but the door was abruptly obstructed by one tear streaked monster. He stood before me and poked me in the center of my chest, needling me with his sausage like digit.

With his face squarely placed in mine, suddenly his tears had miraculously dried and were replaced with one familiar snarling sneer as he began berating with his deep growl like tone, “You aren't getting my fucking house, you bitch! You aren't fucking getting it, so don't even think about it! You and your kids better start packing up your fucking shit, you asshole! How are you going to stop the financial bleeding around here if you leave? I will go down with this ship and so will you! If you think I am leaving, you are mistaken, bitch! Because I will just keep coming back and plant myself right in your goddamned living room! You will get no peace! None!”

There was nothing I had to say to him, not a word. With a forceful thrust, I pushed him away turning my body from his; then turned my face into my hands and covered my eyes. I intimated sobbing sounds with a side of violent shoulder shrugging. In an attempt to console me, he approached placing his hand on me. Before another foul word was uttered from his heinous lips, I turned around and shoved him square in the chest and sent him sailing about three feet back.

Continuously shoving him till his back was flush with the adjacent wall, then politely reminded him, “Stay the fuck away from me. Stay the fuck away from me and my kids. Leave me the fuck alone and everyone will be fine. Let it go and stay out of my way.”

I was all done. That morning, in my living room, my monster's jarring frame jolted as I stared into the whites of his shocked eyes, then widened with disbelief and awe. I delighted in the seeming helplessness exuding from his every pore. He wasn't fighting back, surely this was a limited time offer. It was indeed time to get the fuck out of dodge. It was as though the tables had turned, but I wasn't interested in learning what was on the other side. With haste I made my way to grab my backpack and practically galloped out my front door.

Clenching my bag in my angry throbbing fist, I made my way to Nancy's market for my morning dose of cool calcium goodness. It was a morning ritual that could not be bypassed no matter what pressing matters loomed; a vice of mine that was not so bad after all. The madness of mind consuming murder, perhaps not such a positive one.

Typically on my morning walks I would ponder the details of Alex's murder, thinking on every detail. At times pangs of guilt stung my conscience. I continuously convinced myself that killing him was the best way. Mini pep talks would infiltrate my mind. This was the best way, the best way for things to go. The only way. If I let him go, I would unleash him. I would set my monster free to track down new prey. I would certainly read about some poor woman left for dead and badly beaten... and one missing Alex. Surely, I was doing the right thing. The only thing that could be done. There was no other way.

Turning the corner of one fractured decrepit street corner, I navigated it with distinct movements to avoid one fractured ankle. An abrupt right turn led me through the badly cracked front door of Nancy's store. Duct tape and ribbons of silvery tape constructed an awkward maze on the lower half of her door. Hmmmm...this was a new development.

Concerned with the presence of Nancy's newly acquired duct taped decoration I asked one brightly beaming Nancy, “What's with the door Nancy? Did you have a problem here or something?”

With an ear to ear grin monopolizing her portly face she responded with a hint of levity and laughter in her voice, “No no, Ms. Mira, nothing like that. There was just an accident with the cola vendor last week. His cart hit the door and made a big crack. We have to wait on the insurance people now to fix it.”

She carried on as her rotund frame jostled and exclaimed through her animated laughter, ”Ha ha, just my luck! Hey, How are you?! I haven't seen you in a while! Want a cup of tea? You should stay and have a chat with me. Gets lonely around here sometimes, you know? Hey, why is your face so red? Did you run here or something? Haha!”

Nancy Privetti, a wonderful blessed soul of a woman, the same face I had greeted at that very store for the past thirty memorable years of my young life. As I stood there listening to her, I thought how unusual it was that just moments prior I was consumed with my killing plans. Having just received an unanticipated invite for tea and scones, I found it oddly amusing. Did she see murder in my eyes? Because I could feel it consuming me. Or was I the same doe-eyed kid that bought a pack of nerds from her with a half a nickel less than retail cost? She would smile, send me on my way and tell me 'It's ok, I'll put it on your tab'. Of course she didn't see what I was thinking or feeling for that matter?

With an exhausted sigh of relief clinging to my words I replied, “No, Ms. Privetti I'm sorry I really got to run. You know lots of police work to do today, as usual. I'm glad to know that everything is ok and no bad guys are giving you a hard time. Maybe another time, I will come by and have some tea with you. Maybe a nice quiet Sunday morning.”

With a subtle hint of disappointment she replied, “Yes dear of course, I understand. You keep the city safe for us now.”

I nodded and turned down an aisle toward the milk cooler with chips, corn nuts and slim jims surrounding me as I made my way. As I walked down the aisle I noticed a man standing in front of the beer cooler with his young daughter -about eight years old if I had to guess-. An awkward looking girl wearing clothes, that by the looks of it, she seemed to have outgrown long ago. She wore filthy shoes with laces that were untied and covered in thick streaks of mud. Her fiery red hair looked as though it hadn't been brushed with gnarly bangs dangling across her milky white skin. Right before I was able to snatch up my morning milk, I couldn't believe what I saw next.

Out of my peripheral vision I caught the quick motion of her father's hand grabbing her arm as he lifted the left side of her body six inches from the floor by the apex of her elbow.

He looked her in the eyes as she whimpered in pain, and growled in an attempted hushed whisper, “If you fucking ask me again I am going to beat the piss out of you when we get home. Do you understand me? Every time we come to the store I can't buy you something. I told you that before.”

I am uncertain what demon crawled up out of my ass that day and made me do what I did next but it happened. It just happened. As my heart was pounding, my blood seemed to run cold into the very epicenter of my heart as a seething anger enraptured every fiber of my being. I walked up close behind him grabbing his right arm at the base of his wrist. I drew in close enough so no one but he and I knew there was now a Glock .40 neatly pressed against the base of his spine.

He had in his right hand a twelve pack of Natural Ice that was released from his grip and fell abruptly to the floor once my gun was wedged just above his Fruit of the Looms. Nancy called out when she heard the commotion, asked if everything was 'ok'. I assured her that I had just dropped something...no worries I had it.

He stammered nervously when he asked, “What the hell are you doing lady? What are you out of your mind?”

In a calm restrain, as calm and collected as I could muster I whispered in his ear, “Shut your lousy mouth. You aren't going to make a sound. Not a fucking sound. Nod your head if you understand me.”

Trying to turn his head to see me out of the corner of his eye he rapidly nodded with his big pumpkin head.

As I continued with my instructions, “Right now I have a Glock .40 pressed up against your spine. If you piss me off once you will be looking at your guts falling out of your zipper. What is your daughter's name?”

He was quiet for a few moments, hesitant to answer but then stammered a barely coherent sentence as he whimpered out his answer, “Nora. Nora Joy I call her.”

Strange. How could she have joy with a father like this? I looked down at the little girl, she had no clue what was going on. That's how I wanted to keep things. No need to upset the poor thing anymore than her father already had. Dickhead.

She looked up at me and asked a series of random questions with a heartwarming overtone of innocence, “Are you my daddy's friend? Daddy says if I am good today I can watch Disney channel before bed. Do you like Disney channel? I have an apple for snack time at school. I love apples.”

I smiled as I informed her of our plans for the morning, plans that didn't involve tea sipping, “Yes hunny, I am your daddy's friend. We are going to make a fun trip back to your place so you can watch Disney and play with your dolls. Do you have dolls?”

She looked up at me with glimmering eyes and nodded, “Yes I have lots of dollies, can you play with me?”

I answered her, “No I am sorry sweetheart, I have to talk to your daddy about a few things then I have to go to work.”

Looking away from Nora, I pressed the barrel of my gun until its front sight was nestled deep inside the fleshy nest of fat overflowing his pants.

With my attempt at unwavering unequivocal command, I whispered in his ear, “Now you are taking me to your place, and you aren't going to make a goddamned peep but for your home address. If you run or make one false move I will shoot you dead right were you fucking stand. Nod your head if you understand me.”

He nodded his head and as he continued to walk a few paces before me, we began our journey to the dungheap he called an apartment. Along the way, I looked down at Nora who walked beside me. She was a sweet looking little girl, she walked beside me giggling to herself -she seemed delighted with the notion of company-. Swinging her arms as she began to skip along, her undersized shirt swung back to reveal a path of thick bruises along her tiny forearm. Instantly, I became enraptured with rage.

Once inside the stank filled hovel, I knelt down and held little Nora's hand and asked her to go to her room while her daddy and I talked. She smiled and walked down the hall to her room, only to return later... begging me to play.

He sat in his recliner that he had clearly coveted since it had been purchased circa 1974. He looked up at me and asked with a tone of hesitation in his voice, “So what the fuck is this all about? Have you lost your mind lady? Your a goddamned cop? I could turn you in for this shit!”

I quickly drew my weapon and pressed it against his right temple holding it hard and steady against the right crease of his eye, causing him to recoil in his fleabag chair and plead, “Stop, ok Stop, I just want to know what is going on!”

I stood back and studied him, taking a moment just to take in the sloth-like pitiful appearance of Frank Olivieri. The man looked like a rat, with a large pointy nose, thin legs and arms with a bulging distended belly; along with the nasty smell and hygiene to match.

Crouching down and placing my hands along the wooden arms of his chair, I placed my face near his and said, “You are going to answer my questions, only the questions I ask. Nothing more. I am not here to have story time and I don't give a shit about you. I am here because of that little girl and because of what I saw you doing to her in that store. We are going to get down to business, and it starts now. Do you understand?”

He nodded his head as he continued to recoil in his filthy seat. He was good at the head nodding routine.

As I stood upright I effected a deliberate tone in my voice as I began with my questions, “Let's start with what's your name, shall we?”

He answered, “Frank, Frank Olivieri.”

I replied, “How long have you been hitting your daughter and leaving those marks I saw on her little arm?”

He raised his eyebrows and with a tone of dissension in his voice he replied, “I don't know what marks you are talking about lady. Nora is a clumsy girl, she falls a lot.”

I withdrew my weapon and placed it snugly just beneath the bulging spot in the crotch of his jeans; with the barrel of my gun neatly nestled against his denim covered scrotum I continued to prod him, “Don't make me pull the trigger and cut the bullshit. I told you, this isn't happy time. I saw what you did and I heard you tell her you were going to beat her. You aren't fooling me, so spill it.”

In an attempt to remove his nuts from the barrel of the gun he leaned back too far causing the chair to flip backward. Quickly I pulled him up from the floor by his left arm -just as he had done to Nora-, and threw him onto the couch. I didn't have time for this, fuck that chair.

Nora's sweet voice chimed into the living room from down the hall, “Is everything ok daddy?”

I replied, “Yes, Nora just stay in your room for a little bit. We are almost done talking. The chair just fell back by accident.”

Nora replied, “Ok, that's ok. I will stay here.”

Squatting directly in front of Frank with my weapon leaning against my left knee pointing squarely at his loathsome face, I resumed my questions, “Ok Frank, back to square one. You ready?”

With a whimper and a crackle resonating in his pathetic voice he replied, “Yes. Yes I am ready. Sorry it won't happen anymore.”

I replied, “So answer the question, when did you start hitting your daughter?”

With a look of desperation on his face he replied while fighting back tears, “I don't know, sometimes I lose my temper I know I shouldn't. I am real sorry lady, listen I will go to counseling if that's what you want. Don't torture me lady. I am just trying to take care of my little girl you know, it's tough being a single father.”

With conviction I pounced to my feet and growled my reply into the center of his face as a loomed over him and his then shivering frame, “I already told you I don't care about you. Don't piss me off, Frank.”

He stammered with a quivering lip as he replied, “Yes, ok. I know I know. I'm sorry.”

As I stood back I noticed the saturated denim where Frank had just pissed himself, just beneath his bad ass skull and crossbones belt buckle. Talk about irony, and he thought he was going to "beat the piss" out of someone today. Good, I was glad I scared him... But I was becoming exhausted already with this guy, plus I didn't want to be late for work.

I continued, “Frank, how are you supporting your daughter?”

He answered, “I get disability and workman's comp for now.”

I replied, “Is that it?”

He answers, “No I get Social Security disability income for Nora because she has autism.”

With disgust and despise now dominating the inflection of my voice I replied, “What the hell, you are beating your autistic daughter? Man, you really are one sick puppy aren't you.”

He just stared at me with his pitiful eyes as he sat there in his piss soaked pants. I wanted to beat him within the inch of his life as he slouched back on his Brady Bunch looking couch, but I wouldn't do that to Nora. That wouldn't be right. I brushed off that fleeting desire and propped upright the hideous chair that had been pushed back onto the floor.

Now sitting squarely facing Frank, taking in the musty smell of his pea green chair as it pervaded my nose, I continued, “Do you have someone you know that can take care of Nora. Someone other than you? Someone you trust?”

He sat up with a look of relief in his eyes, wearing the expression of condemned man that had discovered a probable means of escape as he replied with a heavy tone of alleviation, “Yes ma'am, my mother, Edna Olivieri, she lives in South Boston. She's real good with Nora. I'd trust her anyday.”

Tiny footsteps pattered down the wooden floor of Frank's hallway, and around the corner peered tiny green almond shaped eyes covered by wisps of scarlet red hair. I looked away from Frank and saw Nora giggling in her cupped hands with a Barbie doll at her feet. The poor thing was dying to talk to me so I called her over. She bounded across the room with barbie in hand. Without hesitation she proudly propped herself on my lap, with her boney bottom digging into my left knee she looked up and smiled at me with her extended hand offering me her half naked barbie doll. When I looked down at her hand that was clasping the doll by its hair, it was then I noticed it. A deep welt in the shape of a skull in the center of her hand. Just like the one on daddy's belt buckle. That dirty rotten son of a bitch.

As I grabbed her hand and studied the imprint I asked her, “Who did this, Nora? How did this happen?”

Nora pulled her hand out of mine as she coyly replied, “I don't want to talk about that. Can we just play dolls?”

I held Nora's fragile hand in mine and said, “It's ok Nora, you need to tell me, daddy said it was ok.”

Nora glanced at her father and said, “Is that true daddy? Is that ok?”

He sat stoic with a look of disgust in his eyes glaring at me, and then answered his daughter, “Yes, you can tell her Nora. It's ok.”

Nora looked up at me and in a matter of fact like tone she replied, “My daddy gets mad at me sometimes and yesterday I snuck a can of soda into my room after bedtime. Well, he caught me with it and I had to get spanked with his belt. Sometimes I do bad things and sometimes my daddy has to spank me. It's ok though, I still love my daddy. I just have to stop doing bad stuff, that's all.”

After she shared this horrifying story, she looked up at me with her carefree demeanor and again insisted upon playtime. My heart melted, I felt like taking her from him that day. I had thought about reporting this, but he had to surrender his parental rights to someone who cared. Someone who knew Nora, like her grandmother. I didn't want her to get lost in the system, it was just a bad place to be. He needed to hand her over to Edna.

Later, I did my homework on Edna, no record, a well respected widow in the community, retired, and would love the daily companionship of someone as lovely as little Nora. That's where she had to be, and it was going to happen...otherwise Frank my have an unfortunate accident. Hell, that may happen anyhow.

Disgusted with what I had just heard, I looked over at a now sobbing Frank and told Nora that she had to go back to her room for a little while so her daddy and me could finish talking. After she smiled at me and nodded she hopped up and ran down the hall to her room. She seemed like such a well mannered child, I couldn't wrap my head around why he would do such horrible things to an innocent child. Honestly, I just knew something had to be done and what was best for her wasn't here. I loathed this giant sack of shit sitting before me and it would have done me no greater pleasure than to extinguish whatever shred of humanity that clung to his meager soul.

As Frank sat before me sobbing into the palm of his right hand while covering his eyes, I told him, “Here is what you are going to do Frank. I am going to make myself clear. I am going to come back here and check in, in one month. You are going to get yourself a lawyer. I don't give a shit how you do it, just do it. You are going to draw up papers to surrender your parental rights to your mother. I will check back, and you won't be able to hide. So don't try to. If I come back and find out she is still here and nothing has been done or your not at least working on it, you will regret it. I will find out, so don't try to be slick. I will hunt you down and put a bullet right between your eyes. Oh, and don't get cute and try to report me, I'm a well respected cop, you're nothing but a piece of shit. They will never believe you. Now Frank, don't make me come back here and launch a bullet straight through your nutsack.”

I stood to my feet and as I marched out the front door, the sound of loud dramatic sobs and whimpers trailed off in the distance as I made my way further down the chilly halls of the seedy apartment building. Off to work, with a pep in my step. The corners of my lips and eyes felt as though they were pinned against my face, tightly curled upward, as I grinned all the way to work. I even laughed to myself as the train jostled my body against the steel beam to which I clung. That just made my day, Thanks Frank.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chapter 3 - call waiting.

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” - C. S. Lewis

The following day with lukewarm ambition I began to pry open my left eye to peer at my alarm clock's ominous red digits of which would undoubtedly disappoint. Rather than the expected glare of the demonic digits, there loomed my monster. Alex hovered with a heaving chest, labored breathing and saucer like eyes bearing tiny pins at their center protruding just beneath one lengthy furrowed brow. My cell phone clenched in his hairy ham hock fist with knuckles stark white. He seethed as his forehead beamed a scarlet red and his teeth produced a tenacious grind. -This wasn't going to be a good morning.-

A shaky nervous tremble resonated in his voice as he extended his fat hair laden fist blasting the phone toward my then vulnerable face, “What the fuck is this, Mira? Why are you sending emails to your partner after hours like this? I read three this morning. God knows how many you deleted. Is there something you aren't telling me here, because you guys seem awfully comfortable with this “honey” bullshit talk? You don't see me going around calling girls, “honey”. Since when did you start calling your partner “honey”. I can't fucking believe you are doing this to me!”

He then produced his highly anticipated series of whimpers and pathetic moans as he clenched his hair between his fingers and knelt groaning while expelling sobs like vomit on the floor. Off in the distance a random B rated actor turned in his grave, as manufactured tears streamed down Alex' fat ugly face. I had expected this charade, but not what came next.

As he carried on he stood to his feet with conviction bounding half way across the room with great momentum. As he began to pace in sporadic patterns across our berber rug, I laid back with my face toward the ceiling. With an exasperated sigh, I laid there praying it would end quickly. Silence may have been unwise, but seeing how worked up he was, I knew I could offer no acceptable reply. Remain quiet, hunker down till the tornado passes; hoping it would cease without taking its pound of flesh.

Moments later he pounced on me straddling my body with his thighs, pinned the arm I had craned overhead and then continued with his interrogation, “You going to answer me about this shit, or are we going to have a long day in this bedroom. Because let me tell you, you aren't going to work until you give me an answer about this, Mira. You think you are walking out that door without giving your husband an answer you are wrong! I will call you all fucking day, maybe show up at your office, swing my dick around a little. How about that? You wanna lose your job over this bullshit?”

-He had officially snapped his carrot. He must have known this was the end. Oddly, he didn't seem as pleased as I. Of course, he had no idea that it would not end as civilly as he imagined. The outcome would have made divorce seem inviting. Lucky for him I hear hell has a hovel where wife beaters like to go and wet their whistles.-

Suddenly, he began pounding my temple with the phone on the right side of my face, repeatedly slamming its flat surface against my skin until a shard of tiny glass shattered from its surface and careened toward my eye. Neatly nestling itself in the crease of my then tightly clasped eye, producing a sharp sting of pain and along with a steady surge of blood; minutes which seemed like hours passed before I was finally able to release the shard from its prickling grasp leaving behind a grisly mess in its wake; rendering my egyptian cotton sheets beyond hope.

As a swirling tempest of whooshes inundated my ears as he continued to violently thrust the phone toward my face, while shouting a nearly unintelligible plea, “Why?! Why?! Why?! Why, Mira?! Why do you have to make me do this? Every goddamned time! Why?! Why can't we just have peace in our house?! Why can't you just love me like I need?! Why?! Why?!”

Left with few options, I unleashed a side of me I had never met. With the force of what seemed like a thousand adrenaline junkies, I lifted my free arm and thrust his body forward as I wrenched my legs from his vise-like grasp. With limited visibility, blood now pooling near my eyes, I lurched my body toward him and overtook his stocky frame beneath my trembling knee. In a blind fit of rage I began plunging my fist toward the center of his repulsive face. My fist on auto pilot it continued to plummet toward the center of his face; as though my elbow was being operated by an invisible turn crank manned by one unrelenting psycho.

Blood spattered toward my face as I continued to strike my monster, steady streams flew as a few random droplets clung to my lower lip. Once I was certain he couldn't move -I had rendered him unconscious about five fist blasts ago- I pushed myself from his still body. Standing over him with my face inches from his, I studied the crimson orchid of serrated flesh that blossomed from the bridge of his nose. I ran my tongue along my lower lip clearing the droplets of his foul blood that settled on my skin.

-It was nice to see him bleed, for a change.-

With days that passed, I delighted in occasional fits of muffled laughter as images of his badly beaten face paraded through my mind. The following day, a shiny purple swirl of thickened blood quickly developed at the center of his face. It was a wonderfully grand hideous bruise...it matched the ugliness inside. Unrivaled bliss overflowed my heart as his futile attempts failed to mask its deep blackened hues with cover up. Was it wrong to find such joy in this? Had I become a bile spewing monster too?

He had to go...soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chapter 2

Here's my second chapter, not the most exciting chapter, but necessary to lay the foundation of my main characters. So it's a must read for all who are looking forward to the "finished product". Ahemmmm, don't get me wrong....it's still a good read. ::wink wink:: Many of the chapters are written, but I keep going back and reworking.

Deleting....adding....editing, yucky yuck yuck! Editing sucks, straight up suckage. But the truth is, the first draft always sucks. Hell, the second draft sucks. So I keep going till I think it is close to acceptable. There will surely be change in the final outcome....

I should also take this moment to mention that -for those of you paying attention- that I don't intend to share all chapters in their entirety. What's the fun in that?? Of course, as usual, comments, sharing, following is gladly welcomed. [also, it should be noted that insertion points or tabs are impossible on blogger....so they are in my book but not on my blog. I'm sure that none of you really care, but thought I would point it out. It's a writing thing/hangup.]

Chapter 2....work. A well ordered madness.

It was a hot afternoon and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along the street. How can I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?” - Billy Wilder

Hunched over a dull pain seeped through my ligaments and joints. That morning movements with gentle refrain kept those dull aches from striking sharply and jolting what little nerves remained. I crouched desperately jerking frayed shoestrings through eyelets of my boot, -Fingers nervously trembling, I could barely master a simple task.- Tightening strings into a zig zagged constricting noose of sorts, my toes grew cold from lack blood. Undoubtedly, brewing in the foreground were colossal “tales of martyrdom”. I scrambled to avoid another physical attack or unwelcome assault on my ears.

Jesus Christ stop shaking – just let me stop shaking... I need to get the fuck out of here, away from him...

I moved swiftly, the soles of my feet numb and tingling, makeup half assed, I was in a secret race, to the finish line that was my front door. I knew the few moments I had were rapidly dissipating before he resurfaced. As I clenched my foot into one rugged leather boot an intoxicating earthy smell of leather wafted toward my face; my senses reeled with a strange combination of anxiety and excitement.

-I was winning my secret race. His keyboard clicking...adequately distracted. Almost there.-

With a marked sense of urgency and heart pounding so hard I could feel blood pulsing in the tips of my fingers and the temples of my head, I made it to the street. -Victory you are mine! Canned applause and laughter echoes in my head-

A dreaded hail from my front door, his desperate shrill voice went through me like teeth dragging through cotton pile, “Mira, wait I want to talk to you more! Mira, what the fuck? You are just going to go to work like this? Can't we talk?”

I didn't answer, I hastened my footsteps praying I wasn't chased down by a madman in a housecoat. No fucking thanks, dickhead... I'd rather eat a steaming pile of shit.

I never turned around, I was certain he retreated to his trusty email bunker. Where the allure of electronic dissension called his name. Rest assured a nasty email would populate my inbox with due haste. -Delete.-

My boots pounded on the sidewalk which resulted in an army of pins and needles infiltrating my feet to the brim of my boots. The warm glow of the sun emanated a balmy hue in the wake of an early morning shower. The tangerine sun cut across the horizon melting on the streets like a smooth orange butter funneling through its cracks and corners. An occasional cool fall breeze rushed through my thin cotton shirt; despite the warmth of the sun, the bracing cool would quickly remind you of where you were. -Time for that fall jacket, which I had put off until that day-

New England lends itself to a unique climate, with some beautiful landscape to admire. Yet the intermittent cool breeze alluded to an anticipated transformation, a bittersweet yet welcomed change. When a kaleidoscopic canvas of foliage envelopes the trees -Change can be a good thing – That morning, I took in the refreshing fall air as it swept over my face, feeling the sting of it bite my lungs. With the warmth of the sun on my face, I tried to embrace the day with renewed hope.

Though hope is a sentiment that is hard to embrace under these circumstances, I had to force horrible images from my mind and focus on my workday ahead. Some unfortunate folks of the working world live amongst the monotonous hum of cubicle hell five days a week. I was lucky to find work I that doesn't suck you into a vortex of endless emails and useless meetings. I am a police officer for the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Among my myriad of titles, Police Officer Mira Chiatti is one of my proudest; mommy being at the top of my list. Wife soon to be scratched off. Thank fucking God.

In Boston, there is just enough grit to make it interesting but not too much slum to make it unbearable. Well, at least I thought so and even though crime was on the rise. A tad bit naïve, yes... I still wore the horn-rimmed rose tinted glasses. I still saw the city where I grew up. Unfortunately, my job required interaction with scumbags more often than not. But then there were always good people, thank God for good people. Life would be a lot harder if there were a scant supply of these folk.

I took the good with the bad, and if I could help one person a day, then I felt alright at the end of the day; dispelling the poison in intermittent doses. Like one unrelenting liver after a weekend bender. Honestly, work helped me forget the bullshit going on at home. It's cliché but it worked, so I didn't fix it.

We lived on the North End of Boston, reminiscent of our hailed European roots, a mosaic of cobblestones and brick buildings loom over the narrow streets. Brick buildings that have the stature of a feeble woman, seemingly eager to topple on the random passerby. If you were to stand close enough, you could swear they'd whisper an endearing tale in your ear. The streets were steeped in history that felt familiar and safe. Since my childhood, corner stores were run by the same familiar faces who would greet you by name. Waiters in your favorite restaurant remembered the wine you preferred with your marsala. All these blessed traits served as a reminder that you were, in fact, home.

My morning routine was a walk to Quincy Market where outdoor vendors sold coffee and pastry treats. James was my favorite vendor, and he made one mean cup of joe.

Along with James' charming Irish brogue, he always served up the most welcomed compliments any woman could appreciate. Mark Twain once said that he could live for two weeks on a good compliment. As it happens, if compliments had caloric value, James would have rendered me a rather large woman by now. For that wonderful trait I adored him, he was an older man in his seventies - if I had to guess-. The hard lines on his face told the story of a hard life. If you had time to lend an ear, he would eagerly share a story or two about his wife, Elise, or the grandkids armed with a wallet chock-full of pictures; he was a delightful little pit stop every morning.

After my brief interlude in fairy tale land, population James and I, I would make my way to “the T”. It was there I would catch a train that eventually dumped me onto Tremont Street. The day would start with a morning debriefing with Captain Jack Brewster. Everyday at 0800 hours Captain Brewster held a meeting at police headquarters. As expected, the meeting would consist of what had occurred the night prior and any ongoing issues of concern.

Generally speaking the Captain would have my undivided attention. However, on this day I found myself struggling to focus on anything but the pulsating pain now infiltrating my face. A daunting heavy pain filled my head. It felt like a mixture of hangover and sinus pressure. Although, I am nearly certain it was facial swelling due to being smashed in the face.

Unfortunately these days, more often than not, my random daydreams of freedom would interrupt an otherwise perfect work week. Today I arrived as usual, on time, my uniform neatly pressed, hair tightly coiffed in a bun. The only additional contribution, one muffled complexion with heaps of makeup and powder; add in a few ibuprofen for good measure.

Officer Jason Maldonado, my partner, sat in a chair with an attached desk welded to its legs, his body overwhelming its frame; his bulky thighs spilling from its sides. He sat squarely facing the podium in the center of the room. He looked up and shot me that flirty smile he perfected after years of seasoned practice. -He looked good today, very good in fact, of course there weren't many days he looked bad. Actually there were none at all.- I made my way over to to the seat next to Jay and sat waiting for his daily social updates before the Captain showed up.

Jason quipped, “Mira, hey you ready for another day in paradise?”I answered him with as much enthusiasm I could muster, “Yes, as always, of course.”I thought to myself, Just let me look at you, you don't have to talk much - in fact, don't talk at all, please. That day I was just in need of some goodies for my ailing spirit, not a lot of chit chat. Oddly he always seemed to chat more than I had.

Jason is that protein drinking meathead type you see at your neighborhood gym. But had the most inviting pillowy pecks, with hearty biceps of yumminess. Admittedly, he made me shamelessly drool. But sadly, beneath the shiny surface is one dopey Italian. You just had to love him and his jovial demeanor, or at least I did. Honestly, I just loved to look at him.

Jay has a wonderful glow of Sicilian olive toned skin, a wide nubian-like nose and thick back hair, perfectly cut to match the lines of his face. His eyes, a deep brown, and a hard jawline gave him that “appeal” most men dearly covet. Clearly, good genetics were in this man's corner. Although I was wildly attracted to him -as most women were-, I never revealed even a scintilla of interest. Per usual, I did as my father taught me -you never shit where you eat-.

Work was priority, not some scandalous affair that I would have loved to entertain, but my better judgment got the best of me. Rats...Life was far too complicated to put that in the mix.

Then I noticed Jay studying my face as he leaned toward me brushing back a wispy crop of bangs that dangled over the left side of my face and said, “What the fuck happened to your face?”

I quickly replied that I had tripped on the steps leading to my house and simply couldn't block my fall quick enough. - Note to self: buy more cover up.- Neither he nor anyone else at work knew of my problems at home. It was better that way. Especially now, with what I have planned.

Jason replied with a certain sense of levity along with a subtle hue and intimation of concern, “Oh shit, you gotta be careful. You need to keep that face lookin' pretty.”

I tried to keep it light and replied, “Ya ya ya, I know. I tried putting a bunch of cover up on it, but nothing gets by you. You are just sharp as a tack there buddy.”

Jay then started in with his morning “stories” before our daily meeting, “So remember that girl, Robyn, I told you about?”

I answered, “Yeah.”

He continued, “Well, I was out with her last night and I swear to God this girl would not stop talking about her damn cats. It was a little freaky. It went from her cats to her grandmother and then to her nieces. I spent two hours looking at pictures on her iphone. It was ridiculous! Seriously, this girl had one smoking hot tight little package but I don't see myself calling her again. She already texted me like three times since I dropped her off last night. Maybe I should just tell her? Or you know, she should get the hint, right? I mean if I just don't call her back? Right?”

I replied, “You know, I don't know, sometimes honesty is the best policy but sometimes it can bring the psycho out of the best of em'. You know?”

With a perplexed look on his pudgy face he nodded in acknowledgment, all while sorting it out in his big melon head. Knowing Jay, he is such a softie, he may give her a second chance. He was a strange hybrid of sorts, not betraying his ethnicity, he had a pinch of misogyny when it came to his attitude toward women. Honestly, it seemed engrained, somewhat pitiful; almost like he didn't know any better. I could never imagine him hurting a woman, he was just a little rough around the edges. Ok, maybe a lot rough around the edges but a good guy, or so I thought.

The truth of the matter is, I wanted to give him an entirely different response when he asked me about Robyn. He had been trying to get a date with this girl at his gym for months now, and then he finally does and he is not going to call her back because she showed him some pictures on her phone? What a crock of shit! Maybe texting him three times since last night was a bit much. It's funny how men in their twenties can be so fickle at times. -Stop being such an asshole, Jay. Hell, it will catch up with him in time, a little humble pie never hurt no one.-

What I really wanted to tell him was, “You ever think she really likes you and she wants to share pictures of the animals and people she loves? Look at this as an endearing quality rather than a burdensome one? Stop being such a dick and open up a little bit too. I mean how would you prefer she act, ditzy and aloof?”

If I had to venture a guess he was trying to act “cool”. But of course I didn't offer such sage advise, instead I offered a brief piece of shit answer. You can't offer “Dear Abby” type advise in this neck of the woods. There is no prancing around these parts like a princess. You would lose respect in a millisecond and become either a joke or the station's fun pump. Either way it's a lose lose situation and I preferred to be respected as an equal; so I put on a more manly front. You have to. Women who don't, just never last here.

Truth is, on the outside I'm as girly as they come. I love your standard issue, “girly stuff”: pedicures, pretty little strappy sun dresses, prolonged excessive gossip, and I'm a sucker for romantic comedies that make grown men cringe.

As Captain Brewster dramatically burst through the door its metallic slam clanged as he blasted his bassy voice through the room, “Ok folks, let's cut the small talk here. Let's get with the program.”

Making his way across the room to a small wooden podium situated on a shifty metal desk, he demanded our attention with a bang of his beefy fist on its shallow surface. I liked him, he was always good to me and understood what it was like to be a single mom. I say single mom because although I was married, I lived my life as though I were raising the children alone. I preferred it that way, since it was only a matter of time before I actually was a "single mom".

Throughout my relationship with Alex, I was the only true caretaker in our “arrangement”. I was a mother of two when we met, and he vehemently insisted that he “loved them as his own”. Truth is he only loved them when it was convenient, much like an odd trophy of sorts. Occasional bragging rights would bolster his image as the ideal stepfather. But once the applause died, there was nothing. Among fellow churchgoers, he would swirl their already scoured brains into a frothy lather with his accounts of devoted parenting. Such Sunday semantics required knee high boots propped on pews, because the bullshit would flow up to your chin.

His profound allegiance to my children waned when the reality of a dreaded sniffle or sour stomach turned the children's world upside down and I could not excuse myself from work; Alex would then liken himself to a daycare professional. Capitalizing on the unfortunate luck of these children he claimed to “dearly love”, he would quickly offer an explanation that he saved me money in childcare and now he “deserved” a new trinket, a lobster dinner, or a bag of weed. I didn't care that he smoked in excess. Getting high, smokin' weed... I just figured it would increase the chance that he dumped that mini bike he called a motorcycle. Bring.it.on.

The sentiment which seemed to dominate our marriage was one of resentment with his varied domestic roles; random psychotic outbursts would relay his emasculated esteem. This was the battle that raged in his sick little head. On nights I came home late from work, often times he would lie in wait with his wannabe bike rumbling between his stalky thighs. He would lookout just minutes before I was expected to arrive, and as I walked toward our house he would startle me as he shot out like a rocket...revving his popcorn machine as he sped off. Another one of his pathetic attempts to feel in control, exerting a pitiful punishment of sorts; yet dangling on the edge of insanity.

Without disclosing all of my sordid details, it goes without saying at times the Captain knew when I just had to leave. Usually I was calm and even keeled under pressure, but when it came to my children I am nearly certain I wore eminent panic on my face. He could see that I'm sure, as a father himself. There was protocol that had to be maintained and I understood, but the Captain Brewster was always cool and I think he knew what was going on at home with me... deep down, but never said a word. In my book, the Captain gets two brightly beaming gold stars. Although at times, he had the stereotypical tough demeanor, yet another standard issue police protocol.

After an exasperated sigh and a quick pause to sip coffee from one seasoned coffee stained mug, the Captain started with his daily routine, “Ok, Benoit and Coppola you are going to be on the South End today, and everyone remember to reference the bench warrant list. There is a bunch of em' after last week, for some ungodly reason. Just be on the lookout for these runners, folks. Oh and another burglary last night, actually a couple on Comm. Ave. Luckily, no one was harmed and the residents slept through the commotion, but it appears that it may be the same suspect since the homes that were broken into were literally right next door to one another. There have been incident reports filled out by the reporting officers, please look at them, everyone! I want Maldonado and Chiatti to go down there today and take witness statements from surrounding residents. If they aren't home, figure it out. Make a phone call or two.”

Suddenly a shuffle in the room produced one perpetually tardy, Officer Sean Brewster. Sean was proof that the heart of nepotism steadily pumps well nourished blood through the core of the working world. Undoubtedly, he will need to RSVP for his own funeral when that lamentable time should finally come. As the Captain's nephew, he knew he could never be fired...If it weren't for the inner workings of nepotism he would be a well appointed fry cook at McDonalds; showing those egg mcmuffins whose boss.

The Captain's bravado hail resonated off the walls of the cramped concrete room, “Hey! What the Fuck, Brewster! I told you about this! Get the Fuck out! Take the day off!”

Of course, we all knew this was for show. Sean would gladly take the day off, he had what most would describe as “infinite job security”. Another banner day for Brewster...sitting at home, watching cable and drinking beer. We all wondered if he was paid for these days off, but no one had the balls to ask. It had become a funny kind of pathetic joke amongst the group and now no one wanted to work with him. It didn't really matter, it would usually give us something to banter about for days.

Visibly flustered with disappointment, the Captain continued, “Anyway, Adams and McManus you are going to be doing separate traffic details in Government Center. Apparently, the city thinks it's a good time to be doing road construction for the morning commute; so you are both there. I know it sucks but hey, there's a Starbucks down the road. Knock yourselves out.”

As he continued to spout the minutia of the day's itinerary, I sat entranced as I glanced out the window. The wind whipped red and gold leaves onto its moist surface. I would count the seconds till droplets of moisture released random debris from it's grasp. Strings of water, slowly dripped onto a brick ledge where the ugly pigeons flocked. I looked down pretending to scribble details in a mini spiral bound notebook I kept in my breast pocket. Even if I didn't have anything to write, I would pretend. More often than not, instructions were fairly straight forward, but for the occasional lunkhead that would screw it up.

After our daily debriefing, Jay and I head out. We made a brief stop for his morning Burger King “crossaintwich”. These days he's crazy about those lil' critters – with a sausage and hash brown-. You would never know by looking at him, his workouts were certainly not in vain.

With his stodgy greased up fingers plummeting into a spotty oil stained bag, he masticated his goodies in a few swift, yet ample bites as we made our to Comm. Ave. When we finally arrived where the burglaries occurred, we half expected no one to answer our knocks, and as expected, no one did. This was no surprise. These well appointed brownstone don't pay for themselves. The people who live here work hard to keep and maintain them, and it is not a little known fact. Otherwise there wouldn't be half as many “visitors” bearing crowbars, hammers and blunt like objects to harness their finely honed trade of larceny.

Residents who live in Back Bay usually came from money and are seasoned Boston natives. They remember a city that was safe and clean, hailing from a time when unlocked doors were homegrown staple. Unfortunately, many still live under this misguided impression. As it goes, it's hard to cope with such a downturn when you are accustomed to peace and quiet. For these residents, learning appropriate home security measures seemed futile, despite the numerous break-ins reported. As expected, for the wannabe criminals of Boston.... it became a goldmine.

We approached a few nearby homes and knocked on their doors and rang buzzers. Often times a large group of college students would rent and share space in this part of town, being nicely situated to schools, Landsdown Street, and Cambridge -the perfect recipe for the utopia that is college -. It was easy to catch college students at home during the day. Obtaining a lucid statement about what had occurred the night prior, well that is another story altogether.

We pushed a few buttons at the fourth brownstone we came to, which produced a recently awakened Ms. Cindy Ackley. Her voice crackled over the monitor with an intonation of sleep in her unfamiliar voice. “Umm, hello? Who is it?”

Jay answers, “It's the Boston PD, we have a few questions for you, if you have a minute.”

A slight pause lasting a few seconds ensued, she then questioned back, “What's going on? Why do you need to ask me questions?”

I finally chimed in, “Ma'am, we don't want to take up much of your time, there have been a string of burglaries next door to your residence and we are looking to see if there were any eye witnesses nearby.”

The very next sound we heard, a buzz followed by a click of the door. We entered the building and made our way to apartment B2.

Cindy quickly greeted us after the she hastily disengaged the latch on the door, “Hi, come on in. Sorry, I just woke up and the place is a mess, but sit down and make yourselves comfortable.”

We sat on a rather bohemian type couch that melded to the floor like one giant blob of bean bag mess. It was actually amusing as Jay and I sat with our knees practically up to our ears. Looking at my partner sit on this “chair”, I fought hard to resist the urge to chuckle. In fact, the entire apartment was a bohemian mess of Ikea type furniture, neat with no sign of little hands or feet to occupy its walls. Clearly, the home of a single girl.

Without delay Jay smiles laying on the charm, “Don't worry about it Miss, we don't want to take up much of your time we only have a few questions if you could help us out.”

Cindy is a pretty frail brunette girl with thin arms, a large round face with almond shaped eyes. She was wearing baggie short shorts on her underweight frame and a shirt that seductively exposed her right shoulder down to her elbow. With soft graceful features and delicate lines that traced down to the contours of her prominently displayed clavicle bone. She smiled and seemed to look down into herself. An outward exchange of flirtatious glances consumed the next few moments as I sat in uncomfortable silence.

Then she nods and says, “Sure, well the truth is I did see something. I was up late working on my thesis for my psychology class and I heard a commotion outside. I was sitting next to my window on my laptop and I saw two men, but I wasn't sure what was going on so I didn't think much of it. I was curious if they were visitors or not, but they seemed to be kind of slinking around. You know what I mean? Anyway, I was planning on calling the police today to see if someone called about any intruders. Truth is I didn't want to call if I wasn't sure. Sorry, plus I was really busy with my paper, I feel like kind of an asshole now that I didn't call. ”

-Yeah well, she got the asshole part right.-

I was mildly annoyed with the constant flirting between her and Jay. But I was happy that we found Cindy so early on in our shift. As she spouted details of what she had seen, Jay scribbled them on a victim witness statement which she later signed. She even saw the van they hopped into and jotted down the license plate number for our records, and although the streets were dimly lit, she was able to provide a fairly accurate description of the suspects. We got lucky. Needless to say, later we were able to utilize her for a lineup to identify the suspects.

Armed with what we had discovered, we were ecstatic that we didn't have to consume the rest of our week finding leads on these string of burlglaries. Thankfully, we had hit the mother load with Cindy. As the saying goes, “everything happens for a reason”. Indeed it had; with our respective agendas cleared we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ronald Steenley. Tomorrow we would meet for the first time as he had a strange preoccupation with beating his wife, a month from now we meet again...for his murder.