The dull winter sun blinds me as I drive, the metallic sky outside turning milk-white. Another storm is coming. I had learned this fact from an old Indian scout I met up in the hills after I left home. The knowledge had served me well over the years. A talking head on the radio was trying to distill the latest disaster into sound bites, distracting the rubes from reality.
It’s all about the distraction.
Mulling over the interview, I knew Williams was playing coy. Normal operating procedure at this stage in a murder investigation. It’s all a big poker game where the Cops have most of the cards. And whatever they are missing is drawn from the deck of witnesses using a combination of fake personal connection and distraction. Williams tried it with his question about Angie and I just told the truth and it put an end to that line of thought.
I admit I miss her from time to time. Our relationship was a magical mystery tour; two scarred souls touching, trying to find humanity in each other. It worked for me at least. I didn’t smoke my brains out anymore. Small in stature and big in pleasure, she gave more than any woman I’d ever known. Nights of floral scents rising from the mass of raven curls healed my soul. Kissing each others’ scars to affirm their spots in our lives. I’d like to say I healed her over time, but I’m not sure I did.
Family came first with her. When her Dad got sick, we were on the first plane to San Juan. After he died, her uncle offered a job in his private security firm. Police work without the crap. It made sense to stay. The problem was I couldn’t handle being the only Anglo in the room. Oh, the Lopez family was nice enough. But I could only wonder what they were saying about me behind my back. I came home after two months. The last time I went down, she found a new guy who treated her like the queen she was. She was happy and I was happy for her.
The Sun is stronger than it looks. I unzip my hoodie for ventilation and shut off the heat. You never could tell the weather here in the winter. Sleet one day and seventy degrees the next. It’s a wonder I don’t get sick, not that anyone would care. I gave up personal connections years ago.
A Paddington Bear themed holiday display is lighting up the world for the holidays greets me as I get off the freeway. Snowflakes sparkle on his hat and electric votive candles glow along next to the suitcase. A figure of Mr. Brown over to the side blowing a whistle is a nice touch. No sign of Santa anywhere. Cute and just as effective in getting people to spend their hard earned money. Still another distraction to keep from seeing the evil of the world.
I’m turning into Ebenezer Scrooge in my old age. Check that. I’ve always been Scrooge. Or maybe people were trying too hard to take their minds off the depression that is reality.
Angie always liked displays. We’d did the big one at the Lake one year, kissing over the chocolate they served at the fire ring. It was one of the few times I enjoyed the fuss.
I wonder if Donna Bartlett liked that stuff? Nah, Boat Bunnies don’t like frou-frou. They like action, manipulation, and sex-not necessarily in that order. What did I know about her so far? Not a lot, really. She was 42 and from a little town out west. As far as I could tell, she didn’t have a criminal record. There were a couple of aliases, one of which had filed bankruptcy in New York some years ago. I had contacted the attorney of record to see if he could give me some information, but the phone had been disconnected. I had no standing to get the file from the docket, so I had no idea of the reasons.
She did have extraordinarily bad taste in men with two marriages before Herrington. The first one was amicable and second ended with a skull fracture. The guy is still in prison, so he’s not likely to be an issue here. I’m not sure about the first guy, though. He was almost as much of a grifter as Herrington. I didn’t volunteer this to Williams because of client privilege, which doesn’t go away on the client’s death contrary to popular opinion.
Did she cry out “No! NO!!” when she realized what was happening, or was it just a surprise? That was Williams’ job to find out, not mine. I’ll tidy up the file and wait for official word from the attorneys my services would no longer be needed.
I pull into the garage.
And see the Audi is back.
Topic-Michelle Marko King
Pic Christine Wichman
Pic guesses: Votive- (in blog), lights, fire hazard, happy holidays, tannenbaum, Christmas Eve