Prelude (Six Word Story 899)

Cigar smoke rose from the basement.

Advertisements

Lifting a Curse (Part 6)

Holy Schmidt, Creepers! What a week it’s been. The cage match in San Berdoo fell through. My opponent, a guy as old as me who shall remain nameless yet is wildly popular in certain parts of Asia, went into some kind of organ failure and had to pull out for dialysis and perhaps a transplant or two. Got a bad batch of steroids or human growth hormone or something.

So they were trying to dig up anyone to fight me, and they were scraping the bottom of the barrel. First it was some MMA broad. But I wasn’t having any of that. First, I don’t hit women, and second, even if offered a ton of money there is NO POSITIVE OUTCOME to fighting a lady. Either you win, and everyone shrugs it off as expected. Or worse, she beats you into the ground and you become a laughing stock. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but they’re wrong. Especially when I’m trying to build a mystique here.

So then they were trying to go through this extensive Rolodex of possibilities for an amusement match. A veritable who’s who of one-hit wonders and washed up TV personalities who needed cash. There was some guy who had been a neighbor on the “Brady Bunch”, another one who had been on “Mork and Mindy”. The drummer for a band whose one song gives you an instant and insufferable earworm. The ex-husband of a rather famous entertainer. Those sort of people. My favorite was an actual former pro athlete who had doped out of the sport and was now selling insurance door-to-door in his home town. Other than that guy, who would have been a tough nut to crack, I was going to look like Jerry Lawler smacking down Andy Kaufman.

But then the unthinkable happened, and the whole studio got busted. In addition to televising sketchy cage matches, they were hosting weird animal fights. Roosters against snakes, three-legged coyotes against a dumpster full of rats. Anything for ratings, I suppose. But they should’ve been smart about it, and based themselves out of Turmenistan or something. Not California. So the cops swept in and rolled up the entire operation.

So here I was, schedule cleared and a couple weeks’ worth of clean living to erase. As soon as I heard, I busted open a carton of Dunhills, hoisted a tumbler of Johnnie Walker Gold Label, and called up Parquette. She helped ease my sorrows.

So Wednesday night, we were sitting around enjoying beef bourguignon with a crusty bread and a Bordeaux red, when the phone rang. It was the librarian.

“Hello? Mr. Daley?!? It’s {NAME REDACTED}. Can you hear me?!?”

“Yeah?”

“You have to help me!” She was whispering in the phone, sounding genuinely terrified.

I sat up straighter, and put my glass down. “What is it?”

“I’m…well, I’m at a trailer out in the country, and there is a man raping a woman. Hitting her. It’s horrible!”

“Did you call 911?!?!”

“Yes, but the line is busy!”

“Hold on!” I said, turning to Parquette, “You have the number for any cops? I mean, their cell phones or something?”

“Sure, why?” When I told her, she whipped out her phone. “Where is this?”

“Where are you at?” I asked, scrambling around the kitchen for a pen and paper. When she told me, the address sounded familiar. Real familiar. I handed the phone over to Parquette, and gave her the pen and half of the paper. She started asking a series of questions as I headed to my everyday computer. The one wired up to my own internet.

As I listened to Parquette reeling off information to a cop friend, I looked up the address on Mapquest. As soon as I saw the place come up, I realized why it sounded familiar. It was the address of my old nemesis’ secret lair, the trailer owned by the strip club owner. The one I ripped a nail out of wearing a Ghillie suit. It was all of ten minutes away.

Parquette was just finishing up the call with the cop, and I could hear a siren starting up just before she hang up. “Let’s go!” she said.

We got there maybe two minutes after the cop, and he already had my nemesis in cuffs. He was wrapped in an old parka, to hide the fact he was naked, and being led to the cop car.

We were there for hours, and it was horrible. I got the story between bits and pieces of overhearing, and from a later run-down from Parquette while we sat in my car, getting warm. It seems my nemesis had been “auditioning” a young Russian girl, one who was clearly being trafficked, and she wasn’t having any of that. She had thought she was coming to the US to be a nanny, and had balked when she found out what the true nature of the work was. My nemesis had clearly since slid downwards from being a t1tty bar owner to a pimp, and he decided to beat her into submission before forcibly driving home his point about where she stood in this world. The librarian had come up as all this was starting to go down, and had run back to her car.

As you know, she tried unsuccessfully to call 911, and the only other number she had in the area was on the card I had given her. The cop hadn’t come in time to completely save the girl, but had certainly saved her from an on-going life of servitude. And she would be safe from my nemesis for the next 25 years. At least 15, if he showed evidence of good behavior. The parade of evidence techs and rape crisis workers would see to that.

“So what was the librarian doing there, anyhow?” I asked, perplexed. It was hard to imagine what had prompted her to stop at a trailer on a remote parcel of land in the middle of nowhere.

“She was involved in a business deal of some sort with the suspect, and he texted this address to her.”

“Business deal?”

“It was a private sale of some sort,” she looked at her notes, “A gradunza, in fact.”

“Gradunza?!?” I was shocked, “Can I talk to her?”

Parquette looked dubious, then relented, “She’s your friend. She called you. Go ahead.”

As I got out of the car, she added, “Don’t mess up this case, ok? Don’t play cop.” I muttered my agreement and headed over to her car. She was inside, engine running, staring over the dashboard. As I came up, she rolled down her window. “Mind if I get in? It’s cold out here.”

She nodded mutely and rolled the window back up. I heard the doors unlock as I walked around to the passenger side.

“You okay?”

She nodded, still saying nothing.

“You did the right thing, calling.”

“That poor girl!” she said, sniffling, “I wish I had….had a gun or something!”

“No, you did the right thing, calling the cops. Calling me.”

“I suppose you know?”

“Know?”

“About the gradunza.” I nodded, knowing that she would be forced to fill up the silence by talking.

“I needed the money, ok?” I nodded, waiting for more.

“I’m sixty years old, and I have no one, and the county pays a pittance,” she said bitterly, “The only thing my family ever had of value was that gradunza. And they sold it at an estate sale!” She shook her head angrily.

“But what’s it worth?” I asked, “I sold it for two grand, when the economy was hopping. And bought it back for $475 just a few weeks ago.”

She laughed bitterly, as she pulled the gradunza from a box, and turned it over. She turned on the dome light, “See here, Mr. Daley? Cartier. A true Cartier. A museum piece.”

I whistled, wondering what this thing was worth. A hundred g’s? Half a million? “Why not sell it to a museum then?”

“You see, my grandfather came from Sebastopol. He was a merchant, a White Guardsman. Once civil war broke out, he fled with a suitcase. All he had was a few jewels, and this gradunza, which was stolen. The Russian government is looking to get it back, see? So I could only sell it in a private sale. Under the table, so to speak.” She almost seemed a little proud of herself, having probably pieced together the plan while reading a Raymond Chandler novel.

Most everything came into focus then. I had always thought her a bit of a nutcase, obsessing over this minor piece of family kitsch, when in fact she was chasing a family fortune. Hence the lawsuits, and the complaints, and harassment. This gradunza was her ticket to a better life. Greed may be ugly, but I certainly can’t fault anyone for it, being in its thralls myself.

“I suppose I may lose it now,” she said, sadly.

“Maybe,” I said, “You never know what will come out in court. But I doubt it. There’s nothing any cops are interested in other than assault, battery, and rape. Have they asked about taking the gradunza as evidence?” She shook her head. “So look,” I continued, “This thing has been missing for what, 97 years now? And whoever used to own it is long dead. And their heirs are long dead. Long since executed by the Bolsheviks. Right?”

“That’s true!”

“So do you think anyone even knows whose it is at this point? And even if they did, do you think they have any receipts from like 1880 to prove it?”

“No!”

“So just take it into Charlotte tomorrow. Find the biggest art dealer you can, and ask for help selling it. They’ll put it up for auction, and you’ll get the best bid. I’m telling you, I know some dodgy characters. Shady guys who can sell pretty much anything. But you’d be in over your head with these guys. Hell, I barely think I’d get 25 cents on the dollar for what that thing might be worth. You’d be lucky if you got ten cents on the dollar. Or even worse, a bullet to your head.”

“Oh, my!”

“Look, I don’t mean to scare you, but you gotta do this thing right. If you keep running around chasing guys with suitcases of cash, you’ll end up dead in the trunk of a rental car out by the airport. Doing it the right way is safer. If the gradunza does belong to someone else, it’s not like they will press charges. You just lose it, and you’ll be no worse off than you are today. But chances are title is so murky that you will be in the clear. And it will sell, and you’ll make a tidy profit. For all you know, your family lore is a bunch of bunk your grandpa spun to make his exit from Russia look more romantic.”

“He was a minor baronet of some sort. Educated in France and all.”

“See? And Cartier was French anyhow. So just sell it openly, and let the chips fall where they may.”

She nodded, convinced, “Thank you, Mr. Daley!”

I was going to say my goodbyes and leave, but then a question came, “One thing I don’t get. How come he had you come here?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I can understand why he didn’t want you to come to his house. Or to his place of business. But why have you come here, when he was, shall we say, otherwise occupied? Why not just meet you at a Denny’s?”

She just shook her head, “This is the address he texted, that’s all. He was just so RUDE.”

“Can I see your phone?”

She unlocked it and handed it over, mutely. The last text message was from her, “Be there at 8 pm.” Scrolling up, the address. There were a few odd messages from him that said things like “The other place”, “Where we met last time”, “The country place”, and “Jesus Christ you know the place and time and I just texted it to you AGAIN five minutes ago”. Then I saw the original message from my librarian friend, and it all became clear, “Hello! I can bring by the little Russian beauty. What time is good for you?”

I re-read the message train, and laughed. While my librarian was texting the scumbag about the gradunza, he was also getting texts from a business associate about this poor Russian girl. The two text conversations were getting mixed up by the scumbag, and he gave the librarian the wrong address and time to meet. The other guy must have been a little ahead of schedule or the librarian behind, and she showed up just as things got nasty. Typical. Brought down by lack of attention to detail. The only thing that would have been better is if he had done himself in with a butt-dial.

********************************

So here it stands with the curse. Three enemies turned into one friend, one lover, and one jailbird. Curse broken, and it looks like happy days are here again.

Sincerely,

Finnegan

https://finnegandaley.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/lifting-a-curse-5/

https://finnegandaley.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/lifting-a-curse-part-4/

https://finnegandaley.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/lifting-a-curse-part-3/

https://finnegandaley.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/lifting-a-curse-part-2/

https://finnegandaley.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/lifting-a-curse-part-1/

Lifting a Curse (Part 5)

(You can scroll down and see the first four parts just below, all within the last week).

*******************************************************************

Well the last time we spoke of the curse, my Creepers, was catching you up on how I made nice with one of my nemeses (nemesises?). Whatever the word is, with one of my enemies. It only set me back a little less than $500, and it left me feeling uncharacteristically good about myself. I found this perhaps the most amazing thing. Growing up in the Mahoning Valley makes you part of a complex kinship system akin to the tribe or clan system. If you know how that works, you have concentric rings of those on the inside, and you always take sides based on these relationships, rather than right vs wrong in any traditional sense. (1) The first ring is your immediate family (in my case, families), next is extended family. This includes both blood relatives like cousins, as well as members of other families your family may have married into. Then you have friends and their friends, and ever-more-distant connections. Like people from your neighborhood vs outsiders. Browns fans versus Steelers. AFC vs NFC. Murrican football vs furrin football (soccer). (2)

After years of avenging the smallest slights, taking sides in other peoples’ brawls, and otherwise smashing others both physically and emotionally, it felt good to actually do something that was morally good. I hope this isn’t a trend, because it would probably make life a lot less interesting.

But anyway, I’ve been stalking my next quarry, the prosecutor. For purposes of this story, we will call her Parquette (I’m feeling French today). So like I said, I set up an account on {DATING APP FOR SHALLOW HOOKUPS} under the name “Big Frank”, got some intel on Parquette, and set up a profile to catch her fancy. My picture was artful. It was taken only two years ago, but I had grown a week’s worth of beard on an extended sailing trip. A lady friend had taken a picture of me in swim trunks and aviator sunglasses leaning against a beach-side bar in Bermuda. The shot was from about 30 feet away, and somehow it actually came out looking pretty good. This lady friend had kept me pretty well drained the past few weeks, and I had a rakish, devil-may-care look on my face. The picture somehow made me look more muscular than I am, and younger. A rare case of the camera subtracting ten pounds, if you will.

I populated all my interests to match what I had heard about Parquette. It was factual in a misleading kind of way, talking about all the good stuff. Sailing, grouse hunting, foreign travel, horses, motorcycles, self-employed. It actually all sounded reputable. It didn’t take long to catch her eye, and before long we were texting back and forth. She was going by a name like “GenieInABottle88”.

We seemed to hit it off, but we didn’t make a date right away. She had been busy with work, some big case or another, and she had punted off a few times. We had made plans to have dinner downtown on Sunday and hang out at a park to see the big lunar eclipse, but she ended up canceling out. I was worried about that, worried she had cold feet, until I went to her house at 2 am and stole her trash. Just a bunch of empty takeout Chinese boxes, single-use No-Doz tabs from the gas station, and an empty anti-diarrheal medicine bottle. Turns out she was just working long hours and suffering a stomach bug. Seemed like more than legit reasons to blow off a date with some unknown. Her recycling was revealing, simply overflowing with empty bottles of Oak Leaf Pinot Grigio and Skyy Vodka. I hoped she had forgotten to take it out for a few weeks, because if not, she would be able to drink me under the table.

Leading up to this weekend, word had it she was very concerned about Hurricane Joaquin. Amazingly, Parquette is scared of the dark, and she didn’t want to be stuck at home with no lights. As fortune would have it, I installed a propane generator covered with lead lining on my armed compound after reading “One Second After” (3), so I made a plug for dinner at my place. Scallops in butter for an hors d’oeuvres; dinner of rare roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed steamed vegetables with hollandaise sauce; dessert of caramelized paw paw; and all the wine, aperitifs and digestifs that one would expect with such a meal. We confirmed for Friday evening, before the storm was supposed to be in full swing, and I began preparations.

First problem is, I’m a mess. Hardly a catch before closing time. So I starved myself these past two weeks to lose weight. All vegetables and protein, minimal carbs, and only drank hard liquor to keep the calories down, which paid off pretty quickly. I had Quimby shave my back, and I borrowed a hot waxing kit without asking from my third wife, and waxed both my balls. That was surprisingly painful, and hats off to you ladies who wax on any regular basis. Then I got a teeth whitener and a good haircut, and let the beard start growing again on Sunday. Parquette is a smoker, but I had been on a bit of a kick smoking Parodi Toscana cigars, and I simply reeked of it. I switched over to chewing tobacco and the occasional Dunhill starting Wednesday, to keep my breath fresh.

With the menu set and my body somewhat in order, it came time to dress to impress. Having lost weight, my black leather Izod blazer fit, and I paired it with new black jeans, a red silk Armani t-shirt and suede Bacco Bucci loafers. When I put on a gold chain, I looked like a semi-retired Lebanese militiaman. Overall, it worked on many levels.

She was going to come over at 6, after work, but the County let the workers go at 2 due to the danger of flooding. She called up, sounding a little concerned, and asked if it was okay to come over early. “I know my way around a kitchen!” she said, almost sounding desperate. So it was agreed to. I immediately kicked out Squirrel, who was just there to suck up all the beer in my fridge that had been sitting idle for the past few weeks, used the clipper to get the lines of my beard straight, and hopped in the shower.

About an hour later, she pulled up in a taxi, waved the driver away impatiently with a good tip, and walked unsteadily up to the door with an overnight bag on her shoulder and six-bottle tote bag of wine. The rain was coming down pretty good, and she was hustling, with her head down. The taxi backed out like a rocket, and the wheels spun a little bit as it headed out to catch it’s next fare.

I took a deep breath, knowing the next few minutes were going to make or break it, and opened the door. As I took the bag off her shoulder, she gushed, “Frank! Hello! I’m so glad…” her voice died out as she recognized me, and she took a step back involuntarily, eyes widening.

“Parquette?!?!” I asked, feigning that I was stunned.

She looked back at the road. The taxi was gone.

“Well,” I said, “This is a bit of a surprise.”

She swallowed, her tiny Adam’s Apple bobbing.

“Come in, come in!” I said, as if regaining my manners, “It’s pouring out!”

This was going badly. You could tell she was trying to figure out if I was crazy enough to kill her with a taxi just having dropped her off. She was probably going through her conversation with the taxi driver in her mind, deciding whether she had made enough of an impression on him that he’d recognize her if she went missing.

“Come on,” I insisted, “You’re getting soaked.”

She took a deep breath, and tried to make herself look big. She was obviously trying to take over the situation. “Well, this is unfortunate. But it is raining out.”

We stood in the foyer, looking at each other for a moment while the tension built. She spoke first, rather severely.

“Your name is not Frank.”

“My friends call me that,” I insisted, “And anyway, your name isn’t Genie.”

“You don’t have any friends, just associates. And nobody calls you Frank.”

“Nobody calls you Genie.”

“I really shouldn’t be here.”

“Yet here you are.”

We stared at each other a bit longer.

Finally I said, “Parquette, I had no idea. But dinner’s in the oven. And there’s a storm coming. You may as well stay.”

“You’re a psychopath.”

“Wrong. I’m a sociopath. Psychopaths are dangerous people with amoral and antisocial behavior. Sociopaths are shallow and egocentric narcissists. Unable to form normal bonds with their fellow men, they are often charming and eager to please on a surface level. Medical science terms them the perfect date.” (4)

The tension broke, and she laughed, “OK. And we met on {DATING APP FOR SHALLOW HOOKUPS}, not {HIGH-PRICED WEBSITE AND APP FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR AN ACTUAL SOULMATE}. So I suppose occasional surprises like this should be expected.”

“Would you like a drink?”

“Mr. Daley, unfortunately I can’t stay. If it’s okay with you, I’ll just wait here until a taxi comes to get me.” She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a phone, “As a prosecutor, I can’t very well have a social engagement with someone I’m likely to bring up on charges this very calendar year…”

Just then lightning cracked right outside, the thunder sounding for all the world like a bomb going off. Parquette dropped the bag of wine and jumped five feet to me, grabbing around my waist as I held her up with my arms.

“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice, “The lightning…”

“Look,” I said, keeping hold of her, “You can’t bring me up on charges anyway. You came here to stay the weekend, and my lawyers would have you yanked off the case anyhow.”

“You wouldn’t!” She hissed, eyes wide.

“I wouldn’t,” I said, “But my lawyers would. Think about it, I’ve been going to court since before you were born, just from the other side. I’ve been persecuted for years, fought all kinds of bullsh1t charges across four continents, and none of them ever stick. As far as I’m concerned, if this County has a case with me, and you’re involved, it will go straight to dismissal.”

She thought about it a moment, and was about to say something when lightning struck again, a little further away. She cowered in my arms, then hid her eyes as the lights flickered.

“Fuc7!” she said, “You have a point.”

“How about you give me your jacket, and we have that drink?”

We retreated to the kitchen, and I poured us both full, tall glasses of Amontillado. We were at the island in the kitchen, and we made small talk while we ate the scallops, which were unusually fine. Weather, kids, cars, football, food. She rinsed the vegetables and cut them up, layering them carefully in the steamer with unexpected skill for someone who seemed to never eat at home. It was all very safe in terms of conversation, and she did have the psychological comfort of having a knife in her hands. Soon she was rather relaxed, and she sat to wait. She drank quickly as she looked around the kitchen, and I filled up her glass. The smell of cooking filled the air. “This place is nice.” She ran her fingers on the countertop. “Granite?”

I nodded, “Egyptian. I know some guys who do good work. Cash only.”

There was more lightning, this still further away. She winced. “Sorry about that. I just hate the noise. And the dark. God, I hate the dark.”

“Ever since you were a child?”

She nodded and laughed bitterly, “My parents went out one night for dinner. Their anniversary. The babysitter fell through at the last minute. I was maybe nine, and I said it was okay for them to go out. There was a big storm, and the power went out. The roads flooded, and they got stuck. I sat home in the dark for hours. The flashlight died right away, and they had always harped on me not playing with matches. I didn’t even know how to light a candle.”

I rubbed her arm solicitously, with well-simulated concern and interest. “What did you do?”

“I hid in bed, under the covers,” she admitted, sheepishly, “I still do that to this day when there’s a storm. It’s the only way I feel safe.”

Seeing an opening, I ran my hand from her shoulder up along her jawline, and lifted her chin, pulling her gaze to meet mine with my face about a foot away, “Your fear makes me feel protective. I want you make you feel safe.”

“You’re old enough to be my father,” she protested, weakly. Her breath was hoarse.

“You have a daddy complex.”

“But dinner…” her words faded as I leaned in and kissed her gently.

“You came early. Dinner has another two hours to go.” We resumed kissing, slowly, and I savored the taste of the amontillado in her mouth. Her passion ignited suddenly, and her breathing quickened, one hand caressing the roughness of my beard as the other held the glass. Having initiated the seduction much earlier than planned, I didn’t want to rush her further, and kept my hands at shoulder level or above. After several minutes of passionate kissing, she was leaning heavily in on me, and finally stood up, pulling in close. She always seemed so tall before, but that was just her personality, and my head was bent down to kiss her open mouth. Her hands ran all over my back, and I let mine drift to her waist and a little below. Her breaths were rapid and shallow, and her eyes closed as instinct took over.

She broke away for a second and downed the rest of the glass in one gulp. She laughed, her eyes full of challenge and lust. At this point, were she wearing a bodice, I would have ripped it like a rich landowner’s son taking his first serving wench. (5) I downed my glass, and swept her off her feet like a groom carrying a bride across the threshold. She let out a little shriek of surprise and delight. She was light, all of 110 pounds, and I grabbed the bottle off the counter with one hand and the empty glasses with the other. I stormed up the stairs with her in my arms, and threw her onto the bed. She rolled side to side, kicking the bed and punching it, giggling giddily while I set down the Amontillado and glasses, and jumped in next to her.

We fell back to kissing, our hands exploring each others’ bodies greedily. She was wearing a pink sweater and knee-length skirt, which was soon bunched up around her waist as I ran my hand along the inside of her thighs and the between her legs. I realized she wasn’t wearing any panties when she let out a small moan and her hips rose to meet my hand.

Now, at this point I must allow the scene to fade to black. Not due to a power outage or anything, but simply to preserve the dignity of a woman who is possibly going to one day be Attorney General or even Governor of the Great State of {NAME OF MEDIOCRE SOUTHERN STATE REDACTED}. While I’m the type who simply glories in kissing and telling, this is an exception. It is however fair to say that she is voracious in all of her appetites, whether liquor, men, or food. After requiting our passions like teenagers on Viagra, we finished up the bottle of Amontillado, then sampled several of the wines she brought. We then polished off copious amounts of the dinner that had been cooking all the while. She even ate half the dessert.

Saturday, we got up at 1 pm and had a mimosa-and-screwdriver brunch, rounded out with eggs benedict and a bacon quiche. (6) It was another gloomy day, but we were luckily spared the high winds and massive flooding there could have been. We spent Saturday enjoying every physical comfort known to mankind except chiropractic adjustments.

Sunday was much the same, although we did fall to talking about our attitudes regarding one another. Parquette admitted that she had seriously misjudged and pre-judged me, based on me showing up unannounced from Youngstown and making myself visible at all the notorious dens of iniquity. When she mentioned dens of iniquity, I thought of my final enemy, the strip club owner.

Her animosity to me made sense. She was a public servant, dedicated to the safety of the fine people of {RANDOM EARLY SETTLER’S LAST NAME} County, but she didn’t have much experience with the outside world. Word of the depth, breadth, and casual acceptance of criminality in the Mahoning Valley had made its way through prosecutorial circles throughout the country and somehow lodged in Parquette’s brain. She had been worried that I was going to launch of one-man wave of drugs, gambling, political corruption, nepotism, ticket-fixing, counterfeit Cuban cigars, misuse of handicap parking passes, abuse of corpses (7), people disappearing, and other Youngstown-centric social problems on this little semi-rural/half suburban pocket of stability. She now understood that I had selected this location, somewhat randomly, to raise my brood of children on the proceeds of my international wanderings in a place where they could get an education and all the finer things I had missed out on. I was going to keep my nose clean, or at least wiped regularly, until all of them were settled in a reasonable station in life. And I realized that it wasn’t just the Mahoning Valley that had tribes and clans, it’s human nature. And here, I am the Outsider.

My original statement on the visit, that Parquette would be recused from prosecuting me, was probably bluster if she hadn’t stayed. What the hell did I know? But at this point, you could tell we wouldn’t be facing each other in court. A first-year law student would have the case tossed out and sent to another jurisdiction. And from her own admission, she was behind this ridiculous wave of failed bills that the chief prosecutor wouldn’t even release to the Grand Jury. Charges of aggravated mopery and other nonsense fed to the sheriff and her office by a confidential informant. Without her pushing, all seemed well unless I did something truly stupid. One way or another, the Hex’nmeisterin had steered me to a resolution of my disgraceful circumstances. And there was no doubt the possibility of date nights whenever bad weather threatened.

Now all that seemed to be left was to wait patiently for the resolution of the final enmity. I made it an early night Sunday, calmly re-reading Psalm 109 (8), then dashing out this tale as the exhaustion of the past few weeks took over.

And anon to bed.

Sincerely,

Finnegan

 

(1) “Traditional” would mean something like the Bible, Poor Richard’s Almanac, or judicial code.

(2) I read this really interesting article in the news once about the tribal system; it possibly referred to Somalia. Can’t find it now. Wikipedia doesn’t seem to have much in the whole tribe/clan entries, so it’s entirely possible that this article is a figment of my imagination. Yet it serves its purpose and still seems like a convincing argument.

(3) http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=One+Second+After and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Second_After Good book, but only read it if you have some cash on hand to move to the mountains and stock up on food, vitamins, lead plates, a hand-pump well, generator, medicine, guns and ammo, bow and arrow, fishing poles, a flock of milk goats, a henhouse, and everything the Amish have.

(4) Wow, based on my research on reputable medical sites, this statement was utterly wrong. Sociopaths are apparently worse than psychopaths. Who knew? But the statement served it’s purpose, and must remain intact for purposes of historical documentation.

(5) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bodice+ripper Yeah, it was kind of like that.

(6) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/17205/eggs-benedict/ You’re welcome.

(7) Legendarily, an old prosecutor’s trick in Youngstown. Charge a murderer with “abuse of a corpse” rather than murder, citing lack of evidence. The individual pleads guilty, and they get probation or some other slap on the wrist. If you throw in a bunch of details into the bill of particulars about the murder and they’re convicted, they can’t be tried later for murder under double jeopardy. Even if new evidence comes up. The rumor has it, this is done when the prosecutors have incentive to not actually prosecute the case, yet want to be able to cite some success. Despicable if true, even by my jaded standards.

(8) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalm_109 and of course the verse can be found on the Internet and in the nightstand drawer of all the finer hotel rooms.