Happy Birthday To Me

I went to get a birthday gift
Especially for me.
But couldn’t find a goddamn thing
So I just let it be.

I really don’t need anything
My house is full of stuff.
So why would I want something else
I truly have enough.

I won’t buy love or happiness
Although I know it’s done.
I won’t write checks for company
Or pay for some tramps’ fun.

One more year has come and gone
And it’s just like before.
Get up, get dressed and wonder why
I bother anymore.

It’s just another day for me
It’s been that way for years.
It’ll come and go like Mothers’ Day
No card…no call…no cheers.

Again I’ll tell myself the truth
And once again I’ll see.
It does no good to grieve for things
That aren’t and will not be.

But Michael’s in the bedroom
And Wentworth’s in the den.
And like I said “what we all need
Is our own mannequin!

I gave to me the bestest gift
Although it will be late.
I bought the latest season of
You guessed it…prison break!

On June the twenty-seventh
I’ll get my DVD.
In perfect cadence I will sing
Happy day to me!

The Angel Maker – Chapter Seven

Six months later, Fez and Emberlyn were married.  She moved out of the apartment and into his grand house and her life began anew.  She took to her role as a prominent attorneys’ wife, hosting parties and organizing lunches for charitable causes.

Just before her 21st birthday, her past once again came calling but this time it wasn’t for the threat of blackmail.  She received word that her mother had died from a Heroin overdose.  She put on a cavalier face when she told Fez and acted like she didn’t care.

Fez knew about Emberlyns’ troubled past.  He knew that her mother had tried to blackmail Mr. Carrington and he also knew that she had tried to sell Emberlyn.

He told her that she should do whatever it took to make sure her mother had a decent burial.  “The past is the past,” he said “but she was your mother.  Maybe the last thought that went through her mind before she died, was about you.”

Emberlyn wondered how she had been so fortunate to have found not one, but two remarkable men.  Not a day went by that she didn’t whisper a prayer, thanking God for bringing them into her life.

She had her mother laid to rest in the graveyard near the trailer park, aptly called Stoner Cemetery.  She and Fez were the only attendants.  There were no tears.   She left no flowers.  She just stood in silence and then walked away.  The only thing etched on the headstone was her name, date of birth and date of death.  Emberlyns’ past was now dead and buried.

After her mothers’ funeral, Fez surprised her when he said “we need to get to the airport.”  Emberlyn looked at him and said “what do you mean?”

“I’m taking you to Paris for your birthday,” he said.  The little girl in her came out when she squealed “but what about my luggage?”  Fez smiled and said “it’s in the car.”

Emberlyn had never been out of the state of Pennsylvania, much less out of the country.  She had traveled far from her humble beginnings as the bastard child of a prostitute.  Now she was traveling to a place she could have only dreamed of before.  The most romantic city in the world.  The City of Light.

When they arrived, Emberlyn felt like she was living a fairy tale.  They walked hand in hand down the Champs-Élyées.  They kissed in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and The Louvre.  It was a memory that she would never forget but it would be only one of many.

The next year while they were having dinner, Fez asked “do you know who Oskar Schindler is?”  Emberlyn said “yes, we learned about him in school.”

“I am a direct descendant of one of his Jews,” he said.  Emberlyn knew that he was of the Jewish faith but he didn’t practice.  “I thought we’d go to Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, where he is buried.  I want to take a pebble from the dead sea and put it on his grave.  My grandmother gave me a little stone before she died.  She had always wanted to visit him but she never had the chance.  I promised her that someday, I would go so she could see it through my eyes.”

“Then we’ll go,” said Emberlyn “and she can see it through both of us.”

Emberlyn didn’t know what her faith was.  She wasn’t even sure if Beck had really been her last name.  When she asked Fez if he would like for her to convert to his faith, he was moved.  “Would you really do that for me?” he asked.  “I would do anything for you,” she said.  “You have given me a wonderful life.”  Then she hesitated.  Fez asked what she was thinking.  She said “can we still have a Christmas tree?”

He let out a belly laugh and said “of course.  You have also given me a wonderful life and I would never deprive you of anything.”

 

To be continued______________________

The Angel Maker – Chapter Six

Fez helped Emberlyn through the next few difficult weeks as she watched her life began to disintegrate.  She felt as if she was watching one of those movies where a pivotal moment is played in slow motion.

A company had been hired to come in, categorize and label everything in the house to be prepared for auction.  To them it meant nothing more than a few days’ work.  To her, it meant the end of everything she had come to know and love.  She resented it, even though she knew the proceeds would be going to charity.

All of these things represented her beloved Mr. Carrington and it was like they were selling him, piece by piece.  She looked at Fez and said “is this what happens when you get old?  You don’t matter and your things don’t matter?  I would think his children would want something to remember him by.”

Fez said “I’m sure you have met his children.”  She smiled and said “yes.”

“He would have left them something,” he said.  “But he knew that all it would have meant to them was how much it was worth when it was pawned or sold.  It’s a shame but it’s true.”

He asked her if she had made any plans when it was time to leave.  “I haven’t even thought about it,” she said.  “I really don’t have anywhere to go.”

Fez said “I have an apartment above my law office.  You can stay there as long as you want.”

Emberlyn was completely caught off guard and fumbled when she tried to express her gratitude, while at the same time being insulted by the suggestion.

Fez quickly read her face and said “there are no strings attached.  I had the top floor of the office turned into an apartment for my daughter.  It was a sort of playhouse for her at first.  She would come to work with me during the summer and play up there.  Later, she was allowed to have slumber parties, supervised of course by her mother.”

A little more at ease, Emberlyn asked “but what if she wants to come visit while I’m there?

“You don’t have to worry about that,” he said.  Then his voice trailed off. “She won’t be coming to visit anymore.”  Emberlyn could see a look of intense sorrow when he said that but she didn’t want to pry.

Mr. Carringtons’ estate was finally settled and she had said her goodbyes. She moved into the apartment and tried to begin a new life.

Two years had gone by and she and Fez were spending more and more time together.  They enjoyed dinners and took in a movie from time to time.  She realized that she was becoming attached to him.  He made her laugh and it had been a long time since anybody had done that.  The idea that she might represent a surrogate daughter to him was not lost on her but he had never made her feel like a child.

He eventually opened up to her about his life.  He had been divorced for nearly ten years but not for the usual reasons of screaming, irreconcilable differences or abuse or adultery.  Their marriage had been fractured beyond repair due to the death of their only child, the daughter he had built the apartment for.

She had been killed in an automobile accident.  Against her mothers’ wishes, he had bought her a car when she turned 16.  Against his wishes, her mother had allowed her to go out with friends during a particularly bad rainstorm.

Invisible fingers were pointed at each other as they tried to recover but it was as if all three of them had died that night.  The grief was just too overwhelming and they eventually parted ways.

He had taken care of his ex-wife until she remarried.  They sent Christmas cards to each other for a few years, wishing the best but eventually all communication ceased after she moved to another state with her new husband.

Mr. Carrington had made Emberlyn feel special and she would always treasure him and his memory.  Fez made her feel special too and he also taught her that it was okay to have fun.

She loved to play pranks on him and he loved it when she did.  One day she anonymously called his office and made an appointment for a consultation. When she arrived, she told his secretary that she was his “11:00.” Watching the dumbstruck look on the secretarys’ face, Emberlyn said not to bother announcing her.  She walked into his office, dressed as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Fez had opened his world to her and she had accepted it with aplomb.  She was playing dress-up again but this time it was different.  She was wearing designer clothes and elegant gowns.  The only dances in her life were Waltzes and Tangos.  Fez could cut quite a rug and she was impressed.

Even though she was now twenty, there was still a little girl hiding behind her grown-up facade.  The little girl she never got to be.  Fez had seen it emerge now and then but not as much as one night when they went to the symphony.  As they were leaving, she excused herself to go to the ladies’ room.  When she came out, she was squealing with laughter.  As they got into the car, she could hardly stop giggling long enough to lean over and whisper “you’re never going to guess what I found in the bathroom.”

Fez smiled and said “tell me.”  She pulled out what looked like two flattened flesh-colored balloons and said “a pair of boobs!”

They were both laughing uncontrollably.  Then he looked at her and said “do you have any idea how much joy you have brought into my life?

The laughter suddenly stopped and that night, they shared their first kiss.

 

To be continued________________________

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Five

Later that night, Mr. Carrington suffered a heart attack and died.  Emberlyn was now a widow, just three weeks shy of her 18th birthday.

When the police officers and paramedics arrived, Emberlyn gave an honest, detailed account of her relationship with Mr. Carrington, including how they met, the nightly dancing and the one and only kiss.  She wasn’t ashamed of their relationship and defiantly offered no apology.

She watched as they looked at each other with raised eyebrows as if they were hearing somebody read a pornographic Penny Dreadful.

They had questions, of course.  An older man of means and a young teenage girl would make anybody suspect a perfect motive for murder, although there were no signs of foul play and no indication that there were any problems in this unusual marriage.

The coroner had pronounced time of death and said he saw no reason for an autopsy.  Mr. Carringtons’ age, coupled with his health history lent credence to myocardial infarction, which he noted as cause of death.

As they were taking his body away, she heard one thoughtless officer make an off-hand remark that she had “delivered the kiss of death.”  She cast fiery eyes toward him but held her tongue.

After everybody left, she went upstairs to his room.  She pulled out one of his shirts and held it to her chest.  As she lay down on his bed, her gentle cry turned into an audible wail.  She missed him already and the emptiness inside her was there once again.

She loved him.  Not in the intense, steamy, passionate way she had always wanted to love but in a deeply respectful way.  She had lost her protector, her knight in shining armor.  This exquisite man who had shown her grace and dignity was gone.

A few hours later she was interrupted by the maid, announcing that Mr. Carringtons’ attorney was downstairs.  Still in a daze, she walked into the room where this larger than life man stood with tears in his eyes.  He introduced himself as Frederick Eugene Zabinsky, better known to his friends and colleagues as “Fez.”

He looked to be in his late sixties, had what could be described as a powerful build and was imposing, to say the least.

After the initial condolences, he began explaining the distribution of Mr. Carringtons’ assets.  He was the executor of the estate and it fell to him to see that his last wishes were carried out to the letter.

He took her hand and held it as he clarified the events that would take place over the next several weeks.  He told her that Mr. Carrington had provided for her but that she might be disappointed with his bequest.

At that point, Emberlyn didn’t care about bequests or inheritances.  “What about his funeral, Mr. Zabinsky?” she asked, “and where will he be buried?”

“Please, call me Fez” he said.  “He has requested that he be cremated and his ashes are to be scattered on the grounds here.”

Emberlyn looked at him and asked if she could be the one who did it.  “If you want, yes,” answered Fez.  “I think he would like that.”

He went on to say “you can stay in the house until everything is executed and recorded.  Should you choose to challenge his will, you can certainly do that but I will tell you that you will not be successful and you would be hard-pressed to find an attorney to take your case.”

He was professional and made it clear that he was determined to carry out Mr. Carringtons’ last wishes but he seemed to have an unexpected empathy for Emberlyn.

“I will take care of you any and every way I can,” he said.  “That’s what Otis instructed me to do.  He said that you were strong-willed and capable.”  He looked at her and smiled.  “He said you were a survivor.”

She started to cry and he put his arms around her, softly saying “go ahead and cry little one.  Go ahead and cry.”

Emberlyn didn’t know it at the time but she had just met her next husband.

 

To be continued____________________

 

 

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Four

Life was good for Emberlyn Carrington.  She was in a world she had never dreamed possible.  She was the queen of the castle and it didn’t take long for her to learn the part.  She became an elegant and polished lady, quickly learning the intricacies of fine dining, entertaining and conversation. Extravagance was now her friend and there was no limit.

Mr. Carrington had kept his word.  She wanted for absolutely nothing and her days were spent shopping for clothes or anything her heart desired but the evenings belonged to him.

Every night, she danced for him as promised and he would still playfully slip hundred-dollar bills under her garter.  There was now enough money to buy glamorous outfits and he was delighted every time she bought a new one.

She became surprisingly comfortable when he hugged her and sometimes asked him not to let go just yet.  She couldn’t remember ever having been hugged and with him, she knew that it was sincere and she felt safe.

She was slowly realizing that she genuinely cared for this man.  He was kind, not only to her but to his maids and servants.  He was even kind to his children who came not to visit, but to ask for money.  When he refused, it angered them but he was no pushover and stood his ground, reminding them that they had been given every opportunity and had chosen to squander it.

They were clearly not fond of Emberlyn but Mr. Carrington made it very clear that he would never allow even one disparaging remark to be made about her.  That endeared him to her even more.  She had never had a champion and she had found one in the most serendipitous way.

For two years, Emberlyn experienced a happiness that almost completely overwhelmed her.  The house was filled with joy and laughter…until one day in the fall when Emberlyns’ past came knocking.

Her mother had found her and without hesitation, threatened Mr. Carrington for having married an underage girl without her permission.  She made it clear that she was prepared to do whatever it took to smear his name and ruin his reputation.  It was clear that she had blackmail on her mind.

He listened as she ranted, raved and warned him of her intentions. Emberlyn watched as this sweet-tempered, warm-hearted man took out his checkbook and asked how much her silence would cost.

Emberlyn was outraged and interrupted him.  She said “if you pay her now, you will never stop.  She will always want more and if you don’t pay, she will ruin you.”

“My dearest dear,” he said.  “I’m not worried about me.  I’m worried about you.”  Then he turned to her mother and said “let’s talk business.”

Her mother sat down and Emberlyn was disgusted with the satisfied smirk on her face.  She had never been much of a mother and her pretentiousness made her sick to her stomach.

Mr. Carrington said “I will pay you a one-time amount and you will sign an agreement, saying that should you ever ask for another penny, you will be prosecuted for blackmail.”

Emberlyns’ mother said she would agree, depending on the number.  “What do you think is a fair amount?” asked Mr. Carrington.

“You tell me,” her mother said.  “How much is a virgin bastard child worth these days?  You do know that she’s a bastard, don’t you?”

Emberlyn had never told Mr. Carrington about her past or her mother or the fact that she didn’t know who her father was.  He acted as though her mother had simply told him that it was raining outside and her ugly remarks didn’t have the impact they were obviously meant to have.

Emberlyn was fuming as Mr. Carrington smiled and wrote a check for $10,000.00.  As he handed it to her mother, he said “I don’t ever expect to hear from you again.”  She took the check, folded it in half and stuck it into her brassiere.

As she walked out of the house, her only remark was “it was a pleasure doing business with you.”  There was no goodbye for Emberlyn, no wish for a happy future.  There was nothing but her usual selfishness.

Emberlyn was embarrassed and felt like she had in a sense, betrayed Mr. Carrington by not telling him about her life.  She begged his forgiveness. He took her hand and said “there is nothing to forgive and we will never speak of this again.”

That night, after Emberlyn had danced for him, she walked over and sat on the bed beside him.  “I want to thank you for the wonderful life you have given me.  I truly cherish you.”  Then she leaned over and gently kissed him.

With tears in his eyes, he hugged her and said “it is I who should be thanking you for making my golden years so rich with meaning.”

Those would be the last words he ever spoke to her.

 

To be continued____________________

 

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter Three

Mr. Starks’ children were adamant that an autopsy be performed but Mrs. Stark wanted him cremated as soon as possible.  That of course, led to a temporary injunction and even more hostilities.

Mrs. Stark was hiding something.  I was sure of that.  Mr. Stark was “with the angels” and I wondered.  Did she arrange the meeting?

A return visit to 38 W. Chestnut Hill Avenue for a follow-up interview with Helga, rendered nothing more than what seemed to be a rehearsed account of Mr. Starks’ kindness and generosity.

Thomas the butler, was somewhat guarded but echoed Helgas’ account almost word for word.  In my experience, they both had the signature characteristics of having been coached.  But coached by whom?  Mr. Starks’ children?  Mrs. Stark?

Exercising due diligence, I began to look into Mrs. Starks’ past and I was completely unprepared for what I would find.  Behind doors that opened dark, unknown places with skeletons in every closet, lay deep secrets and a life from the wrong side of the tracks that she had desperately wanted to escape.

Her mother was alive and still lived in the trailer park where Emberlyn Beck had been raised.  They were by all accounts, estranged. Emberlyn was ashamed of her mother and even more ashamed of where she was from and who she was.  She didn’t want anybody to know that she was a “bastard child” as her mother liked to call her, when she was drinking.

Her mother had never married and word had it that she didn’t even know who Emberlyns’ father was.  How she had managed to make ends meet was clear but when she decided to sell Emberlyn to a prospective John, Emberlyn ran away from home.

She quit high school, lied about her age and got a job at a night club as an exotic dancer.  After finding Emberlyn asleep under a bush in the parking lot, the owner, Mr. Richards, allowed her to stay in a back room in exchange for sweeping up after the club closed each night.

He was a strict businessman but he was also a kind man.  He took Emberlyn under his wing and became a father figure to her.  He protected her as if she was his own daughter.  He brought food to her and even added extra locks on the door so she would feel safe.

Night after night, she danced and served drinks, enduring cat-calls and inappropriate drunken passes.  But she was a quick study and soon learned how to manipulate that kind of man.  A little insincere flattery and the promise of perhaps a touch later, would open wallets faster than a speeding bullet.

One night Emberlyn danced for a well-dressed gentleman, named Otis Carrington.  He had become a regular and it was clear that he was completely smitten with her.  He slipped hundred-dollar bills under her garter as she danced in front of him.

It wasn’t long before his benevolence reached beyond the club.   He was a lonely old man who was willing to pay for companionship and she was a young woman who was willing to sell it.

Otis Carrington was a self-made man who himself was from the wrong side of the tracks and like Emberlyn, he knew early in his life that he wanted more.  Not formally educated but highly intelligent, he started a software company and made millions when he sold it.

He was a recent widower, having been married for almost fifty years.  He sired four children, all of whom were drug users and petty criminals.  Their name and his money had kept them from suffering any severe penalties, such as prison but they were entitled children who expected an inheritance that would provide for them.  What they didn’t know was that Mr. Carrington had completely cut them out of his will and everything he had would go to charity.

It wasn’t long before he asked Emberlyn to move into his house with the promise that he would take care of her financially.

He was her ticket to the kind of life she had always dreamed of.  To her, this was a business agreement and having a sharp business acumen, she agreed only if marriage was on the table.  Her hypocrisy did have its limitations. She wasn’t above moving in with a man she didn’t love but she was not going to be his whore.

There was no hesitation on his part and he agreed.  Two days later, he presented her with a 15 carat flawless, near colorless diamond ring.

When she told Mr. Richards of her plan, his only question was “why would you want to marry an old man?”  Her response was “money.”

Despite the disapproval of his children, the date was set and although Emberlyn intended to follow through, she had questions.  “Exactly what are you expecting from me?” she asked.

“All I expect from you is to be my companion,” he said.  “You will want for nothing and I will ask for only one thing.”

“What is that one thing?” Emberlyn asked.

“I would like for you to continue to dance for me,” he said.

“Is that all?” she asked.  When he said “yes,” she was puzzled and asked why.

She listened as he said “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years ago and my reproductive organs no longer function.  I understand that you are a vibrant young woman and you will be in what is a rather unorthodox marriage but I want you to know that if you want to have a friend, it’s alright.  I would only ask that you be discreet.”

At that moment, Emberlyn felt such compassion for this gentle man whose attention she had captured.  He wasn’t trying to buy sexual favors from her. He was offering to take care of her and was even more generous in agreeing to share her.

Suddenly, she wanted to take care of him.

 

 

To be continued_______________

The Angel Maker – Chapter Two

I was looking for any detectable signs of grief but was momentarily distracted when she crossed her legs and let one of her feet slide out of its slipper.  She balanced it on her toe, while gently swinging her leg back and forth.  To say that it was enticingly sexy would have been an understatement.

I watched, almost completely mesmerized by the fluidity of her movements until, once again I snapped back into reality.  She was a potential suspect, not the object of my fantasies.

I had heard of women like her.  Women who could paralyze you with one look and have your complete submission before you even knew there was a battle for your soul.  As I studied her face, I wondered “is she really that beautiful or does she just act like she’s that beautiful?”

Unprompted, she began to talk.  “You know, detective Hooker.  I’m sure like everyone, you probably question my motives for marrying a man so much older than I.  These ‘May-December’ unions are almost never accepted and seem to invite hostile accusations.  Wouldn’t you agree?”

I hesitantly said “yes, I agree but I also understand why people who are close to these older gentleman, especially their children would be skeptical.”

She said “I guess you want to hear me say that I loved my husband and that I would have never wanted anything to happen to him.”

“Did you love your husband?” I asked.

She stood up and slowly walked over to the window.  As she looked out over the expansive manicured grounds, in a soft monotone she said “detective Hooker, love isn’t a tangible thing.  There are different degrees.  There are different planes on which it resides.  It can be passionate.  Obligatory. Casual.  It can be used as a weapon.  It can be used as a bargaining chip.  It can be comfortable.  It can be intense or it can be apathetic.”  She turned and said “it can be any or all of those things.  It can also be platonic.”

“Is that your way of telling me that your marriage to Mr. Stark was platonic?” I asked.

She sat back down and said “unless that is of particular pertinence to your investigation, I am not going to answer that question.”

She had already told me that they slept in separate bedrooms and although forty years her junior, Mr. Stark could have most likely with or without the help of some little blue pills, been functional.  If their union was platonic, there was a reason.

“Would you say your marriage was a happy one?” I asked.

Without missing a beat, she said “is your marriage a happy one?  I mean, I assume you’re a family man.”

When I told her that I wasn’t married, it was like handing her a loaded weapon.  With an almost subtle hostility, she began firing.

“Why is that?” she asked.  “Are you married to your job?  Have you never found the right one or have you just never found who you consider to be your equal?  Are you a snob?  Are you a psychopath?”  Then she leaned forward and said “or is it all of those things?”

I smugly asked “is that supposed to rattle me?”

“Did it?” she asked.  “No,” I said.

With a smile, she said “good, because I was just gauging the temperature.”

I said “okay, now getting back to you.  Was your marriage a happy one?”

With an almost playful look in her eyes, she said “detective Hooker. Happiness is a state of mind, don’t you think?”

She was a smooth operator and an expert at deflection.  She was using my own questions to manipulate me but deflection often reveals more than an answer.

One thing was clear.  Mrs. Emberlyn Stark had a secret.

 

To be continued______________

 

 

The Angel Maker – Chapter One

My name is Brockton Hooker and I was working my first solo case.  For almost three years I had worked alongside seasoned detectives, learning the proverbial ropes and being the second banana.  Many were slowly burning out and more than willing to let me help ease their work load by cutting me loose.  What to them might have been a run-of-the-mill case, was to me a chance to make a name for myself.

Some poor slob had mysteriously died in his sleep and the investigation fell to me.  He lived in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia.  Old money lived there and you could smell it all the way downtown.

The dead man was a third generation real estate mogul named Coleman Stark.  The Stark dynasty had virtually swallowed up the other brokers and created a monopoly that encompassed almost the entire state of Pennsylvania.

As I entered the three-story mansion, I tried to give the impression that I frequented houses of that ilk on a regular basis but I admit that I was intimidated by an elegance that was completely foreign to me.  It was a far cry from my tiny one bedroom walk-up in the seedy part of town.

An enormous chandelier graced the foyer and I was certain that it was bigger than most people’s living rooms.  Light performed pirouettes on the crystals and I thought  “if I had a dollar for every one of those crystals, I could retire tomorrow.”

Like many older wealthy gentlemen, Mr. Coleman had been married and divorced more than a few times.  Against his children’s wishes, he married his much younger secretary shortly before he retired.

There had been whispers about her and Coleman’s children had unsuccessfully tried to convince him that she, who they referred to as Jezebel, was nothing more than a gold-digger.  He had refused their demand to make her sign a prenuptial agreement.  His view was that it would be insulting and told them that he was sure of her love for him, even if they weren’t.  This angered his children, especially since he would become her third husband at the age of only 27.

Shortly after I arrived, I heard the officers whispering about her nickname, “The Angel Maker.”  One of them said her two previous husbands had died of heart attacks and even though in both cases, the coroners’ report confirmed no foul play, there were lingering questions.  Like Mr. Stark, they had been much older men of considerable means but unlike Mr. Stark, they had left her nothing more than a mere pittance in their wills.

The first time I saw her, despite my obvious lame attempt at professionalism, I was immediately captivated by this alluring vision of beauty.  I could feel myself questioning how she could possibly be a murderer but I could certainly understand how a man of a certain age could die of a heart attack.  Getting frisky with her would surely try even a healthy young man, but it would be a marvelous way to go.

She had all the earmarks of what old money could buy.  Her long blonde hair hung loosely around her shoulders.  Her piercing green eyes were almost hypnotic and I suddenly got the feeling that she knew she could have her way with me.

She almost floated as she walked toward me and extended her hand.  For a brief moment, I was unsure whether to shake it or bring it to my mouth and kiss it, while on one knee.  She had smooth, shapely legs that seemed to go all the way up to her shoulders.  With a flick of her hand, she tossed her hair behind her back and in a soft, beckoning voice said “hello.  I’m Emberlyn Stark, and you are?”

I think I said Brockton Hooker but I’m not sure.  She was the epitome of pure, raw sex appeal and I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.  I fumbled my words as I tried to ask if she was up to answering a few questions about her late husband.  Apparently I managed to get the words out because she smiled and said “of course.”

We sat down and I immediately entered a fantasy world.  I began to play a mental video of writhing naked on the floor with her.  Her long hair would cover me like a soft blanket and her skin would feel like liquid silk as my hungry hands explored her body.  We would fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

I was abruptly brought back to reality when she leaned over and said “are you alright, detective Hooker?”  I managed a polite but embarrassed “yes,” as I began.

“Can you tell me the last time you saw your husband alive?”  I asked.
“Last night,” she said.
“Did he seem to be ill?”
“No.  He was in good spirits and went to bed at his usual time.  I followed later.”
“What time would that be?”  I asked.
“His usual time is around nine o’clock.  With an almost impish smile, she said “I am a bit more of a night owl.”

She had used the present tense about his bedtime, which was an indication of either not yet accepting the fact that he was dead or being a manipulative psychopath, knowing how to use the exact right word or phrase.

I mentioned that the time of death seemed to have been several hours ago and asked why she hadn’t noticed that something wasn’t right when she woke this morning.
“We sleep in separate bedrooms detective, so there’s no way I would have noticed.”

“Who discovered his body?” I asked.
She said “our maid, Helga but she’s understandably quite a mess right now.”  She motioned for the butler and said “Bronson, would you please ask Helga to come here?”

Helga reluctantly came into the room, not really knowing what to expect.  I have to admit that it was difficult for me to keep my composure.  She was one of those unfortunate women you hear described as falling out of an ugly tree and hitting every single branch on the way down.  She spoke with a thick accent, aided by hands that nervously flitted in such a way that it reminded me of an insect trapped in a glass jar desperately trying to get free.

All I could gather from Helgas’ manic sign language was that she had discovered Mr. Stark laying in the bed, clutching a rose.

“A rose?”  I asked.  “Yes,” Helga said.  “A rose.”  She wiped her nose with a tissue, did the sign of the cross and said “now he is with the angels.”

The irony of that statement was not lost on me.  Mr. Stark was “with the angels” and I was sitting in front of the “angel maker.”

 

To be continued_________________

 

 

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mama

You’ve been gone for more than nine years but I still think about you now and then.  I still carry you around in the trunk of my car although I rarely, if ever, remember that you are there.

For years, I searched for a proper urn to put you in but I could never find one.  Just a few weeks ago, I found one that would have been perfect but I was afraid if I took you out of my car, it would be bad luck.

I have always thought that somehow, since you never cared about me when you were alive, maybe you would care about me when you were dead.

I never thought it was disrespectful or maybe I didn’t think it was as disrespectful as it was when you called me a parasite or told me that I looked like a street-walker.

I remember that you hated the few times my daddy defended me and you would start calling me “your highness” or “your royalness.”  When he left, you would grab my hair and pull it so hard it left knots on my head and then you’d start beating me.

I have no idea where you are but I imagine that you are in Heaven.  God seems to forgive people who almost beat their children to death and think it was deserved and He seems to overlook the drunks who inflict their vicious abuse on somebody and never remember it.

In my mind, I can still see your long, chestnut brown hair, your porcelain skin and your ice blue eyes.  I remember how statuesque I thought you looked wearing your high heels, even after you kicked me between the legs and made me bleed.

I remember thinking there was nothing you couldn’t do.  How I wanted to be like you.

I remember that you never fell apart, even when you had to endure the devastation of losing your first son by my hands.

I remember that you never cried but I remember that you would beat me until I did.  Once you made me cry, I remember the look of satisfaction on your face.

You used to make fun of me when I cried.  You would smirk and say “that’s right.  Turn on the waterworks.”  Then you would beat me until I stopped. As determined as I was to hold back my tears, you always won.

I’m different today.  You couldn’t make me cry and you wouldn’t have to beat me to make me stop.  Now I can smirk when I say the waterworks have been turned off.  I will never shed another tear.  I win.

I remember how afraid I was when you towered over me and gritted your teeth.  I remember the fear I felt when I saw your clenched fists.  I remember how hard you could hit when you had a broom handle or a baseball bat or a belt in your hands.

Even when you weren’t armed with a weapon, your words became tools that inflicted horrible, invisible slashes.  The wounds were so deep that I could almost feel myself bleeding to death.

I used to wish you had been allowed to deliver what would have surely been a fatal blow.  A hammer strike to the back of my head would have ended my torture but as fate would have it, your mama walked in and stopped you.

I remember asking why you didn’t just kill me.  You said “because I don’t want to go to jail.”

I remember seeing such hatred in those ice blue eyes.  I remember asking why you didn’t love me and I remember what you said.

I remember your beautiful long fingers that covered my entire face when you slapped me.  I remember how sometimes, you would powder my face to try to hide the bruises you left.

I remember how you would look at my youngest daughter with that same familiar hatred in your ice blue eyes, because she looked just like me.

I raised my bright, beautiful, intelligent and talented children not knowing their grandmother and grandfather because you weren’t interested in them. They were mine and because of that, you thought they weren’t worth knowing.

I think you would be happy if you knew that I am alone.  I think you would smile if you knew that my children no longer speak to me.  I think you would be satisfied if you knew that I will get no acknowledgment for Mothers’ Day.

I think you would tell me that I am getting exactly what I deserve and you would say the reason is that I have never done anything to make anybody love me.  That’s why you said you didn’t love me.

I wish I knew the love of a mama.  When I broke my leg the second time, I wish I knew how it felt to be comforted instead of being threatened that if I broke it again, you would whip me.  I wish I knew how it felt to wake up and see you sitting beside my bed, because I was sick.

I wish I knew how it felt for you to walk into my room and say “time to rise and shine,” instead of waking me up by throwing a drawer of silverware in my face.

I wish I knew how it felt to be hugged by you…just once.

I wish all these things but they will never happen.  I won’t see you in Heaven because you damaged me beyond repair.  You, other mamas and other mamas’ sons taught me how to hate.  You, other mamas and other mamas’ sons taught me that I am worthless.

You, other mamas and other mamas’ sons taught me to despise the phrase “I love you.”  You, other mamas and other mamas’ sons made it impossible for me to be able to say those words to my children.

You never said it to me but other mamas and other mamas’ sons cavalierly tossed that phrase around after a violent outburst of soul-killing abuse, as if it could repair the emotional murder they had just commited.

I think I’ll borrow the sarcastic phrase my oldest daughter used in her last scathing email, when she made sure that her family, my family, her friends and I all knew what a worthless piece of garbage she thinks I am.

“Well done.  Good job.  You are the best!!”

One Lovely Blog Award

My thanks to Elizabeth @marriagetroublesite.wordpress.com for the nomination.

RULES:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you.

2.  Share 7 facts about yourself.

3.  Nominate up to 15 people for the award.

4.  Let the people know they have been nominated.

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT ME:

1.  I have the rarest eye color in the world.  So does my youngest daughter.  Only 2% of the entire population have green eyes.  Not only do we have green eyes, we both have central heterochromia iridum.  Our pupils are surrounded by yellow and the outer iris is green.  I also have sectoral heterochromia.  I have a brown spot in one of my eyes.  She does not.
My oldest daughter has the appearance of complete heterochromia, like David Bowie.  Like him, hers is the result of an injury which is technically called aniscoria.  She was hit in the face by a hard kicked soccer ball and one pupil is permanently frozen in a dilated position.

2.  I never had wisdom teeth nor did my mama.  That is a result of a mutation that happens in 35% of the population.  Unfortunately, I didn’t pass that along to any of my children.
There is recent evidence that the suppression of wisdom teeth was a mutation that popped up in China three to four hundred thousand years ago.

3.  My feet are so different, they look like they belong to separate people.  They are also different sizes.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I found out that I was the result of a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong.)

4.  I’ve scared many a neighbor (and still do) by walking down a ladder from my roof, like I walk down stairs.  It never made any sense to me to crawl down a ladder backward.

5.  I can spell complete sentences and have never met but one other person who not only could understand every word I spell, they could respond in kind.

6.  If I care about you and you need me, I would crawl on my hands and knees to the ends of the Earth to help you…but if you fuck me over, you’re on your own.

7.  I really hate to write and I think everything I write is rubbish.

MY NOMINEES:

TenacityT@tenacitygoddess.com

apensiveheart@apensiveheart.wordpress.com

swanriver@swimmingashardasIcanstayingafloat.wordpress.com

ifonlymommy@livinglifeafterdivorceandbetrayal.wordpress.com

Robert Matthew Goldstein@robertmgoldsmith.wordpress.com

watchmesurvive@watchmesurvive.wordpress.com

socialworkerangel@iammyownisland.wordpress.com

shatteredwife@shatteredbyaffair.wordpress.com

lookfabkim@lookfab.wordpress.com

Embeecee@sparksfromacombustiblemind.wordpress.com

thedarkestfairytale@thedarkestfairytale.wordpress.com

geminilver@andtwobecameone.wordpress.com