Murphy's Law (Revised) - Part 1 - Scenes 5 - 7

Murphy's Law
Part 1: Scenes V-VII
By Josie

“Murphy understood the law and knew justice. He also knew that the two were often not the same. To catch the bad guy and win a confession, you had to be willing to step outside the box and take chances. That’s what made him a great cop. But that didn’t give him the right to take the law in his own hands. All he had to do was have a boy examined to confirm his true gender and now his mistake was going to cost him. Maybe his job? Maybe a demotion?

But then nothing in this case was turning out like it should. He should have seen this coming. He should have known that you can test the odds and you can test your resolve, but never pit your luck against Murphy’s Law. Because sure as the devil will get his due, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!”

The Legal Stuff: Murphy's Law  © 2007, 2009 by josie.

Originally written in 2007, Revised and Reposted 2009.
All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, and compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without expressed written consent of the copyright holder.


Part I: Queen of the Nile

Scene V: A Lioness in her Prime
Molly laid sprawled out on top the covers. Her nude form flushed a rose pink, blotched with red and covered in sweat from head to toe. “Must be the liquor,” she thought to herself as she fought to sit up. Although from the way she felt she knew that wasn’t the whole truth of it.

The toilet in the next room flushed and Charlie emerged. Naked, the hefty length of him swung like a pendulum matching the sway in his stride. Molly smiled as he approached and then jumped on top of her crushing the air from her lungs. She clutched his face in her palms, kissed him with a passion and again felt him wanting still more of her. It was going to be a long night.

By Saturday night, Charlie had had enough. He sat up on the bed, his jeans on, his chest bare and his last can of beer in his hand. “I’m going to head out and get some more brew kid.”

“A bottle of Jack,” Molly uttered with a gravelly whisper. Her face was buried beneath the elbow she had draped over her eyes.

“Jesus, Molly, you’re a lush if I ever saw one. Don’t you ever get enough?”

Molly leaned up on her elbows in a flash, now looking alert, like a lioness with her ears back sniffing the air for trouble. “What’s the bother, Charlie? Fraid yah ain’t man enough for me?”

“Man enough,” Charlie slapped his thigh a bit put out. “Damn it, you’ve driven this rig the distance already and I need a fill up.”

“A rig, is that what you be callin’ that thing you be haulin’?” Molly continued, as if circling to probe for weaknesses in the injured animal.

“Yeah, I ain’t been hearin’ no complaints.”

“I’ve been kind,” the lioness tightened her circle, sensing a kill. “I should’a just packed it in when I saw you was drivin’ one of them cheap foreign imports.”

“Damn, girl, what you be needin’ is a Mac truck with a trail hitch. To haul your little ass back home to your Papa to see if he can tighten your ass up.”

“You swine!” Our lioness pounced on the limp prey, going for the kill.

“I ain’t got no Papa . . . no mamma either! I don’t be needin’ no tightenin’ up either, lil’boy. What I be needin’ is a real man, someone who be appreciatin’ a good woman.”

Molly wasted little more of her time. In less time than it took to write it down on this page, she had picked herself up, dressed and made a dash for the door. This was a lioness in her prime, her mouth still dripping with fresh blood, the man’s testicles nowhere to be seen.

An instant later the door slammed with such a force Charlie thought the walls were about to collapse in on him. Whether fearing he might be crushed in the collapse of the ceiling, or just now realized he didn’t want the girl to leave, he jumped up and ran to the door. Opening it he yelled out at the figure still within his sight. “Molly, you know I love you girl.” It was a heartfelt plea, yet even he knew it was too late and too bad for Charlie.

She was a pretty girl with a taste for Jack and a taste for his two legged brethren as she rolled back into the Niles Street Bar. She had an insatiable thirst in her heart, no question about that, and when she spotted Milton the lioness again advanced for the attack. A meal she really looked forward to, and said so from the get-go. An hour later she was in yet another man’s bed, her bottle of Jack in her hands, a new lover on the advance.
Scene VI: Queen of the Nile
Molly quietly entered the back gate and then the flat she shared with her son in the basement of Katherine’s home. She threw her things on top of her bed, noticing Gerald’s bed was still as tightly made as she had left it. He had not slept there, but she could have expected as much.

Not that she was uncomfortable with that. It was safer that way and she knew her Gerald would have been well taken care of. He was a young man now. Not completely of age, but too old to still be tied to the strings of her apron. So she quickly showered, dressed in a more modest uniform and headed upstairs to work.

Monday morning, 8 A.M, and Molly was right on time. She was still as refined as raw sugar, but at least she was wearing a knee-length skirt and heels with a more modest rake. She looked quite presentable and ready for work. Well, leastwise the mirror seemed to agree.

“Mornin’ Rosie,” Molly said with a bit less zip in her step. She was obviously still hazy from the night before. The instant transition from Queen of the Nile to common household maid had her in a fog. Not fully in touch with herself or aware of her son standing behind her just a few feet away.

Rosie looked up from her work at the stove. She was standing in exactly the same place she always stood. The black marks on the linoleum outlining the spot. “Morning Molly, I see you’ve taken my advice.”

“Oh, Rosie, y’know I always be listenin’ to yah,” Molly came up from behind to give her a hug. Then with her lips nuzzling her ear, “You’re like my mama, an’ I always be listenin’ to the good heart of my mama.”

“I see,” Rose tried not to show her usual skepticism. “Then I suppose that means you got your fill this weekend?”

“Nah, uh-uh,” Molly rose up and laughed. “I just said to myself maybe I oughta put in some work round here. Straighten up some, y’know. Only I can’t be rememberin’ where I done put my apron. I would’a swore it was b’side my bed.”

“Why don’t you ask your son?”

“Pea’ches? Oh, yeah . . . seen him this mornin’, Rosie?”

“Well, you might ask that fancy thing standing right behind you. I suspect he might know.”

Molly spun round and saw him wearing her apron. “Is that you, Pea’ches?” she laughed though she knew right off she shouldn’t have. Not at his expense anyway. Then again, seeing him wearing her wrap-around apron framed quite the picture. The fancy ruffles and lace draped nearly to his knees.

Other than a hint of a blush, he seemed to be taking it all in stride. As if it was an everyday sort of thing that came with the job. Which it did, only her job not his. Still she saw nothing wrong-headed about it. After all, in her absence he was expected to perform the same duties. Only she’d never seen him wearing it before so she wondered, “why now?”

Whatever the reason it looked as though he’d filled in for her quite nicely. That was reassuring, as was the sight of him smiling back. So instead of asking, she posed, flamboyantly with one hand on her bent hip and the other hand draped out with a sassy limp wrist. “Ugh-la-la, Mademoiselle, Gerald! May I have this dance?”

Even Rose had to laugh, and caught up in the merriment Molly once again began snapping her fingers and shuffling her feet, advancing toward the slue-foot boy. “Oh, the shark has, pretty teeth, dear . . .”

With flair she scooped him up and began to bop. The apron billowed as mother and son whipped about like spindrift over a frenzied winter’s sea. Neither skirt quite in sync as they took flight. Limbs going one way, hair scattered in another, bedlam ruling over order. While at the same time it looked as though both were having the time of their lives.

Rose said nothing. Instead she began setting up the breakfast cart knowing she’d probably end up doing it herself regardless. Finishing not a moment too soon as Katherine made her appearance. The play came to a stop, Rose gave a curtsy and Molly struggled to reinsert the bobby pins that had fallen out of her bun. “Morning ma’am,” the trio followed in unison.

“Morning Rose . . . Molly. Is breakfast ready?”

“Yes ma’am,” Rose followed.

Katherine looked toward Molly. The tangled mess of her hair was only out done by the dark rings of discoloration under her eyes. Something Molly had tried hard to hide beneath the thick coat of make-up. Signs of overindulgence and a lack of sleep that had been obvious even to her.

With a sigh, Molly gave up on the effort to rebind her hair then lowered her head and tried to sound contrite. “Ma’am, my son seems to be in p’session of my apron.”

Katherine turned away so as not to show the contempt she felt for this half-wit girl and undeserving mother. Her reckless abandon, her cavalier attitude toward work and her responsibilities as a mother composed a picture of a girl on self-destruct. “But that is no concern of mine,” she seethed. “All I need to do is provide the rope and the gallows. Then stand by to watch the girl hang herself.”

“It’s not a matter, Molly,” she finally replied in hopes of clearing the air. Then once again she took hold of Gerald’s hand and turned toward the dinning room door. “Well . . . Gerald, Molly, come along. Breakfast grows cold.” Cold, but not nearly as biting as the contempt that lurked beneath her smile. A moment later she was helping Gerald to his seat while Molly followed closely behind with the breakfast cart in tow.

Again, both the meal and all the preparation followed the form Katherine expected. It was also another quiet affair, and when done, she rose to give Molly her morning instructions. Only this time matters took a decidedly different turn.

“Molly, I know how difficult it must be for a young attractive girl such as yourself to have to give so much to your work and your family. Somehow there just doesn’t seem to be one once of fairness in this world. You are deserving of so much more.”

“Take your apron as an example,” she continued while Molly looked puzzled, uncertain as to where this might be leading. “You could have asked your son to give it back, but you didn’t, because you put his interest first, irregardless of what was best for you. That kind of sacrifice is highly commendable and should not go unrewarded. You truly are a wonderful mother and a marvelous employee. You deserve better, so I’m going to help you do better. That is, if you will allow me.”

“Gerald, would you be a dear and go to my bedroom and fetch my purse,” Katherine asked Gerald, but her sights remained locked-in on Molly. “You’ll find it on the chair, where you last set your mother’s cap and her pumps.” Ka-boom!

Now to be fair, Molly hadn’t noticed the pumps were missing. With a closet full it would have been hard to do so, especially in a rush. Nevertheless, if Katherine was looking for the knock out blow this clearly wasn’t it. Not with the thought of that money and the prospects of yet another night on the town looming on the near horizon.

Of course Molly had no way of knowing what was really going on, but even if Gerald had been coaxed into her heels he wasn’t exactly crying out for intervention. As she saw it, “if he don’t be likin’ it he can just say so.” He was certainly capable of that, right?

“Besides,” she liked to tell herself, “he oughta be used’ta it by now. Same as his grandma be doin’. He’s just a sweet li’baby to grandma too.” “Ain’t no harm in it,” she was all too willing to dismiss.

Instead her smile went into near supernova over the prospects for yet another night out with Charley, Jack (hold the ice) and her own pair of shoes. Lovely those pumps were too. Perfect shoes for a day cruise at the Nile. Something that gave her an extra spring in her step once she again had that nice fold of cash clutched in her hands.

Those elegant shoes provided for a quick exit too. She didn’t even stop to change her clothes or say good-bye, good luck, or good-riddance to her son. With a devil-might-care grin on her face she only gave time to Rose, pausing but a moment as she flung herself out the door. “Be Seein’ yah in a few, Rosie. Now don’t yah be keepin’ no lights on, y’hear.”

Like a queen of old and of new, she sailed off into the streets, her desert oasis. Off to enjoy a cruise down at the Nile. Inside the house Katherine stood by the window watching her depart. She was simmering on low heat.

On the table a stainless steel carving knife mirrored the morning light that pierced through the pane casting its wraith-like silhouette across her face. Watching Molly depart, her hatred festered and the wheels of justice spun madly, insanely out of control inside her head. Justice! Not the law that stood in her way.

She turned away from the window and looked at Gerald then at the knife she had used to cut the morning ham. “Yes, the girl is going to get her due, soon enough!” Katherine hissed between clenched teeth. Then as if with a vengeance, she gripped the knife in her fist and stormed out of the room to return it to the kitchen.
Scene VII: Willie McGee
Three months later . . .

February 3, 1961
It was cold out and a light dusting of snow covered the ground that had fallen over the course of the night. Rose sat at the kitchen table drinking a warm cup of tea resting her tired feet. Beside her was the morning paper. Always a bearer of bad news, and more bad news was the last thing she needed at the moment. She could only hope for the better, but when she read the headlines it couldn’t have been worse.

That morning Katherine had greeted her with the first bit of bad news. Molly and Gerald had left. Molly had quit her job. Where they had gone no body knew. They just walked off and vanished into the night. That alone was bad enough, and now this. The large bold print read there had been a ghastly murder committed in her neighborhood. The body of a beautiful young woman had been dumped in the gutter close to Slade Street and not far from her door.

As the story read, the unidentified victim had been stabbed through the heart. The police hadn’t even a tentative ID. It could have been a missing prostitute last seen working the seedy lower west-side of Manhattan, but nobody was certain. The only clues were her make-up and her dress. From her clothes they suspected she was either a tawdry lady out for a night on the town, or perhaps someone who was herself involved in the nefarious underworld of crime.

According to a gentleman who lived close by it had been a very quiet night. He had been looking out his window waiting up for his daughter who hadn’t as yet returned home from a late night date. It had been snowing and there had been very little traffic other than the occasional taxi. One in particular he thought was looking for an address. A Checkered Cab that had passed by slowly, traveling in starts and stops before it finally sped off.

The whole matter had Rose in a spin. She felt such sorrow for the girl and worried about Molly too. Of course Molly was not alone. She had Gerald with her and she found that reassuring. Surely with her son at her side nothing like this could happen to her.

She also worried about Katherine. She wondered how she would do without them. She felt certain Katherine would soon find a replacement. While in the intermediate time she’d have to do whatever she could to help out. That meant only one thing to her. For the next several weeks her poor feet would be screaming at her the whole night long. All the same it was something she would do to help the woman who had been so good to her.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the kitchen door. It was Mr. McGee, Katherine’s gardener, working in the cold of winter just as he did in the heat and the humidity of a Brooklyn summer. He wore a thick fleece coat under his wet weather slick making the man look a few sizes larger than he already was. He also wore a rather large smile and had an even larger rhubarb pie in his hands.

“Fresh made by the Misses,” Willie proudly proclaimed. “For Mrs. Katherine, and the Misses says to be sure to tell Rosie to help herself to a big piece too.” In his mid-40’s he was a powerfully built man sized like a heavyweight with the broad nose of a boxer and hands hard and leathery almost as large as the 9 inch pie.

“Why thank you, I’ll be sure to pass along your wife’s message, Willie.” She felt taken by the kind gesture, gently caressing his hands in hers before relieving him of the pie. “Wait one moment, Willie. I have something for you as well.”

Rose set the pie on the table then returned with an envelope. It was his pay, and it was her job to deliver it. The same way all matters between Katherine and Willie were handled. Actually Katherine never even spoke to him, nor did she venture into the backyard while Willie was there.

It wasn’t that she didn’t like him or speak highly of him as rightly she should. She knew she wouldn’t have the finest garden in all of Brooklyn without the man with the green thumb. It was just the way Katherine divided up her world to insure the one thing she treasured most: Her privacy.

Something she fiercely guarded, even in her dealing with Rose. There too she had constructed this sort of minimalist “no fraternizing with the employees” wall of privacy that everyone took great care not to breach. Engaging their daily work guided by this unwritten law. An unwritten law that not only kept Katherine from venturing out into the yard, but also kept Rose from venturing out of her kitchen and Willie left alone in his garden.

“The Misses and me be thanking you, Miss Rose,” he replied as he maneuvered through the layers of winter wear to tuck the envelope in his back pocket. In the process a stainless steel carving knife slipped from a side pocket and fall to his feet.

“Oh, sorry ‘bout that, ma’am,” he muttered then stooped down in that overly apologetic, overly anxious way of a man suddenly caught with his zipper down. “Be needin’ it to cut me some slips from the rose bushes this mornin’.”

“Yes, but you need be more careful, Willie. It nearly stuck your foot.”

“Yes ma’am, nearly did,” Willie sheepishly muttered, “and it’s plenty sharp too. Could’ah cut me clean through easy enough.”

Quickly he put the knife back into his pocket along with the envelope without bothering to count it. Though there was never a need. Katherine always paid a generous amount, always more than what was expected and always in cash. More than most black man in his field of work could earn in two jobs.

“Oh, and please tell Mrs. Katherine if she be needin’ anything, any help at all, ‘her Willie’ is here to help. Now you be sure to tell her, hear?”

“Her Willie!” She wasn’t sure if he had meant it quite the way it sounded, but it was a very kind overture coming from a very kind man. He was not just an employee. He was a loyal and trustworthy man who didn’t mind braving the elements to protect the plants from the cold. Just as the man would have gladly sown his own blood if either his garden or Katherine were in need.

“I’ll be sure to tell Mrs. Kline, Willie. By the way, why are you working on a day like this? There couldn’t be anything so important it couldn’t wait.”

“No Ma’am, you’re wrong there. I got some pots to oil up and set out on account of the freeze. I gotta clean the snow off the plastic covering and I got me them slips to cut too. Only don’t go worrying about me none. I’m going to light me up one of those pots and put it in the tool shed to keep me nice and warm.”

“Well, don’t you be working too long in the cold.” Willie nodded then turned to descend the stairs.

It was a slow descent, not handled easily like a man in his prime. His hobbled knees showed the signs of a life of hard work. Out in the garden she had often seen him struggle as if in great pain just to get up from his hands and his knees. Yet she knew this man meant every word he had said, and the fact that this man could yet be so giving could only mean one thing. Maybe everything wasn’t so bad after all. With or without Molly and Gerald, Katherine would manage just fine.

Lyrics: “Mack The Knife,” Bobby Darin, Curb Records,  © 1959.

         “Only The Lonely,” Roy Orbison, Monument Records,  © 1960.

         “Annie Hall,” TM & C @ 1977, United Artists Pictures, lic. MGM.
Acknowledgment: I would like to gratefully acknowledge cs. for her editorial support, guidance and infinite wisdom, all dispensed with a heart as large as her titanic talent. Thank you cs, you represent all the best our community has to offer. (*_*)

 ©2008 by josie. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, and compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without expressed written consent of the copyright holder.



To Be Continued in Part II...

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