Part II: Scenes XI-XIX
“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 in handling the affair 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.
Scene XI: Willie’s Eager Helper
Summer in Brooklyn. It’s said you’ve got to go through hell before you can get to heaven. Well, Rose was earning her dues. She had a pie in the oven with 15 minutes left to bake and the temperature in the kitchen was soaring. It was so hot she thought it might get done quicker if she were to take it out and set it on top of the stove to finish baking. Her clothes were damp with perspiration and the air was so thick she felt it a struggle just to breathe.
She got up and went to the kitchen window to open it up and welcome what little difference it would make. Looking out in the yard she could see Mr. McGee still hard at work. Just that morning he had shown her a gunnysack full of Crocus, Watsonia and Iris bulbs he was ready to plant for the autumn bloom. She through then as she thought now, “that man is a devoted and tireless slave to his work.”
The heat didn’t seem to be bothering him as much as it did her. He was moving about quite vigorously though apparently it still was a problem for the poor fellow to get down on his knees. She knew because there was a lattice framed window on the side of the shed and she saw him working inside, hunched forward working with something at his feet.
Whatever he was doing she could see he was not working alone. Amelia was there to help. It was hard to tell exactly the work she was doing because the windowsill blocked the view of everything below the top of her head. If planting his bulbs was what he was preparing to do, she knew it was not easy work. It was an all hands and knees job, better suited for someone with the knees to cope.
No doubt that was exactly what Amelia was doing. She was helping to sort out Willie’s sac of bulbs finding those which were most suitable to plant. She seemed quite engaged in her work too. She appeared to be going at it with a passion.
Mr. McGee seemed quite pleased. That faraway look in his eyes was enough to convince her of that. She knew he had to be grateful as well. Emptying that sac was arduous work. Not the sort of thing you simply apply lip-service to. Something Rose understood and could tell Willie did as well. In fact, he already looked as if preparing to serve up a generous outpouring of his gratitude for all her hard work. Although the way Rose saw it, the hard working girl deserved not just his gratitude, but every gushing mouthful of his copious praise as well. “Perhaps a big hug too,” she hoped.
Rose leaned against the kitchen sink counter and smiled. She couldn’t have been more proud of Amelia. The strenuous hard work for such a delicate young thing had to have been quite arduous, especially in this heat. Yet she seemed so giving of herself. Perhaps Katherine had been right after all. Pampering the child only seemed to bring out the best, not the worst in her.
A few minutes later Amelia emerged and Rose looked on with some concern. Her pink Pedal Pushers below her knees were covered with dirt. She also had her head down and her hand over her mouth as though she might have gotten hurt. It occurred to her that there must have been an accident.
“Some sort of blow to the mouth,” she thought. “Those things can happen when you’re working in tight quarters.” Willie was a big man and in all the excitement he might have been a bit too energetic, losing control of an errant limb and inadvertently poked or pushed her a bit too hard. “A girl does have to be careful when working around something like that.”
Rose watched as Katherine draped an arm over her shoulder to coddle her. Fortunately, she had been standing at the entrance of the shed where she had been throughout in case of an emergency such as this. Shortly after, both were again smiling without evidence of injury. Rose sighed with some relief knowing it could have been worse. Especially since it only required a dab or two with a tissue to wipe clean the soil still clinging to her lips.
Soon after Katherine ushered Amelia back inside and upstairs to take a bath while Rose returned to her pie just as the timer sounded. As she began putting on her oven mittens, she could hear Willie out in the yard. Whistling! Apparently he was quite please to have had someone to help relieve his burden. Now he seemed quite ready to tackle the rest of the days work.
Scene XII: The Chief’s Nephew’s Son
Jack arrived back at his office shortly before 5 Pm. He entered finding Captain Turner sitting on the end of Cecil’s desk tossing a baseball with one hand while holding a cup of coffee in the other. As soon as he entered he tossed the ball toward him. That was his way of saying he wanted to talk with him alone. The only thing is, he hadn’t seen the ball coming and it ricocheted off his forehead and back toward Turner knocking the cup of coffee out of his hand and onto his lap.
“Shit!” Scream Spike, totally pissed off. “You should watch that aim, Cap. A bit more to the right and I would’a got yah right in the nuts.”
Bob Turner wasn’t laughing. He was trying desperately to cool himself off. “Back here, Murphy, we gotta talk.” Jack was regretting this case more and more. Every which way nothing was turning out like it should. Under normal circumstances he could have caught the thing with his teeth, no trouble at all. However his mind was fixed on finding Molly’s mother. Not on playing catch with a soft shoe who thinks it’s clever to throw a Mickey Mantle autographed baseball at someone who isn’t looking.
He followed Turned into the back office and closed the door behind. “I got a call from Gretchen Heller. She says you haven’t done a damn thing on her son’s case. What’s going on, Murphy? You know the families connected. He husband is the Chief’s nephew.”
“Putting the squeeze on, huh, Bob?”
“Yeah, you can say that. Look, no matter what you feel personally about it, you have to get on this pronto. At least give the lady a call for goodness sake.”
“Sorry bout that, buddy. I’ve just been busy.”
“So I hear.”
“Damn kid,” Jack mumbled to himself, knowing Cecil had been talking behind his back. “Look Cap, when am I going to get that replacement you promise? Maybe if I had someone who didn’t spend all day blabbing off and doing some work around here I’d have the time to get to that Heller case.”
“Don’t go blaming the kid. It’s your screw up. Besides, this Slade Street case you’re working on is a dead end anyway. I don’t need the kid to tell me that”
“Look, the Heller kid is a hop-head, plays bongos in the park when he ain’t running off. This is the third time. He belongs in a mental institution, not riding on my back.”
“Maybe you’re right, but he’s also the Chief’s nephew’s son, and if he comes down here he’s not going to be passing out hearts and flowers, or a promotion. Got me? Don’t piss him off. I’m warning you.”
“I know. It’s just that the Heller kid can take care of himself. He makes his own trouble. This girl left behind one hell of a dress!”
“Oh nothing, I’m just saying there’s something here I can’t let go.”
“It’s a looser, Jack. I’m warning you. If your pursue it, you ass will end up in the wringer. I’ll say no more!” Bob Turner turned and left in a huff slamming the door closed behind.
Jack had a knot in his stomach, while the detective in him had his eye on the phone thinking about the calls he had to make to find Molly’s mother. Spike just mumbled, “Screw the Heller kid. That ain’t nothing but a dead end. Nothing to be found there but a kid puking up his guts in some bathroom, his parents too ashamed to do anything but keep it quiet. No glory there. No promotion. No name in the morning papers. No headlines reading: “NYPD Detective a Modern Day Sherlock Holmes.”
So he didn’t heed the warning. Instead he went back to his desk and picked up the phone.
Scene XIII: The Room with a View
Whenever Rose heard that song playing on the radio it reminded her of the night she had wandered into the living room to find Katherine dancing with her daughter. If she lived to be one hundred she would never think of that song in the same light again.
“Not in a bad way,” she thought as she gathered up the linens to carry upstairs. Granted, the lyrics were a bit simplistic and naíve, but the sound of desperation in the singer’s voice put it right up there alongside the best of the old crooner’s. She felt the same about Katherine and Amelia. She thought better of them than she did of herself for all the prying. That part never sat well with her.
In truth, she had to convince herself that it was a trick of the mind, a strange anomaly attributed to the complexities of human nature that allowed her to go unseen. Something beyond her understanding, yet allowed her to hide in plain sight as she peered into their lives. Whether or not that was true she could never be completely certain. There was always some lingering doubt. In fact, she often wondered if it had not been for Katherine’s good graces she would have been discovered long ago.
Not that it really mattered all that much to her. Whether it was by way of Katherine’s tacit approval or anomalous perception, she felt drawn to do so regardless. Her ventures into the recesses of their lives were growing bolder with each passing day, Katherine’s silence lighting the way. Especially upstairs where so much went on behind closed doors, and the room with the locked door that still piqued her curiosity to a bothersome degree.
She carried the stack of folded towels destine for the upstairs bathroom through the dining room on her way up the stairway. In passing the entrance to the pallor she saw Katherine standing alongside the desk where Amelia sat. Amelia was hunched over a sheet of pink stationary and envelope writing a letter. No doubt a letter to an old friend from finishing school, something Rose had seen her doing once before.
She knew because she had seen the finished letter sitting on the dinning room table ready for the post. The handwriting on the envelope was not of the quality she would have expected. It was chunky, not fluid like the handwriting you’d expect of a girl who attended two years of finishing school. It was also decorated with hearts and flowers with a strong smell of perfume. “Very immature for a girl her age,” she remembered thinking. She had even blotted her lipstick on the back. The red imprint of her lips sealing the envelope.
All of it seemed quite inappropriate, especially given it was addressed to a girl. Presumably a girl she knew from school and who lived on Hyde Street. A girl known simply as, “Sally!”
That’s why she remembered it so clearly. Of course she was old. Old fashion to a degree, and really didn’t get around much anymore. Just the same she knew it just wasn’t right to send her friend Sally such a letter. Hearts and flowers maybe, but a perfumed letter sealed with a kiss to another girl? Girls just didn’t do that. Not in her day and age, nor should it be any different now.
She had also been to Hyde Street. It had been some years back of course, to reclaim an impounded auto. She didn’t remember it as a residential area. It was an industrial park located next to the expressway. She supposed all that had changed. The city was growing and changing everyday. Perhaps there was one of those new luxury sky rise apartment buildings down there where the Nuevo rich now lived. With a Family rich enough to afford an exclusive upstate girl’s finishing school like Katherine.
She stood and watched Amelia for a moment. She was concentrating on her letter writing, seemingly filled with excitement, unable to put her words down on the paper fast enough. Katherine stood behind her chair looking over her shoulder. Occasionally Amelia would stop and lift her head in thought. Then Katherine would lean down and whisper something in her ear. Amelia would look up, giggle then quickly return to her writing. As if re-inspired by a clever thought Katherine had just passed on.
“Well,” she thought to herself, “it’s no business of mine.” Besides it was keeping mother and daughter pleasantly occupied. At least that was reassuring to her as she continued on her way up the stairs. In passing she found Katherine’s bedroom door open. She knew the room because she cleaned it daily, just as she had earlier that morning. Still she looked in and spotted her most recent change of lingerie sitting on the rocking chair just to the right and behind the bed.
That rocking chair was Katherine’s favorite spot to sit. Rose would see her most morning sitting there as she passed by the room. With the curtains closed she’d find her reading to her daughter who would be sitting on the floor at her feet.
The rocking chair was to the right and behind the bed, so she couldn’t pick up on all that much detail in the semi-dark. Then again, even in limited light it would have been impossible not to see the glaring image of Amelia. With her hair gathered up in pigtails, she could be seen wearing pink silk pajamas, adorned with pictures of rag dolls and fairies. From top to bottom aligned with a column of big fluffy white buttons shaped like cotton balls with slippers and mittens to match. Again, the suit was hardly fit to be worn by girl her age, if even a child past ten.
Of course Rose only saw it in passing, and Katherine always lowered her voice to a hushed whisper as she did. As if ashamed to let it be known Amelia still enjoyed stories about prince and princess’ in the land of fairytales and make believe. Nevertheless she saw no good reason why Katherine would want or need to treat her daughter as if she were a child. To Rose, Katherine’s behavior seemed inappropriate and slightly off-center.
“Well, no matter,” she shrugged as she made a mental note of picking up the soiled lingerie on her return downstairs. “Besides, what do I know about kids these days? Katherine and Amelia looked to be doing just fine without advice from me.”
On that thought she turned, shut the door behind and continued on her way. At the end of the hall was the bathroom. Just to the left of the bathroom was the door that always remained locked. The chair that once stood outside came to mind, and again the thought of Gerald and the mystery surrounding that room. She gave it a casual glance in passing and to her surprise saw something wholly unexpected - Startling, in fact. The door that had always been locked was not. It was only slightly ajar, but enough to see the light through the opening.
She stopped, felt her heart race and thought of sneaking just a little peek. Why not? It was a simple, innocuous act that would harm no one. She played with that thought long enough to deliver the bundle of towels to the bathroom to unburden her hands. Then on her return she quietly pushed the door open to have her look.
What she saw was as startling as finding the room unlocked. She had been wrong. This was not Amelia’s room. It was an infant’s nursery! Whichever room Amelia slept, it certainly wasn’t this one. Not with the crib, the changing table, rattles, bottles and such.
She felt a bundle of emotions race through her all at once. The revelation had been totally unexpected. She was also a bit shocked that Katherine would want to make a shrine out of an infant’s nursery when her daughter was already a gown young woman. She would have thought all this would have been stored in the attic long ago, or given to the Salvation Army. She knew this was a big house and there were other rooms for Amelia to sleep, but why keep all this intact?
At first glance it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to her. If anything, it only helped to solidify the notion that Katherine was a bit of an eccentric. “Or was it a darker precipice she stood beside?” She wondered. “Could she be a woman still harboring the need to hold on to something she thought she lost, but in fact, hadn’t?” On the face of it, it did appear to her an obsession that had no cause and no reason.
That said, she didn’t think poorly of her. If she was a woman with a strange twist in her character, so be it. She was loyal, trusted, and considered herself a friend. Someone who could accept her faults as well as her friendship. Besides, the room was really quite lovely. If this were indeed a shrine dedicated to an infant Amelia, the children of the king of Siam could not have been given better.
She stepped in wanting to get a feel of it. It was a large room, easily the largest bedroom in the house. It had a high ceiling and a bay-style window with a built-in seat and a view overlooking the back yard. Bright and airy, the walls were covered with canary yellow wallpaper with large patterns of dolls and rocking horses. The floors were hardwood of course, rich in luster, but with a throw rug beside the crib. A rather large crib! One a toddler could get lost in and not found for days. It also looked used. With a dummy nipple, a blanket or two and even a bottle that looked as fresh as the day it had last been used. Even Katherine’s breast pump still hung draped over the side railing.
Against one wall there was a large white Elizabethan potbelly bureau and a large chiseled mirror mounted on a pedestal to adjust the pitch. There was also a changing table where a pile of diapers, pins, rubber panties, ointment and talcum still sat on top. Beside the table, there was a rocking horse. A carousel pony so richly ornate it looked to be torn from the pages of children’s storybook tale.
There were also stuffed bears, bunnies and dolls by the score. A rather large dollhouse as well, with a rubber dolly standing in front, its clothes still scattered about amongst the coloring books and paper-doll cut outs. All looking as if a child had been playing a dress-up game with her dolls that very day.
She spotted a large closet and made her way through the stuffed bears, bunnies and dolls. She wanted to see what Katherine had stored in the closet of an infant’s nursery. She had expected to find prams, carriers, toys and the like, but what she expected was not what she found. Hanging in the closet was a wardrobe of clothes. Children’s clothes, only they were clothes for a much older child. Short little dresses of satin and lace in every color and form all neatly hung alongside all sorts of fanciful wear.
One item in particular she spotted right off. It was a sleek little black dress. The same dress she had seen Amelia wearing while dancing with her mother downstairs. There was no question about it. The same sewn in silvery spangles sparkled in the room light.
“So Katherine uses this room to store the clothes Amelia wore as a young woman as well,” she muttered to herself. “How odd!”
Suddenly it dawned on her that Amelia was still very much a part of this room. “Amelia had not only been in here but she’s been using the clothes.”
She turned and looked around again. Everything looked fresh and new to her now. Nothing neither smelt nor looked as if it had been 18 years in storage. She walked over to the crib and reached in for the baby bottle. The residue of milk was not soured nor crusty or old. The breast pump still had residual traces of moisture, even the pillow and blankets showed the signs of recent use.
Now her curiosity truly got the better of her. No longer thinking about what might happen if she were to be discovered prying around, she delved deeper into the mystery. She walked over to the bureau knowing full well what she should find stored in there, but again, that didn’t prove out to be the case.
Instead of baby clothes, she found one drawer filled with panties and bras. In yet another drawer, petticoats, suspenders and fancy lace stockings of every style, weave, weight and color. In the bottom drawer she found nighties, chemises and shorts. Again, clothes for an older child or young teen, and again, nothing smelt of long storage.
She shuffled through the drawer sorting out shorts, nighties and tops until she spotted a black silk vest that nearly choked off her wind. She pulled it out and held it up to the light to make sure it was as she suspected — Gerald’s vest! The boy vest! The vest without the buttons Katherine had him wear as her errand boy before they left a year ago.
She was spellbound by the discovery. She could think of no reason why Gerald’s vest would be stored in that drawer. It was at that moment she heard footsteps coming up the steps and her heart fell to her stomach. Consumed by panic she tried hard to get hold of her wits to think what she should do. Hurriedly she put the vest back in the drawer, closed it and then headed for the door only to find it was too late. Katherine and Amelia were already half way down the hall heading for the room.
She quickly thought to exit regardless, but before starting her exit she spotted a laundry basket kept behind the door. She hadn’t a clue as to what might be in it, but she thought if she were to walk out with the dirty laundry in hand it would give her reason for having gone in there. So on instinct she quickly grabbed it, but before she could turn and walk out the door Katherine and Amelia entered. Opening the door full way to the laundry basket clutched in her arms, leaving her pressed between the opened door and the wall.
So frightened by what had happened she was frozen in place, scarcely able to breathe. She could see them both quite clearly and as yet, fortunately, they had not spotted her partially hidden behind the door. Both stood to the right of the door, not directly in her line of sight, or she in theirs. Yet like the proverbial fly on the wall she was close enough to hear a heartbeat and they didn’t even know she was there!
She stood and watched as Katherine help her daughter pull her dress over her head then helped provide support as her daughter stepped down off a pair of spiked heels that had added an extra 5 inches to her height. Amelia then unclasped the suspenders from her hosiery and carefully rolled her stockings down each leg. While Katherine unclasped her suspended belt, then gathered up all the clothes to set down on a near by chair. That left Amelia standing barefoot in only her well-stuffed brassiere and a pair of pink panties, awaiting her mothers return.
Katherine returned a moment later to unclasp the brassiere which in large part looked to be in support of a significant volume. However, once it was removed and set atop a nearby chair, Rose saw that the well-stuffed brassiere had been stuffed with nothing more than cotton. Rather large knots of it that had been posing as the predominant bosom the girl did not have. The same was true of her panties. While obviously quite full of her plump bottom, when pulled down and removed, it became apparent that what had been posing as hips was nothing more than a padded belt.
Of course from where Rose stood Amelia was facing away so she hadn’t the advantage of seeing the whole package. Plus Amelia had her arms crossed over her chest to stave off a chill. Yet she still could see from the cup of her hand why the girl need cover up. It was decidedly less than any girl would wish, but a bit more than she could palm in one hand and enough in volume to fill a measuring cup to good measure. Even so, with her boyishly slender hips she looked like a girl not yet grown into womanhood and very uncomfortable with that fact.
A few moments later Katherine returned with a bathrobe for her daughter to put on. Then just as they had entered they turned and walked out the door. Amelia was going to take her bath. Again, they exited to the right of her. Not directly in her line of sight or she in theirs. Although it did provide Rose with an interestingly new vantage point unlike any she’d had thus far. Now as they passed through the door, Amelia was facing toward her. This gave Rose a full frontal view of a pair of perky, teardrop shaped breasts, and below that, a sparsely bushed knoll at the apex of her thighs. Out from which stemmed a turgid, pendulant rise!
Surprised? You bet, but that wasn’t all of it, nor the worse. There was something even more profound that robbed her of her breath to the point of strangulation. It was that one fleeting moment before Amelia had turned her head down. It was a snapshot. One still frame unlike any other she had in her memory of her. Something she suddenly realized she had never seen before. A glimpse of her face close-up!
Her face was painted thick and bold and shades toward the absurd. With high arched brows and cheeks rouged rose-pink, it was Molly’s face, replete with blood red lips, long fluttering lashes and eyes ringed with black kohl and violet. Like mother, like son, he was her split image. Molly reborn!
Like a soldier still dazed from a near miss cannon blast, Rose leaned back, her shoulders lax against the wall. She had seen what her mind had yet to grasp. Only when she heard the bathroom door close did she let go. Slowly sliding down the wall, she crumbled into a mass on the floor. Then as the bath water ran, she pressed her face to her knees and cried.
Scene XIV: Betty Carver
Jack had put in his calls and summarized his list. It had taken him four days and when he got the final call, he grabbed his hat and coat and ran out the door like a shot. He paused for only a moment to shout out to his young apprentice, “Hold all my calls, Cecil, I’ll be back in a day or two. Oh, and I want you to run a check on a Melvin Kline. Deceased, date of death March 3rd, 1959, age 56, last known residence, 30401 Slade Street, Brooklyn. I want to know who he was married to. I also want you to keep you damn ass planted by the phone. Got it?”
Now knowing her full name he had scoured all city, state and federal documents in hopes of pulling together an evidentiary record of Molly’s existence. He hadn’t found much, but her record of birth and tax filings listing Molly as a dependent proved to be all he would need to pinpoint her mother. Brook Bend, Virginia, population 340, located 10 miles north of Calhoun at the foot of Appalachians. His destination, Betty’s Beauty Salon to see a woman he was most anxious to meet, Betty Carver, aka Molly’s mother.
It took him 10 hours to drive it. Then another 6 hours to get close enough to smell it and 3 hours just to travel the few short miles that remained. The department issue 57 Chevy he had signed out was buried beneath a layer of dust and soot and minus a taillight from a run-in with a misplaced tree, but he still got there before lunch the next morning. “Betty Carver, I presume?”
“Yeah, that’ll be me you be speakin’ to. What yah be needin’, trim, shave? You name it, Betty can do yah right nice.”
“No ma’am, I’m Detective Jack Murphy, NYPD,” he said as he presented his badge, “and I need to speak with your daughter, Molly. Where can I speak with her?”
“Ah, don’t s’pose I know. I ain’t heard from the girl since she moved back up north.”
“Why yah askin’, she in some sort’a trouble or somethin’?”
“No ma’am, I just need to ask her a few questions.”
“Then you’ve seen her recently, right?”
“Why yes sir. Err, kinda, anyway. She come through here about 8-9 months ago. Hit it lucky in the Canadian Lottery and was goin’ up to Syracuse to buy herself some lounge she heard was for sale. One with lots of pool table in case I be wantin’ ta come visit.”
“The Lottery, huh? That’s good news,” he sighed, happy enough to hear Molly was still alive 8 months ago. “How much she win?”
“Didn’t say, but she got her mama this here watch. Nice, don’t yah think?”
“Yeah, not bad,” he replied, moving away from the expensive Rolex she held up to his face. “Guess she hit it big. Did she say where the bar was?”
“Nah! Someplace close to downtown though ‘cause she said the bus station be close by if I be wantin’ to come visit. Fact, she said she were goin’ to name it after me.”
“What about her son? You didn’t mention him?”
“Gerald?” She cackled.
“Gerald!” He echoed the name he sorely needed. “Gerald Carver! Yes, is he with his mother?”
“Ah, the boy is doin’ just fine. He ain’t with his mama. The boy’s got himself a job an’ doin’ just fine I hear. Least Molly done told me.”
Jack was a bit disappointed to have not found Molly, but he was relieved to hear she was still alive and apparently doing quite well. Still the question still remained. Where had she gotten the money? If she did win the lottery then case closed, but he would’ve heard about that. It would have been in the news, and he couldn’t recall having heard about anyone from New York hitting the Canadian Lottery in years. So where had the money come from, and where was Gerald? Questions he still had to find the answers to before he’d let this case go.
He wasted little time getting Cecil on the phone. “Cecil, I want you to check with the Canadian authorities and ask if they had any lottery winners with the name Molly Carver. I’ll call you back tonight. Got it?”
“Got it! By the way,” Cecil promptly followed. “Before you hang up on me, I’ve got that information you wanted on the recently deceased Melvin Kline. It says here he was married to a Katherine Moore.”
“No kidding,” Jack muttered into the phone, then cringed as if he had suddenly caught whiff of something rotting beneath the woodpile.
“I’ve something else for you too. It’s a message from Fred Hazelton. Hold on, I’ll get it . . .”
While awaiting Cecil’s return he mulled over what he had just heard: “If Melvin Kline was married to Katherine Moore then who is Katherine Stanton?” Katherine Stanton was not a factitious name. She did exist, that much he knew. The Prep School he had called had verified the fact, as well as the existence of her daughter, Amelia.
He felt a bit ashamed to admit he didn’t know the answer to that question. He was also feeling a tad pissed off for having been duped and wanted to rush back to Brooklyn to find out the truth. At the moment however, he had something more pressing to attend to. He had to find Molly, and if he still didn’t know Katherine’s true identity by then, you can bet 5 cents to a cup of coffee that postman would know. A question he should have asked him long ago.
“You still hanging, boss?” Cecil’s voice came through the phone.
“Yeah, I got’cha.”
“Hazelton says to tell you a positive ID has been made on Romano Salazar and would be issuing an arrest warrant in the morning. Apparently some guy got tagged trying to hawk some stolen jewelry and rolled over on Salazar. It sounds like they’ve got him dead to rights too.”
“Do tell,” Jack chuckled. “I know the rat was up to something.”
“Say Lieutenant, wasn’t that the guy you thought might be involved in that case you’re working on?”
“Just a minor character, Cecil. A mouthpiece, that’s all. I’ve already gotten all I need out of the dirt bag. Give Hazelton a call back and tell him I wish I could be there to take him down myself.”
“Got’cha, boss!” Ceil managed to squeeze in before Jack hung up the phone.
A moment later Jack was off for a quick bite to eat then it was on the road again. To Syracuse finally zeroing in on Molly and, hopefully, putting an end to this confounded mess that was growing uglier by the day.
Scene XV: Silk Stockings
Rose had been a walking basket case through the remainder of the day. Paralyzed by the though that haunted her every wakened moment, and now as she tried to sleep. She was tossing and turning in bed trying to shut out that single, momentary glimpse of Amelia, err, Gerald that refused to let her go.
How she had managed to finish her work day she didn’t even know. She had simply gone through the motions. The question, her statement, caught on the end of her tongue, refusing to come out. No more need be said, Rose was in tatters and it wasn’t going away.
In truth, the longer she mulled it over in her mind the worse it seemed to get. What had been anger now teetered on the verge of hysteria, considerably more than her 68 year old heart was able to cope. How was she supposed to go back to work in the morning pretending she didn’t know what she did? How was she to live through the night with that vision of Gerald with breasts imprinted on the ceiling when she looked up, behind her closed eyes when she tried to sleep?
She looked at the time and then the phone. Should she call Detective Murphy, or should she go and confront Katherine? It was 10:30 and late, clearly too late to call detective Murphy. Although Katherine could still be awake. If not, she would wake her. Besides, maybe there was some explanation, something that could somehow make it all right. So she put on her clothes, wrapped her sore aching feet tightly in her boots and walked out into the cool autumn night.
When she arrived she used her key to enter the side gate knowing the front gate, always locked after dark would already be secure for the night. Only Katherine had that key, and since she had planned on ringing the front entrance bell, she had little choice but to walk across the yard through the garden to reach her destination. She was already midway, somewhere between the Hydrangea and the Hawthorn when a Checkered Cab pulled up and parked at the curb in front. She stopped and watched as the lights were turned off and a man got out and started to make his way toward the house. She had seen him before. It was the driver who had asked Katherine to pay Molly’s debt - The guy who tried to look like James Dean.
She could see him, but it was quite apparent that in the dark shadows and the hedge row he had not as yet spotted her. So she backed off slowly through the shrubbery then worked her way around to the back of the house to use the kitchen door. Before she rounded the corner she stopped to watch as the man walk up the steps, open the door and walk in. All done quite nonchalant, with an undaunted skip to his step. As if he owned that house! As if he owned those inside! As if he belonged there, had been there before, and there was nothing unusual about finding both the front gate and front door unlocked.
She hurried as quickly as her poor arching feet would carry her up the back steps. With her key she let herself in, quietly entering the kitchen where she saw a faint light through the space at the bottom of the dinning room door. Pressing her ear to the door she could hear the muffled sound of music coming from further on in the house. Slowly she pushed open the door and passed through the dark house toward the light and the song emanating from the living room. The very same song she saw Katherine and Amelia, err, Gerald, dancing to several weeks prior.
She advanced slowly and cautious until she spotted Katherine dressed in the same white men’s dress suit. Her hair tied in a tight bun in back and slicked back in front cutting quite the masculine profile. A few steps more and the man from the cab came into view. Dressed in blue jeans and t-shirt he was dancing with his back to her.
She stopped and watched the man waltzing to the melody, gliding so effortlessly with Amelia, err, Gerald, tied to his every step. His arms wrapped around her torso, his hands clasping, squeezing her bottom as if wringing out a sponge. Their bodies pressed into one, he wheeled her around giving Rose her first full glimpse of them pressed breast to chest, pelvis melded to Blue-Jeans.
There was no mistaking that look. With her fiery red lips and her long sultry lashes fluttering with abandon, this was not a girl, err, boy in retreat.
There was nothing unclear about the way she was dressed either. Not when you consider the near vertical rake of her heels. Or the thigh high silk stockings held in place by a pair of garters garnished with red rose appliqué. Both of which looked quite daring and bold, meant to excite the passions. Though surprising Amelia wasn’t wearing the little black dress she had been seen dancing in before. No. Instead, Gerald, err, Amelia apparently decided to brave the slight evening chill and wore nothing but panties alone!
Rose backed away and slipped out the door under cover of that song as the singer’s voice rang out, “Only the Lonely, dum-dum-dum-dumdy-da . . .”
Scene XVI: Betty’s Bar
Jack looked up and had to laugh. The sign simply read, “Betty’s Bar.” She had apparently named it after her mother just as she had promised. What’s more, across the street was the bus depot. This was all too easy.
To put it kindly, the place was a dump. He wasn’t likely to run into any Slade Street residents savoring the atmosphere of this place. Comparatively speaking, this upscale cosmopolitan establishment was differently not kosher. Unless you factored into the equation the drunks in dirty crinkled denim shirts, empty pockets and worn shoes.
He already knew that Molly’s name wasn’t on the list of Lottery winners. Which to our keen-eyed investigator could only mean one of two things: Either she stole the money or Katherine had given it to her. He still didn’t know, but one thing was certain. Wherever she’d gotten the money, if she shelled out any more than a hundred bucks for this joint it was 99 bucks too much. It did have a nice pool table though. Now that was something Spike could appreciate.
He also appreciated the fact that there were five upstairs apartments above the place. One of which belonged to the owner of this 5 star establishment. “Very convenient,” he thought as the bartender pointed the way to Apartment 3. Access conveniently provided via a flight of wooden stairs off the back alley located between the waste bins - Which in the scope of things was a pretty apt description of the place.
Jack wished he could have been a mistaken, but when she answered to the name, Molly Carver, it was clear that this used and battered shell of a girl who was once the Queen of the Niles Street Bar was indeed her. “Yah, what can I be doin’ yah for, hun?”
With dark rings under her eyes, her hair mussed and smelling of hard liquor, she was not a pretty sight. Bare foot and dressed in only her crinkled slip, she opened the door and stood by quietly listening as Jack went through all the facts he knew. In the background, a quasi-inebriated fellow hurriedly pulled on his trousers and slipped out of the room. A few moments later Molly was sitting at the end of the bed, stooped over and cupping her tear drenched face in her hands.
She admitted taking twenty-thousand in cash from Katherine in turn for her signature on the custodial rights and adoption papers. Or as she so eloquently phrased it, “I done sol my soul, Mr. Murphy.”
He shuffled through the documents she had kept bundled amidst the lingerie in the top bureau drawer. All notarized and Stamped with the seal of the State of New York, City and Borough of Brooklyn. Everything looked quite proper and legal. If he was looking for an angle to claim malfeasance or a crime, it would take more than a flatfoot who hated wearing ties and the men who wore them to figure this one out. Although somehow he didn’t think it would be found in the preparation of these documents. It all looked rather well planned, executed with precision down to the legal weight of the paper.
As Molly explained it, she came home one night to find two well dressed gentleman alongside Katherine waiting to talk with her. The whole scheme proposed over a cup of tea as casually as selling a piece of real estate. No money would change hands. At least as far as the State of New York and the City and Borough of Brooklyn were concerned. What went on between Mrs. Kline and herself, however, was another matter. If she was in agreement, then she would be expected to vacate the area immediately. If she were to return, trespass upon the property, she would be arrested.
At some point Katherine had taken her into the kitchen out of view of her two attorneys, all to afford the attorneys plausible deniability, you understand. There she handed over the small case containing the twenty-thousand. Two-hundred, one hundred dollar bills, all tightly bundled in stacks of five-thousand each. It was more money than she had ever seen in her life. An opportunity to change her fortunes forever, and the cost?
As it was so eloquently articulated to her by the attorneys, Gerald would be gaining a home and a loving mother. He would have only the best. Second, Gerald would be 18 in a few short months anyway, and at 18 he would be free to do as he pleased regardless. Third, if Gerald so wished, documents for his emancipation could be filed the very next day. With her record, it would be a very easy case for the judge to determine. Either way she would lose her son.
Of course she knew nothing of Gerald’s current circumstance, but cried sorrowfully for the mistaken choice she made. She hoped the law could somehow forgive her for what she did and wished there was a way she could make amends. Something he planned on giving her the opportunity to do. “Molly, you’re coming back with me. If I’m right about this, you might be able to square this with yourself, the justice system, your god and me.”
Scene XVII: Rookie’s Mistake
It was 6 a.m. and Cecil was standing outside the Donut Delight holding a large box of jelly donuts trying to wave down a cab. Not such an easy thing to do with your hands full during the early morning rush. It was his day to supply the donuts for the morning briefing, and with only 30 minutes to get to the station, he was prepared to jump into most anything short of a rickshaw to get there on time.
That would include a Checkered Cab with a cabbie who had a pack of camels rolled up his sleeve and a pompadour trying his damnedest to look like the late James Dean.
“Temple St. Station. Can you make it in 30 minutes,” Cecil asked as he slid in back and slammed the door closed.
“Sure thing, bud,” the cabbie replied as he was already on the move with the meter clicking, his cab accelerating in and through the traffic. “Traffic is a bitch this time of the morning so hold tight.”
Cecil was holding on for dear life and for good reason. With the sound of squealing brakes he looked out the window and saw a woman angrily waving her fist at the cab for cutting her off. In turn, the cabbie was cursing like a lunatic, and from the way he was driving Cecil thought the guy might have been just that. “Hey, I want’a get to work on time, but in one piece, got it?”
The cabbie laughed and pointed to a lace garter hanging from his rear view mirror. A very pretty lace garter garnished with a red rose appliqué. “My good luck charm. Got it last night.”
“A souvenir or trophy?”
“Souvenir. It’s true love!” The cabbie grinned, flashing his gold plated tooth. “Baby loves daddy, and daddy is just lov’in his baby.”
“Must be something special.”
“One in a million. As pretty as a Prom Queen. Not much on top, but man oh man, what an ass.”
“Better be careful, you don’t want’a piss off her poppa. He might be looking to cut that sweet little relationship off with a meat cleaver. That’ll ruin your day.”
“Nah, no poppa to worry about, and mama supports her baby.”
“That sounds big of her,” Cecil said sarcastically showing obvious disdain.
“Hey, don’t knock it. She ain’t loony. What’s whacked out is that every kid don’t have a mama who will support them no matter what. That’s love man, unconditional love.”
“Well, I guess that would depend upon your point of view.”
“That’s the problem, least that’s the way I see it. Everyone has a point of view when they oughta just be thinking about putting their kids before their on self-interest.”
“Yeah, well, what if she wants to put a ring through her nose? Or wants to tattoo her boyfriends name on her arm? You think the parents should stand back and do nothing?”
“Hey, if she wants to wear a ring in the nose it ain’t hurting anything except maybe a bit of personal pride. She’s old enough. It’s her choice, not her mother’s.”
“True, I guess, but if that’s not how the rest of the world sees it then its wrong.”
“You say I’m right and that makes me wrong? And people think the kids are crazy today.”
“Yeah, I guess it does sound a bit nuts.” Cecil replied feeling a bit self-conscious. The point the cabbie had made was a bit out of his league. It seemed sound, logical, but nothing that fit with how the real world works. It might even be considered dangerous thinking, perhaps even criminal. There was a need for people to adhere to some social standards, right? If we didn’t, who knows what might come next. Today Elvis, tomorrow boys with hair down to their shoulders and girls with pierced tongues. All the same he respected him for having the courage to say it, even if he didn’t know the guy.
“I still think you oughta be lookin’ out for that meat cleaver because that kind of thinking could land you in trouble.”
“Nah, mama and I have an understanding,” laughed the cabbie as he pulled up to the station.
“Hu, well, nice gig if you can get it,” Cecil replied as he quickly looked at his watch then pulled out his wallet to pay the cabbie.
“Thanks,” he said while getting out and handed him the 2.50 plus a quarter tip. Then he leaned in and said, “You know, for a dumb cabbie, you’re really a very smart guy.”
The cabbie looked up and replied, “The names Sally, and for a cop you ain’t all that dumb neither.”
Cecil stepped into the station with 10 minutes to spare. He made a quick dash to the office to check to see if Murphy had as yet returned, entering just in time to catch the call on the third ring.
“Detective Murphy’s office, how may I help you?”
“I would like to speak with Detective Murphy, please.” Rose was on the end of the line trying to keep her composure long enough to get through the call. She hadn’t slept a wink all night. Her nerves were frayed, her eyes were puffed red and she felt as though the bottom had fallen out from under her world.
It was almost more than her 68 year old heart could take and she was cursing herself for not retiring last year like she wanted. Now the decision had been made for her. She wouldn’t be going back to work, nor would she ever step foot in that house again. That is, unless it was with detective Murphy to identify the wrong-doer he was hauling off to jail in cuffs.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry. Detective Murphy is out of the office. May I please take a message?”
“Please. Would you have him return my call as soon as he gets in? This is Rosaline Leberwitz. Tell him I know what happened to Molly and her son. Tell him a heinous crime has been committed at the Kline residence.”
“What’s that ma’am?” He managed to get out before he heard the click of the phone. “Damn,” he cursed to himself. “Jack was right all along. This wasn’t a dead end.”
Not even close to “a waste of department time” as Captain Turned had said. The guy was on to something big and both he and Captain Turner were too blind to see it. His excuse? He was just a rookie. Captain Turner didn’t have one.
Disgusted with himself for being so shortsighted he walked over to Jack’s desk to have a look at the case file. Something he had never taken an interest in before, only now realizing his second big mistake. As he sat in Jack’s chair, opened the file and read:
“The State of New York, district and country of Brooklyn, here by issues a warrant for the arrest of Romano L. Salazar, aka ‘Sally,’ as subject to state criminal code, section . . . thief of private property in excess of . . .”
“SALLY!” Then it dawned on him. “The cab driver!”
Scene XVIII: The Show Down
The next afternoon Jack still hadn’t called in. He wasn’t anywhere near a phone. He had Molly in the car and they were just approaching the Brooklyn Bridge on his way to Slade Street. In ten minutes it would all be coming to an end. First however he had to stop and make that overdue call.
He found a pay phone and called Cecil to have him send a squad car to the Kline residence at exactly 7 p.m. sharp. As it was five o’clock now, he wanted sufficient time to package everything up nicely before the patrol car arrived. Cecil responded as though he were on top of it, and then told him about the call he’d received from Rosaline Leberwitz and his chance encounter with Romano Salazar in the cab.
Jack listened quietly and it wasn’t until after Cecil expressed his heart felt apology for his erroneous judgment concerning the merit of this case that Jack let him have it.
“Yeah, okay, piss out your mouth all you want pecker breath, but it ain’t goin’ to change nothin’. Until you learn to stop feeding your face with them jelly donuts and playing kiss ass for your own self-aggrandizement you’ve always be just another dumb-ass flatfoot to me.”
“You’re right Lieutenant. I’m chalking it up as lesson number one. If I want to be a good cop then I’ve gotta learn to stop thinking like one.”
“Yeah, okay, I’ll be watchin’,” Jack summed up his point, but before he could hang up Cecil told him there was another memo sitting on his desk.
“It’s from Hazelton,” Cecil promptly added. “It’s attached to copy of an arrest warrant issued for Romano Salazar. It reads, ‘Sorry you missed all the fun. I know how much you loved the guy. Not to worry, you’ll find him down in lock up sharing in a cozy cell with that big guy from French Lick when you get back. Hazelton.’”
He was sorry to have missed out on that one, but in the scheme of things Sally was small potatoes. This Kline case had all the right ingredients to hit the front page of the morning papers. Considering the titillating aspects of the case the story might even make it to all the national papers, his picture included. Perhaps even televised interviews, and if he was lucky, a big fat promotion after all was said and done.
Of course it was still only a hunch. A pretty good one he suspected and he seldom got it wrong. He was a cop who could smell it out no matter how deep the crap was buried, and if his hunch panned out, the whole stinking mess of a case was about to be dug up and put away with all the other sewage.
He hadn’t told Molly about it however. She was his eye witness. The one who would identify the perpetrator and he didn’t want her testimony tainted. He might not be able to get her out of trouble for taking the money in exchange for her son, but at least he was going to see to it that the real bad guy, Katherine, hung from the gallows first.
He also knew the collar wouldn’t come as a result of all the legal slight-of-hand so skillfully crafted by the attorneys. Like always, the guys with the suits and ties knew how to maneuver around the law. It was like China Town, but instead of silk robes they wore suits and ties. That’s why he hated them. They never got caught. Not Katherine though, not if his hunch was right. Forced detainment, unlawful imprisonment, human trafficking, covering up to impede an investigation were crimes in any jurisdiction. All he had to do was prove it was Gerald under that dress.
He pulled up in front of Katherine’s, exhaled a huge sigh and tried to compose himself. He wanted to be ready for this. It was the moment of truth and he would have to be on top of his game. He looked over at Molly. She was sitting on the passenger’s side still with a tissue in her hand to dry her eyes.
“Now I know you’re not going to like any of this, but it’s important that you keep a firm grip on yourself for your son’s sake. You did wrong by him Molly, and there ain’t much I can do to protect you from the punishment you’re due. But this is your moment to make up for it. You can save your son and redeem yourself. Only that ain’t going to happen if you fall apart on me. Now, are you up for it, kid?” Jack asked, careful to air only his unwavering determination.
He didn’t want to give any false hope or lead her to believe all this was going to come out alright in the end. He didn’t even want her to think he felt sorry for her, because he didn’t. From all he’d seen, all he’d heard, this was an unfit mother. She was a girl completely out of control who didn’t deserve sympathy, only the firm application of the law.
Besides, he had seen it before - the cowed face, the quivering lip of fear; the eyes that sought forgiveness showing repentance. None of it ever persuaded him. Yet she did manage to coax a slight smile from him. Albeit somewhat twisted in a rather snide sort of way. The kind of smile you’d expect from a ruthless hunter like Spike. A guy so full of himself nothing ever got in his way.
Jack told her to wait in the car. While Spike, still unshaven and his crinkled shirt still hanging out, trod up the steps and rang the bell. A moment later he was flashing his badge and stepped through, not around Katherine as she opened the door. She had not met Spike before, but she was about to get a good taste of him now.
He followed Katherine into the Living room. Gerald, err, Amelia was already there, having come quickly to Katherine’s aid. Spike wasted little time in presenting his case. The allegations all based on what he had convinced himself were true.
“Katherine Kline, I need ask you. Is Stanton truly your maiden name?”
“No Sir, it is not. My maiden name is Moore.”
“I’ve already made that determination, ma’am. It would seem the Stanton’s live next door and Amelia Stanton is their daughter, nor yours. That would also be the girl who had attended Amherst Girl’s Preparatory at the time you claim your nonexistent daughter had. Although from all I can ascertain, the two of you have never met, and the use of her name as an alias for your nonexistent daughter was nothing more than a convenient way to thwart my investigation. That’s the bright side and with any luck, the least you shall be held accountable for.”
“Ma’am, Mrs. Klein, it is my firm belief you have broken the law by forcibly detaining Gerald Carver against his will, and wrongfully imprisoned him by forcing him to wear girl’s clothes. You have also engaged in unlawfully trafficking in the purchase of a person for the sum of twenty-thousand dollars. Furthermore, you lied to impede a police investigation and that’s just for a start! In short ma’am, what I am alleging is that this girl, this, this aberration you have holding on to you is in fact Gerald Carver, and I’m intent on proving it!”
Katherine flushed a feverish red, her rage written across her brow. Her look, her posture didn’t give a single clue as to her guilt. She looked pissed off, not worried, but then so did Spike. The pair of combatants where near nose to nose as if in a stare down to see who would blink first.
“No she isn’t, and no you won’t!” Katherine hissed between clenched teeth.
Without so much as a blink or break in her stare, she latched on to Amelia’s shoulder and pulled her between herself and the detective. “I’ve done nothing wrong detective,” she said as she reached round and began unbuttoning her daughter’s blouse.
Spike, Jack and the detective watched as she unbuttoned it full. Then she pulled the blouse down over her shoulders revealing two pear-shaped breasts, quivering like two small molds of Jello. Shaking from fright, her tears fall like rain drops onto her breasts, then into rivulets that cascaded down to the floor.
Spike thought they looked a pretty fine pair while Jack only saw the horror it in. The detective however was looking at something quite different. His attentions were drawn to a light discoloration about the size of a quarter located just under the left clavicle. It was a birth mark, one that had a rather peculiar shape to it too. Sort of shaped like the profile of a horse’s head.
“There’s no need ma’am,” he quickly responded as he broke off his gaze. Then he thrashing angrily with his hands to signal he had seen enough. “Cover those up.”
Katherine pulled the blouse back over her daughter’s shoulders while the frightened quivering girl clenched the ends of her blouse closed to cover up. “Is your name Amelia and are you my daughter?” Katherine asked her daughter.
A moment later, Jack was walking out the front door on his way to get Molly. He knew the boy was lying. He was not a she. Amelia was only the product of Katherine’s evil mind. After a year of brainwashing she had apparently convinced the boy it was true. All the same, it hardly mattered. He was destined for a psychiatric hospital regardless and Katherine to jail. All he need do is ask Molly to identify that birth mark and the jig would be up.
Molly’s tearful entrance affected neither Katherine nor Gerald nor Amelia. Katherine stood stone-faced and Gerald with his head bowed to the floor. Amelia stood clenching her unbuttoned blouse over her breasts, sobbing almost as loudly as Molly.
Molly made no effort to acknowledge her son. Jack had asked her to remain quiet. To do nothing until asked, and only then response to his request no matter what was to happen.
“Molly Carver, is this your son Gerald?” he asked as he pulled Amelia’s collar back over the left clavicle.”
Molly crumpled down into a heap onto a chair. Through her tears and through the hands that covered her face she bellowed, “Yes, yes that’s my Pea’ches.”
“No I’m not!” Gerald screamed out in defiance. Then Amelia tearfully followed between sobs of despair, “My name is Amelia!”
Spike, the bull-dog, was enraged. To think this sick pathetic little thing could lie with such a bold-face. Not just to him, but to his own mother. Even such as she was she deserved more respect than that from the likes of him. There was no detective in him now. No Murphy to look over his shoulder. He was a man consumed by his pride, determined to keep his unblemished record and his reputation in tact. Then like a man possessed - a man blinded by his rage - he slapped the boy, open handed with the palm of his hand.
Gerald’s face was wrenched to the right cringing from the shock of the blow. Amelia’s tears were sent flying like shrapnel from an exploding grenade. “Are you Gerald?”
“NO!” Gerald replied defiantly, straightening up and staring into his eyes, while Amelia’s tears fell like a rainy autumn day.
Spike was angry, his contempt for the boy who he knew was lying consumed him, “You’re lying! I know you’re lying because Molly, your mother, says so. She just identified your birth mark, proof positive you are indeed her son. So say it boy… DON’T PLAY WITH ME!”
“Are you Gerald?”
“NO!” Gerald stood steadfast while Amelia’s tears rained like spindrift on a stormy winter’s sea.
Spike had now lost what cool he had left in him. No longer feeling sympathy or compassion, he pushed Gerald back until he ran him up against the wall. Holding him tightly with one hand, he reached out and swung with the other, slapping him again hard with the back of his hand.
Gerald’s face spun to the left by the force of the blow while Amelia’s tears scattered like chards from a shattered pane.
“Are you Gerald?”
“NO!” Smack! Gerald screamed, and again Amelia’s tears whipped through the air like a phalanx of arrows.
“Are you Amelia?”
“NO!” Slap! Again Gerald cried out, deaf to all but the anger and the hate in Jack’s voice, while Amelia’s teardrops were driven like windborne sand.
“Are you Gerald?”
“NO!” Smack! Gerald shrieked and Amelia’s tears sprayed like buckshot.
“Are you “Amelia?” “NO!” Slap!”
“Gerald? Amelia? Gerald?” again and again he asks, he slaps and he vents his rage. Amelia’s tears flung left and right, Gerald’s defiant “No’s” and his resolve steadfast, until he could go on no further. Only then did both Gerald and Amelia break down and cry.
“I’m Gerald! I’m Amelia! I am Gerald and I am Amelia!” Gerald screamed and Amelia’s tears fell. Then Gerald-Amelia stooped to pick up the hem of her skirt and pulled down her panties.
Scene XIX: Murphy’s Law
After order returned - after Jack had grabbed Spike by the collar and wheeled him in - the detective began to arrest Katherine. He pulled out his cuffs from his back pocket and began reading the rights granted to her by the Constitution. The constitution that Spike had shown no regard for when he had assaulted Gerald. Now he was the bad guy!
A shame he now felt. The same sense of shame he saw on Molly’s face. Now he felt the same quiver of his lip. Now his eyes sought forgiveness showing repentance for the crime. Now it was he who lamented, for getting involved in this whole stinking mess. Only it was too late for that. The damage had already been done.
He looked at Gerald. His face red, his lip cut, his tears drowning out his eyes. He didn’t feel sorry for him or pity him, but he did envy him just a little. Gerald was free to cry.
Murphy understood the law and he knew justice. Spike had won the confession and caught the bad guy because he knew the two were too often not the same. Nonetheless that didn’t give him the right to take the law in his own hands. All he needed to do was have the boy examined to determine his true gender.
Instead he had forsaken the law and unleashed Spike to extract his justice, and now all Jack’s good work was going to cost him. Maybe jail, maybe his badge. If he was lucky maybe just a demotion, his good record shot to hell. Only nothing in this case was turning out like it should and he probably wouldn’t be so lucky.
Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This was just one of those cases. All the telltale signs were there from the start. As the line he had cast began to unfurl, he should have seen it was tied to his own foot.
Though sadly, he hadn’t listened. Not to Bill Turner, not to Cecil, not to his own good sense. He had only listened to his Spike - his pride — that part of him which compelled him to continue the pursuit no matter the cost. Now the unfurling line he had cast was going to pull him down beneath the deep blue sea. While above him safely on deck was Katherine, waving her cheerful good-bye. If ever he needed to figure an angle short of turning his back on the crime it would have to come quick.
After Katherine had acknowledged her rights, he was about to slap on the cuffs when Gerald grabbed onto his wrist, his long red nails piercing the soft, pliable underside to anchor his grip. He stared menacingly at the boy, both cheeks still reddened with his hand prints, a trickle of blood falling from his lip. Gerald stared back then moved in and stood between Katherine and Jack.
“I am not Gerald. Gerald is gone. Dead! I buried him an’ my past, and I’m happy I done it. Katherine is my ma. I’m her Amelia! If you say I’m not, then I’m nobody. I’m just nameless and purposeless, a thing that will never again be more than I is right now. I got me an identity now! A purpose! Somethin’ I ain’t ever had before. I’m complete, not broken. That’s what Katherine done for me. She rescued me, and she ain’t forced me to do nothin’. I’m now what I want’ah be and what I done I done to myself!”
“So if you be thinkin’ it’s a crime to kill the boy I never was then arrest me. I committed the crime. Just leave my mama along!”
Spike looked none to happy, though it hardly mattered. Murphy was in charge now. A man with a need to work his way out of the mess without any more harm to himself.
Of course he knew Katherine had no right to turn him into a girl whether he consented to it or not. However, when you take into consideration how the boy felt and all the psychiatrists who’ll no doubt team up in support, what judge was going to hold her to account? Especially in light of what Spike just did. Somehow he figured the merits of the case weren’t going to have quite the same legs that Gerald’s assault charges would have against him. Besides, the facts of the case were not at all as he once believed them to be.
The truth is he had come to arrest Katherine having convinced himself he had uncovered a horrendous crime. Now he was going to leave knowing he had been wrong. Gerald hadn’t been bartered nor had he been forced to do anything. He was simply a prisoner of his own biology from which Katherine helped manage his escape. It was quite clear to him now. This had been Gerald’s journey, not Katherine’s.
Yes, flesh is elastic, malleable and can be configured as you wish. Male to female, church-marm to bimbo and degree matters not. “But the person you are inside can only be determined by you!” Now, thanks to Katherine his biology and his person were one in the same. His identity, one of his own choosing. He was Amelia, and forever, Katherine’s daughter.
He backed away and turned toward Molly to help her up. “Come along, Ms. Carver, I know a bar where a fella and a fine young woman such as yourself and partake in a bit or refreshment. What’cha say, ol’girl?”
“Molly wiped away her tears, stood up straight and braved a smile. “Somethin’ close by I’m a hopin’, Mr. Murphy.”
Together they started to leave, pausing only for a moment to watch mother and daughter embrace before closing the front door behind. All things considered, he thought of it as a pretty fair accounting of justice served. Clearly the transformation of Gerald into a girl had also managed to transform the divided boy into an undivided man. Then he shrugged, turned away and thought to himself, “Yeah, well, perhaps it had for me too!”
Jack had just pulled out and was already halfway down the street when behind him he saw a Checkered Cab pull up in front of Katherine’s home. He stopped, looked out his rear view mirror and saw Romano (Sally) getting out. Romano walked around in front of his cab, leaned back against the hood and began to fidget with a pink envelope he held in his hand. As if to study it one final time before he stuffed it in his back pocket. Then with that lopping gait of a restless James Dean he walked toward the house.
Romano looked pretty confident, like a man who knew his way around. He paused only long enough to slide a hand down his pants to adjust himself. Then after combing back his slicked back pompadour, he walked up the steps and right through that door as if he belonged there — As if he owned the place — As if he owned the people inside!
Spike slammed the steering wheel with his fists. “The low-life, the scum,” he cursed under his breath. “I thought they were going to lock this guy up. Shit, does the guy have nine lives or something? Well, at least this bad guy wouldn’t be slipping through my fingers. Not with an arrest warrant for Grand Thief. I’ll get my collar.”
He backed up to the curb, turned the engine off and with one foot already out the door Spike said to Molly, “Hold tight, Sugar! I’ll be right back.”
It was late, already past dusk when Murphy spotted him, but it was Spike who went in after him . . .
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.
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