Follow by Email

Saturday, December 28, 2013

On The Road Again

An Important Notice to Readers...


     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.


Thank You,

             
Beckett answers the door for a morning visitor
   
    The little sliver of sunlight from under the shade wasn't quite enough to wake her from that almost in-almost out, drowsy state of consciousness.  Instead, she cuddled in closer, tucking herself into the warmth of her husband's body, and allowing a slide back into foggy slumber.  Had anyone else been around, they might have noticed the Cheshire grin on her face, the proverbial kitty who swallowed the poor unsuspecting canary.  But as it was just the two of them, her reaction to the activities of the night before remained a treasured secret,  and with a sigh, she buried her face in his chest and let herself doze.

    It was the sound of a car's engine that shook Beckett instantly from his sleep, followed by a sharp series of raps at the wooden door.  Before Maureen could fully comprehend the sequence of events, Beckett put a hand over her mouth, and rolling her in the bed's top sheet, pushed her to the floor, with pantomimed instructions that she should slide under the massive frame.  If the bizarre nature of this so-called honeymoon had taught her anything, it was that her husband's lead needed to be followed.  Without a sound, she tightened the sheet around her bare form, and took her spot as ordered.

    From that position, she heard him fumble with the bedding, then watched him pad on bare feet to the door at the front of the room.  Without the slightest hesitation, he opened the door with one hand, the Glock G22 tucked into the back of his waistband, only to find an agitated Alberto standing on the stoop of the building.

    Seeing Beckett clad only in his boxers, the man looked at his feet, stammering out the words.  "I apologize, Colonel, for the early...interruption.  But we've had news.  Of the urgent kind."

      Beckett waved the man in.   "It's fine, my friend.  What's up?"

       The man hesitated,  his eyes skirting the room for the woman he met the night before.  "Your bride, Colonel?  I am free to speak?"

        "Go ahead, Al.  There's little I can keep from her at this point."  Calling across the room, he added, "You can come out, baby.  It's just Alberto.  The man you met yesterday."

         Wearing only the thin sheet, Maureen's voice called from under the bed.  "I'm perfectly fine here, Ted.  What's your friend doing here so early in the morning?"

         Beckett nodded, and the man continued.  "Seems you've rattled a few dangerous cages, Colonel.  Noise in the area says El Culebra has a price on your head.  A rather substantial one.  We need to move up your extraction before anyone is the wiser."

         "Damn.  So my cover here is shot?"

         "It appears that way, Colonel.  El Culebra's men have been showing your passport around.  Your lady's too.  I've been ordered to move you to a small air strip near Izamal.  Mostly crop dusters and a few sea planes.  We figured it would be the easiest way out of the country."

          "How soon do we need to leave, my friend?"

           "As soon as possible.  I'm to transport you myself."

            "And your sure El Culebra has possession of our passports?  There's no mistake?"

            "No, Sir.  I've seen them myself.  It is the safest plan of action.  The sooner we leave, the better."

            "Okay, Alberto.  You're right.  Just give us a minute to dress, and we'll be on our way.  Sweetheart, you heard the man.  You need to come out and get dress.  We're leaving shortly."

            From under the bed, Maureen opened her mouth to complain, but swallowed the words as a gun was fired, followed by a solid thump.  Frantic, she pushed her way out from under the heavy box springs.  There on the floor, not two feet from where she was hidden, lie the body of Alberto Arroya, an oozing bullet hole between his eyes, no doubt caused by the gun in her husband's hand.  Her mouth went dry, and her tongue felt like a dry wad of cotton, as she watched a pool of blood seep across the tiled floor.  "Is he...he dead?"

            Beckett nodded.  "I'm sorry you had to witness that, baby, but if it's any consolation, he drew first.  I was just faster.  Had no choice.  He was planning to kill us both."

          "But...but wasn't he supposed to be a friend of yours?  Somebody you trusted?"

           Her husband shrugged.  "Yeah...well that friend bullshit doesn't hold so true in my line of work. El Culebra must have offered a great price for our heads.  That's the way it works here, baby.  Sold to the highest bidder.  You need to get dressed pronto.  I'm sure once Arroyo doesn't return with news and photos of our demise, someone else will come looking."

            Maureen tried to keep her voice normal, but the sound that came out of her mouth sounded strangely three pitches too high.  "I still don't understand...how did you know he was gonna kill us?  It sounded to me like he was trying to be helpful."

            "It was his lie about the passports.  About El Culebra's men showing them around.  That would be impossible, as I have our passports hidden in the car outside."

________________________________

      By the end of the afternoon, Fr. Kevin and Roxanne were no closer to solving the mystery of the strange key, then they had been earlier that morning.  Visits to both of Dollyville's banks had proved fruitless, although they had determined that the key was, most likely, to some type of safety deposit box.  Unfortunately, it was not a fit to any of the boxes here in town.

      The bank manager at Paul Revere Savings and Loans had remarked that the key was for an older, vintage style of box, something from the 1940's was his guess.  That pre-dated it to any of the banks in the local area, as the oldest one hadn't been built until 1963. He suggested they do a search online, focusing on banks built in the late 1930's, or early 40's.  Now, over coffee and doughnuts, the two discussed their next move.

      "Honestly, Kev...I think we made great progress here.  At least we can rule out a large number of banks that were built more recently, and focus on the older ones.  That's a start at least."

       Wiping a dab of jelly doughnut from the corner of his mouth, Fr. Kevin shook his head.  "That still doesn't verify exactly where the box is, Rox.  There must be hundreds of old banks here in Massachusetts.  This key could fit a box in anyone of them.  It's like looking for a needle in a haystack."

      "You're giving up way too easy.  I still hold to the theory that the box is located somewhere close enough for the key holder to have access.  Otherwise it doesn't make sense to store anything in it if you have no ability to retrieve it in a timely manner."

        "I suppose that makes sense."  He pulled a smart phone from his pocket, and with a few swipes across the screen, brought up a map of the state.  "So where do we look next?"

         Roxanne leaned over, and studied the screen.  She pointed to a section of the map, and shook her head.  "These are all small towns.  Smaller even than Dollyville.  We could check, but it's my guess that  they don't have banks big enough for a whole safety deposit box system.  And several of them are suburbs of Boston that didn't exist 40 years ago. "  She sipped at her carmel mocha latte, and stared long and hard at the lit screen.  "Boston makes the most sense.  It's two only two hours away, and has multiple old banks."  She held the key up for both of them to examine.  "It just has that old proper feel to it...just like the city itself.  I say Boston is where we should look next."

        "Well, that's out of the question.  I can't spend days tromping from one bank to the next on some wild goose chase.  I've got responsibilities, you know.  Belkins is supposed to be be back in a week about the audit.  Plus, I need to be here for morning Mass.  It's impossible to get a substitute to come in during the summer months.  As much as I'd like to solve this mystery, Rox, I just don't have the time."

          She was quiet for a few moments, sipping her drink while the wheels turned in her head. Then, she reached across the table for his phone.  "May I?"

           He nodded, and watched as she searched page after page, scribbling information on the back of her napkin.  After several minutes, she slid the phone back to him.  "Okay...I've researched the general basics about all the banks in the Boston city limits.  There are only fifteen old enough to have boxes that require a key like this one.  If we leave right after 8:30 Mass, we can catch the 9:05 into Boston.  That would give us the whole day to check out these old banks, and still leave plenty of time to catch the last train back at 8:15 PM.  You'd only be gone for one day, Kevin.  Surely you're entitled to some personal time, aren't you?  Besides, it will give you an opportunity to check in on your mom.  See how she's doing after all the excitement of the wedding."

       There was little doubt he should have known better.  Roxanne was as capable as his sister Maureen in making him do things he knew he'd be better off not doing.  But a huge part of him was intrigued by the mystery key. It was the whole draw people seem to have over the desire to find buried treasure.  Plus, the crazy wedding, and his sister's mysterious disappearance on her honeymoon had left him edgy and anxious.  A day off to play detective seemed like a fun alternative to fussing over dusty ledger books.  Without much convincing, he let himself be sucked into her plan.  "Alright, Rox.  I'll give you the one day.  But if we don't find any answers in Boston, I'm through with this all.  I gotta focus on getting through this audit thing with the diocese."  He put his hand out for her to shake.  "One day, got it?"

        She giggled, and grabbing his hand, gave it a shake.  "It's a deal, Fr. Kevin.  One day is all I ask."


Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

   

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Banking On It

       

An Important Notice to Readers...


     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.


Thank You,


   The Author

                                                 
A field trip to the bank
      Roxanne stood, and brushed the dust off the front of her shirt.  With an exaggerated sigh, she opened Kevin's palm, and laid the metal treasure on it.  "Look, Kevin.  This key was found in your parish's old stuff.  As Pastor, that makes you responsible for it. If you chose to just...just ignore it...well, I guess that's your prerogative.  But it be a royal shame if this turns out to be something valuable that might make a big difference in your community, and you just let it slip away."  She looked at him with big brown doe eyes. "I'm just playing devil's advocate, you know."

       After living for years with his sister, Maureen, he should have been able to sense a snow job when it was burying him six feet deep.  He knew Roxie didn't give a hoot about the welfare of his parishioners, or his duties as Pastor.  It was the whole lure of an unsolved mystery that drove her conversation.  And if he had even one ounce of sensibility, he'd throw the damned thing back into the box, and forget he ever saw it.  But like his childhood friend, Fr. Kevin was a "fixer".  He needed all the pieces to fit, and for the picture to be whole.  This quirk to his personality had caused him enough trouble to last a lifetime, but for some reason, known only to the Almighty, he simply couldn't walk away until he at least tried to make things "right".  It was an essential part of his entire personae, and the key lying cool in his hand, was a siren calling out for an explanation.

       "You do realize, Rox, that trying to find the lock that this key opens would be next to impossible?
I mean, what's to say that the source is even here in Dollyville?  It could belong anywhere."

     Sensing she might have piqued his interest, Roxie threw together her best pitch.  "That is a possibility, Kevin.  But most people would want to keep their prized possessions near them.  You know...so they could retrieve them in a hurry.  It makes the most sense to start here in town.  Check out all the places that have storage lockers, or safety deposit boxes."  She grabbed a scrap of paper from the throw away pile, and a pen from her pocket.  "Let's start by making a list of all the possibilities in Dollyville."  With rapt attention, she held the pen to the paper, and waited for him to start the discussion.

        "I can't believe I'm letting you drag me into this, Roxanne.  I have a million things to do before that Belkins character returns to nail my hide to the wall.  I should be focusing on that, rather than playing Sherlock Holmes with you."

     "Oh really, Kevin O'Kenney!  You know you're just as curious as I to find out what this opens.  Besides, we've already made a lot of headway into this pile, and Belkins isn't due back for at least a week.  Plenty of time for us to wrap up this mystery, and still straighten up the church's accounts.  I promise ...I'll stay and help you with all of that, if you let me in on this little investigation."

     Fr. Kevin looked at his feet, not sure how he wanted to phrase the question.  "This could take awhile.  Don't you have to get back to Boston?  To your..uhmm...job?"

    Roxie shook her and snorted.  "Geez, Kev.  It's not like I'm a brain surgeon with patients waiting on
the table.  If I dance, I get paid.  That's how it works."  Seeing him turn several shades of pink, she added, "And I'm not ashamed of what I do, Fr. O'Kenney.  It's just a job.  I don't lie, steal or cheat, and I try to be a really good person.  I think that far outweighs whatever labels people put on me."

    Embarrassed, Fr. Kevin tried to justify his hesitation.  "I'm not judging you, Roxanne.  Honest, I'm not.  I think you're an awesome young woman.  It's just...you're so damned smart.  So analytical.  Funny and charming too.  You could do anything you set your heart on.  I don't get why you aren't chasing your dreams."

    "What makes you think I'm not doing just that, Kevin?  I have plans.  Big plans.  I want to start my own private investigation firm.  But that takes money.  Lots and lots of money.  Plus, I need to take the state licensing exam, and get some solid experience in law enforcement.  And none of that comes free, or without the educational background.  I pay my bills with my dancing, and it's a damn good living at that.  I've managed to put myself through Boston College for the past 4 years on what I can do on the pole, and I really don't care if people approve or not.  I will have my dreams, Kevin.  You can count on it.  But in the meantime, I can use all the experience I can get, so do you want my help, or don't you?"

      It was the fire in her eyes that tipped him toward the decision.  "Okay then, Miss Private I, what's our first move?"

     With a happy grin, she put the pen to paper.  "I think we should start with the banks.  I don't really believe this key is for a safety deposit box.  It seems the wrong shape and size, but it's best we rule that out officially.  What banks are here in town?"

      "There's only two that I know of large enough to have safety deposit boxes.  First National Bank of Massachusetts, and Paul Revere Savings and Loan.  The rest are just small branches with limited teller services, and ATMs."

      "Alrighty then.  I say we start there.  Talk to the bank manager, and see if they recognize the key.  Even if it is one of their keys, they probably won't give us access to it if we're not on the box holder record, but it's a start."  She folded the paper into her back pocket, and made her way towards the stairs.   "Give me twenty minutes to change into something fresh, and then we'll go visit both of these locations."

       Moved by her enthusiasm and energy, Fr. Kevin smiled.  "As you wish, Miss Holmes.  I await your return."

         With a giggle, she made her way down the storage room's narrow stairs, before stopping and calling back up.  "We are going have so much fun, Fr. Watson.  Just you wait and see."

         
Looking for answers

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2013
All Rights Reserved



   


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Key to It All

An Important Notice to Readers...


     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.


Thank You,


   The Author

Beckett traps Maureen under the bed

         For several seconds, Maureen blinked in the dark, squinting to make out the shapes around her.  The blackness seemed to have a life of its own, thick, large and powerful, and she struggled to avoid choking on her panic.  The smoke from the extinguished candle wafted across the room, and for some odd reason, it helped to focus her anger at her husband.  "This is ridiculous, Ted.  You stop this immediately. I mean it.  Relight that candle right now!  This isn't funny."

          There was no response.  Leaning in, she thought she heard a shuffle of movement to her right, just the slightest sense of motion near the front of the room.  Reflex took over, and she dropped to the floor, damned if she was going to make that easy of a target.  There was a swallowed chuckle from the same spot, and she strained her hearing to determine which way the footsteps were moving.  Sweeping a hand out, she could feel the wooden frame of the bed, and the empty space beneath it, a dark gaping hole.  Deciding it was best to stay low, she closed her eyes and slid under the bed, careful not to make a sound.

        He was remarkably light on his feet, but with an ear to the floor, she could feel the vibrations.  In her mind's eye, she figured him to be somewhere between the kiva and the bed, leaving her an escape from the frame's opposite side.  For several seconds, there was no movement, as both waited for the other's next move.  Maureen considered her options, trying to place the exact spot her husband was standing, when a hand snaked out and grabbed her left ankle, tugging hard to pull her out. She grabbed for the post, and held on, forcing him to tug harder.  There was no way she could keep hold, her fingers working hard to keep their grip.  When a thought came to mind, she smiled, and let go, allowing herself to be yanked out into the open.

         Even in the dark, she could hear the smugness in his voice, and imagine the smirk on his face.  "Looks like I win, Baby.  Nice try, though." He bent over to offer his hand, releasing the hold on her ankle.

         She raised her right arm in submissive resolution, and as he went to take hold, swung out her left leg, and caught him behind the knees.  He never saw it coming, and losing his balance, hit the floor with a thump and a grunt.  Wiggling away, she crawled across the floor and headed toward the stairs, not even sure where they lead.  Behind her, Beckett regained his composure, swearing under his breath, and pulling himself off the floor.

         With a giggle, and a racing heart, Maureen ran up the wooden stairs, and pushed open the heavy timber door, finding herself on the adobe's roof top.  The sky had cleared, and a small sliver of crescent moon sat east in the sky, amid an ocean of glittering stars, which provided enough light to make out the empty landscape, and the ragged hills to the west.  The beauty of it all was stunning, and in any other moment, she would have enjoyed the peace and solitude of the scenery.  But with the sound of her husband's footsteps on the stairs behind her, her only desire was for a place to hide, or a means to escape.
           
Going after Maureen, up on the rooftop
          The rooftop was bare, except for a small grotto and fountain in the corner, a shrine to Mexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the chimney belonging to the building's kiva. The door behind her burst open, and her husband stood in it's frame, his head barely clearing the top.  It was impossible to read his mood, his face blank, giving nothing away.  With nowhere to go, she began backing away, until she found herself in the furthest corner of the rooftop.  Looking over the side, she realized she was on the porch side of the building, the overhang only a few feet below her.  Without thinking, she raised a leg over the side, testing the length of the drop.  Turning back toward Beckett, she saw him loose his cool, his face going several shades lighter in the moonlight.

          "Damn it, Maureen!  Don't you dare!  I swear I'll...don't be foolish.  You're risking your safety...and the baby's.  I give up.  You win, okay.  I surrender.  Just come off that ledge."   He took a single step forward, and put his hand out.

          From her perch on the rooftop wall, Maureen tried to gauge his sincerity.  In truth, she had absolutely no plans to make the jump, but did he actually believe she might?  She watched his face,
looking for any sign he might be playing her.  Then with a sigh, swung both legs to the flat surface of the rooftop, and tentatively walked toward him.  "Okay, let's just call a truce.  No one wins.  No one looses.  How 'bout that, Ted?  Can we do that?"

         He nodded, and smiled, a full tooth grin.  "Sure, baby...anything you say.  A truce.  Actually, I'm quite impressed that you were able to take me down."

          Growing in confidence, she moved closer.  "Thanks.  I learned from the Master."

          "And the Master is quite pleased, as he didn't think you were paying a bit of attention to anything  he was teaching.  Although, I suggest next time, you draw your leg tighter around the knee."

         When she reached him, he opened his arms, for what she believed was to be an encompassing hug.  Instead, he grabbed her below the waist, and with very little effort, flipped her over his shoulder.
With her head hanging down, and her rear across his shoulder, he headed toward the stairs.

         Realization hit her, as her head bounced against the small of his back.  "But...but...you said we had a truce.  No winners, you said."

         "Yup.  I did say that.  And of course...I lied, Baby.  Just consider this another little lesson from the Master."

_____________________________________

        Roxanne handed over the pocket knife.  "Go ahead, Kev.  You do the honors.  This is pretty exciting."

       He took the offered knife, and thought a moment, leery of the unknown.  "Maybe we should just leave it be.  You know, the whole Pandora's box theory.  If it's been locked up here, maybe there's a reason for it."

      "Don't be ridiculous.  Do you really think something bad will coming flying out of it?  It's probably nothing, but you should really check.  What if it's something important about Holy Family?  It's your duty as Pastor to check it out."

       The whole situation had him thinking Genesis, and he looked at the box as if it were Eve's apple he was holding.  But he didn't wish to appear as some superstitious fool in front of Roxanne, and the reality was, the box was most likely just an old piece of junk.  He gave it a shake, and inside, something rattled.

      "Well...there's obviously something inside.  Go ahead.  Just open it, so we can get on with the rest of this sorting."

       Against all better judgement, Fr. Kevin stuck the end of the pen knife into the the lock.  Wiggling it around, he heard a click, and the latch sprung open with a pop.  The box held only a single item.  It was a small silver key on a long, hemp string.  Holding it up, it swung loose, looking strangely ominous in the normal surroundings of the storage shed, and despite the heat of the day, Fr. Kevin felt a shiver run down his spine.

       "It's a key."  Roxanne stuck out her hand, stopping the swinging.  "And there's a number on it."

       " A number?"

       She pulled the key closer to her line of vision.  "Yeah...457.  I wonder what it opens."

      "I don't know.  Could be just about anything.  Oh well, so much for treasure."  He dropped it back into the box, and shut the lid, secretly glad to have the thing out of sight.

       Roxanne grabbed the box out of his hands.  "Aren't you even the least bit curious?  This key has to open something.  Something important.  Why else would someone put it in a locked box?"  She flipped open the lid, and dragged the key out again.  "It looks like a key to a safety deposit box, doesn't it?"

      Kevin shrugged.  "I don't know.  I've never had a safety deposit box.  Besides, we have no idea where this so-called box might be.  Could be anywhere.  It would be near impossible to track it down without any additional information."

     "Oh, Kevin.  You have no imagination!  This is an adventure...right here under your nose.  How could you not want to...well...know?  Know how this mystery plays out?"

      Thinking about the last few mysteries that had dropped in his lap...Rivera's murder...the suitcase of the money in the confessional...the dead girl in the woods...the abandoned baby...Fr. Kevin shuddered. He seemed to have a knack for finding himself in the worst situations, and if the pattern held, this one would be no exception.
                                               
The mysterious key
______________________________

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

     

 

         

   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mango Tango

   

An Important Notice to Readers...


     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.


Thank You,


   The Author

         
The mango incident
     She hesitated a moment, blinking at the inky blackness outside the safety of the building.  He watched her indecision, confident in his appraisal of her psyche.  Then, as if a large hand had given her a shove to the back, she propelled herself out the door, and into the night.  From his vantage point on the sofa, Beckett sighed, and counted off the seconds in his head.  Six, seven, eight, nine... Before he could reach ten, she was back inside, slamming the door with a heavy thud, and throwing him murderous glances.

     Against all better judgement, he folded his hands across his chest, and asked, "Back so soon?  You didn't get very far."

     Maureen's reply was stalled as she struggled to slow her rapid breathing, beads of sweat forming at her hairline despite the cool temperature.  She leaned against the door, fingers grabbing the frame for extra support, and stared daggers at her husband of less than a week.  Then, without a word of anger, picked up a mango from a bowl Alberto had deposited there only moments before, and lobbed it at his reclining head.  It wasn't the reaction Beckett expected, and in his moment of hesitation, he made an easy target.   The ripe fruit caught him instead in the left shoulder, splattering gooey mango guts across his chest in a sticky mess.  Across the room, Maureen giggled, and grabbed for another, which might have this time hit its mark had not Alberto chosen that very moment to return with the needed supplies.

        The man stood in the doorway, bewildered at the crazy scene playing out in front of him.  But out of respect for the Colonel, he made no comment, and scurried about the adobe, stocking the cabinets, and wiping down the assorted furniture.  During his endeavors, the Colonel sat calmly on the sofa, fruit dripping down the fruit of his shirt, as his bride stood across the room, avoiding his eye, and picking at her fingernails.

          "You want I should make you a nice fire, Colonel?   Very romantic, for the senora, Sir."  He tried for a bland face, not wishing to offend, but couldn't help the corners of his mouth turning up.

          Throughout, Beckett had remained non-plussed, ignoring the wet glop, and remaining perfectly calm.  "That won't be necessary, Alberto.  The Missus and I will be...just fine.  Thank you for all your help, my friend."

       The little man bowed.  "Is no problem, Colonel.  I am happy to be of assistance.  I will return tomorrow with more groceries, and to see if there is anything else you will be needing.  Until then, I hope you and the Senora have a pleasant evening."  He nodded to Maureen, giving her a smile and a wink as he left, that turned her cheeks a deep, rosy pink.

       Maureen and Beckett remained silent and motionless until they heard the man's truck pull away from the deserted building.  She watched his face in the yellow lamp light, expressionless, except for a slight tightening of his jaw.  Then, he crooked a finger at her, and pointed to a spot next to him on the sofa.  It was obvious in her face that several notions were filtering through her mind, and she shook her head vigorously, while her fingers curled around another mango.

        Beckett stood, making himself a much bigger target, and arched an eye brow as he noted the position of her hand.  "I'd strongly advise against it, baby.  But you go ahead, and do what ya gotta do."  He took a step to the left, and ducked, just as the fruit whistled by his head, and came to a thump against the adobe wall.  He shook his head, and smiled.  "Aww now...you shouldn't have gone ahead and done that, sweetheart."  He stepped from around the sofa, and moved closer to where she was standing.  "You should know better than to set-up a challenge like this.   Nothing I like more."

       Maureen's hand rested on the door knob, indecision warring in her brain.  She pulled it open and peered outside, then quickly closed it, shutting her eyes and sighing.  Digging deep for courage, she grabbed another mango, and slid away from the exit.  She'd face him inside rather than risk whatever was outside in the dark.   "You stay away from me...you...you jerk!  I mean it.  As soon as it's daylight, I'm out of here."  She gripped the fruit tighter, her nails leaving little rivets of juice running off her fingers.  "And until then, you're gonna leave me the hell alone.  I mean it.  You stay on your side of the room...I'll stay on mine."

     Her husband moved slowly in her direction, and she flung the projectile, hitting him across the right temple and spraying the fruit pieces in all directions.  To her utter amazement, he grinned, and moved in the opposite direction away from her.  She watched in horror as he leaned over the table, and blew out the candle in the glass lamp, plunging the room in complete darkness.  "Game on, baby," he chuckled.

_______________________________________________

    During this particular week, if someone where to ask Fr. Kevin if he thought all people had some shred of goodness in them, he would surely have answered with a resounding "no".   It was his great misfortune to have made contact with three different people in the past several days, who he would be hard pressed to say anything nice about.

     As far as he knew, the psycho Cassie McKreedy was still out there, causing whatever havoc she might, despite Beckett's insistence, before he disappeared into thin air,  that everything was under control.  Then there was the downright horrible Tessa Peppers, who returned from the nut house simply to make his life miserable.  And now, as yet another plague upon his person, there was Samuel Belkins.  A mean-spirited, nasty little man who apparently viewed him as some kind of pariah to the priesthood because he wasn't much of a book keeper.

     Belkins had reviewed the parish financial records, and in his own words, had found them "sorely incomplete."  He had refused to grant Holy Family, or  Fr. Kevin, any type of long term extension to get things in order, and had stated he would be be back in one week to review the necessary changes.  This meant several grueling days, hauling down the stacks and stacks of old records left by his predecessor, and hours of time required to go through them all, to fulfill the auditor's demands.  With Maureen gone, he was short handed, and swallowing his pride, he was forced to ask Roxanne for help with the whole process, rather than admitting to any of his noisy parishioners that the church's finances were under a cloud.

     It had to be nearly a 100 degrees in the cramped storage room over the garage, and he regretted wearing the whole black suit complete with collar.  But with Roxie sitting next to him, alone in the tiny space, he felt it best to keep the atmosphere as professional and formal as he could.  But that didn't mean he wasn't sweating like a pig in the process.

     Admittedly, Roxanne had been a tremendous help.  She was an organized thinker, and had quickly come up with a system to sort the records into neat, logical piles.  And her pleasant demeanor and quirky conversation had made a difficult job less awful.  He was just about to suggest a break for dinner, when Roxie pulled out the strange locked box from an old crate.

   "Hey...what do you think this is?"  She ran a hand over the leather cover, wiping a layer of dust from its cracks and crevices.  There was a small padlock attached to the snap closure in the front, and she gave it a tug.  "Seems to be locked."  She handed the odd element to Kevin, who appeared just as clue less about it as she.

     "I don't know.  I've never seen it before.  I went through some of these bundles last summer, but gave up after a few days.  Most of them contained old church bulletins, and nonsense, so I figured I'd get to another time.  Never happened.  You know how that stuff goes.  Best laid plans."  He fingered the brass lock, adding his attempt to pull it apart.  "Maybe we can use a screwdriver, or something, to pop the lock?"

      With a laugh , Roxanne pulled a small pocket knife from her jeans, and held it up.  "Think this might work?  I'm seriously curious as to what's in that thing.  Maybe it's a pile of old money, or some valuable church relic?"

      "Here in the storage room at Holy Family?  Not a chance, Rox.  Those kinds of things never happen to someone like me."


Copyright  2013 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

       Hello to all my wonderful and loyal readers.  I have finally finished the first hectic trimester at the day job, with report cards and parent-teacher conferences now behind me.  Things should slow down just a bit, as we head into the last stretch of 2013.  This will hopefully allow me a little extra time to answer your lovely comments, and perhaps finish some crafting for a few upcoming scenes.  

I hope you are all enjoying the ups and downs of the crazy honeymoon, as well as life back in Dollyville.  Thank you so much for your continued support.  I am ever so grateful!

Best to you all,

Vicki






 
   

   

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Safe House


An Important Notice to Readers...


     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.


Thank You,


   The Author



Safe house

   
     With a full belly, and the exhaustion of the day settling in, it wasn't difficult to doze off in the quiet of the car, and the blandness of the scenery.  So when the movement of the vehicle came to a sudden halt, and Maureen opened her eyes, she was shocked to find herself surrounded on all sides by inky darkness, and without a single clue as to where they were.

       Next to her, Ted's face was reflected in the light from his smart phone, as he checked their destination against the coordinates on the screen.  Satisfied, he closed the app, and slid the phone back in his pocket.  "Glad you're awake, Sleeping Beauty.  We're here."

       "Here?  Where's here?  I can't see a single thing."  She peered through the window, squinting her eyes to adjust to the blackness.  "Except for that building over there.  The mud one."

         Without answering, Beckett left the car to come around, and open the door on her side.  Taking his offered hand, she slipped out of the seat, and joined him.  The night air was several degrees lower in temperature, and she shuddered, both from the cool air, and growing apprehension.  She wasn't a fan of the dark.  Never had been.  And this was, without question, the darkest dark she'd been exposed to in a very long time.

        As a kid, her friends had all been Girl Scouts.  It was the thing to do, and so, not wanting to be left out, or thought weird, she too had joined.  The early days were fine, existing mainly of weekly meetings, crafty projects, and the yearly cookie selling.  All things she heartily excelled at.  But then she had turned 11, and the "club" like atmosphere moved to the outdoors.  The first planned camping trip had filled her with absolute dread, and though she begged to be allowed to skip it, her parents had insisted the experience would be good for her.  She could garnish no sympathy from her siblings, except for Kevin, who knew very well that she slept every evening with a Miss Kitty night light securely plugged into the outlet next to her bed.

       In his compassion, he had purchased for her a sturdy flashlight, and several D batteries, from the local hardware store in the neighborhood, with the suggestion that she leave it on all night in her sleeping bag.  The first evening out, his idea worked like a charm, much to the annoyance of her tent mates, who complained that they could see the light pouring from the top of the bag.  She had tried all types of ways to dim the brightness, but her fear over rode the complaints of her friends, and the beacon stayed glowing the entire eight hours.  It was no surprise, therefore, when the fore mentioned flashlight went missing from her knapsack the following day.  Despite a stern lecture from the Troop leader, the  safety net remained gone, with not a soul admitting to filching it.

        She had spent that night lying in her sleeping bag, eyes wide open, teeth clamped in sheer mortal terror, listening to the breathing of her mates, and a myriad of strange noises outside the tent.  The following morning, she had phoned home, crying and pleading for someone to come pick her up, promising everlasting gratitude and a laundry list of additional chores.  Eventually, her tears moved her father, as they often did.  He made the four round-trip to bring her home, and her tenure as a Girl Scout was officially over.  But not her fear of the dark, which she carried all through high school, and into college, choosing room mates who didn't mind leaving a light, or the television, running 24/7.  Even with Ted, she'd leave on the tiny bulb over the stove, and if he had noticed, he had never mentioned it.  Now, standing here wrapped in layers of nothingness, it was an issue.

        Grabbing for her hand, Ted moved toward the building, but stopped when she stayed firmly rooted in place.  Arching an eyebrow, he let go of her hand.  "What's wrong, baby?  I know things have been kinda crazy, but I'll make it up to you.  You'll see.  It'll be like our own romantic get away. Promise."  He reached out and wrapped an arm around her, and noticed her chattering teeth.  "Are you cold?  I can get the beach jacket from the back seat."

       She shook her head, too embarrassed to look him in the eye.  "It's not the cold.  It's...I'm...it's the dark.  I don't...like when it's pitch dark.  Kinda freaks me out."

        There was a grunt, and without commenting, he slid the cell phone out of his pocket, and tapping the screen, brought up an app that produced a beam of bright light.  "See. No problem.  We have a flashlight.  Would you like to hold it?"

        She nodded, and handing her the phone, they walked the few feet to the low porch of the building.  The house was made of clay adobe, the walls rough stucco with timber trim.  The door was strangely unlocked, and slightly opened, but it gave Beckett no pause, and when his wife hesitated, he lifted her up and drew her over the threshold, then placed her upright in the center of a large room.  Using the phone, she swung the beam of light over the area around her, getting some sense of the room's layout.
                     
A look inside
        To the left was a round stone fire place, called a kiva, if she remembered correctly from Spanish class.  Adjacent to the kiva, there stood a large, wooden four post bed, charmingly rustic, and currently stripped of its bedding.  She pointed the phone across the room, noticing a small sink area, set with cabinets and a large cupboard, and surrounded by woven furniture set with brightly patterned cushions.  To the back of the building there was a steep set of stairs leading upward, and to its left, an arched, curtained doorway she desperately hoped was a bathroom.

          Even in the dark, the room seemed comfortably cozy, and Maureen felt along the walls for a light switch.  When she could feel no such thing, she turned to her husband.  "Please tell me this place has electricity."

          Shaking his head, he replied, "Nope.  No electricity.  Running water and a propane stove, but no electricity.  Not a problem.  I believe that's what those lamps are for on the table."  Before he could reach the table to light one, there was a sound from behind them, and voice filtered out from the dark behind the threshold.

           "Hands up, my friends.  Nice and high where I can see them."

            Standing next to him, Maureen could feel Ted stiffen, but watched as he raised his hands, and urged her to do the same.

            "Now turn around.  Slowly.  And keep those hands just as they are."  The portly man held a pistol in one hand, and shone a flashlight into their faces with the other.  Once satisfied, he slid the gun into his waistband, and put the flashlight down on the table next to the door.  Sticking out a hand, he replied, "It is you, amigo.  Sorry.  I needed to be sure."

            Maureen watched as her husband grasped the man's hand, and then patted him roughly on the back.

            "Baby, this is an old friend of mine...Alberto Arroyo. "

            The man took Maureen's hand, and pumped it vigorously.  "Buenas noches, Senora.  Congratulations on your marriage.  I don't think I'd live long enough to see my amigo here take a bride. But I can see why he was moved to do so."  The man smiled widely, showing off a prominent gap where one's front teeth should be.

             Confused as to why she was exchanging greetings with a man who only seconds ago held a gun to their backs, Maureen could only muster a quiet "thank you".  Then the man was scurrying about the room, dusting things off as he went, and chattering amicably.

            "I am sorry for the state of your lodgings, Colonel.  There was not much advance notice. I brought what I could for tonight, but I will be back tomorrow with additional supplies.  The message didn't say how long you were staying.  Do you have an extraction date as of yet?"

             Stretching out across the padded sofa, Beckett shook his head.  "No, not yet.  I expect I'll hear something within the next 48 hours or so.  Until then, I'm afraid we burden your hospitality, Alberto."

         "Is no burden, Colonel.  None at all.  I owe you a debt I can not repay in this lifetime.  Anything I can do for you, my friend, I will do gladly.  I have a few things in the truck...some groceries, some bedding, extra candles.  But I will be back first thing in the morning."  He turned toward Maureen, who still stood dumbfounded in the center of the room.  "I will do my best to make this a sweet place for love, Senora"  He gave her a wink, and for first time in her life, Maureen was glad for the lack of lighting, if only to hide the embarrassment and anger spreading across her face. "Now... if you'll excuse me for a moment, I will bring in the supplies from my truck."

       Maureen waited for the man to be out of hearing range, and then tore into her husband, who didn't seem in the least bit upset over the situation they found themselves in.  "Just what the hell is going on here, Ted?  You don't actually expect me to stay in this...this place, do you?  Why can't we just check into another resort.  Better yet...why don't we just forget this whole friggn' nightmare you call a honeymoon, and go home?  I've had just about enough of your idea of 'romantic'."

      Opening one eye, Beckett sighed, and sat upright.  "I understand your anger, baby.  And I'm sorry. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.  Shit happens.  We'll have to make the best of it.  In a few days, someone we'll come get us, and we'll be on our way home.  I promise."

      "A few days?  No frickn' way!  I'm not staying here a single night, do you understand me?  Not one solitary, stinkin' day.  And if you won't come...then I'll...I'll go myself.  I'm not kidding.  I'll take that car, and drive to the nearest airport, and fly home.  All by myself. "

       Ted made a face, and then cheerfully asked, "And just how do you propose to board any such plane without a passport?"

        Stumped for a second, Moe narrowed her eyes, then explained, "I'll find the US Consulate.  Explain everything.  They'll help me."

        "Hmmm...just how will you explain entering the country illegally under a false name?  They arrest people for that.  And don't forget...you're a wanted fugitive in Tulum.  That Sheriff didn't strike me as all that understanding."

         "I don't care.  I'll handle it myself.  I'm perfectly capable, you know.  I don't need a thing from you.  Besides, this all your fault.  Every bit of it.  If you had come to the beach with me, none of this would have happened.  You would have explained to the man with the silver that he can't cheat us just because we're Americans.  Instead, you had to be a lazy ass, and lie in bed all day.  Now we're stuck in the middle of Buck Fuck Egypt, with no electricity...in some...some Mexican hovel.  I've had enough, Ted Beckett.  Just hand me the keys to the car.  Right this instance."

        With a long sigh, he pulled the car keys out of his pocket, and dangled them in front of her.  "Okay, baby.  If that's what you want.  I'll trade you the keys for my cell phone."

        She hesitated for a second, and then thrust the phone at him.  "Fine.  Whatever.  Take your stupid cell phone.  Wouldn't want you to miss any important calls, or anything, you big jerk."  Grabbing the keys, she marched toward the door.  Then turning around, she flung one more sentence at him.  "And by the way, when you get home, don't even bother looking me up.  We're done, Mr. Beckett."

       Still on the sofa, Beckett threw an arm up in a mock salute.  "As you wish, Mrs. Beckett.  Safe trip home."  And then flashing an evil grin, added, "Oh...and be careful out there.  It's awfully dark."

Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2013
All Rights Reserved

   

     





Saturday, November 23, 2013

Running on Empty

         

An Important Notice to Readers...

     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.

Thank You,

   The Author



A stop along the get away route
       The beach cover up had fallen completely over her head, and all Maureen could do was hang on to the front of her husband's body, and swear like a shipyard sailor.  "You put me down now, you asshole!  I mean it!  All the blood's rushing to my head.  Do you hear me, Ted?  What the fuck is going on?"  There was a tinny ping as one the bullets hit a nearby light pole, garnishing her attention.  "What was that noise?  That metal sound? Was that a bullet?  Jesus H Christ, Ted, are people shooting at us?"
There was no time to answer, as she found herself unceremoniously dumped with shriek into the front seat of a strange car.

            "Stay low, baby.  Keep your head down."  In shock she watched him take aim, and fire off several shots of his own before sliding into the seat next to her.  Before she could utter a single word, the back windshield exploded into a million tiny pieces, and she clutched the seat as the car lurched into motion.  She felt Ted's hand on the back of her head, holding it firmly down, as the car seemed to spin 180 degrees, and then accelerate.  Hot air and dust blew in from the shattered back window, and she felt queasy and disoriented in the small space under the dashboard.  Through it all, her husband of three days remained silent, running his hand over her head and back, knocking away fragments of glass,  shushing away any questions, and keeping the car out of a ditch at 80 mph.

           This went on for nearly thirty terror- filled minutes, until the vehicle came to a slow stop, and she felt the pressure of his touch loosen up.  "I think we've lost them.  You can come sit up on the seat now if you'd like."

           It wasn't the words that shocked her.  It was the manner in which they were delivered.  Maureen lifted her sweaty face off the vinyl upholstery, and looked at her husband.  His face was was a mask of absolute calm, a bland topography showing none of the stress or strain of the past events.  It was totally unnatural, and more than a bit freaky, and not for the first time she wondered who the hell this man was that she had so firmly tied her life to.  She swatted away his offer to pull her up, and carefully worked at maneuvering herself out of the tight space, and into the seat next to him.

          Gathering as much dignity as one could wearing next to nothing, she folded her arms across her chest, and glared at him.  For a second, she thought she might have seen the corner of his mouth twitch,  but if he showed any sign of normal human angst, it was gone in a flash.  "I want to know what the hell is going on, Ted.  Right now.  This very instant.  Why were those men shooting at us?  Just what the shit is happening here."

         His answer was to motion to her to use the seat belt, which, all things considered, seemed utterly ridiculous.  Seeing he didn't intend to say a single thing until she was buckled in, she grabbed at the belt with an exaggerated sigh, and clicked it into place.  "Satisfied?"  When he nodded, and pulled the car back onto the road, Maureen returned to the conversation at hand.  "I deserve to know what's going on here, Ted.  You leave me sitting in that filthy jail cell for over five hours.  In a foreign country.  Alone." When her statements earned no response, she pushed harder.  "Then, when you finally decide to get off your lazy ass and come get me, we end up in some crazy made for TV gun battle.  People were shooting at us, Ted!  Real bullets!  I want to know why."

     "I'm sorry, baby.  Really I am.  After you left. I fell back to sleep.  Next thing I know, housekeeping is looking to clean the room, and it's after 3:00 PM."  His words were measured and slow, as if he were talking to a five year old, or possibly the village idiot.  "Then I couldn't find you anywhere.  Luckily, one the kids selling shit on the beach saw what happened, and told me the story.  I had to round up some transportation, and then I came to get to get you."  Satisfied with his story, and looking to change the subject, he smiled.  "Can you dig around in the glove box, and pull out the cell phone I left there?"

      His little explanation revealed nothing, but she complied with his request, and located the needed item.  He reached out to take it, but she pulled it away, and hid it behind her back.  "No so fast there, dear husband.  You still haven't explained why those men were trying to kill us."

      He frowned, and put his hand out again for the phone.  "It isn't important.  I'll take care of what needs to be done.  Just hand over that cell.  I need to make contact with someone."

     She pushed her hands further behind her, and scrunched as far away from him as she could.  "I beg to differ, Mr. Beckett.  When someone is trying to put a bullet into me, I consider it very important.  Explain.  Right now."

      He narrowed his eyes into two sky blue slits, and she knew that if they didn't end up dead along some deserted road in Mexico, he wouldn't forget her little attempt at dominance.  "It's best that you remain in the dark, but I can see that you are unwilling to let me handle this as I see fit."  He raised an eyebrow, and for a brief second, she considered handing over the item, and closing her mouth.  But her need to have all the facts over rode her better judgment, and she held her ground.  Beckett sensed her stubbornness, and continued.  "This all has to do with my other...profession.  The one I discussed with you on the day of our wedding."

       "The government thing?  The spy stuff?"

       He simply nodded, adding no explanation, and the craziness of it all pushed her over the top.  "You're telling me that you were doing spy business?  Here in Mexico?  On our honeymoon?" She waited for him to say something in his defense, but his eyes remained focused straight ahead on the road, and he offered no additional information.  Angry and confused, she tossed the cell phone into his lap, then stared out the passenger window at the bucolic Mexican scenery along their route.  She listened as he spoke softly to someone, picking out words like "mule", "safe house", and "extraction".  They drove on in silence for several miles, until he pulled in front of a small gas station, complete with a broken down building, and a few rusted pumps.

      Shutting off the engine, he turned and spoke.  "I'm stopping here for some gas.  Do you need to use the bathroom?  Are you hungry?  Should I get you something to eat or drink?"  When she didn't answer, he continued.  "I think it better that you stay here in the car, dressed as you are.  I'll see if I can't remedy that situation.  Be right back."

      Maureen watched as he disappeared into the small building.  She looked around at the scene painted around her, and tears welled in her eyes.  They were in the middle of God knows where.  The place was deserted except for an old man sitting on a bench near the store's entrance, and a young woman, very pregnant, feeding a handful of squawking chickens.  At the sight of the woman's round belly, Maureen's hand moved protectively to her own.  She figured to be about 12 weeks along now, her stomach still flat and toned, with just the beginning of fuller boobs.  She wondered how it would be, when she was ripe and round like the woman here in Mexico.  Wondered what their baby...she and Ted's... would look like.  And then the enormity of the entire situation hit, and the tears began in earnest.  Seeing her husband make his way back to the car, she wiped at them with the back of her hand, embarrassed at the thought he'd come back find her weak and crying.

       He deposited a large bag on the hood of the trunk, and then turned to the pumps to fill the car, checking his cell phone several times during the process.  When he finished, he retrieved the bag, and returned to the car, frowning at her red, swollen eyes.  From the bag, he pulled a white cotton dress, elastic at the collar, and embroidered with flowers in brilliant shades of red gold and green.  Where and how he had procured such a thing in this remote location was a mystery, but she'd be damned if she was going to give him the satisfaction of asking.

      He laid the dress in her lap, and continued foraging in the bag, until he came up with two bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola, wet with condensation, and a covered tin, smelling fragrant and delicious.  Her resolve to ignore him was severely tested, as her stomach rumbled with hunger.  Sensing he had a little red headed fish on the line, Beckett opened the lid on the tin, releasing the delicious aromas into the car.

       "Fresh tortillas, roast chicken and avocados.  Plus some sliced papaya for dessert.  I hope that's satisfactory?"

       She wanted the will power to tell him to take his meal, and shove it up his ass.  Prayed she'd be able to turn away and ignore his smug, arrogant face.  But in truth, she was tired, scared and starving, and right this very minute, that meal looked like the greatest feast ever created.  She reached out for the container, but he pulled it back, much as she had done earlier with the cell phone.  For a second, she figured it was pay back time, but instead, he placed the meal on the dashboard, and took the dress from her lap.

      "First, let me help make you more...presentable."  He fiddled with the seat belt, untied the beach jacket, then tossed the dress over her head, pulling her arms through the sleeves, and spending more time than was necessary adjusting her boobs into the elasticized bodice.  When he finished, he spread the empty bag on her lap, placed the container on it, and opened the bottle of Coke using a enormous knife that some how appeared from under the seat.  "Bon appetite, baby.  I expect you to finish the entire thing, including the fruit."

      "Aren't you going to have any?"

      "No.  I'm fine.  That's all for you.  Go ahead.  Eat."

       Giving into her hunger, she began to stack the meat and the avocado onto the steaming tortillas, as Beckett turned the key in the ignition, and pulled back on to the deserted road.  They had gone only a few feet, when he suddenly pulled to the side, and hopped out of the car, leaving the driver's side open.  Alarmed, Maureen looked up from her food, only to see her husband fuss at the plants growing wild along side the road.  She watched in amazement as he made his way back to the car, a large white plumeria blossom in his hand.  Once inside the car, he leaned over and tucked the perfumed bloom behind her ear, kissing her long and hard as he did so.

     
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus  2013
All Rights Reserved
     

     






       

         

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Trouble Knocks Twice



An Important Notice to Readers...

     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.

Thank You,

   The Author


Making a run for it

     Voice lowered, Beckett forced a smile, and pushed the words through his teeth.  "I understand your anger...dear.  But we need to leave.  Now."  He reached out to take hold of her arm, but she wriggled out of his grasp.  Then with a turn and a flounce, marched back into the cell, and loudly sighing, plopped herself on the same bench she had occupied for the last five hours.

     "You know what?  I have no intention of going anywhere with you  You just run along, you...you jerk.  I'm gonna stay right here until one of my brothers can come get me."  Pulling the beach jacket tightly around herself, she folded her hands primly in her lap, and stuck her chin in the air.

    In any other situation, at any other time, Beckett would have enjoyed the challenge her show of will invited.  But with the mule's arrival at any given minute, there was no opportunity to play the game.  Without a word of warning, he marched into the cell, picked his wife off the bench, and threw her over his shoulder as if she were a large duffel bag.  Caught off guard, upside down, with the beach coat falling over her head, there was little the red head could do except shriek and flail, her hands reaching out to try and grab something to hang onto.

    It was to this scene that the mule returned, his good arm full of covered dishes.  He took in the sight of his prisoner thrown over the shoulder of some man in a Panama hat, who he presumed was her late arriving spouse.  But it wasn't the husband he was interested in.  His eyes were drawn to the struggling woman who was desperately trying to hang on to her bikini top, and to her rounded ass barely covered by the tiny piece of green bathing suit.  It was therefore several seconds before he bothered to actual look at the man that was doing the transporting, allowing Beckett the smallest opportunity to pass by him, head for the front door, before he was recognized.

     Behind him, he could hear the clatter of broken glass, as the dishes the mule was holding fell to the floor.  Rounding through the front door of the police station, Maureen bouncing against his back, he worked his free hand to his waistband of pants, and pulled the Smith and Wesson loose, as the first barrage of bullets whizzed by his head.

___________________________________
                 
Fr. Kevin and Samuel Belkins
      According to Fr. Kevin's experience, when the week started out bad, it usually stayed that way for the entire miserable duration, with a brand new Sunday necessary to break the cycle.  And if the past few days were any indication, the rest of the this week would be a true character builder.  There was still the worry about Maureen lodged in the back of his head, despite insistence from the rest of the family that Ted was perfectly capable of taking care of their sister.  He envied their blissful ignorance.  They didn't know a thing about the crazy nut job stalking their new brother-in-law.  Or about Beckett's strange ways.  His secrecy and disappearing acts.  His connections to all kinds of shadowy people.  Nope.  They explained Maureen and Ted's abrupt departure as a pair of lovers who wanted their privacy.  But try as he could, Kevin couldn't shake his feelings of apprehension about his sister's safety.

        Then, of course, there was the sudden, shocking appearance of Tessa Peppers at his door, and the whole fiasco regarding the death of her dog.  She had promised to "rain hell" on him, and although the logical part of his brain told him she was a harmless old woman, racked with mental illness, and safely locked in a mental institution, his imagination ran crazy with all types of horrible scenarios involving his demise.  So when a knock came at the front door of the rectory on a rainy Wednesday morning, he should have known his visitor was not from Publisher's Clearing House with a million dollar prize.

       The gentleman stood on the porch with an air of stifled pompousness, the type that his brother Brendan would say was born with a stick up his ass.  Despite the uncomfortable humidity, the man was dressed in full business array, and carried a worn portfolio bulging with its load.  Mustering up his best Pastor personae, Kevin opened the door.
     
         "Fr. Kevin O'Kenney?"

         "Yes.  I'm he."

          The man stuck out a stiff, sweaty hand, which Kevin felt obliged to shake.  "I'm Samuel Belkins.
From the diocese.  I'm here to handle your audit."

           "Audit?"

           "Yes, Father.  All parishes are audited every seven years.  Diocese policy.  I'm sure you were notified."

           Kevin racked his brain, trying desperately to remember ever receiving such notification.  The last month had been a blur with the arrangements for the wedding, but he was sure if he had received something as important as this, he would have remembered.  "I'm sorry, Mr...uh..uh.."

          "Belkins.  Samuel Belkins."

          "I don't seem to recall knowing anything about this, Mr. Belkins."

          "None the less, Fr. O'Kenney, as I am already here, I might as well take care of business.  Holy Family is a small parish.  This shouldn't take very long if your accounts are in order.  They are in order, are they not, Father?


Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

       





 

 

 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Someday My Prince Will Come


An Important Notice to Readers...

     Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience.  Please be advised.

Thank You,

   The Author

                               
Beckett listens in at the police station window in downtown Tulum

       It was the grand daddy of worst case scenarios.  A major cluster fuck surely bestowed on him from the will of angry Mayan gods.  Beckett leaned against the wall, and struggled to clear his racing mind.  Any chance of him retrieving Maureen with a minimum of fuss was over.  There was little doubt the mule would instantly recognize him.  He hadn't bothered at all to hide his identity during last night's mission.  In his defense, it was supposed to be a simple drop...pre-arranged and pre-packaged with very little hint of threat.  And it was certainly now obvious that the mule and his people hadn't expected the US agent to leave the fort breathing, so no protocol was taken to hide anything on their side.  All of which led to the glaring fact that he and his wife were in a heap of shit.

       Any acknowledgement of Maureen on his part would now simply put her at greater risk.  As it stood, the asshole just thought he had the wife of a wealthy tourista.  She was currently an opportunity to make a few easy bucks, and nothing more.  But once Beckett became involved, and it was made clear that she was of any importance to him, the stakes grew to an alarming level.  He considered calling for back-up, then quickly dismissed the idea.  It would take hours to get a team down here, as well as require more explaining than he was willing to do.  In addition, there was always the slight risk that his wife would be caught in the crossfire of any exchange of gun fire, and that was a risk he was unwilling to take.   Maureen needed to be extracted in the safest mode possible, and his brain filed through a million possibilities.  The Mayan gods who first cursed him with this situation must have been fickle, because it was in that instant, he heard the man inside give him the slimmest slice of opportunity.

      "Little chica...it gots to be around five o'clock.  You must be mucho hungry by now.  How 'bout I get you somthin' to eat, eh?  You like some carnitas, huh?  Maybe some fish?"

        At first there was no response, and then Beckett heard a muffled response from the furthest corner of the cell.  "No thank you.  I don't want anything from you.  My husband should be here any minute now."

        "Chica...you been here nearly five hours...and no sign of your Mister.  Maybe he forgot about you?  Havn' too much of a good time to come look.  He mus' be some kinda fool...leavn' a beautiful lady like you all alone.  Ifs you were mine, chica...I'd never let ya out of my sight."

         Pressed against the hard surface of the bricks, Beckett let the fury wash over him.  He wanted nothing more than to burst into that station, and rip the man's face right off of his skull.  Put his thumbs into the mule's eye sockets, and watch his eyes slide out with a satisfying pop.  It was only the image of Maureen, tiny and scared, huddled in the corner of that cell, that brought him back to the problem at hand.  Come on, baby.  Ask for something to eat.  Anything that will get him out of this building. 

        "No sense you sittn' here hungry, senora.  If your Mister comes, I don't want him thinkn' we didn't treat you first rate, huh?  I'm gonna get something for myself.  Some nice carne asada.  Maybe I should bring you some?"

         "Come on, baby,  Just this once... cooperate."

         There was no answer from Maureen, and Beckett cursed her stubbornness.  She could be ornery as hell when she wanted to be, and it was unlikely she'd let the lecherous bastard do anything at all for her.  To his surprise, and great relief, she relented.

         "Well, maybe I could have something to drink?  A Pepsi?  Something like that?"

         "For sure, senora.  I bring you a Pepsi.  Anything else?  Don't be shy, chica.  You need to keep up your strength."

          The leer in his voice went through Beckett like a heated blade, and his hands curled around the weapon stuck in his waistband.  Ask for something, baby!  Something he has to go out for.

           "I guess I am sort of hungry.  Whatever you're having is fine.  But...I'm not going to be here very long.  My husband will be coming shortly.  I'm...sure of it."

           It was the hesitation in her voice.  The little wiggle of doubt in her words that cut into what was left of his soul.  For a second he hated himself.  Loathed who he was, and how he lived.  But the self-pity would have to wait.  He'd have only the smallest window of time to go in and free his wife before the mule returned.  Beckett prayed to whatever god was still bothering to listen to him that the other deputy was as corrupt as he thought, and willing to cheat his partner out of an equal cut.

           A few minutes later, he heard the swoosh of the front glass door, and the sound of a car pulling out of a gravel parking lot.  He slid around the corner of the building, and pulling the hat lower over his face, entered the station.  As predicted, the second lone officer sat behind a wooden desk, rapt attention given to the screen of his cell phone.

           "Excuse me, Sir.  I was told my wife was arrested, and taken here.  Here name is Margaret Baker."

           The man didn't raise his eyes, and instead held up a finger to signal that he should wait.  Beckett watched as the guy manipulated his screen with his fingers, stopping only as the minutes clicked by, and then slamming the phone down with a string of obscenities.

            "Damn Candy Crush!  Been on the same level for a fuckn' week!  Never should have started with that thing."  He picked up a stack of papers, and shuffled through them.  "You are here for the lady, senor? "

             "Si.  There must be some type of misunderstanding.  My wife and I are not the kind of people who get...arrested.  May I ask what the charges are?"

             The deputy picked up a sheet of paper off the stack in front of him.  "She was arrested for theft, disorderly conduct, and resisting an officer.  It seems she stole a silver bracelet from a beach vendor...a Mr. Sam Vargas.  Then, when my superior came, she raised a fuss, and took a swing at the arresting officer.  Some very serious charges, Senor Baker."

            Polishing the appearance of anxiety and shock, Beckett stuttered.  "My wife did that?  I...I can't believe it.  That's not like her at all.  I can't imagine why she'd do such a thing."

            The man behind the desk nodded in sympathy.  "It happens, Senor.  The ladies... they come down for vacation.  Have too much of a good time."  He mimicked the motions of drinking several glasses.  "Then they forget to behave themselves.  We see it quite often, Senor."

            "But...what should I do.  Should I call the US Consulate?  My attorney?  I've never handled anything like this before."  He wrung his hands, and fidgeted, waiting for the deputy to make the first move.

         As expected, the man smiled, and looked up at him, replacing the paper on top of the stack, and shoving it to the side.  "You can do all of those things, Senor.  But in the mean time, your pretty lady stays locked up here.  Not a very good vacation, eh?  You can just pay the fine, and be on your way.  Back to the beaches, and your happy time.  So much simpler, is it not?"  He folded his hands and waited patiently.

         "A fine?  Well, that does sound like the easier way to go.  And much more discreet.  How much is the amount?"

        The man help up two fingers.  "Dos, Senor."

        Playing along, Beckett asked, "Two hundred?"

        The man laughed and patted his immense belly.  "You are a funny man, Senor.  The fine is for
$2000.00"

        Beckett could feel his pulse return to normal.  Things were going as planned.  "$2000.00?  That does seem a bit...excessive.  Are you sure that's the right amount?"

       The deputy continued to hold the same bland smile.  "Si, Senor.  Of course, you have other...alternatives.  But your lovely lady spends the night here. Alone."  He held the word "alone" a second longer for added emphasis.

       He was almost home free.  "Of course.  You're right.  The sooner we take care of this, the better."
The man watched as Beckett pulled a roll of hundreds out of his pocket, and counted out $2000.00.  "There you go, Sir.  $2000.00.  If I could please see my wife now?"

      A hand swept out and brushed the money into a drawer.  "I'm glad you have thought this out so wisely, Senor.  I will be happy to bring you your lady...as soon as my boss returns from his errand.  We will need his signature on these papers before we can let her go.  He should be back very soon.  Just ran out for a bite to eat."

      Beckett shuffled his feet.  This wrinkle was not unexpected.  He'd just have to hope the fat officer was as greedy as he believed.  And if he turned out not to be right, taking down one man was still a hell of a lot easier than taking down two.  "Damn!  Do you know long he'll be?  I'd just like to take my wife, and get the hell out of here. Put this behind us."

      The man shook his head.  " I'm sorry, Senor.  I can't release her.  Only my superior can."

      Sliding his hand into his pocket, Beckett produced the wad of money.  "Look, my friend.  I'm not sure this is allowed...and I mean no disrespect...but how about I pay you for the extra trouble?"  He peeled off another ten hundred dollar bills, and laid them on the desk.  "Maybe you and your superior could split this...additional gratuity?"

       For a second, the man eyed the money, calculating the possibilities.  Then, he shook his head no, and slid the money back toward Beckett.  "I'm sorry, Senor.  I don't think my partner would agree."

       With an exaggerated sigh, Beckett counted out the remaining money from the roll, placing an additional two grand on top of the other cash.  "That's all of it.  All the cash I have.  That's $5000.00.
I'm sure the two of you can figure out an amicable way of sharing it, yes?"

       With a grin, the deputy shuffled up the bills, and tucked them into his shirt pocket.  "I think maybe I can make an exception...just this one time."  He rose from the chair, and motioned for Beckett to follow him.  The two men headed toward the lock-up at the back of the building.  "I am sure your lady will be most happy to see you, Senor.  She's been here quite some time."  He let out a giggle that sounded oddly silly from a man his size.

        He saw her before she saw him.  Maureen was still tucked in the tight corner of the bench, eyes closed, feet tucked under her, and the beach cover up pulled down as far as possible.  Hearing the click of the electric locks, her eyes fluttered open, catching the first sight of her husband.  Her pupils went round with happy relief, and he was never more grateful to see anything in his life.  Then just as quickly, those green cat eyes narrowed into tiny slits, and with hands on hips she growled, "About time, asshole."

     Next to him, the deputy let out another giggle.  Though truthfully deserved, it wasn't the reunion he wanted to have right at this very minute.  He reached out to take her hand, only to have her slap it away. "Don't you dare touch, me...you thoughtless sonofabitch."

   
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved

To all my wonderful, loyal readers...

      I apologize for being unable to respond to your very kind comments.  The RL day job has been crazy difficult this year, leaving very little free time.  Know that I appreciate everyone of you who read this storyline faithfully.  I am working hard to keep a post going up each week, and hope you are enjoying Maureen and Ted's crazy adventures.  I will try to get back to each of you this week.

Best wishes to you all,

Vicki