Has CC Mentioned She Writes Fiction?

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Hey, CC, can you write a story that can be read in five minutes?
I dunno, probably...

“If there were any other temp in the whole agency available today, I would be calling them,” Angelina Rossi, senior recruiter for TrustiTemps, was screaming into the phone.

We all have our little talents. James Cameron makes shitty movies, Julia Child cooks coq au vin, and I get fired.

“Since you only have me,” I mumbled, “where am I going?”

“Ronnie Chesterfield’s office. Typing and filing, thirteen an hour.”

“Ronnie Chesterfield? Like Mr. If you don’t get the house I don’t get my fee tv divorce lawyer Ronnie Chesterfield?”

“Just don’t get fired.”

“I won’t. It’s not even possible. How could I possibly get fired working for that sleaze?”

Just after the paralegal left for lunch, Ronnie got a weepy-voiced phone call. Weepy-voiced phone calls are pretty common in the divorce business. At Ronnie’s though, you could never tell if they were weeping over their cheating hubby or weeping over Ronnie, who was probably also cheating.

“Please, please," the woman wailed, "Ronnie needs to come over, right now!”

“Just a moment,” I said, ever the professional “Can I tell Mr. Chesterfield who is calling?”

“Tell him it’s Kitten," the woman stammered.

If I were as a bad a temp as Angelina thinks I am, I would have asked the lady to be more specific, but I just offered Mr. Chesterfield the call. He had me put her through. Five minutes later, he was getting his coat.

“Helen?” he asked.

“It’s Bell,” I said, “Bell or Annabella”

“I’m going to need you to come with me. One of my clients is about to have a bad run-in with her ex-husband. I want a woman along to take pictures of any injuries.”

He paused for a second in front of the mirror to fix his hair.

Kitten, whose name turned out to be Penelope Reed, lived in a Barbie-dream house in one of those gated communities. A perfectly manicured lawn was spoiled only by the dead body sprawled across the front porch and the police car that had taken out a small bank of pink impatiens in its hurry to park. On our way in I got some pictures of the body. Not exactly divorce case material, but they will look great in my scrapbook.

Inside, Kitten was holding court in a living room that looked like it had been designed by a Disney animator after a three day bender. She was draped across a pink loveseat with a skinny rookie cop at her side. A fat Lieutenant was sitting on a pink and white striped sofa. He was eating chocolates out of a box on the white marble coffee table. Mr. Reed must have been a hell of a guy to put up with her decorating alone. The entire room was pink and white, a color scheme marred only by the clashing red roses on the mantelpiece.

“Well, you know I had a restraining order. He comes to my door and he starts pounding on it, commanding me to let him in…I didn’t know what he was going to do with me if I did. I was so terrified. So I called my lawyer, then I went and got the gun I keep for protection, and when I opened the door, he lunged at me…and…”

She broke into deep, heaving sobs. Ronnie ran over to comfort her, but as he was about to touch her hands, a police officer grabbed his wrist.

“We’re going to have to test her for gunshot residue.” The lieutenant said, “but it’s just a formality. This looks like pretty clear self-defense. He was trespassing on your property, Ms. Reed, and you had the restraining order. The lab will want the gunshot residue, but it looks like it’s open and shut.”

“As long as you test the flowers.” I said. The whole room noticed me for the first time.

“What?” one cop said, but everyone else knew what I was talking about. Everyone turned to the flowers on the mantel, the ones that didn’t match, the ones that had no reason to have gunshot residue or blood on them at all—unless they had been plucked from Mr. Reed’s hands after he died. Men who are coming to hurt their ex-wives don’t bring flowers. Men who had been invited over by a wife asking for reconciliation but were met at the door by a wife with a loaded gun just might.

The lieutenant calmly swallowed what was in his mouth, then pulled out an evidence bag for the rest of the box of chocolates.

“Test the roses, Boys” he said.

As we watched the cops load Kitten into the back of the police car, Ronnie Chesterfield was silent. Finally, I said, “Think of it this way, criminal defense could be a whole new line of work for you.”

And that’s when I got fired.


posted by Chalicechick @ 11:28 PM  
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