It’s time for another 3WW. I’ve missed the last couple of weeks because of personal issues. Some of you know that hubby and I adopted our son in February. Two weeks ago CPS placed a four-day-old baby in our home. It was pretty crazy and VERY hard. We only had her for eight days, but we loved her with everything we had for those short days. Baby has moved on now, and so have hubby and I. As of yesterday we are no longer foster parents. We have decided to take a year or so off and love our son, and maybe when he is a little older and can understand why suddenly he had a sister and then just as suddenly he didn’t, we will go through the process again. It has been incredibly hard on us, our son, our friends and our extended families. But as with everything in life, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, hug the ones you love and keep going.
Here is my continuation of past 3WW. The nine words for this “episode” are:
I leaned closer to Jason and lowered my voice. “Have you told anyone else that you saw the killer?”
“No. I didn’t know what to do.” Shame wrote itself in the lines of his acne scarred face. “I was afraid the demon would come after me next.”
I watched tears fill his eyes. “You’re doing okay, Jason. Just a little more help and it will be over, okay?”
“Do they have beer here? I’d really like another beer.”
I shook my head. Jason damn sure didn’t need anything else to lubricate his memories. “Will you go to the station with me? There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Who?” The word exploded out of him with so much fear and desperation it made me flinch.
“Her name’s Cara. She’s a sketch artist. If you can tell her what the … demon looked like, maybe we can find him.”
“You’ll punish him for hurting Marie, right?”
Jesus, you’d think she was a saint to hear the reverence in his voice. “Yes, Jason. I’d very much like to punish him.”
It took me a few more minutes to persuade him to come to the station with me, but he finally got into my car.
I rolled down the windows to let in the crisp night air, and hopefully blow away some of the reek that followed the poor kid around. He seriously needed a shower.
When we pulled into the brightly lit parking lot, I almost expected him to bolt, but he surprised me by getting out of the car, squaring his shoulders and calmly walking toward the door.
I got him settled at my desk with a cup of lukewarm coffee and called Cara.
“Yeah.” Her normally brash voice was sleepy. I glanced at the clock and swore. It was almost two in the morning.
“Sorry, Cara. Didn’t realize it was this late.”
“Yeah, it’s me.” She was the only person on the planet allowed to call me Lizzy, besides my dad.
“You do realize it is 1:48, right? In the morning.”
I could hear her yawn and winced when her jaw popped. “I didn’t until you answered the phone.”
“So, why did you wake me up? I was seriously dreaming about that new guy.”
“Sanders? The rookie? What the hell?”
“Yeah. Well, a girl can’t wait around for you forever.” It was an old joke between us. We’d been roommates in college and I’d learned a lot from Cara.
I’d only had one serious boyfriend before leaving home and sex between us had been terrible. After one too many beers, I’d spilled my story to Cara. She’d made it her sole purpose in life to teach me how good it could really be. In bed or out. She was the first and only woman I’d ever slept with.
As exciting as it had been, learning from her and with her – she gave me an up close and personal tutorial on the correct way to give a blow job – we were much better off as friends. I was totally heterosexual. Women were beautiful and sexy, but they just didn’t do it for me. Not the way a man did.
“Still with me, Lizzy baby?” She was practically purring.
“Yeah. Sorry, Cara. Took a little trip down Memory Lane.”
“Okay. New subject. I need you to come down to the station. I’ve got a witness who saw the O’Malley killer.”
“No shit?” All traces of humor fled her voice.
“None whatsoever. So, can you get your ass down here or what?”
“Girlfriend, you’re gonna owe me big.”
“I already do.”
I could hear the sheets rustling as she slid out of bed. “Give me twenty minutes and I’ll be there.”
“Thanks, Cara.” She’d already hung up.
So, what to do with Jason for twenty minutes. Spotting the officer Cara was currently lusting after, I yelled across the squad room, “Hey Sanders. Got any spare clothes?”
Seventeen minutes later, a freshly showered and shaved Jason emerged from the men’s locker room, dressed in Sanders’ street clothes. The jeans bagged on his skinny hips and the tee shirt looked like a dress on him, but the odoriferous cloud that had been following him around all night was gone.
He gave me a sheepish grin as he sat down next to my desk. “Officer Sanders told me I’d better be nice to the artist or else.”
Well. Maybe Cara’s lust wasn’t one sided. Young Officer Sanders seemed to have an interest in her, and had already staked his claim to Jason.
Five minutes later, Cara walked in and every eye in the place was trained on her. Tall and slim, she had a grace that was obvious even though she wore loose jeans and a man’s button down shirt.
Her long red hair was pulled up in a haphazard ponytail and curly tendrils escaped to frame a gentle face scrubbed free of makeup.
“Hey sweetie,” she greeted me with a hug before sniffing my hair and grimacing. “Lord, Lizzie, you smell like the bottom of an ashtray.”
“Thanks.” I turned and introduced her to Jason.
“Just answer her questions as best you can and maybe we can get a good sketch of the man who hurt Marie.”
He looked at me and I was finally able to see past the scared junkie to the man underneath. He nodded once and focused his attention on Cara.
I watched for a few minutes before wandering off to get another cup of the muddy brew that passed for coffee.
At night the station is far from silent, but not nearly as crazy as during the day. Conversations ebb and rise in the dimmer lighting. Low laughter can be heard closer to the coffee pot and soft crying and loud cursing echo near in-take.
It only took a minute to negotiate my way around the station to watch as a line of prostitutes were processed. Most were hard-faced and answered the questions asked of them in single words. There were a few sobs and protests of innocence, but the majority of them had been here so often that this was just another routine.
Every now and then you could hear the random ringing of a telephone, but everything fades into a background static at night. I’d started as a rookie on nights. Years ago. Some days it seems like an eternity ago. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not that old, but time isn’t always kind. I still had mostly dark hair, only a few lines around my eyes and gravity hasn’t taken over my body yet.
I strolled back toward my desk to see if Jason had made any progress yet and saw Cara’s face blanch. A hot flash of anger ignited inside me and I rushed over.
“What the hell did you say to her, you son of a bitch?” I fisted the loose material of Jason’s tee shirt in my hand, when what I longed to do was strangle him.
“Lizzy. Calm down. It wasn’t him.” I swung my gaze to Cara and she met my eyes with a sad little smile. “Look.”
My hands went numb and I let go of Jason’s shirt when I saw the sketch. “There’s no way. It can’t be.”
“That’s what I thought too.” I could see the concern in her eyes and I quickly looked away. I didn’t want her pity.
“Are you sure this is your demon, Jason?” I was standing close enough to smell the minty toothpaste he’d used and the coffee that he’d just been drinking.
He nodded quickly, eyes never leaving Cara’s sketch.
“‘The business of life is to be, to do, to do without and to depart.’ That’s the quote he used to leave behind. Isn’t it, Lizzy?”
Goosebumps rushed across my skin. I hated that quote. “Yeah.”
She wrinkled her nose like she could smell something rotten. “He’s dead, though. You killed him.”
And that wraps up this week’s 3WW offering. Visit 3 Word Wednesday for more inspiration.