Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Circle, pt. 6
Note: This is the sixth of several installments from my latest work-in-progress, The Circle. If I knew how to make the copyright symbol on a MacBook keyboard, this is where you would find it. Don't steal my shit, man.
Barb came home to a blinking light on her answering machine. It was a message from ace TV guy Josh Stuck, offering her a late drink in exchange for some scoop on some dead hillbilly the police found at a bar near downtown.
Barb had received a dozen previous offers from Stuck to meet for a late drink, but she never took him up on it. He was pretty, to be sure, but he knew it. For Barb, the only thing worse than a vain guy was a married guy, and Stuck was that, too.
Barb was curious, however, about the dead hillbilly. She called the watch commander again, this time to ask about the report.
“Yep, you didn’t get this from me, but it was a Mendenhall; in fact, I think it was the son of that old lady you found this morning.”
Barbs jaw hit the floor.
“Um, who’s doing the paperwork? Is it Ed Hennessey? Surely he’s not handling both cases?”
The commander sighed on the other end.
“Yeah, of course he is. All I know is that Hennessey says his cousin was shot by the bartender and that’s that. Its fucking politics, Barb, and you don’t need to get yourself into it.”
That was the third time that day that Barb was told to mind her own business. It pissed her off enough to hang up the phone and call the pretty newsman.
They met around midnight in Broad Ripple, one of those neighborhoods packed with bars and restaurants that attracted young professionals on the make -- with or without their significant others. Stuck was at his cool best, and Barb flashed him just enough tits and teeth to keep him talking. According to Stuck, one of the technicians at the crime scene told him the wound in Tommy’s chest looked big enough to drive a truck through, but the only weapon they could find was a little .32 taped under the bar and it didn’t look like it had been fired. The bartender kept telling the cops that Tommy was chattering away one minute, then he was on the floor bleeding the next.
Barb found herself actually enjoying Stuck’s company. He described the scene thoroughly to her, sounding more like a professional and less like a bimbo than she had expected. He was funny; his faux-gruff impression of Ed Hennessey was dead-on. She caught herself laughing a few times. He wasn’t just pretty, but he wasn’t rugged, either. He was just really good looking, she thought. She started to wonder what kind of a kisser he might be. The fact that he was married mattered less and less by the minute. She didn’t do married guys as a rule, but she was horny and figured that Stuck would want to keep things cool and quiet as much as she would. At closing time, she invited him home for a nightcap.
They went back to her apartment. Barb didn’t bother to offer him that drink, or more small talk about the job. She threw Stuck on the couch and started making out with him. Within a few minutes, they were naked, with her riding him like a rodeo champion, pawing, groped and fucking each other until the first rays of dawn started poking through her Venetian blinds.
With the sun came Barbs senses. There was no guilt. Barb didn’t do guilt, having seen how a whole string of boyfriends used it to back her off whenever she demanded that they right a wrong. No, she was mad for being horny enough to convince herself that fucking a married man was worth the risk of being confronted by an angry wife, or gossiped about by other cops. Wronged wives craved vengeance and drama and cops craved any gossip that made others look bad.
Barb needed to know what was going on in Stuck’s head, so she purposely admired his big, gold wedding band and asked about his wife and their new baby. Rather than putting him on the defensive, he drooped his head slightly.
“Uh, actually, she took the baby and moved back to Jersey, Josh said. I guess things weren’t as good here for us as she had hoped.”
Barb didn’t know what to say. She expected Josh to be nervous and defensive, but his pitiful response didn’t suggest anything other than regret something she never expected. She was relieved to hear he was separated, but not because it removed the scarlet A from her chest. She was relieved because for a brief second she anticipated dating him again. She was starting to like this guy, whether she wanted to or not.
“Oh, hey, I didn’t know,” Barb said. “I’m sorry.”
Josh lifted his head up and managed a weak smile.
“Don’t sweat it; its not your problem.”
Barb smiled back and offered, “Well, if you want to hang out tonight, I wouldn’t mind the company...”
“Oh, no, no, its cool,” Josh said. “I’ve got a busy day today, anyway.”
“Well,” Barb started, “I want to keep quiet about this, about us, okay? I mean, it seems like its okay for guys on the department to fuck every stripper they can get their hands on, but its different for the women -- even the single ones.”
“Oh, hey, mums the word,” Josh quickly reassured her. “I would never say anything, Berry. You’re cool, really. I would never fuck things up for you.”
Barb knew Josh was serious, and she appreciated it. She leaned forward and hugged him. As she pulled away, he surprised her with a strong, deep kiss. She repeated her offer, and he smiled and politely declined. He showed himself out, but not before he asked to see her again. Without hesitating, she said “Yes.”
Barb closed the door and floated off to bed.