Authors: Art Bourgeau
Her reflection was fragmented in the panes. The moon,
the bricks, the light . . . Yes, it was so like that night. The house
was dark. The moon was shining like now. Except it was warmer then.
Summer. She remembered the moon, a bright reflection in the water of
the swimming pool. And she saw him again . . . He was carrying two
candlesticks. Mom's candlesticks. "Get up. Bring it," he
said. She sat up and swung her feet to the floor, the pull of her
stitches again filling her belly with pain. She didn't resist.
Whatever came next couldn't be worse than what had already happened.
The bundle felt so light in her arms. Funny how
something as small could cause so much pain.
At the door he gave her one of the candles, and their
eyes met for a moment. His seemed especially bright in the
candlelight. She followed him down the dark stairs. At the bottom he
told her to go ahead of him. They made a strange procession. She
barefoot wearing panties and a Rolling Stones T-shirt, stitches
burning with each step. He in madras slacks, golf shirt, looking like
a gin-and-tonic ad. Step by step, they marched. Solemn. Step by step.
Outside, the night was warm, humid. The air smelled
of fresh-cut grass. She thought that the gardeners must have been
there. Step by step they marched across the patio bricks.
Ahead in the moonlight just beyond the pool was the
gas grill. They moved toward it. He raised the lid. "Put it
here," he said. She did as he told her.
"Now cover it with charcoal," he said,
indicating a bag beside the grill. She picked up the charcoal and
managed to shake out the briquets without having to touch them and
get her fingers all black. When she was finished she stepped back,
and he handed back her candle.
And then he turned on the gas.
Why? Still looking out the French doors, she tried to
remember his answer. And then she remembered too well . . .
"Because it was a boy." He'd said it so
quietly, under his breath, she almost hadn't heard it, but she had,
and remembering it now, it explained everything. She could never make
him love her. She was not what he wanted. Never had been. And this
bastard boy-child had been the final straw. Too cruel a joke for him
to accept. Better to destroy it and make her suffer for the bitter
disappointment she'd been to him. "Bastard, bastard . . ."
The next day she had tried
to kill herself . . . and the day after . . . until at the hospital
the drugs and the shock therapies erased her memory of it—at least
of the birth and death of the infant "Peter," as her father
had called it later that dark summer night . . .
* * *
She turned from the French doors and looked at the
study. She had always been told by her father, and had believed, that
the baby had been aborted at the hospital, that her loss of memory
was from anesthetic shock.
She stood behind his chair and put her hands on the
back, like it was his shoulders, and she was massaging away the
tension in them the way she had done so many times when he was alive.
"Was I that much of a disappointment?" she
said softly. "I did all I could to please you, even trying to be
a boy, your son, as well as your daughter. Wasn't that enough?"
No, it wasn't. "Well, screw you . . ."
She went to the safe, remembering the combination
now. Turning the dial, she stopped at the numbers corresponding to
the last four digits of the home phone number, with the last, the
door opened. She reached inside and brought out five thick packets of
hundred dollar bills.
Hefting them in her hand, she said, in Peter's voice,
"Cyrus, you old bastard. There must be at least twenty-five
thousand here. More than enough to get a smart fellow like me on his
feet in Los Angeles."
She left the house the way she had come, pausing only
to pick up a bottle of brandy and a bottle of vodka from the bar on
her way out.
Inside the car she looked in the mirror and stroked
her beard. "Los Angeles, land of angels and beautiful young
women. Here I come . . ."
She maneuvered down the
drive with the lights off, only turning them on once she reached the
road. She waited for a car to pass, then pulled out. She did not look
back at the darkened house.
* * *
The easiest route to take, she figured, would be the
expressway to I-95 south and follow that to Delaware and points
south, but she decided against it because the drive would take her
back into the heart of the city. She also ruled out getting on the
Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia because the turnpike was a
toll road that offered little chance of escape if she were seen and
identified. She settled on City Line Avenue to take her out of the
city most quickly and into Delaware by less dangerous roads. She took
Lincoln Drive until she hit City Line near Bala Cynwyd. Traffic there
was heavy and slow, and just past the Mariott she noticed a young
girl wearing the pleated skirt and the blazer of one of the nearby
prep schools, ambling toward the bus stop. There had been a time when
she could have told the name of any nearby Main Line prep school by
its colors . . .
The girl had blonde hair that reached her shoulders.
She was pretty and wholesome-looking, but what especially caught
Missy's eye were her shoes. The teenager was wearing brown-and-white
saddle shoes with white socks . . . like a young teenage Missy—before
that awful night . . . And suddenly she couldn't stand the feeling of
emptiness, of being alone . . . she needed someone to give her a
little affection. Why not this girl who reminded her of herself . . .
? She put on her turn signal and cut across to the curb. She would
only take a couple of minutes more, then she'd drop the girl off
wherever she wanted and be on her way.
As the girl approached, Missy lowered the window on
the passenger side and leaned across the seat.
"Hey, want a lift? It'll save you waiting for
When the teenager hesitated Missy reached for her
police badge to reassure her, but then remembered that she didn't
have it, that she had purposely left it behind when she went to the
rendezvous with Laura.
She pushed open the door on the passenger side and
"Don't be silly, it's cold out there tonight . .
The youngster looked so unsure, vulnerable, hesitated
again, as if trying to decide whether to obey her overanxious
parents, then smiled and shrugged and got into the car.
Missy quickly slipped in a tape of Paul Simon doing
"Graceland." It was lively but calming at the same time.
Just what the doctor ordered. The doctor . . .
They pulled back into traffic. "What's your
"Julie," replied the blonde. "Actually
it's Juliet but I don't use it. Gets me too much kidding."
Missy smiled. "Mine's Peter, but tonight maybe
I'll be Romeo?" She laughed. "Just a joke, Juliet."
Looking into the night, Juliet said nothing until she
spotted Missy's cigarettes and asked if she could have one.
"Sure, and would you light one for me, too?"
Missy said. After lighting up, Juliet settled back, watched the
traffic, smoked. Quiet thing, and she didn't even say anything when
some ten minutes later Missy pulled off into a wooded area and
"Come here," ordered Missy, and was
pleasantly surprised when the girl came into her arms.
She kissed her hard, the false beard rubbing harshly
against the youngster's face, thrust her tongue deep into the girl's
Juliet began to respond, sucking on Missy's tongue,
kissing back until Missy, aroused, felt she had to touch her, slipped
her hand under the pleated skirt and began to move it up the girl's
thighs. Juliet kept her legs tightly closed, arousing Missy even
more. This girl wasn't like the ones from South Philly. This one was
different, and now she had to have her . . . Missy's exploring hand
touched panties, and moved inside—and touched something else,
something she did not expect. Her eyes opened wide, she started to
speak—Then she felt the pain.
It was a sharp pain, a breath-taking pain as Juliet
drove the ice pick between Missy's ribs . . . once, twice, three
times. Slumped in the seat, semi-conscious but unable to speak,
unable to protest as Juliet went through her pockets, relieving her
of the five packets of hundred dollar bills.
The last sound Missy Wakefield heard before she died
was Juliet's now clearly masculine voice saying, "Sweet dreams,