Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 3

Just before we got to her apartment, Teresa stopped, and pointed to a park bench.

“Can we sit here for a minute?” It was a lovely spot, opposite a pretty little park. The late summer day was bright and sunny, without the excessive humidity that had tortured us through the month of July. Yet I felt a sudden chill.

We sat down together. Teresa slowly swept her long hair back, and turned to face me.

“Colin, I have to tell you something.” she said. Normally, I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but those words sounded like the footsteps of doom. I swallowed, and nodded.

“I really, really appreciate your help with this.” she continued. “And I’m looking forward to seeing how it will all turn out. But I have to tell you now: this weekend won’t be about you and me. Do you understand?”

I didn’t understand at all, but I nodded as if I did. Teresa was watching me closely – did I mention that she was very bright?

“We aren’t going to be getting back together this weekend, Colin. I’m going to be very busy running the game, for one thing. And then there’s Lena to look after – she won’t know anybody else but me, at first. You could help me out there – be nice to her.”

“I want you to make this long weekend about you. Have fun. Solve the puzzles. Don’t spend your time flirting with me, or going out of your way to be helpful. You don’t have to try to impress me. I want you to just relax and enjoy yourself.”

“Flirt with the other women. Sleep with them.” Teresa saw the look of surprise in my eyes. “I mean it, Colin. We’ve always been frank with each other on that subject. I don’t want you to think about me romantically this weekend. Get drunk, if you want. Have a fling. Flings.”

– “This is one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had.” I said.

Teresa took me by the hand. “Colin, please. This is very important to me: tell me that you understand.”

– “I do. I get it.” I told her.

And I did understand. If I was busy chasing Teresa all weekend, trying to get back together with her, it would interfere with her running the murder mystery. It would also leave me frustrated; she was making it clear.

But I did say that I was an optimist. I understood something else very clearly: Teresa said that we weren’t ‘going to be getting back together this weekend‘. She also said that she didn’t want me to ‘think about her romantically this weekend‘.

Those were her exact words.

Why would she specifically say ‘this weekend’? Not once, but twice. She could have said that there was no chance of us getting back together, ever. Period. But she didn’t.

Which meant that there was hope for us yet.

We parted with a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. Then I went on my way. I waited until she was out of sight before I started to smile.

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=254

 

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Marisa – Part I – The Friendly Hostess

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I was sitting at the bar in the Sofitel hotel the other night with Church. Normally we would be at our other favorite bar, but it really depends on who’s working. The people and personalities are what really give life to a good bar. I love our other bar and adore the staff, but sometimes you have to change it up. What I love most about Sofitel is that it a quiet bar. It is plush and dark and classy. The staff knows us and Church is a beloved figure there. For once I am riding his coat tails here. His legend looms large here.

We’re sitting there chatting, and this lovely little Filipino hostess walks up and starts chatting with us. Obviously, dark almond eyes, raven hair, and olive skin. She looked late twenties or early thirties. It’s hard to tell. The bar is dark, and she looks young.

She immediately starts talking to us both, which is odd. The hostess or host never circle the bar and check on the clients. It’s refreshing and I love the attention. Church doesn’t know what to make of it, but I’m on it. She’s very sweet, and affable.

I’m sipping a martini, and I think Church was having a coffee. He excuses himself to the restroom, and I make my move. I give her a free tanning card for the salon and my new business card to the institute. I also ask her if she’d like to have lunch with me sometime. She says yes, and I type her name in my phone. I do my signature move, by handing her my phone. She instinctively types her number in and I have her. A swift and easy kill.

She says she has to go make her rounds and off she goes. Church returns and all is as it was. My friends know my life and what I do, but unlike some, I never reveal it all. That’s a sign of weakness. You have to always play your cards close to the vest. Give them all enough so that they trust you, but keep your dark powers to yourself. That’s what makes you who you are.

We hang for a bit, and she’s already texting me that she got cut early. Church loves being on his phone so it’s not unusual for me to be on mine at the same time. I’m texting her. She’s adorable, and based on her forwardness, I know she’s available.

We leave, and as usual, Church drives me home, which I really appreciate. It’s winter and my man makes sure I get home safe.

Marisa and I text each other over the next week or so and I try to set a lunch date. I have to be careful, but I have to be bold. I feel alive when I am negotiating deals. Whether it is in the boardroom or the bedroom. My lifestyle isn’t for everyone. If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch. I feel like the man I was in my late teens and early twenties again. But I’m now middle-aged. No more do I have the fears and trappings of a younger man. My time on Earth has taught me well. I have overcome all of the bullshit I carried around with me for years. Life is more simple now.

I’m in sales. I have a lot of lines in the water at all times. I only surround myself with good people now. It clears the mind. All of the crazies are gone to spin-off into the universe somewhere. It means nothing to me now. If this girl wants to have lunch with me, fine. If not, who cares. I am now surrounded by willing, eager candidates.

I am not being arrogant. I’m a gentleman, and will always be. It’s in my nature since I was a teenager. That will never change. But I am not getting any younger, and if things don’t move forward now, I have to move on and cut loose the detritus. There’s always more to do and more living to get to.

Based on our texts, Marisa seems a little bit erratic. She’ll text me at 10pm and ask me if I want to meet for a beer in the interim. I tell her I am home and going to sleep. I can’t tell her that I am sitting in my chair watching season eight of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, drinking vodka clubs and smoking cigarettes, in a ripped T-shirt and an old pair of shorts. I just don’t feel like moving. I’ll get to her when I get to her. On my time.

So I set the date. Lunch at one of my favorite spots. She gives off a flaky vibe, so I know I’ll have to hard confirm this one to make it happen. I can just sense these things now.

Here’s the thing. Mary works as hostess at this restaurant. I don’t know why I chose this place. It could be a “worlds collide” moment for any other man. But I dig the danger. I have romantic designs on Mary, and I’m bringing a fresh baby to my table on a day she’s working. Why would I do this? Because I know the risk is low, as well as the value of both of these women. I can pull it off. What could go wrong?

 

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Devon – The Crazy Cat Lady – Part One

“It looked like you hadn’t even been there.”

I met Devon through my long time friend Marigold over ten years ago. (See: Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock)

Marigold met Devon while riding the bus up in Fairmount. She admired her sense of style and just started talking to her. They became friends. I was introduced to her at some point and liked her. I thought she was kind of hot. Marigold and Devon had even been over to the apartment when Michelle and I lived together.

Devon had a history of making bad decisions in regard to relationships. She has had affairs with married men that went nowhere, or usually has a type in mind, which doesn’t really exist. I also understand she was brought up in a very strict religious family and that’s never good. Add to that some mental illness and that just makes for messed up people.

Years ago when I was living back in Jersey, I was trying to find a home for a cat we had. It’s a long story that can’t be told here, but maybe someday in Phicklejersey. Devon agreed to come and get the cat. She already had a Siamese of her own but this cat was so nice she thought it would work. She came and took the cat and I was happy that she was able to provide a home for it.

I remember she had the cat for a while but then her cat didn’t get along with it so she ended up giving it to another family. Her cat was a prima donna. But Devon made her that way.

As the years rolled by, Marigold wanted her friends to be happy, so she thought I should hang out with Devon more. Most of all of her friends had gotten married and moved on with their lives and Devon was still working three jobs and riding her bike around the city. I reached out to her and invited her over. We watched the comedy Bridesmaids and drank box wine. I also provided some crackers and cheese. She bought over some ice cream and we ate that too. Just talking to her I noticed she was sort of negative about her life and appearance. Concerns about aging. She was pointing out the lines on her forehead. I hadn’t noticed until she brought it up and pointed it out. (that’s always the way with me. Don’t point out your flaws ladies. You’re great just the way you are!)

She was taking a trip one weekend and asked if I’d go to her house and feed her cat. I told her I would be happy to do so. She gave me a set of her keys. The time came and I went over to her apartment. She lived on the ground floor of some shitty building that had some issues. Mice and cockroaches are two things I just don’t like. I’d rather see a mouse that a roach. We had roaches in our home growing up in Northeast Philly. The house was clean but they would appear in the basement at night. So there is a long-standing dislike of cockroaches. However, I do respect how long cockroaches have existed on this planet. way longer than humans. I just don’t want to see those successful fuckers in my house.

I get there and there is a note on the table from Devon. It was a laundry list of things I had to do while there. Empty the litter box, with very specific instructions so that her cat didn’t get an infection. Make sure the cat has fresh water and food. Fill all of the bowls of water that are sitting on the radiators. I think they keep the air fresh as the water evaporates. Take out the trash and recyclable trash. I wish I still had the note because it went on and on, front to back. It was around the holidays and I went two days over the weekend and did all of these things to the letter.

I was pretty proud of myself that I had been so meticulous about following every little step on her very expansive list. When she got home I remember talking with her about her holiday. I asked her if everything looked good at her house and was expecting the praise I so richly deserved.

“It looked like you hadn’t even been there.” was all she said.

I was thinking that would be the last time I ever do anything for this bitch in regard to her apartment or her fucking cat.

 

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Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

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