The Cinema Files
page 19, chapter 19
I heard Vincent's door creek open just before 7am and him humming as he started the coffeemaker. "So what do you think about the Wetworks Killer?"
"Is that what we're calling him?" I asked. Vincent nodded a grunt.
"I am." he smiled. I told him a few more details about what I'd seen at the latest crime scene. "Okay so we're thinking then this maid saw something and the killer is just covering his tracks?" he started loading bread into the toaster.
"Makes sense. If he was having an affair with GoGoBoots chick and they were regulars at the motel..." I started to fold the blanket returning it to the closet.
"The killer might be freaked with her death showing up in the paper. He'd want any witnesses that could tie him to her gone." the toaster jammed sending smoke into the kitchen forcing Vincent to unplug it. "Breakfast at the cafe it is."
"I'd still like to know how our first victim Puddle Guy fits into it?" I had shuffled then towards the kitchen myself.
"Yeah, that's a clue and a half all on it's own." he remarked as he headed back towards the bathroom. I heard him rattling his toothbrush and the tap running. Vincent returned a moment later a faint scent of mint clinging to him.
I stood in the middle of the store just after 8:30am, a shipment of blu-rays had come in early and I still needed to unbox them, code them, and price them. It was the last thing I wanted to do. What I wanted was to take a few home and just plant myself in front of the tv for the next few days. But that just wasn't going to fly. I was more than starting to feel overwhelmed, totally in over my head. Deadlines suddenly looming over me like a non stop hamster wheel with a hammer banging into it like a gong. Maybe my mental cage should have been more rattled than it actually was, but I could see nothing but this brazen and bizarre love triangle I currently found myself in. Torn between Ryan and Rudolph. I should have been focusing on other things like the fact there was a killer running around town. I tore off the packaging tape of one of the larger boxes, to be greeted by the top layer of order forms. The distributor was pushing anniversary editions of old mob stories. I think I grunted to the box as I saw my own reflection in the glossy plastic wrap of the first row of films. My pale skin distorted in the square edges of the makeshift mirror. Like staring into a puddle.
That's when the idea hit me. What if Puddle Guy had been trailing the killer? What if Puddle Guy had been a private investigator? Or even an informant? What if this went deeper than just some wealthy guy not wanting an affair to surface?
I shook my head trying to clear my sudden anxiety and conspiracy theory, trying not to over react when the phone rang. A small scream began to escape my throat as I jumped laying my palm flat on my chest, I scolded myself for such an overactive imagination. I heard the distant voice of one of my distributors letting me know my next order would be late as they were having issues with their factory. The rest of the morning continued with me jumping at every noise, seeing danger at every turn. Lunch didn't make me feel any better. I went to the cafe to find Vincent's normally beautiful face marked with stress. He nodded at me to take a tray and help as he tried his best to keep clam and not kick out a table of loud teenagers. They were a community service group on break from picking up trash in the area. All ten of them in their orange vests, talking over each other, laughing into their phones, snapping way too may selfies. The noise levels just seemed to increase second by second in the tiny cafe. It was clear from his body language of shoulders that he was having a hard time from slumping, and the edge of his jaw that was clinched, that he was dealing with a headache and overdue for his break. Fifteen minutes later, the teenagers magickally got up in a herd and shuffled out leaving one person to pay for everything. The quiet was almost deafening as a slight ringing in my ears was all the evidence they left. Vincent leaned onto the counter his eyes closed, fingertips pressed into his temples.
"Can you switch the open sign to back in 10 minutes please." He shuffled over to a table, pulling out a chair. The scrapping sound causing him to wince. "Sorry Desdemona short handed today. Bobby never came in." I poured us each a coffee and sat down across the table from him.
"What if Puddle Guy was killed cause he was like us?" I said reaching into my purse for a bottle of aspirin handing it to him.
"Worked in a mini mall dealing with snotty teens?"
"No. Investigating the scandal."
Tune in again for another installment of the Cinema Files starring your heroine...me (straight up story. I know, it's turning into a proper crime story...for now)