Alexander Palmer Ch. 01byjjbird87©
Baby liked to run. The only thing that could stop her momentum was ice cream trucks and men. She takes after her owner, except the last time I stopped for an ice cream truck, I was five and riding my tricycle. As far as men go, I've stopped way too many times to share in the introductory paragraph. Let's just say I've tried every flavor of Popsicle available.
My most recent venture was with a Hawaiian boy named Kale. Kale's most prominent feature was his low hanging set of coconuts. We actually dated a few months before having sex. In the past, my relationships have been fuck now - ask on a date later. Last night was our first time together. And as it turns out - Baby wasn't the only person who liked to run. Kale disappeared sometime between one and seven AM when I woke up.
I was really good at doing that woe-is-me thing as I got ready for work. Leaning against my kitchen island, I waited for Baby to return and contemplated men while I ate Cheerio's. It was a pretty intense internal dialogue I was having with myself over cold cereal. I mean, some people go their entire life with just one man - Jesus. And while the life of celibacy was not in my future, I decided to swear off men, anyway and said good morning to the Lord above. No more ass aching in the morning. I would go back to the days where masturbation was all I ever needed. I could even save money by not having to buy condoms anymore.
It sounded like a good plan to me.
I was in the middle of rinsing my dish - and high off of this new no-men venture I took - when Baby returned with a surprise. In the past she's returned with dead rodents, garbage, and twigs. Today she returned with a man. His name was Diggs. And he generally had the ability to scare me. He was like Rambo, if Rambo worked for the CIA. The strong, silent type who had muscles on top of muscles, but that wasn't the scary part. Diggs had the ability to figure stuff out before anyone else. He always was two steps ahead of the crowd. And I'm pretty sure he carried a gun.
Baby came scampering down the front hallway and I bent to pick her up. When I straightened up, Diggs was standing there in his usual black under armor ensemble.
I was used to his antics. "I thought my front door was locked."
"Your Hawaiian boy must have left it unlocked when he scrammed," Diggs voice was smooth as the extra butter I put on everything.
"So what am I doing wrong? You're the expert on men."
He shut the door and followed me to the kitchen.
"Babe," was all he said. Diggs invited himself to some coffee and sipped slowly as he watched me tie my tie, close the clasps on my briefcase, and do the final touches in the foyer mirror. He was a great listener, too. The whole time I complained about Kale and not once did he look disinterested.
"I don't want to sound rude, but can you not be here when I come home from work. It kind of freaks me out."
Diggs smiled and pulled me in close by the tie. His other hand was on the small of my back and I felt like absolute putty. Rue McAllister down the street once called Diggs eyes "devastating." And as I looked into them that morning I knew exactly what she meant. Secretly, I wanted to find Diggs naked on my couch when I came home, but that would never happen. So it's better he just not be here at all.
"Anything for you," and I thought I saw the tiniest smile tug at the corner of his lips. "Unless you wanted to continue your discussion on men. Maybe I could give you some tips."
At the age of twenty-nine, I started my own private practice as a counselor in our nation's capitol business district. It's not my ideal job, but it pays the bills. My ideal job is engineering roller coasters and then riding them all day long, but that looks like it may never happen.
I spent close to ten years in school, spent tens of thousands of dollars, only to realize that maybe psychology isn't the subject I'm interested in after all. I mean, it's fascinating to a degree, but to listen to people's problems day in and day out was exhausting. Today, Monday, was no gem, either.
Bunny, formerly known as Regina Watson, was physically battered by her pimps who rented her out on a nightly basis. I have never been much into women, but I could always tell when an attractive one was in the vicinity. I assumed at one point - when Bunny was Regina - she had great natural looks. But in order to keep up with the stripper industry, she had implants and plastic surgery galore. Her vibrant pink lipstick screamed porn. Even so, beneath the fake exterior I could tell that there was a frightened Regina. She trembled, cried, and used up all of my tissues by the end of her one hour session.
Bunny tugged at her mini jean skirt as she left my office. "Thank you, Dr. Palmer. I-I feel m-much better now," she sniffled and gave a watery smile. And as she flaunted out of my office, her breasts bounced, and the man sitting in my waiting room gawked.
I thought it disgusting to an extent the way the newcomer stared at her until she disappeared on the elevator. Somehow I managed to push aside my personal feelings and outstretched a professional handshake.
The man took my hand firmly in his, "Dr. Palmer, so nice to meet you," he said, rising to his feet. He was a head taller than me with strong Italian features. "I'm Detective Harrison," he answered my unasked question. That would also explain his cop-like build and stance.
I was slightly taken aback. I've met with officers of the law before. Policemen, detectives, whoever, certainly have their pitfalls and have come seeking counseling services for a number of reasons, but this time it was different. By first appearances, Harrison was quite stable. Then again, I was never the best at reading people. I invited him into my office and closed the door behind us.
"I hope this isn't an inconvenient time," Harrison somewhat apologized.
"It's only my lunch hour. Please, sit."
"Then I will be out of here in no time. I'm quite sure you're not involved anyway, but I have to exhaust all of my leads."
"Involved? I'm sorry, detective, what's going on here?" I adjusted uncomfortably in my swivel office chair and searched my mind for the last illegal thing I did. Yesterday I parked illegally, but that was for like thirty seconds as I ran in to drop something off at the post office. I once had sex in public, but that was years ago. Hardly warranted to send a detective over to my place. "Involved?" I repeated.
"Yes, it seems early this morning the body of a Kale Young was found beneath the Fredrick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Just as a standard protocol, we checked his cell phone and your number was the last one he called."
Long before he finished his sentenced and crossed his legs, I felt my stomach drop through the floor and six feet beneath the ground. I sat there, dumbfounded, without words. Eventually Harrison said, "Dr. Palmer?"
"Mm?" It was a mere noise of recognition. I was looking at his eyes, but I was barely seeing him. Kale's body? It didn't seem possible. I was hardly in love with the guy, but I felt awful for saying all of those horrible things about him this morning. I eventually found my tongue and said slowly, "I - um - I mean, we, were friends."
Harrison dutifully wrote something down in his notepad. "And did you see him last night, Dr. Palmer?"
"Mm - yes - for dinner. We had dinner, I mean. I'm sorry, do you know how he died?"
Harrison leaned back in his chair seemingly at ease. "Stabbed to death."
I felt my throat dry up and suddenly, I was very upset that Bunny used up all of my tissues. Surely I wouldn't cry in front of Harrison. "He left my house after dinner," I volunteered the information before Harrison continued to probe. It wasn't the truth, of course. Kale and I had sex like dogs on my couch, kitchen counter, and then my bed. And then he left and got stabbed to death? For some reason my mouth wouldn't stop moving and the words kept coming out, "Y-you can check with my neighbors. A-and you can come search my h-house, too."
Harrison smiled. A cop smile. "I appreciate that, Dr. Palmer. But I believe you. Like I said, I'm just exhausting all of my options." He slid a business card across my desk. "In case anything comes up, will you give me a call?"
I nodded and stood to shake his hand.
Surely I would give him a call. But right after I call Diggs first. I shut my door after Detective Harrison, sunk into my office chair and collected my thoughts before picking up my office phone and punching the numbers.
"Yo," Diggs said on the first ring.
"Yo, yourself. Listen, something came up, can you do me a favor?"
"Already on it."
I scrunched up my face. "How do you know what it is? I haven't even said it."
"Kale is dead. You want me to investigate. Why do you think I came over this morning?"
"To return Baby?"
I could sense him rolling his eyes. "To make sure you didn't do it."
"Well, I didn't!"
A thought occurred to me. "You think I have the capacity to murder someone?"
"Babe," was all Diggs said.
Because the rest of my afternoon was clear of appointments, I decided to close for the day and head home. I live at the furthest point in Washington D.C. If my home was fifty feet to the right, it would be in Maryland. I liked it. The neighborhood was quiet, the yards were small and square, perfect for dogs.
Diggs was not there, thankfully, but Baby was. She ran frantic circles around me as I came through the front door, my arms cradling a few bags of groceries. I didn't really have any productive plans other than to let Baby do her business in the backyard and then collapse on my bed with the hope of sleeping off today's heavy news.
As I was waiting at the backdoor for Baby to return, Diggs appeared like goddamn smoke at my side. I smelt his cologne first then felt his presence brush up against my arm.
"Find anything interesting?" I inquired, keeping my eyes on Baby.
"A Brazilian boy," Diggs answered smoothly.
"And he killed Kale? Or is he tied up and nude back at your place?"
"I never do bondage."
"So he's just naked and back at your place?"
Here's the thing. After knowing Diggs for two years now, I kind of know what he does for a living. Maybe. He runs his own CIA operative thing with his own men, his own weapons, his own offices, his own everything. But I have no idea where his Batman lair was. Where he lived was a complete enigma.
"So instead of helping me out, you went and fucked a Brazilian?"
To which Diggs responded without words, just handed me a manila envelope as Baby came traipsing back in.
"What is this?" I asked, as if expecting Diggs to give me a full explanation.
"Open it," was all he said.
The contents spilled out and fell to the floor. I bent forward to pick them up and felt the presence of Diggs crotch close to my head. Blushing slightly, I scrambled to pick up the photos and paper and laid it out on the kitchen counter. The pictures were of...
"Bunny..." I said slowly. "She's the killer?"
Diggs shook his head and tapped a piece of paper with a bunch of names listed on it. "The name of pimps she sees habitually. One of them, maybe more, also hires men."
"And one of them killed Kale?"
Diggs shrugged. "It's possible."
"And you know this because...?"
"I'm not sure where you picked your Hawaiian boy up at, but at one point he worked with the Brazilian."
I blinked a few times. "So, what now? Detective Harrison visited me today. But I'm assuming I can't pass along this information, because I'm guessing you obtained it illegally."
Diggs shrugged. "Now, it's back to business," he advanced closer and loosened my tie. "I know a Brazilian and Colombian who aren't opposed to a threesome," Diggs undid the first few buttons of my dress shirt.
"You mean I get to see where you live and I get to see you naked in the same day?" I joked nervously.
"You can see me naked any day." He had all of my buttons undone now.
"Oh, jeeze," I said. I started to lean into him. I could feel his pecs flex underneath his shirt and that just about sent chills trickling through my body. Just as I was thinking about how amazing it would be to get down and dirty with Diggs, my thoughts were right back to Kale. I took a step back. "Maybe not so soon after Kale died," I told him.
Maybe there was some regret in his eyes, but there might also be respect. It was so difficult to read Diggs emotions.
"But, uh, enjoy your Brazilian. Maybe once you're done, do you want to have dinner? We can talk about this case."
"Planning on catching the killer?" Diggs smirked.
"Maybe. Probably not. I don't know. I mean, I did have feelings for Kale, despite him running out on me. But maybe he didn't run off in the first place."
"Maybe. Probably not. I don't know."
I followed Diggs to the front door and as he was on his way out, I stopped him. "So, what you said earlier. That you know a Brazilian and Colombian who are into threesomes. You're that Colombian, right?"
Diggs just smiled.