My first and last dance with mr. sam jib

Blog, characters


 

The idea that Harold could kill someone was completely ridiculous. I knew this. I did. Yet, the longer I thought about it, the less sure I was becoming.
I thought back to the cocktail party at Mr. Jib’s house. We’d arrived around six to his lavish estate, Harold looking dapper in a slick tuxedo and I in a floor skimming down that dazzled as I exited the car. The party was in full swing as we entered through the enormous front doors. Several servers offered us champagne flutes from trays they carried. We smiled and accepted.
Mr. Jib lit up as we approached through the crowd and greeted us warmly.
“Harold, such a pleasure you could make it,” he said, shaking Harold’s hand firmly. “And, this must be your wife.” He regarded me with sparkling chestnut eyes.
I offered him my hand. “Millie. I’m very pleased to meet you finally. Harold’s told me so much about you.” Mr. Jib was Harold’s boss down at the steel mill.
“All good things I assume.”
I grinned a little. “Of course.”
Harold stares at our entwined hands before I clear my throat and Mr. Jib lets go. I shuffled back a step and leaned into Harold’s side. Harold forced a smile onto his face. “Thanks for inviting us.”
“You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy that party,” Mr. Jib said as we melted into the crowd.
“Let’s dance,” Harold suggested, grabbing my glass and setting it down in a nearby table along with his. He led us to the middle of the floor and proceeded to guide us through the waltz. The music was enchanting and we spun around the floor between other couples for what seemed like hours.
A tap on his shoulder had Harold turning around.
“Mind if I cut in?” Mr. Jib grinned.
Harold’s face took on a light red shade but seeing at Mr. Jib was his boss, he decided letting him have one dance with his wife was alright. “Fine,” he grunted before dropping my hands and walking off the floor.
“Mr. Jib,” I smiled.
“Please, call me Sam,” he laughed, taking up Harold’s position and leading us around the floor in a flurry of spins and foot work. It felt like I was flying. “So, what do you do for work?”
“Well, I’m a secretary. I type memos, fetch coffee, records notes…” I flush lightly as I notice Sam’s eyes remain focused on my face as I speak. I avert my eyes, staring down at his chest, at the pocket square protruding from his breast pocket. “Enough about me. Harold tells me you’re considering a merger with the rival steel mill?”
“Yes. It’s all good business sense. Tell me, how did a fine looking gal like you end up with ol’ stick in the mud Harold?” His tone is joking, a flash of gleaming teeth visible between his parted lips.
“We were high school sweethearts, married for seven years this March.”
“How very romantic,” Sam said without much enthusiasm. He dipped me suddenly and in a rush I was nearly upside down. He pulled me back up and wrapped his arms around my waist. “I could show you real romance.”
“I beg your—“
He leaned in close to my ear and we rocked back and forth. “You’ve been stuck with the same guy. Boring, serious Harold for years. Don’t you wonder what you’re missing? What I could show you?”
“Mr. Jib, I don’t know what you think—“
He tilted down suddenly and kissed my cheek. I bolted from his grasp and bumped into a couple behind me. Harold barrelled through the crowd and grabbed hold of Mr. Jib’s lapels.
“Do not touch my wife again!” he shouted, the music drowning out the gasps around us.
“We were just dancing, weren’t we?” Mr. Jib asked innocently, his eyes darting to me.
“Don’t talk to her. I saw what you did. If you touch her again I swear I’ll… I’ll…”
Mr. Jib chuckled, pulling Harold’s hands from his jacket. “You’ll what?”
Harold looks down at his hands, then slowly back up to Mr. Jib. “I’ll kill you.”
I stepped forward, clutching Harold’s shoulders. “Harold! Don’t say such things.”
Mr. Jib appeared amused at Harold’s sudden bravery. “You keep that spark of bravado and you might just be able to hold onto your wife. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have guests.” He departed, though not before offering me a wink.
Harold was practically vibrating with anger.
“Come, Harold, let’s go. He didn’t mean any harm, he was just drunk.”
“I meant what I said,” he whispered as we exited the party.
“Sure you did. Let’s just go home and forget the whole thing,” I said. “I’ll make us some tea and we’ll watch the Ed Sullivan show. You like that show.”
I’d thought everything was forgotten, but a few weeks later, Harold came home happier than usual. He threw his lunchbox down on the kitchen table and kissed me.
“You’re home early, dear.”
“Yeah, they let us out early. There was an accident at the mill.”
I turn to him, sliding on a pair of oven mitts to retrieve the casserole from the oven. “That’s terrible, what happened?”
Harold opens today’s newspaper as he sits down at the table, flipping to the sports section. “It was Mr. Jib. He was up on the catwalk surveying the progress of a new shipment when he slipped and fell at least thirty feet.”
I freeze with me hands half way inside the oven. “Is he going to be alright?”
Harold flips the page. “He’d dead. Enough about that, when’s dinner going to be ready?”
It takes me a moment to respond. “Half an hour.”
“Call me when it’s ready,” he says, jumping up from the table and tossing the newspaper down. “I’m going to take nap.” He heads up the stairs, whistling a tune.
I stare after him. He…. Couldn’t have, could he? I shake my head and grin a little. No, not of course not. Mr. Jib was right when he said Harold was a stick in the mud, boring, and serious. Harold wouldn’t have the gall to do something that rash.
I chuckle to myself, crossing the kitchen to empty Harold’s lunchbox. When I open it I find something peculiar. Beneath the apple and half eaten sandwich is a pocket square. A red pocket square. I hold it up to my face and examine it. Mr. Jib wore a pocket square exactly like this one the night of the cocktail party.
I drop the pocket square and brace a hand against the table for balance. He did it. He really did it. Do I turn him in to the police?
He did it for me, because I mean so much to him. He couldn’t bare for another man to put his hands on me. It was for love. A crime of passion. A smile starts to spread across my face. He loves me.
With that, I return to preparing dinner. Harold’s getting his favourite dessert tonight.
 
-Collins

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Story excerpt from “Canaries Don’t Sing”

short story, writing

 

They never believe you when you say you’re innocent. In many cases, they would be right, but in this case, they’re wrong. I’ve done quite a few questionable things in my life, but that’s only due to my line of work you see. In this instant though, I didn’t do it. I didn’t murder anybody. I’d been framed. Unfortunately for me the judge lays down the verdict and pounds his gavel. I bet he gets a rise out of doing that.

I sit reflectively as spectators mill out the courtroom doors and into the mid-day heat. The bailiff that waddles over resembles a sausage stuffed into a casing. He roughly pulls me up and slaps the cuffs on. I’m sure they expect women to make a scene or a fuss, lord knows many do, but I’m not one of them. I’ve been trained to be calm cool and level-headed. My partner tips his hat as I pass, a remorseful look crossing his face.

“I’ll get you out of the pen as soon as I can.”

Good old Murray. I nod and let the bailiff lead me away through the door adjacent to the judge’s chair. I have time to mull over the events of just three days prior as I’m searched, stripped, and fingerprinted.

The date was April 29th, 1942. My partner, Murray, and I were assigned to obtain vital information about trafficking of rare gems in and out of the country. The target, Mr. William Tucker, was suspected as a trafficker. It was my mission to seduce him during one of his parties and trick him into confessing. All was going well, I had Tucker wound around my finger. He had a thing for blondes, which worked in my favor. Anyway, I had him in a room upstairs spilling his guts. Murray was downstairs in the party keeping watch. When I’m done with Tucker, I turn to go but he has other ideas. He grabbed me and started kissing me, I resisted and when he became more violent, I snatched a vase from a nearby table and broke it over his head. I checked to make sure he was still breathing, which he was. This wasn’t part of the plan, but nothing I haven’t dealt with before. I went back downstairs and melted into the crowd. Joining Murray, we quickly excited the estate.

The following morning the newspapers declared William Tucker had been murdered. Witnesses saw me go upstairs with him and I came down alone. Immediately I had the fuzz at my door. I cursed myself for not being more discreet. I stuck with the story that I had gone up and he had become physical, which is why I had shattered the vase over him. They asked me to explain how there was a gun with my fingerprints on it at the scene. I said there was no gun. They had said there was and they matched the prints from the vase to the gun. I was promptly arrested. Fortunately I had given the information to Murray so he could relay it to our superiors.

I just have to sit down and shut up and soon Murray will have me sprung. After all, agencies don’t generally want their spies locked up in prison. It’s bad for business.

The bailiff guides me to a cell, pulls the door open and shoves me inside. “You’ll settle in nicely Pearl,” he laughs as he slams the door.

-Collins

The Paul Series pt. 1

writing

So if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’d be familiar with Turner’s “Jacob” series. If you aren’t aquainted with Jacob, take a look back at his journey to understand him a little better. I created a sister series tied to Turner’s “Jacob” series, called the “Paul” series. Paul is the cop assigned to surveiling Jacob after a string of disappearances.

 

I’ve been watching this creep for hours. He’s been watching her for hours. She’s been watching television for hours.
I glance down at the file in my lap, brushing powdered sugar off the photo of the creep. Name’s Jacob something, too long to pronounce. His friend, the girl in the house, was the victim of a sexual assault a while ago. The prime suspect in that case disappeared before he could be arrested. I flip through a couple of pages to the police report. Jacob was questioned in connection to the disappearance, but nothing concrete come from it. What a waste of time.
Assigning me to this case was the chief’s idea. Something to get me away from the desk, 9-5 gig. A little surveillance on a suspected murderer was just the thing. If I had to hear one more speech about the merit of not just calling myself a cop, but truly becoming cop, I was gunna shove my box of Dunkin’ Donuts down his throat. I said yes to get him to shut up. I seriously doubt this kid could cut up a body and hide the evidence. More likely he’s going through one of those goth-depression phases. My son went through one of those when he was sixteen. After two months of crucifixes and eyeliner, he was done.
I toss Jacob’s file onto the passenger seat and leaf through the second file. It’s full of disappearances within the last few months. A Mr. Harris, along with three other guys have vanished. The one commonality between the disappearances was each guy had been convicted of sexual assault or had allegations of sexual assault. So someone seems to be targeting these guys, but no bodies have turned up as of yet. For all I know, they all skipped town and hit up a toddler’s pageant. Bunch of perverts.
Grumbling, I pull my coffee from the cup holder and swallow it back. I could be watching the game right now, drinking a nice cold brew instead of ice cold coffee. Glancing at my watch I see that it’s 11:43pm. I’ve been sitting here since 8pm.
I snatch the radio from the console and click it on. “This is officer Pemberton on the Jacob what-his-face stakeout.”
“Hey, Paul. Catch that little shit jerking off to his girl yet?”
I chuckle. Kevin gets it. Chief can shove this assignment up his ass. “If I do, you’ll be the first to know, Kev. I’m heading home now.”
“Take ‘er easy.”
“Same to you.”
I put the radio down and glance over to the creep one more time. He’s still standing in the same spot, across the street from the girl’s house, staring in her front window. He wears a black hoodie, hood pulled up over his head, and blends into the shadows just outside a nearby street lamp. My best guess is he’s some love sick guy that got rejected and just can’t let go. Murderer? No. Pathetic? Yes.
I start the car and pull the seatbelt over my stomach. The belt doesn’t go the whole way and I’ve got to yank it a few times for it to buckle completely. Without another look at the creep, I make a U-turn and head home. With luck, I’ll be able to catch the last quarter of the game.
 
 
 -Collins