Swim Where 7
Belinda Lyle’s pencil nib broke on the paper.
“Luther’s downfall was a result his stupidly failing to realize that the boy he’d spent a lifetime beating up, had become fully cognizant of RBR’s many tenets and facets. The cockroach was even thoughtful enough to provide the instrument of his own demise, in a high-powered hunting rifle with a precision scope, that he stole while exercising a search warrant for something else.”
Belinda’s pencil tip moved pointlessly, as her mind grappled with his admission.
“My mother’s death presented Luther with a big problem that he doubtlessly hadn’t thought of before recklessly killing her. During the following few years, the boy he’d buggered, would mature to adulthood and when I came of age, he would no longer have me under his thumb. Had my mother been alive, my love for her would’ve made her a hostage against my keeping his dirty secrets locked in a homo-closet.”
The aspiring sports reporter kept up her rapid scribbling in her scratch pad, even though the writing instrument lacked lead.
“My dying before the age of eighteen would’ve been a problem solver, but a second suspicious death in his family could’ve strained the bounds of reciprocal blindness. An alternate strategy could explain the diminishing abuse: Luther was methodically distancing himself from me. A subtle change in the words from his snout gave an indication: instead of grunting hackneyed phrases like ‘this hurts me more than it does you’ or ‘I’m doing this for your own good’, his pithy remarks became resigned oinks like ‘why do I even try, when you just stem from bad seed’.”
“I’ve solidly grasped the fact of your harboring distain for both Luther and police officers in general, as a subset of lower humanity. You needn’t search for even more obscure comparisons to swine, nor even observe how referring to cops as pigs may be construed as insulting to hogs.”
“I’ll attempt to curb that mannerism but please forgive me if I occasionally slip back into my habitual pattern.” Scott saw she’d noticed her defunct pencil and stopped writing: he attributed her slightly agitated outburst to her frustration on not being able to jot anything down. “I envisioned how the day after my eighteenth birthday, would’ve begun my adult life of incarceration for one trumped up conviction after another. Luther’s police reputation was likely strong enough to endure the shame of having his stepson turning out wrongly, despite every fatherly attempt to raise his wife’s bastard to be law abiding. In jail, I would be ever muzzled because making an accusation of homosexual molestation would be an engraved invitation for plenty more of the same thing within the barred walls. If I wanted a more enticing future than the one Luther had charted out for me, I would have to grasp it with my own hands—and I did.”
“How did you do it?”
“I was in an ideal situation to be fully aware of Luther’s routine. His official business often required him to stop in at a house near ours, where the attractive young wife of a prison inmate lived. He needed to ensure that she wasn’t baking files into cakes. During prior preparation, I’d already target practiced to proficiency and constructed a natural looking hunter’s blind in the optimal position. I settled in to patiently wait for Luther Wagner arrival. When he showed up almost on perfect schedule, I aimed carefully and then squeezed the trigger. His black spirit was already in purgatory when his corpse hit the lawn, dead from the bullet that I planted right between his unsuspecting eyebrows.”
In her silence of absorbing his words, Belinda studied her pencil’s broken end.
“You should change to a fresh one.”
“I’m pretty sure I can remember this part and I’m even glad don’t have it on paper.”
“You should write it down. I’ll date it and affix my signature as a freely given and non-coerced confession. On trial, my defense will be that I’m not guilty of murder because my action was alike to an abattoir worker’s slaughtering of – cattle.”
Belinda extracted another pencil from her handbag and complied with his request. During the few minutes that it took her to write it from her fresh memory, their food arrived. True to his word, Scott snatched the pad when she was done: he both dated and endorsed it before handing it back. Then seemingly unconcerned with having given her ammunition for either blackmail or jail-time, he chowed into the meal.
Belinda took up her fork but only used it for idly rearranging the food on her plate. ‘How very different this repast is from our last time here.’ Then, she’d been eagerly trying to elicit his words and failing miserably at it. Just the one article on the 4×100 relay he’d verbally composed in the taxi away from here, exceeded the expectations Belinda had during the cab ride to this restaurant. Her career goals were affixed on sports reporting niche partially because a likelihood of her getting into full-fledged news reporting had seemed unattainable. But from using her female equipment just as Heidi Fleiss did, Belinda’s notebooks contained stuff enough to ensconce her in an anchorperson’s chair if she so wished. In the one respect it had been far more than worth it so far but how was it in the more important element of her self-respect? She performed a quick internal scan. ‘My self-esteem doesn’t feel overly tarnished.’ That could mean either that she really didn’t mind being a paid slut, or that she just didn’t actually feel she was in the pay-4-play skin trade. Only perspective counted.
“Are you going to eat that?” Scott pointed his fork at her whole-wheat dinner bun. His had vanished from view, along with nearly everything else on his plate.
“I’m not certain yet.” On the outside, she smiled but internally, she laughed. It made her think of her taking his wine to ensure that she derived the maximum value from her expense. “But go ahead and start on it. I’ll scream ‘stop’ if I experience a sudden uncontrollable yen for it.”
“You’ve barely eaten anything.” He observed while buttering up the bun.
“I’m alright.” She returned to her mental musing. ‘If he said something derogatory about me to the staff, it was before he knew if I’d accept the deal. And short of the odd quip that seem of harmless humor, he’s never once made me feel as a ho.’ “if I get to feeling puckish later, I can load up on sausage.” She snapped her teeth at him.
As soon as he correctly guessed what she had just implied, Scott grabbed his groin defensively with one hand and laughed. Then Belinda reached a hand across the table and captured his remaining free: her fingers caressed his knuckles.
“Why?” He expanded on his solo word question by gazing at their entwined hands.
“Because you have a spot of red wine as bold as a bleeding bullet hole on your shirt.” The true sentiments behind the gesture, was that Belinda was no longer his doxie, as if she had ever actually been that. She had crossed another step in deciding that she enjoyed staying with this quirky swimmer. ‘But just saying so would be too easy.’
“And with your being female, while I’m male, I’ll never have a clue of your motives.”
“It seems to me that you understand that perfectly.”
Swim Where will continue….
Russell Twyce is the Author of Shiva’s Messenger