In the quiet, the nightmares subsided until they were almost nonexistent. She had trouble figuring out exactly what had opened her up to all the nightmares. But she still had periods of loneliness where they seemed to return. These were generally when Morgan went out of town. these would be the nights she would go out to the club and find someone to bring back for the night.
She would always use one of the empty condos as the private place. Each time, she would fix one up to use. She would buy a new bed, new pillows, and new sheets. She would set out candles and rose petals. They would shower or bathe together, getting things nice and toasty. From there, they would fumble their way to the bedroom. And there, it all would end.
As always, they never stuck around. They were always gone by morning and left things a mess. She began believing that they simply left. She wouldn’t report them missing. No need to alarm the police with typical male endgames. Perhaps all men were the same when it came to her. Maybe all they wanted from her was sex.
No matter, She still had Morgan. He would always come back, not suspecting a thing, and soothe her needs. She smiled. At least he hadn’t left her yet. But the year was not out yet. He still had the Mardi Gras test to pass.
She thought of the terrible day with fear and loathing. Nothing good had ever happened to her on that date. Her first three lovers had vanished on that night. She didn’t know how many more lovers she could stand to lose.
She only hoped that Morgan could last past Mardi Gras. If he was there the day after, she would know that he was the one. She prayed that he was. she was tired of bouncing around. She was tired of going from man to man.
She wanted the white picket fence. The family photo. The two-car garage and two-story house. She wanted to be happy.
Oh, hell. She wanted to know who she was, too. That would solve a lot of her problems. And why she was even down here in New Orleans? She didn’t really know anyone…anywhere. Where was her home, anyway?
She sighed, depressed. She let her shoulders sag and sank down in the chair. Why did she always end up thinking? It did little to help her. It just made her depressed.
Michael had been given a break from looking for the missing men. At the moment, he had his crew picking through the trash in an alley in search for yet another missing prostitute. Her pimp had called her in missing, but Marcel was thinking that the pimp had killed her for little or nothing. If that was the case, the team would have to find the body, match the bullet to the pimp’s gun, then arrest him on suspicion as they built a case.
It was a welcome diversion from the case they had been working. No missing millionaires or college frat guys. A simple, straightforward case of a pimp getting jealous of his lady’s popularity. And there were a lot of pimps.
But this one had always been a problem. And this was not the first hooker he had reported missing. Three more of his ladies had turned up dead in the past. And only one of them had actually been victim of Nelson. But Nelson was dead and couldn’t cause any more unnecessary deaths.
And, yet, the pimp was trying to accuse dead man of killing another hooker. It just wasn’t going to happen. Michael and Marcel had seen her just one day before, and she was just fine. Alive.
He was running out of patience with this pimp. Quickly. He had better things to do than to listen to the lies and accusations of a coke fiend. And Tiger Charlie was just that. A coke fiend. Paranoid beyond the point of return.
Michael found the body. Reilly looked under one of the dumpsters and saw Charlie’s ‘missing’ gun. He waved Danforth over and obtained something to pick the gun up without touching it. Danforth approached and opened an evidence baggie. Reilly carefully slid the gun off the rod he had used to catch hold of it and drag it from under the dumpster. Danforth sealed it in the evidence baggie.
“Got the weapon, Boss,” Reilly stated.
“And the body,” Michael replied, then turned to Marcel, “Call the ME. Looks like you were right when you called this one.”
“So when do we make the arrest?” Danforth inquired.
“As soon as ballistics matches the bullets,” he replied, then looked at the body, “damn. Looks like he really worked her over. Too bad. she was a good girl at heart. Just lost her way.”
“You knew her?” Reilly asked, surprised.
“Yes,” Michael replied, quietly, “We went to high school together. She kind of followed me down here looking for work. Unfortunately, she fell on hard times and got hooked up with Charlie. Now, I will have to call her sister to come get her body. This’ll devastate her parents.”
“Shit, Bro,” sorry to hear,” Danforth uttered, sincerely, “it’s going to be tough, the call I mean.”
“Yeah,” Michael stated, sadly, “I will have to make an effort to either go to the funeral or send flowers and a card.”
“De ME is on her way.” Marcel looked at his friend. “Ballistics said we need t’ get de gun into dem as soon as possible.”
“We’ll leave as soon as the ME gets here,” Michael announced, “I think that ballistics can wait that long.”
“An’ we don’ wan’ to leave de crime scene an’ risk havin’ some idiot mess it all up.” The Cajun was trying to be sarcastic, but the sarcasm fell short.
Michael smiled. “Procedure, Bro, just like any other case. Never break with procedure.”
The Cajun nodded. They would wait for the ME. He wandered back to his car to wait. Michael let him go. He had enough weight on his shoulders. Evangeline’s leaving had really done a number on him. Michael felt as if he was watching as his friend was slowly beginning to unravel.